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The Benefits and Dangers of Evolving Fintech

On Tuesday, the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing titled “Fintech: Examining Digitization, Data, and Technology.” The purpose of the hearing, led by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, was to discuss how fintech is changing the financial landscape. In his opening statement, Crapo discussed the quick development of new fintech.

“Almost exactly one year ago, the committee held a hearing to explore the various sectors and applications of fintech,” said Sen. Crapo. “In the short time period between that hearing and this one, many developments and innovations have occurred, both in the private sector and on the regulatory front. Digitization and data, in particular, are constantly evolving, challenging the way we have traditionally approached and conducted oversight of the financial services sector.”

The hearing comes right as attendees of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Innovation, Opportunity & Investment Summit discussed the importance of fintech to the modern real estate industry. The REALTOR Technology Survey found that Realtors have spent millions of dollars on improving technology and keeping up with the latest technological trends.

According to the survey, the technologies outside of email and cell phones that Realtors say are most valuable are MLS websites/apps (64 percent), lockbox/smart key devices (39 percent), and social media platforms (28 percent).

With the addition of new technologies come significant risks, especially, as NAR notes, smart home and Internet-connected devices become more and more relevant. During the hearing, Saule T. Omarova, Professor of Law, Cornell University testified on the risks posed by new technology to financial services, as well as the benefits/

“New technology opens a wide range of previously inconceivable possibilities for improving our shared financial lives and for creating fuller, more capacious forms of financial citizenship,” said Omarova. “ At this relatively early stage, it would be premature to issue any definitive conclusions as to what fintech’s ultimate impact on society is going to be, or what specific risks individual technologies are going to pose to financial stability. It is vitally important, however, to take an informed systemic view of the unfolding fintech “revolution” well before these risks materialize.”

Watch the full hearing here.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a contributing writer for DS News. He is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing, and has studied abroad in Athens, Greece. An East Texas native, he also works part-time as a photographer.

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