Keeping Up with Regulatory Compliance in an Evolving Payments Landscape

In today’s constantly changing digital world, technology continues to reshape the way we manage our money. As advancements in technology revolutionize the world of payments, the speed at which transactions take place has also greatly increased. Regulatory compliance efforts must keep pace with these technological advancements and be capable of real-time implementation to provide a top-of-the-line, regulated customer experience.

A Regulatory Overview

Earlier this year the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled its long-awaited final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA). The goal of the new CFPB rule is to promote fairness, transparency and accountability. Under the final rule, small business lenders must now collect and report information regarding all small business credit applications they receive, including business credit cards. The new ruling, however, will add a significant cost and process burden to financial institutions, especially smaller lenders such as community banks.  

 The new law is set to go into effect in late 2024, and all financial institutions offering small business lines of credit need to assess processes, procedures, and technology now to prepare for compliance. 

The 1071 Final Rule applies to a wide range of lenders, including traditional banks, credit unions, and non-bank financial institutions. The rule mandates comprehensive data collection on credit applications, which will be compiled into a publicly accessible database to address future economic development requirements.

In July, a federal judge approved a preliminary injunction in a legal case brought against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This injunction grants the plaintiffs temporary relief from having to adhere to the agency's rule regarding the collection of data from small businesses. This relief will remain in effect until the Supreme Court makes a decision next year regarding the constitutionality of the bureau's funding. While things are in a state of limbo, financial institutions should ready themselves for any potential changes that might arise depending on the court’s decisions.

Challenges and Considerations

While essential for the financial well-being of the financial institution and consumer, implementing real-time compliance systems can pose some challenges. The implementation of real-time compliance systems requires collaboration among stakeholders. Financial institutions, payment processors, technology providers, and regulatory bodies must work together to establish a seamless integration. Additionally, regulatory authorities need to provide clear and consistent guidelines to ensure a uniform approach across the financial services landscape.

Furthermore, getting data out of legacy systems is becoming an even bigger concern for regulators. With older technology customs, reports and extracts must be written to pull the information into a database where the information can be analyzed. While this may not sound concerning, the fact is it takes several weeks to take this step once the project can be prioritized. This leads to delays in providing information for exams, audits, and performing analysis to determine potential consumer compliance violations.

As financial institutions look into the solutions that may be best for them, it is important that they reflect on how the investment in technology can provide them with the ability to innovate offerings while reducing overhead cost to comply with federal laws and regulation, while also considering the speed at which these solutions can adapt.

Real-Time Compliance is Essential

Real-time regulatory compliance serves as a vital defense against fraud and other financial crimes. It enables financial institutions to monitor transactions as they occur, stopping fraud attempts in their tracks, rather than trying to analyze the situation after it occurs. By implementing real-time compliance measures, stakeholders can identify and address potential risks quickly, minimizing the impact of fraudulent activity.

One of the key advantages of real-time compliance is the ability to detect and prevent suspicious activity promptly. Automated systems, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can monitor and analyze a large amount of data in real-time, flagging activity that is unusual or inconsistent with that of the consumer. Systems like these enable faster and more accurate identification of potential risks, allowing immediate action and the protection and integrity of the payment system.

Additionally, real-time compliance provides higher levels of transparency and accountability within the financial sector. By continuously monitoring transactions, regulatory bodies can ensure that financial institutions are adhering to guidelines. This proactive approach ensures the best possible experience for consumers. 

Planning for the Future

As technology continues to rapidly advance, especially within the financial technology ecosystem, regulatory compliance must be implemented into every financial institution’s plan. Keeping pace and having the ability to implement quickly is essential to keep up with the ever-evolving advancements in banking. Real-time compliance efforts combat financial crimes and enhance the consumer experience. 

By embracing regulatory compliance, financial institutions can ensure that their cardholders are protected. Through speed, efficiency, and security, well-implemented, real-time regulatory systems are the ultimate way to protect the financial well-being of a financial institution’s customers or members.

About Author:
Karla Booe serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for Zeta, overseeing U.S. Federal Compliance for North American products and services. As Chief Compliance Officer, Karla utilizes her strong working knowledge of the U.S. Federal laws and regulations to monitor, identify, interpret, and provide oversight and approval for regulatory changes required in the Zeta products and services.

Before joining Zeta, Karla worked for over 26 years at Fidelity Information Services (FIS), providing U.S. Federal regulatory compliance support for the products and services utilized by some of the Largest U.S. financial institutions.

Karla lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas, and attended the Mid-South School of Banking.

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