Fintech Was Back on Capitol Hill
A House financial services subcommittee hearing this past Tuesday put fintech and online lending back in the spotlight. The most notable witness that testified was Nat Hoopes, Executive Director of the Marketplace Lending Association (MLA). The MLA represents companies like Lending Club, Prosper, Funding Circle, Avant, Marlette Funding, Affirm, CommonBond, Upstart, PeerStreet, and StreetShares.
Hoopes testified that “this industry is effectively serving the broad American ‘middle class’ that remains our engine for economic growth and prosperity.” He also cited data from dv01. “More than one million unsecured marketplace personal loans were issued last year – with an average loan balance of approximately $14,000 and a term of greater than 4 years – far from being a small dollar, short term loan,” he said. “[Marketplace Lending Platforms] offering consumer loans do so at an average of 14.7% APR and 100% of the loans are below the 36% APR threshold.”
Prof. Adam J. Levitin, a Georgetown University Law Professor, played the role of fintech skeptic and called for state and federal regulation to address what he believed were lingering issues.
“What is new about fintechs is that they are nonbank financial companies with ready ability to acquire consumers because of the Internet,” Levitin testified. “This means that despite the regular use of buzzwords like ‘transformative’ and ‘disruptive’ in discussions about fintechs, there really isn’t anything particularly transformative or disruptive about them.
You can watch a recording of the full hearing below:
Click the links to view the testimonies of the following witnesses
- Mr. Nathaniel Hoopes, Executive Director, Marketplace Lending Association (TTF)
- Mr. Brian Knight, Director, Program on Financial Regulation and Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University (TTF)
- Mr. Brian Peters, Executive Director, Financial Innovation Now (TTF)
- Mr. Andrew Smith, Partner, Covington and Burling, LLP (TTF)
- Prof. Adam J. Levitin, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center (TTF)