We provide a platform for policymakers and financial stakeholders to identify fintech and regtech areas for examination, and we collaborate with financial innovators and researchers to deliver timely and actionable insights to inform and advance policy discussions.
We engage directly with policymakers and regulators to identify priority topics, and we work with industry, academics, and advocacy stakeholders to inform and participate in our experiments. We give consideration to a prospective experiment’s timeliness for policy impact; ability to improve regulatory harmonization; and the extent to which it advances marketplace outcomes that improve consumers’ and small businesses’ financial well-being and increase financial inclusion.
We leverage our scalable technical capacity and legal acumen to undertake balanced experiments that produce actionable insights for policymakers and other stakeholders. For the financial sector and innovators, we serve as a trusted intermediary to explore and evaluate the applications of technology and data and the implications for public policy.
We share updates and findings throughout the key phases of our research. At the conclusion of a major research undertaking, we convene the primary experiment stakeholders from regulators and industry, along with academic experts and advocates, to review and discuss the research insights and the policy implications. Following our working group discussions, we elevate the dialogue and share our research with core stakeholders and the community at large.
Our research priorities are informed through engagement with policymakers and with input from industry, academia, and advocate groups. Below are active or prospective topics in our Lab.
A selection of papers and articles that are worth your time.
CEO & Director
Prior to establishing FinRegLab, Melissa served as the U.S. Treasury Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consumer Policy where she developed and executed the Treasury Department’s consumer policies. Melissa helped to build the first government-offered preretirement savings product, the myRA, and she established the $5 million Innovation Fund to support research and strategies to improve consumers’ financial health and their access to safe and affordable financial products and services. Before joining the U.S. Treasury Department, Melissa was the Vice President of Policy at the Center for Financial Services Innovation.
Kelly Thompson Cochran
Prior to joining FinRegLab, Kelly helped to stand up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she served most recently as the Assistant Director for Regulations. In that capacity, she oversaw rulemaking and guidance activities under the Dodd-Frank Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and various other federal consumer financial laws. Kelly previously was counsel at WilmerHale, where she advised financial institutions on a wide range of legal and regulatory matters including product development, compliance, enforcement, and litigation. Kelly also conducted research on financial services innovation, community reinvestment, and other topics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Director of Science & Technology
Prior to joining FinRegLab, Wayne worked with multiple global corporations to advance innovative, high-risk/high-reward technology developments in areas such as wireless communications, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence. From 2013 until 2017, Wayne served as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he initiated and cultivated research on wireless systems, including applications of machine learning, formal methods, and advanced security techniques. Prior to DARPA, Wayne was a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He is also currently a visiting researcher at the University of Maryland. Wayne has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
Chief of Staff
Prior to FinRegLab, Stephen was a business analyst on the product and marketing team of FS Card, a startup credit card company. He was responsible for product modeling, financial forecasts, and competitor analysis. Stephen also worked as an operations manager in Hong Kong for several startups including a Rocket Internet backed food delivery company and Ivyspace, an online tutoring and mentorship platform. Stephen spent two years as a Princeton in Asia fellow teaching English in Thailand. He holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.
Board of Directors
Jo Ann Barefoot
Jo Ann Barefoot is CEO of Barefoot Innovation Group, host of the podcast Barefoot Innovation, and she is Senior Fellow Emerita at the Center for Business & Government at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Jo Ann is an investor and co-founder of the startup Hummingbird Regtech, bringing better technology to AML and fighting financial crime. She serves on the board of directors of Oportun and chairs the board of the Center for Financial Services Innovation. For three years Jo Ann served on the Consumer Advisory Board to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Marla Blow is the Founder and CEO of FS Card, a startup credit card company, and serves as a Partner with Fenway Summer. In February 2018, Marla joined the board of directors of Care.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care. Previously, she was part of the Implementation Team to stand up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and ultimately served as the Assistant Director for Card and Payment Markets, where she shaped the CFPB’s regulatory priorities in these markets. Prior to joining the CFPB, Marla spent seven years in a variety of functions at Capital One in the credit card business. She is a Henry Crown Fellow and is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network as well as a member of the U.S. Capital Chapter of YPO. She previously served on the Board of Directors of FactorTrust, a provider of underbanked consumer data, analytics, and risk scoring solutions. Marla holds an MBA from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Alex Acree is Managing Director and General Counsel of Fenway Summer Ventures, a venture capital firm backing entrepreneurs tackling important challenges at the intersection of finance and technology. At Fenway Summer he invests in and advises a range of emerging growth companies from across the financial services industry. Prior, Alex was an attorney at a major international law firm, where he advised financial institutions on a wide range of legal and regulatory matters in connection with business combinations, reorganizations, and capital markets transactions, Dodd-Frank Act implementation, corporate governance, and compliance issues. Alex also regularly advised sponsors in connection with the formation and management of private investment funds. Earlier in his career, Alex held a series of senior positions at early-stage companies. Alex is a graduate of Boston College and holds a JD from Yale Law School and an MBA from Yale School of Management. While at Yale, Alex was a director of a student clinic that helped to launch a de novo bank to cater to financially underserved communities.
Amy Friend was most recently Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Counsel at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury that regulates and supervises the federal banking system. In that capacity, Amy served on the agency’s executive committee and oversaw all of the agency’s legal activities and licensing functions. Amy led the team that developed the agency’s strategic initiative on responsible innovation resulting in the establishment of the Office of Innovation and the recently announced special purpose national bank charter for fintech companies. Before taking on this role, Amy was a Managing Director at the Promontory Financial Group where she advised financial services companies about regulatory compliance. Previously Amy held a number of positions in the U.S. Congress, including Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs where she led the Committee’s work in crafting the Dodd-Frank Act. Amy has also served as an assistant chief counsel to the OCC, focusing on consumer privacy, data security, and credit reporting, and as an associate in the law firms of Jenner and Block, and Brownstein, Zeidman, and Schomer.
Brian is Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase, one of the largest digital currency platforms in the world. At Coinbase, Brian leads the legal, compliance, internal audit, government relations, and global intelligence groups. Brian is deeply involved in financial technology, serving as a member of the board of directors of Avant Inc., a marketplace lending and technology platform; an advisor of Spring Labs, a blockchain-enabled digital credit bureau; and an investor in FlyHomes, an online real estate brokerage. Brian joined Coinbase from Fannie Mae, where he was EVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. He previously served as Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank, where he worked with future Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and future Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting. He was also on the board of directors and the executive committee of the California Bankers Association. Brian began his career as an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers, where he served as chair of the financial services practice, managing partner of the firm’s DC office, and a member of the board of directors. He received his AB cum laude from Harvard University and his JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.
Chuck Muckenfuss has more than 40 years of senior experience in the financial services industry, including as a Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Senior Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, and Counsel to the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Chuck is a recognized leader in the field of financial institution supervision and regulation. He is an advisor and investor at the intersection of finance and technology who is active in the formation and evolution of for-profit and non-profit enterprises, including financial technology (FinTech) companies. Chuck is immediate past Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of City First Bank of DC, a national bank certified as a community development financial institution, as well as Operating Partner of Vista Capital Advisors. He is also Clinical Visiting Lecturer at the Yale Law School, where he teaches and supervises a clinic whose achievements have included the establishment of an FDIC-insured community development bank in New Haven, Connecticut. Chuck received his BA from Vanderbilt University, and his law degree from Yale Law School. He was law clerk to the Honorable William E. Miller of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Kabir Kumar leads Omidyar Network’s global policy and ecosystem building efforts. He supports both nonprofits and for-profits to create transformative solutions that improve people’s lives. Kabir joined Omidyar Network with a deep background in international development focused on financial inclusion, market-based interventions, and technology use. He was most recently with CGAP, where he led a number of initiatives over the course of 10 years including designing and implementing market-based interventions to expand responsible financial services in key South Asian markets and helping to develop and secure funding for CGAP’s digital finance strategy. Kabir began his career at The World Bank helping them to adopt a gender strategy. He has worked in over 15 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Hans Morris is managing partner of Nyca Partners, a fintech VC in New York and San Francisco. He is the chairman of the board of Lending Club, and a board member of portfolio companies AvidXchange, Boomtown, Payoneer, and SigFig. Nyca has invested in several mortgage technology companies, including Blend Labs, Ethos, Scratch, and Clara. From 2010 to 2014 he was managing director and advisor at General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm. From 2007 until 2010 he served as president of Visa Inc., and from 1980 until 2007, he worked at Citigroup in several operating and management roles, including CFO and head of finance, technology, and operations for Citi’s institutional businesses, COO of the investment bank, and head of the financial services group at Salomon Smith Barney. He spent the first six years of his career working with state housing agencies, and was also head of mortgage finance at Smith Barney.
Richard Berner is Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Global Economy and Business at the NYU Stern School of Business, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics. He conducts research, gives talks, teaches, and helps to advance Stern’s financial stability initiatives. From 2013 until 2017, Berner served as the first Director of the Office of Financial Research (OFR), established by The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to support the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Council’s member organizations, and the public. From April 2011 to 2013, Berner was Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, where he advised the Secretary on financial and regulatory issues and worked to stand up the OFR. Berner was a Managing Director, Co-Head of Global Economics and Chief U.S. Economist at Morgan Stanley from 1999 to 2011. He also held senior economist roles at Mellon Bank, Morgan Stanley, Salomon Brothers, Morgan Guaranty Trust Co., and the DC office of Wharton Econometrics. Berner served on the research staff of the Federal Reserve in Washington. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Carnegie-Mellon University and at George Washington University.
Corey Stone is a Senior Advisor to Oliver Wyman’s North American Financial Services practice in New York. He specializes in the consumer finance markets and ancillary markets for consumer data and delinquent debt. Prior, he served as an Assistant Director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he built and led an office responsible for conducting research, industry outreach, and policy development in the markets for consumer reporting, debt collection, liquidity lending, and deposit accounts. Corey was Executive Vice President of American Payment Systems (now part of Fiserv). He helped the company become the country’s largest in-person bill payment network and launch one of the first general purpose reloadable debit cards. He was also CEO of Pay Rent, Build Credit, an alternative credit reporting company that enabled lenders to access consumers’ rental and utility bill payment history for underwriting decisions. Corey was named Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Center for Financial Services Innovation in 2018 and is a member of the advisory team to the Aspen Institute’s Expanding Prosperity Impact Collaborative on Consumer Debt.
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