The Barefoot Innovation podcast, hosted by AIR CEO Jo Ann Barefoot, explores better solutions for financial consumers at the intersection of technology innovation and regulation. Join Jo Ann as she sits down with regtech and fintech CEOs, lawmakers, regulators, bankers, and academics, and more for candid discussions on the regtech space.

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BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: GOLDMAN SACHS’ STEPHANIE COHEN

My guest today is one of the most high-ranking women in the world of banking. Stephanie Cohen is Global Co-Head of Consumer and Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs. In that role, she co-leads Goldman’s digital bank, Marcus. We have talked on the show before -- and we do so again today -- about the uniqueness of Marcus. It’s a rare hybrid: a wholly new financial company, created by an old one -- in this case, by one that is 152 years old.

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Barefoot Innovation Podcast Episodes

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November 2021

ACTIVISM AND ALGORITHMS: LISA RICE AND KAREEM SALEH ON HOW TO MAKE LENDING MORE FAIR

My guests today are Lisa Rice, CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, and Kareem Saleh, founder and CEO of Fairplay. Lisa is a civil rights activist. Kareem is a tech guy who founded a startup that uses AI analytics to deliver what he calls Fairness as a Service. They come from two different worlds, but they have teamed up to work on the problem of unfair lending.

November 10, 2021

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October 2021

IS CONSUMER PROTECTION WORKING? A BOLD ALTERNATIVE FROM COREY STONE AND TODD BAKER

A half century ago, the US government embarked on an effort to protect financial consumers through proactive regulation. Starting with the Truth In Lending Act in 1968, Congress enacted an ever-growing set of laws, and regulators and industry undertook an ever-growing effort to implement them.  So, how’s it going, 53 years later? Are consumers now well-protected? Is it a rarity for consumers to be harmed in the financial system, like it’s a rarity for planes to crash, or drinking water to make people sick. Do we have a situation where failures shock us and make news? Most of us -- certainly I -- would say no.. But, think also about this:  we really have no idea how well we’re doing.

October 27, 2021

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October 2021

DIVERSIFYING TECH: CLEVE MESIDOR, FOUNDER OF WOMEN OF COLOR IN BLOCKCHAIN

Today I have something different for you. Last spring, I recorded a conversation for the virtual South by Southwest conference with Cleve Mesidor. Cleve founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, among other roles. SX had us to talk about the lack of diversity in the tech sector, and what to do about it. We had a great conversation, and we got permission to share it with you as a podcast.

October 11, 2021

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September 2021

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: GOLDMAN SACHS’ STEPHANIE COHEN

My guest today is one of the most high-ranking women in the world of banking. Stephanie Cohen is Global Co-Head of Consumer and Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs. In that role, she co-leads Goldman’s digital bank, Marcus. We have talked on the show before -- and we do so again today -- about the uniqueness of Marcus. It’s a rare hybrid: a wholly new financial company, created by an old one -- in this case, by one that is 152 years old.

September 21, 2021

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August 2021

EMPIRICAL POLICYMAKING: FINREGLAB CEO MELISSA KOIDE

The single most critical factor in meeting this challenge is to equip regulators with really sound, empirical, trustable information about how these technologies will affect the public. And that’s why I’m excited to welcome today’s guest. Melissa Koide is CEO of FinRegLab, and she joins me to talk about how she and her colleagues are meeting this need.

August 26, 2021

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August 2021

CRYPTO AND CLIMATE: ENERGY WEB CEO JESSE MORRIS

Last spring, AIR launched an initiative called the Crypto Climate Accord, a voluntary effort to make the crypto sector carbon neutral by 2030. Our partners in this project are two other nonprofit organizations -- the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Energy Web Foundation. My guest today is Jesse Morris, Energy Web’s CEO and one of the most visionary innovators in the climate space.  In this conversation, we talk about the Accord -- what we’re doing and who is joining in. The group includes crypto miners, crypto exchanges, renewable energy providers, and financial services firms offering crypto options. Please note that all kinds of entities that work with crypto are invited to participate. 

August 05, 2021

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July 2021

THE COURAGE TO STEP FORWARD: KENYA CENTRAL BANK DEPUTY GOVERNOR SHEILA M’MBIJJEWE

Kenya is the birthplace of mobile money. In 2007, long before most of the world had even imagined mobile electronic payments, Safaricom introduced M-Pesa, enabling Kenyans to load money into their phones and use the phone to pay for things. The rest is history. Spreading quickly throughout Kenya and far beyond, this innovation sparked a worldwide shift toward instant, mobile, affordable movement of money. And it helped inspire a whole generation of fintech innovators, who saw that cell phones were reaching nearly everyone in the world and could become, in effect, banking infrastructure. The phones were already in people’s hands. People already knew how to use them. The phone could carry additional services at incredibly low marginal costs. People who had little money, people for whom traditional banks were never going to build and staff a traditional branch, suddenly didn’t need one anymore. The world had changed.

July 07, 2021

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June 2021

THE REGULATORY ENGINEER: FDIC CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER SULTAN MEGHJI

I get the opportunity to work with regulators all over the world who are building a new, better regulatory model for the digital age. It makes me a good judge -- I know when something is exciting. And something exciting is happening now at the FDIC. (For listeners outside the United State, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is, among other things, our primary US regulator for small banks.) We’ve had the FDIC chairman, Jelena McWilliams, on the show twice. She is a remarkable leader who is driving an agenda of transformational change to modernize both bank technology and regulatory technology, at the same time. In 2019 she announced the creation of an innovation unit, FDiTech, and embarked on a search for a Chief Innovation Officer. This spring -- more than two years later, after an extremely diligent search -- she found him. Sultan Meghji has set out to change how bank regulation is done.

June 22, 2021

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