Financial innovation could make financial services almost universally accessible, harness new kinds of data and powerful AI tools to enable more people to qualify for well-priced loans, and reduce the need for high-cost services like checking overdrafts, payday loans and check-cashing.

If not well-managed and regulated, however, new consumer financial services technology can also threaten privacy, exacerbate bias and give rise to predatory products. RegTech can equip regulators and risk managers to detect and instantly correct compliance problems like credit discrimination and deceptive marketing in both digital and traditional financial products. AIR works with consumer advocates, agencies and industry to promote innovation that advances strong consumer financial protection.

INITIATIVE • NextGenAI Explores the Future of Financial Oversight and Consumer Protection

NextGenAI is a multi-faceted initiative that delves into the potential impact of Generative AI (GenAI) on financial services and financial regulation through a series of thought-provoking and engaging activities.

NEWS • AIR Joins Consumers International and Global Alliance Calling for Change

AIR, Consumers International and a global alliance of consumer, government and industry voices call for urgent action to improve consumer understanding and trust in digital financial services.

PODCAST • How Delicia Reynolds Hand Works to Empower Fintech Consumers

Hand, the Director of Financial Fairness Advocacy at Consumer Reports, leads the magazine’s initiative to evaluate new fintech products to give customers greater awareness of the rapidly changing financial services market. The ratings system could be a game-changer for pricing and product development.

PODCAST • How Minority-Backed Institutions Can Stay Competitive in Digital Age

In this special episode, Jo Ann speaks with three innovators working to help Minority Depository Institutions modernize their technology to continue serving communities of color.

Michael Wiegand with Jo Ann Barefoot on the Barefoot Innovation Podcast

PODCAST • How to Include Everyone: The Gates Foundation’s Michael Wiegand

Michael talks about the global evolution of financial inclusion and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s ongoing efforts. Learn about digital financial inclusion, consumer protection, digital public infrastructure, and barriers to fair finance.

Headshot of Kwame Oppong

PODCAST • Innovation in Africa: Bank of Ghana’s Kwame Oppong

Kwame is the charismatic head of innovation at the Bank of Ghana. He shares advice for regulators on how to adapt to tech transformation and emphasizes collaboration to break down silos and foster innovation.

PODCAST • Jason Cave on FHFA’s Goal to Modernize Mortgage Process With New Tech

Following the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Velocity TechSprint, the official leading the agency’s conservatorship and fintech strategies joins Jo Ann to discuss all the ways the mortgage market is ripe for a technology overhaul.

VIDEO • NextGenAI: The Future of Financial Oversight and Protection

Through the NextGenAI initiative, AIR aims to investigate the potential of GenAI to foster efficient and effective consumer protection, enable enhanced regulatory compliance within financial institutions, and support cost-efficient, timely and more effective regulatory supervision.

PODCAST • The Reserve Bank of India’s Path to Financial Inclusion

Rajesh Bansal is head of India’s Reserve Bank Innovation Hub, which along with AIR hosted the Swanari TechSprint looking at ways to expand financial services access for women. He speaks with Jo Ann about the country’s pioneering innovation strategy.

PODCAST • Machines that Read Regulations: FINRA’s Goal Could Soon Be Reality

In this episode, Jo Ann speaks with innovation leaders at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Haimera Workie and Alex Khachaturian, about a new tool to help transform financial regulation and compliance.

WHITE PAPER • Harvard Papers on Financial Inclusion

Fifty years of U.S. regulation aimed at promoting financial inclusion and consumer fairness has largely failed. In these papers, AIR CEO Jo Ann Barefoot reports on her two years as a Harvard senior fellow, arguing that new technology can lead to better results.

PODCAST • Demystifying DeFi and Web3 with Tomicah Tillemann

Tillemann, Chief Policy Officer of Haun Ventures, shares his views about the crypto winter and how the confluence of blockchain, open source and digital tokens could solve stubborn problems.

EVENT • Hot Topics in Digital Consumer Financial Protection

Is innovation good or bad for consumers? AIR partnered with Consumer Reports and Consumer Federation of America on a virtual event about consumer implications of data permissioning, cryptocurrencies and new forms of lending, among other things.

NEWS • AIR and Cambridge SupTech Lab Announce Virtual Hackathon Exploring Consumer Protection Innovations

The joint event will identify how financial supervisors can optimize complaint data received through chatbots and other channels to effectively protect and empower consumers.

PODCAST • Fully Fair Lending: NFHA CEO Lisa Rice

Discrimination in the credit markets is a persistent problem. Lisa Rice, head of the National Fair Housing Alliance, says we can solve it if we understand the role of structured, hidden bias, and use new technology to root it out.

PODCAST • How Credit Unions Cut an Innovation Path: NCUA Chair Todd Harper

Todd Harper is the first head of the National Credit Union Administration appointed after serving in the agency’s own ranks. His conversation with Jo Ann touches on the NCUA’s new innovation office, and the technology pressures and opportunities facing credit unions.

PODCAST • Delicia Hand, Cleve Mesidor on Rethinking Consumer Protection Paradigm

The question of how to expand access and ensure fairness for people of color deals with finding the right balance of regulation, technology and traditional finance. Two leaders on this issue speak with Jo Ann about finding the best answers.

WHITE PAPER • AI: Transforming the Future or Triggering Fear?

Authored by AIR Senior Advisor and former global regulator F. Christopher Calabia, this paper examines the transformative potential and risks associated with the deployment of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) in the financial services sector.

Digital Identity

ARTICLE • Advancing Digital Identity: Building Essential Infrastructure

In March 2024, AIR partnered with the Aspen Institute to convene two roundtables with a cross-section of digital identity experts. This brief summarizes the dialogue and next steps, and extends an invitation to engage with this work.

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