Creating a Consumer-centered Financial Services Industry banner


August 20, 2020

Creating a Consumer-centered Financial Services Industry

Meredith Fuchs

Updated on August 20, 2020

There has never been a more urgent need to create equity and opportunity for consumers in financial services. Throughout my career, I’ve sought out organizations that help ensure people can access the best financial products and services for their specific needs. I helped build the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as it was emerging from the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis and later went on to help a large bank innovate and use digital tools to meet its customers’ needs. In parallel, new fintech services gained significant adoption among millions of people around the world. Now, at a critical moment for the industry, I am joining Plaid—a company that makes fintech easy, safe, and reliable—as General Counsel to continue advocating for consumers' financial empowerment.

At the CFPB, part of our mission was to arm people with the information and tools they need to make smart financial decisions. As we were building the Bureau, fintech was also taking shape, making it much easier for consumers to directly access the resources needed to improve their financial lives. As a result, my work as a regulator often intersected with newly formed fintech companies and I began to see how powerful these products and services could be.

There's a massive opportunity to do more, but that opportunity must be governed and managed effectively. For these innovations to truly give consumers control over their finances, policies and practices are needed that account for how consumers use their data today and to protect them when necessary. The CFPB is starting to address the need for consumer access and protection with a recently announced Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that has the potential to set critical rules of the road for industry and allow consumers to fully reap the rewards of technology and innovation.  

Financial institutions, regulators, fintech companies, and consumers are all navigating this shifting landscape, with a shared commitment to ensuring that the future for consumers is bright. Banks and fintechs will have more ability and incentive to innovate to satisfy consumer needs as they continue to even the financial playing field and empower people with more—and better—choices.

The thousands of apps that use Plaid today is a powerful validation of the importance of consumer choice and how far the industry has come. Yet we are still in the early stages of the digital transformation of financial services, and many of the best products have yet to be invented. I'm looking forward to helping Plaid and our partners continue to evolve a financial services system that works better for the people we all serve.