Podcast: Moving to a modern, seamless tech stack


Clients are used to having fragmented experiences across their banking relationships, whether it’s their credit card, debit card, auto loan or mortgage, but with a modern tech stack in place, clients can have all of their products on one platform, which will increase loyalty. For example, in the past, credit cards offered the only loyalty […]


Lenders should implement these 2 technologies now


Regulatory technology and fraud prevention are two areas that financial institutions should be investing in now to reduce losses and overhead costs.   As state and federal regulators increase the number of regulations that financial institutions need to keep track of, lenders can reduce overhead by implementing regulatory technology (RegTech), Rilla Delorier, a board member at Coastal Community […]


Digital ID Verification Firm OCR Labs Embraces Diversity, Innovation in IDVerse Rebrand


Digital ID verification (IDV) innovator OCR Labs Global will begin the second half of 2023 with a new identity of its own. The company, which introduced itself to Finovate audiences at our developer’s conference, FinDEVrSiliconValley 2016, announced its rebrand as IDVerse this week.

In a statement, the firm noted that the new name and brand combine a set of key concepts – identity, universality, versatility, and diversity – that underscore the company’s priorities when it comes to developing digital ID verification technology. The rebrand also reflects the company’s growth, technological innovations in the field of identity verification, the evolving regulatory landscape, and mandates for greater financial inclusion.

“With OCR Labs we set out to develop an identity verification solution, from scratch,” company CEO Myers said, “The birth of IDVerse means we’re now ready to go to the next level to make user verification effortless with Zero Bias AI.”

IDVerse’s Zero Bias AI leverages generative AI to train deep neural network systems to guard against bias based on gender, age, and ethnicity. At the beginning of the year, the company announced that its technology had achieved non-bias certification from independent biometric testing laboratory BixieLab. The evaluation included male, female, and transgender subjects, aged 18 to 70 years old, from eight different ethnic categories. The test results revealed no demographic bias and a zero percent error rate for the company’s facial liveness detection solution. “The time has come to refocus efforts on achieving inclusivity to prepare for the future when more people than ever will use identity solutions for everything,” company General Manager International Russ Cohn said, “even ‘unlocking our car with our face’.”

Two months later, the company received certification from the U.K.’s Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF). This gives the firm the right to serve employers, landlords, HR vetting firms, and other organizations as a compliant Identity Service Provider (IDSP). “Our Zero Bias AI technology eliminates barriers that lead to exclusion,” company Head of Legal, Risk, & Compliance Terry Brenner explained, “so that everyone has access to digital ID systems in society, such as recruitment and right to work, right to rent.”

In addition to the drive for financial inclusion and regulatory mandates, technological innovation is also playing a major role in the company’s transition to IDVerse. Founded as a research entity in 2014, the firm pioneered the deployment of optical character recognition and facial recognition to provide identity proofing and fraud detection on mobile and web platforms. The rise of technologies like synthetic media and generative AI have produced new challenges for fighting fraud. This has encouraged firms like IDVerse to embrace strategies such as identity orchestration that provide a coordinated fraud defense across the entire customer lifecycle.

Today, IDVerse verifies more than 16,000 identity documents in 220+ countries and territories. By matching people with their government-issued IDs, the company helps fight fraud and enables organizations to meet AML and KYC identity verification requirements.

Headquartered in London, Silicon Valley, and Sydney, IDVerse has raised $45 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. The firm’s investors include Equable Capital and OYAK.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio


Banking Technology Innovator NYMBUS Raises $70 Million in Series D Funding

  • Banking technology company Nymbus raised $70 million in Series D funding.
  • The round was led by Insight Partners. ConnectOne Bank and PeoplesBank also participated.
  • Nymbus introduced itself to Finovate audiences at FinDEVrNewYork in 2016. The company most recently demoed its technology at FinovateFall 2019.

Banking technology company NYMBUS has secured $70 million in new funding. The Series D round was led by Insight Partners, and featured participation from ConnectOne Bank and PeoplesBank. The Banc Fund Company and Mendon Venture Partners also participated.

The investment takes the company’s total capital raised to more than $199 million. Valuation information was not immediately available. Nymbus will use the additional capital to support expansion and further development of its core system and product portfolio.

“This latest round of financing positions the company to double down on our mission of bringing new thinking to financial institutions to help them thrive in an ever-evolving market,” Nymbus CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Kendall said. “These strategic investments are a testament to the confidence in Nymbus’ ability to transform the financial services industry by modernizing outdated legacy systems with proven technology and business models that result in growth for our current and future clients.”

Nymbus helps financial institutions successfully undergo digital transformation and offer new digital experiences to their customers. Solutions like Nymbus’ SmartLaunch enable financial institutions to launch a fully-operational digital bank in as few as 90 days. FIs can take advantage of these deployments without having to undergo a major transformation or calling in additional human resources. The company’s SmartCore, SmartDigital, and SmartPayments solutions provide financial institutions with modern core, payments, and digital banking solutions, respectively.

Among these institutions taking advantage of Nymbus’ technology is Arizona-based Vantage West Credit Union. The $2.6 billion financial institution partnered with Nymbus to launch a new niche financial brand in April. The previous month, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union worked with Nymbus to launch a pair of standalone digital brandsAlumniFi and Collegiate. AlumniFi provides financial wellness, debt management, and charitable donation tools to MSU alums. Collegiate brings digital banking services to MSU students, faculty, and staff.

“Nymbus is empowering credit unions to deliver growth models with the people, process, and technology needed to deliver digital financial services that complement their core business,” Nymbus CUSO President John Janclaes said.

Photo by Susn Dybvik


7 Key Takeaways from FinovateSpring 2023


I just returned from FinovateSpring, where I spent three days watching live product demos, listening to panels and keynote discussions, and shaking hands with new and old connections alike. As with all events, this one showcased new ideas. Unlike other events, however, this year’s FinovateSpring event signified a shift in the fintech landscape.

I’ve summarized this shift, along with other key themes presented, in seven key takeaways below.

Regulations are here

Pending regulations was a prominent topic at the event, extending beyond the crypto sector to include traditional finance. Despite many instances of regulatory oversight in the crypto sector over the years, last years’ FTX scandal was big enough to raise the red flag for regulators. Since then, traditional banks including Silicon Valley Bank and Cross River Bank have raised concerns about lack of oversight, and banking-as-a-service, respectively. Regulators are being held accountable, and their response to oversight issues is becoming increasingly important.

Fintechs and banks have shifted to consider regulation more heavily when and how they build products. Not only this, banks have also learned that they need to step up their due diligence before partnering with third party players.

AI is becoming table stakes

The integration of AI has moved beyond mere discussion and has become crucial for fintech firms. They now recognize the need to leverage AI across various aspects– including customer service, personalization, business intelligence, underwriting, and more– to stay competitive and meet customer expectations.

However, the good news is that it’s easier now than ever for firms to get involved with AI. We saw a few live demos at FinovateSpring that showcased accessible, no-code methods for firms to engage with AI. No developers? No problem.

The froth of 2019 is not coming back

The fintech industry has entered a new phase, and the environment of low interest rates and excessive fundraising we experienced from 2012 to 2019 is not sustainable. Firms must adapt to this new normal by focusing on unit economics and operational efficiency to ensure their survival, as down rounds and exits become more prevalent.

Things can only improve. Or will the slide continue?

On our Investor All Stars panel, the venture capitalists on stage expressed differing views on the market trajectory. Three out of four said that in their view, we are “bouncing around the bottom” of the downturn, and that things can only go up from here.

However, many folks I spoke with on the networking floor disagreed with the positive sentiment, and said they thought that the economy would see a downturn before things improve. Consumers are feeling the pain in their wallets, and the looming debt ceiling–as well as a spike in consumer debt– aren’t helping.

Beyond customer acquisition

Merely acquiring a large user base or having a unique product is no longer sufficient for fintech success. VCs and banks now require a clear monetization strategy and a focus on unit economics. Fintechs must demonstrate how their customer base supports their bottom line in order to attract investment and partnership opportunities.

Consolidation will continue

In both the banking and fintech sectors, we’ve seen an uptick in M&A activity. Some of these deals have been unexpected, like the case of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, for example. At the conference, there was much discussion about a potential shakeout in the fintech sector. Startups who are running out of funds and can’t renew a new round will either have to fold or be acquired. The neobank sector will also see a reckoning. Niche neobanks that have launched in the past four years will either have to find a way to mine value from an expanded user group or merge with like-minded fintechs.

Regulatory challenges with DeFi and crypto

Notably absent from the event’s discussions were decentralized finance (DeFi) and cryptocurrencies. In contrast to two years ago, when every session included a discussion about crypto, only a few presenters brought up the topic at last week’s event. The reason? Regulatory challenges.

Regulatory concerns have spiked due to the fallout from last year’s FTX scandal and other crypto collapses. Regulators fear loss of control with decentralized finance and lack understanding of the underlying mechanics behind crypto.

Photo by Pixabay


5 data and security fintechs to watch


Open banking and authentication fintechs caught the eye of attendees at Finovate Spring 2023 this week, with several voted Best of Show by the audience. Forty-four fintech startups demonstrated their technologies and how they fit in the financial services industry. The following startups focus on data insights and security: Data-driven fintechs: 1. 9Spokes A dashboard […]


JPMorgan using AI to combat financial crimes


SAN FRANCISCO — JPMorgan Chase is investing in artificial intelligence to combat fraud and financial crimes as the $2.5 trillion bank looks to increase its precision and capture rate.   “There’s really a couple things that we’re laser-focused on,” JPMorgan Payments Global Head of Trust & Safety & Payments CDO Ryan Schmiedl said Wednesday at Finovate Spring 2023 in San Francisco.   “One is capture […]


Community banks balance tech, human aid


SAN FRANCISCO — Community banks are looking to technology to support human interactions rather than replacing them. When it comes to technology investment, community banks and credit unions “are not going to outdo JPMorgan [or] Bank of America,” Rilla Delorier, a board member at the $3.45 billion Coastal Community Bank, said Tuesday at Finovate Spring […]


Redefining what it means to be a ‘community’ bank


SAN FRANCISCO — Regional banks and credit unions should redefine what it means to be a “community” financial institution when considering new technologies to tap into underserved customer groups.   “I love the idea of changing the way we think about community banks from, instead of the community that’s near us, is there a niche community of customers […]


RBC looks to improve CX; Q2 spending up 22%


Royal Bank of Canada’s discretionary and tech-related expenses increased by 22% for the second consecutive quarter as the bank looks to continue improving its digital offerings to customers through AI.  “We’re currently investing in technology to further modernize our client tools and infrastructure to drive scalable growth in the future,” David McKay, president and chief […]


TD Bank invests in tech, personnel


TD Bank invested in operations and innovation in the second quarter as technology and personnel expenses increased.   During Q2, the $1.4 trillion bank’s expenses increased 16% year over year to $5 billion, according to the bank’s earnings supplement. BY THE NUMBERS: TD Bank reported in Q2: Tech spend increased 20% YoY to $411 million; […]


Transactions: Visa to offer payment apps interoperability


Visa is launching cross-wallet transactions platform Visa+ this summer, and PayPal, Venmo and TabaPay will be among person-to-person payment apps integrated into the platform.  Visa+ aims to improve interoperability across payment apps and introduces a new payment credential to send funds from one wallet to another, Yuwa Ikhinmwin, director of global partner solutions at Visa, […]


BMO launches digital account opening, onboarding solutions in Q2


Bank of Montreal introduced a new digital account opening program and finalized its integration of Bank of the West during the second quarter.  Following the acquisition, the $882 billion Bank of Montreal (BMO) reported a 53% year-over-year increase in expenses related to computers and equipment to $688 million and a 90% jump in software and […]


FinovateSpring 2023 Best of Show Winners Announced!


There’s still one more day to enjoy FinovateSpring. But as far as the live demo portion of our program is concerned, the Best of Show celebrations have begun. With that in mind, please join us in congratulating the winners of Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2023.

1Kosmos for its technology that automates user onboarding for workers and customers, protecting against stolen and synthetic identities while eliminating ATO and fraud.

9Spokes for its technology that unlocks the potential of open data, giving financial institutions a powerful set of tools to engage business customers.

Flybits for its personalization platform that enables financial institutions to deliver best-in-class personalized digital banking experiences.

QuickFi for its 100% digital, self-service equipment financing platform that enables business equipment financing in minutes.

SAVVI AI for its technology that helps any FinCo team build and deploy AI apps in minutes. No data scientists, pre-existing data, or custom infrastructure required.

Wink for its biometric payments and identity platform that enables users to say goodbye to passwords and fraud – and say hello to secure and simple authentication.

On behalf of the entire Finovate team, we want to thank all of our demoing companies, our partners, and our sponsors. We also want to express our gratitude toward our attendees in the fintech and financial services industry who bring so much positive energy to our events. We look forward to seeing you again next year right here in San Francisco for FinovateSpring 2024!

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The six companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2023 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018
FinovateSpring 2018
FinovateFall 2018
FinovateAsia 2018
FinovateAfrica 2018
FinovateEurope 2019
FinovateSpring 2019
FinovateFall 2019
FinovateAsia 2019
FinovateMiddleEast 2019
FinovateEurope 2020
FinovateFall 2020
FinovateWest 2020
FinovateEurope 2021
FinovateSpring 2021
FinovateFall 2021
FinovateEurope 2022
FinovateSpring 2022
FinovateFall 2022
FinovateEurope 2023


Podcast: Adopting the digital wallet


The digital wallet market is saturated and has several established players, but this has not stopped new competitors from entering the space.  Despite being one of the late arrivals to the space, Paze, a digital wallet being launched by a consortium of banks, including U.S. Bank, Truist, JPMorgan Chase and PNC, is coming to market […]


5 questions with … Wells Fargo’s Treasury Head John Hunter


Wells Fargo Head of Global Treasury Management Payments and Transaction Services John Hunter is focused on simplifying the bank’s experiences with cloud, AI and machine learning.

Headshot of John Hunter, Wells FargoHeadshot of John Hunter, Wells Fargo
John Hunter, head of global treasury management payments and transaction services, Wells Fargo

The San Francisco-based bank invested $9.4 billion in technology in Q1, launched Wells Fargo Vantage digital banking platform and continues to look to AI for opportunities within the bank.

Hunter discussed the $1.8 trillion Wells Fargo’s recent efforts on its payments strategy, digital banking platform solution and use of AI and ML within its platforms. What follows in an edited version of the conversation:

Bank Automation News: What technology has Wells Fargo been working on in the treasury management space?

John Hunter: We are thinking a lot about creating new solutions that simplify overcomplicated banking experiences while leaning into emerging technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learnings to modernize our payments platforms. We want to help clients make payments simpler, faster and easier. One of my priorities has always been to help clients transform at their speed — it’s great that we can provide a banking platform with the same goals.

It has also been exciting to see our clients begin to use Wells Fargo’s Vantage platform, a digital banking platform for our wholesale clients that aggregates all their banking needs — even beyond Treasury — into one solution. The system’s AI will be able to provide recommendations tailored to each client’s specific needs while the ML continually learns how to best provide personalized experiences that help clients grow their businesses.

BAN: How have you worked to bring together Wells Fargo’s Treasury Management and Global Payment Solutions product teams? What has that entailed?

JH: It starts at the top with the head of Global Treasury Management for Wells Fargo, Paul Camp. Paul brought me in to lead payment products relatively soon after he started at Wells Fargo, in the fall of 2021. He was bringing together the legacy treasury group and the Global Payment Solutions (GPS) business that was a separate line of business, focused on providing payment and liquidity services to financial institutions.

What we have done with the GPS business is the same as what we have implemented in areas like commercial real estate, healthcare and technology. It starts by using traditional product management disciplines that maximize returns and efficiency. And, specifically, you need people who have a deep understanding of the business segments they are supporting and can work with partners across the firm to develop the payment solutions that our clients need to grow and transform their businesses.

BAN: What innovations in the treasury management space, or payments space, are you excited about?

JH: Technology moves extremely fast, and, even from the inside of the payments world, we can’t always predict where things are headed. For example, see how fast AI has become part of the conversation across industries. We need to be able to support our clients by providing holistic solutions that will not only support them where they are today, but where they want to be going forward.

I mentioned how we are using AI and ML in our digital banking platform to create personalized banking experiences. We also think that automation will go a long way in solving challenges that we have in the payments business. The system has too much friction from different payment types and different channels, which creates manual work to reconcile payments. ML and AI can be used to address those issues and help produce significant operational cost savings for our clients.

Looking farther into the future, I’m excited about open banking and event invisible banking. I see a future where banking will be behind the scenes, embedded in everyday activities. Even phones as payment conduits may become obsolete as emerging technology enables seamless, automated payments — what you might call an invisible experience.

BAN: What are your plans for the treasury management payment product team for the rest of 2023?

JH: We have a lot going on! We are involved in a couple of promising POCs. One is around on-us services. These are payments where we are the bank on both sides of the transaction. The POC is helping us learn how to better leverage our scale around 24/7 settlements. We also are working on a distributed ledger (DLT) pilot, exploring how to simplify settlements and reduce risk.

ISO 20022 [an open global standard for sending digital payment messages and data between financial institutions] is also a focus for the rest of the year. We are always trying to unlock value for clients. And I think the way we use data can be a real differentiator. There is a huge opportunity to unlock the potential of the rich data that will be exchanged with the industry transition to ISO 20022. It can be a foundational data layer that enhances new products and provides new client insights.

Finally, we are working on a new payments engine for our core products that will be able to provide specific, value-added services to clients in a broad range of market segments. It’s exciting work that we hope will pay huge dividends for our clients going forward.

BAN: What is the best leadership advice you’ve received?

JH: I was once told, as a leader, you should always give your team credit for the successes but take the blame for the mistakes. It’s important to celebrate the wins and give recognition to the team that helped you get there, while also providing cover and understanding that “the buck stops here” when things go wrong.

I try to always remember that as a leader. No one can do it alone, but, ultimately, it’s my responsibility to ensure things go well. I think this instills trust with your team and helps them feel supported to do their best.


Truist Long Game hits the app store


Truist Financial’s innovation division, Truist Foundry, launched financial literacy app and game Truist Long Game on Wednesday to help clients build financial awareness while rewarding them for saving. Fintech Long Game was acquired by the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank last year, and the Long Game team and its founder Lindsay Holden, have found a home within […]


Best practices for regional, community banks to create modern IT infrastructures


The banking landscape is in a state of flux. Emerging financial technology companies have built new services and offerings that place the customer experience front and center, providing a flexibility and speed that traditional banking institutions struggle to match.

Fintechs are carving into the essence of what regional and community banks have done for generations, and they’re doing so by thinking more like software vendors than financial institutions. These disruptors have none of the history, infrastructure and trust of regional and community banks. But equally, they do not have the burden of antiquated legacy technology.

Jason Burian, vice president of product, KnowledgeLake

This powerful combination of agility and technological know-how has seen the fintech segment more than double its value in the space of four years, and there’s no sign of this growth stopping any time soon. Analysts are predicting almost 20% annual growth through 2028.

First, be bold

In the face of such success, how can regional and community banks — institutions that do not have the large IT budgets of national bank brands — hope to compete?

The answer is that community financial institutions must be bold. That means rethinking established and possibly ingrained processes and beliefs while embracing input from existing customers, partners and other business stakeholders. They must build a modern IT infrastructure that enables them to quickly develop, iterate and deploy digital banking applications that are on par with fintech offerings, or risk losing additional market share.

Resist half-measures. Embrace new technologies. Don’t be afraid to envision a new landscape. Inevitably, the landscape is changing.

Precisely what the new landscape of financial services looks like will be unique to each bank. However, there are several vital technology infrastructure elements that virtually every regional and community bank must consider as they aim to modernize and compete.

An incremental approach

First, it’s essential to recognize that fintechs don’t necessarily hold all the chips. In fact, traditional banks hold several key advantages over their fintech rivals. Chief among these is their reliability and continuation of service — qualities that customers still value highly.

This lineage is an edge that regional financial institutions should carefully maintain. Therefore, it is essential that they continue to offer their existing services throughout any digitization process. Ripping out reliable and trusted offerings and systems to pursue exciting new technologies should be avoided at all costs.

Rather than throwing out the banking baby with the legacy bathwater, any digital platform should iterate and expand upon existing capabilities. In other words, banks and credit unions should seek to add value for customers rather than slashing services in pursuit of something new.

Extensible and open platforms

Implementing a new digital banking platform, a new mobile app or even launching a new digital-only product are all initiatives with discrete start and end points. Developing an IT infrastructure is very different. It will incorporate the aforementioned individual projects and more, and it will need constant oversight and maintenance. A modern IT infrastructure is something that remains in service and must be slowly expanded upon and improved for years — perhaps more than a decade — at a time.

For this reason, any banking deployed platform must offer two things: high extensibility and open integration. Extensibility focuses on the ability to add new capabilities or functionality to any existing platform quickly and easily. Integration extends this capability by enabling connectivity to other IT platforms and systems within (or outside of) the financial institution. McKinsey describes this as a move from “closed systems to ecosystems,” a core shift in mentality from the multiple application silo approach commonly deployed in recent years.

Indeed, it’s possible for this extensibility to include partnerships with the very fintechs that traditional financial institutions are worried about. As noted, small banks hold many advantages that fintechs would love to access, such as a bank charter and recognized compliance capabilities. These can be leveraged into partnerships that allow banks to offer new services, tap new markets and expand both businesses.

Remember, extensibility and openness do not just mean that a platform is easy to modify or integrate from a purely technical standpoint. It must also be resilient in the face of new business demands and market shifts. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we can never entirely prepare for tomorrow’s challenges. Therefore, from the very first planning stages, banks and credit unions need to measure how easily they can build upon a prospective platform and how much effort it will take to achieve desired outcomes.

Iterate and improve

In some industries, lagging slightly behind the curve in terms of offering a modern experience from any device is a mere annoyance that can result in a few bad online reviews. When it comes to banking, however, stalling out on upgrades and security improvements can spell impending doom for both the platform and the business.

Business-critical IT systems and platforms must accommodate rapid iteration and development to avoid creating digital monoliths that are unable to adapt and evolve. Legacy systems do not help this situation. Coded in dying languages such as COBOL (now over 60 years old), IT applications are difficult to extend, require specific programming skills and do not integrate well with other applications.

Modern banking technology platforms counter these challenges in several ways: They are developed in modern programming languages using cloud-native concepts that enable scalability, modularity, integration and overall flexibility. In addition, no-code and low-code development tools give everyday business users the ability to quickly configure just the solution they need, without the need for training or special knowledge. No-code/low-code tools extend IT platforms and expand the pool of employees who can enhance the systems beyond just highly skilled software engineers. This capability allows financial institutions to experiment and adapt faster and with greater agility — if they choose to.

For many banks and credit unions, improvement isn’t just a technology question but a question of wider business philosophy. The speed at which an institution needs to innovate is faster than ever, meaning that the IT team cannot solely be responsible for owning and enhancing the IT platform. The bank’s overall team must be able to expand existing offerings quickly, easily and with the minimum technical requirements.

Without this ability to iterate, any banking or IT platform risks becoming a severe drag on operation. That can have a costly impact on banks that need to invest significant human and financial capital into their digital transformation efforts.

It’s also trying for customers who have started to rely on new offerings and services. With brand loyalty continuing to drop off, it’s safe to assume that those customers won’t hesitate to look to other banks that provide up-to-date products and a better user experience.

Embrace change now, avoid customer attrition tomorrow

Banks are, by nature, cautious institutions. Indeed, for some customers, a reluctance to take risks can be a benefit. But this caution can sometimes manifest as resistance to change and an unwillingness to invest in new technologies and ideas.

For those banks and credit unions still using systems designed in the 1980s and 1990s, moving to a new IT infrastructure can be daunting. However, the move is arguably more important for these institutions than ever.

As more financial institutions begin to lean into digital services, the real danger lies in being left behind. Research and consulting firm Gartner estimates that banks spent $623 billion on technology in 2022 alone. If you’re not in the raft of organizations investing in new technology, you can be sure that your competitors are.

Jason Burian is vice president of product at KnowledgeLake. He has 15 years of experience helping customers solve automation and document problems, and manages the complete product lifecycle, including research, design, requirements, execution, enablement and launch.  


Bank of America launches accelerator program


Bank of America this week launched its Breakthrough Lab accelerator program for startups to network and gain access to technology support their companies need to scale. The six-month mentorship program follows two previous pilot programs the bank hosted in 2021 and 2022, according to a Bank of America release. “We received fantastic feedback from the […]


US illicit finance risk assessment of Decentralized Finance – addressing the regulatory gap


The US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) recently issued a risk assessment describing the illicit finance risks associated with Decentralized Finance (DeFi) services.  Among other things, the risk assessment describes weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime governing DeFi services and how illicit actors exploit these weaknesses. 

Failure to meet AML/CFT standards

According to the risk assessment, the most significant vulnerability in the DeFi space results from the failure of DeFi services to comply with existing AML/CFT obligations. 

These obligations are far from uniform: while the United States subjects financial institutions to AML/CFT obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations,[i] some non-US jurisdictions have not effectively implemented international AML/CFT standards. 

A regulatory gap

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the above-mentioned failure is partly caused by a regulatory gap under the US AML/CFT regime. To the extent a DeFi service allows users to self-custody and transfer their crypto assets without an intermediary financial institution, the DeFi service may not fall within the definition of “financial institution” under the Bank Secrecy Act. 

To be sure, the regulatory gap is not the only reason why DeFi services fail to comply with AML/CFT obligations. In some cases, DeFi service providers may erroneously think they are not subject to these obligations because their operations have been decentralized. In other cases, DeFi services may operate in jurisdictions that fail to implement international AML/CFT standards.

Recommended actions

In addition to providing a thorough overview of the illicit finance risks present in DeFi services, the risk assessment recommends taking several actions to address these risks, including:

  • issuing additional regulatory guidance
  • engaging with foreign partners; and 
  • engaging with innovative AML/CFT solutions providers in the DeFi space. 

While some market participants embrace the Treasury’s risk assessment for its insight and outreach for public comment, others view the publication as a part of the continuing trend of increased regulatory scrutiny of the cryptoasset market. 

Access the risk assessment in its entirety: Illicit Finance Risk Assessment of Decentralized Finance (treasury.gov)

[i] The Bank Secrecy Act is codified at 31 U.S.C. §§ 5311-5314, 5316-5336 and 12 U.S.C. §§ 1829b, 1951-1959, while regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act are codified at 31 C.F.R. Chapter X.