Bank Regulation

GDPR Challenges Indian Firms While FinTechs Eye Charters With Caution

Three months in, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation still stymies some firms seeking to comply with new rules and regulations governing data protection and privacy.

Consider India, where EY estimates in a recent survey that in India, companies are finding it a challenge to navigate GDPR.  As the research shows, 63 percent of respondents to the survey — those who were, in fact, aware of the mandates — were non-compliant.  The survey stretched across 77 C-level executives, IT managers and others — and of that tally, 76 percent of firms are not currently in compliance with their own information governance policies.

The challenges center on time and skilled resources, according to the data, and as cited by 60 percent of firms.

As noted by Business Today in India, as many as a quarter of the survey respondents are employed by firms that offer goods and/or services to the EU.  Despite direct exposure to the region, they remain unaware of the GDPR requirements.  Among those who are aware of the impact and who are striving to meet those requirements, IT professionals have been those notably proactive, according to the survey.

“Of the 31 percent of organizations which believe that they are compliant, IT/ITeS organizations have taken a lead, with 65 percent belonging to this sector. This is followed by manufacturing and automotive organizations, out of which 23 percent believe that they are compliant with GDPR,” the survey said.

Against the challenges, many of these companies are indeed shifting resources to grapple with GDPR.  As many as 85 percent of firms are boosting budgets over the previous year’s, tied to data privacy and compliance.

FinTech Firms Eye Bank Charters

And in the wake of the announcement late last month that FinTechs will be able to apply for banking licenses with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, caution abounds.  That caution comes even while the door is being opened for some lenders such as OnDeck Capital to operate nationally rather than contending with a patchwork of state regulations and operating in each market, in effect, locally.  Reuters reported that the overall mindset among FinTech firms is that the OCC action is a positive one — but at the end of last week, no FinTechs had, in fact, applied for charters yet.

Might a floodgate be opened — if only one were to open the floodgates? Perhaps.  But in the meantime, Brock Blake, who is chief executive of Lendio, a small business lending platform, told the newswire that “you are going to have a bunch of lenders sitting around waiting.”  The waiting comes as the long-running debate over state vs. federal oversight over FinTechs and charters may play out through new chapters.

Consider that the charter concept has been a contentious one, where last year the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) filed suit over the granting of such charters — and where the OCC was only mulling the move to do so.  One observer, Keith Noreika, partner at law firm Simpson Thacher, stated that “I would expect that challenge to pick up where it left off,noting that the issuecould percolate all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Japan Eyes Cryptos, Yet Again

Separately, and looking beyond the U.S., The Japan Times reported that the county’s financial regulators are examining stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies, including, of course, bitcoin — and are reportedly eyeing leverage caps.  The regulations would follow a revision to the Payment Services Act seen last year that brought a registration system in Japan.

The changes would come in the wake of the theft that occurred earlier this year at Coincheck, a currency exchange operator.  The changes, according to sites such as newsbtc.com, would involve stricter regulations on cryptos and speculative trading activity.   As that site noted, the five biggest cryptos saw volume of 69 trillion last year, and traders have been using margin to trade — and there are no caps on such leverage in the crypto space.

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