On April 4, 2024, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new report, titled “Banking in Video Games and Virtual Worlds” (Report), that examines the growth of financial transactions in online video games and virtual worlds. The CFPB has previously signaled the expansion of its monitoring capabilities to new markets, and this Report continues that expansion to the gaming industry. 

According to the Report, the CFPB is monitoring non-traditional markets where financial products and services may be offered, including the use of virtual currencies in games and virtual worlds in response to “concerning issues regarding gaming markets,” such as financial losses (due to theft, scams, and other criminal activity), fraud and money laundering, and the collection and use of consumer data by gaming companies. The Report also notes that there may be increased risks to consumers, specifically children, within the gaming industry. Gaming companies can use the insights from the Report to review their own policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal consumer financial protection laws.

This update summarizes the Report’s key findings, describes the risks and trends identified by the CFPB, which are likely to inform the CFPB’s market monitoring activities, and provides key takeaways for companies doing business in this space to consider going forward.Continue Reading CFPB Issues New Report Examining Financial and Privacy Risks to Consumers in Video Gaming Marketplaces: What Now?

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • The California DFPI issued new opinions on the scope of its money transmission laws, including the agent of the payee exemption, addressing virtual currency transactions, and pay-in/pay-out scenarios related to gaming.
  • Rohit Chopra, the nominee for the CFPB Director position, answered questions at his confirmation hearing.

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of March 5, 2021

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • OCC releases Interpretative Letter that clarifies national banks’ and federal saving associations’ ability to hold certain stablecoins as reserves in a hosted wallet.
  • California DBO awards grants for financial education and empowerment programs.

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of September 25, 2020

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • Federal banking agencies issue joint statement on enforcement of the BSA.
  • The California DBO issued an interpretive opinion declaring a payment processing arrangement not to be exempt under California’s agent-of-the-payee exemption for pay-in and pay-out transactions for online gambling.
  • The California DBO issued an interpretive opinion that maintains its position that cryptocurrency is not money under the Money Transmission Act, but certain crypto-activities could trigger the state’s escrow law.
  • The Federal Reserve discusses its efforts at developing and experimenting with a digital dollar and distributed ledger technology.

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of August 14th, 2020

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • Bank regulators issue long-awaited guidance on offering small-dollar, short-term loans.
  • CFPB issues small-dollar lending no-action letter template.
  • CFPB provides guidance to people receiving pandemic relief on prepaid cards.
  • FinCEN issues guidance on COVID-19-related financial crimes.
  • Plaid announces the launch of a bank API development program to give banks, especially small banks, control over account data sharing with fintechs.
  • Libra Association hires former FinCEN director to be its general counsel.
  • FIS survey documents change in consumer banking behaviors from COVID-19.
  • Cashwire and Workday team up for automatic wire transfers.

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of May 22, 2020

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • FinCEN fines former bank officer $450 million for AML failures at the bank.
  • CFPB hosts a symposium on consumer access to financial records and data aggregation.
  • CSBS requests additional comments for MSB Model Law.
  • FDIC requests input on modernization for bank advertising requirements.

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of March 6, 2020

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • FDIC releases a guide about the risk assessment and due diligence frameworks required when fintechs partner with banks.
  • Revolut valued at $5.5 Billion after new funding round.
  • FATF blacklists Iran for failing to improve its terrorist financing safeguards.
  • FTC provides annual letter to CFPB on the agency’s ECOA activities.
  • FTC releases a report on its small business financing forum, with emphasis on unfair and deceptive practices.
  • CFPB commits to meet certain deadlines for issuing its small business loan data rule as part of a settlement.
  • The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published its guidelines on outsourcing to cloud service providers, following closely the guidance provided recently by the European Banking Authority.
  • SEC Charges Settled Against Actor Steven Seagal in Bitcoiin2Gen ICO

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of February 28, 2020

Weekly Fintech Focus

  • CSBS launches a streamlined state exam system for fintech companies and other nonbanks.
  • FinCEN announces a new Digital Innovation Officer with experience in cryptocurrency.
  • Senators seek answers from fintech lenders regarding disparate impact claims related to potential proxies for protected classes used in the lenders’ underwriting processes.
  • ESMA evaluates the role of BigTech in financial services.
  • Visa gives Coinbase principal status.
  • FDIC publishes application procedures for non-bank and non-traditional community banks.
  • Varo Money becomes first fintech to receive approval for a full bank charter from the FDIC.
  • LendingClub buys Radius Bank for $185 million.
  • The NYDFS will host a Financial Innovation & Inclusion Symposium on April 2 in NYC.
  • The Brazilian Central Bank announces launch of a “Near-Instant” payment system.

Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of February 21, 2020

CFPB Proposes to Expand Certain Remittance Transfer Safe Harbors

To reduce compliance costs for certain banks, credit unions and other insured financial institutions, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed amendments to Regulation E to increase the safe-harbor available to insured financial institutions that provide a limited amount of remittance transfers from being categorized as a remittance transfer service provider.  Under the proposal, the limit on remittances would be raised from the current limit of 100 or fewer transfers in the prior year to 500 or fewer transfers.  Remittance transfers are generally defined as electronic transfers of money from a consumer in the United States to an international location.
Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of December 6, 2019

The Fed Chairman Comments on Potential for a US-backed Digital Currency

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, wrote to Congress this week discussing the merits of implementing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the U.S. The letter responds to a number of questions posed by lawmakers regarding the value that a digital currency would provide and implementation challenges that would need to be overcome. Two Congressmen had expressed concern that the U.S. is being left behind in the wake of technological advances.

Chairman Powell indicates that the U.S. is not currently developing a CBDC, but the Fed is monitoring development elsewhere. Chairman Powell noted that some of the motivating factors for  a digital currency in foreign countries do not necessarily exist in the U.S. Specifically, the demand for cash in the U.S. “remains robust” and there are fast and reliable digital payment services available that are not available in certain other countries.
Continue Reading Fintech Week in Review: Week of November 22, 2019