In April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent agency that oversees government spending, released a report on fintech to help Congress better understand the industry.

The report focused on the subsectors of marketplace lending, mobile payments, digital wealth management, and distributed ledger technology. Congressional staffers responsible for drafting legislation may utilize this report when considering how to regulate specific subsectors of fintech.

The GAO noted that whether a participant in each subsector is regulated would depend on the participant’s services and the format in which it provides those services. For example, a marketplace lender could be subject to regulation at the federal level by federal banking agencies in connection with services it provides to depository institutions, and it could also be subject state licensing and regulation in the states in which the lender conducts business. Securities law could reach that same lender if it publicly offers securities. Finally, the lender could be subject to enforcement action by the CFPB or FTC if it violates of consumer protection laws. In this example, six federal agencies and many more state agencies could regulate a single marketplace lender depending on its activity.

If anything, the report highlights that a company’s potential exposure can only be determined after a thorough analysis of the company’s specific services and format. Because a patchwork of laws may affect new fintech companies, there is no one-sized-fits-all approach to determining regulatory risk.

Read the full report here.

Posted by Josh Garcia

Fintech lawyer specializing in digital currencies, blockchain, payments, and lending.