Financial services providers have obligation to protect personal information, Fed governor says

Financial services providers have an affirmative obligation to deliver clear and transparent products and services and to protect the personal information and financial assets of the customers they serve, a member of the Federal Reserve Board said Wednesday.

Fed Board Gov. Lael Brainard at Boston FRB-Aspen Institute program conference Oct. 17.

In a speech to a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program in Boston, Mass., Gov. Lael Brainard said the challenge for regulators is “to ensure trust in financial products and services by maintaining the focus on consumer protection, while supporting responsible innovation that provides social benefits.”

Brainard said that expanding access to financial services is “most effective when consumers and small businesses are equipped with the ability and information to determine which financial products are suitable for their needs.” She said that financial literacy and consumer protections are critically important regardless of whether financial services are delivered through traditional means or smartphone apps.

“Here too, digital delivery can expand the reach of traditional financial education systems by providing consumers with online and mobile education, just-in-time information, and interactive financial tools to evaluate their options,” she said.

Speech by Governor Brainard on fintech and the search for full stack financial inclusion