Prize competitions in the works at FDIC; would focus on ‘technologically-driven innovation,’ more

Up to five prize competitions with as many as 300 participants each could be sponsored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) – alone or with other agencies – over the coming few years to generate new ideas and proposals addressing a range of challenges on the regulator’s to-do list, a proposed new information collection indicates.

The FDIC, in its request for comments, says it estimates that over the three-year clearance period of its request, up to five competitions will be conducted “across various divisions of the agency, involving a variety of topics and challenges associated with underserved communities and financial inclusion; consumer protection; the FDIC’s use of information technology and data (including artificial intelligence and machine learning); and financial and technologically-driven innovation in banking,” the notice states.

The proposed collection appears to relate well to the various statements made by the agency’s chairman in recent months regarding innovation and fintech (financial technology), reaching more unbanked persons, and more.

The FDIC is contemplating two types of competitions:

  • point solution competitions, which are designed to spur the development of solutions for a particular problem; and
  • exposition, or designed competitions to identify and promote a broad range of ideas and practices to facilitate further development by third parties.

The notice suggests that competition participants could come from within or outside the financial services sphere: innovators; technologists, coders, engineers and developers; consumers of financial services; consumer advocates; academics; members of trade groups and other associations; individuals connected to financial institutions, community banks, and financial and bank service and technology providers; software, data, and technology firms; and other members of the public.

The competitions would be conducted under authority of Section 24 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (providing federal agencies the authority to conduct such competitions) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. The FDIC states that competitions and the opportunity to participate would be announced on the agency’s public website and possibly elsewhere, such as in the Federal Register, through Financial Institutions Letters, use of the federal government’s website maintained by the General Services Administration (GSA), or social media advertisement.

The notice of the proposed information collection is in Tuesday’s Federal Register; comments are due Aug. 26.

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request Re: Information Collection for Generic Clearance for Prize Competition Participation (OMB No. 3064-NEW) (Federal Register notice)