Helping unbanked individuals and households come into the banking system with expanded capabilities through new technologies and techniques is the target of a “tech sprint” announced Wednesday by the federal insurer of bank deposits.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the sprint is a first of its kind designed to challenge participating tech firms (or those offering tech solutions, including banks, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, private sector companies, and others) to identify better resources and tools to help the unbanked change their status and then keep them banked.
A “tech sprint” is defined as a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review – in this case, procedures through to technology to bank the unbanked.
According to a recent survey by the agency (“How America Banks”), more than 7 million households are unbanked, with those led by Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians or Alaska Natives most prominent.
The FDIC said registration for the event will be opened in “a few weeks.” Interested parties will have two weeks to submit applications requesting participation. After a brief review of submissions, the FDIC said, the agency’s FDiTech tech lab will invite a select number of teams to participate. Those teams will attend a kick-off meeting and then work on their proposed solutions for a period of approximately three weeks.
A “demo day” will be hosted by the lab for participants to make short presentations to a panel of experts who will evaluate their submissions. No monetary prizes are being offered; however, all submissions will be publicized and “winners” chosen in several categories, the agency said.