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Larry Pruss

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Credit Unions and Crypto: Setting the Ground Rules

Posted by Larry Pruss on Oct 11, 2021 9:30:00 AM

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In late July, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued a request for comment on the current uses of digital assets and their potential impact on the financial system. The NCUA plans to use this input to help shape its role in safeguarding consumers and the system as these emerging technologies evolve.

The request largely mirrors previous outreach by bank regulators, although the NCUA expanded its scope to include the rapidly growing field of decentralized finance (DeFi). Unfortunately, the credit union response has been muted, so the NCUA extended its deadline for comments to October 27. SRM encourages credit unions to make their voices heard on this strategically important issue.

SRM responded to the NCUA, which you can read here. Our NCUA letter serves as a solid primer on the cryptocurrency topic and includes several examples of existing banking initiatives, the highlights of which we’ll summarize below.

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Topics: Cryptocurrency, DeFi, Decentralized Finance, Digital Asset Regulation, Cryptocurrency for Banks and Credit Unions

Despite Crypto’s Correction, No Change to Fundamentals

Posted by Larry Pruss on Jul 8, 2021 10:00:00 AM

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Bitcoin has lost half of its value since reaching an all-time high mid-April. Although one might think this setback would cast a pall over a gathering of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, the overall tone of Coindesk’s Consensus conference in late May remained constructive and upbeat.

For those keeping their eyes on the prize, these two paths are not contradictory. Crypto’s long term value proposition hinges on its adoption as a means of exchange, not its volatile pricing as a speculative asset class. And there’s no sign of slowing down among large financial institutions and scrappy entrepreneurs creating trading and custody platforms and expanding payment capabilities for digital coins. These are the areas where banks and credit unions of all sizes need to take note.

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Topics: Vendor Contract Negotiation, Bank Vendor Management, Credit Union Vendor Management

Defining Decentralized Finance (DeFi) | What It Means for the Future of Banking

Posted by Larry Pruss on Jun 15, 2021 9:30:00 AM

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Traditional financial institutions are facing a new wave of crypto-enabled payments disruptions, and many don’t see it coming. Even so, lending as we know it is about to change.

In a recent post, I stressed the importance of banks and credit unions preparing for rapidly emerging financial technologies like CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) and DeFi. This post will take a closer look at what DeFi means for banking as we know it, and encompasses borrowing, lending, investing, payments, and digital wallets.

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Topics: Fintech Vendor Selection, Decentralized Finance, Lending Consulting

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) Take the Global Payments Stage | Defining the Crypto Role for Banks and Credit Unions

Posted by Larry Pruss on May 2, 2021 8:15:00 AM

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Bitcoin’s value - which has doubled in 2021 - continues to generate headlines but, behind the scenes, something even more significant for banking, as we know it, is happening. Central bank digital currencies are now emerging from experimental trials, disrupting the norm, to take a leading role on the global payments stage.

As for banks and credit unions, we recommend researching and rehearsing your crypto lines (of business) for showtime.

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Topics: Payments, DeFi, Disruptors, CBDCs, Central Bank Digital Currencies, Cryptocurrencies

Recalibrating for COVID-19 | Long-Term Planning in Short-Term Uncertainty

Posted by Larry Pruss on Feb 2, 2021 9:30:00 AM

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My colleague, Patrick Goodwin, recently wrote about the challenges of budgeting amid the uncertainty of a pandemic. Given the circumstances, it’s understandable some might be seeking a “hall pass,” to excuse themselves from long-range planning. Unfortunately, the hyper-competitive financial services marketplace doesn’t allow for such luxury.

Strategic planning is laced with uncertainty. Much of its value is derived from the team-based exercise of thinking through contingencies and gaming out some of the inevitable course corrections. In that sense, the effort may be more important than ever for the 2021-23 horizon.

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Topics: Vendor Contract Negotiation, Bank Vendor Management, Credit Union Vendor Management

The Social-Distanced Playing Field for Modern Banking

Posted by Larry Pruss on Nov 9, 2020 8:00:00 AM

The Social-Distanced Playing Field for Modern Banking

I recently had the privilege of speaking on a Minnesota Credit Union Network’s panel with some of the region’s local leaders about what they’re facing as a consequence of the pandemic. Although the venue was tailored to credit unions, I believe the perspectives apply to all financial institutions.

Four key points that stood out are noted below - some completely novel; some we can’t say often enough.

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Topics: COVID-19

Can You Spare Some Change? | A Broader Perspective of the US Coin Shortage

Posted by Larry Pruss on Aug 30, 2020 10:00:00 AM

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By now, Americans across the country have seen makeshift signs at cash registers requiring exact change or “offering” to change coins for bills, free of charge.

A few Chick-Fil-A locations have even begun offering a free sandwich to customers who bring in $10 of coins, to replenish their cash drawers. There have also been reports of some institutions offering an extra $5 for every $100 of rolled coins.

The “national coin shortage” has become so severe, the Fed has convened a task force to identify solutions and limit the economic impact.

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Topics: Contactless Payments, Contactless, Digital, Coin Shortage

Preparing Your Financial Institution for COVID-19 Impacts

Posted by Larry Pruss on Mar 12, 2020 12:00:00 PM

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Being prepared for any potential downside is something bank and credit union executives take quite seriously and, since the early 2000s, have been required by regulators to maintain a pandemic crisis plan. Now all of these plans are being put to the test, especially after the announcement by the WHO that the coronavirus is officially a pandemic.

Even as the business world improves at predicting and defending against risks, Black Swans will always be a possibility. As is characterized by such an event, it’s easy in hindsight to say, “We should have seen this coming,” but the fact remains that we don’t know what we don’t know; e.g., the impacts on the stock market and disruptions to daily life brought on by COVID-19.

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Topics: Digital Banking, Cash, COVID-19, Card Not Present, Coronavirus, Contactless

No Sign of Payments Slowdown in Latest Fed Research

Posted by Larry Pruss on Jan 27, 2020 12:00:00 PM

No Sign of Payments Slowdown in Latest Fed Research

January’s release of the 2019 Payments Study from the Federal Reserve reveals that American purchasing behavior is evolving at full force, especially in debit and credit card use. Every three years, the Fed releases a comprehensive study on usage trends for noncash payment instruments. This most recent data shows the persistence of several longstanding trends – and some are gaining speed.

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Topics: Payments, Vendor Contract, Cardless, Noncash, Debit and Credit, Payment Strategies

Visa and Plaid, The New Face of Payments Consolidation?

Posted by Larry Pruss on Jan 21, 2020 3:34:12 PM

Visa and Plaid, The New Face of Payments Consolidation

One year ago, almost to the day, Fiserv surprised the payments world by announcing its acquisition of First Data, setting off a wave of payments consolidation that by midyear had narrowed a list of six leading processors and bank service providers down to three. Following this flurry of activity, it was widely assumed that FIS, Global Payments and Fiserv would be occupied with integration tasks for the foreseeable future, potentially leaving payments M&A destined for a short breather. But wait – there’s more.

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Topics: Open Banking, Fintech, Payments Consolidation, Visa, Plaid

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