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SRM Perspectives on Key Industry Trends

Despite Cooling Temperatures, Crypto Is Still Hot

Posted by Larry Pruss on Nov 3, 2022 12:12:19 PM

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Professionals focused on the strategic and operational aspects of digital assets such as cryptocurrency have learned to disregard the media cycles.

Last year’s breathless hype – driven almost entirely by a retail investor frenzy – has given way to a “crypto is dead” storyline that emphasizes volatility and fraudulent applications. Lost in the noise is the fact that Bitcoin’s price has been relatively stable over the past four months.

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Topics: Payments, Vendor Contract Negotiation, Digital Assets, Crypto

White House Provides More Clarity on Digital Assets

Posted by Larry Pruss on Sep 27, 2022 12:27:26 PM

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We're beginning to get some clarity from the White House regarding its approach to digital assets, including the potential development of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

With the release of a wide-ranging report, the White House appears to be embracing digital assets and their potential for transparent, cost-efficient, and inclusive financial services. A background press call provided even more insight into the Biden Administration's thinking.

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, CBDC, Blockchain, Regulation, Digital Ledger Technology

CFPB’s Buy Now, Pay Later Stance Should Comfort Banks, Credit Unions

Posted by Paul Davis on Sep 22, 2022 11:21:00 AM

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Banks and credit unions interested in offering Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services should be pleased with the latest report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Many FIs have been reluctant to dive into the popular consumer offering, largely due to uncertainty over the regulatory environment. SRM asserted in a recent report that banks and credit unions have the experience and tools necessary to handle regulatory scrutiny.

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Topics: Payments, Vendor Contract, Buy Now Pay Later, BNPL, CFPB, Credit Cards

Education and Trust Matter When Dealing with Digital Assets

Posted by Larry Pruss on Sep 19, 2022 11:24:00 AM

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The Biden Administration's March executive order seeking information on digital assets' usage and security set a flurry of activity into motion. This included a mandate for the Treasury Department to deliver a report on the future of money and payments systems. The agency issued a public request for comment in July, and SRM quickly responded, drawing from our detailed and ongoing coverage of cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

You can read our complete submission here; however, the condensed version below highlights the key points we believe every financial institution should consider as policies toward digital assets take shape.    

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, Stablecoins, Blockchain, Regulation, Digital Ledger Technology

OCC Order Serves as Blueprint for Banks, Credit Unions Working with Fintech

Posted by Paul Davis on Sep 9, 2022 11:32:00 AM

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Banks and credit unions have a new roadmap for handling fintech partnerships.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) just issued a written agreement to Blue Ridge Bankshares instructing the Charlottesville, Va., company to improve how it pursues and monitors fintech relationships.

The agreement comes months after the OCC raised issues with Blue Ridge’s ($2.8 billion-asset) proposed merger with FVCBankcorp (the deal was ultimately terminated). While the specific issue was never disclosed, there was speculation it had to do with Blue Ridge’s fintech dealings.

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Topics: Payments, Fintech, Vendor Contract, BaaS, Regulators, BSA

Reflections on Our First 30 Years & the Evolution of Financial Services

Posted by Brad Downs on Aug 16, 2022 11:14:00 AM

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Sometimes it’s hard to believe 30 years have passed since our founder Curtis Downs took the concept of developing contract benchmarks and applying them to help banks, credit unions, and others achieve critical savings – the underlying value proposition behind SRM. That foundation has allowed our clients to add more than $5 billion to their bottom line over the years.

It's fascinating to look back three decades and see the rate of change that has taken place in the financial services industry. As we acknowledge our company’s 30th anniversary this year, I want to highlight some significant changes in financial services that have also challenged and motivated SRM to evolve.

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Topics: Payments, Digital Banking, Vendor Contract, Interchange, Regulation

Crypto, BNPL, and Regulation: Key Trends to Watch in the Coming Months

Posted by Ben Mrva on Jul 28, 2022 11:14:00 AM

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The first half of 2022 was eventful for banks and credit unions, and there’s no reason to expect the pace to slow. Financial institutions must monitor changes to the payments ecosystem while simultaneously dealing with rising interest rates, eroding consumer confidence, and potential cracks in credit quality.

Here’s a quick summary of what the team at SRM sees as the key trends in financial services and how these trends might play out over the balance of the year.

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, Overdraft, BNPL, CFPB

Inflation, Rate Hikes & Falling Consumer Confidence: Brace for Uncertainty

Posted by Paul Davis on Jul 26, 2022 11:19:00 AM

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Banks and credit unions must prepare for some consumer payments and credit quality turbulence.

Consumer prices rose by an astounding 9.1% by June from a year earlier – a 41-year high – causing the average American to spend roughly $460 more per month than they did a year ago, according to Moody’s Analytics Senior Economist Ryan Sweet.

Inflation has led the Federal Reserve to get aggressive with interest rates, including a 75-basis-point hike earlier this month. There is talk the Fed could opt for an unprecedented 100-basis-point increase in light of the June data.

Rising rates could deal another blow to consumers already facing higher costs for goods.

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Topics: Payments, Consumer Spending, Credit Cards, Mortgages

Could PayPal Reset the Stablecoin Market?

Posted by Patti Wubbels on Jul 12, 2022 10:00:00 AM

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Given recent headlines, stablecoin supporters may disagree with the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

TerraUSA, an algorithmic stablecoin, imploded in May. This hurt the valuation of numerous cryptocurrencies and cast doubt on Tether’s ability to sustain its own $1 peg. Thus far, Tether has defied the skeptics.

Amid this tense environment, it’s interesting to revisit the January headlines speculating that PayPal was mulling introducing a stablecoin. According to company officials, the rumor was based on source code embedded in PayPal’s iPhone app, which was inadvertently left behind after an internal hackathon.

It’s difficult to envision PayPal taking on this challenge soon. Meta’s ill-fated stablecoin foray via Diem/Libra illustrates the hurdles facing such an endeavor, especially one undertaken by a tech giant.

At the same time, it’s important to speculate on how such an offering might impact the broader market over the long term. After starting its life as the first true digital financial services disruptor, PayPal could, ironically, find itself cast as an enabler of traditional market stability due to recent crypto market turmoil.

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Topics: Payments, Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets, Stablecoins, PayPal

How to Firewall Risk in a Buy Now, Pay Later Product

Posted by Paul Davis on Jul 6, 2022 11:14:00 AM

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 In our recent report, we made the case that banks and credit unions consider Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) as part of a holistic suite of payments products.

While a study from IntraFi Network found that four out of five small banks and credit unions are reluctant to get into BNPL, SRM believes that traditional FIs have the infrastructure to handle compliance requirements from agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Topics: Payments, Buy Now Pay Later, BNPL, Credit Union Vendor Contracts, Bank Vendor Contracts, Point-of-Sale

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