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    FDIC Launches Tech Sprint to Help Community Banks Reach Unbanked

    July 06, 2021

    FDIC opened the registration period to participate in a tech sprint designed to explore new technologies and techniques that would help expand the capabilities of banks to meet the needs of the unbanked. FDITECH, the FDIC Tech Lab, recently announced this tech sprint, challenging participants to identify better resources and tools to help banks get the unbanked into the banking system and to sustain those banking relationships over time. Banks, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, private-sector companies, and other organizations are invited to participate. Interested organizations may submit applications requesting participation by July 20, 2021.

    According to the How America Banks Survey by FDIC, black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native households remain significantly more likely to be unbanked. Given the challenges reaching the "last mile" of unbanked households and recognizing that community banks are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of this population but also often lack access to data and resources, FDIC seeks tech sprint participants to help answer this question: “Which data, tools, and other resources could help community banks meet the needs of the unbanked in a cost-effective manner, and how might the impact of this work be measured?” Innovations developed for this tech sprint could range from creating technical solutions that help identify or surface opportunities, to designing artifacts for helping visualize the problem better, to developing findings and research-backed observations on how to better diffuse existing solutions. Participants can focus on any aspect of the problem statement and as that focus is developed the FDIC encourages consideration of the following:

    • How might community banks use publicly available data to better understand consumer behavior to provide deeper insights into how the unbanked interacts with the financial system and to aid in the design of better products and services for this population?
    • How might community banks be able to leverage identification and authentication services to streamline the onboarding and account creation process?
    • How might user-centered design and/or publicly available datasets help community banks better understand the unbanked in their geographic market and illustrate the customer journey for a household to get and stay banked?
    • To what extent can any of these approaches be feasibly implemented by community banks?

    After a brief review of submissions, FDITECH will invite a select number of teams to participate. Selected teams will attend a kick-off meeting and then work independently on their proposed solutions for a period of approximately four weeks. Finally, FDITECH will host a "Demo Day," inviting teams to make short presentations to a panel of judges who will evaluate their submission. All submissions will be publicized and winners will be chosen in several categories. FDIC note that it is not offering monetary prizes associated with this tech sprint. 


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    Keywords: Americas, US, Banking, Regtech, Tech Sprint, FDITech, Community Banks, Financial Inclusion, FDIC

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