contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

Washington, DC
United States

(575) 737-8602

Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

2012-01-05  New Mexico-031.jpg


Filtering by Tag: Fintech

A Wonky Week

Jo Ann Barefoot

In the last three days, I brought three new technologies into my life.  I got Windows 10 (and therefore Cortana).  I got Google Photo. And I got an Apple Watch.

The speed with which they are changing me is breathtaking.

Both Siri and Cortana are tending to my every need (and by the way, they are funny).

The watch is gently tapping my wrist with incredibly helpful reminders.

And my photos are creating stories about my life, and even animations (my watch lets me know they are there.)

I've only begun to learn to use all this, but four things strike me about what they mean for financial services.

First, they all take the initiative to offer me help. When fully integrated with financial products, this will close the access gap for the millions of people who don't know where to start or whom to ask.  Help will be offered. Guidance will start where the person is, and go from there.

Second, voice technology will be the financial democratizer. When you can get cheap guidance by having a conversation, the doors open wide for millions of consumers.

Third, they are all using artificial intelligence - neural networks - to think and learn.  They need very little instruction and set up. They are figuring out what I want and need and like, and just getting it for me.

Fourth, they all showed up at the same time. Any one of them alone is transformative.  To have them all arrive together, allinstantly and automatically weaving their activities together for me - did I mention the word "breathtaking"?

Note that they are from three different companies - Microsoft, Google, and Apple. But they are all busily integrating with each other as they orbit around me and my needs. They are consumer-centric, not product-centric.

They reinforce the critical point that new technologies are converging on consumer finance.  Each is huge, alone. When they combine, everything changes. And remember, these are early-stage innovations. They're improving fast.

They are all trying to astonish and delight me, and are succeeding beyond what I could have imagined a week ago. In the past three days, I've probably said the words, "oh wow," a hundred times.

Yes, I know all this will bring lots of new problems. Huge ones.


Photo Credit to

Disrupting the Law (War and Peace-Style): My new article in Fintech Law Report

Jo Ann Barefoot

Last January I spoke at a round-table about the four huge, converging tech trends that are on a collision course with consumer financial regulation. The event prompted an invitation from my friend Jim Sivon of Squire Patton Boggs  to write an article based on my talk for Thomson Reuters’ Fintech Law Report.

Lawyers being, well, lawyers, the magazine wanted a lengthy piece – 10 – 30 pages.  (I sometimes think attorneys and academics are the only folks still reading long material outside of books, as time and attention spans relentlessly shrink.)

I told Jim my piece would come in at the low end of the range. As I wrote it, though, I changed my mind.  I was fascinated by the journey this article brought on, trying to envision the actual world these tech trends are creating, and then trying to predict how the regulatory system will, and should, respond.

The article turned out to be l-o-n-g.  It’s not quite War and Peace (1,456 pages), but pretty close -- the longest thing I’ve written in ages other than my own evolving book.

I mention the length because I don’t want you to open it, start reading, put it aside until you have free time, and then never come back – since schedule slack will never come.

Instead, if you’re overloaded, start by scanning through the article.  It has two halves.

The Four Tech Trends:  The first part outlines the four big transformative tech trends. I’m pretty sure you’ll find some things here – maybe a lot – that you don’t know or haven’t thought about.  As the article explains, these trends are not only coming fast. They are also converging.  Once they intersect, everything will escalate and accelerate.

The Regulatory Disruption:   The second half tries to envision how law and regulation will cope with this shifting kaleidoscope of tech-driven change.

The article is HERE


Financial services is the first industry to face tech-driven disruption while also being very highly regulated.

The innovation will both help and harm consumers. Regulators will be hard-pressed to allow the good and block the bad.

Innovation will not only make it necessary to update laws and rules. It will also make it possible to do better, at last.

Enjoy the article. Share your thoughts here at the blog. And subscribe by email…click HERE.