Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to bring the largest buy now, pay later providers under more federal supervision. In a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra dated March 22, the three urge the bureau to bring big BNPL lenders under its watch to “better protect consumers from unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices.” Since the CFPB has supervisory authority over larger players in the consumer finance world as well as the ability to determine who fits that description, “we urge you to exercise this authority to supervise the largest BNPL lenders,” the senators wrote to Chopra. The lawmakers argued the BNPL lenders are currently only subject to supervision by the states in which the companies do business, which can make for a patchwork set-up. Given the rising popularity of BNPL in the U.S., supervisory expectations for those lenders have some catching up to do, they wrote. Underscoring BNPL’s outlier status when it comes to regulation, senators also said oversight from federal regulators “should not turn on whether a borrower uses BNPL credit from a nonbank or a credit card issued by a bank.”
Pay Later is more about building in-app and online sales volume for Apple Pay wallet
Though Apple took its time moving into the booming BNPL sector with a more conservative approach than many incumbents, Apple Pay Later is rolling out in a way uniquely geared to expand Apple Pay’s transaction volume. Apple Pay Later is using a funding model that’s designed to remove intermediaries. One of several features that sets Apple Pay Later apart from rivals is the fact that Apple will be self-financing its interest-free loans through a new entity, Apple Financing LLC, and loans initially won’t exceed $1,000. But experts say Apple’s goal with Apple Pay Later appears to be less about building a huge loan portfolio and more about building in-app and online sales volume for its Apple Pay wallet, which has seen its strongest adoption so far at the point of sale.
FedML using federated learning technology, enables training of AI models using private or siloed data at the edge without the need to share or move such data
FedML using federated learning technology, enables training of AI models using private or siloed data at the edge without the need to share or move such data (i.e., “learning without sharing”). For example, federated learning would allow a retail, e-commerce or social media company to build models for personalized content without pulling customers’ private data, or enable a healthcare company to develop models for rare disease detection by using scarce datasets spread across many hospitals. In fact, FedML recently announced partnerships with Theta Network and Konica Minolta for both of these applications. In addition to its breakthroughs in federated learning, FedML believes collaborative AI will be valuable in overcoming the cost and complexity of large-scale AI development.
AI experts and leaders including Elon Musk are urging labs to work with policymakers for governance and oversight of AI
Artificial intelligence experts and industry leaders, including Elon Musk, University of California Berkeley computer science professor Stuart Russell and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, are calling on developers to hit the pause button on training powerful AI models. More than 1,100 people in the industry signed a petition calling for a six-month break from training artificial intelligence systems more powerful than the latest iteration behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT, in order to allow for the development of shared safety protocols. Developers should work with policymakers to create new AI governance systems and oversight bodies, according to the letter. It called on governments to intervene in the development of AI systems if major players don’t imminently agree to a public, verifiable pause.
TD Bank expands VR experiences including for gamified financial literacy
TD has launched multiple immersive experiences, using virtual reality (VR) to provide interactive engagement for customers and colleagues. TD aims to use these virtual experiences to help create a new way for colleagues and customers to interact with the bank. The company is collaborating with Capco, a global management and technology company, along with Mesmerise, an enterprise VR company. Together, they launched TD’s Virtual Reality (VR) Co-op and Intern Pilot Program, which aims to create a more immersive and collaborative experience for new TD colleagues. Over 100 interns, primarily from the Platforms and Technology and Digital and Innovation teams, were given the opportunity to opt-in to the program, which runs from January to April 2023. Students received virtual reality headsets, created their own personalized avatars, and have been participating in several 3D immersive programs including: Networking sessions; Live leadership panel discussions; and Innovation challenge. In addition, TD is also working with Flybits, a context-aware computing company, to create a proof-of-concept gamified financial literacy VR experience, where users make financial decisions and learn about how those decisions will impact their finances. Targeting those aged under 25, the interactive 3D experience, built on Flybits Open Dome platform, asks participants to make financial decisions regarding spending, credit, saving and investing. Users can interact with tools that help them visualize how their decisions impact their financial wellness. In the gamified experience, users collect objects and badges for good financial decisions, and at the end, receive a financial persona that aligns with the decisions they made.
Andreessen Horowitz says Target’s RedCard debit card is driving 11% of its revenue flows without any interchange fee
The RedCard is Target’s umbrella name for its branded card products, which offer users a 5% discount on all purchases at Target stores and on Target.com. The RedCard is such an important KPI for Target that they break it out in every single earnings summary. To wit: Target did more than $100 billion in revenue in 2022, 20% of which happened on its own cards: But what is extremely interesting to scan every Target 10Q for years, is specifically the Target RedCard debit card, on which more than 11% of Target’s revenue flows. After being connected, the card simply pulls money directly from your bank account, which allows Target to avoid paying the interchange, or swipe, fees that are the bane of all card-accepting merchants.