Karen Petrou: Nonbanks Win Big
As our in-depth reports detailed, Treasury took the President’s policy edicts to heart when crafting a new digital-finance policy for the U.S. Treasury could have ducked some hard decisions via laudatory rhetoric, but it chose instead to recommend specific policies that cut a new path to a U.S. CBDC and crypto regulation. Our reports detail key policy decisions and what’s soon to be done with them, but one warrants even more immediate attention: Treasury’s decision to adhere not just to the President’s executive order on crypto-finance, but also to another on increasing financial sector competition. This puts banks on notice that not all have yet taken.
Overlooked in much analysis of Treasury’s sweeping reports is its call to break up what Treasury clearly sees as the monopoly banks have long enjoyed over payment-system access. Treasury for example argues that many banks have exited retail remittances even though these are critical to financial inclusion and leaves the market ill-served. Indeed, it wants nonbanks to obtain overall instant-payment access, saying:
Network effects support the adoption of instant payment systems: Widespread use makes it more likely that a payor can use an instant payment system to make a payment to a payee, increasing the system’s value. … Broadening the range of financial institutions that are eligible to participate in instant payment systems, as certain foreign jurisdictions have done, could help to enhance speed and efficiency, competition, and inclusion in payments, including for cross-border payments.
The problem with Treasury’s call for payment-system …