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The Federal Reserve is set for new leadership this year as FOMC member and future chair Jerome Powell waits for Janet Yellen to serve out her remaining days following a relatively smooth confirmation hearing.

In that hearing and the days preceding it, Powell indicated the likelihood that the Reserve’s post-financial crisis policies would continue in a similar manner.

However, a new agenda is likely to get pushed to the forefront as Powell is expected to push for some rollback in regulations. In fact, one of the issues discussed in the hearing was Powell’s support for easing regulatory requirements for regional and community banks.

This is a welcome development to small banks. The financial crisis prompted lawmakers to create more stringent regulations designed to protect consumers and promote stability.

The downside, however, is the increased regulatory burden for banks. Banking continues to be a very competitive industry and banks are still feeling the pressure, even if it has been nearly a decade since the height of the financial crisis.

More than 800 physical U.S. bank branches closed in the first six months of 2017 alone.

The result is the rise of companies like the UK’s ezbob. The company, which recently earned accolades for technological innovation at the Financial Innovation Awards in London, raised another £15 million and reached a total of £103.5 million in investments to date.

ezbob’s platform focuses on Straight Through Processing (STP), an initiative that financial companies use to optimize the speed at which they process transactions, in lending.

The firm has helped several banks to expedite their platforms. Moreover, it offers the largest banks the ability to compete with smaller, leaner lenders on their own terms while offering a more secure, accurate, and reliable evaluation and fraud prevention system.

Others have tackled different arenas, from payment processing - companies such as PayPal and Stripe, which have eased online transactions - to wealth management, where young start-ups such as Addepar are creating better investment platforms.

Despite the promise blockchain holds, the fintech industry continues to find new ways to solve existing problems on its own, providing better accessibility to more people in the process of its own evolution.

The industry may find great uses for blockchain, but should not consider it a pillar so much as a powerful and complementary asset.

Others have tackled different arenas, from payment processing - companies such as PayPal and Stripe, which have eased online transactions - to wealth management, where young start-ups such as Addepar are creating better investment platforms.

Despite the promise blockchain holds, the fintech industry continues to find new ways to solve existing problems on its own, providing better accessibility to more people in the process of its own evolution.

The industry may find great uses for blockchain, but should not consider it a pillar so much as a powerful and complementary asset.

Tags: Fintech Lending Blockchain Banking