Skip Header
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Fintech: A Bridge to Economic Inclusion – Agenda/Presenters

Opportunities for Consumers and Small Businesses

Last Updated: June 10, 2021
Fintech: A Bridge to Economic Inclusion
Time Agenda Featured Speaker

1:00 – 1:10 p.m. ET

Opening Remarks

Leonard Chanin Photo

Leonard Chanin is Deputy to the Chairman of the FDIC. In that role, he advises the Chairman on consumer protection issues, and provides advice on FDiTech’s efforts to promote innovative and transformative technologies in the financial services sector. Prior to joining the FDIC in March 2019, Leonard was a Deputy General Counsel at Fifth Third Bank, advising the Bank on consumer financial services and related issues. Before joining Fifth Third Bank, Leonard worked at the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, where he counseled banks and other institutions on federal consumer financial services laws. Leonard was the first Assistant Director of the Regulations Section at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Prior to holding that position he was Deputy Director of the Consumer Affairs Division at the Federal Reserve Board. Leonard was the Chairman of the Truth in Lending Subcommittee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association (Consumer Financial Services Committee). He is President-elect of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and also serves as a judge on the Writing Competition Awards Program.

1:10 – 1:30 p.m. ET


Chairman McWilliams

Jelena McWilliams was sworn in as the 21st Chairman of the FDIC on June 5, 2018. She serves a six-year term on the FDIC Board of Directors, and is designated as Chairman for a term of five years.

Ms. McWilliams was Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. At Fifth Third Bank she served as a member of the executive management team and numerous bank committees including: Management Compliance, Enterprise Risk, Risk and Compliance, Operational Risk, Enterprise Marketing, and Regulatory Change.

Prior to joining Fifth Third Bank, Ms. McWilliams worked in the U.S. Senate for six years, most recently as Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director with the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and previously as Assistant Chief Counsel with the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

From 2007 to 2010, Ms. McWilliams served as an attorney at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where she drafted consumer protection regulations, reviewed and analyzed comment letters on regulatory proposals, and responded to consumer complaints.

Before entering public service, she practiced corporate and securities law at Morrison & Foerster LLP in Palo Alto, California, and Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells LLP) in Washington, D.C. In legal practice, Ms. McWilliams advised management and boards of directors on corporate governance, compliance, and reporting requirements under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. She also represented publicly- and privately-held companies in mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, strategic business ventures, venture capital investments, and general corporate matters.

Ms. McWilliams graduated with highest honors from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.S. in political science, and earned her law degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. ET

A Conversation on Fintech and Inclusion

Sultan Meghji

Sultan joined the FDIC on February 2021. He is a recognized expert in financial technology, and brings years of technical knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to the FDiTech team. He co-founded Neocova, a financial technology firm providing secure, cloud-native, artificial intelligence-based software for community banks and credit unions. In addition, he worked on an aid mission to help implement digital banking in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and worked with FinTechs and central banks to create peer-to-peer banking solutions for hundreds of thousands of people in underserved areas of Africa and Central Asia. Mr. Meghji is a nonresident scholar in the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on the architecture of the global financial system, cyber and critical infrastructure security, and the impact of artificial intelligence and quantum computing. He is also an adjunct professor at Washington University’s Olin Business School, and a distinguished member of the Bretton Woods Committee and the Missouri Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Mr. Meghji has served as an advisor to the U.S. Treasury, the Group of Seven (G7), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the areas of cybersecurity, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence.

Jennifer Tescher

Jennifer Tescher is President & CEO of the Financial Health Network, the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. Tescher founded the Financial Health Network in 2004 and has since achieved notable success in championing increased access to high-quality financial products and services for underserved consumers as an objective for the industry. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, the Financial Health Network connects members of its network to build a more robust financial services marketplace.

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. ET

Enhancing Inclusive Consumer Banking through Fintech
Leading practitioners will share their experiences and insights on the use of technology to reach and support consumers, with a particular focus on those that are not fully engaged in the banking system.

Alejancro Carriles

Alejandro Carriles is the Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President of Simmons Bank. In this role, his responsibilities include direct oversight of Simmons’ digital banking strategy, customer experience through digital channels and customer acquisition through digital tools. In his role at Simmons Bank, he has led the very successful launch of the bank’s new Mobile and Online banking platforms, along with enhanced digital functionality and controls built by in-house development teams. He is a passionate advocate for digital technology and frequently speaks about this topic at domestic and international banking conferences. Prior to assuming responsibility for Simmons’ digital bank, he served in several roles at BBVA Compass for 13 years, including director of Digital Channels, User Experience, and head of mobile strategy and retail innovation. Carriles has more than 25 years of experience in technology and digital services and has led industry-leading projects, such as Stand-Alone Enrollment for Mobile Banking, Virtual Banker, and the patent pending Easy Payments and Transfers solution. His teams' efforts have earned numerous accolades, including the Innovation in Banking Technology Award from Financial Times' The Banker Magazine in 2009 and recognition from Javelin Research as a Mobile Banking Leader for 6 years in a row.

Wole Coaxum

Wole C. Coaxum is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (“MoCaFi"). MoCaFi is a start-up financial technology company that leverages mobile technologies, data analytics, and digital strategies to improve underbanked communities' financial behaviors. MoCaFi's goal is to move 1,000,000 people away from high-cost alternative financial services products such as payday lenders, check cashiers, and pawnshops and into the financial mainstream. This will empower disenfranchised communities to live healthy and productive financial lives. Before starting MoCaFi in 2016, Wole served as Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase, where he held a series of leadership positions in Business Banking, Card Services, and Treasury &Securities Services. Before joining JPMorgan in 2007, Wole was a senior executive of Willis Towers Watson. He served as Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer of Willis North America and Chief Executive Officer of Willis Canada. He started his career at Citigroup, working in investment banking, asset management, insurance, and corporate functions. Wole is recognized for his consistent track record of developing and implementing a broad array of high-impact and strategic initiatives which achieve measurable results. Wole currently serves as a Trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy and a board member of the Roosevelt Institute. His former board participation includes: Member of the Board of Directors of the Williamstown Theatre Festival; Chairman of the Board for The Phoenix House New York; The Phoenix House Foundation Board member. He is the recipient of the Harlem YMCA – Black Achievers in Industry Award. He has a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance from New York University, a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History from Williams College, and studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at Exeter College, Oxford University. Wole lives in Westchester County, N.Y., with his wife Kim and their two daughters Quinn and Avery.

Julieann Thurlow

Julieann M. Thurlow is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Reading Cooperative Bank and is responsible for its strategic direction and management. She also serves as President of the RCB Charitable Foundation. Julieann is a former board member of the American Bankers Association and Chair of its Core Platforms Council; she currently serves as a member of the Government Relations Administrative Committee and Membership Council. She is a founding of member of Alloy Labs, a Consortium of banks nationally formed to innovate in the banking space and is a Director of Atlantic Community Bankers Bank (ACBB). Locally, Julieann serves on the MA Fintech Workgroup and is a Board member of the Lawrence Partnership, the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation and the Lawrence Community Health Center. She is the former Chair of the Lahey Hospital Continuum of Care Board, past Chair of Cooperative Central Bank and was a member of the Federal Reserve’s CDIAC Council. In 2014, 2016, 2019, and 2020, American Banker Magazine named Julieann to its list of the 25 Women to Watch in Banking; the Commonwealth Institute has named Reading Cooperative Bank a Top 100 Women-Led Business for the past six years running. In addition to an MBA from the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University, Julieann has completed advanced studies at the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, the Massachusetts School for Financial Studies, Harvard Business School’s Division of Continuing Education, and the CEO Leadership Lab at Wharton’s Aresty Institute for Executive Education. She is a proud member of the first cohort of Lawrence Leads, a cross-sectoral leadership program focused on civic engagement and social responsibility taught by Harvard Business School.

Keith Ernst

Keith Ernst has served as Associate Director in the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection at the FDIC since 2011. This role extends a career that has spanned the intersection of research, policy, and banking issues. In his present capacity, he leads a team of analysts that provides expertise to the FDIC’s compliance supervision program and produces data-driven insights to inform the organization’s perspective on economic inclusion concerns and public policy matters. He has published financial services research in various outlets, including academic journals, and made numerous presentations to research conferences, at industry events, as well as in testimony before Congress and regulatory agencies. He has previous analytic experience in secondary mortgage market operations and has served as a consultant in fair lending matters. He is a graduate of Hofstra University and holds both a master’s degree in public policy studies and a J.D. from Duke University.

2:45 – 2:55 p.m ET


2:55 – 3:40 p.m. ET

Using Technology to Improve Small Business Access to Credit
Industry leaders share their experience on how technology has been employed to better meet the needs of small businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses.

Dominik Mjartan

Dominik Mjartan is President and CEO of Optus Bank, a U.S. Treasury certified CDFI and an MDI (FDIC designated Minority Depository Institution). He spent more than a decade as a senior executive officer at a community development bank, Southern Bancorp, most recently as the Executive Vice President of Southern Bancorp, Inc. (SBI), a holding company for Southern Bancorp Bank and CEO of an affiliated lending company Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP). He is past Chair of the CDFI Coalition and a current director of the Community Development Bankers Association and the National Bankers Association, D.C. based advocacy organizations. He is also finance chair of Midlands Arts Conservatory and serves on the finance committee of Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network. Dominik also serves on the board of directors of the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development and South Carolina Bankers Association. He earned an MBA at the University of Ulster in United Kingdom, graduating with distinction. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and as a Donaghey Scholar with a B.S. in management from University of Arkansas Little Rock. His wife Georgia is nationally recognized leader and director of South Carolina First Steps, an agency focused on delivering high quality early childhood education services to all children in South Carolina. They strive to live their personal and professional lives according to their family’s mission statement “to ensure that all people have a fair chance to live productive lives.” Dominik came to Optus Bank in the fall of 2017 as President/CEO. He, along with his family, joined successful entrepreneurs Chairman Mitchell and Director Loyd as an investor to build the bank into a transformational wealth building ministry that serves all people regardless where they are on their wealth building journey. Under his leadership, Optus Bank reached over $200 million in assets up from the low of $47 million while directing nearly 90% of loans to underserved communities, businesses and people.

Dan O'Malley

Dan is the founder and CEO of Numerated, the financial technology company making it easy to purchase business banking products from banks and credit unions digitally. He has a unique background in both banking and as an entrepreneur. Dan was Chief Digital Officer of Eastern Bank, currently the largest mutual bank in the U.S., where he led its fintech incubator and developed Numerated’s technology. After growing Eastern’s portfolio 4X into the #1 business lender in Boston, he spun the technology out as an independent company in 2017. Before this, Dan co-founded and was CEO of PerkStreet Financial, growing its annual transaction volume to over $1 billion. He also served as an executive at Capital One, co-founding its payments division and relaunching its cash back credit card. Dan began his career as a consultant at Oliver Wyman in financial services and retail and graduated from Princeton University.

David Reiling

David Reiling is a social entrepreneur, who is an innovator in community development finance and financial inclusion. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Banks and has been in the community development banking industry for more than 25 years. Under David’s leadership, Sunrise Banks became the first Minnesota bank certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a certified B-Corp, a legal Benefit Corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance of Banking on Values. Sunrise has grown its assets and social and environmental impact tenfold since David’s arrival in 1995. Sunrise’s total assets exceed $1.4 billion and is ranked by B Lab as one of the best banks in the world for positive social and environmental impact. Sunrise executes a two-fold strategy under one mission: to be The Most Innovative Bank Empowering Financial Wellness. As a place-based community development bank, it serves the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. As a people-focused financial institution, Sunrise partners with values-aligned financial technology firms to provide better access to convenient, easy-to-use, and fairly-priced financial services globally. David is currently Chair of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, an independent network of banks around the world using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development. He is also a member of American Bankers Association Endorsed Solutions Banker Advisory Council.

Melissa Koide

Melissa Koide is the CEO of FinRegLab, a nonprofit research center that tests new technologies and data and facilitates dialogue to inform public policy and drive the financial sector toward a responsible and inclusive financial marketplace. FinRegLab evaluates how technology and data can be safely used to increase financial inclusion and improve financial services for consumers, small businesses, and communities. FinRegLab is currently evaluating the explainability of complex machine learning algorithms in credit underwriting for fairness, model governance, adverse action notices, and inclusion. Prior to establishing FinRegLab, Melissa served as the U.S. Treasury Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consumer Policy. In that role, Melissa helped to build the first government offered preretirement savings product, the myRA. She also established the $5 million Innovation Fund to support research and strategies to improve consumers’ financial health and their access to safe and affordable financial products and services. Melissa has testified before the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees, and she has spoken extensively to policy, industry, and consumer advocacy audiences.

3:40 – 4:25 p.m. ET

Future Opportunities for Technology to Support Economic Inclusion
A big-picture conversation about how changes in technology and its use may shape opportunities within banking and financial services to expand access for consumers and small businesses.

Jo Ann Barefoot

Jo Ann Barefoot is CEO & Founder of AIR - the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Cofounder of Hummingbird Regtech, and host of the podcast show Barefoot Innovation. A noted advocate of “regulation innovation,” Jo Ann is Senior Fellow Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Business & Government. She has been Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, partner at KPMG, Co-Chairman of Treliant Risk Advisors, and staff member at the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. She’s an angel investor, serves on the board of Oportun, serves on the fintech advisory committee for FINRA, is a member of the Milken Institute U.S. FinTech Advisory Committee, and is a member of the California Blockchain Working Group Advisory Board. Jo Ann chairs the board of directors of FinRegLab, previously chaired the board of the Financial Health Network, and previously served on the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board. In 2020 Jo Ann was inducted into the Fintech Hall of Fame by CB Insights.

My work centers on convergence, the places where disparate currents flow together and form something new. At Barefoot Innovation Group, we are finding better solutions for financial consumers at the confluence of technology, markets, demographics, cultures, science, the arts, global poverty reduction, and, crucially, regulation. As part of this search we discovered the need for my new nonprofit, AIR - the Alliance for Innovative Regulation. Transformation is coming — Fintech, Regtech, and “regulation innovation.”

Robert James II

Robert E. James, II leverages his experiences in banking, law, real estate development, and consulting to generate positive impacts in communities that are often overlooked.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Robert is President of Carver Development CDE, LLC, an affiliate of Carver State Bank he created in 2010. As a result of his leadership, Carver won a $30 million allocation of New Markets Tax Credits from the U.S. Treasury in 2017 and a $50 million allocation in 2019. In less than two years, Robert led deployment of the first allocation across Georgia, leveraging a $30 million allocation into nearly $65 million in total investment, creating almost 400 quality jobs in manufacturing, community facilities, healthcare, and small business.  This award was the first ever for a Georgia community bank and the first ever to a Georgia entity outside of Atlanta.  Robert also serves Carver State Bank as its Director of Strategic Initiatives and board member.  In these capacities, Robert is responsible for strategic planning and community development finance.  Since 2001, he has helped Carver raise over $6.5 million in community development awards. He leads the implementation of the bank’s strategic plan, the bank’s government guaranteed lending business, legislative and regulatory relations, and has been chosen as the successor to the bank’s current President & CEO.

In addition to his responsibilities with the bank, Robert is also a partner at the law firm Golden Holley James LLP. Golden Holley James is a boutique commercial and corporate law firm nationally recognized for its expertise in public and corporate finance, commercial banking and lending, real estate development, and governmental affairs.  Mr. James, who is a member of the New York and Georgia bars, represents issuers and underwriters including the City of Savannah, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, and many major bond underwriters as bond counsel, disclosure counsel or underwriter’s counsel. Since joining the firm in 2009, James has had an active role in documenting and closing over $25 billion in transactions and drafted a modernization to Georgia’s historic tax credit for commercial projects that was signed into law in 2015.

In 2004, Robert founded Coastal Legacy Group a real estate development and consulting firm.  The firm opened the Carver Commons shopping center in Savannah in March 2011, bringing millions in private investment to the distressed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard neighborhood.  Carver Commons is currently home to the headquarters of Carver State Bank and Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity.

Prior to founding Coastal Legacy Group, from 2000 to 2004, Robert served as a Managing Director & General Counsel of Diversiplex, Inc., a management-consulting firm that helped Fortune 500 companies and government agencies meet critical challenges in the areas of vendor information management, supplier diversity, program evaluation, and process improvement. Its list of customers included:  Southern Company, for which the firm led a diverse vendor database project; and the Chatham County Government, for which he developed a new MWBE Program, completed a constitutional legal analysis, drafted policies and procedures, and designed system requirements and led implementation for custom Internet-based vendor management software. 

Robert began his career at the law firm Troutman Sanders in 1995.  At Troutman he specialized in government-business transactions and general corporate law, serving such clients as Georgia Power Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation, the City of Atlanta, U.S. Filter Corporation, Turner Broadcasting System, and AT&T Corporation.

James earned the Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1995. In law school, he was an Earl Warren Scholar and President of the Black Law Students Association. He earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree, magna cum laude, from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1992. Robert was a Harry S. Truman Scholar from the State of Georgia in 1990.

Robert is Chairman of the National Bankers Association (2021-2023), the leading advocacy group for the nation’s minority banks, previously serving as Chair of its Legislative Committee and Board Secretary. He is also a member of the board of the Community Development Bankers Association, which represents CDFI banks across the country.  He is also a member of Alpha Lambda Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Mu Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and the proud father of Lauren, age 15.

Michael Kearns

Since 2002 I have been a professor in the Computer and Information Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where I hold the National Center Chair. I have secondary appointments in the department of Economics, and in the departments of Statistics and Operations, Information and Decisions (OID) in the Wharton School. I am the Founding Director of the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, where my Co-Director is Rakesh Vohra. I am the faculty founder and former director of Penn Engineering's Networked and Social Systems Engineering (NETS) Program, whose current directors are Andreas Haeberlen and Aaron Roth. I am a faculty affiliate in Penn's Applied Math and Computational Science graduate program. Until July 2006 I was the co-director of Penn's interdisciplinary Institute for Research in Cognitive Science.

Beginning in June 2020, I also have a role at Amazon as part of their Scholars Program, focusing on algorithmic fairness, privacy, machine learning and related topics within Amazon Web Services. As of August 2018, I am affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute as an external faculty member.

I have worked extensively in quantitative and algorithmic trading on Wall Street (including at Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, SAC Capital and Morgan Stanley). I often serve as an advisor to technology companies and venture capital firms. I am also involved in the seed-stage fund Founder Collective and occasionally invest in early-stage technology startups. I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Alan Turing Institute, and of the Market Surveillance Advisory Group of FINRA. I occasionally serve as an expert witness or consultant on technology-related legal and regulatory cases.

I am an elected Member/Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory.

Emmalyn Shaw

Emmalyn has a keen eye for innovative technologies with the potential to upend the traditional financial landscape and strengthen economic resiliency. Emmalyn co-manages Flourish and leads investments focused on promoting financial health in the US.

She has 20 years of technology investing experience, working closely with entrepreneurs to build large scale businesses. As partner at Omidyar Network, Emmalyn co-managed the Financial Inclusion team. Prior to that, she was a venture partner at Oak Investment Partners, deploying over $150 million of capital in companies such as Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Thrillist, and Demand Media. Before Oak, she led software and internet investments including Tellme Networks, Neoteris, and MySpace at VantagePoint Partners and the Barksdale Group.

Colin Walsh

Colin Walsh is the founder and CEO of Varo Bank, the first consumer fintech to be granted a bank charter in US history. Colin founded Varo with a specific vision: to advance the cause of financial inclusion and opportunity for all.

Colin is uniquely positioned to lead the digital bank revolution and has more than 25 years of experience in consumer banking at large global financial institutions. He led Europe’s largest credit and charge card business as an Executive Vice President at American Express. Colin also led the UK’s largest mortgage and savings businesses at Lloyds Banking Group, and served as Managing Director for the firm’s retail bancassurance, credit, debit and merchant acquiring businesses.

Varo is banking reimagined – all-digital, mission-driven, FDIC insured and designed around the way you live. From premium transaction banking accounts, to Varo Advance – a radically transparent and instant cash advance – to instant peer to peer payments, a high yield savings account, and amazing US-based customer service – Varo is a better alternative to traditional brick and mortar banks. As a digitally native chartered bank, Varo's hyper efficient, tech-driven model offers premium banking services that put real money back in the hands of consumers and communities across the country. Varo is a new kind of bank, a bank for all of us.

4:25 – 4:30 p.m. ET

Closing Remarks

Mark Pearce

Mark is the Director of the FDIC’s Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection (DCP) and leads the FDIC’s efforts to protect depositors and consumers nationwide. The Division has responsibility for the FDIC’s compliance and CRA examination and supervision for state non-member institutions, research and policy development related to consumers’ use of financial products and services, depositor and consumer assistance, community affairs, financial education and economic inclusion efforts.

Prior to joining the FDIC, Mark was the Chief Deputy Commissioner of Banks for the State of North Carolina. He has served as President of the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators. Previously, Mark was President of the Center for Responsible Lending and has worked for Self-Help, one of the largest community development financial institutions in the nation.

Mark graduated from Harvard Law School (1996) and has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.