Tech Sprints


The FDITECH’s tech sprint program brings a diverse set of stakeholders (e.g., banks, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, private sector companies, members of the public) together in collaborative settings for a short period of time to intensely focus on challenges of importance to the FDIC. A ‘sprint’ simply refers to a short period of time (typically 2-3 weeks) where teams turn ideas into value. The FDIC will always provide a problem statement and selected teams will devote their collective energy and expertise towards addressing specific challenges. Typically, a tech sprint will culminate with a Demonstration Day where each team shares findings with a panel of evaluating experts.

Breaking Down Barriers:
Reaching the Last Mile of the Unbanked


The FDIC recently published How America Banks, the agency’s latest report of household use of banking and financial services. This study found that while nearly 95 percent of U.S. households were banked (i.e., had a bank or credit union account), more than seven million households were unbanked, lacking even the most basic checking account.

Black, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native households remain significantly more likely to be unbanked. Given the challenges reaching the ‘last mile’ of the unbanked, and recognizing that community banks are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of this population but also often lack access to data and resources, the FDIC seeks tech sprint participants to help answer the question: “Which data, tools, and other resources could help community banks meet the needs of the unbanked in a cost-effective manner, and how might the impact of this work be measured?”

Considerations:

There is no “‘one size fits all”’ approach to the problem; therefore, innovations developed for this tech sprint could range from creating technical solutions that help identify or surface opportunities, to designing artifacts for helping visualize the problem better, to developing findings and research-backed observations on how to better diffuse existing solutions. Participants can focus on any aspect of the problem statement and as that focus is developed the FDIC encourages consideration of the following:

  • How might community banks use publicly-available data to better understand consumer behavior to provide deeper insights into how the unbanked interacts with the financial system and to aid in the design of better products and services for this population?
  • How might community banks be able to leverage identification and authentication services to streamline the onboarding and account creation process?
  • How might user-centered design and/or publicly-available datasets help community banks better understand the unbanked in their geographic market and illustrate the customer journey for a household to get and stay banked?
  • To what extent can any of these approaches be feasibly implemented by community banks?

How to Participate


Registration for the Tech Sprint is now closed. Registration does not guarantee participation and all Participants selected to participate in the Tech Sprint will be notified by early August. Those registrants not selected will also be notified.

The Tech Sprint’s Prize Notice, with the complete list of eligibility criteria, can be found here: https://fdic.gov/fditech/prize-competition-notice.pdf.

In addition to the eligibility criteria noted in the Prize Notice, the FDIC reserves the right to limit the number of entities in the Tech Sprint by applying the selection criteria found in the Prize Notice.

A tentative timeline is below (dates are subject to change); please check back frequently as more information becomes available:

July 6, 2021: Registration for Tech Sprint opens.

July 20, 2021 5:00PM ET: Registration for Tech Sprint closes.

August 6, 2021: FDIC reviews all submissions and invites a select number of teams to participate in the Tech Sprint. Teams who are selected will be notified and invited to a Kick-Off meeting with the FDIC and all other participating teams. Teams will then diverge as they work independently on their determined solution for a period of approximately four weeks.

September 10, 2021: Teams come together for a demonstration day with a panel of judges.

All submissions will be publicized, and ‘winners’ will be chosen in several categories. The FDIC is not offering monetary prizes associated with this Tech Sprint.

Any questions about the Tech Sprint can be sent to innovation@FDIC.gov.