Celero employees, including CEO Kevin Jones, COO Jeff Brown, and Project Manager Abigail Lucier enjoyed a whirlwind visit to Washington last as they accompanied the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) on its annual Payments Fly-In on Capitol Hill.
“There was so much to take in and so much enthusiasm,” Lucier said. “There’s really nothing quite like being not only in D.C., but on the Hill, at the heart of all the hustle and bustle.”
More than 35 executives from ETA member companies like Celero participated in the Fly-In, which gives payments industry leaders the opportunity to meet with policymakers in Congress and across the government. ETA members advocated for payments technology growth and innovation, as well as a uniform national privacy standard.
“They were genuinely engaged and open to what we had to say,” said Brown, an industry veteran with more than two decades as a payments and fintech executive. “It’s great to see how hard folks on both sides of the aisle work to understand our industry’s challenges and want to work with us to create an optimal regulatory environment for the payments and fintech industries.”
The lack of a uniform privacy standard at the federal level makes it hard for businesses to operate across multiple states. Having to comply with multiple, differing standards places a heavy burden on small and mid-sized companies in particular.
“It creates a lot of confusion, having to study these laws and then comply with each and every one of them,” explained Jones, the current President and Chairman of the ETA’s Board of Directors. “It unintentionally sets these businesses up to fail in compliance. But if there’s one nationwide standard, it will not only protect businesses and consumers, but also allow for innovation – for people to go out and do business as it should be done, rather than spending all their time and money on figuring out how to be compliant.”
On the first day of the Fly-In, ETA members met with Congress members such as Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), and Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WVA). They also met with federal regulators from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Administration.
“As someone who’s fairly new to the industry, it was very heartening to meet public servants who were eager to engage with us and understand our needs,” said Lucier.
On day two, participants got to sit down and listen as several legislators and Celero’s very own Kevin Jones gave speeches. In addition to payments innovation and uniform privacy standards, they also touched on the importance of personally identifiable information, often called “PII data.” The permissible use of such data can be used as a powerful tool to fight fraud.
“People have this assumption that the less data you have out there, the less likely you are to fall victim to identity fraud,” Brown explained, “but it’s actually the opposite. PII data is crucial to preventing fraud, because it makes it a lot harder for another person to steal your identity or process a payment on your behalf.”
Abigail reported that she was impressed with the ETA as a whole, both its representation and leaders. Her “sherpa” for the visit, Jeff Patchen, Manager of Government Affairs at the ETA, was extremely helpful in facilitating introductions and productive conversations. She also praised Scott Talbott, Senior VP of Government Relations, for his enthusiasm and expert handling of the event.
“Scott is in there every single day advocating for this industry on behalf of businesses and consumers alike,” she said. “You can just tell by his enthusiasm and the way he orchestrated this event, he’s in the right place. It’s good to know he’s there every day, representing us, as we go about our day-to-day building Celero for our partners and customers.”
Thank you to the ETA for letting Celero be a part of this opportunity. Please visit https://www.electran.org/ to learn more about the ETA and its advocacy work in the electronic payments sector.