2018 Financial Services Conference CFA Session Descriptions

Post-Election Financial Services Issues: What Will the New Congress Do?

What does the November election mean for financial services regulation and enforcement?  Are there changes on the horizon? Will there be further efforts to change the oversight responsibilities of the CFPB, SEC, and Department of Education?

Fintech: What Does it Mean for Consumers?

It’s one of the most popular buzzwords in the world of finance, but what is fintech? Who practices fintech? In what forms will consumers interface with fintech and fintech companies.  Does fintech create any landmines for financial consumers or will it open doors to previously underserved consumers and communities?

Is Cashless Retailing Good for Consumers?

An increasing number of retail establishments are accepting only electronic forms of payment. Cashless proponents cite shorter lines, speedier transactions, increased safety, and even impeding the spread of disease as benefits. Opponents point out the inherent insecurity of electronic payments, and discrimination against those without access to digital money as well as the benefit of privacy when paying in cash. How should these issues be addressed to protect consumers’ interests?

Debt Relief or Rip-off?

To students who find themselves unable to pay back their school loans, homeowners facing foreclosure, and other consumers who are struggling with debt, promises of help may seem like a venue for relief. But some of these promises are false. What are the latest trends in debt relief scams? How can consumers identify legitimate debt relief from unsavory programs?

What if Auto Insurance Prices Ignored Your Socio-economic Status?

This panel will discuss the idea of selling auto insurance based exclusively on driving-related factors such as driving safety history and vehicle safety. Why are non-driving related characteristics used (credit based insurance scores, marital status, etc.) and what might happen to rates if these factors were eliminated?

Can America Keep Up with Rising Housing Needs?

One of the echo effects of the Great Recession has been a significant gap between the amount of new housing construction and the expanding needs of Millennial and Gen Z households. What’s driving the persistent gap between needs and production?  Do the necessary remedies lie in federal, state or local actions?  How is this shortage affecting low and moderate income families, and communities of color?

Diversity in Financial Services and Advice

The financial marketplace is notably lacking in diversity.  How does this impact consumers? What motivates consumers to seek financial advice?  Will a more diverse industry open up financial advice to more Americans?  How is the industry addressing the financial advice needs of middle income consumers?

Fintech and Traditional Banks – Consumer Pros and Cons

As government regulators recognize online and fintech-based banking, what will the impact be on traditional banking? Will this competition improve the banking experience?  What impact will the fintech charter have on state usury limits and state banking regulation? How will the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and other state government regulators respond to an OCC fintech charter?

Criminalizing Debt

In an effort to collect on civic debts, some state and local governments have instituted debt collection programs that are being criticized for criminalizing poverty and perpetuating debt cycles.  What is the impact of civic debt collection on communities of color and lower income Americans?  What are some of the worst policies and are there alternatives that may be more effective?

Innovations in the Workplace to Facilitate Emergency Savings

Almost half of all Americans cannot easily access $400 to meet an unexpected expense. What are the barriers to people saving for emergencies and how did this issue become so significant? Hear from innovators addressing the emergency savings challenges of American workers, service members, young adults and those working in the gig economy.

Why Do People Make the Financial Decisions They Make?

Many people make decisions about money that are not in their best interest. Why do people not save, over spend and go deeper into debt when intuitively they know they shouldn’t? Hear from behavioral experts about this dynamic as well as innovative solutions to change people’s minds.

Testing Retail Investor Disclosure Effectiveness

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a Customer Relationship Summary disclosure to be provided to retail investors as they begin an engagement with a Broker-Dealer or Investment Adviser. The disclosure is intended to assist investors in making an informed choice among different types of providers and different types of accounts. However, recent investor testing provides strong evidence that the disclosure would fail to serve its intended goal. Where does the SEC go from here?


The Financial Services Conference is a key national gathering for consumer advocates and educators interested in new products and regulation which continue to transform the consumer financial services marketplace.

Questions? Please contact Anna Marie Lowery, Director of Meetings and Events.

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