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The week in fintech: Online lenders find UK regulatory environment easier to navigate than US

This weekly recapfeatures updates on bank technology, payments, online lending and other news inthe financial technology space. Send tips, ideas and chatter to kate.garber@spglobal.com. For other recentfintech news, click here.

The United Kingdom's regulatoryenvironment for online lenders is less complex than the one in the UnitedStates, but the U.S. can simplify its supervisory framework.

Online small business lender Funding Circle has a presencein both countries, and founder and Managing Director Sam Hodges said the U.K.is a simpler environment. He pointed out that the last two U.K. governmentshave been proactive in their approach to innovation in financial services. Inthe U.S., "innovation in financial services" are still "dirtywords," he said in an interview.

"It has been easier to build this business in the U.K.than it has been in the U.S.," Hodges added.

That is in part because the U.K.'s Financial ConductAuthority issued specific regulations for the peer-to-peer space and is in theprocess of implementing those rules, he said. While "no such paradigmexists" in the U.S., Hodges said the potential OCC charter and a proposed by Rep. PatrickMcHenry, R-N.C., could be positives for the online lending space.  

On DeckCapital Inc. CEO Noah Breslow said the U.K. has less of a"state issue" than the U.S. For online lending platforms, it is clearwhat needs to be done to register with the FCA, he added. The U.S. has anopportunity to create more efficient, harmonized federal regulations forstartups navigating state and federal level rules, Breslow said.

"With the OCC charter, it's very early days but we'resupportive of the direction they seem to be going," he added.

Canadian onlinelender Lendified Holdings Inc. received approval from the OntarioSecurities Commission Chair for an exempt market dealer license for theinvestment business of its subsidiary, Vault Circle Inc. The approval onlycovers Ontario, but Lendified plans to enter other markets, according to aSept. 28 pressrelease.

Also in Canadianfintech, OSC Chair and CEO Maureen Jensen announced plans for the country'sfirst innovation hub by a securities regulator. The program, called OSCLaunchPad, will allow fintech companies to get help navigating regulation,according to a Sept. 27 pressrelease.   

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Microsoft said they areworking together on a project to improve trade finance transactions with blockchain technology, Reuters reported.

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