79 episodes

Fintech moves fast. But here at Fintech Takes, Alex Johnson and his rotating panel of guests move faster so that you can stay on top of the latest and greatest news in the industry without breaking a sweat. 

Welcome to Fintech Takes—the place where fintech’s biggest nerds come to sit back, relax, and completely geek out.

Join Alex and a lineup of fintech’s brightest minds as they dissect what’s happening in fintech and banking. 
Each week, Alex and his guests recap the most interesting developments in fintech and explore the industry’s most pressing questions, diving headfirst into the intricate workings of some of the industry’s most ground-breaking business models and unpacking the emerging players that promise to shape fintech’s future.
From riveting conversations with fintech’s most relevant operators to comprehensive recaps of the month's most compelling news stories and in-depth analyses of the latest regulatory developments, Fintech Takes is your one-stop-shop for navigating the fintech universe.
Subscribe now to join fintech’s nerdiest podcast around!

Fintech Takes Alex Johnson

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 6 Ratings

Fintech moves fast. But here at Fintech Takes, Alex Johnson and his rotating panel of guests move faster so that you can stay on top of the latest and greatest news in the industry without breaking a sweat. 

Welcome to Fintech Takes—the place where fintech’s biggest nerds come to sit back, relax, and completely geek out.

Join Alex and a lineup of fintech’s brightest minds as they dissect what’s happening in fintech and banking. 
Each week, Alex and his guests recap the most interesting developments in fintech and explore the industry’s most pressing questions, diving headfirst into the intricate workings of some of the industry’s most ground-breaking business models and unpacking the emerging players that promise to shape fintech’s future.
From riveting conversations with fintech’s most relevant operators to comprehensive recaps of the month's most compelling news stories and in-depth analyses of the latest regulatory developments, Fintech Takes is your one-stop-shop for navigating the fintech universe.
Subscribe now to join fintech’s nerdiest podcast around!

    S7 Ep10: Dissecting Federal Preemption Laws, Citibank Dodges Consumer Protections, and Why We Don’t Have a National Fintech Charter

    S7 Ep10: Dissecting Federal Preemption Laws, Citibank Dodges Consumer Protections, and Why We Don’t Have a National Fintech Charter

    Summer’s almost here, and Kiah Haslett is braving the swarms of Tennessee cicadas to join Alex for another session of Bank Nerd Corner.
    First up on the docket, Alex and Kiah tackle the Supreme Court’s decision on Cantero vs. Bank of America. Bank of America contests that they don’t have to pay interest on escrow accounts in accordance with federal law because hey, the state law says something different. But which law do federally chartered banks have to follow if both state and federal laws speak to the same conflict? Should banks be granted the freedom of choice? After all, it’s a free market, and that’s capitalism, baby!
    And a big round of applause for Citibank for finding a new way to make consumers feel even less protected when it comes to making wire transfers. Alex and Kiah unpack the current case against the banking giant by several consumers (represented by New York state regulators) who have lost money to scammers after being locked out of their accounts. What legal loophole is Citibank using to defend itself from paying consumers back? And shouldn’t they be a wee bit more concerned about losing trust with their clients? 
    Plus, Alex and Kiah ask some big questions, including why banks and regulators aren’t relying on real-time data more often and why fintech banks don’t have national charters. But more importantly, how much hubris do you have to have to rant about disrupting the banking industry while knowing absolutely nothing about it? Let’s rant about it!
     
    TruStage Payment Guard Insurance is a first-of-its-kind insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help you attract more borrowers, strengthen your loan portfolio and reduce time spent on collections — all with minimal tech lift needed to go live.
     
    To learn more about Payment Guard Insurance, visit https://www.trustage.com/payment-guard.
     
    Sign up for Alex’s Fintech Takes newsletter for the latest insightful analysis on fintech trends, along with a heaping pile of pop culture references and copious footnotes. Every Monday and Thursday: https://workweek.com/brand/fintech-takes/
     
    And for more exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube page.
     
    Follow Kiah:
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khaslett/
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/khaslett
     
    Follow Alex: 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgfH47QEwbQmkQlz1V9rQA/videos
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhjohnson
    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AlexH_Johnson

    • 1 hr 8 min
    S7 E9: Fintech Recap: Synapse vs. the World, Visa Flex Credential, Buy Now Pay Later Reclassified as a Credit Card

    S7 E9: Fintech Recap: Synapse vs. the World, Visa Flex Credential, Buy Now Pay Later Reclassified as a Credit Card

    We won’t lie— we’re exhausted. Are you exhausted from keeping up with one of the most tiring stories in financial services?
    Jason Mikula certainly is, and he’s summoning the strength to join Alex to chat about the current drama between Synapse, Evolve, and Tabapay yet again. Things have devolved on BaaS Island from Lord of the Flies to a straight-up Battle Royale. Can anyone manage to make sense of Synapse’s ledger? The guys do their best to tally up all of the financial damage the bankrupt company has caused. But the better question is, will any of its end users see their money back anytime soon? 
    Then, Jason and Alex get into Visa’s latest offering, Visa Flex Credential. Will the new card that flexes between funding sources (credit or debit) lead to new innovations?
    And what’s up with the CFPB’s reclassification of Buy Now Pay Later as a credit card? Does this actually change anything, or is it all a bunch of semantics? 
    Plus, in this week’s “Can’t Let It Go,” Jason’s hung up on Solo Funds, the community finance platform being sued for dark patterns that had some mysteriously deleted tweets, and Alex can’t let Revolut’s bizarre hostage-like scam prevention photos go. 
    Yeah, there’s a lot to unpack on that last one. Let’s get into it.
     
    TruStage Payment Guard Insurance is a first-of-its-kind insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help you attract more borrowers, strengthen your loan portfolio and reduce time spent on collections — all with minimal tech lift needed to go live.
    To learn more about Payment Guard Insurance, visit https://www.trustage.com/payment-guard.
     
    01:23 Synapse vs. the World
    27:10 Visa Flex Credential
    40:05 Buy Now Pay Later Reclassified as a “Credit Card”
    49:25 Can’t Let It Go

    Sign up for Alex’s Fintech Takes newsletter for the latest insightful analysis on fintech trends, along with a heaping pile of pop culture references and copious footnotes. Every Monday and Thursday: https://workweek.com/brand/fintech-takes/
     
    And for more exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube page.
     
    Follow Jason:
    Newsletter: https://fintechbusinessweekly.substack.com/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmikula/
     
    Follow Alex: 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgfH47QEwbQmkQlz1V9rQA/videos
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhjohnson
    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AlexH_Johnson
     

    • 51 min
    S7 Ep8: Not Fintech Investment Advice: Kudos, Azimuth, Layer, and Carputty

    S7 Ep8: Not Fintech Investment Advice: Kudos, Azimuth, Layer, and Carputty

    Another day, another credit card reward app to unpack. But this time, is it actually possible we’ve found the one reward app to rule them all? 
    Alex and Simon Taylor discuss the promising rewards optimization app, Kudos,
    which helps users determine which credit card is optimal for maximizing points on purchases. Will Kudos change the rewards space forever? And if consumers expect points to be optimized at every turn, then what does this mean for the future of the rewards system? Alex and Simon make some predictions on what comes next for the promising company—will they launch their own card with an intelligent interface or sell their tech to neobanks and let them duke it out?
    Then they break down Azimuth, the compliance effectiveness testing suite for lenders. While automated compliance testing has been the standard in fintech for a while, will moving to a more automated approach be the solve for sampling problems for banks?
    And can anyone ever disrupt QuickBooks? Unlikely. So how can SaaS companies get a foot in edgewise against the Intuit behemoth? Alex and Simon break down Layer and explain how its embedded software approach might be an adjacent way to compete against QuickBooks.
    Plus, the guys also discuss the consumer-centric auto financing app that seeks to treat car purchases more like assets, Carputty, before manifesting a few ideas for fintech, including a better cross-selling solution for banks and credit unions and an AI that filters out scam conversations. 
     
    TruStage Payment Guard Insurance is a first-of-its-kind insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help you attract more borrowers, strengthen your loan portfolio and reduce time spent on collections — all with minimal tech lift needed to go live.
    To learn more about Payment Guard Insurance, visit https://www.trustage.com/payment-guard.
     
    Sign up for Alex’s Fintech Takes newsletter for the latest insightful analysis on fintech trends, along with a heaping pile of pop culture references and copious footnotes. Every Monday and Thursday: https://workweek.com/brand/fintech-takes/
     
    And for more exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube page.
     
    Follow Simon:
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sytaylor/
    Substack: https://sytaylor.substack.com
     
    Follow Alex: 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgfH47QEwbQmkQlz1V9rQA/videos
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhjohnson
    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AlexH_Johnson

    • 56 min
    S7 Ep7: What Large Language Models Mean for the Future of Fintech, with Rohan Ramanath of Hyperplane

    S7 Ep7: What Large Language Models Mean for the Future of Fintech, with Rohan Ramanath of Hyperplane

    You can’t read anything these days without seeing something about how Chat GPT and large language models are the future of technology. 
    So if LLMs are the future, what exactly does this mean for fintech? And how is it any different from the AI that’s already been used to make financial decisions for years now? 
    Alex chats with Rohan Ramanath, the co-founder of Hyperplane, to uncover the application of AI in financial services and its future. Are LLMs the magic bullet to help fintech make better, more informed financial decisions for consumers, or are there still the same inherent biases and problems there have always been? 
    Rohan and Alex delve into the niche of predictive problem-solving and the constraints and considerations of using LLMs in commercial-facing solutions. Rohan shares his insights on the future of AI in banking, the importance of trust, and the potential for consumers to have their own personal AI financial assistant in their pocket at every moment.
    Later, the pair explores the differences between the US and Brazil in terms of open banking and the use of unstructured data in cross-selling, before seeking the ultimate answer to the question of what kinds of unique opportunities AI presents for innovation and customer engagement.

    TruStage Payment Guard Insurance is a first-of-its-kind insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help you attract more borrowers, strengthen your loan portfolio and reduce time spent on collections — all with minimal tech lift needed to go live.
    To learn more about Payment Guard Insurance, visit https://www.trustage.com/payment-guard.
     
    00:00:03 - AI Applications in Financial Services
    00:03:14 - Unlocking the Power of Text Data
    00:06:51 - Key Constraints in Commercial LLMs
    00:09:14 - Financial Services and Generative Models
    00:11:25 - Using AI to Predict Customer Behavior
    00:18:29 - Common Data Sets for Predictive Modeling
    00:21:14 - Utilizing Unstructured Data in Banking
    00:31:28 - Effective Cross-Selling Strategies for Brazilian Banks
    00:36:17 - Open Banking: Transforming the Financial Market
    00:44:46 - Accelerating Experimentation with Predictive Models
    00:48:34 - Reshaping Financial Services with AI
    00:52:51 - AI Trust Issues Impact Customer Engagement
    00:54:11 - AI Agents Making Data-Driven Recommendations
     
    Sign up for Alex’s Fintech Takes newsletter for the latest insightful analysis on fintech trends, along with a heaping pile of pop culture references and copious footnotes. Every Monday and Thursday: https://workweek.com/brand/fintech-takes/
     
    And for more exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube page.
     
    Learn More About Hyperplane: 
    Website: https://hyperplane.ai
     
    Follow Rohan: 
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohanramanath/
     
    Follow Alex: 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgfH47QEwbQmkQlz1V9rQA/videos
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhjohnson
    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AlexH_Johnson

    • 55 min
    S7 Ep6: Bank Nerd Corner: Unpacking Federal Reserve Master Accounts with Julie Hill

    S7 Ep6: Bank Nerd Corner: Unpacking Federal Reserve Master Accounts with Julie Hill

    We have a lot of questions when it comes to Fed Master Accounts. And thankfully, Julie Hill, Vice Dean and Alton C. and Cecile Cunningham Craig Professor of Law at the University of Alabama, is here to answer them! 
    In this special edition of Bank Nerd Corner, Julie helps Alex and Kiah unravel the many legal mysteries of the Federal Reserve’s Master Accounts. Julie breaks down the history of the Fed’s payment systems and explains how access to those systems (via Master Accounts) impacts banks and fintech companies.
    How do these “bank accounts for banks” work? Which banks can get them? And what happens if access to them is taken away?
    Kiah, Alex, and Julie discuss the role of the Fed as a payments facilitator, as opposed to a regulator, and unpack why it’s nearly impossible to make money in payments without having a Master Account.
    And later, they dive into the troubling report of sexual harassment at the FDIC, and spend a few minutes marveling at (and ranting about) where bank routing numbers come from. 
     
    00:01:56 - Understanding Federal Reserve Master Accounts
    00:14:19 - Credit Union Applies to Serve Cannabis Industry
    00:17:22 - Federal Reserve and American Samoa's Money Laundering Dilemma
    00:27:57 - Federal Reserve's Transparency on Master Accounts
    00:35:07 - Federal Reserve Announces New Supervision Team
    00:45:01 - Federal Reserve's Role in Money Laundering
    00:51:31 - FDIC Sexual Harassment Review Findings
    00:59:46 - Collaborative Structures Improve Aviation Safety
    01:02:55 - American Banking Association Still Provides Routing Numbers
     
    TruStage Payment Guard Insurance is a first-of-its-kind insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help you attract more borrowers, strengthen your loan portfolio and reduce time spent on collections — all with minimal tech lift needed to go live.
     
    To learn more about Payment Guard Insurance, visit https://www.trustage.com/payment-guard.
     
    Sign up for Alex’s Fintech Takes newsletter for the latest insightful analysis on fintech trends, along with a heaping pile of pop culture references and copious footnotes. Every Monday and Thursday: https://workweek.com/brand/fintech-takes/
     
    And for more exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube page.
     
    Follow Julie: 
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-hill-15929821/
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProfJulieHill
     
    Follow Kiah:
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khaslett/
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/khaslett
     
    Follow Alex: 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgfH47QEwbQmkQlz1V9rQA/videos
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhjohnson
    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AlexH_Johnson

    • 1 hr 4 min
    S7 E5: Fintech Recap: Tipping is B******t, Synapse’s Final Chapter, & Pay By Bank’s Intriguing Future

    S7 E5: Fintech Recap: Tipping is B******t, Synapse’s Final Chapter, & Pay By Bank’s Intriguing Future

    The tulips are blooming and the windmills are churning—so where in the world is Jason Mikula this week? Jason calls into the pod live from the beautiful Netherlands to break down the latest in fintech news with Alex. 
     
    First on the plate? The final chapter in the Synapse bankruptcy saga. After Synapse sold all of its assets to TabaPay for $9.7 million and settled its dispute with Evolve, it appears all parties are walking intact from the ordeal. What did we learn? And what BaaS drama is coming next?
     
    Uber announced it will be implementing pay-by-bank. Not terribly surprising given large merchants’ obsessive focus on reducing payment acceptance costs, but will smaller merchants follow suit? And what do consumers think of pay-by-bank?
     
    Also, pardon our French, but tipping in fintech is complete and utter b******t. Fintech companies are NOT college students struggling to pay the rent, so why are companies like Dave begging consumers for tips? And how is earned wage access legislation allowing it to be a thing? Alex and Jason go off about tips and discuss the future of EWA. 
     
    Plus, Alex and Jason tackle the consent order between the CFPB and BloomTech before diving into this week’s “Can’t Let It Go” segment (and let’s just say that tech needs to grow a tougher shell). 
     
    TruStage Payment Guard Insurance is a first-of-its-kind insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help you attract more borrowers, strengthen your loan portfolio, and reduce time spent on collections — all with minimal tech lift needed to go live.
     
    To learn more about Payment Guard Insurance, visit https://www.trustage.com/payment-guard.
     
    Sign up for Alex’s Fintech Takes newsletter for the latest insightful analysis on fintech trends, along with a heaping pile of pop culture references and copious footnotes. Every Monday and Thursday: https://workweek.com/brand/fintech-takes/
     
    And for more exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube page.
     
    Follow Jason:
    Newsletter: https://fintechbusinessweekly.substack.com/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmikula/
     
    Follow Alex: 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgfH47QEwbQmkQlz1V9rQA/videos
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexhjohnson
    Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AlexH_Johnson

    • 1 hr 13 min

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