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Event Description

Starting in summer 2016, the FTC began a forum series exploring emerging financial technology and its implications for consumers. The first FinTech Forum, held June 9, 2016, addressed marketplace lending. Marketplace lenders are typically nonbank financial platforms that leverage technology to reach potential borrowers, evaluate creditworthiness, and facilitate loans. Marketplace lending can provide an avenue for consumers and small businesses to quickly obtain loans that might not be available from traditional sources. The forum will examine the range of marketplace lending models, their potential benefits to consumers, possible consumer protection concerns, and the applicability of consumer protection laws to market participants.

The FinTech series brings together researchers, industry representatives, law enforcement agencies, and consumer advocates for half-day discussion sessions focusing on consumer protection and emerging financial technology.  Each forum will take place in Washington, D.C. and will be open to the public. The next forum will take place in fall 2016.

  • 8:30 am Registration

    9:30 am

    Introductory Remarks

    • Stephanie Rosenthal
      Chief of Staff Division of Financial Practices, Federal Trade Commission

    Opening Remarks
    • Edith Ramirez
      Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
    9:45 amPanel 1: The Current State of Marketplace Lending and its Implications for Consumers


    • Malini Mithal
      Acting Associate Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC

    • Elizabeth Kwok
      Investigator, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Shaheen Hasan
      Center for Financial Services Innovation

    • Ed Mierzwinski
      Consumer Program Director and Senior Fellow,
      U.S. PIRG

    • Jessica Milano
      Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing
      U.S. Department of Treasury

    • Peter Renton
      Publisher of Lend Academy Website and co-founder of

    10:45Presentation by FTC Office of Technology Research and Investigation

    Phoebe Rouge
    Technologist, Office of Technology Research and Investigation, FTC


    11:15 pmPanel 2: Looking Forward: Protecting Consumers as the Market Evolves


    • Duane Pozza
      Acting Assistant Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC

    • Helen Wong
      Attorney, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Thomas Dresslar
      Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Planning
      California Department of Business Oversight
    • Conor French
      General Counsel, Funding Circle USA
      on behalf of the Marketplace Lending Association
    • Brian Knight
      Senior Research Fellow for the Financial Markets Working Group
      Mercatus Center at George Mason University
    • Lauren Saunders
      Associate Director,
      National Consumer Law Center


    12:15 pm

    Concluding Remarks
    • Jessica Rich
      Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC


  • Presentation: A Survey of 15 Marketplace Lenders’ Online Presence

    Phoebe Rouge is a Technologist in the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTECH). Phoebe has applied her technical and data analysis expertise in numerous Commission matters including mobile app data collection, payment processing, and debt relief fraud. Prior to joining the FTC Phoebe researched the governance and social impact of emerging technologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has edited a textbook on innovation policy, and worked in private industry as a database architect, software developer, and consultant. Phoebe holds an MA in International Science and Technology Policy, specializing in economics of technological change, from the George Washington University and an AB in History and Science, specializing in physics and 20th century American technology, from Harvard University.

    Panel 1: The Current State of Marketplace Lending and its Implications for Consumers

    Shaheen Hasan is a manager on the Program Team at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). In her role, she works to inform and advise the marketplace about the needs of consumers and how to offer high quality financial services to improve their financial health. With a background in economic development in the U.S. and abroad, Shaheen is committed to advancing innovative solutions that promote economic empowerment and improve the financial lives of consumers. Shaheen got her start in financial services at the Clinton Global Initiative where she helped launched its first financial inclusion working group. She also worked at the D2D Fund, where she was responsible for researching, designing and evaluating pilot financial products to help low-income households build savings. While there, she also worked jointly with CFSI to catalyze partnerships on FinCapDev, a mobile app competition to build financial capability. Most recently, she was at Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion developing engagement strategies and thought leadership products to advance high-quality inclusive financial services for consumers in emerging markets. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland at College Park.

    Elizabeth Kwok is an investigator in the Division of Financial Practices for the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. Elizabeth began working at the FTC in June 2013, and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (“CFE”). Elizabeth investigates suspected violations of consumer protection laws, including matters relating to financial technologies, debt collection, and debt relief products. Elizabeth has particular expertise in fraud investigations involving new and emerging technologies, such as Bitcoin. Prior to working at the FTC, Elizabeth was an investigator with the U.S. Department of Commerce – Office of Inspector General (OIG) where she investigated contract and procurement fraud, grant fraud, serious employee misconduct, and gross mismanagement. Elizabeth received her JD from American University the Washington College of Law, and her BA in Political Science and History from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Ed Mierzwinski is a Consumer Program Director and Senior Fellow at the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG). Ed has worked in the Washington, DC-based federal lobbying office of U.S. PIRG since 1989. He often lectures or testifies before Congress, state legislatures, agencies and events on a wide range of consumer issues. He has had recent articles in the American Prospect, the Journal of Consumer Affairs, Suffolk University Law Review and the new consumer movement reference guide “Watchdogs and Whistleblowers.” Since 2009, he has served on the board of directors of Consumer Reports (formerly Consumers Union), the world’s largest consumer product testing and advocacy organization. He chairs the Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Task Force. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue ( He is on the board of directors of He is a former member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council.  He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut (BA, MS) and previously was Executive Director of the Connecticut PIRG. In 2003, he received Privacy International’s Brandeis Award and, in 2006, the Consumer Federation of America’s Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.

    Jessica Milano is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing at the US Department of the Treasury. Ms. Milano manages a portfolio of policy issues including small business access to capital, affordable housing finance, and community and economic development. In addition, her office oversees the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), and the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Prior to joining Treasury, Ms. Milano served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the Small Business Administration (SBA). Ms. Milano is the author of several policy reports for the Progressive Policy Institute/Democratic Leadership Council on topics including economic security, job creation, and investment and innovation. She holds a MA in Applied Economics from The Johns Hopkins University and received her BSc in Government from the London School of Economics.

    Malini Mithal is the Acting Associate Director for the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Division of Financial Practices at the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Mithal oversees a broad range of consumer credit and financial services issues, including supervising investigations and federal court and administrative litigation enforcing the FTC Act and other consumer protection laws relating to financial products or services. These enforcement actions challenge deceptive or unfair practices by fintech companies, non-bank lenders, providers of mortgage assistance relief services, debt collectors, payday lenders, and other financial service providers, as well as enforcing particular consumer credit-related statutes such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; the Truth in Lending Act and its implementing Regulation Z; and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.  Previously at the FTC, Ms. Mithal was a Counsel to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and a staff attorney in the Bureau's Division of Enforcement. Prior to joining the FTC, Ms. Mithal served as a law clerk for the Honorable Alan S. Gold of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She received her B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School. 

    Peter Renton is the founder of Lend Academy, the leading educational resource for the P2P/marketplace lending industry. His blog is the most widely read website about P2P lending and through his writing, podcast and video courses he has helped tens of thousands of people understand this new asset class. He is considered the world’s leading expert on P2P lending and speaks regularly on the topic at industry conferences. He is the co--‐founder of the LendIt Conference, the world’s first and largest conference series dedicated to the P2P and online lending industries and he is the author of The Lending Club Story, the definitive guide to the world’s largest P2P lender. He is also a co--‐founder at NSR Invest, an investment and analytics platform that provides access to P2P marketplaces for financial advisors, institutional investors, and individuals.

    Panel 2: Looking Forward: Protecting Consumers as the Market Evolves

    Thomas Dresslar is the Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning at the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO). He is directing the DBO’s inquiry into the online lending market. The DBO launched the inquiry in December 2015. Tom was appointed by the Governor as DBO deputy commissioner in November 2014. He served as Communications Director for the California State Treasurer from 2006 until his DBO appointment, and as Press Secretary for the California Attorney General from 2002-2006.Tom performed government oversight work for the California Legislature from 2000-2002, as a consultant to the Speaker of the Assembly and the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Tom received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Sacramento in 1983.

    Conor French is a founding member of the board of directors of the Marketplace Lending Association, a trade association that represents the marketplace lending industry. The Association’s goal is to promote a transparent, efficient and customer-friendly financial system by supporting the responsible growth of marketplace lending, fostering innovation in financial technology and encouraging sound public policy. He is currently serving as General Counsel for Funding Circle, and is responsible for the company’s US legal and regulatory affairs. Conor received his JD from NYU Law and his BA from Georgetown. He is admitted to the CA, DC, MA and NY bars.

    Brian Knight is a Senior Research Fellow for the Financial Markets Working Group at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Brian most recently worked for the Milken Institute, where he headed up the FinTech and Capital Access programs. He has experience working for a broker-dealer with a focus on the emerging online private-placement market and was the co-founder of CrowdCheck, a company providing due-diligence and disclosure services to companies and intermediaries engaged in online private offerings. Brian received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.

    Duane Pozza is an Acting Assistant Director in the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Financial Practices.  He has worked extensively on consumer protection issues related to emerging financial technologies.  He has led and contributed to a number of enforcement actions involving unauthorized mobile billing, co-authored two staff reports dealing with mobile payments, and speaks frequently on the role of consumer protection in financial technology, including emerging payment and lending platforms.  Prior to joining the FTC, Mr. Pozza was a partner in private practice in DC.  He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford Law School.

    Lauren Saunders is Associate Director of the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works for economic justice for low-income and other disadvantaged people in the U.S. through policy analysis and advocacy, publications, litigation, and training. Lauren manages NCLC’s Washington, DC office and directs its federal legislative and regulatory work.  Lauren is a recognized expert in consumer protection areas including small dollar loans, prepaid cards and payment systems.  She is an author of NCLC’s treatise Consumer Banking and Payments Law, among other publications.  Lauren previously directed the Federal Rights Project of the National Senior Citizens Law Center; was Deputy Director of Litigation at Bet Tzedek Legal Services; and was an associate at Hall & Phillips.  She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford University.

    Helen Wong is an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, with the Division of Financial Practices. Her work focuses on consumer protection enforcement actions involving financial technology issues, including mobile payments, emerging payment and commerce platforms, crowd-funding, and cryptocurrencies. She has acted as the lead attorney on a number of cases, including the FTC's first Bitcoin-related case and the first crowdfunding case. In addition, she has litigated numerous other matters involving short-term lending, credit counseling, and debt collection. Helen is a graduate of Northwestern University and Georgetown University Law Center.

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