This Monday GradFin attended a roundtable discussion that focused on regulatory issues that are most pressing for start-up companies in the fintech sector. 1776 (www.1776.vc), which is a Washington-based incubator, hosted the roundtable discussion in its downtown Washington DC facilities. Six Members of Congress joined the discussion, led by Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), a Member of the House Financial Services Committee and House Republican Leadership Team. The other Members of Congress that attended the discussion were Congressmen Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Mimi Walters (R-CA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). Congressman McHenry gave us a shoutout on his website.
GradFIn is thankful to 1776 and Brandon Pollak, the Director of Global Affairs at 1776, for hosting the meeting. GradFin is a member of 1776 - which is a global incubator and seed fund helping startups transform industries that impact lives every day, including education, healthcare, transportation, and energy.
The fintech roundtable discussion started off with introductory remarks from Congressman McHenry regarding his interest in helping fintech companies overcome federal and state regulatory issues. Congressman McHenry was one of the key authors of the JOBS Act and he has been a key supportor of allowing smaller financial and emerging growth companies to tap new sources of capital that weren't previously available.
After the introductory remarks by the five other Congressmen in attendance, each of the entrepreneurs were given a chance to introduce themselves and describe specifically the top issues they face as entrepreneurs in the fintech sector.
As a fintech specializing in the student loan industry, where our stakeholders are employers, student loan borrowers, and investors in the student loans, we made it a point to the issues that impact GradFin the most. Our top issue focuses on the tax treatment of employer-sponsored student loan payments. In our mind, it is essential that Congress visits this issue immediately.
All of the Congressman around the table were sympathetic to this point because they believe student loan debt is a significant problem and our solution could be enhanced if Congress acts in a bipartisan manner to achieve this worthy goal. GradFin pointed to legislation already introduced, H.R. 3861, the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act, sponsored by Rodney Davis and Gwen Graham. This bipartisan legislation would provide a tax exclusion of up to $5,250 per year (per employee) if a company makes these payments.
During the fintech roundtable, GradFin also provided insights in other areas including, state-by-state licensing for small financial services companies, the disclosures required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and several issues dealing with raising capital and providing disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
GradFin looks forward to continuing the dialogue in Congress and with state governments to come up with the best solutions to help student loan borrowers tackle their debt burdens. We believe that if Congress and the states can make some important changes, this will help us carry out our mission more broadly, which is to provide private sector solutions to reduce the massive student debt burden in our nation.
Moby Debt Blog
GradFin will be periodically updating you on our company.