FinTex, the Chicago fintech association, today announced the launch of Currency , a fintech Center of Excellence, dedicated to collaboration, research and sharing of best practices.
Currency’s launch follows on the heels of Chicago’s ranking as one of the world’s top five fintech hubs in the latest Innovate Finance report by Deloitte ( Connecting Global FinTech: Interim Hub Review 2017 ).
As a Center of Excellence, Currency will bring together established financial firms, startups, government, regulators and universities to promote the Chicago fintech community, identify best practices for the introduction of new technologies, promote dialogue between the public, private and academic sectors, and encourage innovation-friendly regulatory frameworks.
“The diversity of the financial services sector in Chicago sets it apart,” said FinTEx co-founder Jason Henrichs. “We founded FinTEx three years ago to connect members of this community in mutually beneficial ways. The launch of Currency, Chicago’s recent ranking in the top 5 of global fintech centers, and our work with regulators is evidence that great things can be achieved when the entire fintech community works together collaboratively.”
“Our state has a long history of innovation, and this partnership between the State of Illinois and Currency will help us compete with places like San Francisco, London and Singapore,” said Governor Bruce Rauner. “Illinois is sending a global signal that we are supportive of innovative technology and open for business.”
One of Currency’s founding members, Burling Bank, is a longtime financial markets participant, with decades of experience serving the city’s top trading firms. Burling Bank’s president, Michael Busch commented that “Traditionally, Chicago’s financial firms have played their technology cards close the the vest. Currency will spark a culture of collaboration in Chicago’s financial services sector and help us all compete more effectively as we share knowledge and insights for the greater good of Chicago’s growing FinTech community.”
In coordination with the Currency launch announcement, The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the launch of its Financial Innovation Initiative, a multi-pronged project to foster a pro-innovation, balanced regulatory environment that support growth in the financial services community.
"A regulatory environment that emphasizes participation and collaboration distinguishes the State of Illinois and Chicago on a global level,” said Bryan Schneider, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “Establishing a Center of Excellence like Currency, is not only important in extending our leadership, but also provides a great forum to catalyze the dialogue we hope to achieve with our Financial Innovation Initiative."
In addition to public sector and regulatory collaboration, partnering with the academic community is integral to Currency's mission to promote fintech education and innovation. DePaul University, Northwestern University and University of Chicago are part of the initial Academic Working Group to explore best practices for integrating fintech into curricula and research and to increase student interaction with Chicago's fintech community.