This week CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated that he was “gravely concerned” by banks' attempts to prevent screen scraping of consumer data by fintechs authorized by consumers collect their financial data. Cordray said, "We believe consumers should be able to access this information and give their permission for third-party companies to access this information as well." The control over consumer financial data is hugely important in terms of optimizing competition within consumer financial services, as well as being able to monetize on such data through things like cross-selling, and predictive default analytics.
It's tempting to frame the issue in terms of who "owns" the data—is it the consumer's, to do with what s/he likes, or the bank's? I don't think that sort of binary property ownership rubric is very helpful when thinking about jointly produced data--the consumer's inputs, but the bank's formatting and maintenance. Instead, I think we should look at consumer financial data from another perspective—how can we maximize its value when viewed from a systemic perspective? This means value maximization from the aggregate perspective of depositories, fintechs, consumers, and regulators. It does not get into the distributional question about who gets what slice of that pie; I’ll leave that for Kaldor and Hicks (or at least another blog post that may or may not happen).