BankThink: Bankers Need to Engage on CBDCs Before it’s Too Late
While the debate over whether the U.S. should create its own central bank digital currency continues, the ultimate conclusion is already clear — like it or not, a U.S. digital dollar is coming. If you're a banker, particularly a community banker, this should scare the hell out of you. Because depending on how the digital dollar is created, it could create serious competition for federally insured deposits, drying up the primary source of funding for banks. So far, bankers have been largely absent from this debate, understandably distracted by the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and other policy fights. There is also a sense that while the issue is important, there is plenty of time to worry about it later. But there is growing pressure for regulators and Congress to respond quickly because the U.S. is already behind internationally in the discussion over CBDCs. That’s in part due to China, which has rolled out a digital version of the yuan in several provinces. European countries are also experimenting with CBDCs. This dynamic will likely force policymakers to act sooner than most bankers expect.