This August at The Fintech Times, we’re looking to highlight some of the amazing things fintechs are doing around the world. We are always hearing about the “latest groundbreaking innovation doing good for the community”, but are these innovations doing good for those in an already advantageous position, or are they helping make the financial world more accessible? To us at The Fintech Times, fintech for good means companies looking to help people who desperately need it, prioritising financial inclusion and sustainability.
As we reach the end of our fintech for good focus, we wanted to not only highlight the views of the industry, but also its experiences. We wanted to hear inspiring B2C success stories, exploring how companies have really been able to help customers while simultaneously pushing their ‘good’ values, like sustainability and inclusion.
Our first article is going to look at businesses that had a eureka moment during the pandemic which saw them change and improve their offerings by both helping the environment and ultimately improving their customers’ experience during and after the pandemic.
The importance of customer confidence during the pandemic saw an investment firm change its operating model, as Steve Sanders, a market strategist, and business advisor at Business Growth Mechanics noted: “WealthTech, a start-up in Australia embarked on a strategy of growth through accumulating the books of business from retiring financial advisors, and providing tech-enabled customer management and regulatory compliance that would strengthen financial wellbeing of clients and grow the book under advice. As pandemic impact sank in, investors were wary of fuelling such a speculative model, despite evidence previously that the investment would directly result in formulaic growth and profit increase. This forced the executive team to rethink how they might change the operating model to incentivise financial advisors to join the business without the attraction of a cash pay-out. This slowed down the profit growth of the start-up, and increased the staff roster, altering the valuation multiple considerably. However, during the pandemic this was seen publicly as a business that focused on doing the right things, for financial well-being of consumer and continuity of that advisory sector. This has become a great example of benefitting from loyalty through doing what is right.”
Provenir and SoFi
For many who had taken on loan obligations, the pandemic proved to be a worrisome time as the ability to pay loans back on time was up in the air – there was no guarantee this would be possible. Kim Minor, senior vice president, global marketing, Provenir, the AI decisioning platform, did to help these loanees: “Following the onset of the covid pandemic and an ever-changing US political landscape, many student loan holders were uncertain about their future and the student loan debt they were carrying. Provenir customer SoFi, whose mission is to help its members achieve financial independence, wanted to help as many qualified customers as possible by providing the opportunity to refinance at rates that were at historic lows, while making sure they were fully informed about all options available to them depending on the types of loans they held.
“The goal of the project was to leverage the most advanced low code/no code technology and agile processes to increase SoFi’s approval rate and refinance as many loans as possible. It was critical that the team meet a 1 August deadline to ensure it could be rolled out nationwide before the school term started.
“SoFi benchmarked the project alongside its previous DevOps effort with its in-school college loan application. As a result of building out new automation and leveraging low code/no code technology enabled processes via the Provenir Decisioning platform, SoFi was able to complete the project and go live in a shorter timeframe (within 10 weeks) with a small but efficient development team (representing a reduction in development resources of 44 per cent) and at a cost that was over 57 per cent less than the cost of development of similar application platforms.
“SoFi’s student loan refinance platform enables consumers to apply in minutes with a more than a 25 per cent improvement in underwriting speed.
“The resulting DevOps efficiencies are enabling SoFi to reallocate the newfound developer resources to focus on other SoFi tech initiatives. Moreover, the new next-gen DevOps approach is empowering the SoFi development team with a new mindset as to what can be accomplished via automation.”
Louise Hill, COO and Co-Founder at GoHenry, a US and UK-based financial technology company, that provides a Visa debit card and financial education app for children aged 6 to 18 explained how its Money Missions product was able to flourish during the pandemic, providing a case study too: “Over the past few years, we have seen massive growth in the ed-tech market as a result of the pandemic and recent projections predict the market will grow by 17.76 per cent by 2026.
“Lockdowns changed our habits, shifted our working patterns and made working and learning from home the ‘new norm’. Children have quickly adapted to online learning through techniques like gamification which has helped drive deeper engagement in e-learning. In response to the growing appetite for ed-tech solutions, and to help close the financial literacy gap, GoHenry launched Money Missions in late 2021.
“Money Missions are fun, interactive in-app lessons designed to build confidence, literacy, and curiosity in 6-18-year-olds. They cover the theory of financial education with easy-to-digest content including quizzes and games through which kids can earn points and badges – all while learning vital money management skills. They are then able to put the skills they learn into practice by using their GoHenry card to make purchases online or in-store and manage their money with the help of a parent or guardian. With 60 million kids and teens in the UK and US currently not adequately served with financial education, this supports GoHenry’s mission to help kids be smart with money.
“Our research, conducted last year, showed that prioritising financial education will add an extra £6.98 billion to the UK economy each year (£202 billion by 2050). The research also demonstrates the impact financial education can have on an individual’s future career prospects. Brits who didn’t receive financial education as a child are now more likely to be unemployed, or earning less, than the national average. These findings clearly demonstrate the positive impact that financial education has on individuals, businesses and the wider UK economy. We have had excellent feedback from our customers about Money Missions, and have been incredibly proud of what we have created to help children and their families.
“Dani, a parent who has been using Money Missions with her 11-year-old daughter says: ‘My daughter Ellie-Rose has already been using GoHenry for over a year and in that time she has learned how to budget and save. She’s loved using Money Missions and particularly enjoys the way it’s like a game with videos and animations. She wants to get the questions right so it makes her listen more and concentrate – she gets a great sense of achievement after completing each mission. She has even taught me a few things about money management and finances.'”