A new coalition composed of fintech companies such as Monzo and Dosh, have announced that they will work together to actively fight inequality within the industry and in society. The core idea is the belief that as leaders, they can, should, and must do more to support minority and underserved communities.
Spearheaded by Betterment, the coalition includes the following companies: Cadre, Carver Edison, Credit Karma, Divvy Homes, Dosh, Earnest, Fabric, Freedom Financial Network, Jetty, Kindur, Marqeta, MoneyLion, Monzo, Nova Credit, Rhino, SoFi, Spruce, Stash, Tally, and Varo. There will be opportunities for other fintech companies to join in the future.
Together, The Fintech Equality Coalition will establish a steering committee along with working groups dedicated to various functions including recruiting, HR, product, design, engineering, and marketing. The groups will meet quarterly to share best practices and identify initiatives to work on together. The Coalition will also publish an annual report that includes diversity data from the fintech industry and report on the progress being made from the Coalition’s work.
“Change is needed across the board and that includes our own industry. If we aren’t changing these inequalities, then we’re just perpetuating them,” says Jon Stein, CEO of Betterment. “Creating this coalition is the first of many steps needed to enact real and much-needed change.”
As society evolves, with it there becomes an expectation for companies of all sizes to be a force for good in the world. There is a laser focus on Finance and Banking to change quickly, and address the impact that previous practices have had on the world. Newer companies in the space, fintechs, that harness a lack of baggage from oldline banks are able to address these issues with a clean slate. It is something that has been gaining steam from start-ups to venture capital funds, especially as the next generation of investors gives new weight to its importance. As a result, fintechs are seizing the opportunity to build important policies around Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) into their business right from the earlier stages of their companies.
“I know firsthand how critically important it is that we seize this moment of social awakening to implement long-term, systemic change that creates access rather than obstacles,” says Ryan Williams, co-founder, and CEO of Cadre. “Those of us in the financial services technology industry have a special understanding that social and economic justice go hand-in-hand, and I’m pleased to join the Fintech Equality Coalition’s collective commitment to lead the way with scalable change and solutions. These initial efforts are the first steps on the long and essential journey towards economic equity for all.”
The coalition will function as a working group to actively fight inequality both within the fintech industry as well as in society. The focus of companies in the coalition goes beyond making diverse hires, they are looking at their day-to-day business and considering D&I in their products and go-to-market strategies. This means the companies will both enhance access to the financial services provided by each company within the coalition, as well as create job and career advancement opportunities for the black community. The coalition believes that as leaders, they must build on the progress in society and focus on making D&I a standard while also considering all stakeholders.
The group sites set of critical issues and it plans to enact the necessary changes and solutions to address each of the following:
The Black community is underserved by financial services: it will find opportunities in the form of partnerships, education, and outreach to make sure the value provided by our products and services is accessible. When hiring new vendors, it will engage and consider Black-owned businesses.
There are Black voices and issues in the Fintech industry that should be but are not currently amplified: It will host, sponsor, and participate in forums and events that feature Black speakers, as well as address financial topics specific to the Black community. In addition, member companies will not participate in forums or events without diverse speaker lineups.
Black employees and Black-owned businesses are underrepresented in the tech community, including at many member companies. They will advance recruiting outreach across departments and seniority levels, enhance professional development programs, and augment interviewing practices to mitigate potential bias throughout candidate assessment.
The Black community is underrepresented in leadership roles, including at many member companies. They will enhance programs already in place to ensure they are recruiting, retaining, mentoring, and growing Black team members.
The coalition’s members have made it clear that “promises are meaningless without accountability.” They are taking a long-term view of these issues and will be transparent about their plans and provide regular updates on their progress toward these commitments. This mirrors a general shift in the capital markets led by the CEO Investor Forum that’s working to reframe the capital markets and move companies away from a focus on short-term results to instead create long-term plans with a 3-5 year horizon and report on their progress.
“Earnest, along with the impressive list of fintechs in this coalition, understand the importance that diverse opinions and experiences play in shaping our industry for the better,” says Susan Ehrlich, chief executive officer of Earnest.