Inclusion Lenders Make an Impact at LendIt Fintech
What an incredible turnout at this year’s annual LendIt Fintech conference, held in our very own San Francisco! With over 5,000 attendees and hundreds of speakers from the top fintech companies, this year’s conference was packed with the latest topics impacting the industry.
Among the discussions featured over the two-day conference, we were impressed by the number of values-driven companies discussing their mission to target consumers and small businesses who are typically ignored or rejected by standard financial institutions.
There was much evidence that the industry is moving toward more innovative ways to address pressing financial issues in the US, such as providing better credit management tools and credit access to typically underserved populations. Here are a few examples:
Upgrade, winner of the Emerging Lending Platform of the Year award, is combining a personal loan with free credit monitoring and education to help people stay on track with their credit. Even if a customer’s application for a loan is denied, Upgrade will offer support to help them improve their credit so that they can be approved in the future.
Opportunity Fund, the winner of Excellence in Financial Inclusion award, has been around since 1994 and today leads the way in setting the standard for responsible microfinancing. Providing responsible loans and business advising for small business around the nation, Opportunity Fund helps roughly 5,500 small businesses a year.
Ascent, an innovator in student loans, is working to address the challenges often faced by potential students: no credit, no income, and no cosigner. With the Ascent Independent Loan, students are assessed on their future earning potential, academic progress, and other factors not normally considered by loan institutions.
Climb has a unique approach to student loans by partnering with schools striving to improve the earning potential of their students after graduation. Repayments are made based on a student’s earnings and increase proportionally as their income grows.
Experian, FICO, & Finicity have come together to introduce the UltraFICO Score. This is primarily designed to benefit consumers with weak or nonexistent credit histories. Now they can add payment information outside of typical credit sources (e.g., rent and utility payments) to their credit assessment data.
Ellevest is a robo-advisor that’s focused on getting more women investing. The company tailors its recommendations to a woman’s personal financial and lifestyle profile. At the conference, Ellevest co-founder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck was a standout keynote speaker, discussing her crusade to make it easier and more comfortable for women to be investors.
As these companies and many more continue the hard work of building top-notch tech to help further inclusive lending, getting the word out to those who benefit the most is the next hurdle. We’re proud to have served many of these companies by getting their offerings to prospects through the mail.
More than half of our clients at Gunderson Direct are financial and fintech companies. We not only attend LendIt Fintech to grow our knowledge base, but strive to support the conference and its attendees. This year we sponsored a meeting space where more than 70 meetings were held over two days. We’re looking forward to next year’s LendIt Fintech conference!