Data firm Plaid announced its latest product Liabilities to provide real-time information about users' financial liabilities. There's a lot of fintech activity around managing, and refinancing consumer debt loads. Liabilities is intended to service and empower these new firms by aggregating loan data in one place.
Student loan debt: Plaid's Liabilities product will initially aggregate data around student loan debt. At the end of 2018, over 44 million people hold $1.6 trillion, which works out to about $30,000 per borrower.
- Plaid intends to introduce more debt categories like credit cards and auto loans over time.
New company formation around the problem: Historic student loan debt loads have set off a whole new industry of financial technology companies that use AI, automation, and behavioral finance to address the problem.
- With Liabilities, fintech developers will have the access they need to help borrowers understand, engage with, and manage their student loan debt.
- The /liabilities/get endpoint will retrieve standardized student loan data across the largest U.S. servicers including Navient, Nelnet, FedLoan, Great Lakes, and many more.
Early use case: Pillar is an early beta tester that provides personalized student loan repayment recommendations and facilitates payments from users’ bank accounts to their loan providers.
- "Pillar relies on Plaid’s Liabilities data to provide personalized student loan repayment recommendations and facilitate payments from users’ bank accounts to their loan providers without leaving the Pillar app," said Jon Levinson, director of product at Pillar. "Liabilities has provided more reliable and comprehensive student loan data than any other solution on the market—in a single, easy-to-use API."
- Developers can use Liabilities to retrieve balances, payment details, account details, current loan terms and loan repayment history
Expanding Plaid's pie: Liabilities expands Plaid's coverage of financial data. Debt levels are at historic highs and much of today's fintech is directed at managing and refinancing existing debt.
- Seeing the whole financial consumer: Plaid's financial data covers both sides of a consumer's balance sheet. Moving into loan data is a similar move to Plaid's recent acquisition of Quovo, a leading aggregator specializing in investment data. In both cases, Plaid provides an increasing amount of financial data around individuals.
- Quicker, lighter deployment: Liabilities should complement Plaid's launch of Direct earlier this year. Direct allows banks and fintech applications to quickly and easily become a data source in the Plaid network.