New banks

‘Fintechs need to do a better job of talking about how we’re at the forefront of trust and security’: 5 questions with MoneyLion’s CEO Dee Choubey

  • MoneyLion's revenue increased 34% to $93.7 million in Q1 2023 from $70 million in Q1 2022.
  • Tearsheet spoke with MoneyLion's Dee Choubey about the increased revenue for the quarter, the advancing role of AI in banking, and how the banking crisis is affecting fintechs.

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‘Fintechs need to do a better job of talking about how we’re at the forefront of trust and security’: 5 questions with MoneyLion’s CEO Dee Choubey

MoneyLion reported its financial results for Q1 2023 last week.

The neobank delivered above expectations results – an increase on the top line but underwhelming GAAP net income.

A vertical bar chart showing MoneyLion's Adjusted EBITDA of $7.3 million for Q1 2023
Source: MoneyLion
  • Revenue increased 34% y-o-y to $93.7 million in Q1 2023 from $70 million in Q1 2022
  • Adjusted Revenue increased 34% y-o-y to $89 million from $66.5 million in the same period year prior
  • Net loss of $9.2 million for Q1 2023 vs. a net loss of $10 million in Q1 2022
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $7.3 million for Q1 2023 compared to $24.8 million in Q1 2022
  • New customers added in Q1 2023 were 1.3 million, which grew total customers 102% y-o-y to 7.8 million

I spoke with Dee Choubey, co-founder and CEO of MoneyLion, about what strategies led to a significant increase in revenue for the quarter, the advancing role of AI in banking, and how the banking crisis is affecting fintechs.

What factors contributed to MoneyLion's increased revenue in Q1 2023?

Dee Choubey: Our strategy is to deliver in a way that drives both growth and positive unit economics and we are continuously making optimizations across our organization that are increasing profitability. In addition, our AI-powered risk models are optimizing credit performance and active portfolio management.

Our deliberate investments in our ecosystem over the last two years, including the marketplace and media assets, position our business for low-cost customer acquisition and high consumer LTV through greater engagement and cross-sell over time, which drives leading unit economics throughout macroeconomic cycles.

We are recognizing tremendous efficiencies and differentiated customer acquisition, retention, and monetization through our proprietary consumer and enterprise ecosystem. Specifically; conversion and product adoption are driving record customer revenue. And our two-sided enterprise marketplace engine is driving disruptive growth.

And finally, to ensure we balance innovation and growth with a long-term drive towards strong and consistent margins - this has been a relentless pursuit for us, driving innovation and building real value, in the face of major market disruptions. We’re also managing our balance sheet strategically and will continue executing as we're early in our evolution as a public company.

How is consumer behavior changing in 2023?

Dee Choubey: As of right now, our consumer base is people trying to make the right decision to take the next step in their financial journey. We're seeing massive demand for high-yield savings, especially now in the digital world.

With that, we're seeing less speculative kinds of investing than we did in the pandemic era or even a year ago. But overall we are seeing more responsible financial behavior, which is good to see from a safety perspective.

We speak about this in terms of "times of need" - where people are going to look to save or may need additional wellness help, and improved credit score - and "times of excess" - where there's more interest in investing, crypto, and things of that nature - for the consumer. 

How can AI’s progression impact banking? 

Dee Choubey: Of course, AI is a world-changing iPhone-like moment. For our company, AI and machine learning have been key to powering search, comparison, and recommendation for financial services, to match consumers with the financial products and services they need -- our embedded finance tech enables any company to integrate where consumers need it.

It’s also important to mention APIs as a key enabler of this ability for companies and technologies to work together digitally, which has really emerged over the last decade, powering things like open banking and embedded finance, from companies like ours and Plaid.

AI is going to completely transform the entire financial products and services industry.

Will MoneyLion integrate generative AI in its products and services in the future?

Dee Choubey: When I started MoneyLion with my co-founders in 2013, our first models were AI-backed predictive models on when consumers will have money and when they’ll run out of money, and from there, we’ve created a lending apparatus around that.

We have the ability to now use ChatGPT to do things like onboard new engineers faster and ideate content with us and can provide other services and insights better than ever before, internally and externally. We have been working with AI for almost a decade, and we are actively working with the tech in all areas of our business.

How is the banking crisis affecting fintechs and bank-fintech partnerships at large?

Dee Choubey: Of course, fintech is impacted. It’s important for fintechs to continue building -- innovating and executing -- and to be prepared to adapt or disrupt in such a challenging macro-environment.

There have been articles that fintech is lightly regulated compared to traditional financial services. This is completely untrue – fintech is heavily regulated, which can be seen in a Financial Technology Association (FTA) report.

We feel that, if anything, we can learn that fintechs need to do a better job of talking about how we’re at the forefront of trust and security, not the backseat. The onus is on us to not only demonstrate it but to talk about it openly in order to keep and gain that trust.

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