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The ‘art and science’ of resilience: How FIs and fintech startups are rebuilding

  • The pandemic will likely cause lasting changes in the way FIs and startups organize themselves.
  • Participants saw resilience through the lenses of adaptability and flexibility, new product offerings and personalization opportunities for customers.
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The ‘art and science’ of resilience: How FIs and fintech startups are rebuilding

In early March, as LendUp CEO Anu Shultes returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area from a fintech conference in Seattle, she began to come to terms with the extent to which the coronavirus would impact her company’s business.

“[Seattle] was an early epicenter. It was an early window into how serious this could be,” said Shultes, at the Tearsheet Resilience Conference. “I was on the ground in Seattle one day of the conference, and by the second day, only half the people showed up. I came back home and there had been four deaths that night.”

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Shultes said her team began to take stock of how her company, a lender for credit-challenged customers who typically earn between $45,000 and $50,000 a year, would need to adapt. LendUp needed to move quickly, with a shelter-in-place order being imposed in her jurisdiction. It became apparent that on top of moving the team to remote status, the company would need to consider how it could serve its financially strained customers.

“They have a bank account, but they have no access to any kind of [credit] products,” remarked Shultes. “They have zero in savings, so when they have a mild shock, we end up being the provider for them.”

 


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