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‘No knee-jerk reactions’: How LendUp quickly adapted to be resilient during the pandemic

  • Anu Shultes is a cancer survivor with 25 years experience in financial services.
  • She brings her own personal resilience to the challenges her firm faced during the pandemic.
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‘No knee-jerk reactions’: How LendUp quickly adapted to be resilient during the pandemic

When word of the growing pandemic first reached Anu Shultes in early March, the CEO of LendUp was at a conference in Seattle. Only half of the participants showed up that day and by the next, another half disappeared.

“It was sort of a early window into how serious this could be,” she told attendees at Tearsheet’s Resilience Conference in June. “It was just sort of a shock to our system. I came back home and huddled with my executive team. I said, you know, this could get bad.” The lender for underserved consumers kicked off a process to shift its workforce to their homes.

After getting her employees up and running from home, Shultes turned her attention to the business to determine how to react to COVID-19. LendUp needed to figure out how its customers, who generally earn $45,000 to $50,000 a year, would fare during lockdown and project that out into the future. These customers generally have a hard time finding $250 for a blown tire, so an extended downturn could be disastrous for their financial well-being.

“My tendency in life is to not have any jerk reactions,” she said. “So what I said was, ‘Let’s take stock of what’s happening.’ We got through shelter in place. We made sure everybody’s able to log in and our agents are able to take calls. You know, the basics.” Shultes and her team then started to look at the external factors, what’s happening outside, with employment and the widespread panic in the economy. She talked to board members and instituted daily executive meetings.


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