FintekNews is pleased to feature our sixth installment in our weekly feature “3 Questions With…”. Each week we profile a different fintech thought leader, and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our readers, in their vernacular. This week, we’d like you to meet Steve Ely, CEO of credit bureau eCredable, which focuses on “credit invisibles” who cannot be effectively credit scored using traditional scoring models.
How did you personally become involved in fintech?
I have been involved with FinTech since the early 90’s, when I worked for Sybase in San Francisco. Sybase was a pioneer in client/server database technology, and played a pivotal role in getting the capital markets to adopt our database technology for competitive advantage. This provided me with a solid foundation of how technology can benefit financial institutions of all sizes, and led to my involvement of participating in the growth of internet banking with S1.
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
eCredable is a consumer-friendly credit bureau that provides a bridge-to-credit for any consumer who desires to build a credit score they can use to qualify for financial services from mainstream providers. People with no credit history can use their payment history for how they pay everyday bills like rent, mobile phone, utilities, and insurance to create an AMP Credit Score, used by banks like BBVA Compass Bank to underwrite an unsecured credit card. The consumer’s payments are reported to the three major credit bureaus, resulting in a FICO Score being created, which helps the consumer participate in the mainstream financial ecosystem.
What has been the biggest success in your firm to date?
Traditional credit bureaus are built on aggregating large sources of data that can be compiled into reports and scores and sold to companies. This B2B model is well understood, and allows the credit bureau to serve consumers as a by-product of their core business. We are the mirror image of this business model, and engage directly with consumers to acquire payment history regarding their track record for making on-time payments. This feeds our credit scoring model, which allows lenders to use our credit score in underwriting. Our B2C model puts the consumer in control of the “credit building” process, which is very appealing to today’s empowered consumer.
Convincing a lender (e.g. bank or credit union) to make underwriting decisions based on a credit score with a limited track record requires they take a leap of faith. BBVA Compass Bank evaluated every aspect of our business, and determined our approach to helping them qualify consumers with no traditional credit history was indeed viable. We spent months working with Legal, Risk, Compliance, IT, and Marketing to allow a consumer to join eCredable and apply for a credit card completely online and without any human intervention. Kudos to BBVA Compass Bank for making this invesment in time and resources to help more consumers gain access to affordable financial services.
Steve Ely is CEO of eCredable, a consumer-friendly Credit Reporting Agency focused on the 60 million adults considered “financially underserved”. eCredable connects these consumers to lenders based on a credit score derived from payments for rent, utilities, mobile phone, and insurance.