INSIKT Changes Name to Aura

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb 12, 2019–INSIKT, a mission-driven financial technology company that offers affordable loans to …

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb 12, 2019–INSIKT, a mission-driven financial technology company that offers affordable loans to hard-working families, today announced that it has changed its name to Aura to expand its focus on creating greater financial health, independence and economic stability for millions in America.

“Today, I am excited to share that INSIKT has undergone an extraordinary transformation that starts with a bold new name,” said James Gutierrez, CEO and Founder of Aura. “Aura, like your credit score, may seem invisible, but it matters a lot. Today, we commit to making the seemingly invisible role of credit, approachable, visible, clear, transparent, easy to understand and fair for all. Most financial institutions see borrowers as a number, a risk, a reflection of the past. This says nothing about a borrowers’ potential and where they can go. The difference for us — we see their Aura, not just their credit score. We see them, their potential, and their dreams.”

Since its launch in 2014, INSIKT has provided more than $390 million in affordable, credit-building loans to 320,000 borrowers at over 1,200 partner locations using technology that enables local businesses to administer credit applications.

Now, Aura will build on this success by adding a new consumer product experience that will further empower borrowers and put them on the road to financial security. Recognizing that most of its customers do not know what their credit score is or how much they should save on each paycheck, Aura will provide its borrowers with free credit scores, a summary of what’s in their credit report, and a personalized budget, including expenses, DTI and tips for savings.

Additionally, Aura is launching a new customer loyalty program, known as “Aura Hearts” that offers benefits to borrowers who pay on time such as larger future loans, lower rates, and faster pre-approvals.

“We have worked to ensure Aura makes managing debt a launch-point for personal independence,” said Gutierrez. “We want everyone to see and understand their financial history, reduce fear around personal finance in the communities we serve, and increase borrowers’ ability to navigate the financial system. Aura is here to make sure that borrowers have a true partner on their financial journey.”

Aura’s new website is located at www.myaura.com.

About Aura:

Aura is a technology-powered, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small, affordable loans to working families in America. Aura’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities by providing empowering financial services to America’s 66-million underbanked and unbanked. Aura has pioneered a cloud-based lending technology that enables trusted local businesses to submit credit applications for centralized review and approval by its proprietary scoring algorithms.

Currently available in nearly 1,200 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, Aura has provided hundreds of thousands of credit-building, responsible loans to low-income households since launching in 2014. Aura was founded in 2012 by James Gutierrez, Kevin Kang, and Randy Wong. All three founders helped create and scale Oportun, a CDFI and one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Most Genius Companies in 2018.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190212005204/en/

Scott Gerber | 408.202.4255 |scott@vrge.us

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: OTHER CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY DATA MANAGEMENT INTERNET SOFTWARE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BANKING FINANCE CONSUMER

SOURCE: Aura

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 02/12/2019 06:00 AM/DISC: 02/12/2019 06:01 AM

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INSIKT Closes $45 Million Social Bond Issuance Led by WebBank

“At WebBank, we work with innovative financial technology companies like INSIKT to make lending more inclusive and accessible in our nation,” said …

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb 7, 2019–INSIKT, a technology powered CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) disrupting the predatory lending industry, completed a $45 million private social bond issuance as part of its mission to accelerate financial inclusion and invest capital into low-income communities in America.

This marked INSIKT’s first securitization in 2019 backed by 33,805 responsible, credit-building loans. In 2018, INSIKT completed eight social bond issuances, for a total of $210 million. This latest placement brings INSIKT’s total capital raised to $298 million over 12 social bond issuances since 2017 which have helped fund 242,752 loans to hard-working families.

Millions of working families in America lack access to safe and affordable loans and are vulnerable to predatory lenders. Working with financial institutions like WebBank, INSIKT is able to provide borrowers with affordable loans that have saved them hundreds of millions of dollars in additional fees and interest by avoiding predatory options.

“At WebBank, we work with innovative financial technology companies like INSIKT to make lending more inclusive and accessible in our nation,” said Jason Lloyd, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Business Development. “Our investment in INSIKT’s social bonds has provided us compelling economic returns while helping INSIKT provide loans to working-families in America. This will help open doors of opportunity to hard working consumers and create new paths to financial security.”

“It has been a privilege working with WebBank as an investor in our social bonds since early 2018,” said James Gutierrez, CEO and Founder of INSIKT. “WebBank is leading the way in forging partnerships that are modernizing the ways in which borrowers obtain safe and affordable loans. Their latest investment will help INSIKT serve more working families across America and further our mission of expanding access to capital in low-income communities.”

About WebBank

WebBank is an FDIC insured, state-chartered industrial bank headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was organized under the laws of the State of Utah in 1997 and operates under federal banking law. Through its industrial bank charter, WebBank offers a wide variety of products either directly to its consumer customers via savings accounts and time deposits, or through our Strategic Partnerships, providing niche financing solutions to businesses and consumers.

About INSIKT:

INSIKT is a technology-powered, CDFI that provides small, affordable loans to working families in America. INSIKT’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities by providing empowering financial services to America’s 66-million underbanked and unbanked. INSIKT has pioneered a cloud-based lending technology that enables trusted local businesses to submit credit applications for centralized review and approval by its proprietary scoring algorithms. Currently available in nearly 1,200 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, INSIKT has provided hundreds of thousands of credit-building, responsible loans to low-income households since launching in 2014. We’re proud that 67% percent of INSIKT’s repeat customers grow their credit score by an average of 312 points from their first to second loan. By leveraging technology to reach more geographies and working families across America, INSIKT aims to end reliance on the payday loan industry’s 23,000 store footprint. INSIKT was founded in 2012 by James Gutierrez, Kevin Kang, and Randy Wong. All three founders helped create and scale Oportun, a CDFI and one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Most Genius Companies in 2018.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190207005230/en/

CONTACT: INSIKT

Heather Barrett

hbarrett@insikt.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TECHNOLOGY DATA MANAGEMENT INTERNET SOFTWARE SMALL BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BANKING FINANCE

SOURCE: INSIKT

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 02/07/2019 06:00 AM/DISC: 02/07/2019 06:01 AM

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Financing an equitable, sharing city

The attempts so far to create alternative systems of exchange, like community currencies, are generally small or specialized, but they can have …

Today we constantly hear grievances about there not being enough money for this or that beneficial cause. But at the same time, many people have huge privately managed assets that finance all kinds of ventures through retirement investments — some of which they would probably not wish to support. We often keep these funds out of fear for our long-term security.

What would happen if people mobilized these vast assets in shared projects to create a better and more stable future in their own communities? By pooling citizens’ wealth for community purposes rather than simply for the highest returns, money and credit can be made much more abundant to ordinary people. Finance enables communities to flourish, to pool their commonwealth, to share and thereby reduce risk, and to achieve objectives that individuals cannot achieve alone.

The tools to implement this imagined future already exist. Finance of this kind funds projects that do not offer quick returns on investment, but are immensely important for our continued well-being and the stability of natural ecosystems. Needs-oriented finance takes public needs seriously, which also means that benefits and risks are shared equitably. This is only possible if all people involved share in the ownership, responsibility and decision-making.

The case studies in this chapter present solutions to realize this vision of shared finance in cities. The selected cases are meant to cover the main actors at the level of the city — that is, citizens, businesses, financial institutions and the local government. Furthermore, we have tried to cover many aspects of finance — including the creation of money, savings and investments, and mutual security.

So let us start with what citizens can do.

First, citizens can create means of exchange that take on some of the functions of money, and determine the rules governing their circulation. Generally, central and private banks enjoy the privilege of creating money, which is one of the factors leading to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few. The attempts so far to create alternative systems of exchange, like community currencies, are generally small or specialized, but they can have significant benefits for the participants and demonstrate how we might redesign the institution of money on a large scale.

Second, citizens can use their money to invest in enterprises they wish to support, providing mutual benefits to the entire community. The investment fund for local sustainable food production in Freiburg, Germany, and civic crowdfunding by Spacehive in the U.K. both focus on investment. The first example uses money as savings, while the other seeks only nonfinancial returns on investments.

Third, citizens can pool their money as well as their time, skills, ideas, and knowledge in order to provide mutual financial security. Sickness and old age are two of the main financial risk factors we all face. The Fureai Kippu time banks in Japan address these issues. It is a case where a successful social welfare system has been established to ensure financial security in case of illness and old age.

What can businesses do? They can provide mutual credit as a means of exchange, and facilitate mutually beneficial trading relationships, both of which tend to increase stability in the face of economic downturns. The WIR Bank of Switzerland, essentially a network of small and medium enterprises, has successfully performed all these business-to-business functions ever since the depression years of the 1930s.

Specialized financial institutions with a well-defined mission for the public or the common good also have an important role to play. They can be public, cooperative or socially driven institutions.

Cooperative financial institutions are owned by the people or institutions that rely on their services, which ensures accountability to the people they serve. As a particularly successful example, we have featured the Self-Help Credit Union of North Carolina. It is part of a broader category of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the United States, which have as their mission to promote economic opportunity among minority and other disadvantaged communities. Customer-owned and cooperative banks play an important role in many other countries as well, and generally provide financial services at reasonable cost, while investing primarily in the local economy.

Socially driven financial institutions devoted to the common good can also follow a variety of other institutional models, belonging to foundations, trusts, or other institutions. A number of such banks have come together to form the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. We have featured a bank that does not belong to this alliance, but is remarkable for the local economic development work it is promoting in Brazil and the local currency it has launched: Banco Palmas. It follows a hybrid ownership model, involving the local communities and the non-profit organization Instituto Palmas.

How can local governments support shared finance? They can establish policy goals to support those building blocks of shared finance that already exist in a place and help them grow, to help establish new tools, and to help create mutually supportive connections. A local government can support its own citizens’ efforts in alternative finance. Cities can even set up or support their own financial institutions, as North Dakota has done. Although this is strictly speaking a state — and not a city — policy, it should be noted that North Dakota has a population of only around 700,000 people, which is easily exceeded by the population of many metropolitan areas. This means that many cities would be able to start banks that would have at least as much business and profit potential as the Bank of North Dakota.

… It would be difficult to find a single place where all these types of institutions flourish. Which city in the world will be the first to develop a complete network of institutions, policies and practices to finance the emergence of a truly sustainable economy that supports the aspirations of all its people? This would be a challenge worthy of a Sharing City.

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INSIKT Appoints Oscar Gonzales to Lead Government & Community Relations Program

SAN FRANCISCO, June 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — INSIKT, a CDFI certified fintech disrupting the predatory lending industry with loans that help low …

Earlier this year, the US Treasury Department awarded the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification to Lendify, INSIKT’s white label lending service. With that federal recognition, Gonzales looks to expand INSIKT’s public-private partnership to improve the lives and financial health of low-income households. He will extend INSIKT’s Washington, DC presence and work closely with state-level lawmakers, policy makers and regulators to solve for the “last mile” problem in financial services; providing access to affordable and rigorously underwritten capital for the 66 million underbanked and unbanked Americans. INSIKT’s technology and new business model solves for this, combatting the evils of predatory lenders.

“I joined INSIKT because we have the potential to bridge the massive gap between what our government and private enterprise can do to help hardworking, lower-income communities across the country. But it only happens with the right collaboration,” said Gonzales. “My wife Christine is the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, and his words, ‘we don’t need perfect political systems; we need perfect participation,’ are particularly apt today. By establishing greater cooperation between our public officials, community leaders, and financial institutions and technology companies, we can help so many Americans get on a path to financial success.” More of Oscar Gonzales’ story can be read here.

Gonzales has a long track record of working at the federal and state level to promote upward mobility and economic justice in the U.S. Prior to INSIKT, he served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Executive Director in California where he oversaw Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs across 58 counties. Gonzales managed 27 USDA field offices across California, the largest agricultural producing state. His government background includes working as Deputy Chief of Staff for USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and for top California leaders — Governor Davis, Assembly Speaker Villaraigosa, and Senate Majority Leader Romero.

Prior to working in government and politics, Gonzales worked with various nonprofit organizations, including the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Building Up Los Angeles, Corporation for National Service, California Community College Foundation, National Hispanic Environmental Council, East Los Angeles Residents Association, and the UFW Foundation. His wife Christine Chavez works at USDA as a public affairs officer and is active on civil rights issues.

About INSIKT

INSIKT’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities and end reliance on predatory lenders by providing affordable credit to the underserved in America. Loans from Lendify, a CDFI, are intentionally designed to help borrowers succeed at repayment and build good credit. Sixty-seven percent of its repeat customers grew their credit score by an average of 312 points when applying for a second loan. Currently available in more than 700 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, INSIKT has provided hundreds of thousands of loans to low-income households since launching in 2014.

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/insikt-appoints-oscar-gonzales-to-lead-government–community-relations-program-300663812.html

SOURCE INSIKT

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Fintech startup CNote helps create over 1000 jobs across America in less than one year

By parking your extra cash with this fintech startup you can earn 2.5% on your savings while driving economic opportunity across the United States. April 9, 2018 // San Francisco, CA //​ ​CNote​, is proud to announce that in just 10 months, its members have helped to create or maintain more than …

By parking your extra cash with this fintech startup you can earn 2.5% on your savings while driving economic opportunity across the United States.

April 9, 2018 // San Francisco, CA //​ ​CNote​, is proud to announce that in just 10 months, its members have helped to create or maintain more than 1,000 jobs across America. CNote helps increase economic opportunity by investing in federally-certified community lenders that fund female and minority entrepreneurs, affordable housing, and other community development projects across the country.

After launching the first of its kind impact savings product to all investors on September 27, 2017, CNote is excited to highlight the positive impact all those new investment dollars have had on local communities.

“We’re a fintech company that measures performance in more ways than total active users, profits, or AUM. We fundamentally believe that you can create financial products that offer a competitive return and build a more inclusive economy for everyone.” Catherine Berman, CEO and Co-Founder of CNote said. She added that, “Our users value seeing the impact their money is having on communities across the country, from the small business success stories we share to seeing the number of jobs that their individual investments helped create.”

CNote’s mission is to create a more inclusive financial system by increasing access to capital for financially underserved communities. The 1,000 jobs created is just one example of the economic impact an investment in CNote can have. Every dollar invested with CNote is deployed with community lenders that were created to address a lack of financial services and opportunity for underbanked communities across America.

Interested CNote users can learn more about the platform at ​www.mycnote.com​.

About CNote

Founded in 2016 by Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava, CNote is a financial platform for socially-conscious savers and investors. The company’s flagship product offers a 2.5% return on savings — and 100% social impact — by tapping into Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which exist to help finance underserved small business owners. In 2017, CNote was selected as Fintech Category Winner at South by Southwest, and acknowledged by CB Insights as one of the “most ground-breaking early-stage startups.”. The venture-backed fintech company currently operates with a team of 10 out of Oakland, California.

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