Betterment, SoFi, and Others Form FinTech Equality Coalition
Over the past few months, conversations about race and equality have permeated throughout the nation. Now, in an effort to bring these issues to light in the financial technologies community and seek reform, several startups have signed-up to form the FinTech Equality Coalition.
The Coalition is being spearheaded by the robo-advisor Betterment but other founding members amount to a “who’s who” of FinTech. This includes real estate investment platform Cadre, free credit score site Credit Karma, cashback app Dosh, lender turned neobank SoFi, and neobank turned real bank Varo among many others. Additionally, the Coalition says that other companies will have the opportunity to join in the future.
In a statement, the FinTech Equality Coalition laid out a number of issues and resolutions that pertain to the world of finance and to the financial technology community specifically. For example, noting how the Black community is underserved when it comes to financial services, the Coalition promises to look for partnerships and outreach opportunities that help ensure that their products remain accessible. Elsewhere, the statement goes on to pledge to advance recruiting outreach in order to hire, mentor, and grow Black team members. Additionally, in the interest of accountability, each participating company will publish its initial plans and follow up with regular progress reports.
Commenting on the Coalition and its initiative, Cadre co-founder and CEO Ryan Williams said, “I know firsthand how critically important it is that we seize this moment of social awakening to implement long-term, systemic change that creates access rather than obstacles. Those of us in the financial services technology industry have a special understanding that social and economic justice go hand-in-hand, and I’m pleased to join the Fintech Equality Coalition’s collective commitment to lead the way with scalable change and solutions.” He added, “These initial efforts are the first steps on the long and essential journey towards economic equity for all.” Betterment CEO Jon Stein also spoke to the intent behind the Coalition’s formation, stating, “Change is needed across the board and that includes our own industry. If we aren’t changing these inequalities, then we’re just perpetuating them. Creating this coalition is the first of many steps needed to enact real, and much-needed change.”
Notably, this isn’t the first time that several FinTechs have come together to self-regulate their industry. Take, for example, when companies such as LendingClub, Funding Circle, and others joined to form the Responsible Business Lending Coalition. Obviously the focus of the FinTech Equality Coalition is quite different but is just as notable and important. With that in mind, as the nation’s conversations on race continue, we can expect to hear more from the Fintech Equality Coalition and their efforts for change.