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I am saddened today to learn that MX co-founder and CTO Brandon Dewitt passed away after a five-year battle with cancer. I’ve always enjoyed competing in the marketplace, but I’ve enjoyed the people much more. At Finicity, we have known Brandon for a long time. We enjoyed talking with him about his unique entrepreneurial ideas and passion for helping others through financial inclusion.

His role as a member of the Silicon Slopes community and his impact, not only on MX but on emerging founders and startups, truly shows how much he cared about others. He was well-known for his love of the MX team and their goals and dreams. Brandon clearly demonstrated a desire to help people easily understand and manage their finances so they could meet their goals and focus on the important things in life. We also now see that he modeled perseverance, determination and an example of helping others all while he was in his own major battle.

As he said, “I feel it’s crucial that those in a position of experience and success turn around and pay it forward to those who are just starting out―just like we all once were.”

We are genuinely sorry for the loss. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and everyone at MX in this time of grief.

In lieu of flowers, MX has asked that people donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For donations made in Brandon’s name, MX will be matching all donations dollar-for-dollar. To donate, visit Gift Funds: Brandon Dewitt – Gift Funds for St. Jude.

I am saddened today at the news of the passing of Jud Bergman and his wife Mary Miller-Bergman in a tragic car accident in San Francisco. 

Jud was an early innovator in the consumer-permissioned financial data space and helped build Envestnet into what it is today serving thousands of financial advisors and millions of consumers. He was committed to a vision of delivering better intelligence to consumers to improve their lives and provide better outcomes. Jud’s passion and zest for life will be greatly missed by all who had the opportunity to associate with him and the company he founded.

At Finicity, we had the opportunity to work with Jud on industry-wide initiatives such as the Financial Data Exchange to help provide a better future for consumers and their data. We are truly sorry for the loss and our heartfelt condolences and prayers go to his family, friends and everyone at Envestnet in this time of grief.

From becoming first-time homeowners to securing a new set of wheels, credit plays an important role in helping all of us live out our dreams. And the new UltraFICO™ Score from Finicity, Experian and FICO, which empowers borrowers to build and improve their credit scores, is designed to turn a few more of those dreams into reality.

How it works

Credit scores rely on credit history, but don’t take into account other important factors of your financial profile – until now. With UltraFICO, borrowers have the option of sharing more information with lenders than ever before. Although credit scores typically consist of five specific elements, UltraFICO opens the door for a whole host of new data – including how you manage or balance your checkings, savings and money market accounts.

By permissioning the use of these data sources, borrowers can offer greater insight into their financial responsibility. Instead of assuming loan candidacy based solely on credit history, lenders can leverage this additional financial information to better inform credit decisioning.

Perhaps most importantly, we as consumers have unprecedented transparency into the data that is being used. Any confusion over what data is being used to recalculate a credit score will quickly become a thing of the past.

Who it helps

For consumers who have a subprime credit score – those in that “gray area” right on the cusp – more information means a better shot at obtaining a loan. Given the fact that just one in three millennials own a credit card to begin with, UltraFICO couldn’t come at a better time.

Millions of young adults are out of luck when it comes to borrowing. Among the most prominent reasons is fear of debt. Having seen their parents struggle to escape credit card debt, the last thing most millennials want to do is open a line of credit. Research shows millennials fear credit card debt more than the threat of war – or even death.

With UltraFICO, however, millennials will be better positioned for when they do need credit. Rather than using credit utilization or length of credit history to prove their financial wherewithal, consumers can point to other positive financial attributes – such as maintaining a healthy savings balance or paying a cell phone bill on time every month.

While millennials are prime candidates for UltraFICO, there’s no limit to who can take advantage of this new credit scoring system. For example, older adults who have paid off their mortgages may still want to obtain an auto loan. By giving them the option of sharing data from a well-funded checking or savings account, UltraFICO can help make up for any dips in credit score. It will also benefit other emerging consumers and borrowers who may have had previous negative marks but otherwise have demonstrated positive financial management.

Why it matters

We’ve entered a new era in credit scoring. Once left to wonder if they’d qualify for a loan, consumers are now empowered to provide more information that’s relevant to their credit worthiness. Whether it’s showing you have cash on hand for emergencies or that you’ve avoided a negative balance in your checking account, data that sits outside of the traditional credit scoring model can move consumers one step closer toward reaching their financial goals.

The best part? UltraFICO is just the start of digital innovation in the credit decisioning space. As more ground-breaking ideas emerge, consumers stand to gain greater control over and insight into their financial lives.

For so many people, money is a great source of stress.  As a matter of fact, a whopping 71 percent of Americans worry about having enough to cover their expenses. And this is just one element of finances that occupy people’s time and energy.

For individuals and families, improving their financial wellness and achieving financial goals begins with access to their financial data. By connecting all their financial dots, they can gain insights that help them make smarter financial decisions.

This defines what we at Finicity do every day, which is ensuring superior access to financial data, providing the highest quality data possible, and surfacing intelligent insights for better decisions.

To that end, we’ve entered into a direct data-sharing agreement with USAA which will allow their members to more easily and more securely access and use their financial data in third party apps and services that utilize Finicity’s data aggregation capabilities.  The agreement centers on an application programming interface (API) that provides rapid access to data through a secure tokenized process.

USAA members will have no additional steps in setting up account access in those apps and services they use. The direct API experience will simply redirect them to USAA, where they will provide consent for data access and confirm what data can be shared. This replaces any use of credentials except with the initial direct login to USAA.  Additionally, a USAA dashboard will allow members to manage third-party app access whenever they choose.

Finicity is leading the financial data aggregator market by entering into these data-sharing agreements (see our announcements with Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase).  It’s reflective of our commitment to work together with banks to provide the best data and the best experience for our shared customers.

This agreement will give USAA members greater control of their financial information, and provide a more seamless, secure and transparent exchange of data.  Working together with USAA allows us to collaborate on a secure method for data sharing, while helping USAA fulfill its mission to help facilitate its members’ financial security.

The API integration is expected to roll out to USAA members throughout 2018 and 2019. Check out the statement about the relationship on USAA’s site.

We’re thrilled to be working with USAA on improving member experiences!

Today marks a major landmark for Finicity, and frankly for the lending marketplace.  Today we announced a solution partnership with Experian, the world’s largest credit bureau and a notable market innovator, to reimagine the lending experience through digital transformation.

We live in a time of incredible change, and that change is occurring at a pace never before seen.  And it’s largely driven by the technological leaps we’ve recently experienced.  Cloud.  Mobility.  Big data.  With these advancements we’ve experienced dramatic shifts in how we shop, travel, consume entertainment, and even order pizza.  And yet, the lending space hasn’t experienced quite the same transformation.  Until now.

Finicity has long been in the business of providing financial insights through state-of-the-art aggregation of financial transactions and records. Now we’re applying that know-how to the credit decisioning process, starting with verification of assets and income.  This verification process has remained virtually unchanged for decades.  It’s essentially a paper chase.  Borrowers still have to track down verification of income and assets by compiling a series of financial statements and pay stubs.  I’m pretty sure my parents had to do the same when they bought their first house.

Together with Experian, we will provide a digital experience, integrated into the loan process.  For borrowers, they are now able to harness the power of data by simply permissioning access to transactions in the accounts of their choosing. There’s no more looking for statements, downloading, printing, emailing, scanning, calling, etc.  For lenders, the process is faster, efficient and more accurate.

Becoming more efficient doesn’t only save time, it saves money too. This is a serious consideration for lenders, as the cost of loan origination is rising. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, it jumped from $5,779 in 2013 to $7,845 in 2016. Meanwhile, the net income per loan dropped from $1,772 to $825

Another advantage for lenders? Finicity is currently piloting its asset verification report solution with Fannie Mae as a final step toward receiving Day 1 CertaintyTM report supplier approval. Fannie Mae’s new Day 1 Certainty initiative is a landmark advancement within mortgage lending in which lenders can validate loan application data upfront. The benefits include freedom from representations and warranties, more efficient risk management and a streamlined process.

Our relationship with Experian is really a series of firsts.  We are the first core aggregator to work with a major credit bureau to deliver such solutions and to pilot with Fannie Mae to become an eligible asset verification report supplier for the DU® validation service, part of Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty offerings.  Experian is the first credit bureau digitizing the loan asset and income verification steps of the underwriting process for consumers and lenders – delivered through their Decisioning as a Service platform.

And yet, while there are many firsts, we don’t expect this to be the last you hear from us.  The ability for consumers to use their transaction data and financial records to benefit in the lending process is just beginning.  As we move forward the power of data will, we believe, enhance credit inclusion and improve the financial well being of millions.

Again, we are very excited to work with Experian to meaningfully innovate an industry and empower individuals.