Finicity is part of the Mastercard family. Our open banking platform provides the financial data you need.

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.

Consumers can leverage their financial data to improve their financial health, gain access to financial services, and enhance control over their finances. In order to benefit from these financial outcomes, consumers provide access to their financial data to end users through data access providers. If data access providers truly want to empower consumers, they must protect that data and ensure that control of the data remains firmly in the hands of the consumer. And a commitment to protect data in word only isn’t enough. 

Data access providers that share financial data they have assembled for the purpose of lending, insurance, and employment, must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Operating as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) is the best way to ensure a consumer-first lending approach that both protects and empowers borrowers. Anything less is just words.

Let’s look at this in greater detail. 

The FCRA and Financial Data Sharing

The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers by establishing and protecting the right for individuals to dispute inaccurate data in consumer reports and get those errors fixed. In order to maintain transparency and ensure accuracy, the Act also requires that consumers have access at any time to any personal financial data provided for credit or insurance eligibility decisioning. 

While FCRA has historically applied to credit bureaus and certain specialty CRAs, like tenant screening and medical information companies, the Act has a broad scope of coverage and is not limited to traditional credit reporting or a narrow set of CRAs. Third-party data access providers that power financial data permissioning between lenders and consumers use a different type of data sharing model for which FCRA compliance provides an equally critical component of protecting consumers when they access credit and other financial services.

As it stands, the FCRA applies to consumer reports that CRAs provide to third parties for certain permissible purposes described in the FCRA, such as determining a consumer’s eligibility for credit or insurance. Consumer reports can only be provided and used for these permissible purposes. If data access providers, also known as data aggregators or data agents, are assembling a consumer’s financial data and sharing it for the purpose of credit or insurance decisioning, shouldn’t those providers be considered CRAs, and shouldn’t the FCRA apply to their data sharing?

In order to protect and empower consumers, we think so.

Empowering Consumers with Compliant Data Sharing

FCRA compliance is the only sure way to guarantee fairness, accuracy, and transparency when data access providers assemble consumer financial data and provide it to lenders or insurers to make credit or insurance decisions. 

A current regulatory interpretation of the FCRA suggests that an organization does not become a CRA when it forwards financial data to a third party at a consumer’s request because they are simply engaging in “permission-based sharing” on behalf of the consumer. Finicity believes this interpretation of the FCRA was meant to address different circumstances, such as where a mortgage broker forwards a consumer’s application and credit report to prospective mortgage lenders at the consumer’s request. This and other “conduit”-like functions fall outside the FCRA. 

We do not believe, however, that this interpretation was intended to cover situations where a data access provider or other party “assembles” consumer data to provide to financial data users. Such a broad reading of the “permission-based sharing” interpretation would run counter to the purpose of the Act and undermine the protections the FCRA was created to uphold. 

Why can’t data access providers simply promise protections to consumers? Such assurances are of course important, but can vary from provider to provider. Consumers are best served when all data access providers are held to a common standard of consumer protection. Operating as a CRA requires that data access providers adhere to the FCRA and provide specific dispute and disclosure processes that enable consumers to access and view their data, dispute any errors, and understand how their data is being used. 

If a data access provider is delivering consumer data it has assembled to creditors for use in credit decisioning, and is not functioning as a CRA, it is not adhering to the FCRA and not protecting consumers as well as it could.

With open banking and digital financial services continuing to pick up speed, it’s more crucial than ever that the industry demonstrate that the consumer-permissioned data sharing process is conducted fairly, accurately, and with transparency for the consumer. Those positive outcomes follow when a data access provider, in appropriate circumstances, is functioning as a CRA and is legally required to adhere to the FCRA. 

Only when such protections are in place can consumers reliably enjoy the empowerment and improved financial outcomes they deserve. And the financial services industry can similarly benefit from the growth and innovation that comes from the increased acceptance of leveraging consumer-permissioned financial data for the benefit of consumers. To learn more about the benefits of FCRA compliance for data access providers, check out our whitepaper.

Goodbye to My Friend Lila Fakhraie

A career path is marked by many milestones. Great successes, sometimes failures. However, as I look back on my path, the most important aspect is not the milestones, but the people – friends – I’ve been blessed to walk it with. 

Today is a day of sadness and gratitude, as I’ve lost one of those friends in Lila Fakhraie. Lila and I first crossed paths as Finicity looked to engage with her team at Wells Fargo to discuss our solutions and our data connection with them. However, our relationship soon evolved to one where we shared a common vision of bringing the industry together to better address how consumers could be empowered to use their data. Working together, Lila and I helped to found the Financial Data Exchange (FDX), and have spent more than two years as co-chairs of the organization.

While establishing FDX is a great milestone, my partnership and friendship with Lila has made all the difference in the experience. Her insights and commitment kept us moving forward, but it was her quick smile and warm laugh that helped bind us together.

She will be missed. Yet, I will always have positive feelings and a deep sense of gratitude for having the opportunity to know and work with Lila. 

On behalf of the entire Finicity team we express our deepest condolences to the Fakhraie family.

My thoughts and prayers are with her husband Saied Nesbat and her daughters Hannah and Yasmin.

As a CEO, there is truly nothing better than learning that your team members are inspired and motivated by their work. To know that my colleagues feel validated and that they look forward to walking through Finicity’s doors every day is exceptionally meaningful. So I was completely delighted to learn that Finicity earned a place on Comparably’s 2019 Best Company Culture list. This ranking is based on employee feedback on issues like work environment, compensation, leadership, and perks and benefits.

Here at Finicity, our corporate culture centers on one word: UPLIFT. Encompassed within this one word are the values that inform everything we do – the “why” behind all of our actions. These values are Urgency, Purpose, Leverage, Insight, Focus, and Teamwork. 

Our Company Culture

Before we look at each of those six values closely, I want to share some of the things we’ve done at Finicity to take abstract values and translate them into meaningful actions that can take place in our offices each and every day. When we first developed the UPLIFT framework, we crafted a book detailing each value and attribute. From cover to cover, this book communicates the Finicity story and work ethic. We broke each core value down into individual attributes, 23 to be exact, and the book shares examples, case studies, and memorable quotes related to each one. 

Once we had the book in hand, we brought the team leads from across the company together for a leadership training. We knew that if we wanted our UPLIFT message to resonate, we had to make sure every team lead understood the principles and had the tools to share those principles with their team members. That kickoff event was just the jolt of energy and enthusiasm we needed to hit the ground running. 

We now hold regular company-wide UPLIFT trainings. Each team member gets a copy of the book and I have the pleasure of facilitating each training session in our Salt Lake City office. It’s important to me to spend this time with our team members, to share my own passion for these values and to get feedback from the people that live them each and every day. 

Critically, this initiative doesn’t stop with our Salt Lake City team members. We’re fortunate to have a large team in Mumbai, India. It’s been inspiring to watch them take these UPLIFT values to heart, even incorporating the values into their physical office space. It’s programs like this one that keep us united as a team, even when we’re separated by oceans and time zones. 

Finally, we’ve incorporated the UPLIFT attributes into our monthly peer-nominated awards. For years, Finicity has recognized team members in each of our monthly all-hands meetings. It’s always wonderful to read the nominations that pour in month after month and to honor and validate the fantastic work happening across our offices. Team members are recognized for the commitment to urgency, purpose, leverage, insight, focus, and teamwork. 

Now let’s dive into each of the values and why we’ve chosen to focus on them.

Urgency

Anyone in business knows that success comes to those who hustle. Worrying a plan to death is a sure fire way to get absolutely nowhere. So, at Finicity we remind each other that it’s “progress before perfection” and that “urgency eliminates complacency.” 

While we’ve had a lot of pivotal successes as a company, it’s imperative that we keep pushing forward, searching out new opportunities, reaching new milestones. As a team, we approach each new day with renewed energy and drive. 

Purpose

Simon Sinek famously explained this principle with his Golden Circle. While a company clearly knows what they do, what products or services they offer, they must also understand how they get this work done and how they can differentiate themselves from other players in their field. However, neither of these will lead to any kind of significant impact unless team members understand the why. This has nothing to do with revenue or making money. Rather, it’s your North Star, the reason your company exists, the foundation of values that underscores everything you do. 

To make sure that we don’t get distracted by the what and the how, Finicity team members know to always ask why and to strive to do the right thing every time. Our customers are firmly front and center. Always. We know that our work has the potential to dramatically increase financial inclusion, empower consumers, and help people make the best financial decisions. And that’s the fuel that powers our company. 

Leverage

This value is ultimately about recognizing that we can’t succeed alone. We encourage our team members to step up when something needs doing, to take the time to lift each other up, and to tap into all the resources their team members offer. It’s easy to say that “simplicity is genius,” but it’s quite another matter to make sure our actions reflect that belief. Leverage is about finding the most efficient way to reach your target. So if your team member can help you get there faster and do a better job, there’s no sense in struggling to reach that goal alone. 

Insight

If there’s one thing that drives our work day in and day out, it’s our determination to never settle for good enough when best is out there. We chase that best by maintaining constant curiosity. We’re always asking: “What would happen if we tried this?” “I wonder what we might learn if we dug a little deeper?” “Should we loop in another team member to see what they think?” 

Moving forward with insight also means reflecting back on our own progress. As German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goeth explains, “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.” So while we’re always reaching for opportunities, we also know that inches add up to milestones. It’s important to recognize these inches and the power in each step. To take the time to analyze each step and look for learning opportunities. Because each step takes us closer to our goals. 

Focus

Going hand in hand with Insight is Focus. The ability to hone in on a task and to make every minute matter is what turns insight into action. Remember the dog in the movie Up? Whenever we sense that we’re veering off track, we take a breath and remind each other: “Don’t chase the squirrels.” 

And while we do pay attention to all those inches that add up to milestones, part of Focus is remembering that not everything can be measured like really great ideas, investing our time wisely, and improving our skills, not to mention our lives outside of the office with our families and friends. When we choose to focus, we make the best use of our time and resources. It’s this focus that contributes to a healthy work-life balance.

Teamwork

This final value is the one that pulls all the others together. Teamwork is what fuels Insight and Urgency, it’s the manifestation of Purpose and Leverage. And while it may seem counterintuitive, the best teamwork allows us to really Focus and pay attention to what matters most, minute to minute. 

I like to remind all of our team members that in our offices, there’s no place for titles (or egos). We are team members and each one of us is equally important to delivering great products and creating an ideal work environment and culture. Words matter. How we treat each other matters. You can’t expect to make a positive impact on the world without first attending to your teammates. Outward success is dependent on internal collaboration. 

So, there you have it. Our UPLIFT values. It’s my hope that other leaders can take what works for them and implement it into their own company culture programs. I want to thank every Fincity team member (or as we like to put it, “Finitizen”). Thank you for dedicating so much of your time, your energy, and your effort to contributing to our company’s success and to the success of our partners and the consumers that use our products. This award is a reflection of all the actions you take, both big and small, that make Finicity a great place to work. 

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.

At Finicity, one of our catchphrases is, “better data, better decisions.” We know that greater access to personal financial data means improved quality of life. Today’s innovations using consumer data in the field of financial services, like those developed by Finicity, mean increased speed, convenience, and insights for individuals, families and organizations tomorrow. Their resources and product options will expand as banks, fintechs, and other key players compete for their business. 

However, it is critical to frame this data-driven innovation with robust security and privacy protocols that consumers can trust. Building on the work of the Financial Data Exchange, Finicity advocates for five key principles in the use of consumer-permissioned data: control, access, transparency, traceability, and security. You can read more about our stance on these critical issues in our whitepaper, “The Empowered Consumer and the Future for Financial Data.

Combating the Literacy Crisis with Consumer-Permissioned Data

Research shows that the United States is experiencing a financial literacy crisis. Although we are the largest economy in the world, we rank 14th when it comes to the proportion of adults who are financially literate. This is not a new problem. In 2008, the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy stated:

“More broadly, the lack of basic skills such as how to create and maintain a budget, understand credit, or save for the future are preventing millions of Americans from taking advantage of our vibrant economic system. And tens of millions of our citizens are either unbanked or underserved, which leaves them outside the economic mainstream. Addressing these issues is critical to the future of our nation’s economy.”

One promising solution to this crisis is strengthening connections between consumers and third-party financial resources. The access to key financial resources and tools can be democratized when we give more people access to their data and to related resources. In the end, this results in greater inclusion in the financial system and greater access to financial wellness.

Take, for example, access to credit. We know that people with less access to credit are much more likely to face income volatility. With this volatility comes a dramatic uptick in reports of financial hardship. A quarter of adults who do not feel confident in their ability to get approved for a credit card report that they have experienced hardship from income volatility in the past year. On the other end of the spectrum, only 6 percent of those who are confident in their credit availability report similar hardship. 

Gaps in access to what most would consider basic financial services, like bank accounts and credit lines, exist largely in already marginalized communities of minorities and those with low incomes. Because of this, people are left living from paycheck to paycheck, vulnerable to any unexpected bills. There is a clear correlation between access to credit and feelings of security and stability. 

This is where the real potential of consumer-permissioned data lies. When we connect consumers to the numbers, figures, and reports that comprise their financial wellness, we connect them to the resources that help them save, invest, plan, and provide for themselves and those they care for. We connect them to possibilities. And with possibilities comes hope. 

Read our whitepaper to learn more about the policies and strategies that will enhance the security of consumer-permissioned data solutions and drive innovation.

If we’re serious about empowering consumers, we have to commit to putting tools and products in the hands of all consumers. It’s not enough to cater to consumers that are already in the know, who already take advantage of digital solutions to enhance their financial lives. Empowering consumers has to be about delivering simple products that make it easy for all users to understand potential risks and benefits. 

Poll Results Overview

In a poll of 1,500 consumers, we found that people that identify as financially underprivileged and who have received less formal education are more likely to:

Basically, it comes down to two correlated issues. 

  1. These consumers tend not to trust third party financial apps, products, or organizations.
  2. Because of this, they are not tapping into the benefits of accessing and using their personal financial data.

So, the financial services industry needs to do better. The task for financial institutions, fintech companies, and other financial service providers is to connect consumers with their data so that they understand their financial health, perceive the gaps in their financial knowledge, and have access to education and tools. This will ultimately give them more control over their money and their data. Now that’s an empowered consumer.

Linking Data Access to Consumer Trust

With today’s digital tools, it’s easier than ever for consumers to see and use their financial data. However, our research shows that among people who report a high school degree as their highest level of education, only 17 percent are taking advantage of their financial data. It’s clear that we have some work to do. 

Part of this work is connecting the dots between data access and improved decision making. According to our survey results, roughly 4 in 10 consumers who use their data (38 percent) feel they get enough out of it to make informed and beneficial financial decisions. When we strengthen the links between access to financial data and clear applicable benefits, we go a long way in increasing consumer trust and adoption.

Promising Consumer-Centric Solutions

One exciting tool to do just this is Experian Boost™. With Experian Boost, consumers can build their credit history, and improve their credit scores, by looping in things like utility bill payment histories. By expanding the usable data for credit reports, Experian Boost opens doors to people that would otherwise be limited by a thin credit file. 

The good news: It’s working. According to Experian, 75 percent of consumers with credit scores below 680 saw an increase in their credit score when they used Experian Boost. An amazing 90 percent of thin file consumers were rewarded with higher credit scores and 70 percent of sub-prime users saw an increase in their scores. 

These numbers matter. FICO® estimates that 79 million consumers have scores below 680 and another 53 million don’t have enough data to be scored. The new UltraFICO™ Score allows consumers to use information from their checking, savings, or money market accounts to augment their credit files. Imagine the possibilities when we connect these millions of people with their own financial data. 

This is what an empowered consumer looks like. Actively engaging with their personal financial data. Tapping into resources and tools. Confident about their financial future. 

From choosing a restaurant to finding that next vacation destination, data plays a significant role in everyday decision making. The same should hold true when it comes to daily finances. To better understand whether data is being used to improve financial wellbeing, we surveyed 1,500 consumers on their various financial habits. Respondents were evenly distributed across age groups, gender, education and income.

Just 38% of participants with a graduate degree and 21% of those with a high school degree use their financial data. Meanwhile, less than half of all consumers making more than $150,000 use most of their financial data to make better decisions. For those making less than $15,000, that number drops to 17%.

It’s time for consumers across all education and income levels to harness the power of their financial data. FinTechs and financial services organizations need to explore what’s keeping consumers from making the most of their financial data, as well as the benefits they stand to gain from using such data to inform financial decisions.

What’s standing in the way?

Consumers aren’t shy about opening new financial accounts. In fact, one-third have more than six different accounts. Although that paves the way for plenty of financial flexibility, it also tends to complicate things for consumers interested in monitoring their financial data. Less than 40% of consumers feel they always have sufficient knowledge of their credit history and financial information.

Financial services leaders can look for opportunities to ease the burden associated with leveraging data across several different accounts. Consumers who have greater insight into their financial information — regardless of where it may live — will be better positioned to take advantage of such data moving forward.

In addition to the trouble of tracking financial data stored in multiple accounts, yet another issue that could potentially prevent consumers from capitalizing on their information is a lack of transparency that builds trust. For the most part, consumers aren’t opposed to sharing their data with apps and services outside of their core banking institution. In fact, nearly 60% of those making between $50,000 and $75,000 — which encompasses the U.S. median income — rank themselves at a five or above on a 10-point “trust” scale of third-party apps or services. And as income rises, so does trust: Among those making more than $150,000, 77% rank themselves a five or above. 

FinTechs and financial services companies can provide further assurances to consumers by being upfront about how data is protected while also ensuring consumers retain control over how their data is shared. The more transparency there is about how data is being protected and ultimately used, the better chance consumers will continue to share their financial information.

Opening up opportunities

Regardless of their age or level of education, consumers dedicate a higher percentage of their income toward loans than credit cards, investments, emergency funds or big purchases. The reason? Loans serve as the lifeblood of modern society. Capable of opening up opportunities that might not otherwise exist, loans help move consumers one step closer toward achieving their financial dreams.

While most consumers can qualify for loans without issue, those with lower income and/or education levels are more likely to be bogged down by an insufficient or nonexistent credit history. Around half of all consumers making less than $30,000 have been unwilling or hesitant to apply for a loan or undergo a credit check due to concerns about an unfavorable credit score or poor credit history. The same applies to more than half of all consumers with less than a high school degree.

In cases such as these, expanded financial data can make a difference. Instead of missing out on loans that can turn a dream of buying a home or car into reality, consumers should be able to share data as a part of their credit score — such as cell phone or utility bills. 

The idea of distributing expanded financial data to make up for a less lengthy credit history isn’t all that foreign to millennials. In fact, 25 to 34 year olds are twice as likely as 55 to 64 year olds to share financial information. Providing consumers with the opportunity to shed light on their financial well being through expanded financial data ensures those on the cusp of qualifying for a loan aren’t left on the outside looking in.

Far too many consumers aren’t accustomed to leveraging their financial data. FinTechs and financial services organizations have an incredible opportunity to empower consumers with increased control over and utilization of their data to improve financial decisioning and understanding. 

One great example is the partnership of Experian, FICO and Finicity. Together with the two leaders in analytics-based credit decisioning, Finicity is working to ensure consumers maximize the potential of their financial information with opt-in programs including Experian Boost® and the UltraFICO® Score to shed light on their financial health.

The value of data-driven decisioning has never been a debate. How to unleash that data and deliver unrealized promise is the challenge for the industry. Doing so will usher in an era of increased inclusion and improved financial well being.

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.

The past several years have seen digital transformation revolutionize consumer choice across virtually every industry. And in many cases, that choice has anointed new victors, such as Netflix, AirBNB, Uber, and left many vanquished or significantly diminished.  The speed at which the transformation can occur is truly astounding. Did Netflix become the world’s largest movie house overnight. No. But it was fast. So while the Blockbusters of the world probably felt safe in their niche and in their dominance, clearly they weren’t.  There is no better time to be paranoid about what innovation or what organization may displace you. But there’s also no better time to feel tremendous optimism in your ability to adopt a digital or bust mentality and win in your market. No industry is immune.

Mortgage lending is no different. The digital mortgage seems to be the dominant conversation, and rightfully so. Consumers have many choices – the typical local mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, banks and credit unions that can all meet their needs. But they also have online digital lenders who can provide a mortgage. Out of the thousands of lenders, consumers are able to make their choice based on their situation, reviews and referrals of people they trust, and any other demands they may have. They can educate themselves before ever involving the lender or the bank and they are increasingly turning to online, digital solutions to both become better educated in their choice, as well as to meet their needs.  They are more empowered.

This era of consumer empowerment has swelled into a revolution. Lenders not only compete in their regional markets, but have to compete more and more digitally when it comes to their tools and customer experiences.  And the competition is getting fierce, as it can seemingly come from anyone and everyone.

If customers get simple and pleasing experiences from Uber, Airbnb, food takeout or online bank accounts then they’ll expect it in their mortgage process as well. The hot new thing in any app becomes standard fare across the board faster than ever before and makes the status quo seem even more antiquated.

Delighting customers means finding ways to deliver the experience they want alongside the product they desire — a mortgage. To keep pace it isn’t enough to flip a switch from manual, paper processes to digital ones. It requires continuous, consumer-centric innovation. You either need to be pushing forward with consumers or risk getting passed by.

Finicity offers a path to digital transformation, but more importantly to continuous, consumer-centric innovation. Through our digital verification solutions you can provide your borrowers a simple, fast verification experience that doesn’t require paper or PDF bank statements to be shuffled back and forth. Delays for paperwork or waiting on extra documents are a thing of the past.

Our verification reports also include rep and warrant relief from the GSEs. Check out our announcement with Freddie Mac here.

We provide digital access to consumer-permissioned data that can be used throughout the life of a loan, whether that’s pre-qualification, verification, servicing, or even in other lending verticals.

But providing digital processes isn’t enough. We don’t want to get you from manual to automated processes or simply paper to digital verification. We want to start innovating your origination process to the point you’re pushing us for further innovations in our offerings. Consumers are already demanding the same thing and we’re running fast to meet and exceed their expectations.

Find out where you’re at when it comes to being ready for pushing digital innovation forward with our Digital Readiness Assessment. This is a fun and fast view of where you’re at, but it hopefully inspires you to move forward – fast – with your digital plans.

Joining the continuous, consumer-centric revolution can lead to a lot of positives. Digital lenders have been consistently growing over the past 6 years. Averaging 30% annual growth, they have quadrupled their market share and are continuing to carve out space in the market for their mortgage solutions (The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending). Online tools have empowered consumers to investigate their mortgage options just as easily from their home as from the local bank’s branch. Ellie Mae found the first choice lender for many people is the one referred to them by a friend or family member who had a great experience. Not the one with the lowest rate or the closest branch. Their second choice was whoever they found in an online search (Ellie Mae Borrower Insights Survey 2018).

Consumers want their mortgage origination personalized or at least customizable. Borrowers can self-select mortgage types or other details to create the perfect mortgage for them. Lenders can provide tools to make the process exactly what the customer expects changing notification type and frequency, detailed or simplistic origination flows, self-service or guided processes and high or low touch interactions.

The mortgage lending process is still people driven.  It’s a major investment, and customers want someone to help them. So it’s not about replacing people, it’s about delivering a superior experience that will make you more productive and more profitable.

Today’s mortgage process is easier to get through for a consumer than it has ever been. It will only increase in simplicity and speed moving forward. On top of delivering a beneficial customer experience, digital solutions also make it easier to continue to test and innovate your process to find what works for your consumers and meet their expectations head on.

Consumer-centric innovation based on digitization will continue to transform the mortgage industry to fulfil the demands of consumers. Joining the revolution requires the tools to keep up.

Are you ready?