Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why this Partnership Has Us Excited

Last week we announced a new partnership with LendUp ( http://www.springfour.cc/news.asp)
that will allow LendUp customers to access SpringFour’s local resources that may help them address financial challenges that they are facing.

This partnership represents a new type of subscriber for SpringFour and we could not be more excited. LendUp, a well regarded player in the fintech space, is a lender that is providing an alternative to pay day loans.  They are using technology to offer short term loans to those that need help in a transparent and innovative way.

LendUp provides loans for customers that typically have credit scores below 680 and cannot qualify for a traditional bank loan. The unique component of LendUp’s loan process is that, in states where the LendUp Ladder is available, customers have an opportunity to move up to better loan options as they pay back their loan and also have the opportunity to build credit histories and take advantage of free financial education and counseling sessions.

By partnering with SpringFour, LendUp’s customers can now  find additional savings opportunities to address financial challenges through referrals to local non-profit and government agencies that offer programs and resources that may be of help in such areas as utilities, prescription drugs savings and childcare resources.

This partnership makes sense because both LendUp and SpringFour understand the importance of addressing the root cause of financial hardship. It’s not enough to just provide a product or service that funds that shortfall or meets the immediate, short-term need. Ultimately, for a customer to be successful in paying off that loan and moving forward on the path to financial health, the very reason for that loan needs to be mitigated. SpringFour helps to do so by curating resources that address many of the reasons that often precipitate the need for a short term loan—such as job loss, health crisis or unexpected home repair.  LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. We are happy to join them in that mission.



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About LendUp

LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. It offers safe, transparent products that expand access, lower costs, and provide credit building opportunities for the more than 80 million Americans who currently have limited options within the traditional banking system because of a low credit score. LendUp is located in downtown San Francisco and is backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors including Y-Combinator, Google Ventures, Susa Ventures, Data Collective, Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz Seed Fund, Kapor Capital, QED, Eagle Cliff Investors, Yuri Milner and Thomvest Ventures, plus other highly regarded angels and entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 Survey Results – SpringFour Providing Essential Tools for Financial Health

Each year SpringFour surveys our users to better understand how they are interacting with our applications and how S4’s financial health resources are helping transform the daily financial lives of consumers.

We are happy to share those results with you today.

98% of users agreed that SpringFour allows them to provide tangible tools and resources to consumers who otherwise would not know where to turn.

We like that number and it keeps us motivated to insure that we continually seek out the best and most innovative resources available to help consumers. We strive to be that go-to-resource for anything and all things that can make a difference in a consumer’s financial health.  For us at SpringFour, this isn’t just a part of what we do, it’s ALL that we do. Everything we do at SpringFour is super focused on making certain that consumers have the local tools and resources they need to see a change in their financial outlook.

We also know that by providing call center agents and front line staff who interact with consumers a way to address and empathize with the challenges facing them we can help shorten call times, empower employees and make their jobs easier. 

As one counselor stated, SpringFour provides quick, efficient information at your fingertips, it is accessible, easy to read and to communicate to clients,” making my job easier.

SpringFour’s resources allow for consumers to act on direct recommendations and make a tangible impact on their household budget. Almost half of users report that more than 50% of their consumers who received SpringFour referrals were able to improve their payment performance on major debts. This is a big win when you consider that 77% of users also reported that at least half of their clients pay one bill late every month.

For consumers struggling with financial challenges, having someone point them in the direction of a concrete way to save money can make all the difference.  Often these consumers are unaware of money saving resources and believe that their only option is a short-term payday loan, which will only make their situation worse.

S4 referrals on the other hand point consumers towards the real, quality solutions that have an impact.  97% of respondents to our survey agreed that SpringFour provides trusted referrals to local solutions for financial health.

We are proud to share that users believe, Its great to have a service like this that provides non-biased referrals to non-profit and government services because we never have to question the authenticity of the information we're passing on to our clients in need.”

Through this survey, we also got a better picture of just how important tools to improve financial health are, and the difficulties consumers who access S4 referrals are facing. In addition, many are struggling with high cost financial products such as payday loans, check cashing services, and high interest credit cards.  Almost 70% of respondents reported that half of their clients are accessing these products.

Faced with bills they can’t pay, and irresponsible financial products that ultimately make them worse off, consumers need and deserve trusted referrals to nonprofit and government resources more than ever.  SpringFour continues to provide these referrals, and our clients see the results of consumers getting on the path to financial health.

Thanks to all of the SpringFour users who took the time to give us feedback and information. We continue to be amazed by the hard work our subscribers are doing, and are proud to partner with organizations committed to improving the financial lives of consumers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why Financial Health Matters



Earlier this month, I attended CFSI’s Emerge Conference and as part of that event, participated in the FinX experience. A great event that brings together people who work in the financial services field and takes what is all too often an abstract topic and makes it real. CFSI provides participants with the very real and unfortunately difficult task of accessing financial services without a bank account.

Charged with cashing a payroll check, a personal check, sending and receiving money and purchasing a prepaid card, our team found that not only is is difficult to access such services, it’s time consuming and existing outlets cannot be relied upon to offer the services that they purport to offer. To complete these tasks, we visited a major bank branch, a gas station, 3 convenience stores, a payday lender, and a title loan company.

Simply put, it’s hard, frustrating and expensive. Imagine if in order to complete these simple and routine financial tasks, you had to spend two plus hours navigating six or seven different outlets and at the end were still left without the money wired to you because the terminal was down and were unable to purchase a prepaid card because none of the outlets offered any for purchase. And in the midst of this, you had a job to get to, bills that needed to be paid, children to drop off at day care or school or be on time for a doctor’s appointment. Would you be able to allocate that much time in your day to access your money and pay bills? How would the need to do this affect your overall day?

Why does this matter?

It matters because the people who most need access to affordable and accessible financial products and services are not getting them. If we are honest with ourselves, then we need to face the fact that even with the advent of innovative FinTech products and services, we are not meeting the needs of consumers with limited financial resources and have a long way to go. We can do better.

It matters because 57 percent of American’s are struggling financially[1] and and 43 percent of Americans describe themselves as having a hard time paying bills and credit payments. When living pay check to paycheck (and over half of Americans do), simple unexpected costs or mishaps create significant roadblocks to financial health.

And yes, there are some great, affordable financial products and services out there but the reality remains—those products and services are still not reaching those that need it most.

Participating in the FinX experience should be mandatory for all of us working in this field. It brings clarity and empathy to the experience of the unbanked. And it provides a whole lot of motivation to get to work and make things better.  And that’s what we are doing at SpringFour.







[1] 57% of Americans—approximately 138 million adults— are struggling financially. (Source: CFSI's Consumer Financial Health Study.) - See more at: http://www.cfsinnovation.com/finhealthmatters#Amplify