As part of our “Five questions on FinTech” blog series, I sat down with Ibrahim Dusi, Chief Risk Officer at Payoff, to get his insights on the future of the FinTech industry, the importance of differentiation and innovation, and how they are saying yes to more consumers.
Q1: What do you see as critical milestones for the FinTech industry as it matures?
ID: The FinTech industry has been successful on two key fronts. One is lowering the cost of borrowing for the consumers. The second is providing the digital experience they were asking for. In terms of the future of the industry and critical success factors, I see focus and specialization as a differentiator.
Q2: What role does the customer experience play in your brand strategy?
ID: At Payoff, we’re moving beyond FinTech and focusing on financial wellness where the objective is helping consumers move from borrowers to savers and investors. In this process, we’re educating them not only about cash flow and credit, but about how they might develop good habits.
What gets me excited in my current job is helping consumers. We’re developing solutions to help them free up cash flow and save for their future, their kids and retirement. That’s incredibly inspiring to me.
Q3: What are you doing differently that has enabled you to lend with confidence to a traditionally challenging segment?
ID: We’ve been using CreditVision® data for more than a year for underwriting purposes. It has enabled us to say “yes” to more consumers and provide a better experience for them. The reason we’re able to do this is by using trended information, which allows us to understand the whole consumer story—where they’ve been and where they’re headed—and make a more informed credit decision.
We’ve also found success using CreditVision data in our investor presentations. It’s very well received by investors, as it makes intuitive sense to them. This helped us instill confidence into our underwriting practices, and increase and grow originations – ultimately securing more funding.
Q4: FinTech lenders are known for innovation. How do you foster innovation on your team?
ID: In order to create an innovative environment, there are a few main factors that need to be in play. It starts with the raw ingredients, which are technology, data and skill sets of the people that can drive innovation. While this is necessary, it's still not sufficient.
In addition, culture plays a key role. Fostering an innovative culture by removing barriers and empowering people to break the status quo are key components. Finally, it’s having the bandwidth and mindset to drive the innovation.
The challenge incumbents have today is that while they’re defending their core businesses, they’re left with limited time to focus on innovation. This is where I see emerging players having the upper hand by dedicating more time to transformative innovation.
Q5: Finally, like our clients, we’re always looking to improve the customer experience. So, what do you expect from a good data partner?
ID: When we choose a bureau partner, obviously having good, reliable data and analytics is table stakes. In my opinion, what differentiates a bureau partner, TransUnion in our case, is they're able to drive insights to move our business forward by addressing key business problems. That’s ultimately the goal and why we exist: to solve consumers' problems and move the business forward.
Further, at Payoff, we use TransUnion in a number of key functions. In marketing, we use TransUnion data to identify the creditworthy consumers who can benefit from credit card refinancing. For credit underwriting, we use CreditVision data to identify the best consumers from a risk perspective and give them the lowest possible pricing. And, on the fraud side, we use TransUnion data to verify the identity of our consumers.
Many thanks to Ibo! Next up I’m talking with Paul Zhang, chief technology officer and co-founder of Avant. Hear his insights on investor confidence, credit quality and the next step in data decisioning and analytics.