Danielle Walker, SVP of Data Management at BHG, discusses how she got into the FinTech space, advocating for other women at work, and the power of data and analytics to propel financial inclusion.
Liz: How important is having diverse perspectives around a leadership table within the FinTech world?
Danielle: It's critical — especially in this day and age. That’s because our customers are not only male; they’re women and also represent a variety of ethnicities. I think between data and what we're trying to offer from a product perspective, having more people at the table really makes the difference. The perspective I have, being a mother of two living in this chaotic world of working from home, is completely different. Certain things appeal to me from a product and experience perspective that vary from say my male counterparts who are single with no kids. Each opinion and perspective is really important, especially as we're ever evolving in this new digital age. It's so crucial to have everyone's voice heard.
Liz: Absolutely. On another note, FinTech's competitive advantage has long been its use of data and analytics. How does that continue and how do you think about that today?
Danielle: Data is at the heart of what I do every day. I’m extremely data driven and I think that's going to be FinTech’s bread and butter for a long time to come. But as times change, your prospect universe changes and the economy changes, it's important to look at things not only from purely a data perspective but with some common sense. If you consider certain attributes which may have been poor predictors of risk in the past, and everything is built on historical performance data, you might have to pivot. It's a different world these days, right? In a low-rate environment, it made a lot of sense for people to refinance or inquire to take on debt. In the past, those things might have been seen as negative when reviewing a borrower — but could actually be seen as more of a positive attribute moving forward. Data is not going anywhere anytime soon, and FinTechs have always seen success using it in a flexible way.
Liz: FinTech has always been on the forefront of financial inclusion, and even more so in the past couple of years. It’s become a buzzword on the tip of the tongue of regulators, consumers, advocates and lenders. How does FinTech continue to lead in that space?
Danielle: I think FinTech is going to be at the front of the line to meet all borrowers because of our heavy reliance on data and analytics. If you're a qualified borrower and we're able to find you, market to you and extend capital, then that’s what we want. Because there’s so much automation behind it, FinTech really eliminates any potential bias and hopefully makes the product more appealing to the masses. It's so much easier nowadays for people to go online, shop, build confidence and feel more educated as consumers. FinTech is ready with this whole menu of products ready to serve whoever is in need. The technology aspect really opens up the industry to a very inclusive borrower base.
As SVP of Data Management at BHG, Danielle Walker oversees data platform and leads management, vendor and third party relationships, strategic partnerships, and reporting. From data acquisition through visualization, she adeptly navigates business intelligence for BHG.