Finicity, a banking data aggregator and consumer reporting agency, has a timely business strategy that likely helped promote employees as one of the top fintechs for this year.
Finicity's application programming interfaces, which allow users to more seamlessly access another website, are helping to develop the open banking market, a growing sector where third-party companies can use consumer-approved funding to use customer data for other purposes.
Positioned on the cusp of this emerging trend, Finicity was acquired by Mastercard for $ 825 million in June 2020.
"We're empowering consumers through fintech, and that's a hot sector we're in right now," said Andy Capener, Finicity senior vice president of marketing. “This whole concept of how consumers experience money is just getting bigger. There are many companies that use big data. So the time has come for consumers to be able to do this. "
For example, Finicity's technology can help mortgage applicants instantly authorize their salary income review, making it easier for them to apply for loans with companies like Bank of America and / or digital lender Rocket Mortgage.
The two government-sponsored companies that control a large segment of the U.S. real estate finance market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, recently made the company one of their providers for such reviews, which will increase usage of the platform exponentially.
Fintech providers saw strong growth in the open banking space, said Garth Graham, senior partner at Stratmor Group, a consultancy specializing in the mortgage industry.
"Banking data services represent a category that has grown from a 25% acceptance rate to 75% with lenders in the past three years," he said.
This is part of what makes Finicity a competitor in a global marketplace that is taking shape as financial institutions and regulators look for ways to securely allow open banking using APIs. The Salt Lake City-based company has partnered with a variety of companies outside of the mortgage sector to develop new data-sharing products.
It recently partnered with TomoCredit to facilitate the use of consumer banking information for proprietary reviews conducted on a new Mastercard product that serves color communities and other customers who do not have a traditional debt history. It has also partnered with Chime, a provider of royalty-free financial services through mobile banking. and Brex, a technology-based credit card company.
“We work with companies across the board in banking, mortgage, automotive, payroll, finance, technology, marketing and other fintechs. Open banking really appeals to all of these different segments, and we work well with both traditional financial institutions and fintechs, ”said Capener.
Recent additions to Finicity's list of business partners include BMO Harris, Charles Schwab and TD Bank.
Mastercard plans to use Finicity for its work in the European market as well as in North America, where regulators have developed rules for open banking.
The new owner of Finicity has "examined our data practices very carefully" and made sure that the company's work with regulators is completed successfully, said Capener.
However, the company's success to date is not the only attraction for its employees. One of the things that makes the company stand out in the Best Fintechs rankings, among others, is that its CEO, Steve Smith, has more technical experience than most of the others on the list.
Only Steven Powless, CEO and chairman of the ITI services company CSI, has an extended tenure with his company. Smith has been with him for 20 years and Powless for 21 years. Prior to joining Finicity, Smith worked for Megahertz, a multinational provider of data communications products. He has used the experience gained there and at Finicity to create an industry-wide standard for secure data exchange, said Capener.
Steve Smith, Finicity CEO, has the second-longest tenure of any executive on the list of the best fintechs.
Finicity encourages employees to innovate that helps the company through both positive peer feedback and annual company-wide awards.
Although it listed 161 employees in its Salt Lake City office at the time it submitted its data to the Best Fintechs ranking, it has grown to nearly 200 since then. The company has additional employees who make up a "field service team" in the United States along with workers in Mumbai totaling approximately 675 employees.
While Finicity is now working with a bigger and more established player, it maintains its identity as a fintech. For one, being a member of Mastercard hasn't stopped the company from offering its yellow Converse sneakers to its employees and customers.
The company's takeover of the sneakers as a symbol "began with a traditional financial services conference with lots of suits and ties where we wanted to show that the use of this type of data makes companies stand out," said Capener.