By Raul Vazquez, CEO
Oportun’s customers face many challenges. Among other things, their modest incomes and limited credit histories make it tough to access affordable credit to manage two types of situations: (1) an unexpected expense, like an emergency long distance trip to care for a loved one in the hospital, or (2) making a relatively large planned purchase, like a new refrigerator. In fact, the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) estimates that over 40% of consumers accessing a small-dollar credit product are doing so because of one of those need cases.
Over the past 10+ years, Oportun has been helping our customers to address those two important need cases, while also helping them integrate into the mainstream financial system.
As we look to the future, one of the things we’re thinking about every day at Oportun is “what other opportunities exist to support our customers as they continue in their life journey?”
That is why I’m so excited to announce that Max Klein, Andrew Burke, and Billy Schneider, who founded a company called Float, have joined the Oportun team. Float was a mobile-first service that offered easy, instant access to an affordable line of credit that helped young consumers with little or no credit history to stabilize cash flows and avoid overdraft charges.
Research indicates that 32% of credit needs among small dollar consumers are driven by a timing difference between expenses and income. That means that working families whose income is sufficient to cover long-term expenses sometimes struggle to come up with enough cash to pay this week’s bills. And this often results in a variety of negative outcomes, like bank fees and late charges, that can set them back even further. The innovative approach that Max, Andrew and Billy took to addressing those problems for consumers, and their alignment with Oportun’s mission, make them a natural fit for our team.
We are already hard at work developing new ways we can help solve the credit challenges of the 45 million people in the U.S. without a credit score, and I look forward to updating you on our progress!