Regardless of where you stand on the Revolut/Yoppie partnership “intention versus execution” debate, it is nevertheless remarkable how fintechs and financial institutions are reaching out beyond their traditional collaboration competencies to reach new markets and promote an ever-widening array of causes.
This week’s Finovate List Series looks at three ways that banks and fintechs are helping pave the way in terms of greater financial inclusion for underrepresented groups and deeper understanding of how everyday behaviors can have a significant impact on the environment.
The first digital banking platform in the U.S. dedicated to serving the LGBT+ community, Daylight, launched earlier this month. The platform is built to help LGBT+ financial services consumers to manage their finances and save for future expenses ranging from emergency funds to gender transition surgery and related medical expenses. The company notes that with an estimated 30 million people in the United States who identify as LGBT+, the community remains significantly underserved in financial services.
“This country is at a critical turning point where we have recognized companies and services have been performatively suporting the LGBT+ community versus serving its unique needs,” Daylight co-founder and CEO Rob Curtis told Retail Banker International earlier this month. “Despite our community’s combined $1 trillion in buying power, we are still ignored – roughly 20% of LGBT+ people are unbanked or underbanked.”
Daylight will offer Visa-branded cards in the customer’s preferred name, rather than the customer’s legal name, as well as financial tools to help prioritize spending decisions and meet financial goals. The platform will also provide expert financial advice and access to a network of financial management “coaches” that specialize in responding to the unique financial needs of those in the LGBT+ community. A member of Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program – and the program’s first LGBT+-based fintech – Daylight is also supported by card issuing platform and Finovate alum Marqeta.
Daylight has announced that it will begin operations in the middle of next month, starting with an invite-only, beta period involving “a few hundred people.” The company will focus first on markets in California and New York.
In the wake of the George Floyd-inspired, Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, a spotlight has been shown on the rising number of financial institutions catering to African Americans.
Among the newer entries to this cohort is Adelphi Bank, which announced earlier this month that it has filed paperwork with the FDIC to become the first black-owned, depository institution in Ohio.
“We know that African Americans typically don’t have access to financial institutions to the degree that the majority community has,” former Fifth Third Central Ohio president and CEO Jordan Miller said to The Columbus Dispatch. “We know that our financial situations are not as strong in most cases. And so we want to make a difference in the community across Franklin County, to give those underserved a voice and financial services,” Miller, one of Adelphi Bank’s proposed incorporators, added.
The bank would be located in the King-Lincoln/Bronzeville neighborhood, and its backers stated that they plan to raise $20 million in equity capital upon earning FDIC approval to open. The institution takes its name from the city’s first black-owned bank, Adelphi Loan & Savings Company, which was launched in the early 1920s. The new bank will be part of a $25 million development called Adelphi Quarter, which will feature both housing and ground-floor businesses. The Columbus Dispatch reported that the original facade of Adelphi Loan & Savings has been incorporated into the new structure.
This week we reported on the partnership between Tink and ecolytiq to give banks, financial institutions, and fintechs the ability to offer environmental impact data to their customers. These kind of solutions, which include options like carbon footprint calculators, have been among the chief ways that many innovative companies have sought to bring their sustainability technology to the world of financial services.
Today we learn that micro-investing platform Wombat has added a new option to its impact investment offerings: a sustainable food ETF (exchange-traded fund) that enables investors to get exposure to dozens of companies that are involved in developing sustainable food production systems and products. These companies include new, but well-known brands such as plant-based food company Beyond Meat, oatmilk company Oatly, and farm-to-table business Tattooed Chef.
The fund, called The Future of Food, is the fifth impact investment offering on Wombat’s platform. The ETF was created via a partnership between thematic ETF issuer Rize and thematic research company Tematica Research. It will trade on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker “FOOD LN.”
“At Wombat we have found that some of our most popular thematic funds are those that offer impact investment opportunities, such as our Medical Cannabis and Green Machine ETFs,” Wombat co-founder and CEO Kane Harrison said. “We think this new sustainable food fund is a great addition to that range and it means we now offer a very competitive choice of impact investments when compared with other micro-investing platforms.”
Founded in 2019, Wombat currently has more than 190,000 users.