Zopa CEO: “The Fintech Pledge was new but the idea has always been in our DNA”

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ClearScore CEO Justin Basini and Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana took the stage at the AltFi Lending Summit to discuss the 2025 Fintech Commitment.

Image source: Justin Basini and Jaidev Janardana/AltFi Lending Summit.

Three years. 10 million positive financial actions. This is the objective of the “2025 Fintech Pledge”.

Jaidev Janardana, CEO of Zopa, and Justin Basini, CEO of ClearScore, launched the initiative in September as a cross-industry mission to help UK consumers struggling with the worsening cost of living crisis.

Just a month later, 10 more companies have joined the pledge, with partners including Tandem Bank, Snoop, Hargreaves Lansdown and just around the corner from the fintech space, Google Cloud.

Janardana and Basini joined us at the AltFi Lending Summit to discuss engagement, helping consumers improve their financial well-being, and the fintech community’s responsibility to step up and help their users.

The essence of the pledge is to encourage companies – primarily fintechs but also other financial institutions and tech companies – to help consumers make “positive” changes to their finances.

These actions fall into four areas: savings, credit building, debt consolidation and public service markets.

The goal is to collectively reach 10 million actions by 2025, but while the idea of ​​the pledge is new this year, that ethos of helping consumers make positive financial decisions is clearly in place. at ClearScore and Zopa for a long time.

“With nearly five million users logging on to ClearScore each month worldwide, we view it as a true privilege and opportunity to help these users optimize their financial lives,” Basani said.

“And that’s always been the company’s mission – to help make global finance a little easier, and in the next few years that mission, I think, will be more relevant than ever.”

“As far as the idea of ​​the coalition, it was new, but I would say it’s always been in our DNA,” Janardana said.

Is it the government’s responsibility?

Both Janardana and Basini called on the government for stability, saying that while it is the government’s responsibility to help consumers, it is still the fintechs’ responsibility to help their customers.

“I think stability is important as a backdrop because uncertainty means people don’t want to do anything,” Basini said.

“We have seen that when we have gone through the last eight weeks, lenders are very nervous because of this uncertainty. So I think they have a role to play, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a role to play as well.

“We all have a responsibility to hold consumers’ hands throughout the process, and it’s everyone’s responsibility.”

Basini described it as a “coming of age” for fintech, to move from a young and disruptive industry to one that is intensifying.

“Now with the scale we have, particularly in the UK, it gives us the responsibility and the opportunity to really step forward as an industry and really help UK consumers at a time when things are going be difficult.”

Basini added that regardless of what incumbents might do, given that fintechs reach an estimated 25-30 million consumers across all businesses, that responsibility also falls on them as much as anyone else.

Janardana noted that there has been no stability in the UK for four years and said whether the government does something or not, businesses, especially in financial services, should do whatever they can. ‘they can.

“We sincerely believe that the more people who join hands here, the better,” Janardana said.

“However, where we draw a line is if your business practices don’t align with those things, if your business practices are such that you’re trying to make money from your customers this year, if you continue treat switchers better than currently customers, these types of businesses are probably less well received,” he said.

Without naming names, he pointed out that some incumbents did not match the views of the pledge – and in response to a question from the audience about the big banks joining, pointed out that no one had come forward with any concerns. ‘interest.

ClearScore and Zopa are doing their part to help contribute to the 10 million positive actions, which are reported to the engagement on a monthly basis.

But in response to a question about whether Zopa would consider diversifying into SME lending in addition to focusing on the consumer side of things, Janardana said the company had no “concrete plans”.

“There are parts of the market that we see as an opportunity for us to enter at some point. That’s technically one of the things that we could theoretically look at because we know the SME lending market is a very attractive market in which we could make a significant and positive difference,” said Janardana.

“But it requires, like most loans, a lot of experience and if we worked with the right partner to have that, it would be very complementary for us.

“But that’s one of many things we could say and would like to add.”

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