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Amber Buker at Totem is Pioneering Digital Banking for Native Americans

Digital Banking | Aug 30, 2023

Totem website - Amber Buker at Totem is Pioneering Digital Banking for Native Americans

Source: Totem website

A Personal Quest Turned Visionary Venture: 'Banking By and For Indigenous People'

In the vast landscape of fintech, where innovation is the norm, few stories resonate as deeply as that of Amber Buker and her groundbreaking venture, Totem. As financial institutions and investors scour the market for the next big thing, Totem stands out not just for its technological prowess but for its mission: bridging the financial divide for Native Americans.

Amber Buker, a proud member of the Choctaw Nation, knows firsthand the challenges faced by Native Americans in accessing financial services. From personal hurdles in buying a home to witnessing the broader community's struggles, Amber's journey is one of resilience and determination. Her experiences sowed the seeds for Totem, a neobank with a heart and a purpose.

Video: Redefining the Indigenous Experience through Innovation and Tradition (Lawrence Lewis, OneFeather, Founder)

Founded in 2022, Totem quickly made waves in the fintech world, raising over $2.4 million in venture funding. But for Amber, the numbers were just one side of the story. The real victory lay in launching the Totem app, a beacon of financial empowerment for Native Americans. With features like a debit card, mobile wallet, and direct deposit system, the app is more than just a banking platform; it's a statement that financial inclusivity is a right, not a privilege.

Partnerships with Purpose

Recognizing the power of partnerships, the neobank has forged ties with various tribal nations where tribes benefit from a share of Totem’s revenues, and Totem gains invaluable insights into the unique financial needs of the Native American community.

One of Totem's standout initiatives is its discussions about a payments proof of concept. This would allow ACH payments to be sent directly into Totem accounts, ensuring seamless and fee-free transactions for users. In a world where big banks often overlook the underserved, Totem's commitment to providing FDIC-insured accounts without hidden fees is a breath of fresh air.

FFCON23 Video:  Advancing Fintech with Purpose

Amber and her team at Totem are challenging the status quo by addressing issues like the digital divide and the vast distances many Native Americans have to travel to access financial services, Totem is redefining what it means to be a community-based neobank.  Their outreach extends beyond reservations, catering to the 70% of Native Americans living off them. In doing so, Totem is sending a clear message: financial empowerment should know no boundaries.

A Call to Financial Institutions and Investors

For financial institutions and investors, the story of Amber Buker and Totem is a clarion call. It's an invitation to look beyond profit margins and recognize the transformative potential of fintechs that prioritize social impact.  As the fintech landscape evolves, stories like Totem's will undoubtedly shape its future. Amber Buker's vision, rooted in personal experience and fueled by a passion for change, serves as a beacon for all those looking to make a difference in the world of finance.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Amber Buker at Totem is Pioneering Digital Banking for Native AmericansThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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