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Fintech Fridays Ep33: Indexing Consumer Loans and Financial Literacy with Phillip Postrehovsky

NCFA Canada | May 31, 2019

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Ep33-May 31:  Evolution of Consumer Lending and Financial Literacy

HOST: Manseeb Khan, Fintech Friday's show host

GUEST:  PHILLIP POSTREHOVSKY, SVP Marketing, Progressa (Linkedin)

BIO:  Philipp is a product visionary, brand builder and an award-winning marketer who has been involved in the Vancouver tech scene for over 15 years. In 2013 he co-founded RentMoola, which continues to be one of North America's leading fintech companies with the mission to eliminate the rent cheque and modernize rent collection for the enterprise. Before that, he was a brand leader for Mogo Technologies and Wonga Canada and began his career at Electronic Arts. He is the founder of Grind For Kids, a program that raised over $1 million for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and sits on the Board of one of BC’s top independent schools.

About this episode: 

On this week's episode of NCFA's Fintech Friday Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Philipp Postrehovsky the SVP of Marketing at Progressa. They chat about the results of Progressa's Annual State of the Non-Prime Canadian Consumers Survey, incorporating behavioural characteristics into underwriting decisions, helping borrowers become more financially literate and improve their credit scores.  Enjoy!

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Transcription of Interview

Intro: Welcome fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners.Covering all things fintech block chain be AI and alternative finance.

Manseeb Khan: Hey everybody Manseeb Khan Thank you for tuning into another fantastical episode of The Fintech Friday podcast. Before we jump right into this week's episode huge shout out to the Toronto Raptors for winning the eastern championships as a kid that was born raised here in Toronto. This means the absolute world to me. And yeah having a Carter jersey from when I was a kid to now. This is this is incredible for the city; this is incredible Canada and hopefully we win the championships. If we do just a head up, I might take a break from the show so we might not even get an episode if we win which I think is understandable because it is going to be the first time in history that we've won. So that's just a heads up for everybody and a slight nod to my other Toronto raptor fans that are actually listening to the show. This week We're super excited to have Philipp Postrehovsky from Progressa. He's going to be the very first of many of reoccurring guests that we're going to be having. I'm not Phillip particularly but more so of the companies that we do have on the show. But hey maybe if maybe Phillip that would be really awesome. So, without any further ado Andrew episode 33 of the FinTech Friday podcast with Philipp Postrehovsky.

Manseeb Khan: Phillip thanks so much for sitting down with me today.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. Oh, for sure. So, Phillip  our audience knows a little bit what Progressa is and honestly you guys are coming out with something. I think it's very exciting. You guys are coming up with Progressa's Annual State of the non-prime consumer study. Could you tell us a little bit about that and how you guys came when the formation of the study why you guys are coming out with this and yes give us a little bit of run out of this amazing study.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Sure yes. So, we wanted to get a sense of how Canadians are paycheck to paycheck Canadians are feeling about their personal finances and about the state of the economy and Canada as a whole. We surveyed our user base, or a subset of our user base and we got over 15 are close to fifteen hundred responses and got some great insights which I can share with you. But one of the big ones that I really jumped out at us is 76 percent up paycheck to paycheck Canadians lack confidence in their banks supporting them during financial difficulty. And that's really why Progressa exists so great to see that we are filling a need. Unfortunately, there is that need at least for filling it. So that was kind of a big one that came out in this and others that we can get into a little bit later.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I know that's very exciting. I mean the fact that now we have actually given me to study a little bit ahead of time so thank you for that. So, let's look at looking at some of the stats it's actually. It's shocking but not really surprising of how when it comes to lending, when it comes to you know Canadians being in debt and you know and dealing with their expenses like how kind of they're not using the bank is one of the options and they don't really know much about alternative lending. But even though they are using the banks they're not happily using the banks. That's probably one of the insights that I found. Huh interesting. I wonder how we can kind of you know help shift that.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Hmm. Yeah. So. So really the banks cater towards a customer that fits a certain credit risk right. Assume that customer falls out of that credit risk profile. The bank can't really help them. And that's why we develop the Progressa score which is Canada's leading alternative credit score where we're looking at other factors besides just their credit. To see if we are able to help that individual out. And that's why you know one of the top things that we help customers with is actually credit card debt. And the banks although I'm sure they would maybe want to help their customers out just aren't able to again because they're looking at that traditional credit score. So that's again where we come in and that's really allowed us to help customers when they need it the most.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. No. I absolutely agree with you. Could you just rehash a little bit more of how Progressa rates their credit scores and what other factors they look at. Aside from just aside from the traditional credit score model.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Yeah. So, through the progressive score model we've really been able to develop an industry leading score that is looking at other behavioral characteristics. And we have an in-depth chat with that customer many times and we have a saying at Progressa that your story matters and it really does. And we understand that life happens. So, we are looking at this and other things that are going to influence your ability to pay back the loan. And that's why we're able to approve a lot of individuals that would not be normally approved for a loan. And we really do specialize in that debt consolidation space so we work with Canada's biggest collection agencies and we can get into that in a second. But really, I feel that the collection process is broken, and our study reiterates that to us because for example twenty nine percent of Canadians could handle not getting paid for three weeks by 33 percent could handle getting paid for two weeks so people are really living paycheck to paycheck. And if you do fall into a collection situation. The collection agency is there to collect money and they aren't in a position to lend you the money they expect you to pay it right there and then. But the reality is that Canadians do not have funds to just pay. So that's where we come in and we provide a lot of stress relief for those customers and we actually also provide a lot of credit relief I guess as soon as you get into the collection’s world. Your credit scores your traditional credit score gets negatively affected. So if you get a Progressa loan we're able to pay off that collections item which instantly starts to rehabilitate your credit score and you pass back we report to the credit bureaus and then you're on your way to building better credit which will hopefully then put you in a much better spot. Once you're done paying that loan off to us and hopefully get you on your way to a better financial future.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah which is incredible right. Because it's I mean expenses, debt and just like reviving your terrible credit score. It's an it's a tough enough challenge as is. You did briefly mention on how broken the collections I guess system currently is. Could you just talk a little bit more about that? I mean I'm not too familiar about it. I'm pretty sure many of the audience members aren't really familiar about it could just talk about how broken it is how and also how alternative financing and alternative lending can hopefully help create a new system or create a hybrid system that can help repair a lot of the inefficiencies that are currently in place.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Yeah. So, the collections industry is looking for what is called a settlement offer right. So that's something where you have agreed to pay the collection agency the amount that you've negotiated with them right. But the reality is if you don't have that money, you're not going to be able to pay it back. In our study we found that 24 percent of paycheck to paycheck Canadians. Would have no way to pay for an unplanned emergency and another 25 percent would have to turn to the friends or family. So, half of our respondents really have no they're not financially prepared for a difficult financial situation. So that being if you are in collections, we would deem that you're in a difficult financial situation. So, you have these collection agencies calling you repeatedly asking for money that you owe them or to somebody else and you really have no way of paying it. So that's what we see it being broken and that's where we come in right. So, we will work, or the agencies will work with us to pass on that customer and we'll evaluate their situation, and in many cases,  we can offer them a loan, so we'll get off that debt and the collection calls stop. And then you have that consumer now and really grateful and that's actually one reason we have some of the industry leading NPS score. If you're not following of NPS its net promoter score. So, we have kind of customer satisfaction. The big banks are kind of in like that sub 10 range. And our average NPS score is in the 50 range which is considered pretty much world class and one of the reasons it's so high is it is again because we are providing debt or stress relief at you know at a really difficult financial time where you've had a collection calls coming up left, right  and central potentially. And now we've come in there giving you that loan, paid off that debt and now you're dealing with us and you're paying back that loan on a monthly basis which before we came into the picture you just weren't able to do. We're giving the collection agency a tool that they need that the that the customer needs. So, it's a win win for everyone right.

Manseeb Khan: I mean it just speaks on like how we even started off the show right. You guys look at. More aspects other than just like the traditional collections agency of like Hey these are the 50 people that owe us money. You owe money. So, when I keep hassling you and keep harassing you until you pass our back our money and not. Unfortunately being as empathetic towards a lot of the people that do go in debt and you know the circumstance that that much put them in debt in the first place right the fact that you guys are taking that under consideration and taking that under review when it comes to paying off everyone's debt. I mean that in and of itself is very incredible. Yeah thanks.

Philipp Postrehovsky: And you know that all kind of boils down to why we called you know a good financial literacy you know kind of like knowing good financial habits. So we make sure that when a customer comes into our eco system you know that we remind them and we educate them on the payment process and on the credit score and the good things that are going to happen when they're paying that loan back on time and that we are in their court and we want them to succeed and they really appreciate that. So that's a big pillar for us as well as driving financial literacy. And hopefully that customer doesn't find themselves in that situation again in the future.

Manseeb Khan: Just like based on like all the amazing people that you've helped out. Could you talk a little bit more on I guess like give us your top five financial literacy tips they can kind of share with the audience.

Philipp Postrehovsky: I think the top five. I mean you definitely working with a budget is key. Another one is you know paying yourself first. So really putting money aside for a financial emergency or you know an unknown expense that's going to come up will hopefully prevent you from getting into a collection situation. I think you know in general savings when we say pay yourself first you make sure that that money is going into another bank account, so you aren't even really tempted to ever touch that money. We have a blog, blog. progressa dot com where we share personal finance tips on a weekly basis. So those are just some of them but there's a lot of different strategies that you can do really. Another one is really your credit score right. Your credit score is going to enable you to do a lot of good things. It can actually even affect employment right the ability to get a job is affected by your credit score. So really monitoring your credit score and understanding how you can negatively impact and positively impact it is really important. But again, I really suggest I would encourage individuals that are looking for a simple but effective financial tip to go to our blog and check them out there.

Manseeb Khan: Awesome. Yeah. So, it's a blog  dot progressa dot com, right?  Yes, blog dot  progressa dot com. Cool. How else can alternative lending help Canadians when it comes to their expenses and also debts. I mean like we briefly touched on it. So, I guess like could you just paint the picture of how alternative lending is, can become an alternative solution other than going to banks or going to like one of those fast cash fast loans places.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Yeah, I think for us you know we are also big proponents of open banking which really advocates for consumers owning their own financial information and not the banks. You know the bank's kind of hold your financial information close to heart. We use different secure technologies to leverage. And with permission an individual's banking data to you know assess their credit risk. But you know there is a movement towards open banking which really does  support  alternative lending in the end in FinTech in general is meant to be layered over top of in my opinion traditional banking and payment services. And really, it's immense to give the consumer more choices. Again, the banks provide a lot of individuals in Canada a product that works for them. But again because of the credit scoring I guess restrictions they operate in. They can't meet everyone's needs and that's where alternative lending can come in at. And other fintech solutions can come in to meet those needs that are simply not being met by large organizations that are meant to cater to a very specific consumer.

Manseeb Khan: No, I absolutely agree with you. I mean I've I share the same opinion when it comes to fintech and how fintech is actually there to kind of work together with the existing financial system that we currently have. And yeah no I definitely I definitely share the same  rally call when it comes to that. So, I guess what you will be some of the key takeaways when it comes to the study and I guess. what is the next kind of studies that you guys are planning to hopefully roll out and that we can kind of be excited for? Yeah.

Philipp Postrehovsky: So, you mentioned that this our first annual study, so our plan is to actually ask the same set of questions a year from now. We may add some new ones in there but really, we want to start comparing our year to year how things are trending. So, we look forward to doing that and seeing you know how certain economic factors are influencing the average Canadian consumer. So, you can definitely expect that in the future seeing year to year comparisons. So that's the biggest one. And again, for us we're simply trying to we're simply there to provide a solution that Canadians really need, and they need it in a time that that you know they may feel helpless and we are there to help them. So, you can look forward to us continuing to help tens of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast.

Manseeb Khan:  I'm super excited about that. Before I let you go there are a couple of well I think are interesting stats where I kind of hopefully you can kind of expand a little bit more on it and hopefully share with the audience of like you know how alternative financing can be a possible solution. Right like you might like you know a couple of couple ones that you mentioned was you know planning for an emergency expense right to actually having a rainy day fund and making sure that you know you have a sufficient amount of money we can kind of keep you afloat for a little bit just in case of an emergency. Scrolling through here there was an interesting one where a lot of people so there's a majority of people that are actually  not putting money into their RRSP or the TFSA which I find pretty funny. I mean I'm unfortunately am one those people. I mean I always forget it's actually put money aside for both those funds. Yeah.

Philipp Postrehovsky: Yeah I. And honestly from personal experience the easiest best way to do it is set it and forget it right up set up auto withdrawal from your account for either RRSP or TFSA or just a savings account. You're saving for a vacation or something and just set it and forget it. It'll come out again that's all about paying yourself first and then check back in a few months and you'll be pleasantly surprised that there's money in that account that you may have even forgotten that you were saving for. And that is the easiest way to do it. Yeah you can nowadays with your phone use it from your phone. You can set up multiple savings goals for example. And yeah, you're good to go set it and forget it.

Manseeb Khan: Awesome so I'm going to throw the question to you. What excites you the most of when it comes to alternative lending. You know we've talked about helping to pay off your expenses, helping pay off your debts, minimizing the amount of collection calls that you get throughout the hour. So, Philipp what about alternative lending excites you the most?

Philipp Postrehovsky: Yeah. So we just released our first customer testimonial video that's available on our social channels and it really that video highlights to me the work that we're doing and what gets me in them but what gets me the most excited is that we are making a real difference through alternatives lending in people's lives right. So, these individuals really can at times, feel so helpless or very stressed and we are there I guess their savior. In some cases. And we get a lot of really positive feedback through our NPS survey. And you know over and over again you'll hear that people really appreciated the fact that you know we gave them a chance and they're just really grateful. And when you hear how appreciative people you are understand how important alternative lending is and that the work that we're doing really is making a difference. And you know just reminds me again how important Fintech is for the greater good of Canada and the world.

Manseeb Khan: No, I absolutely agree with you. Thank you. Thank you so much for all the amazing work that you guys are doing a Progressa. And you know and the amazing work that you guys are going to be doing in the future. What will be the best way to either reach out to you personally if they have any questions or places that they can kind of get to study.

Philipp Postrehovsky:  you can follow us on Twitter Progressa Canada, or you can follow me  on Twitter Philpostro. You can connect LinkedIn and follow Progressa on LinkedIn. Although social channels we monitor, and we're engaged with on a regular basis. So, feel free to connect and reach out if you've any questions and I'll look forward to answering any questions that do come out.

Manseeb Khan: Perfect. Philip thank you so much for sitting down with me today and I'm super excited to talk to a year from now and see what changes we have in the study.

Philipp Postrehovsky: You're welcome and Go Raptors Go.

Manseeb Khan: Go Raptors go.

Outro : you've been listening to fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and FinTech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit and see if a Canada dot org. Oh yea.

 

End of Podcast

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays Ep33:  Indexing Consumer Loans and Financial Literacy with Phillip Postrehovsky The 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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