Envisant (formerly LSC), a subsidiary of the Illinois Credit Union League, has invested in a fintech startup that offers marginalized consumers a path to financial recovery through mobile banking technology.
Cambio offers a subscription-based mobile account and alternative credit score. Through real-life in-app activities aimed at improving their financial skills, members earn access to cash rewards, credit-building services, and credit from Cambio's network of credit union lenders.
“There are skill-building apps for stress relief, weight loss, and meditation—virtually any challenge we face in day-to-day life,” says Cambio Founder/CEO Blesson Abraham. “People build communities around them. We believe there's a community to be built by people who want to lift themselves from within the underserved financial services market to rebuild their financial lives.”
Envisant services the Cambio accounts. “This was an opportunity to improve financial literacy and wellness across the U.S., and at the same time support credit union values,” says Libby Calderone, president/chief operations officer. “We’re happy to enable this great product with our own back-office services.”
Calderone notes many consumers who sign up for the $9.99 monthly subscription-based service are “unmembered” and have been denied accounts by multiple financial institutions for past financial missteps.
The investment isn’t “a financial play as much as it is an opportunity to bring people back into the financial mainstream,” says Tom Kane, Illinois Credit Union League president/CEO.
Participating members receive a prepaid debit card through Envisant and get opportunities to improve their Cambio score through additional credit-building opportunities such as loan refinancing, secured credit cards, and bill payments.
If members have direct deposit, they can qualify for cash advances to meet their obligations. Abraham says Cambio also guides users to a healthier day-to-day financial routine with spending updates provided through the “nearly universal accessibility” of a mobile app.
“Using the data and the technology that we have available,” Blesson says, “we can influence consumers’ behavior and improve their credit score moving forward.”