“Alternative financing,” “marketplace lending,” “crowdfunding” -- these buzzwords are here to stay, so we think it’s time to define them. As these financial products have grown in popularity, the awareness of how vast this landscape stretches has remained flat. Here’s a breakdown of what these terms mean and the countless opportunities they provide.
What is alternative finance?
The alternative finance revolution came about because the banking industry tightened its lending practices after the Financial Crisis. Unfortunately, demand for loans during the post-crisis economic recovery exploded, and borrowers were forced to start looking for alternatives to traditional financing. Marketplace lending, crowdfunding, and alternative investing are just three examples of modern products and services that technology and innovation have now made available to customers for the first time.
Marketplace lending involves the use of online platforms to obtain loans from sources other than traditional banks. Marketplace lending directly connects potential borrowers with potential lenders online instead of the typical trip to the local bank to apply for a loan. There are marketplace lending platforms geared toward consumers (Prosper, Avant, Upstart) as well as platforms focused on small business (Kabbage, LendingClub, On Deck). In addition to marketplace lending, another new source of alternative finance is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding involves pooling the capital of a number of small investors to reach a fundraising goal. Borrowers can use crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter and EquityNet to fund anything from weddings to home improvements to small business ideas.
Alternative investing: Motifs, robo-advisors and more
Alternative finance is not all about lending. In recent years, a number of new non-traditional investment opportunities have sprung up as well. One of these new alternative investment strategies is motif investing. The popularity of ETFs has exploded in the past decade, and the company Motif Investing takes the idea of an ETF one step further. Like ETFs, “motifs” are collections of stocks that represent a common theme. However, unlike ETFs, Motif Investing customers can hand-select their own basket of up to 30 stocks for each motif. In that sense, motifs are like homemade ETFs. Robo-advisors are another modern alternative spin on traditional financial advisors. Platforms like Betterment and Wealthfront offer customers automated money management services, including the use of algorithm-based trading advice. Robo-advisors typically offer customers low-cost financial advice by eliminating the middle man and providing customers direct access to the same statistics that human financial advisors typically use to make investment decisions. With robo-advisors, modern investors no longer have to pay exorbitant fees for the “human touch.” Robo-advisors use the same underlying market principles that human financial advisors use.
Perhaps no innovation sums up the spirit of the alternative financing revolution more than neo-banks. Neo-banks are a new breed of banks that lack physical brick-and-mortar branches and instead offer mobile and technology-centric banking services to modern customers. Banking is done via mobile phones or local ATMs, and the savings that the neo-banks log by choosing not to operate branch locations can be passed on to the customer in the form of lower fees or invested in superior digital support and 24/7 customer service. Top neo-banks are all FDIC insured and include names like Moven, Simple and GoBank.
Doing better than the status quo
The terminology of alternative finance can be confusing at first, but the ideas behind it are elegantly simple. The simplest idea of all is the driving force behind all alternative finance ideas: doing better than the status quo. The Internet and mobile age has ushered in the first major challenge to the traditional big-bank model. With all the modern alternatives out there, why should bank customers be satisfied with the way things have always been done?
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MoneyLion’s consumer and enterprise businesses were recognized as winners of Benzinga’s 2022 Global Fintech Awards at this year’s Fintech Deal Day
New York, December 14, 2022-- MoneyLion Inc. (“MoneyLion”) (NYSE: ML), the go-to destination for personalized financial content, products and advice, is proud to announce that it has been named “Best Financial Literacy Tool” at Benzinga’s 2022 Global Fintech Awards. MoneyLion’s enterprise business, Even Financial, was also named as the winner for “Best API.”
MoneyLion and Even Financial were honored alongside other top Fintechs, banks, research companies and more. MoneyLion’s consumer business continues to push financial literacy through innovative and personalized content. With the MoneyLion app, users can view personalized financial content in short-form video format and receive personalized financial product recommendations such as loans, insurance and investing. As MoneyLion’s enterprise offering, Even Financial digitally connects and matches consumers with real-time personalized product recommendations from banks, insurance carriers, and Fintech companies on mobile apps, websites and other digital touchpoints through its financial product search engine and Embedded Finance Marketplace technology. This technology powers both the MoneyLion Marketplace, in the MoneyLion app, as well as more than 1,000 enterprise partners.
“We’re thrilled MoneyLion’s consumer and enterprise businesses were recognized by Benzinga,” said Dee Choubey, Co-Founder and CEO of MoneyLion. “Both awards showcase MoneyLion’s every time you money approach to helping our customers. The financial literacy gap is a huge problem for millions of Americans and we remain committed to reducing its effects through engaging, informative content and key partnerships designed to bring an elevated educational experience to all.”
These awards follow the October announcement of MoneyLion University, where MoneyLion launched its latest initiative aimed at closing the gap in money and financial education across the United States.
“We could not be more pleased with Benzinga’s recognition of our company’s API technology,” stated Phill Rosen, CEO and Founder of Even Financial. “Our technology natively integrates real-time credit decisions and product recommendations from the industry’s largest network of connected financial services providers, offering access and choice to consumers searching for financial products. Our elegant Embedded Finance Marketplace, API and search engine enable any company to add trusted, personalized financial products and services to their business, reaching people when and where they need it.”
Even Financial has been named a listmaker for the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards for the last two years and was a previous award winner. In 2021, Even was selected as a listmaker for Best API and, in 2020, selected as a listmaker for both Best API and Best API Platform. In 2019, Even was awarded the Benzinga Rocky Award.
The annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards take pride in recognizing and honoring the companies and individuals who are propelling the Fintech and financial services industry forward with the most impressive technology advancements and innovations. A panel of industry experts from a wide range of companies reviewed and judged the nominations. Winners were announced at Benzinga’s Fintech Deal Day on December 8, 2022, where MoneyLion’s Chief Customer Officer Cynthia Kleinbaum spoke on the panel, Expert Growth Hacks For Reaching Underserved Markets.
About MoneyLion MoneyLion is the go-to destination for personalized financial content, products and advice. MoneyLion’s mission is to rewire the financial system to positively change the path of every hard-working American. MoneyLion uses its proprietary data advantage and technology to empower its customers. MoneyLion engages and educates its customers with daily, hyper-personalized money-related and money-adjacent content that is delivered through each customer’s own content feed. MoneyLion provides its customers a full suite of financial and non-financial solutions, bundling its proprietary, low-cost financial products with products that are offered through its marketplace technology and network affiliate partners. MoneyLion also leverages its distinct data, technology, and network advantages to deliver leading embedded finance and marketplace solutions for enterprise customers. Since its founding in 2013, MoneyLion has empowered millions of Americans to take control of their finances and live their best financial life, every day.
For more information about the company, visit https://www.moneylion.com/ and https://www.evenfinancial.com. For investor information and updates, visit investors.moneylion.com and follow @MoneyLionIR on Twitter.
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New York, Jan. 11, 2023 -- Even Financial ("Even"), an independent subsidiary of MoneyLion Inc. (NYSE: ML), and a leading embedded finance marketplace platform, is proud to announce that it was honored in Built In’s “2023 Best Places To Work” Awards. Specifically, Even earned a place on the Hybrid Best Places to Work in New York.
The Best Places to Work Awards, now in its fifth year, honors companies across numerous categories, sizes, remote-first employers as well as in person and hybrid working companies across the U.S.
Built In determines the winners of Best Places to Work based on an algorithm, using company data about compensation and benefits, and also weighs criteria like remote and flexible work opportunities, as well as other people-first cultural offerings.
This announcement follows Even’s recent win at the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards for “Best API.”
About Even Financial
Even is the industry-leading embedded financial marketplace and independent subsidiary of MoneyLion Inc. (“MoneyLion”) (NYSE: ML). MoneyLion is a leading digital financial services and lifestyle content platform serving both consumer and enterprise customers. As part of MoneyLion’s enterprise offering, Even digitally connects and matches consumers with real-time, personalized financial product recommendations from banks, insurance carriers, and fintech companies on mobile apps, websites, and other digital touchpoints through its marketplace technology. Even's infrastructure leverages machine learning and advanced data science to solve a significant pain point in financial services customer acquisition, seamlessly bridging financial services providers (such as SoFi) and channel partners (such as TransUnion) via its industry-leading API and embedded finance marketplaces. Even enables any company to add financial products to its business, with full compliance and security at scale. Even was named one of "America's Best Startup Employers'' by Forbes for 2022 and was named to the 2021 Deloitte Technology Fast 500, which recognizes the fastest growing tech companies in the world. Learn more at www.evenfinancial.com and investors.moneylion.com.