Who’s Who in Alternative Banking Solutions

Open banking, virtual branches, machine learning, and AI — these are just some of the pieces of the alternative banking puzzle.

Digital-first upstarts that provide alternative lending solutions have now proved to the banking world that they are as good (if not better) at attracting, underwriting, and servicing customers, as their traditional peers.

What’s more important, possibly, is that each one of these companies is taking up a unique mission — whether it’s to provide financial products to the underserved, or make financial services more open and transparent.

Bank Innovation spoke to the executives from some of the most inspiring companies in the sector that are shaping the future of banking. Check out our lineup below.

1. Aspiration

Just like many of the fintechs on this list, Aspiration aims to bring banking and investing services to the underserved layer of consumers (that happen to mostly be millennials), adding its own twist.

According to the Los Angeles-based online lender, consumers are increasingly asking where their money is going, so last month the startup launched its new Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) feature. The feature measures things like the environmental impact of a certain company, or how it treats its employees, and then shares those scores with consumers. Users then get to decide whether they want to keep using the services of that particular company.

“Customers want more than just a piece of technology, they can get any financial company that they want, so they need something different,” Aspiration’s CEO  Andrei Cherny told Bank Innovation. “It used to be about choosing ‘closest branch,’ now it’s about choosing a brand that speaks to you and your beliefs.”

Customers are loving the new feature so far, Cherny said, so the company is planning to expand it with additional functionalities this year. In the long run, the company plans to offer consumers the full suite of financial products.

“What we see with Aspiration is that consumers come to our space, and they want to have really all of their banking and financing needs met with in one place,” Cherny explained. “So building out that product suite and offering full banking experience is on our roadmap.”

The company currently has almost 100,000 customers on board, and is adding 10,000 new users monthly.

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