Jennifer Tescher of CFSI on the Financial Health Crisis
The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), led by its CEO and Founder Jennifer Tescher, has had a significant impact on the financial services industry since its founding in 2004. They are the foremost experts on the concept of financial health and LendingClub is proud to be a member of their Financial Health Network.
The below is a recap of Jennifer’s remarks during a recent visit to LendingClub headquarters. Jennifer sat down with our President, Steve Allocca, to address a topic we are very passionate about at LendingClub – addressing the American financial health crisis. Our CEO Scott Sanborn shared our perspective on this crisis at this year’s LendIt Conference.
When you ask someone to talk about their financial life, they just talk about their life
People don’t live their lives based on an annual profit-and-loss sheet. Most are simply eking by with their daily available cash (or credit). The lack of planning and thinking far enough into the future is limiting so many from getting out of a cycle of revolving credit card debt.
This is exactly what the researchers at CFSI found when they spent a year following 235 families in four communities across the country tracking every dollar that flowed in and out of the households in order to understand and evaluate the context for their financial decisions. This was the research behind the award-winning book, The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty.
Credit is not the right tool for every problem
We often talk about the lack of credit sometimes available for consumers who need it – and this is a real issue we are combating at LendingClub. Jennifer emphasized that too many people also have credit as their only option to combat a lack of cash flow. It is time to think beyond credit alone and offer customers more options to improve their financial health.
Design products that encourage positive financial behavior
The call-to-action from Jennifer was clear: We need to design products that set people up to be their best selves. Financial education alone is not enough. We need to rely on the insights of behavioral economics and give consumers products designed to guide people to healthier behavior.
Taking the customer-first approach
Culture is one of the most important factors for companies like LendingClub whose mission is focused on helping all Americans achieve their life goals. It is vital to maintain the customer focus from the top, but it will only be successful if every employee is bought in. Every meeting topic or decision should be made with the customer need at the center. A good litmus test: “What would my grandmother think of this product or service?”
We welcomed Jennifer to LendingClub headquarters in San Francisco as part of our ongoing Executive Speaker Series which pairs industry experts with our LendingClub executives in conversation about industry trends and hot topics. All LendingClub employees are invited and encouraged to attend. If you’re interested in learning more about opportunities within LendingClub and helping us resolve the American financial health crisis, please visit our Careers site.