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Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

The American Dreamers: Earnup Cofounders Matthew Cooper and Nadim Homsany

Barefoot Innovation Podcast

The American Dreamers: Earnup Cofounders Matthew Cooper and Nadim Homsany

Mallory Kwiatkowski

EarnUp - Matthew Cooper.jpg
EarnUp - Nadim Homsany-.jpg

One of the things I love about our Barefoot Innovation conversations -- and about fintech, for that matter -- is the passion you find in so many founders, these people who really believe they can do better for consumers. You hear it in the voices of many of the guests we’ve had on the show, the note of excitement, the sense that they can almost see a better future. They’re often people from the technology world who looked at some traditional, stuck feature of the financial system and said to themselves, I can do better than this. Today’s guests are wonderful examples. They are Matthew Cooper and Nadim Homsany, cofounders of EarnUp.

EarnUp is a fintech platform that intelligently automates loan payments, to help people pay on time, manage their finances more easily, and build financial health. It lets consumers put funds aside when they can afford to, and then makes their loan payments for them, allocating funds in the way that will get the person out of debt most quickly. Matthew and Nadim say 200 million Americans have debt, and that they owe $20,000,000,000,000 -- I promised them to write that out so we can all ponder those 13 zeros. They say 60-70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and they think 70% of delinquencies are avoidable, caused by the complexity of bill paying and money management. They have found, so far, that EarnUp reduces delinquencies by 30% and saved their customers $400 million as of when we recorded this conversation, last summer.

I was especially interested in an EarnUp feature they call Smoke and Fire -- when they see the early warning signs of “smoke” that someone is in danger of paying late, they squash it quickly, before it becomes a fire. That’s a powerful idea, considering the high share of financial expense that many people pay just for being late. I did a podcast with Al Ko of Mint last year, who made a similar point.

In our talk, Matthew and Nadim talked about the regulatory environment for businesses like theirs and how to improve it. They described their business model, which is B2B2C, signing up customers through banks and financial companies like Freddie Mac, Framework Homeownership, and GreenPath Financial Wellness. They also explained that the business model is double-bottom line, aiming for both profit and social good. They were 2016 participants in the Financial Solutions Lab of the Center for Financial Services Innovation -- something I’m delighted to report since I chair the CFSI board.

We’ve had a lot of guests who are working on this thorny, but solvable problem -- how to make it just flat EASIER to keep up with the bills, find the smartest way to pay them off, and figure out how to plan for financial wellness and health. EarnUp has a fascinating solution.


Link to full transcription

Podcast with CSBS President John Ryan

More on Matthew and Nadim

Matthew is EarnUp’s Co-Founder & CEO. He is the son of a minister and a teacher and has lifelong passion for supporting marginalized communities through volunteer work and advocacy. Matthew previously worked at Clearlake Capital, a $3B private equity firm focused on software and financial services industries. Prior to Clearlake, Matthew worked with NCB Capital, a $12B asset manager, leading private equity investments in the emerging markets. Before that, Matthew was at McKinsey & Company counseling Fortune 500 clients in the financial services and retail industries. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University. His Twitter handle is @MatthewWins.

Nadim is the son of immigrants who arrived in the US with virtually nothing. His upbringing instilled in him a passion for helping people build financial resilience and independence. Prior to EarnUp, Nadim worked at Serent Capital, a $600M private equity firm, focused on tech-enabled services. Nadim previously led investments with NCB Capital, a $12B asset manager and worked at McKinsey & Company, advising large banks.

Nadim also practiced IP and technology law at Kirkland & Ellis. He holds a JD degree from Harvard Law School and graduated with highest honors from Rutgers University. He’s on Twitter @nhomsany.

More for our listeners

We have more great podcast episodes in the queue. We’ll talk with Anju Patwardhan of CreditEase and Stanford University, and with Walter Cruttenden, Co-Founder of Acorns and Co-founder and CEO of Blast. We’ll have an extended talk we recorded in Singapore with Sopnendu Mohanty, the Chief Fintech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. We’ll have two from Boston -- one with Steve Cohen of Basis Technologies and one with Lamont Young, who’s leading digital innovation at Citizens Bank. And we’ll have an especially provocative and entertaining show I recorded last week in London, in the old City at Armourers Hall, with my friend Dave Birch.

I completed the last public event of my 2018 fall “world-tour” yesterday with the Boston Regtech Meetup. Next year is already getting busy. Among other things, I’ll be at the FINRA Regtech Conference on January 17th in New York.

Also watch for upcoming information on my collaboration with Brett King on his new book, Bank 4.0, which you can now buy on Amazon. I co-wrote the regulatory chapter with Brett, and we’ll have a show and events on that as well.

If you enjoy listening to Barefoot Innovation, please be sure to post a review! It will help new listeners find us. Please also follow along with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook and come to for more information and to subscribe to my newsletter and get the latest podcasts as soon as they come out. And don’t forget to send in your dollar a show, to keep it all going.

Until next time, keep innovating!

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