The Future of Finance: Embedded Services and Consumer Empowerment
In this episode of Tech Talks Daily, I have a fantastic conversation with Emma Steeley, CEO of Aro, formerly known as Freedom Finance. With 17 years of experience in consumer finance and fintech, Emma brings a wealth of knowledge and insight into the rapidly evolving world of financial services.
The episode starts with Emma discussing the strategic rebranding of Freedom Finance to Aro. She explains how this change reflects the company’s commitment to innovation, adaptability, and growth, aiming to meet customers better needs in a dynamic global landscape.
A significant part of the conversation is dedicated to how Aro is leveraging machine learning to transform personal credit matching. Emma elaborates on how the company uses application data, credit reports, open banking, and internal data in their machine learning models. This approach enables Aro to match customers with lending offers they are most likely approved for, significantly enhancing the customer experience beyond what generic credit scores can offer.
We delve into the opportunities and challenges presented by open banking. While open banking holds great potential through consented data sharing, its adoption could be faster. Emma discusses the hurdles such as consent friction, the need for transparent customer value exchange, and lenders’ apprehensions about using new data types for underwriting. She emphasizes the need for industry collaboration to overcome these challenges, address conduct risks, and demonstrate the benefits of data sharing.
A key highlight of the episode is the discussion on the value of open banking APIs in democratizing lending. Emma explains how these APIs provide crucial data to power more inclusive lending decisions, especially for traditionally underserved segments, offering them fair and affordable credit options.
Looking towards the future, Emma shares her insights on the rise of embedded finance. She predicts that significant brands will increasingly offer financial services, driven by consumer expectations for seamless experiences. She also touches upon the importance of balancing convenience with responsible lending practices.
As the conversation wraps up, Emma shares her thoughts on the trends to watch in 2024 for the credit industry. She anticipates focusing on stability and using diverse data sources to deepen the understanding of customer needs and risk profiles. She foresees a gradual maturation in open banking integration through collaborative learning and shared experiences.
This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the future of finance, the role of technology in lending, and the impact of innovative leadership in transforming industries. Emma’s insights provide a unique perspective on how financial services evolve and what we can expect in the coming years.