Fintech in Vancouver: Grow Aims to Reinvent Banking
Need a quick and easy loan at affordable rates? Our next Fintech startup in the spotlight is here to help you with just that. Located at the very heart of downtown, Grow is a new generation of finance that gives Canadians a better way to borrow by leveraging the power of technology.
Grow hands out loans of up to $30,000 from rates of 18.99% APR to as low as 4.8% APR over one to five years terms. Interest rates are based on a variety of factors including your credit score, employment information, loan amount requested and other publicly available information. Their cutting-edge software is able to take this data and crunch out a personalized quote in just 2-3 minutes. The great advantage to these quotes is that they’re considered soft inquiries which will not have any effect on your credit score.
Aside from loans, Grow also offers a tool called RateTracker to help keep your personal credit in check. The tool will send you email or texts updating you on your personalized interest rate to ensure you are never overpaying banks or credit card providers.
We had a chance to talk with Kevin Sandhu from Grow to get an inside scoop on what they’re working on and also exciting things we can look forward to seeing from Grow.
Trulioo: In your recent Huffington Post article you mention how your team is developing FinBots. Can you elaborate on this some more? What is the technology and what problem does it solve?
Kevin: The value of Fintech should not be limited to the internet channel. If you want to come to Grow directly through our website to interact with our products — that’s wonderful. We will always be happy to engage with the client who wants to self-serve. But that’s not true for all Canadians. Many people are still more comfortable banking in person. That’s wonderful, also. Why should that person be precluded from accessing the same best-in-class products as the individual that chooses to go to poweredbygrow.com? They shouldn’t. People bank in different ways and places; we want Grow products to be available to you no matter how you choose to interact with financial services.
Computers are fundamentally better at certain tasks than humans: computing large sets of data or math, for example. Our technology is able to consume and analyze massive amounts of data in a very short period of time to get a very rich understanding of someone’s financial profile. Technology can do that much faster and with more precision than a human ever could. Humans trump technology when it comes to interpersonal nuance and relationship cultivation, however.
When you book an hour to talk to a financial representative at a bank about opening a new account, as much of that time as possible should be spent learning about your goals and how the bank can help you optimize your finances, both for the present and the future. Unfortunately today much of that time is spent filling out paperwork. Wasted time, and wasted opportunity. Grow’s technology will solve this problem. If we can quickly and accurately arm financial institution employees and customers with personalized products that are driven in real-time by unbiased and comprehensive data sets, while replacing clunky application processes with streamlined customer experiences, that’s a huge step forward in how consumers interact with financial services.
The benefits of a digital banking system extend to both providers and consumers, and there is no reason why the benefits can’t be available anywhere the consumer chooses to bank.
Trulioo: You’ve struck some great partnerships recently, such as Conexus. How do you decide on which partnerships are right for your company?
Kevin: We choose our partners very carefully. At Grow, our mission is to reduce financial anxiety and improve financial health. We want to work with partners who are cut from the same cultural cloth. We look for organizations that have strong existing relationships with their members, customers, and communities — whether those communities are small towns in Saskatchewan, entire provinces, or even the whole country.
We want a revenue structure that is aligned around both our success and our partner’s. Much of the tumult that’s occurring for established Fintech players in the U.S. right now was caused by a misalignment: investor and partner interests not aligning with the interests of the platforms. This mistake must be avoided for the betterment of both us and our partners, and — at the end of the day — the Canadian consumer.
Conexus is a tremendous example of the type of partner I’m describing. They’re an organization full of talented, passionate people committed to driving change, empowering their communities, and improving the financial health of their members. By combining what they do best (a member-focused brand and strong customer relationships) with what we do best (technology, data analytics and digital customer experience), we’re able to create something much greater than we ever could separately.
Trulioo: We love watching Grow grow… So, what’s next?
Kevin: We will continue to work with forward-thinking banks, credit unions and other financial institutions of all sizes to offer cutting-edge banking solutions to their customers. By combining their brands and distribution networks with our technology, we will fulfill our mission to reduce financial anxiety and improve the financial well-being of Canadians. This means the potential for new products beyond our current offerings (personal loans and RateTracker, a credit monitoring service) — which is a prospect that everyone on the Grow team is immensely excited for. The amount of learning that we’ve squeezed from our first 18 months of operation has been tremendous. We’ve gotten to intimately know the Canadian consumer and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to deepen our participation in their journeys to better their financial lives.
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