Adulting is hard. Particularly when it comes to managing personal finances. Every month, people have to deal with tons of bills — hydro, electricity, gas, Internet, cable — just to name a lot. And, for millennials, add student loans to that never-ending list of bills. It’s easy to understand how people can fall behind paying their bills on time for reasons outside their control. Luckily, a Vancouver fintech is giving Canadians a second chance at getting their lives back on track financially.
Progressa is not just any lending company, they look beyond your credit score and get to really know you behind all the bills and debt, and try to match loan options that work for you based on your situation. Once the loan is approved, Progressa will pay your bills directly for you so you don’t have to worry about it.
This month we spoke with Co-founder and CEO of Progressa, Ali Pourdad, to learn more about Progressa, his thoughts on fintech in Canada and their new exciting features to look forward to this year.
Trulioo: What would you say are the three biggest advantages Progressa has over traditional lenders and banks?
Ali: Compared to a traditional lender or major bank, Progressa’s key advantage is that we look beyond the traditional ‘black and white’ credit bureau and analyze the ‘grey’. If you picture a straight line from low to high with a low credit score being a bad thing and a high credit score being a good thing, Progressa’s credit model has the advantage of being able to look at all the exceptions around the line and make sense of them. This is largely possible because of our proprietary credit model that we have developed over time, and with which we have processed over 55,000 applications since 2013. In addition to that model, we have the advantage of the “Powered By Progressa” software engine, a tool which allows us, and our partners, to process higher volumes of customer applications more efficiently, and to better collaborate in order to evaluate the likelihood of recovering funds by way of offering financing solutions. Finally, our customer acquisition strategy is very different from that used by many bank lenders: you will rarely if ever see an advertisement for Progressa on TV, radio, or even Google. This is our ‘secret’ sauce and what’s allowing us to grow so quickly and so efficiently.
Trulioo: We noticed that your company opened up an office in Toronto last year, congratulations! What drivers made you choose Toronto and what are your views on the current fintech scene in Canada?
Ali: Toronto is truly the hub for Canadian financial services growth, home to so many of the organizations with whom we have become partners in fintech leadership. The city is also a nexus of activity for the kind of forward-thinking talent we strive to make part of the Progressa team, mainly financial services and customer service professionals, as well as other key professional areas such as risk management. Ontario residents make up approximately half of Progressa’s current customer base, and so we thought it appropriate to extend our services directly to where they reside. Finally, Toronto offers unparalleled resources for the acquisition of capital in pursuit of expanding our loan portfolio and meeting our business objectives.
Trulioo: What's next for Progressa? Any exciting product features or company updates in 2017?
Ali: In addition to rolling out our "Powered by Progressa" credit engine to more partners in 2017, we anticipate expanding into other exciting product lines, such as GIC Savings Loans and secured credit cards. Our objective with these new initiatives is to try to create a safe ecosystem for consumers to rehabilitate their financial situation until their credit score has improved enough to return to a traditional banking institution.
If there’s a fintech company you’d like to see featured in our Fintechs in Vancouver blog series, please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out some other fintechs we’ve also featured on our series!
Wealthbar: Investing Made Easy and Personal
When it comes to investing, sometimes it’s easier to just leave it to the pros. The problem with many investment advisers though is there is often a conflict of interest and high commission rates. Introducing WealthBar — an online wealth management platform that makes investing easy and personal at lower costs.
nTrust: Remittance from Anyone, to Anywhere.
In 2015, a total amount of $23.4 billion was sent from Canada to other countries according to Pew Research Center. Unfortunately, a huge part of this hard-earned money is lost during the journey due to fees and transaction costs. Enter nTrust — A Vancouver fintech that helps people access, move, and use their money, instantly.
Koho: Secure, Simple, Mobile and a Free Financial Life
Tired of paying a fee for every little thing you do with your credit card and debit card? Sick of big financial institutions charging you hidden fees that just don’t make sense? Meet Koho, a Fintech in Vancouver who offers a prepaid card solution — without all the exorbitant charges. As a matter of fact, they’re working to end fees once and for all.