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Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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Nova Credit: Helping Immigrants Realize the American Dream

More than one million immigrants arrive in the U.S. every year, and it is predicted that immigration will drive 82% of new population growth by 2050. Yet, the lack of domestic credit history limits access to financial services, housing and even employment.

Award-winning fintech Nova Credit helps newcomers and other global citizens apply for financial services using their credit history from countries around the world, providing access to the products and services most of us take for granted.

We are very fortunate to have Misha Esipov, Co-Founder & CEO at Nova Credit on the Banking Transformed podcast. He will discuss the origination of this innovative service and the growth that has been achieved since Nova Credit’s founding.

This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by FIS.

GoCart recognizes email addresses and lets consumers pay quickly anywhere – with no passwords and no long forms. Consumers can pay faster for anything – even things they wouldn’t expect like healthcare, processional services, and more. GoCart goes beyond online checkout and allows consumers to pay easily by email, text, or with QR codes.

Find out how you can use GoCart to simplify payments and increase your sales at GoCartpay.com/podcast.

FIS. Advancing the way the world pays banks and invests.

Jim Marous:

Hello and welcome to Banking Transformed. I'm your host, Jim Marius, Owner and CEO of The Digital Bank Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand.

Jim Marous:

More than one million immigrants arrive in the US every year, and it's predicted that immigration will drive 82% of new population growth by 2050. Yet, the lack of domestic credit history limits the access to financial services, housing and even employment. Award winning fintech Nova Credit helps newcomers and other global citizens apply for financial services using their credit history from countries around the world. Providing access to the products and services that most of us take for granted. We are fortunate to have Misha Slipover, Co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit on The Banking Transformed Show. He will discuss the origination of this innovative service and the growth that has been achieved since Nova Credit's founding.

Jim Marous:

So, hello, I'm going to assume that most listeners to The Banking Transformed Podcast are not first generation immigrants. For those of you who are, the challenge of establishing credit has definitely been an uphill battle. The lack of credit history impacts the ability to get housing, being employed, as well as acquiring insurance and other basic financial products. I'm excited to have Misha Slipover, co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit on the show today to discuss how his firm has addressed the challenge of facing immigrants who want to get credit cards, student loans, and of financial products.

Jim Marous:

Welcome to the show, Misha. Before we start, could you provide our listeners a short background on your interesting background story, as well as the catch-22 immigrants face trying to get access to the financial system in the US?

Misha Esipov:

More than happy to, first of all, thanks for having me on the show. Really a pleasure and an honor to be here.

Misha Esipov:

Yeah, a little bit about Nova Credit, been around for about five, six years. The core problem that we solve is that millions of people move to the US every year. These are people who are coming here for work, for education, and for love. Those are the three personas we often talk about. And, when someone first arrives and applies for a credit card and auto loan, a student loan, a place to live, a car loan, all of those services require, having US credit history. And by virtue of having just arrived, this population of people are absolutely credit invisible, and so when they go and apply for those services, they unfortunately get rejected and get stuck in.

Misha Esipov:

As you said, catch-22 of banking, where you need access to product to build history and you need history to get access to a product. That sort of just continues to spiral. I'm sure we'll get into it, but that's really the core of the problem that we've solved.

Jim Marous:

Where does Nova Credit actually come in, in the process then?

Misha Esipov:

Effectively, what we did and the way we got started is, started by doing a bunch of user research and really understanding this customer segment. US bound immigrants drive the majority of US population growth, meaning that there's more people that come to the US every year with the intent to stay then there are Americans who turn 18 and become eligible for financial services. So this is really, as you think about Blue Ocean and really attractive customer segments to go after you can't ignore the immigrant segment. It is driving the majority of population growth, and that is only expected to increase as US demographics continue to shift, as you think about populations in urban environments, around universities, et cetera.

Misha Esipov:

Anytime someone comes to the States, prior to Nova Credit, they would apply for a product. That issuer or the bank would check the US bureaus, bureau [inaudible 00:03:57] union. They would all say, "We don't know who this is." And that would be the end of the process. The consumer would get rejected, or get stuck with a secured card or some other, dare I say, second class product.

Misha Esipov:

The way Nova Credit works is that, in the middle of an application journey, we allow a consumer who doesn't have sufficient US credit to self-identify, and say, "Hey, I may have some history abroad that I want to bring into my application to support my eligibility."

Misha Esipov:

We take that user through a very quick workflow where they can go and pull their information from the UK, or Canada, or India, or Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, a number of other markets. We can pull that information in. We standardize it into our core flagship product, which we call the credit passport, where the thinking is the same way that your passport is how you travel the world. Your credit passport is how you access financial services as you move from one country to another. That is effectively the jump start. That is what breaks through the catch-22, and would allow someone that has built some history about themselves prior to coming to the United States, to be used to open up doors and opportunities here when they apply for products.

Jim Marous:

You actually have translated credit bureaus from other countries into something that was somewhat standardized and accepted by a number of financial institutions, and organizations in the United States then, correct?

Misha Esipov:

That's right, yeah. We've spent more years now than I'd like to admit and more flights and trips all around the world, meeting with all the major credit bureaus in all the major markets. We work in roughly 20 markets at this point. We can access over credit files on over one billion consumers, all around the world. Anytime one of those consumers moves to the United States and applies for a financial product, we can tap into their data from wherever they're from, standardize it, make it FCRA compliant, make it co-compliant and deliver that as a credit reporting agency here in the United States in service of helping them put their best foot forward and get approved.

Jim Marous:

So, going backwards a little bit, Nova Credit actually originated from a school project at Stanford, didn't it? Can you explain some of the challenges you faced as you went from ideation to actually building a financial service company?

Misha Esipov:

So many, it's been a rollercoaster of a ride, I think, building a cross border credit bureau, or a consumer permission to bureau, however you want to think about us, is certainly not for the faint of heart. I think, when we first started, we were just very acutely focused on the user problem. The user problem is very simple. It's incredibly difficult to access financial services as someone who's just arrived to the United States. But, solving that problem sort of head on with issuing a credit card for immigrants, or offering student loans for immigrants, doesn't actually solve the root cause. The root cause is really an information gap. That information exists in one market, but it has no means to make its way to the United States. That's really where we really wanted to play as a business and really focus on solving this problem at a systemic level.

Misha Esipov:

But, in order to actually bring that to life, we've had to set up relationships with many credit bureaus all around the world. That is a very challenging process for all sorts of reasons, partnerships, regulatory, information, security, variety of other dimensions. And then, you actually have to work through the partnership and sale process with some of the largest financial institutions in the world, and that has its own set of challenges. And so, erecting a business in between very large, highly regulated enterprises on both sides has been, I'd say, a challenging and character building chapter of my life.

Jim Marous:

So really the foundation of this problem is there's no central credit bureau, globally. And just like, there's no identity capability, globally. What happens in countries that don't have maybe an existing centralized credit bureau, or can't provide the data that you need to actually standardize it for the United States?

Misha Esipov:

Yeah. If you go around the world and actually look at the emergence of credit bureaus, about 20, 25 years ago, there were only about 25 credit bureaus. And then, in the last 10, 20 years, that number is now well over 250, I think almost 300 credit bureaus around the world. So, the emergence of consumer credit all around the world has been fueled by the international expansion of Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, as well as some of their European competitors, as well as organizations like multilateral organizations like the World Bank and UN, who advocate for the existence of credit bureaus, because they help promote the safety and soundness of those local banking sectors.

Misha Esipov:

This problem, arguably, wasn't solvable 20 plus years ago, but now it's at a point where credit bureaus exist all around the world. All of the major markets that contribute to US bound immigration have a credit bureau, with very few exceptions. And in those markets, we have an integration up and running. And so, through the access that we have, we can now plug in and extract data in markets that represent roughly 70% of the annual inflow of US bound immigrants.

Jim Marous:

I understand you work with both the consumer end, and the business end, don't you? Bringing immigrants to financial institutions and financial institutions or businesses to immigrants. How do you reach the constituents to let them know about Nova Credit? Because, it's not something that becomes part of the standard credit bureau, you got to bring these two parties together, don't you?

Misha Esipov:

That's right. You can really think about the way we interact with consumers in sort of two ways. One is we sit embedded within... I'll use American Express as an example, within the American Express customer application journey, or any one of their marketing channels, if that consumer applies for any of American Express's US consumer cards at this point, 100% of their US consumer cards are powered with our capability. And that consumer, as I said earlier, doesn't have sufficient US history. They're given the ability to pull in their international history. That's mechanism number one.

Misha Esipov:

Mechanism number two is that consumers can actually just come to us, to Novocredit.com, and identify where they're from. Let's say you're from India or Canada, and then based on where you're from, we will put forward personalized recommendations based on what are the best cards for people from where you're from, or based on the need. It's almost like a Credit Karma-like model or a Nerd Wallet-like model where you can come to us, and then we will display some of the best cards that can really make use of your international credit information, and jumpstart your journey to building history here in the United States.

Jim Marous:

How do immigrants find out about you?

Misha Esipov:

Yeah, a lot of different channels. Many are just organically applying to some of our partners, and then all of a sudden they see... They're unaware that this is a problem and they're going through it. And all of a sudden they realize, "Oh, wow, this is actually something that can," as we said earlier, "breakthrough the catch-22 or dramatically accelerate or jumpstart building US credit."

Misha Esipov:

In terms of our own work, we are experimenting with a variety of channels. We work across industries as well, so we're not only in financial services. We are investing very heavily in other areas like helping people get housing, real estate, property management. Helping people get cell phone plans and device financing.

Misha Esipov:

That helps us sort of create this one stop shop for consumers where, when you first arrive in the United States, you're going through a very vulnerable period of transition where you have to reestablish your entire financial footprint, as well as some of these other services. And, being able to help unlock services across all your core needs is what can really help make that immigration journey a lot less vulnerable.

Jim Marous:

You actually go beyond simply the credit bureau side of this also, don't you? Because, as an immigrant, there's a misunderstanding about US financiers. Do you also help educate the immigrants around what's available to them, and how to navigate our very complex system?

Misha Esipov:

Yeah, we spent a lot of time and effort on building what I would call a robust content library that helps consumers understand, what is a credit bureau? Why is it important to your life in the United States to have a thick file? What are the types of opportunities that it can unlock for you? How much savings can you have by having a 800 score versus a five, 600 score, as well as laying out some of the frictions that somebody will experience upon arrival and trying to open an account, or even just get a cell phone plan. And, having done hundreds of user testimonials and user research interviews over the years, there are so many areas where a lack of credit history just makes that immigration journey so much more challenging. Those are the types of areas where we can help create a lot of value.

Jim Marous:

The immigrant population is huge. People with thin credit files are huge. Why wouldn't Legacy Financial Institutions be knocking on your door every day to try to say, "How do we partner with you to provide this as a service to our customers?" What am I missing here?

Misha Esipov:

Many are. I think as banks think about their growth strategies for the next few years, you can't ignore the shift in US demographics. I mentioned this data point earlier from the US Census Bureau, how 55% of US population growth is coming from immigration. If you fast forward 20, 30 years, this is US Census Bureau data, that number is expected to grow to 80%, meaning there are four times more consumers who are entering the US financial services as immigrants than there are Americans turning 18 to become eligible for financial services. And, this is a demographic challenge. And so for the market and P&L owners, or the risk officers who may be listening, not having a strategy for how to attract and retain the newcomers, the recent immigrant segment is a recipe to lose market share over time, just demographically speaking.

Misha Esipov:

And so, that really has been a key driver for our partnership process, and helping educate our partners about what's happening in US demographics, and talking about what are the core channels for where these individuals are coming through? Going through credit risk workshops and explaining ... the actual proving now having operated for five, six years, what the credit quality of these consumers actually looks like. And that's really where our superpower lies as a business, is being able to help cast light on a segment that's otherwise invisible and help our partners win this segment in a way that was never possible before.

Jim Marous:

It's interesting, you talk about this segment, and it appears that while you try to solve for a specific problem to begin with, every door you open, opens the room to more doors as how you can expand your services. How do you approach innovation? Nova Creditors, you're trying to solve grander issues than simply credit bureaus for new immigrants.

Misha Esipov:

Yeah. Anytime you get lost, you have to get back to your user. And so, I make it a regular part of my calendar to make sure that I'm still talking to users on a regular basis. And so, making sure that our leadership team, and our marketing team, and a product teams, even our engineering teams are talking to users and learning from them, empathizing with them, understanding their challenges.

Misha Esipov:

And, it's through that user research that you start to unlock insights. What are the channels that can help us better drive awareness within this segment? What are the pain points that aren't yet being met? What are the types of products that, for example, we don't currently work with Chase, but we constantly hear about how some parts of the segment are really looking for some of their products. That helps us sort of steer some of our other parts of our business in saying, "Here's a hundred customers who've mentioned this brand. We should be getting in front of them as quickly as we can."

Jim Marous:

When you alk about putting forth your services, there's got to be a financial model there. I know that you've had outside investments, but how does Nova Credit, or how will Nova credit actually make money in the marketplace?

Misha Esipov:

Yeah. We've been generating revenue now for about five plus years at this point. The way we make money is, the product and service is free for consumers. We charge similar to how a credit bureau charges, which is every time that our data, our infrastructure, our analytics is used and helps create value, we capture a piece of that value we help create. And so, we're paid by the enterprise and the product is free for consumers.

Jim Marous:

How many customers, or how many immigrants have you actually touched that you can track?

Misha Esipov:

We've seen, I'd say, hundreds of thousands at this point of immigrants who cross our systems in some way. Our market penetration is still growing. I think, we're now seeing somewhere in the range of almost 10% of this market coming through our system in some way, interacting with Nova Credit services. And that number is really accelerating here, month over month.

Jim Marous:

Is there any competition marketplace for the way you go about solving the immigration, credit bureau issues? I know there's products out there for the immigrant community, but I think you're addressing it in a different way. Really making it so that you can unify the credit bureaus.

Misha Esipov:

Yeah. I have yet to see of a competitor, that's doing exactly what we're doing in terms of actually solving this problem at the root cause, at the systemic level. Our hope and ambition, and what we are doing is, we want anyone who arrives here to be treated as if they were still home, for the banking sector to view them as if they had lived here their entire life.

Misha Esipov:

And, as opposed to having to resort to picking from a handful of service providers that really cater to this segment, we want anyone to be able to get the American Express card, the Chase auto loan, the cell phone plan of their dream. Whatever it is that they're looking for, a student loan, that is available to them, irrespective of whether they are American or whether they just arrived here yesterday.

Misha Esipov:

And so, as you said, there are a bunch of players that are focused on this segment. We do help power many of them. We wish them all well that I think they helped contribute to the ecosystem, ultimately making that immigration journey a little smoother.

Jim Marous:

Let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsor to this podcast.

Jim Marous:

This show is sponsored by FIS. Have you ever felt frustrated checking out online, or making a payment over the phone? The Go Cart team at FIS Impact Lab certainly was. And, that's why they created a better payment experience. Go Cart recognizes your email and lets you pay quickly anywhere with no passwords and no long forms. You can pay faster for anything, even things you wouldn't expect like healthcare, professional services and more. Go Cart also goes beyond online checkout, and allows you to pay easily by email, text, and even with QR codes.

Jim Marous:

If you sell products or services online or in store, find out how you can use Go Cart to simplify payments and increase your sales at GoCartpay.com/podcast. FIS, advancing the way the world pays, banks, and invests.

Jim Marous:

Welcome back. I'm joined today by Misha Slipover, co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit. We've been discussing the unique service that Nova Credit provides immigrants that opens a door for credit and financial services in the marketplace. As we've been discussing, Nova Credit uses alternative data source to provide access to financial services.

Jim Marous:

This is a challenge to people even outside the immigrant community as well. What do you see the future of alternative credit data sources? I mentioned to you in our pre-discussion that I was in China, Shenzhen China, about two years ago right now, and found that all kinds of data was being used to make it so that there were inclusionary financial services. They were using cell phone data, mobile phone data, and mobile data overall. They're using rental payments and utility payments, all these things that we really have a hard time embracing in the United States. What do you see as the future of alternative data overall?

Misha Esipov:

It's a great question. We spend a lot of time, as a company, as leadership team, pontificating about how the world will continue to evolve. I think our view is that... And, you see this with the direction of global data privacy rules and things like GDPR, more power will go into the hands of the consumer. We think that's a really powerful, and I think creates a bit more of an optimistic view of the direction of consumer credit availability. Because, if you believe that consumers own their own data, which I think substantially all global data privacy regimes do believe. Then, if you believe that they can unlock that data as part of a credit application, then they have the ability to put their best foot forward.

Misha Esipov:

Ultimately, it's up to the risk officer to determine which of those data sources actually do improve, or perhaps actually detract from someone's eligibility to be approved. But, our belief is that consumer permission ed data, which I would broadly categorize as a subset of alt data, that is the future. That consumers will be able to permission into an application, some piece of information or a series of pieces of information about themselves that help compliment, augment, improve upon a credit bureau file that may or may not exist.

Misha Esipov:

And so, in a nutshell, that is what we do. Where if you don't have enough US Credit Bureau information, or any, you can support your eligibility by pulling in your credit passport. By pulling in your credit bureau data that's outside of the US financial system. And I know we'll get into this, but a lot of our work in open banking and helping use your bank transaction data help increase your likelihood of approval is another part of the future that we're making a big bet on.

Jim Marous:

Obviously the elves in the room is that you have three major credit bureaus that actually have a penetration throughout the world. How do you work with, or how do you compete with, or how do you partner with, or whatever way you want to work with it, with the three big credit bureaus that aren't really competition for you as much as just a dynamic within the marketplace that has to be recognized?

Misha Esipov:

We work with them in dozens of markets. At this point, we are a customer of theirs. We are buying credit bureau data in all these markets that I've mentioned, and we are bringing it into the US with the express and voluntary consent of the consumer. That's kind of the regulatory side of it. And then once the information's here in the United States, we act as credit bureau, and deliver that information. I think one of the reasons I would describe our broad relationship with the credit bureaus as certainly friendly. They do keep a good eye on us. We're subject to audits, all that good stuff. But I think part of the reason for why a new entrant was necessary to really solve this pro problem is that none of the credit bureaus are truly, truly global.

Misha Esipov:

They're more, actually more regional in nature. Where, to throw out a few examples, Experian doesn't exist in Mexico and Canada. Our two neighboring countries here, they don't really exist from a consumer credit bureau perspective. TU, Trans Union didn't really exist in Europe until they just bought Call Credit in the UK. Equifax doesn't really have all that much of a presence in Asia. None of the bureaus exist in China, in Korea, in Nigeria, I believe in Indonesia.

Misha Esipov:

And so, some of the largest sources of migration and population, the bureaus don't exist in. One of the reasons for why a new entrant had to emerge is because we are neutral. We are non-threatening for the most part, and we can work with everybody. That's precisely what we've done. We're sort of the Switzerland, if you will. Where we partner with all the bureaus we partner with independent bureaus around the world, and we help solve an industry problem, a global industry problem that many thought was impossible or too challenging to solve.

Jim Marous:

Is there a reciprocal potential here, where you can actually provide data on the US Credit Bureaus to countries that don't currently use those? I mean, is there the same opportunity? I think I read that you now have done the same type of thing that you've done in US, in Canada. But, are there reciprocal arrangements? As I said, you open one door, you see four more there, be opened. I'm just thinking that this is a global problem, isn't it? This is something really has to be solved beyond just the United States to really take care of the credit bureau and the credit access issues around the world.

Misha Esipov:

You got it. Yeah. I mean, that's precisely right. And, solving those problems is core to our medium and long term strategy. Where today we can access data in roughly 20 markets, over a billion consumers. And anytime one of those consumers moves to the United States across any one of those corridors, we can plug an information gap that was previously impossible to solve.

Misha Esipov:

We haven't yet announced any of this yet, but this year we will be announcing our international expansion plans, where we will be working to unlock corridors destined for other markets. So, anyone moving from those 20 plus markets to markets like Singapore, or the UK, Canada, Australia, the UAE. Those are the markets that have a huge influx of immigration where this problem also exists. And that's an opportunity for us to serve more people around the world and help solve that catch-22 challenge in other key markets.

Jim Marous:

I imagine that also opens a door to opportunities that maybe there aren't as many people moving from X country to the United States. But, within borders that still don't have that capability, that it opens up new countries to a bigger, better profit margin on things that you wouldn't have had otherwise. That's kind of interesting.

Jim Marous:

We did talk a little bit about open banking, but do you see Nova Credit going beyond simply financial services to other components of an immigrant's daily life? We talk about open banking. We talk about the ability to bring let's say... I talk about mobile, the ability to get mobile standards, mobile phones seems this nature. Do you see it going beyond simply financial services and real estate?

Misha Esipov:

Yeah. I think there's more opportunity to unlock consumer data than there are people working on financial services' projects and startups right now. There's just so much opportunity to bring data into the hands of a consumer to unlock opportunities that they're looking for.

Misha Esipov:

In the world of open banking, we haven't shared all that much in the market quite yet, but we did have an announcement with Sori late last year. It was one of our great partners, where similar to how we have gone around the world and aggregated credit bureau data. We are now partnering with a number of open banking partners to aggregate, open banking players. And, it's another opportunity to give consumers the ability to put their best foot forward. If they have insufficient credit bureau information, if they're an immigrant, they can pull in their credit passport.

Misha Esipov:

If they're just a regular American or someone who's new to credit that has a bank account, but hasn't really had much experience building their own credit history. We can start to tap into their open banking data, through a variety of players and use that to help them put their best foot forward.

Misha Esipov:

So we've got more on the horizon that we'll be announcing here in the next few months. But, I think there's so much opportunity out there to, as I said earlier, augment, compliment, enhance the information that is currently being collected in the bureaus.

Jim Marous:

So, this is getting to be more of an identity issue, more than just financial services and credit, isn't it? I mean, it really is. It's kind of like people have talked about the blockchain being able to use internationally to build an identity, but really at the foundation of what was saying identity is the ability to have a financial identity in the process. Isn't it?

Misha Esipov:

You got it. I mean, as any risk officers on the line will say, credit risk is about ability to pay, and willingness to pay. And, your willingness to pay is now relatively well solved with credit bureau data. It's been obviously proven for many decades.

Misha Esipov:

Yes, there are still gaps in thin files and 25 plus million people who are arguably unfavorable. There's a lot of opportunity there. And, the immigrant segment falls squarely within that. But, on the willingness to pay side, there aren't really well established, complete solutions out there.Yes, there's things in the world, the verification of income. But, we see a lot of opportunity there for us to take our expertise, which is really in data aggregation, data analytics, consumer permission, being a credit bureau ourselves, handling consumer disputes, knowing all of those mechanics and really helping make the lives of consumers who are new to the credit system a lot easier by complimenting what limited or no information they have in the bureaus by unlocking banking data or unlocking things like credit passport, and a variety of additional data sources down the road.

Jim Marous:

As we are entering 2022, what do you see as the biggest opportunity in the marketplace today for Nova Credit? And what, right now, is the biggest challenge you're facing?

Misha Esipov:

In terms of opportunity, we see it in the monthly Visa data, as well as in our volumes. We are on the cusp of probably what we believe is the largest immigration boom in US history. If you look at F1 Visa issuance, F1's are international students, in the last few months, it's record highs. We're continuing to see it in our metrics as we start this year. And, as we look to the rest of the year, as we look to what's happening in the US labor market, there is just a dire need for talent that can start working and cool down US inflation, right now. And so we're preparing for a really exciting period of growth with respect to immigration coming into the United States. And, that's really our core bread and butter.

Misha Esipov:

I think the other opportunity we're incredibly excited about is to continue to support not only recent immigrants, but frankly, anyone who's new to credit, anyone who's struggling with getting access and being able to put their best foot forward with our suite of solutions in the bank transaction data space.

Misha Esipov:

I'll put a quick plug in for our head of risk and analytics, Sarah Davies has been with the company for three, four years now. She's one of creators of the Vantage Score. And so, a lot of that super power that she's brought to standardizing credit bureau data, and creating the Vantage Score, that's happening in the world of bank transaction data.

Misha Esipov:

In terms of challenges, so many. Recruiting right now is incredibly challenging. It's such a tight labor market, being able to bring in premier technical talent on the engineering side, on the data science side. I'm sure every bank is also struggling with that. We're certainly struggling to grow as fast as we can on the people side.

Misha Esipov:

And then, the struggle of any ambitious and oftentimes naive and optimistic first time founder is trying to take on too much at the same time. We're expanding internationally. We're building new products. We're expanding into new verticals, all of that on a relatively small and nimble, and I think ambitious team. It's a challenging operating environment, but it's ultimately what we've signed up for.

Jim Marous:

It's really exciting. It is just a story that was brought to me by my producer, Leah. And, it's a very interesting story in that, not just how you started as a school project, but just for somebody that's getting into the financial service arena for the first time in a very unique way. But every time I'm talking to you, or every question we ask, I keep on seeing that, and my mind's working on, "Boy, this could go direction. This could go this direction."

Jim Marous:

I'm sure that's the same challenge that you have, that you thought that you'd have a very narrow path. And all of a sudden it opens up tremendously as to what's possible, and still what's needed. It's a huge problem. If an organization financial, either FinTech or a traditional financial institution wants to find out how to partner with you with regard to building better credit capabilities and accessibility for the immigrant market, where do they turn? How do they get ahold of you?

Misha Esipov:

Just email me. We're not that big and bureaucratic of an organization, I'll say yet, hopefully never. But yeah, just [email protected], M-I-S-H-A at NovaCredit.com. I'm happy to have a conversation, and set you up with our team. We work with a variety of players across verticals, whether it be cards or auto, or mortgage, or personal loans, or student loans, or telecom, or helping people get apartments.

Misha Esipov:

These are all opportunities to help win an incredibly prized customer segment that, from a credit risk perspective, will outperform your average customer. From a spend perspective being, for example, first card and wallet that is where you want to be from a referral perspective. They tell their friends. This is a really, really, really high value customer. And, being able to actually cast light on them can be quite transformational to a new account growth strategy.

Jim Marous:

Well, it's interesting is you're doing a lot of the heavy lifting for organizations that need to offer this to their clients and to people that they'd like to reach in the marketplace. Thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate the conversation.

Misha Esipov:

Thank you, Jim. Really a pleasure to be here and thanks for having me on the show.

Jim Marous:

Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, rated the top five banking podcast in winner three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoy what we were doing, please take some time to give the show some love in the formal review. It helps us to continue to get these great guests we're getting.

Jim Marous:

Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles on the financial brand, and check out the research we're doing for of the digital bank report.

Jim Marous:

This been of production Evergreen Podcast, a special thank you to producer Leah Longbrake, audio engineer Sean Rule Hoffman, and video producer Will Pitts. I'm your host, Jim Marius. Until next time, remember access to credit is a basic in living today. We need to provide access to everyone in the marketplace.

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