ASA’s Landon Glenn and Lisa Gold Schier Talk Fintech Connectivity
Part of Our Money20/20 Interview Series
By John San Filippo
Money20/20 USA, the fintech mega-conference, was once again held in Las Vegas, this year from Oct. 23-26. And once again, Finopotamus was onsite talking with industry leaders about a wide range of topics. These interviews are captured in this series of articles.
Finopotamus spoke with ASA’s CEO Landon Glenn and Chief Strategy Officer Lisa Gold Schier about safely connecting fintechs and credit unions. Finopotamus first spoke with Glenn at the SymWest conference in May of 2022 about his company’s platform for tokenizing member data before it’s passed along to participating fintechs.
Finopotamus: What’s new since the last time we spoke?
Glenn: After Finovate, we kind of huddled around and we were thinking, man, what can we do to make everything work faster and work better and just have an easier, quicker go-to-market? And then also enhance the value that we're providing to our credit unions.
Landon's first response, 3rd sentence The pivot we made is that after members add in all of their accounts, giving them a 360 degree financial view, they can edit and enhance them. So, you might want to add in your mortgage interest rate, an IOU to a family member and you can add in other assets like personal valuables. You can pull all of this in our secure ASA Vault, creating an enhanced financial statement.
Then members choose which financial apps they want to use and securely grant access without sharing any personal information.
Now you have a real-time financial statement, tracking everything you've got in your life, so assets and debts, how much you owe, what it's worth. You could put 10 gold coins in there and put the spot price of gold and link it to it. It'll automatically update. Then verify all that with credit bureau data so we know it’s authentic and we're not missing anything. Now we have a 360-degree view of your finances verified by your credit. That's authentic. Then we can use that as a real-time personal financial statement. From ASA, you could go into a loan section that we're looking to add and you could say, I need a mortgage. You can choose to share your financial statement with your credit union so you don't have to fill it out.
Finopotamus: That really streamlines things for the consumer, doesn’t it?
Glenn: Yes. Because we had just the credit union on one side and the fintech on the other side. And the concern was that we’ll get a credit union to sign up, their member goes into ASA Vault and they see 10 apps, but none of those 10 are interesting. So we thought, we need to make this so that the credit union has something that is of value to every member - members value connecting all of their accounts so that they can see them all in one place. And this provides value back to the credit union.
Finopotamus: Is the ASA Vault baked into a credit union’s mobile app or is it a stand-alone app?
Glenn: Right now it's standalone. It’s an ASA-branded app. It’s all application programming interface (API)-based, so we can build it into a credit union’s mobile app if they want, but that's more expensive, so we haven't done it yet.
Finopotamus: What has credit union response been:
Glenn: We showed the new features to one of our first credit unions and they said it’s something they could see every member wanting to use. That alone is worth paying for. The fintech connection is very important as well, but the vast majority of credit unions don't offer a 360-degree view of your finances to be able to sync that data back with the credit union in real time.
Finopotamus: Your team conceptualized this after Finovate Fall (which was held in September of 2022) and it’s ready now?
Glenn: Yes. We rallied the troops. We said, hey, this is going to be the final thing to have a scalable product that we can sell a credit union, go live quickly and turn it on and start instantly generating value and data back to the credit union. Then we'll work on the core integration over the next three months or six months.
Finopotamus: If a credit union deploys the ASA solution, what changes operationally for the credit union?
Glenn: The credit union will have a backend portal where they can log in and see how many people have downloaded ASA Vault. They'll be able to see all the data and insights that the users are sharing back with them. What apps they're using, what fintechs, all their other information that they're syncing up. It's all permissible back to the credit union.
Finopotamus: Does ASA provide the credit union with any best practices on what to do with that data?
Glenn: That's a good point because a lot of them don't always know what to do with the data. We're giving them some help on the front end. Then on the back end, we're also capturing other really great data. Like what apps are members searching for? How many of your members are looking for something to buy a car or buy a home? Okay. You've got 72 members in the last week that have looked up buying a car. The credit union can use that data pretty easily at that point. We're trying to make the data highly actionable.
Finopotamus: If a member calls the call center with a question about their ASA Vault app, how does the call center employee respond?
Glenn: The response goes into the ASA Vault. Click the support button and you'll be set.
Finopotamus: What training is provided to credit union employees?
Gold Schier: There will be training that we'll do with the credit union when we roll it out so that everybody understands what it is and how to use it. That can be set up in different ways, for example, as train the trainer. Credit unions vary in how they roll out product and conduct training. We'll work with them specifically on that. But if a member encounters an issue, we provide direct support.
Finopotamus: Do you think most consumers understand why tokenizing or otherwise anonymizing their data is important?
Gold Schier: I would say we're seeing that trend up for so long, so many of us have just given our data away because we wanted something. But in the user testing that we're doing, we're seeing more and more people for whom that is a big concern of theirs. What we want to do is make sure the credit union remains that hub for their members, instead of the members going outside and looking for fintechs. Now they can get all of this through their trusted credit union.
Finopotamus: There seems to be an increasing focus on “control your own data.” Is ASA part of that movement?
Gold Schier: There is a lot of talk at Money20/20 about the consumer controlling their own data. We're excited about this because this is what most people want - to be able to control our data in a safe, secure environment.
Glenn: I think it's an important trend. We're able to provide that service for other verticals – healthcare, medical, government, education – we can do that with the same ASA Vault just integrating the backend data and then having front end tech that connects to it. So we're definitely going to help push that movement in a lot of different verticals.