The Voices of Money20/20: Crystal Anderson, VP of Product, MX
By John San Filippo
Finopotamus was onsite at Money20/20 USA in Las Vegas. Co-founder John San Filippo interviewed more than two dozen technology experts on a wide range of topics. The results of these interviews are presented in this series called “The Voices of Money20/20.”
Finopotamus spoke with Crystal Anderson, vice president of product at MX, about that company’s transition from a provider of personal financial management software to what it now refers to as a “financial data platform.”
“We help credit unions, banks and financial technology companies connect to the world's financial data,” Anderson told Finopotamus. “We take that raw, unstructured data, cleanse it and make it actionable. Then we deliver intelligent and personalized money experiences based on that data.”
More Than Just PFM
Finopotamus asked how this differs from the PFM solution on which the company was founded more than 10 years ago. “PFM used to be this rear-view mirror look at a consumer’s finances. It included very standard budgeting and categorization’” said Anderson. “Now we’ve shifted to creating a very insightful, data-driven experience that's predictive and really helps move the consumer toward financial wellness.”
Finopotamus then wanted to know how the MX suite of products impacts the member experience at a credit union that had no similar solution in place prior to deploying MX.
“Let's say your credit union has embedded our tools,” said Anderson.” From a connectivity perspective, you can link any of your external financial accounts and bring in all of that data. That means in addition to what you're seeing with your credit union, you're also now able to look at all of your finances and see that whole picture.” She added that the MX platform can also offer advice based on everything that a member is doing within their financial life beyond just the credit union.
“An example might be avoiding an overdraft fee or even avoiding an overdraft altogether,” said Anderson. “We can predict through our data, for example, that an upcoming $30 subscription that you pay monthly might overdraw your account. You can take action on that, including canceling the subscription.” She noted that the platform can also make savings recommendations based on past behavior.
Toward Financial Wellness
“Using our data, we can quantify a member’s financial wellness, taking into consideration all of the member’s connected financial data, as well as their behavior within these transactional and other linked accounts,” Anderson told Finopotamus. “We partnered with the Financial Health Network to create our MX Wellness product. The Financial Health Network helps us quantify financial wellness by looking at spending, saving, borrowing, and planning behaviors and elements within each of those to quantify where the member is on this continuum of wellness. Then we deliver advice and education on how the member can improve their overall wellness.”
She added that all of this is in keeping with MX’s market strategy. “Our mission is to make the world financially strong and deliver financial advice as it should be, which is really to move each consumer up that continuum of wellness.”
It’s All About Personalization
Offering the right financial tools is one thing; getting members to use them is another. Finopotamus asked Anderson about the key to broader adoption rates.
“The more personalized the experience, the greater the adoption,” Anderson responded. “We now offer a more predictive and personalized money experience versus what we saw in the past with PFM, which was just budgeting.”
Anderson mentioned “actionable” data several times, so Finopotamus asked whether the data is actionable by the member or by the credit union.
“We make the data actionable for everyone in that value chain,” she said. “We take all that connected data and apply our algorithms and magic to that, cleansing and categorizing it all to make it actionable.”
Anderson told Finopotamus that the more member accounts that get added into the platform, the better the advice rendered by the system.
“We can power our experiences by what I call held data, which is the data resulting from the member’s engagement with just that credit union,” said Anderson, “but it’s certainly the best practice to have that aggregation or that connectivity into every financial institution or financial relationship the member has.” She noted that the MX platform can even discover accounts that the member may have forgotten to add. This comes from examining the member’s transactional data.
“When you do connect those accounts, we can give you a more holistic view of your finances,” Anderson said. “It's not just about how you're using this one account; it's how things are looking from a full picture. And that's a much more valuable experience.”
According to Anderson, connected data will be a key driver in the evolution of the MX product line going forward. “You'll continue to see progress for us on the data and the experience side,” she concluded. “It’s pretty exciting, especially with open banking gaining momentum.”