Women in Technology: ASA’s Lisa Gold Schier
In what is a recurring feature, Finopotamus spotlights innovative women who are positively impacting technology applications in the credit union industry, and beyond.
For this issue, we visited with Lisa Gold Schier, co-founder and chief strategy officer at ASA Technologies Corp. The Provo, Utah-based firm connects banks and credit unions with transformative technologies aimed at driving strategy and innovation.
By W.B. King
While today Lisa Gold Schier is a self-proclaimed “fintech enthusiast,” her entry into the tech side of the financial services came by way of the mortgage industry. And after gaining a better understanding of that space, she took a position with US Bank, serving as a vice president and retail market manager.
“The skillset and expertise gained at US Bank enabled me to move to the American Bankers Association (ABA),” she told Finopotamus.
During a 20-year stretch with ABA, she served in a number of roles, including vice president of strategic alliances and lastly senior vice president of business innovation and technology strategy. As a result, Gold Schier had the opportunity to work with bankers, technology providers, industry analysts and consultants — all geared toward assessing solutions to better meet bankers’ needs.
“I led a team focused on product evaluation and served as a strategic advisor across areas such as innovation, fintech adoption, technology trends, digital transformation and the customer experience,” she shared. “I had a strong focus on evaluating early-stage technology companies, fostering bank and fintech partnerships, constructing alternate business models and creating a culture of innovation.”
In April 2022, Gold Schier embarked on a new journey becoming the co-founder and chief strategy officer of the Provo, Utah ASA Technologies Corp.
“I’m working to propel the collaborative banking movement forward through our fintech app store for banking. We help financial institutions and fintechs better meet the needs of account holders,” she said, noting that company currently has more than 10 clients, including credit unions. “Our technology allows members to securely access leading technology through their credit union, all while controlling their data.”
Calling for More Inclusivity
During a May 2023 Women in Fintech luncheon at the Fintech Nexus conference, sponsored by Deloitte, Gold Schier was among 300 women in attendance who shared respective views of the industry.
“We discussed how according to PitchBook Data, companies founded solely by women garnered just two percent of the total capital invested in venture capital-backed startups in the United States in 2022, and that number was even less for Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color (BIPOC)-founded companies,” she said. “I do see more women in this space and an increased focus on supporting women. However, there is still more to be accomplished when it comes to inclusivity – for women and minorities.”
As an advocate of making sure there is a range of perspectives “around the table,” she said this can only be achieved when diverse viewpoints are sought out.
“There is significant value in creating networks,” she noted. “I strongly believe in women supporting women, such as recommending women for panels, nominating each other for opportunities and supporting each other on social media and at events.”
Over the course of her career, Gold Schier said she has been fortunate to receive the support of many mentors, focusing on two. The first was Karen Miller Hartje, current chief financial officer at the buy now pay later fintech Sezzle, with whom she worked at US Bank. “She encouraged me to apply for a senior-level position on her team, and once in the position, helped guide my career. She remains a friend and advocate.”
Her other noted champion is Julie Thurlow, president and CEO at Reading Cooperative Bank.
“She has been and continues to be a mentor, advocate and supporter. Julie and I regularly discuss where the industry is now and where it is heading, how to help the industry innovate and how to support financial equity and communities,” Gold Schier continued. “She provides real-world banking guidance and is an advocate for me as well as others. I pay this forward by working with other women in the industry, supporting their goals and acting as a mentor and advocate.”
The Importance of Embedded Technology
While credit unions are often focused on deposit acquisition, optimizing thinning margins, meeting members’ technology needs and “stranding out in an increasingly competitive marketplace,” Gold Schier said one-to-one fintech integrations usually don’t solve unique needs and are often expensive and time intensive.
“The focus on the member experience and bringing individualized technology solutions into the banking system excites me. I am energized to see credit unions recognize how embedded fintech can help extend their digital presence and more narrowly meet member expectations,” she continued. “As a connector and advisor, I am passionate about sharing the value of our platform which connects members to fintechs without sharing personally identifiable information (PII) – an industry first.”
ASA’s technology, she noted, “extends the credit union’s brand and presence into everything members do in ecommerce.” This, she added, helps credit unions innovate and provide valuable services to membership.
“I believe in giving members tokenized control over their data while enhancing their credit union relationships,” she said. “This is an especially timely conversation, as enabling members to have more control over their data and under what circumstances is becoming top of mind for credit unions and their members.”
Collaborative Banking Model
While Gold Schier noted that for many years certain fintechs were directly competing with financial institutions and viewed as disruptors, there has been a market shift with fintechs better understanding the value proposition of these institutions, especially credit unions. Credit unions, she added, also have to embrace this evolution.
“Open banking has value; however, it can foster competition for access to members’ financial relationship,” she continued. “The credit union focus should be on understanding the open banking model and looking to embedded fintech as a more mutually beneficial way for financial institutions and fintechs to collaborate and work together for the betterment and financial empowerment of end users.”
Despite positive forward motion, she contends that partnerships between credit unions and fintechs haven’t yet been fully optimized.
“There is currently a heavy burden of innovation,” she said. “Fintech partnerships and integrations require credit unions to spend an inordinate amount of time and resources on researching and vetting the many fintechs in the market, determining which ones will solve the majority of members’ needs, such as contracts and time consuming core integrations, not to mention the regulatory and compliance risk tied to it.”
It is for these reasons she remains passionate about an embedded fintech strategy that is backed by a collaborative banking model.
“Removing one-to-one integrations and enabling partnership at scale,” she offered. “Through this approach, credit unions save time and money and are freed from the frustration and headache of ongoing fintech partner management.”