Lessons learned from San Francisco’s LendIt 2018

by Mike Adams

LendIt has always been a great event to learn the latest in the lending space from thought leaders and industry experts. This year was no different, and as I have reflected over the passed few days since, I thought I’d share some of the trends I observed during the event:

1) Happy customers and healthy relationships. The importance of building relationships with customers and providing exceptional user experiences was a topic of conversation consistent across many keynotes and panel discussions. Lenders say that to compete for the digitally-focused millennial audience, it’s important to recognize that the generation is maturing. Businesses that want to capture this audience should start exploring the kinds of digital experiences that the audience has grown accustomed to early.

2) Online Lending 2.0 — The next chapter. Speaker Renaud LaPlanche, CEO of Upgrade spoke about the combination of online health and the age of financial services. Renaud explained that though many of the instruments still used today have been in existence since the turn of the last century, such as the installment loan, created in 1905, and credit cards that date back to the 1950s, Alternative Lending only began in its infancy in 1998. To that end, Renaud pointed out that the financial services industry is entering an age of technology adoption at unprecedented rates, focusing on improved user experiences and transparency.

3) Mortgage lending — a gold mine for digital transformation. Industry leaders highlighted the enormous opportunities to improve the lender and consumer user experiences across the mortgage industry. mello Home CEO, Chris Heller highlighted consumer trends, like the 97 percent of homeowners who are frustrated with multiple home services vendors, and expressed appeal in having a single trusted brand or referred network of home services vendor, and mentioned that in today’s world of on and offline mortgage processes, lenders leading digital transformations have the biggest opportunity to win.

4) Thinking beyond profits. This year consumer debt rose 3.3 percent to $3.867 trillion, so it was exciting to see so many lenders and organizations create socially responsible programs focused on debt reduction. In addition to Online Lending 2.0 — Renaud LaPlanche also spoke passionately about the need for products that will help manage debt with simplified terms, like a term loan that could be paid off in 60 months, resulting in considerable reduction in interest payments. Alternative lenders are paving the way for more friendly and healthier consumer lending products, which will benefit the entire industry.

This year, LendIt provided a glimpse on what we can expect to see in the near future — a combination of innovation, new revenue models, and empathy. We think the largest takeaway is that lenders that are aligned with this model will thrive.

Mike Adams is a senior Account Executive for Alternative Lending at Marqeta. With 20+ years of experience working for financial institutions leading Sales, Service and Operations for such banks as M&T Bank, Bank of America, and Citizens Financial Group as well as running SMB lender programs at CAN Capital and Real Estate investment lending at Lima One Capital. Mike oversees the SMB portfolio for Marqeta’s Alternative Lending and is happy to engage with businesses looking for technology solutions using Marqeta’s modern payments platform, and suite of APIs.