In this episode, we delve into the shady world of payday lending and novel disruptors in financial technology (fintech) that seek to change this $11 billion dollar industry for the better. We share sobering statistics while discussing the needs of the working poor. Josh Sanchez, CEO and co-founder of FloatMe, joins Corinna Bellizzi for an in-depth discussion about the financial needs of the people they serve, and how their company is working to be the change, helping their customers build better financial habits.
About Our Guest: Josh Sanchez,CEO and founder of FloatMe
Josh sees FloatMe as not only an opportunity — but a Responsibility. As he leads a team and serves a community, seeking to prove people are more than a number — deserving of credit and financial aid when needed. He was recently recognized as one of Austin’s top ’25 Under 25′ entrepreneurs.
Additional Resources & Topics Discussed:
Microlending / Whole Planet Foundation: https://wholeplanetfoundation.org/
John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight coverage on predatory payday lenders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDylgzybWAw
Onward Financial: https://onward.org/
Fast Forward – Not For Profit Tech Accelerator: https://www.ffwd.org/
Support Care More. Be Better. https://www.caremorebebetter.com/donate
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Corinna Bellizzi: Hello fellow do-gooders and friends I’m your host, Corinna Bellizzi an activist and cause marketer who’s passionate about social impact and sustainability.
In our trailer episode, I mentioned that I would be talking about advances in financial technology. But, as I dug into the subject, I found myself entering one wormhole of research after another, so I put off the topic until I could bring an expert on the show to to talk about the complex issues related to payday lending and earned-wage access.
Like me, you may have seen the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Episode on HBO that dove into the reality of payday lending practices and how they create a cyclic problem of debt that can last a generation. If you haven’t, I encourage you to watch it. You can find the episode on YouTube or on HBO.
The resounding message you’ll hear is that the need for payday loans is real in today’s America, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic when so many have unexpected expenses and unexpected changes in the hours they can work.
Are you ready for some sobering statistics?
- Payday loans are considered unsecured, short-term personal loans and commonly charge 300% – 700% equivalent APR. They are seen as predatory because they target the working poor, and often those with the worst credit
- In 2018, 40% of Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency expense. Since this statistic comes before the pandemic occurred, we can assume it has gotten much worse
- In 2021, payday lending is expected to come in at $11 Billion, a decrease of 1.6% from 2020. This is not due to a loss in need, rather a reduction in the number of people who are gainfully employed and therefore able to take out payday loans.
But what is the difference between traditional payday lenders and the financial technology or “fin tech” disruptors that make up part of that 11 Billion market? How are they different — and what is it they are doing to help Americans get back on their feet?
To help us talk about the problem and tease out this difference, between payday lenders and earned-wage access companies I’m joined by Josh Sanchez, the CEO and founder of Float Me.
Josh sees FloatMe as not only an opportunity — but a Responsibility. As he leads a team and serves a community, seeking to prove people are more than a number — deserving of credit and financial aid when needed. He was recently recognized as one of Austin’s top ’25 Under 25′ entrepreneurs.
Josh Sanchez: hey first off, thank you for having me on your podcast I think what you’re doing is great and giving light to social impact efforts.
Corinna Bellizzi: I just appreciate you coming on. This is a topic I’ve been researching a lot over the course of the last six months, in particular, and I mean the more I looked at it just the more complex it got so I really appreciate you coming on to help us just talk through this and figure out, you know how there is a path to go ahead and build a better future. So now just going over your bio a moment ago, I think our listeners would want to know why you see float me as a responsibility, can you speak to that.
Josh Sanchez: yeah I think that continues to play a part, into why I personally am motivated to this day, as well as our team and I think it’s important to know the story, so I started flow me from self experience with the problem actually and a desire to wish they a better alternative existed to share with you listeners, I was involved in a car accident in 2017 where, unfortunately, I was you know hit by city bus and had to dish out my my savings and just left me wondering how I was going to get to the next paycheck. Like 63% of millennials at the time, I also didn’t have a credit card, so you know, I was financially illiterate, I didn’t know how to you know build credit and building credits a catch 22 problem of itself. And, as a result Corinna I made the mistake of taking a payday loan getting hit with many overdraft fees afterwards and. That ultimately inspired me to really think through the other solutions that existed out there, and if there was no better solutions you know what can we build to offer a more ethical and affordable solution for for those that have similar situations. So that’s really the the you know the core reason of how float we started and even to this day, you know new team Members that we bring on it’s awesome to hear their stories about you know financial challenges that they had and everything so it’s awesome for all of us to resonate on that same core belief in thinking that we can do better for the community in general but that’s the social responsibility, that all of us carry in our mission to help people make better financial decisions.
Corinna Bellizzi: Well, so I can imagine at the time that you were hit by a city bus now i’m you’re in a car, at this point right, because I think that’s most people’s nightmare to get hit by a bus like they somehow don’t see it coming they walk across the street.
Josh Sanchez: That spot on yeah I was gonna ask were you walking or were you in the car and I have to say I was in the car was walking I know i’ve been bigger hole.
Corinna Bellizzi: yeah no kidding my mom was rear ended by a big truck at one point they just never stopped and luckily we weren’t in the backseat of the time me because she just had a little Honda prelude this isn’t you know the early 80s and the backseat was completely crushed. So I can imagine that you know being hit by a city bus in a vehicle that would be even worse now what other avenues at that time, did you explore to try and get funding, besides payday loans or did you.
Josh Sanchez: yeah I actually did and that’s a good point um you know, the first thing I did was an I pondered through was actually asking my my parents for money and I, I honestly should have done that I could have yeah gotten like maybe $100 or something to get by and I just let pride get in my way, I wanted to figure out how to go about life myself and I unfortunately made a mistake and going down the street and seeing a sign that said, you can get ready for your next paycheck and I didn’t know how credit works or you know what exorbitant three digit APR rates can translate to I didn’t know any of that so.
Corinna Bellizzi: Well, it was a package at the time, I mean what were, you told when you took out that loan since you’ve had that personal experience.
Josh Sanchez: The most interesting thing Corinna was the the the minimum was 200 with the lender that I went to I thought that was interesting because frankly I couldn’t find getting on, you know $50 or $100 or less than that just to get me through the next paycheck so I thought that was interesting. But apart from that experience was left me clueless and I think that that’s true for the 12 million Americans that are involved in that $11 billion payday lending industry every year it’s just it’s predatory you don’t understand what you’re getting into in the first place.
Corinna Bellizzi: Right well so, ultimately, then you decided to start float me so that you could serve people in a similar predicament. Now I know that this is perhaps a little different but i’d like for you to talk about since you mentioned that minimum of 200 how you structure, what you will lend. And why you’ve structured it that way, and the sorts of things that you’re doing in your Community where the company’s based to help support financial freedom for people.
Josh Sanchez: yeah so to touch on the company, a little bit, such as what we’re doing arenas we’re building a pathway to financial prosperity for low middle income Americans. Today we do this by offering advances of up to $50 to prevent from overdraft fees payday loans, providing Members with with bank alerts and we’re also working to help them build savings, there are a variety of ways. In terms of the the company and you know why we got started in in Santa now we’ll dive into the the mountain everything here shortly was really. You know just being in San Antonio in general, I came to San Antonio i’m originally from Rio Grande Valley, which is most southern part of Texas, which you know actually is known to be one of most popular cities here in America so that’s another thing of itself teams into new for for my college degree and shortly after I just learned about the accelerator programs that existed in San Antonio on co working spaces were born out of this co working space called Geekdom here in San Antonio.
Corinna Bellizzi: Like that name Geekdom.
Josh Sanchez: Yeah. Where geeks are born — essentially we started out of Geekdom, you know a small co-working space little table we sync up every week just to knock out things to research, etc. So that’s you know the little short story of how we started there and the Community has continued to be incredible and you know, to speak into San Antonio real quickly it’s. Also, one of the most economic disparate cities in the nation on you have a lot of the wealth centralized in a few of the 47 zip codes that exist here in San Antonio so it’s like you go out of a certain area and you just see, I can tell you, like there’s roads, where i’ve counted, you know 1015 payday lenders down one road it’s it’s insane you know and it’s it’s very predatory but in terms of the amount, and you know I think it’s it’s helpful to understand why we cap at $50. When we first started Corinna you know funny stories we were actually a B2B company, we would try to partner with employers to offer their employees the benefit of you know, wage advances to kind of compete with payday lenders and, at the time we’re offering amounts of 100 to $200. With that we learned two really important things number one. We’re getting a lot of interest from you know general consumers, and you know that prompted the direction to switch over to a consumer driven company. But secondly and what’s really important is that we discovered people have a huge problem overborrowing. You know most Americans it’s it plays into the Stanford theory and I apologize I can’t remember the exact name of the theory but essentially you know if you get handed five pieces of candy you’re going to take all five pieces of candy right. The same thing applies with loans, if you get you know approved for $1,000 you’re going to take all thousand dollars right, so what we learned was that you know in lieu of people having this problem over borrowing. We were able to look to transactional data and see you know what was it that you know cause them to be in a pickle to begin with. And what we learned, you know in correlation with the CFP be reports consumer financial protection bureau was that the average transaction that caused an overdraft in the first place, or the imminent need for cash was just $24 so it didn’t make sense, you know, giving somebody $200 if, in theory, they were just short, you know, but a small amount. So that really predicated you know how we got to the $50 amount to this day and it’s been awesome Corinna to see you know Members voice how it’s helped them, you know pay the copay for a doctor’s visit get gas to go to work, and you know eliminate that fear of getting fired to not head to the workplace or getting you know food or gas on on on any given day so that’s that’s how we got to the the $50 amount and how we started here in San Antonio.
Corinna Bellizzi: yeah I realized I may not be the norm, but I think part of why I may not be the norm is because I grew up in a bit of poverty myself. There was a period where we had to be on food stamps as a, for instance, right and, at the time you didn’t just get that as a nifty card that you’d use at the grocery store, there was a whole heck of a lot of shame around it right pulling out the actual you know what looks like monopoly money to most people to pay for your grocery store store visits, so you know it’s just a different way to grow up so presently for myself, I only ever want to borrow what I need because I understand the cost of it. And you know it’s you’re never going to pay less than. You know, four or five or 6% for even the best loan, you can possibly get but people in financial straits that need alone that even just really small like $50 to carry them over they’re not going to qualify for the virtual loan that it gives a good percentage right so so i’m just curious as you talk about this like as far as that $50 loan, what does end up costing the person who’s taking that loan out by the time they repay it… And how are you helping them to build on let’s say better financial habits, so that they don’t continue the cycle.
Josh Sanchez: All good questions, I think the important thing is, I mean you can’t go to a bank and ask for $50 right you can’t sustain.
Corinna Bellizzi: Unless it’s in your account correct they can’t sustain those unit economics, to begin with.
Josh Sanchez: I think to backtrack a little bit in what you shared. The $50 You know, as I shared it has made a difference to our members and community, and we know this because of the reviews are things that they’ve shared with us it’s awesome to hear that and that’s really what encourages encourages us moving forward. I think you know the sort of the overall cost of consumers, just to share a little bit on our business models so, for all the benefits that we offer to our Members, we charge $1.99 per month and, as a matter of fact, we actually offer the first month free. Members are then free to request advances of up to $50 and the important part about you know building upon habits and everything is that you know Members actually don’t start at the $50 mark they actually start at $20 so you know through positive repayment behaviors and also you know data driven insights that we gather were able to you know increase their their limits, and all this is is really important, because we really believe that you know people are more credit worthy than deemed and I don’t think you know the credit scores a fair assessment for people and I really think we should you know better understand their behaviors and challenges moving forward so things that we’re doing to help our Members, you know, become more financially aware, or even you know better holistically is increasing their flow women over time through positive repeat behaviors in addition to that Corinna it’s having opportunities that allow them to earn more providing them, you know visual representation of how they’re doing within their finances. That so like a cash flow analysis, you know cash and cash out of the account moving forward it’s it’s about leveraging you know that that financial picture and providing a much better experience for for Members well that’s. In having the opportunity to, I think, and you know we touched on this a little bit, but it was about being able to provide opportunities allow Members to unlock more earning opportunities. I think that’s another issue of itself that predicates a lot of opportunities here in in not only in the US, but in third world countries as well, I think you know people need to be exposed to more opportunities that allow them to unlock more money, but even apart from that arena it’s you know. We really pride ourselves on customer support it’s listening to customer stories and one thing that we — here in San Antonio you know we were thankful to have awesome investors, and you know a lot of the early investors, they were, you know founders of rackspace and the thing that rackspace built herself their their pride on was essentially customer support it’s it’s fanatical support. And it’s about listening to people and understanding, you know their issues apart from even if it’s like a financially related issue being able to provide support in that, and you know to touch on that a little bit in terms of how we help members it’s being able to do consult them in interviews if we’ll ask if they have an upcoming interviews and like everything how’s your financial picture in general in our life, how are they doing what are things that we can do to open and pointing them to resources, I think that’s another important thing that we’re trying to dive a little bit deeper on and it’s it’s been awesome to see what we’ve been able to accomplish to fall to the state.
Corinna Bellizzi: So what has your impact been thus far, I mean I know you’ve been in business for a few years so. You know I think when we initially spoke, you gave me a few metrics of how many millions, you may have saved in overdraft charges for people things along those lines, I think it would be helpful for people to hear you know that positive impact that you’ve already been able to have.
Josh Sanchez: Yeah, that’s something that we’re most excited about we’ve treated state, you know we’ve helped members save little over $30 million and can overdraft fees alone and that’s not even including you know potential fees that they could have assessed through predatory loans that’s something that we’re super proud of and that’s a result of you know floats taking out in our platform it’s awesome to see actually Members calling advances or loans and replacing them with the word float. So that’s awesome of itself you’re here and you’re generating that brand name and you’re like exactly so that’s actually helping out in our favor in terms of growth so it’s awesome to see that. But in terms of you know, the the value, apart from the overdraft fees and everything I think it really plays into the stories Corinna and it’s it’s really enlightening to hear that you know, for example, this mom was able to hurt her son was sick and this was pre coven and she was able to use us to want not only go get gas to go to the the doctor’s office, but also to pay the copay for her son. You know it’s stories like that that really motivate us apart from the monetary value of helping you save on overdraft fees and everything I think it’s us being there for people.
Corinna Bellizzi: yeah well, I mean, these are people that they need a listening area they need some support, and I think to your point, offering that exceptional customer service you’re essentially offering as much advice, as you possibly can, without getting yourself into murky waters, but I think sometimes, especially when people are in financial straits, they just need to be be heard and feel heard.
Josh Sanchez: Exactly right.
Corinna Bellizzi: Now, when you talk about how you have started the the fee structure or not fee structure, this alone structure right like starting out at a float of $20 and then going upwards to $50 I’m reminded of micro lending practices that have kind of taken hold in third world countries to help people. You know, get entrepreneurial ventures off the ground, I think one of the more famous ones was Whole Foods Market’s Whole Planet Foundation, where they did micro lending practices in third world countries and — you know, gradually grew people’s loans, as they repeat them, but then those individuals were able to build you know enterprises within their own financial worlds that they might not otherwise have been able to build. And then whole foods what they did was they took some of the products that were created as part of this and brought them into their stores, as part of the whole planet foundation promotion which was really interesting right that’s another example of a company taking this kind of entrepreneurial perspective to help people and a space gain a little bit of financial freedom in many cases that was you know, women who were not able to work outside the home and things like that. But that could now contribute to the bottom line and their families, and they could subsist better, which is all positive, so in this case when you’re doing a $20 to $50 loan to help them float to the next pay period you’re also helping them practice financial budgeting, by giving them visual tools right. And that is an act, I mean I don’t know how many times i’ve heard this from other people, you know parents of kids and college and things like that saying. Well it’s like they just don’t understand the value of money and so sometimes college kids you know work a little bit here and there, and get themselves into trouble too, because they overspend and they didn’t realize because they weren’t keeping an eye on some of this stuff. So I wonder if you have any statistics that relate to kind of younger people that you serve versus other demographics, that may have a more long term lower wage.
Josh Sanchez: I think that the few things that we could share is that so to begin to the average Member on our platform 31 years old earning. They are younger yeah they’re younger we consider them still to be in the millennial category on average they’re earning you know $42,000 a year, there are some six figure earners, which is actually really interesting and it kind of plays into the.
Corinna Bellizzi: They must live in California.
Josh Sanchez: yeah California.
Corinna Bellizzi: I’m only joking a little bit right? Like we are very expensive spots like San Francisco in New York City and yeah it takes more than six figures in some areas too.
Josh Sanchez: that’s that’s spot on, and again I mean the more you make, the more you spend right it’s it’s that’s the challenge itself but the interesting thing is that you know — In terms of usage, it tends to be interesting, with the the older demographic, particularly with with single moms. They you know, have a lot more financial responsibility of other household in general they have you know kids to care after and they’re going to take their finances as seriously as possible, because they don’t want to lose that the opportunities that are given to them, and I think that’s been really interesting to learn. But I mean that’s that’s one thing I we could share their in addition to that it’s interesting to see what the younger demographic, particularly those with your 2125. How they they spend their their paycheck almost as if it like as soon as it comes in it’s it’s going out instantaneously dad is really interesting of itself and i’m not sure if it’s because of, you know, the sense to spend on online or or what but that’s that’s intriguing so as you look at the spectrum of age, demographics, the older you get the more financially conscious and aware, you are, and it was really interesting with what single moms but that’s what I would share there.
Corinna Bellizzi: Well, so I mean when I look at this when you say $42,000 is the average income of your base with the average age being 31 a couple of things come to mind for me. First of all, $41,000 equates to less than $20 an hour and pay usually, when people get to that stage and they’re earning 40 plus they’re either on salary or they’re approaching salary. So I mean that’s how I got that number like maybe $20 an hour now if they’re working part time then that’s completely different right so it’s interesting to state, I mean, I know that we have on the docket people that are trying to say we need a $15 minimum wage, and then there are many opponents who say absolutely not. So if you’re telling me, you know your average client is 31 and their average income is 42 and it’s already over the $15 an hour threshold causes me to just wonder would 15 even be enough right. So you obviously have an valued and needed service that people are gravitating towards to help them between paychecks. There are other options out there, I mean the one that I introduced when I was on my first trailer episode was Earnin. I had discovered them doing some research project for school for my MBA, right. And they structure their themselves a little differently they’re giving as much as $100 a day and up to $500 a pay period to people that are in need and that’s a lot more than you’re giving right, so I think about what the differences between these two and one of the core differences for me is that, you know, how can you escape a cyclic debt problem if the fundamental problem is that a person literally just doesn’t have enough resources to cover their expenses they’re either living beyond their means, and they need to counsel themselves in ways to budget more appropriately or they’re simply not earning enough money to really support themselves, which is a different problem or they are encountering some sort of emergent need and they haven’t yet had the resources to build a foundation of savings. Now that could be habits that could be any number of things that feed into that, but when I thought about the $500 versus a $50 perspective, I mean really I started to see the the beauty and having the amount be smaller. Because the likelihood of ending up in a cyclic debt spiral ever downwards is much, much lower if the amount is only two to three hours of work, essentially covered by a float right. So the question I have for you in the face of all of that context is do you have plans to increase the amount like if somebody was successfully repaying their debt over and over would it get to be a larger fund, what would be the positive of that what would be the negative of that, I imagine, this is all stuff that you’ve covered and researched.
Josh Sanchez: yeah that’s a really good question and one that often gets asked because. You know from from a from a VC perspective, one can ask you know is $50 really enough, and you know, one might not understand, especially you’re fairly wealthy and you know $50 is a drop in the bucket but for our customer demographic it makes a world of difference. As is shared through all the stories, it makes a world of difference for us, you know as Members build positive repayment behaviors and better manage our finances through our platform it’s. Actually, keeping you know the $50 amount because that’s what we pride ourselves on and again it goes up it goes about you know, preventing overborrowing in the first place. Moving forward if it’s a you know there’s a larger need it’s it’s it’s challenging us and forcing us to think about. Solving bigger pain points and that’s, how can we provide a loan, in this case, that is a much larger loan but also is influenced through their puzzle repayment behaviors that we’ve learned from the Member on our platform, how can we provide a loan that actually involves credit in this case, but you know intern doesn’t involve the same approach of evaluating credit score to make that decision it’s thinking through things like that, and for us that’s that’s how we’re thinking about and that’s what we’re really excited about moving forward it’s, how can we get into products like that, where we could help members build credit, you know and that’s what we’re really excited about.
Corinna Bellizzi: Now I see some companies in similar spaces that are that have a similar model that are bridging a gap to become even a banking institution which isn’t exactly how your setup presently doesn’t look like you plan to offer checking or savings accounts as a, for instance, but i’d love for you to talk about where you see that going, and if there are other additional services that you think you’ll add at some point in the future.
Josh Sanchez: yeah I think it’s awesome Corinna to see that, I mean I think more now than ever, a lot of companies are moving towards neo banking, you know it’s it’s being all for a much better banking experience that doesn’t have all the fees that a bfa or chase or wells fargo might have an anxiety.
Corinna Bellizzi: Every time you access an ATM too.
Josh Sanchez: dollars now, and I mean not only that, but to harp on like savings accounts you’re you’re paying $5 a month to build savings would maybe it’s challenged to save $5 you know, a month, so that’s that’s.
Corinna Bellizzi: The end the bangle make money off of your savings account so right correct now.
Josh Sanchez: And banks compete on interest rates right for us it’s about competing on solving pain points so in lieu of your question, we don’t intend to become a bank. I think that the neo bank scene is only getting crowded, and with that customer acquisition costs are only going to increase. We don’t want to compete for for the users checking account, as a matter of fact, the average customer again that your banking customer here in the US has about two counts. We don’t want to you know compete and try to offer another account for them. Really we’re trying to do Corinna is offering holistic financial experience we’re not trying to replace your bank or trying to replace your banking experience. And what we’re trying to do is build all the supplemental auxiliary products that you know your your banking do a better job of and you know for us how we got started it’s it’s solving that initial pain point and that’s customers come to us because they have a cash need and we’re bridging that gap. You know from day one moving forward it’s providing a better financial picture, so that they understand where they are on their finances and where they could be should they make adjustments. Beyond that you know, in the spectrum it’s building credit, how can we help members build credit and that’s really what we’re super excited about. But for us it’s it’s not about you know, replacing the bank it’s about making members financially whole and helping them achieve financial prosperity through a suite of financial products and that’s that’s what we’re excited about.
Corinna Bellizzi: Okay, so thinking about that you know right now you’re a software as a service company, you have your service offered for $1 99 a month. People are getting a dashboard into their finances are they actually building credit are their credit scores improving as they use the platform. How does that work?
Josh Sanchez: A good point today Members are not you know able to build credit with our current offerings, however, on the back end, you know we’re assessing. The Members risk in their ability moving forward what we’d like to do is you know play in all that all those learnings and be able to use that to catapult us into into credit products to where we can in turn, you know capture these behaviors and leverage them, as you know behaviors are being realized today whether that’s if you pay rent on time let’s let’s associate that as a positive, you know credit behavior. It same thing with utility bills and you know. It beyond that maybe offering you know, a credit builder loan that can help people build credit, while saving, at the same time, so that’s how we’re thinking about it.
Corinna Bellizzi: yeah I think that honestly that type of a service is needed, I think it can be daunting you mentioned earlier, and that. A good portion of your customers don’t actually have a credit card or a credit line already they may have heard horror stories. I know when I went to college, there was literally a credit card sign up station like right in front of the admin building right like so they would just loop you in right away, and they automatically give students between 500 and $1,000 without even you know. Checking your credit now I was a college kid putting myself through college right so working full time and going to Community college later transferring to ucsd where I went for my undergrad right and. For me, it was a reality, where I often went weeks, where I ate nothing but top ramen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and maybe a taco bell bean burrito for 79 cents, which is what they sold for at the time, so you know that’s not the best diet to keep your brain fuel thing you know doing great in college. But hey you know you survive. Right and so when I got my first credit card, it was very much that I got a 500 or something it might have been 750 or whatever, because i’ve worked right, I had a job. And I built pretty exceptional credit, while I was in college, because I had to keep revolving debt in order to pay for my grocery bill in order to make sure I could pay my rent on time and still get food in the fridge so by the time I graduated college, I had I think about $8,000 in credit card bills that simply were not covered by my meager financial aid that I received and what my dad could afford to help me with right. Though it took me a while after graduating college to pay that down that revolving debt that kept going up and the way credit card companies at the time were operating. You’d get a new credit card offer in the mail and they’d offer a zero percent APR with transfers, so I literally was playing hopscotch with my debt. I would get a new credit card transfer everything over to it to get zero percent for six months so that I didn’t get these like really high rates and my credit didn’t my my my credit didn’t become worse with time or my the amount I owed didn’t just keep building. Right. But it took me a few years after graduating college and working full time and a better paying job to be able to pay it down and once I did I swear it was like I never wanted to borrow money. So now it’s like every bill gets paid on time I don’t even like to borrow to buy a car, I mean I will, but you know i’d prefer to like save work and then pay cash if I can. Just because of how crippling and how difficult it was to get out from under so I just from a personal perspective, I can say there’s a lot of logic behind how you set things up, I also understand that College has only gotten more expensive. They graduated so I feel like there are solutions that are needed on a global scale that can help people achieve the education that they need in order to build a better future. So you know really before we wrap things up, I wanted to talk about one last topic with you, and that is what you’re doing in your local community to help raise people up. I know when we’ve spoken about this briefly we chatted about your employment practices and the sorts of things that you’re trying to do so, to make your Community a better place.
Josh Sanchez: yeah I think there’s a lot of ways that we’re doing that not just myself, but the team in general and there’s actually some exciting things i’ll touch on here shortly, but it wasn’t the customer support thing, first of all it’s having. The the ability to acknowledge, you know where someone will remember, is today, and if it’s asking things that are not even tied to finances and asking away i’m seeing how we can build upon the relationship Corinna because, again, you know how we treat people is how they’re going to remember us, and I think it really plays into to growth itself. On In addition I think one awesome thing was right in light of coven you know a lot of K through 12 systems or school districts i’m sorry, how to transition online right lot of equipped to go online, for us it was being able to donate you know laptops to to high school students and junior high students, so that they can continue their education at home, as I shared you know a lot of centuries. Really segregated in terms of wealth, so it’s being able to partner with schools like idea here in Texas, and I believe there are other states as well being able to offer donate laptops so that kids can continue their education, in addition to that it’s, you know, partnering with keep them here today it’s you know how can we give back from a mentorship standpoint for those that want to start their companies or need help you know finding a job, etc. Lastly, it’s about you know I think for us its food banks, I don’t want to sound generic or anything but it’s awesome to see the impact that that has and we saw a lot of that recently when. The whole weather issue happened here in Texas food banks were very much needed and it’s awesome knowing that we have a recurring contribution to organizations like that, but that’s what I would share there and um yeah I think that’s how we continue to this day and there’s a lot of things that we you know, we want to continue to do moving forward and. One thing that we’ve recognized is to be more supportive of the remote culture, so you know we have several employees are not here in the US, I mean not here in San Antonio but in other states in the US and being will support them in their communities and things that they want to do in their Community so that’s what we’re really about.
Corinna Bellizzi: Right, well, I applaud that I have been thinking about you quite a bit this last week, we can share now we had actually planned to record this about a week and a half ago, or less a little less than that. But it was right in the middle of the really awful weather that you’ve been experiencing and Texas, and your power was out to along with everybody else’s right.
Josh Sanchez: yeah yeah that wasn’t sure.
Corinna Bellizzi: So you know here you are trying to grow your company and you know, suddenly everybody who’s already working remote is suddenly without power, so I imagine that must have been really crippling and. I just thank you for working to get through that now is there anything that you would like the audience to take away from today if there’s just one thing or a question that perhaps I didn’t ask you that you wish I had.
Josh Sanchez: Yes, so I think. My biggest takeaway Corinna is if you’re starting a company or looking to join one make sure you’re extremely cognizant of the culture in the workplace, and I say that because. One thing that we really pride ourselves on is we support our employees to become creators or contributors and that kind of plays into the whole giving back to the Community, you know, we have an employee kelsey you just recently published a book that’s called it’s around. Giving light to trash, how can we recycle trash and you know, be more effective about it, another is you know starting a cosmetics company that is. You know, organic and it’s being will support our employees, not just because they work for us, but in their own endeavors I think.
Corinna Bellizzi: That’s I think I think I might want to interview your budding author over there on the show to talk about trash.
Josh Sanchez: Yes, you have to check out her book.
Corinna Bellizzi: So please send me that info yes please.
Josh Sanchez: will do will do, but that’s the takeaway i’d give is be cognizant of culture, because, together, you can accomplish a lot and it’s, not to say it’s just that you’re working on. One you know individualized mission of goal you’re supporting each other, and I think that’s the biggest takeaway teacher.
Corinna Bellizzi: yeah we are all on this planet together right it’s a wild ride through space. Well, thank you josh so much for joining me today, I really enjoyed this educational call in a way, and learning a little bit more about how running an organization like this actually works to impact people who aren’t earning quite enough money or who run into an emergency that they need support with, so thank you for that work.
Josh Sanchez: Thank you, I appreciate you having me on.
Corinna Bellizzi: Well, thank you so much Josh you know, one of the things that I was looking at, as I prepared for this interview was another company in the space onward. And they formed themselves as a not for profit, as opposed to as a for profit. So that made me curious about what laid into your choices and why you chose to found your company as a for profit enterprise, given that you’re working in the social impact space to offer a service that could very well be a not for profit company.
Josh Sanchez: yeah so to begin, I think what onward financials doing is awesome i’ve actually had the opportunity to to meet ronnie Washington there and. You know, share experiences you learn what what has worked what hasn’t worked and for us, we really think there’s opportunity Corinna and building a business model that.Not only benefits our Members, but also benefits of company in general, at the end of the day, you know we need we need capital to perform. Our job and provide a service to our members and the biggest challenge was with trying to go with non PR not for profit direction is. When raising capital for a startup or company, the word social impact does not resonate resonate with institutional investors, so that was the biggest challenge of itself. And I think you know I really commend those that are able to overcome that hurdle, but that’s That was a really the big decision factor for us yeah.
Corinna Bellizzi: Well, as they learn more about the space, I know there are more impact investment companies that are coming out now or VC funds but they’re still the minority, and you know they’re even when you are able to make a really strong case of them guess what their approval rate is only going to be 3% typically at best anyway, and even on. The incubator space on the not for profit side for technology companies, I learned this company fast forward, I mean their approval rating is only 5% so you know if you’re one of 200 going up against. You know, some potentially really great ideas and you hope that you come out on top you’ve limited your pool to fewer so it just I see how it could be much more challenging to get the funding, you need to create the impact. And I don’t think there’s any reason that a company can’t create impact as a for profit company, I mean that’s all about the triple bottom line, and all that jazz anyway right.
Josh Sanchez: spot on.
Corinna Bellizzi: right on well listen Thank you so much again for joining us today, I really appreciate what you’re doing and just thank you for being a resource and helping us understand some of this complex financial stuff.
Josh Sanchez: Thank you for having me Corinna and you came to another listener for me.
Corinna Bellizzi: Thank you Josh!
Today, we invited you to care more about the challenges of weekly wage earners that might need a little extra support. We heard from Josh how a simple $50.00 float can provide them with just enough support to carry them through to payday — without plunging them into a debt spiral that’s difficult to escape.
So what can you do to help support those in need? Taking action is sometimes as simple as having a conversation about an important social issue like earning a living wage. It doesn’t have to feel like climbing mount everest. It could be as simple as sharing this podcast or the resources and links that will be included in today’s show notes. There I will post not-for-profits that serve financially unstable communities, and FloatMe.io — who could just offer the $50 bucks needed to carry them through.
To find suggestions for actions you can take to improve your social impact, visit CAREMOREBEBETTER.COM. There you’ll find an action page dedicated to causes and companies we encourage you to support. And I invite all of you to join the conversation and be a part of the Community we’re building. You can follow us on social spaces at care more be better. Or just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This podcast is not backed by any company. If you like what we’re doing and can afford it, you can support the show by donating directly on our site, or by subscribing as a patron on Patreon. Just visit CareMoreBeBetter.com and click the DONATE button.
Thank you listeners for being a part of this pod and this community because, together, we can do so much more.