How MoneyLion Turned Into A 'Destination For All Things Money'

Zinger Key Points
  • 'One big focus: NIL — name, image, likeness — for college athletes,' MoneyLion CEO Dee Choubey says.
  • 'We want MoneyLion to be an iconic American brand in the hands of tens of millions of Americans.'
How MoneyLion Turned Into A 'Destination For All Things Money'

Benzinga is hosting a two-day event at New York City’s Pier Sixty, Dec. 7-8, 2022.

The likes of Kevin O’Leary and Anthony Scaramucci, as well as leaders at DriveWealth, Prime Trust, Synctera and beyond, will talk about controversial topics, perspectives on opportunities, and threats in fintech, as well as share insight into how they’re monetizing on disruptive trends.

Ahead of this, Benzinga will periodically publish articles on those it sees are making big impacts.

Today’s chat is with Dee Choubey, the founder and CEO of MoneyLion Inc. ML.

The following text was edited for clarity and concision.

Benzinga: Dee, nice to speak with you, again. It’s been a while. What’s new?

Dee Choubey: We’ve been very busy since we last spoke. We did two acquisitions, including one of a media company. That provides us access to two studios on both coasts — Santa Monica and Jersey City — where we now have thousands of creators that come to us to help them create content.

We see education as a problem in our society and we have the ability to deliver impactful life hacks and financial education to our users — the over 12 million who rely on us. We’re talking about optimizing for taxes, asking your employer for a raise, and so on.

Beyond that, what are you really after at MoneyLion?

We want to be the destination for all things money. Those acquisitions I was speaking on, allow us to do that. Another acquisition we made was of EVEN Financial, a New York-based fintech that creates APIs to power a two-sided marketplace. That allows consumers, as they’re browsing the internet, to always have, at their fingertips, a mortgage or lending calculator, for instance.

Can you talk more about how all the content development works on the creator side at MoneyLion, as well as the delivery of that content?

The media company we bought has been working with creators that have captured the zeitgeist of the moment for many years. Creators can come and create content on their platforms. They will, then, help with distribution, analytics, and monetization.

One big focus, too, has been NIL — name, image, likeness — for college athletes.

Beyond that, the value proposition is that we can distribute content, amplify their exposure, in MoneyLion’s app, and compensate with brand deals.

How is the current market environment impacting your business?

No employee at MoneyLion thinks that the current stock price represents what we’re building. I think we’re going through one of those moments in the markets where you’ve got interest rates rising, a recession, and geopolitical issues clouding the investing climate, as we have it.

Given that, what’s your reaction?

Continued execution of strategy and keeping our customer acquisition costs lower.

Regarding a value proposition for consumers, at the end of the day, they wouldn’t trust us unless we were delivering real value to them in times of success and need.

That’s always been our mantra. Let’s provide private banking to the masses when they have money and when they may be running out of money.

When things get difficult, how do you know what to focus on?

Well, first, I think it starts with communication with our board, shareholders, and users. At the end of the day, we want MoneyLion to be an iconic American brand in the hands of tens of millions of Americans.

As long as we can keep the business financed, we know we can continue building the technology and platform to take a lot of market share, here.

How do you compete with larger institutions like JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM who could just acquire fintech solutions and build that into their offerings?

Chase has 150 years on us and trust. We’re focused on acquiring the latter.

We have invested significantly in our brand, whether it’s through partnerships, commercials, and creators. Sponsoring creators and media content is all part of being relevant to the new way consumers think and interact with money. Sometimes, the way we talk about money will be different from the incumbents and there is a reason to do it that way.

What do you think is the best way to drive trust among users?

You can build trust in technology, as well as great teams who execute. Additionally, in providing investing, lending, and banking products to communities underserved by large incumbents, we validate our reason for existence.

We’re able to provide low-cost and free capabilities, across banking and investing, for our segment of the population that makes $40,000 to $150,000 a year. The social proof of millions of users using it is a also trust driver.

How do you reach underserved segments of these markets?

We want to tell our story through the folks we’re partnering with on the creator side. For instance, if we want to be in South Los Angeles, it’s probably a matter of finding the voices in that community who are already creating content and partnering with them. Through our approaches, we’ve kept costs lower, too.

Talk about keeping the risks low across your organization.

We focused on diversification. It’s those content and network pieces, for example, that continue to be a hedge for us. It’s also the customers we serve. We’re not concentrated in any one geography and we’ll continue to look internationally, as well, over time.

How important is data in your business and how does it impact the decisions you make?

We’ve been in this business for the last eight or nine years looking at alternative signals that can tell us whether a consumer has a higher ability and willingness to pay us back. We’re experts in what we do and don’t need to rely on credit bureaus which are very obtuse. We believe the best markers for credit are self-disclosed data that consumers give us. Frankly, that’s the reason to have a MoneyLion product. We’re more expansive and inclusive.

As an aside, this conversation has me thinking about social credit systems for some reason. Talk to me about your thoughts on such systems.

I don’t think we should try to go there as it’s probably not a good thing for society. However, it’s definitely doable.

What’s your focus, now, over the next six months to a year?

Execution. We’re building something interesting and cool into our products. For every financial topic, we want to be the destination where consumers start off their education and literacy journey. Once we do that, I think it starts getting into the hands of a lot more people in a more viral way. We have to prove that out in the next couple of quarters and I think the financial impact will follow.

Beyond that, we have a lot of exciting things that are being worked on.

Posted In: Dee ChoubeyMoneyLionFintechPenny StocksSmall CapInterview

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