Hey Fintech enthusiasts, Tim here. The last two days of LendIt just flew by. I have to say that I had made the most amount of meetings and connections during this virtual event than the usual in-person event.
Why? I teased that why virtual Lendit seems to be so efficient with my peers during many meetings that I had through Brella. I think the main reason is that we didn’t have to run around the conference grounds and excuse ourselves from sessions to meet up with people. It saves so much time getting to my meetings without spending time hunting people down. I am starting to like this new way to meet. I hope to not make it a habit, but this is just such an effective way to meet.
There were so many meaningful and content-packed sessions that I honestly had to choose which session to attend. The speakers were happy, on point, and not stressed (probably because they didn’t have to travel and got a good night’s rest in their own beds).
Even when I needed to switch to another session, it was just a drop-down away and I was immersed in another awesome session. It saved a lot of time walk from one conference room to another without any distractions.
I was able to hear the speakers loud and clear without echos in some of the bigger conference halls. I feel like I had a front-row seat and the speakers were talking to me. It created an environment that just can’t be replicated in a live conference.
PPP and COVID
There were a ton of conversations COVID and PPP [Paycheck Protection Program]. From credit risk management issues to technologies that drove this process for the masses.
Most of the lenders and financing companies are reporting that their credit risk loss rates are not as bad as they thought. However, some lenders such as small business lenders have been real victims of COVID.
Some of the lenders such as OnDeck was forced to stop originating new loans and looking for processing PPP as a means to earn some revenue during this period.
In other sessions, lenders and FinTechs were applauding the fact that the government knew that FinTech would have to step in and mobilize to help the government to collect PPP applications and as well as funding these loans.
The likes of Kabbage, Lendio, Cross River Bank stood out as heroes of PPP and it was their shining moment to help out main street America.
I was fortunate to be on a panel with Mambu, Persistent, LoanPro, and Unit on topics of leveraging technology to make financing ubiquitous.
The common theme from all the panelists was that everyone’s digital strategy has been accelerated. Most of the speakers also noted that we are in the age of renaissance when it comes to the pervasiveness of technology and data.
Johanna Pugh of Mambu said that open banking is coming to North America and it’s really up the banks to make that leap of faith to democratic banking and banking data. Bipin Sahni of Persistent said that with the richness of data that we are capturing today, we can make a ton of intimate decisions that cater to our end users and hug around them with products and services that are contextual. My other peer Rhett Roberts, CEO of LoanPro stated that customer experience is at the center of anyone’s true success. Customers demand a seamless experience when they are interacting with their financial services providers and that an end-to-end experience is key.
We had a great time on the panel and the questions from the audience was incredible and thoughtful as well. It was a great experience participating as a speaker at this conference.
The conference crew was on point, I felt like we were on a TV show prepping for the curtain drop. It was a fun experience.
The show continues…
We got another LendIt checked off of our list. This is one of those shows we will be talking about for a while… “hey, remember we all met online for LendIt 2020?”. There are so many good things about a virtual conference and I think it’s going to catch on. Perhaps, in the future, Lendit can make it a hybrid version of their conference. Those that want to show up, feel free, and those that want to experience the virtual sessions, feel free as well. I think that might broaden the appeal to these conferences.
Lastly, the show continues… for me, I have a bunch of follow up and people that I need to catch up with. This has been one of the most productive and fruitful shows that I’ve ever been too. No distraction, no random run ins, I was 100% focused on the sessions and my meetings. It felt good.
I want to thank Bo Brustkern, CEO of LendIt Fintech for extending warm invites to my Fintech students at USC. My students are telling me that they ran into their old bosses from their internship at the show. This just shows you how powerful our Fintech network is and how much we appreciate LendIt for connecting all of us.
Timothy Li is a Senior Contributor for Crowdfund Insider. Li is the Founder of Kuber, MaxDecisions, an Alchemy. Li has over 15 years of Fintech industry experience. He’s passionate about changing the finance and banking landscape. Kuber launched Fluid, a credit building product designed for college students to borrow up to $500 interest-free. Kuber’s 2nd product Mobilend is a true debt consolidation product, aiming to lower debt for all Americans. MaxDecisions provides financial institutions with the latest A.I. and Machine Learning algorithms and Alchemy is a state of the art end-to-end white-labeled lending platform powering some of the best Fintech companies in the world. Li also teaches at the University of Southern California School of Engineering.