The Seed From Which Cedar Sprouted
I fully realized the need for Cedar Credit Builder during my many years in consumer lending, which is where I was exposed to the underserved needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers.
Approximately 32% of Americans or 102 million people have thin credit profiles or no credit at all. The lack of healthy credit products leaves this population with a limited number of risky financial products in times of need. When faced with life’s unexpected changes, these consumers are especially vulnerable to accepting the extraordinary terms of payday loans, high-interest credit cards, and other higher-interest products served by institutional lenders.
While many are familiar with the risks associated with payday loans and credit cards, I became well-versed in the cost of institutional lender products paid by this population. To illustrate, I often use the example of a 5-year, $20,000 auto loan where a 40-point difference in a FICO score equates to a $2,500 difference over the life of the loan. These costs are dwarfed when you start looking at credit card usage and the exorbitant interest and fees paid by the most vulnerable segments of our population. The longer I serviced institutional lending products, the more I researched credit building products and resources for my customers.
Knowing I went on to start Cedar, you may presume what came of my findings.
Not only was I startled by the lack of healthy options to mend this gap, I was dissatisfied with a growing number of new-to-market products that made more gaps and posed more risk to the end-consumer. On a more fundamental level, I was continually disappointed by the larger state of the financial industry--the lack of innovation, the ubiquitous fee-based incentive structure, and the preservation of the status quo.
Although I can trace the origin of our product concept back to these references of dissatisfaction and disappointment, they merely framed the risk of inaction. What’s more important in terms of our founding and ongoing development is the inspiration.
Since January of 2020, the driving force behind our evolution remains the needs of the end-consumer. That’s why Cedar continues to develop beyond the bounds of a credit-building product. As Cedar redefines healthy financial products, we’re ensuring broader access to them. As we develop our Credit Builder and instaBoost products, we’re working to ensure they develop the consumer credit profile with minimal risk and maximum impact. And as we continue to innovate our comprehensive savings and personal finance tools, we’re building the future of digital banking to include all aspects of financial wellness and everyone who requires it.
It’s no small endeavor but it’s attainable, and there’s room for you to join.
If you believe in this mission, you can support it by investing as little as $100, subscribing to our waitlist, and sharing our story with like-minded friends.