Financial well-being is not A thing credit unions do, but THE thing credit unions do. The Foundation is on a mission to catalyze credit unions into putting financial well-being at the heart of their strategy by providing ideas from organizations who are putting in the work to make that happen. Here are their stories.
QCash Financial, a wholly owned CUSO of WSECU
What was the financial well-being problem?
QCash Financial was started in 2015 to commercialize a small dollar, short-term credit platform incubated in WSECU beginning in 2004. At that time, the credit union discovered that members were using predatory payday lenders and determined this was a problem that the credit union needed to solve.
Today QCash Financial is developing solutions to help credit unions create an integrated approach to building member financial health. Over the last 15 years, what we have learned through the funding of over 450,000 loans for over $300mm in short-term loans is that the impact on members, communities and credit unions is greater than we could have imagined. Our data covers 18 Federal and State credit unions across the U.S and Canada.
- Members struggle to create stability during periods of financial volatility. Developing healthy savings habits to overcome financial volatility requires more than just a savings roundup feature.
- A members’ relationship with money has everything to do with building financial literacy.
- Families are either struggling to make ends meet or just one emergency away from a financial disaster. Any interruption to income creates situations where the local social systems may be the only backstop for members in need.
- Members with the most difficult financial lives are also the least willing to ask for and get financial advice.
The financial health challenge QCash Financial sees is credit unions’ ability to view member financial health from a holistic perspective that covers the entire membership and includes building community impact. We must approach building capacity, stability and resilience as an integrated approach in the delivery of service, building of products and overall sustainability.
What did they do?
QCash Financial is providing credit unions with interventions to build scalable, impactful and sustainable financial health programs. Each of the solutions below was ideated or incubated with WSECU, our parent company. These are:
- Small dollar, short-term credit lending platform – Providing broad access to responsible short-term credit creates more financial inclusion. It reduces the impact of volatility and creates the opportunity for members to save more through lower cost loans.
- Digital Financial Wellness Coach [currently in pilot] – An integrated app that builds members’ capacity through personalized financial content, increases stability by managing cash flow and builds resiliency through integrated financial coaching with CU counselors.
The interventions we are using are all based on a mobile-first approach and use of data, analytics, adult learning and the application of psychological methods to build member engagement in managing their day-to-day finances.
What was the result?
The transformation or measurement of outcomes is where we have the opportunity. It’s no longer feasible to look at the development of financial health of our members as a cost of doing business. It is our business. The interventions QCash Financial is providing continue to evolve to assure that we are helping credit unions objectively measure outcomes. Today, we can imply the outcomes. Tomorrow we need to prove it.
- Small Dollar, short-term credit platform – QCash Financial has 18 clients covering 12 U.S. states and 1 Canadian Province totaling over 27 billion in assets are providing access opportunities to over 2 million members – generating 12,000 lower cost loans a month—saving members millions in fees.
- Digital Financial Wellness Coach [currently in pilot] – Measurement is integrated into our platform that is based on the concepts used to measure population health, includes financial health survey and the integration of core banking data to determine behaviors. Additionally, we are working with independent research firms to prove our hypothesis. More to come.