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The US economy has been humming along for more than a decade with unemployment at historical lows, but unfortunately those numbers only tell a part of the story. One in five American households has zero or negative wealth making it difficult to affordably borrow, make consistent loan payments and build strong credit. In an effort to help credit unions deliver scalable, cost-effective and impactful lending options to members, Filene partnered with CMFG Ventures this summer to launch the FinTech Catalyst Incubator to identify, test and scale promising concepts that could make a difference by helping credit unions innovate, grow, and lift their members’ financial well-being. Learn more here: Concepts selected to be tested in the Incubator are tested by a group of up to 12 credit unions of varying asset sizes, locations, and consumer demographics for approximately six months. During this time, participating credit unions will offer their members the new Fintech product or service while receiving tools and support from Filene to test a unique hypothesis and assess each concept's desirability, viability, and scalability. The Incubator’s kick-off project was Align’s Income Share Agreement or ISA -- the only general use income share agreement in the United States. ISAs offer flexible repayment and build positive credit history. More than just a loan, this is a consumer contract with payments based on a set percentage of a borrower’s total income, and therefore payments are not fixed. It is also beneficial in boosting credit scores, in that if a recipient was unemployed and their ISA payment went to zero, this would not be noted as a missed payment or delinquency. Learn more: You’re about to hear insights from the architects of this test, plus the credit unions practitioners who tested this concept, to better understand how a product like this might fit at your credit union, or how you could get in on the ground floor of the next Fintech concept tested. We hear from CMFG Venture’s Laura Sievert as well as Filene’s Megan Jackson about how the Fintech Cataylst Incubator works. We also have Fort Community CU’s Chief Lending Officer Danielle Frawley to share about how this test enlighted her credit union to a lot of valuable information about their membership. As you’ll hear her explain, there was a lot of member interest with this concept. Curious to know what they did next? Let’s get to it.

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