Hope Macy, the FCA authorised UK Fintech, has obtained £1.5m in seed investment from the Development Bank of Wales, and a supportive angel network, to extend the development and roll-out of its regulated Open Banking and AI platform across the UK to counter the growing problem of financial vulnerability.
More consumers are falling into debt, unable to obtain credit, and others are falling victim to scams. To make it worse, many of those with financial vulnerability have mental health problems. According to FairForAll finance, 17.5 million consumers are in financially vulnerable circumstances, some at a point of no return. The National Crime Agency says that fraud against individuals is typically targeted at already vulnerable people, for whom the consequences can be devastating, psychologically as well as financially. Those who are financially vulnerable may miss bill payments, fall behind on rent, or default on loans. This leads to financial problems such as debt, poor credit, and homelessness.
Against this backdrop, Hope Macy – based at Tramshed in Newport – has created an integrated technology platform consisting of three core products: DataFlex, an implementation of open finance technology, searches a consumer’s financial data, and then uses analytics to pin-point reasons for vulnerability; Affordwise, a credit reference service, that creates a financial analysis report used to assist the consumer obtain affordable credit, arrange debt repayments, or find alternative sources of income; and Family Connect, an automated assistant offered to consumers to look-out for financial transactions or trends that could harm them – if potential problems are identified, a family member is notified.
The platform is already in production across a number of lenders and debt management firms in the UK. One such firm, Adage Credit, has implemented the technology to enable it to credit assess low-income people who have no credit file, by using just a bank account. Using the Hope Macy platform, it can assess a borrower’s credit risk in seconds. For Adage Credit, this increases the number of people who can get credit and at the same time reduce risk.
Given Hope Macy’s market position in the growing and international subprime sector, it has tremendous potential to make an impact for consumers and improve their wellbeing.
Sam Manning, Hope Macy’s CEO says: “We understand the financially vulnerable like no one else. We have engaged with regulators, lenders, and borrowers to create a platform that meets the needs of this under-served eco-system. Using our technology, we are proud of what we have delivered and how consumers are benefiting from it”.
Jack Christopher, Investment Executive at the Development Bank of Wales, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of Hope Macy’s journey with our investment – Sam and Graham will continue to innovate within the consumer credit space to produce solutions that will tangibly help those who are in most need gain access to credit fairly and affordably.
“We’re here not just to get finance to businesses, but also to help innovators who create products that are going to make a positive impact in people’s lives– not just here in Wales, but across the United Kingdom. The new platform developed will be of genuine benefit to financial institutions that need to comply with the FCA’s newly-introduced Consumer Duty regulations. We look forward to seeing their new platform go from strength to strength.”