James Gutierrez currently holds multiple positions related to equity, inclusion, and closing the wealth disparity in the United States. His most recent position is on the Board of Trustees, Co-Chair, and Equity & Inclusion Committee for an independent K-8 all girls’ school in San Francisco. He is also on the Board of Directors with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, and Aura Financial. Other people do not have enough cash on hand to open an account or keep a minimum balance. Another possibility is that people do not understand the resources available to them, leaving them vulnerable to predatory lenders.
In 2012, James Gutierrez co-founded Insikt Ventures to focus on Series A financial technology (fintech) and consumer investments. He continues to operate in the capacity of co-founder and managing partner today. His work in fintech has enabled him to make the greatest difference in his overall goals of bringing fair financial solutions to underserved communities.
James Gutierrez Proposes New Types of Banking Systems
James Gutierrez has a long history as an entrepreneur and venture capital investor. James Gutierrez spent seven years as the CEO of Oportun where he assisted more than half a million Hispanic borrowers obtain the loans they needed to improve their financial futures.
More recently, James Gutierrez pushed to pass legislation that made it possible to open two alternative types of banks for people from underserved communities. These include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDI). CDFI and MDI organizations make it possible for underbanked communities and minorities to obtain loans with much more lenient terms than the typical lender provides.
Education is Key to Ending Reliance on Predatory Lenders
Although launching CDFIs and MDIs is an achievement, James Gutierrez stresses the need for ongoing consumer education to ensure people know they have other options. Those who cannot get traditional banking services often fall prey to predatory lenders such as payday loan companies that charge triple-digit interest. The biggest challenge in providing consumer education about fintech and other alternatives is that many unbanked and underbanked have a deep distrust of all financial institutions.
Connecting Underserved Communities to New Resources
James Gutierrez is currently developing a mobile-first platform that helps to connect people to fintech banking and insurance solutions. The goal of this undertaking is to provide access to affordable and reasonable options that enable people from traditionally underserved communities to build credit by financing larger purchases. James Gutierrez feels this is an important step on the path towards achieving financial security.
How Fintech is Different
Many communities already struggling financially before the coronavirus pandemic are in even worse shape today. James Gutierrez fears that those without access to capital will never recover. Although programs offered by federal and state governments have been helpful, they have not gone far enough to address the severe economic distress still felt by some communities.
Fintech gives people the opportunity to better manage their finances, apply for low-interest loans, and understand the options available to them. James Gutierrez is working hard to provide alternative solutions to centralized financial institutions and give power back to the American people.