Aura, Innovative Lender to Underserved Consumers, Opens Doors to Arizona Customers
In first six months of business, Aura helped empower more than 1,300 Arizonans with new financial mobility
SAN FRANCISCO -- A new consumer lending company has entered Arizona's market, with a mission to financially empower tens of thousands of disenfranchised Arizonans. Aura (formerly Insikt) offers responsible, affordable credit-building loans to borrowers without access to traditional lines of credit through its innovative lending platform, Lendify®. In its first six months of lending in the state, nearly three dozen locations have opened, and more than 1,300 Arizonans have set themselves on the path to improving their financial standing with a Lendify loan.
Aura’s model, which focuses on small-dollar lending, is already a proven success in several other markets. In California, nearly 100,000 Lendify loans have been made to under and unbanked borrowers since the company made its first loan in late 2014. Nearly 67 percent of Aura’s repeat customers grew their credit score by an average of 312 points.
Access to credit is essential and yet remains out of reach for millions of hardworking Americans. Shut out of traditional banking options, these families are left with limited to no options when faced with emergency expenses. Furthermore, without a good credit rating it is impossible to secure a bank loan for small business creation or to realize dreams of home ownership. Even routine events can be difficult, such as renting an apartment or enrolling for basic utilities or services for which credit screens and payment deposits are often required.
"At Aura, we believe hard working Americans deserve every opportunity to improve their lives and reach their dreams," said Aura Co-Founder and CEO James Gutierrez. "While mainstream banks and credit companies ignore these communities, our mission is to help them build their credit – and futures. Today, we're able to offer our game-changing loans to Arizonans in need, creating new opportunity and empowering lives."
Aura works with highly regulated partner companies — established and trusted players in their communities — to offer consumers responsible loan products. This allows for maximum reach to underserved borrowers and a greater impact in addressing the need for credit access in their communities.
In Arizona, the company's first lending partner is DolEx Dollar Express, Inc., which began helping underserved communities send money to families in Latin America more than 20 years ago and has become a one-stop shop "financial supermarket" for their financial needs, with nearly 500 U.S. stores in 35 states – the largest store network serving U.S. Hispanics.
Mario Trujillo, DolEx's Chairman, President and Chief Executive stated, "Our focus is on serving underbanked and underserved consumers. Our stores are in their neighborhoods, where our customers live and work, and our staff has a deep understanding of our customers' experiences and struggles. With Aura, we share a passion for helping hard-working, underserved families move up from the bottom of the economic pyramid and take charge of their futures and dreams."
Aura’s model is designed to help borrowers succeed at repayment and building good credit. Repayment is set under a clear, easy to understand structure for borrowers and lending is only approved for an amount they can afford. The model has some of the toughest consumer protections of any program in the country, including stringent underwriting standards, mandatory credit reporting, prohibition on refinancing and extensive reporting to state agencies.
Aura currently operates in 638 locations across 30 partners in California, Texas, Illinois and now more than 30 locations in Arizona. The first Arizona locations include Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa and Chandler, and the company plans to roll out additional locations in the coming months.