Aura Assembles Advisory Board of Latino and African-American Community Leaders

Tom Soto, 100 Most Influential Latinos in American Business, Member of the Board of the New America Alliance, to lead Aura’s Advisory board

Gene Sperling, former Director of Clinton and Obama Administrations' National Economic Council to serve as Board Liaison

SAN FRANCISCO -- Aura, a CDFI certified fintech disrupting the predatory lending industry with loans that help low income people, announced today the appointment of the Aura Advisory Board. The board includes ten nationally recognized Latino and African-American leaders across corporate, finance, political, technology and public policy sectors. The board has a mission to guide Aura through complex decisions of ethical, affordable and for-profit lending practices; collaboration with legislators to help underbanked communities; and strategies to guide low-income Americans away from predatory lenders.

The board is led by Tom Soto, Member of the Board of the New America Alliance, dedicated to advancing the economic development of the American Latino community across the United States. He is joined by Gene Sperling, who brings extensive expertise in the economic issues facing low-income Americans, having served as the Director of the National Economic Council under two presidential administrations.  

"The Aura Advisory Board was formed to help the company balance the economic justice that underbanked communities deserve with the needs of a for-profit lending business. Predatory lenders are exploiting rather than representing the communities they serve, and low-income Americans need a better option to escape endless cycles of debt and build their own American Dream," said Tom Soto. "This board is proud to help Aura navigate a complex environment so it can scale its lending business designed for borrower success. We've already begun to guide the leadership team in how to build trust with communities and policy makers that have become rightly distrustful of financial institutions."

Tom Soto will lead the Board's operations and internal communications. Soto has received wide National recognition, including being named one of Hispanic Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential Latinos and one of Poder 360's 100 National Top Latino Green Leaders. During the Obama Administration, he was Co-Leader of the President's Transition Team for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. During the Clinton Administration, he was appointed to the State Department's Border Environment Cooperation Commission, which oversaw the $2.5 billion North American Development Bank. Soto is also one of the country's leading VCs in the impact sector, with Aura as one of his portfolio companies. He is currently Sr. Advisor to Aspiration, the country's fastest growing online financial services platform. 

Gene Sperling has been appointed an independent director of Aura’s Advisory Board, which includes serving as a liaison with the Board of Directors. In his time with the Obama Administration, he played a key role in budget negotiations, including the American Jobs Act, manufacturing policy, GSE reform, the Small Business Jobs Act, the payroll tax cut and the expansion of tax credits for low-income working Americans. Sperling is the Founder and Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations and Brookings Institute.

The full Advisory Board includes:

  • Manolo Diaz, Former California Assembly Member

  • Gerardo Interiano, Head of External Affairs for the Southwest U.S., Google

  • Carmen Palafox, Century Center for Economic Opportunity

  • Qiana Patterson, Director of Public Partnerships for HopSkipDrive

  • Cleofas Rodriguez, President and CEO of the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce

  • Nelly Rojas-Moreno, Chief Credit Officer, LiftFund, a CDFI

  • Frank Salazar, California Latino Legislative Caucus' Latino PAC

  • Jon Samuels, Former Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs, Obama Administration

  • Tammye Trevino, Former USDA leader, Obama Administration

  • Janee Murphy, CEO of Community Partners Consulting

About Aura
Aura’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities and end reliance on predatory payday lenders by providing affordable credit to America's 66-million underbanked and unbanked. Aura Loans are designed to help borrowers succeed at repayment and build good credit. We're proud that 67% percent of our repeat customers grew their credit score by an average of 312 points when applying for a second loan. Currently available in more than 700 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, Aura has provided hundreds of thousands of loans to low income households since launching in 2014.

Aura Team