Juan Melendez, Former MoneyGram Head of North America, Joins Aura as VP to Lead its Partner Network

Melendez brings 24 years of experience at MoneyGram to help Aura expand its growing network of 100 partner companies and 1,200 store locations

SAN FRANCISCO-- Aura (formerly Insikt), a technology enabled CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) providing affordable, credit-building loans to 66-million underbanked and unbanked consumers, is delighted to announce that Juan Melendez has joined its executive team to lead and expand its retail channel as Vice President of Retail and Sales, effective immediately.

Mr. Melendez’s efforts will be focused on expanding its retail network, increasing partner productivity and driving large-scale new business development to help fulfill Aura’s mission to provide greater financial inclusion and access for underserved communities in America. Tens of millions of hard working families in America lack access to responsible and affordable credit. Aura is solving for these historic problems with its proprietary underwriting technology and customer-centric approach to credit-building loans.

“I am inspired by Aura’s mission of increasing financial inclusion and how every member of the team goes to work focused on carrying out their part to fulfill the mission,” said Juan Melendez. “As a descendent of Dominican immigrants growing up in the Bronx, and having worked in the remittances industry, I have seen firsthand how hard-working families have been left behind. I’m thrilled to join the Aura team to help accelerate the number of underbanked people on the path to a good credit score and greater financial health,” Melendez continued.

“We are excited to add Juan to our leadership team as we look to expand well beyond the payday lending industry’s 23,000 store footprint. In just four years, our team has done a great job launching over 100 partners and 1,200 retail locations that now offer our affordable, credit building loans to low income communities in four states. Juan's experience building out MoneyGram's 12,000 location retail network will be integral in helping us successfully scale our business. Another order of magnitude in our pursuit of providing economic justice to underserved communities throughout the country,” said James Gutierrez, CEO and Founder of Aura.

Prior to joining Aura, Mr. Melendez was Senior Vice President and Head of North America at MoneyGram International, where he led large scale business development and revenue teams across North America. As a senior P&L and revenue leader, Mr. Melendez was responsible MoneyGram’s remittance volume across its North America retail agent network, corporate-owned stores and full-service kiosks. Mr. Melendez began his career at MoneyGram as a field-based Account Manager. Over the span of 24 years, Mr. Melendez held a number of sales management and senior leadership roles. Mr. Melendez proudly served in the United Sates Marine Corps. He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from New York Institute of Technology.

About Aura:

Aura is a technology-powered, CDFI that provides small, affordable loans to working families in America. Aura’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities by providing empowering financial services to America’s 66-million underbanked and unbanked. Aura has pioneered a cloud-based lending technology called Lendify that enables trusted local businesses to submit credit applications for centralized review and approval by Aura’s proprietary scoring algorithms. Currently available in over 850 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, INSIKT has provided hundreds of thousands of credit-building, responsible loans to low-income households since launching Lendify in 2014. We’re proud that 67% percent of INSIKT’s repeat customers grow their credit score by an average of 312 points from their first to second loan. By leveraging technology to reach more geographies and working families across America, INSIKT aims to end reliance on predatory lending and the payday loan industry’s 23,000 store footprint. INSIKT was founded in 2012 by James Gutierrez, Kevin Kang, and Randy Wong. All three founders helped create and scale Oportun, recently named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 50 Genius Companies in 2018.

Aura Team