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If the popularized idea about technology startups is to be believed, their workplaces are more like playgrounds than offices.

But maybe that is not as bad as some television shows and movies would have you think.

For the 20 companies on American Banker’s inaugural "Best Fintechs to Work For" list, offering unconventional perks and recreational time is viewed as part of a sensible business strategy.

There are fresh food deliveries, well-stocked cafeterias and even wine and beer kegerators — but all with a purpose.

A weekly social over drinks is how Kasasa keeps employees connected. Situated right by San Diego’s popular Gaslamp Quarter, Mortgage Capital Trading regularly treats its employees to happy hours — and also shares profits with teams that create new offerings for customers.

Office exercise happens beyond a standing desk at many of the companies. NvoicePay not only provides stretching areas and lockers to employees, it offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist. Marlette Funding’s Best Egg unit offers employees self-defense classes on site, along with yoga.

And if you like the beach, check out nCino, where employees regularly go for early morning paddleboat sessions at nearby Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, N.C., and SmartbizLoans, which hosts “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach.

Even more established companies on this year’s Best Fintechs list go beyond the basics in trying to make sure employees are happy enough to stay.

Computer Services Inc. pairs up new hires with a mentor so that they don’t struggle to fit in. Promontory Interfinancial Network has a program to identify future leaders in its workforce, and lays out goals for them to climb the company ladder.

Addressing an employee’s well-being and comfort comes in different forms, whether it is Cross River Bank’s policy of providing 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, Nav’s unlimited paid time off option for employees, or Ensenta’s tradition of celebrating workforce diversity with multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead.

All the fintechs in the ranking try to create a sense of purpose either in the work or through outside activities. For some, the community involvement doesn’t stop with oversized checks and photo ops.

MPOWER employees partner with the Junior Achievement program in Washington, D.C., to teach financial literacy to middle school children, while StrategyCorps’ annual fund drive for the United Way has been so successful that it has been recognized by the charity with its “Circle of Caring” award. Charity at Oportun extends to the office too, as its employees can contribute to a special fund that provides financial assistance to colleagues facing major life crises.

Many of the Best Fintechs — including PeerStreet and Finicity — also make a conscious effort to close the distance between employees and management, through weekly or monthly activities with C-suite executives.

“We’ve tried to create a place where we’d like to work,” said PeerStreet Chief Executive Brew Johnson.

Read on for the complete ranking of the 20 Best Fintechs to Work For and learn more details about what makes them stand out.


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