Slideshow Best Fintechs to Work For

Published
  • March 07 2018, 12:00pm EST

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.

20. Oportun

Pictured: Oportun hosts a number of office socials for its employees.

Location: Redwood City, Calif.
Employees: 1,337
CEO: Raul Vazquez
Business: Consumer lending
Website: oportun.com
Twitter: @oportunloans

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Oportun sponsors regular office socials where everyone from CEO Raul Vazquez to the youngest entry-level workers are encouraged to participate.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees can contribute to a special fund that provides financial assistance to those at Oportun who face major life crises. This has been used, for instance, to benefit employees affected by natural disasters. The company matches all contributions.

Community service initiative: Oportun is involved in multiple community programs, including efforts to expose young girls and underserved middle school children to technical education, and to provide financial literacy training to low-income parents.

Content Continues Below


19. Ensenta

Pictured: Ensenta employees are involved in several local charity efforts.

Location: Redwood Shores, Calif.
Employees: 73
CEO: Edward Viera
Business: Software for mobile and online payments and deposits
Website: ensenta.com
Twitter: @ensenta

Popular with employees: The company offers employees the option of working from home, but those who come into the office can enjoy regular catered lunches and monthly in-office massages.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Ensenta embraces the diversity of its workforce by celebrating multiple holidays, including Kwanzaa, Diwali, and the Day of the Dead. It also organizes group outings, like a recent trip to a go-kart race track.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Every month, cupcakes are delivered to the office so that the company can celebrate employee birthdays.

Note: Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. finalized its acquisition of Ensenta in December.

18. StrategyCorps

Pictured: StrategyCorps has been recognized for its charitable efforts.

Location: Brentwood, Tenn.
Employees: 50
Managing Partner: Dave Crook
Business: Mobile banking, online banking and checking account solutions
Website: strategycorps.com
Twitter: @strategycorps

Fitness/wellness program: The company sponsors multiple fitness challenges and wellness programs, which reward participation with gift cards, electronics and other prizes. Its headquarters has a space set aside for yoga, Pilates, and other fitness activities.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees are encouraged to take advantage of a flex-time program to allow for maximum work-life balance. The company also makes it possible for many employees to work remotely when necessary.

Community service initiative: 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. The program features multiple events and matching employee donations.

17. OZRK Labs

Pictured: OZRK Labs offices incorporate contemporary design and environmentally friendly features.

Location: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Employees: 22
President: Marcio deOliveira
Business: Bank innovation lab
Website: ozrklabs.com/

Popular with employees: OZRK, a Florida-based department of Bank of the Ozarks, offers free Starbucks to employees. And if the caffeine doesn’t do the trick, employees can use an on-site “nap pod” to recharge their batteries.

Community service initiative: OZRK is closely involved in community events and social causes, actively supporting a downtown St. Petersburg arts festival, advocating for LGBT equality, and partnering with Heart Gallery of Pinellas to support older foster children.

Sustainability initiative: The company has retrofitted all of its existing offices to feature environmentally friendly lighting and water use reduction systems.

Content Continues Below


16. MPOWER Financing

Pictured: Junior Achievement is one of the local causes that MPOWER Financing employees support.

Location: Washington, DC
Employees: 25
CEO: Manu Smadja
Business: Educational lending
Website: mpowerfinancing.com
Twitter: @MPOWERfinancing

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Every team within MPOWER has a dedicated team bonding budget, meant to encourage managers to get their employees together in a non-work setting to deepen relationships and strengthen ties. A recent event was a trip to an 'escape room.'

Career development/training program: Every employee has a dedicated pool of money that can be used to fund professional training and development classes. For example, an entry-level business analyst recently used the funding to get a certification in project management, resulting in what executives said was a “real value-add” for the company.

Community service initiative: MPOWER employees partner with the Junior Achievement program in Washington, D.C., to teach financial literacy to middle school children.

15. Jumio Corp.

Pictured: Jumio sales representatives met in Miami this year for a team-building exercise.

Location: Palo Alto, Calif.
Employees: 29
CEO: Stephen Stuut
Business: Mobile payments and identity verification
Website: jumio.com
Twitter: @jumio

Popular with employees: Jumio has employees all over the globe, but CEO Stephen Stuut believes it is important to bring them together at events like a meeting for the sales team held in Miami last year. “It costs some money, but people like to meet each other,” he said.

Fitness/wellness program: Jumio’s custom-designed building in Rajasthan, India, includes an open-air rooftop yoga studio. On National Yoga Day, a yoga class was broadcast from the studio to the rest of the company’s global offices.

Career development/training program: The company recently wrapped up its annual assessment of the workforce, with an eye to identifying top performers and putting each of them on an individualized development plan meant to build leadership capacity from within.

14. Finicity

Pictured: Finicity employees celebrate receiving the firm's “Most Valuable Finitizens” award.

Location: Murray, Utah
Employees: 84
CEO: Steven Smith
Business: Cloud-based software provider
Website: finicity.com/
Twitter: @finicity

Popular with employees: Finicity offers employees unlimited paid time off. “When you fill your company with the right people, they tend not to take the time off that you’d like them to because they’re so fully engaged,” says CEO Steven Smith. Loosening restrictions on when people can take time off, he said, makes sense in an industry where late hours and intense commitment to projects is the norm.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Every year, Finicity recognizes its “Most Valuable Finitizens” from within the company, and treats them to a group trip, with spouses and significant others.

Communication tool/practice: Employees celebrate their birthdays in a small-group lunch with Smith, who says it is one of his favorite meetings each month. Smith lets employees ask any questions they like about the company, and says it’s “a great way for me to keep a finger on the pulse” of the company.

Content Continues Below


13. CSI

Pictured: CSI employees volunteered for the 15th Annual Charlotte Playground Build.

Location: Paducah, Ky.
Employees: 1,144
Chairman and CEO: Steven Powless
Business: Provider of bank software, IT, compliance and core processing
Website: csiweb.com/
Twitter: @CSIsolutions

Popular with employees: Computer Services Inc. recently overhauled its paid time off policy, expanding vacation time and upping maternity and paternity leave to twelve and two weeks, respectively.

Career development/training program: CSI has a 5% annual turnover rate, just a fraction of the tech industry’s usual 25% churn. Bill Perrin, vice president of human resources, says that’s partly due to a system that integrates new hires into the company immediately. “New employees are assigned a mentor who is responsible for making sure they don’t feel like a new employee,” he said.

Bonus/incentive program: Both sales and relationship management teams can benefit from a bonus program that grants them a percentage of the value of new sales, contract renewals and the expansion of existing relationships.

12. Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

Pictured: Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. sponsors multiple fitness programs and competitions for its employees.

Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Location: Monett, Mo.
Employees: 6,146
President and CEO: David Foss
Business: Core processing and software
Website: jackhenry.com
Twitter: @JackHenryAssoc

Fitness/wellness program: At the company’s annual wellness fair, employees are eligible for a free health assessment. The company also sponsors multiple fitness programs and competitions, including a “Step into Spring” challenge and the Naturally Slim wellness program.

Career development/training program: Jack Henry & Associates has internal programs dedicated to identifying employees who could be future leaders of the company, channeling them into its “High Potential Program” special business and leadership training.

Communication tool/practice: CEO David Foss recently completed a tour of the company’s field offices to host open (and PowerPoint-free!) conversations with company employees.

11. Nvoicepay

Pictured: Nvoicepay employees ran the relay race in the 2017 Hood to Coast challenge. The team's name was, "We Ran Our Hasselhoff."

Location: Beaverton, Ore.
Employees: 150
CEO: Karla Friede
Business: Accounts payable software for domestic and international b2b payments
Website: nvoicepay.com
Twitter: @Nvoicepay

Popular with Employees: Nvoicepay keeps on-site wine and beer kegerators. According to Lisa Greenough, vice president of people and culture, it “does a lot for our team-building, and happy hours are a great way to promote cross departmental problem solving.”

Fitness/wellness program: In addition to encouraging exercise at the office with a designated stretching area, locker room, and standing desks, Nvoicepay offers monthly classes with a certified trainer and kinesiologist.

Bonus/incentive program: Employees across multiple departments are eligible for monthly cash bonuses tied to specific performance goals. Nvoicepay also offers informal “random” bonuses for employees going above and beyond.

Content Continues Below


10. Cross River Bank

Pictured: Cross River Bank was one of the first U.S. banks to introduce Ripple for cross-border payments.

Location: Fort Lee, N.J.
Employees: 176
President, Chairman and CEO: Gilles Gade
Business: Cross River: Bank partner for fintech firms
Website: crossriverbank.com
Twitter: @crossriverbank

Fitness/wellness program: An on-site yoga/fitness room hosts workout classes and evening yoga sessions, and a recreation area offers ping-pong, basketball and other activities during work hours.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Cross River pays 100% of the premium for various insurance benefits covering employees and their families, including medical, dental, vision, prescription drugs, and long-term care. In addition, it covers 100% of the annual insurance deductibles for employees and dependents.

Community service initiative: Under a new program meant to deepen employees’ relationship with the local community, Cross River will match any employee’s donation to a local charity, up to $500 per year. The company also supports various community programs, such as swimming instruction for under-privileged children and equine therapy for the disabled.

9. Wirecard

Pictured: Wirecard hosts multiple annual celebrations for employees, including Cinco de Mayo.

Location: Conshohocken, Pa.
Employees: 112
Managing Director: Deirdre Ives
Business: Payments technology provider
Website: wirecard.com
Twitter: @wirecard

Popular with employees: Wirecard sponsors multiple annual celebrations for employees, including a chili cook-off in the fall, parties for Halloween and over the holiday season, as well as a Cinco de Mayo Celebration in the spring.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Stressed out employees at Wirecard can relax with a chair massage, or a company-sponsored yoga class.

Sustainability initiative: To discourage waste, the company maintains a full kitchen on site, with ceramic dishes, silverware and glassware, as well as a dishwasher. Wirecard also offers a filtered water station to encourage the use of reusable bottles.

8. Nav

Pictured: Nav treats employees to surprise outings, including group trips to sports events.

Location: San Mateo, Calif.
Employees: 89
CEO: Levi King
Business: Business credit monitoring
Website: nav.com
Twitter: @navSMB

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Two or three times per year, employees are treated to surprise outings, including group trips to the movies and sporting events.

Bonus/incentive program: Employees who refer a prospective new hire are eligible for a $1,000 bonus when that person joins the company.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Nav offers unlimited paid time off, and promotes flexible scheduling to allow employees to work around family commitments like school events and doctor’s appointments. Last year, employees used an average of 16 vacation days.

Content Continues Below


7. SmartBiz Loans

Pictured: SmartBiz Loans sponsors “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach for employees.

Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Employees: 103
CEO: Evan Singer
Business: SBA loans
Website: smartbizloans.com
Twitter: @SmartBizLoans

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: SmartBiz Loans CEO Evan Singer believes in getting his employees together outside the office environment, and to that end the company sponsors multiple non-work related activities, from “Disco Yoga” at San Francisco’s Baker Beach, to sports events at scenic Marina Green Park.

Fitness/wellness program: In addition to offering healthy snacks and drinks on site, the company offers workers free biometric screening, encourages walking meetings, and pays 100% of the premiums for health, dental, and vision insurance.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Top sales performers at SmartBiz Loans are inducted into the “Millionaires Club” at monthly company meetings, where they collect a cash reward. A monthly winner of the company-wide “Above and Beyond” reward is treated to high-end electronic gear, like Bose headsets. Top performing teams are regularly rewarded with a catered lunch with the CEO.

6. PeerStreet

Pictured: PeerStreet organizes an annual 'Olympics' for employees.

Location: El Segundo, Calif.
Employees: 73
CEO: Brew Johnson
Business: Real estate investing platform
Website: peerstreet.com
Twitter: @PeerStreet

Popular with employees: The company hosts an annual “PeerStreet Olympics” with friendly athletic competition. “We’ve tried to create a place where we’d like to work,” says CEO Brew Johnson.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: An on-site game room in the PeerStreet offices also doubles as space for yoga, stretching and meditation classes, which are available to employees every day.

Communication tool/practice: Johnson and co-founder and COO Brett Crosby host weekly meetings with the company’s employees to update them on the state of the company. The sessions include a Q&A in which employees are encouraged to share questions and concerns.

5. Best Egg

Pictured: BestEgg employees hold several themed office events, including an ugly sweater contest.

Location: Wilmington, Del.
Employees: 106
CEO: Jeffrey Meiler
Business: Online lending
Website: marlettefunding.com/
Twitter: @MarletteFunding

Popular with employees: One Best Egg office features a “cornhole” game in the collaborative space, while another hosts a ping pong table. The company also hosts random events, such as a company-wide distribution of special glasses for viewing the 2017 solar eclipse.

Fitness/wellness program: At Best Egg, an in-house wellness committee publishes a weekly newsletter. The company has also offered yoga and self-defense classes on site, and has fresh food delivered to the office twice a week.

Communication tool/practice: CEO Jeffrey Meiler is focused on three pillars of organizational health at Best Egg: transparency, organizational clarity, and cohesion. He hosts quarterly all hands meetings to set goals and update employees on the company’s progress toward them.

Content Continues Below


4. Mortgage Capital Trading

Pictured: San Diego-based Mortgage Capital Trading likes to refer to itself as a "West Coast Wall Street."

Location: San Diego, Calif.
Employees: 85
President: Curtis Richins
Business: Mortgage hedge advisory and secondary marketing software
Website: mct-trading.com
Twitter: @mcttrading

Popular with employees: In addition to company-sponsored outings to professional sporting events, sailing trips and happy hours, MCT takes its employees on a ski vacation every year.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: MCT considers itself a sort of “West Coast Wall Street,” says Chief Marketing Officer Ian Miller. “We keep a shuffleboard table right next to our Bloomberg terminal.”

Fitness/wellness program: Employees are all provided with free membership to a gym in the same building as their offices. The company provides free lunch every day as well as a selection of healthy snacks and drinks.

3. nCino

Pictured: Just minutes away from the beach, nCino's employees regularly partake in water sports such as surfing.

Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Employees: 355
CEO: Pierre Naudé
Business: Cloud banking services provider
Website: ncino.com
Twitter: @ncino

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: With offices near the beach, nCino encourages its employees to spend time on the water, offering free stand-up paddle-boarding and surfing lessons during the summer months. The company also keeps multiple “beach cruiser” bikes on its campus for employees to use.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Top performers are recognized in a variety of ways, winning “SWAG” dollars at monthly all-hands meetings, which can be redeemed at the company store, or earning the monthly “Umbrella Hat” award, given to “the person who keeps shining bright, even through cloudy days.”

Community service initiative: The company’s non-profit community service arm, nVolve, is organized and run by employees. They identify needs in the community and mobilize nCino staff to address them through efforts such as building homes with Habitat for Humanity or packing backpacks and food packages for needy children.

2. Kasasa

Pictured: Look closely. Can you spot a Kasasa employee tattooed with the company's logo?

Location: Austin, Texas
Employees: 384
CEO: Gabe Krajicek
Business: Banking products
Website: kasasa.com
Twitter: @Kasasa

Popular with employees: Every year, Kasasa holds a company-wide game of “Kassassins” in which participants are given other employees to “take out.” The last person standing is the winner.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The company hosts a “Chat & Chew” every Thursday to bring employees together for snacks and conversation. On Fridays, it hosts “Beer:30” at the office to give employees the chance to socialize over a drink.

Bonus/incentive program: An employee can earn a $2,000 bonus if, after 90 days on the job, he or she gets a tattoo of the Kasasa logo on their body.

Content Continues Below


1. Promontory Interfinancial Network

Pictured: Promontory Interfinancial Network employees celebrate the firm's 15th anniversary .

Location: Arlington, Va.
Employees: 191
President and CEO: Mark Jacobsen
Business: Provider of FDIC-insured deposit placement services
Website: promnetwork.com/
Twitter: @Prom_Network

Fitness/wellness program: Promontory’s office space includes a full gym with locker rooms and shower facilities, which employees are encouraged to use. The company also provides secure storage of bicycles for employees who want to make use of nearby cycling trails or who commute by bicycle.

Career development/training program: The company budgets $2,500 per employee annually for career development training. Promontory also has a well-defined “career pathing” program meant to identify future leaders and help them understand goals they must reach to earn promotions.

Communication tool/practice: In addition to twice-yearly all-hands meetings at which CEO Mark Jacobsen updates employees on the status of the company, all employees receive the same monthly reports that are prepared for the board of directors. Jacobsen also holds regular small-group meetings with employees as a means of gathering feedback and addressing concerns.

Methodology

This is American Banker's inaugural ranking of the Best Fintechs to Work For.

The analysis is performed with the Best Companies Group, which conducts extensive employee surveys and reviews employer reports on benefits and policies.

Fintech firms must opt in to be considered; there is no fee to participate. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. financial technology firms, or the technology units of diversified U.S. financial services companies.

The employer questionnaire captures information about workplace policies and practices. The employee survey, typically conducted online, consists of approximately 78 statements that employees respond to on a 5-point agreement scale. The survey also includes open-ended questions and demographic questions.

The targeted response rate is 65% or more, although companies with lower response rates may still be considered.

Both data sets are analyzed to determine the ranking. Some applicants may not rate high enough to qualify for the ranking. An Employee Feedback Report is available for purchase by participating fintech firms.

For more information on applying to next year's ranking of American Banker's Best Fintechs to Work For, please visit www.bestplacestoworkfintech.com