MADISON, Wis., July 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CMFG Ventures, the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group, and Filene Research Institute announced today the launch of the FinTech Catalyst Incubator to test new fintech products and services in credit unions.
"Tomorrow's financial products and services are being funded, supported, and validated by CMFG Ventures today to improve the financial stability of credit union members in the future," said Brian Kaas, managing director, CMFG Ventures. "We are committed to the success of our entrepreneur partners and that commitment goes beyond funding, which is why we're so pleased to partner with one of the country's leading research organizations, Filene Research Institute, to test companies and ideas for desirability, viability, and feasibility."
The FinTech Catalyst Incubator will test fintech and insurtech products and services that could fill credit union system gaps and create new opportunities for credit unions to innovate, grow, and better serve their members. Start-up companies interested in having their solutions tested can sign-up to become a test company.
"We have a long and successful track record of executing incubators that test and scale solutions in the marketplace," said Ryan Foss, senior director, Filene Research Institute. "Over the last five years with Filene, more than 100 credit unions have been involved in the creation, launch, testing and adoption of more than 15 products and service innovations across the U.S. and Canada. We're excited to help position credit unions as drivers of innovation in the financial services industry."
Each test company will have its fintech product or service tested by a group of up to 12 credit unions of varying asset sizes, locations, and consumer demographics for six months. During this time, participating credit unions will receive tools and support from Filene Research Institute to test a unique hypothesis. These test companies and credit unions will have the opportunity to share feedback and insights throughout the testing period. Research findings, including next steps and launch recommendations for viable products, will be published by Filene Research Institute upon completion of the testing period.
"Right now, our first research test is underway with Align, offering credit union members with low- or fluctuating-income levels a loan alternative through an income share agreement to give them an affordable way to borrow. Look for test results later this summer," said Kaas. "We're also excited to announce our next research test will begin soon with two different companies – Finhabits, exploring how different demographics approach saving for retirement and Steady, exploring the future of work – and we're always looking for more start-up companies to test in the future, so we encourage those interested to sign-up today."
About Filene: Filene Research Institute is an independent, consumer finance think tank dedicated to scientific and thoughtful analysis about issues affecting consumer financial wellness, the future of credit unions, and cooperative finance. Founded 30 years ago as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Filene moves credit unions forward with research and incubation support. For more information, visit filene.org and @fileneresearch.
About CMFG Ventures: CMFG Ventures, LLC is the venture capital entity within CUNA Mutual Group that invests in strategic fintech and insurtech companies that support CUNA Mutual Group and the credit union industry. The company's investment strategy focuses on financial technology, data analytics, financial education and protection, and digital channels to address gaps and opportunities within the insurance, credit union and financial services industries. Additional information about the company can be found at www.cmfgventures.com.
About CUNA Mutual Group: CUNA Mutual Group is a financially strong insurance and financial services company enabling people to make financial decisions that work for them. The company was built on the principle of "people helping people" and the belief that a brighter financial future should be accessible to everyone. For more information, visit www.cunamutual.com.
CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.
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SOURCE CUNA Mutual Group