Founder Sheena Allen is building more than just another digital bank.
The pandemic has highlighted the problem of income inequality and how much our current financial system capitalizes on those with less means.
Millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck — as high as 70% depending on the source — and struggle to pay monthly bills. For emergencies many people pull from savings, if they have savings at all.
At the same time banks continue to make billions on overdraft fees and have arbitrary minimum requirements for opening accounts, many times charging those who can’t afford it more just to bank. For people needing cash quickly, payday lenders are a notoriously nasty option with fuzzy explanations of the charges associated with loans and sometimes unethical ways to collect.
All of this does one thing well. It keeps people who are struggling financially from building wealth. This was true long before the pandemic, and now the need for fintech has only accelerated as physical bank branches close and the world becomes cashless. People need new banking options.
Sheena Allen is the founder and CEO of CapWay, a fintech company based in Atlanta that just announced the national availability of its neobank and debit card, along with money saving and financial learning products and services. CapWay’s equitable bank gives financial opportunity to anyone, and Sheena is not building just another digital bank. She’s systematically creating a financial solution that builds the bridge people have needed in order to participate, learn, find community and get ahead.
Sheena says, “There are many financial gaps in the traditional banking and financial system. Whether it is income, access, digital, or information gaps, they all impact the working-class Americans’ ability to get ahead. My vision for CapWay is to build an inclusive financial system and offer access and opportunity to everyone – especially those who have been misunderstood, overlooked, and underserved. We have to start at the root of the systematic challenges and address those issues by first filling the gaps to allow people to improve their financial health and ultimately help them create generational wealth.”
Anyone can set up a CapWay Money Account online or by downloading CapWay’s mobile app. There are no overdraft fees and no monthly minimum. Users have the ability to get paid early and send and receive money. With their CapWay debit card they can make online transactions and round-up change per transaction back to their CapWay Money Account. They can also set “Money Goals” and choose to share their money-saving progress with friends and family, or ask for support and contributions to help them meet their goals.
CapWay also strongly believes it can make a lifestyle impact through financial education. Financial literacy isn’t a learning requirement in many schools and not everyone’s parents teach them how to manage money. Many young people don’t know what a 401K is. Many are graduating from college with a mountain of student loan debt, but no knowledge of how to invest or an understanding of how important their credit is for their future. And so many adults are just learning as they go.
Phunds is CapWay’s financial education program that teaches people how to manage money and build a healthier financial lifestyle. Employers, schools and community organizations can also partner with CapWay to teach the Phunds curriculum.
As a founder from a rural, underbanked community Sheena understands first hand why groups of Americans do not trust or fit into the traditional financial system. We’re thrilled to have been CapWay’s first investor. Sheena is extraordinarily knowledgeable about her customers, and she has the skills and tenacity to bring innovation to the banking industry and create a bank specifically for those who need it most. Congrats Sheena!