Banks are powered by money from the crowd: the money everyone puts into banks. Mighty exists to help you find banks that focus on using your money to build the communities you believe in. Our commitment to human-centered design drives us to build our technology by constantly talking to our growing Mighty community, learning about how our digital platform fits into real people's lives, and how it can deliver new connections across people and money.
Concept mapping with UChicago Economics students.
User research with small business owners in the D.C. area.
Remember when branch address was the leading identifier of a local bank?
The bank down the street may have one office or thousands, resulting in different ways your money is used to build different markets. Mighty is building a platform framing the modern identifiers to spot local banks most focused on making local investments.
You have more choices in banks than you may have ever stopped to consider, whether it's keeping your bank deposits safe, or growing your business, or building a life you believe in. Mighty makes your meaningful choices across banks clear, however it is you define your meaning. Sign up to try our upcoming beta release. https://lnkd.in/eCpPRGP
#smallbusiness owners + #citizensatlarge inform Mighty design & our upcoming release, coming soon! #madeforcommunity #poweredbycommunity #bankforimpact <3 #Mighty
Digital banking has given customers a clearer picture of how they are managing their finances. Some may soon expect that kind of transparency in the way banks lend their deposits.
Several studies have found that millennials are either apathetic or distrusting of the banking industry. But some say that one of the ways banks — specifically impact-based banks — can connect with young people is to do a better job in sharing the work they do in their communities.
"The new competitive advantage is not just going to be having great technology. It’s going to be great tech and why should I care about your business," said Megan Hryndza, co-founder and chief executive of Mighty.
Mighty is an early-stage marketing platform startup that aims to help consumers compare banks based on social-impact performance. The platform will rely on lending stats from quarterly bank call reports, bank customers and other sources to showcase the effects banks have had on their community. Mighty is currently testing its product with two banks.
By illustrating what sets one bank apart from its peers, Mighty hopes to inspire consumers to pick their banks the same way they might pick a coffee shop because it uses fair-trade beans or a retailer that only sells American-made apparel.
"We are excited by what we see as a long journey and long commitment to help increase appreciation for diversification in banking," Hryndza said.
Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia, Ark., is one of the banks working with Mighty. The $1.2 billion-asset bank hopes the platform draws in deposit accounts — particularly from millennials — and potentially in new markets.
"We hope to attract customers who align with our mission," said Darrin Williams, chief executive of Southern. As a community development bank, Southern’s social work includes things like offering free tax-filing services and helping folks improve their savings habits and credit scores.
Picking a bank based on how it lends may seem like a niche proposition, compared to picking a bank because of the convenience of its branches, the usability of its mobile app or the rate it pays its depositors.
But it is perhaps not as far-fetched as it may seem.
According to a 2015 study by Cone Communications and Ebiquity Global CSR, 91% of global consumers expect companies to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues in addition to making a profit.
And it’s particularly top of mind with young adults. "Millennials do value social good more than other generations," said Terry Golesworthy, president at The Customer Respect Group, a research and consulting firm.
Others have picked up on this trend, too. For instance, Amalgamated Bank in New York is in the midst of a nationwide digital push, betting that its longtime mission to serve unions and progressive politics will resonate with people outside of its geography.
Of course, the social impact has to come alongside fulfilling the table stakes.
"The majority of people want convenience," said Golesworthy. "They want good apps."
If a solid app is in place, Golesworthy sees an opportunity for a bank to win people over based on corporate responsibility efforts if the end-results are clear to the consumer. He cites Lemonade — an insurance startup that shares its unclaimed money with causes a customer selects — as a good model. "The recruitment is done by the cause," he said.
Likewise, Nicole Sturgill, principal executive advisor of retail banking at CEB, says social impact could serve as an input for doing business with a particular bank so long as that bank also meets all of the consumer's’ financial needs. As Sturgill sees it, Mighty could also help banks — that often highlight a customer in a commercial or YouTube video — strengthen the way they tell their stories by weaving in statistics.
Many U.S. banks have struggled to get the word out about their work, Hryndza said. She sees Mighty’s platform as a way to amplify their message.
"For banks that have been doing really important and impressive work for decades… It’s an opportunity to put them on a map to a population of the country that hasn’t heard of [them]," she said.
Larger banks, like Wells Fargo, have been updating the ways they digitally tell their stories. Umpqua Bank, for instance, is well-known for innovative approaches to getting its brand message out, including via a traveling art show and in running a podcast.
In fintech, some companies have baked in social missions. Aspiration donates part of its profits to charities and recently launched an online publication — Make Change — that explores where money and mission meet. Meanwhile, CommonBond launched with a social mission to fund education of needy students in a foreign country.
However, smaller banks need to improve the way they communicate their good deeds. Hryndza hopes Mighty will give mission-impact institutions a leg up.
In time, Hryndza sees Mighty as helping banks recast their image, and in turn, influencing the way someone chooses a bank. Instead of viewing a bank as a black box where money is stored, she says Mighty aims to reinforce how a personal relationship with a bank directly affects the community.
"When you bank, you are providing fuel to different markets," she said, adding this outcome is clear when someone invests in something but more nebulous when it comes to socking away deposits.
"Just like investors, I, as a depositor, am ready to know the markets I’m powering," Hryndza said.
To woo on social impact requires consumers to think about how their deposits affect other individuals or other communities, Southern’s Williams said.
"Do you know where your money sleeps at night?" he said.
By Sophia Wagner, #Mighty team.
When it comes to choosing where to keep my money safe, or where to get a loan or mortgage, I have less information about the market impact of my money than I do when shopping for eggs.
Let me explain. When it comes to shopping for eggs, we have a remarkable number of clearly-labeled, meaningful choices for how to spend our valuable dollars.
From cage-free to pasture-raised to organic eggs, carton labels provide useful information to help shoppers distinguish one farm’s practices from the next. This labeling not only helps customers purchase the types of eggs they want, but also vote for and grow the markets that help to produce them.
Those that want to minimize fertilizer runoff can purchase USDA Certified Organic eggs. Local business proponents can look for eggs from a nearby farm. Animal rights supporters can check for the Animal Welfare Approved certification.
From food to clothing to housewares to cars, my generation doesn’t just purchase what a company does, but how and why it does it. The conscious consumer is on the rise.
But what about banking? We all know that where you spend your money matters, but we don’t always remember that where you keep your money matters, too.
The majority of your money in your savings and other bank accounts isn’t actually in your bank. Banks are required to keep only 10% of your deposits on hand. The rest of your money is used by your bank for lending and investing in different markets, whether you like the markets or not.
Herein lies a disproportionate balance of information relative to the dollar size of my investment. Food and clothing companies give me a lot of information about how my purchase can impact lives, communities and economies. These purchases are comparatively small relative to the amount of money I currently keep — and plan to grow — with my bank, yet I have a markedly low amount of information about what difference my banking business is making.
This is where Mighty comes into play. Mighty uses public data to help you clearly compare and choose banks that give you the banking value you need and the market impact you want.
Want your money to help build rural economies? Care about small businesses? Interested to help support life-changing investments in poor communities? There’s a bank for that.
With more than 6,000 FDIC-Insured banks in the country, and with money increasingly being managed digitally by all, myself included, we all have more banking choices than many realize.
To be sure, labels don’t always paint the full picture. Measuring the impact of businesses on markets and ultimately on communities and the environment is an evolving practice. But increased accountability of companies to transparently communicate the impacts and outcomes of their business decisions is a required compact for enlisting my generation as customers. Mighty is making great strides to help label products and services from competitive banks innovating toward community impact for customers hungry for this value proposition.
I’m a person who wants to contribute to a world I believe in. I seek businesses that are making transparent the community benefits of their products.
From my eggs to my clothes to my banking, I’ll take my products with clear labels communicating the social impact being achieved through the product. Or in egg parlance, sunny side up.
Mighty is a new platform that helps impact-oriented individuals and organizations engage the community impact of their banking business. #GiveThanks and build what you believe in by opening a savings account at a bank achieving the impact you believe in, and then sign up to reserve your spot to get Mighty, which will keep you connected ongoing to the community impact of your banking business.
On the South Side of Chicago in the early 1970s, if you were black and poor, it was almost impossible to get a loan to start a business or buy a house. Most banks systemically denied credit in low-income neighborhoods. But a new local bank—founded by a group of activists—changed that, with a mission of becoming an agent of change in the community.
The bank, called ShoreBank, closed in 2010, a victim of the recession. But it later helped inspire a new tool called Mighty—a platform that will let any consumer learn which banks are creating the most social impact.
Cofounder and CEO Megan Hryndza learned about ShoreBank, and other mission-driven banks, while working on a documentary about community finance.
"As I got to work with some organizations that were working at the community level, I realized that their whole value proposition in banking was very different than anything I had ever heard or experienced," she says.
She also realized that consumers have an overwhelming number of options when they choose a bank but little to guide them in making a decision.
"It became clear that there were more banks out there than I had ever realized—over 6,000 banks," she says. "All of us have more banking options. So how do we discern between the options we have?"
A vast amount of bank industry data is available publicly, but it isn't easy to navigate. Quarterly reports on banks from the FDIC are 80-pages long. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve offers reports on how every bank invests in lower-income neighborhoods. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has reports on where banks offer home loans.
Mighty's new platform, still in development, will sort through that data, along with other certifications (some banks, like the former ShoreBank, are official Community Development Financial Institutions, while others are members of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values or B Corporations).
The site will highlight banks that are doing the best work. On the beta version, the platform is currently building in data about City First Bank of DC, which lends money in low-income neighborhoods, and Southern Bancorp, a CDFI focused on communities in the mid-South.
Each bank will be presented in the context of the larger industry, so consumers can compare impact and think about how they want their own money to be used.
"We want to help bring forward the public understanding that money is in motion—it's not just behind lock and key," says Hryndza.
"Our inspiration is to create an experience where every individual who's participating has a personal understanding of their individual impact within the larger, complex system," she says. "And then can help facilitate a more participatory, democratic, diversified system."
By: Megan Hryndza
Eyes wide open.
That's how I'd summarize what happened during our past weeks on the road in Washington DC and Helena, Arkansas, during which time our team put Mighty's developing product into the hands of community leaders, community builders, community fans and shapers of the impact economy.
Whether it was our talking to small business owners and local organizers gathered at the City First Third Annual Community Development Conference, or musicians and educators and travelers gathered at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, people's eyes opened wide as we introduced ourselves as a startup working out of the Polsky Business Incubator at the University of Chicago, dedicated to using public data to help everyone know the community impact of their banking business.
From that point on, we listened as people readily began talking about the importance of supporting local economies; small business development; affordable housing; equity of economic opportunity for low-income populations. We learned that across the spectrum, irrespective of job title or location, everyone cares deeply about the economy. Everyone is touched by it. Everyone is eager to build their agency in supporting the economies they value. A tool like Mighty, providing transparency of information and choice for the public to bank for impact, is an idea whose time has come.
We've begun issuing invites to use Mighty. Sign up to reserve your spot. Join the pioneering community experiencing banking for impact in a whole new light.
Gloria Nauden’s parents are entrepreneurs, and she still remembers how a bank helped them grow their small business.
“A bank helped my parents go from being poor to making it,” she says.
But for the past three years, as vice president for marketing and communications at City First Bank of DC, Nauden has been grappling with the perception that banks are only out to make a profit. Between the financial crisis and more recent Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal, it’s no easy task.
Unlike most banks, City First Bank’s largest shareholder is a nonprofit organization, City First Enterprises, whose mission is to provide access to capital in Washington, D.C.’s low- to moderate-income neighborhoods, which have experienced decades of discrimination from mainstream banks. But like many nonprofits, marketing has historically taken a backseat to achieving the nonprofit’s mission.
"So I’m basically a three-year-old marketing department,” Nauden says.
Enter Mighty, a new platform that will help “small but powerful” banks connect with potential depositors or investors who might be swayed to pick a bank based on positive social impact.
“What we want to start doing on day one is putting amazing banks that merit national attention on the map,” says Megan Hryndza, co-founder and CEO. “It’s time to hear what’s going awesome in banking, what’s going well, what banks have consumers and stakeholders and partners that show up and say this is a special bank.”
Mighty is currently taking signups for its beta, issuing invites to individuals on an incremental basis, and will be extending more invitations for engagement with the platform in the future. City First Bank is one of two (the other being Southern Bancorp) that just signed on to test the platform from the institutional side.
In some ways, Mighty is like a cross between Yelp and Kiva. Yelp, in the sense that one of its ultimate goals is to refer users to banks that can meet their checking, savings, and other needs as depositors or investors; Kiva, in the sense that the key differentiator among banks, other than geography, will be impact on places and people.
“Most of us aren’t food scientists, but we can go into a store and compare 12 kinds of potato chips and have the power to make a choice,” says Nisha Sutaria, Mighty co-founder and analytics lead. “We talk about how do we create something like a nutrition label for banking data. We want to have more transparent choices between banks.”
Making sense of banking data is a massive undertaking. There is probably more publicly available data about the U.S. banking sector than any other sector in any country around the world, Hryndza says.
On the FDIC website, you can look up how much in deposits are held at any given FDIC-insured bank branch in the country. The Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency make Community Reinvestment Act Examinations available for download, revealing every bank’s activities in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires banks to report home mortgage lending activity including location, and you can browse or download that from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“We saw there was all this data out there and we were only scratching the surface of what’s available to report. For an everyday person who isn’t a regulator, or banker, an investor, there’s nowhere they can go for this data in digestible form,” says Sutaria.
The foundation for Mighty’s platform is what’s known as the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income, or call reports for short, made available by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. These are quarterly reports of each bank’s activity and finances, including balance sheets — which include dollar values of loans made for various purposes (real estate, commercial, individual, etc.) as well as deposits held and other sources of capital.
“A call report is 80 pages long, we’re working on how do we distill that to five or six indicators that can help bring transparency and choice to consumers,” Sutaria explains.
Mighty starts by cross-referencing call report data with census data, “to understand who’s doing what, where and for whom,” says Sutaria. Then they layer on industry certifications like CDFIs (community development financial institutions), Minority Depository Institutions as identified by FDIC, the Global Alliance for Banking on Values with about 40 members worldwide, or Certified B Corporation banks.
“There’s so much data. We’re thinking about how to responsibly present it, and getting people the muscle memory to navigate it for the first time,” says Hryndza, who left behind a decade of experience in marketing for large multinational corporations. Hryndza saw how listening and engaging with online audiences shaped successful marketing strategies for her former employers. She hopes Mighty can do the same for smaller, resource-starved, mission-driven banks.
Nauden can’t wait to learn more about the kinds of people attracted to a bank like hers, and how to market to them more effectively on a budget.
“Who’s on the community development radar? Who cares about community? Who cares about the development of communities and the connection to finance? We want to know who are these people … we want to know the psychographic of a person that has that habit or behavior,” she says. “Long term, we hope it becomes normal that there’s a certain type of bank with a certain type of system, the way a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s is different from Safeway or 7-Eleven.”
By: Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at University of Chicago. See Original Post.
“Money is not just sitting in a bank; it’s in motion.”
This quote represents the epitome of impact banking, a seldom-known but important practice whereby money achieves incremental community value as well as a financial return. For one startup working in the Polsky Incubator (formerly the CIE Incubator), Mighty, they’re working to close the gap between impact-oriented customers and impact-focused banks while highlighting the positive effects impact banking has on communities and individuals.
The impact economy, comprised of socially responsible investments and loans, is valued between $50 billion and $70 billion. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be between $400 billion and $1 trillion worth of investments in the impact economy, creating opportunities for those seeking capital and those providing it.
Impact banks lie at the heart of this economy, specialized in their abilities to allocate financing for small business development, home ownership, sustainable agriculture, and underinvested, low-income and minority populations.
Unfortunately, the successes of impact banks often go unnoticed as banking data remains difficult to interpret for average consumers. “The majority of people see banking as a black box,” said Megan Hryndza, Mighty’s CEO and cofounder. “We’ve observed that the majority of people don’t understand differences between any kinds of banks.”
Chicago natives Megan Hryndza and Nisha Sutaria cofounded Mighty to solve this problem. By making data easier to digest and clearly illustrating one’s options, they plan to make impact banking more ubiquitous in modern finance. Mighty’s director of operations, Sutaria, has spent over three years analyzing community banking data, working with former CEOs of community banks and affiliated organizations. Using public data, she works to find and share impact banking success stories that can help inform everyday people on making better banking decisions. For Mighty CEO, Hryndza, she describes her work as creating a digital opportunity to facilitate conversation in an area that has become a trending topic since 2008’s credit crisis.
Speaking about the upcoming launch of their pilot website, a mobile-friendly interface for users to easily access and interpret data about impact banks, Sutaria likened the platform to a nutrition label. Consumers may not understand the science behind calories and sodium content, but they can make informed decisions about food purchases using the information provided in a familiar template. Similarly, consumers might not understand the complexities of banking balance sheets, but Mighty seeks to provide them a framework to make informed decisions about the banks with which they can achieve their desired impact.
“Money is emotional, but so far, banking decisions have been absent of considerations beyond transactional value,” said Hryndza. By bringing complex data to life in a digestible and human-centric format, Hryndza and Sutaria aspire to help “break down barriers that limit a person’s agency in banking.”
Supplementing the launch of their innovative platform, Mighty is hosting a speaker series this summer to educate community members on the basics of impact banking.
The first event, held on July 8, covered best practices of impact banks and implications for future generations. Christina Hachikian, Executive Director at the University of Chicago’s Social Enterprise Initiative, moderated a discussion with Mary Houghton and Ron Grzywinski, founding members of ShoreBank Corporation, a $2 billion community development bank that inspired and catalyzed impact banking innovation around the world.
The second talk, on July 15, will focus on the role of impact banking in societal systems, specifically education, jobs, and healthcare. Sara Lindholm, Midwest Director for The Community Builders, Malcolm Bush, former President of the Woodstock Institute, and Ted Gonder, cofounder & CEO of Moneythink, will explore inquiry into the ways in which impact banks shape local economies for long-term community success by creating prosperity and fostering innovation.
Moving from a community focus to an individual focus, the third event, on July 29, will discuss the influence of banking in creating or inhibiting the accumulation of family wealth and credit. Beryl Satter, a Professor of History and American Studies at Rutgers University and Guggenheim Fellow, will lead the discussion. Her background in exploring the intersection of racism and capitalism in Chicago and across the country lends an interesting perspective to the role of impact banks in community development via individuals. She will be joined by Ronald Milsap of Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago, who will provide insight from his vantage as a banker serving African American communities.
The fourth event, on August 8, will explore the role of cultural institutions in community economic development. “We seek to cultivate discussion exploring how the preservation of cultural diversity influences community and economic resiliency,” said Hryndza on the final discussion in the series. “Art isn’t just nice: it can serve as a unique and important platform for diverse voices and perspectives to influence economic thought.” Leana Flowers, Chairman of Bronzeville Retail Initiative, will speak with Tiff Beatty, Manager of Chicago Humanities Festival, about the interactions between economic and cultural institutions to generate positive outcomes for both sides.
As socially conscious companies and products make headway in the modern marketplace, Mighty is positioning itself to be at the forefront of impact banking, which will play an ever-increasingly vital role in this space.
What do you think of when you think of banks? Watch the short video below to see how students and community at Cambridge and MIT responded to the question. Responses filmed by the #MITxJustMoney team.
Building upon the conversation that the MITxJustMoney team started, we’re hosting a four-part Speaker Series at the University of Chicago about Impact Banking. RSVP to come join us for our kick-off event on July 8th from 3–5p at the Chicago Innovation Exchange.
Our first event features Christina Hachikian, Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Initiative at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, moderating a discussion with Ron Grzywinski and Mary Houghton on their cofounding and four decades of work at the helm of ShoreBank Corporation, a $2 billion community development bank holding company born in the wake of the Civil Rights movement that served the South Side of Chicago and came to inspire banking social innovation across the U.S.