With the UK’s fintech sector being a source of constant action, it’s worth talking to the women who make this all happen.
There has been an increase in the number of women driving positive change within the senior leadership ranks of companies – and creating a culture of openness, diversity and inclusion at every level within organisations.
In our second ‘Inspiring Women in Fintech’ interview, we speak with Carmen Vicelich, Founder and CEO of Valocity.
Valocity is a mortgage appraisal technology company that “democratises” the home buying process. Every lender has to validate the value of a property before they can lend money on it, and Valocity helps them do this through its cloud-based technology and analytics.
How and where did you start your career in fintech?
I started around 20 years ago in New Zealand working at CoreLogic and after 10 years there I saw the opportunity to embrace new technology and set up on my own to deliver innovation to the market. I wanted to really leverage new technology such as cloud and machine learning to deliver new and better solutions to that market that were very customer focussed, could be customisable yet scalable and delivered future proof solutions that were agile to change with evolving data, regulatory requirements and customer needs.
Are there any women in tech (or fintech) that have particularly inspired you?
Our fintech solution is more an enabler than a disrupter for banking, so we rely heavily on leaders at large lending institutes who are change makers embracing new financial technology to deliver better experiences for their customers. I’m particularly inspired by the women in banking who lead the charge to embrace new technology, including:
- Angie Mentis and Alyssa Layton at Bank of New Zealand
- Antonia Watson and Astrud Burgess at ANZ
- Vitoria Shortt at ASB
- Elyse Farelly-Rogers and Adriana Sheedy at ING Australia
- Shanti Ekambaram – Group President, Consumer Banking at Kotak Mahindra in India
These women are leading the way in embracing innovation which is key for change to happen!
What’s the most pressing issue for women in fintech today?
I think it’s getting change happening at pace and scale. Inertia and staying with the status quo just because it works – even though it’s a poor customer experience, convoluted by legacy technology and not a transparent digital process. We need the change makers to embrace that just because that’s the way it’s always been done doesn’t mean it’s right and to be investing in the future with cloud, new technology and better customer experiences – that are all possible with so many fintechs out there transforming the old with the new.
What advice would you give to women looking to get into fintech?
I would say three things:
- Dream big. Financial services are a global issue and when I started, I was always building a world class solution as I knew we were solving a global problem, (but even then I’m not sure I would ever have dreamed we’d be digitally transforming the valuation appraisal process across 300 cities in India and globally with some of the main lenders in the world!)
- Remember your why, we always set out to democratise the home buying process and deliver transparency and seamless experiences, this purpose and driver is our rock when things get difficult, and my personal why of my four children and husband give me the strength to bulldoze through the many challenges along the way!
- Don’t give up, transformation is hard, and never more so than in banking, but believe in yourself, your solution, listen closely to your customers – who will tell you what they need, then solve their problems better than ever before, and just keep on solving!
How do you think fintech solutions can help advance women’s financial health?
It’s about changing the way things have always been done. As an example: In most markets the decision for a mortgage depends on the ability to pay the money back (your credit score) and the property value (so that if you can’t, the bank can sell the asset and regain its loan). If Valocity can make the property value an incredibly robust, quality confirmed and reliable value through technology and data, the bank can say yes without the credit score – that’s why we’re so excited to be helping the unbanked in countries like India and using technology to help the bank say yes when it matters most!
Check out our first ‘Inspiring Women in Fintech’ interview with Karen Rudich, CEO and Co-Founder of ELEMENTARYb, here.