What are the Pros and Cons of Partnering with QCash Small Dollar Lending?

Introducing any new technology to a tried-and-true sector is a recipe for radical change. Generally, the change is for the positive, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any drawbacks to innovation. The question is when partnering with financial technology companies, what do you give, and what do you get?

When you’re on the front lines of innovation—the cutting edge, if you will—adaptability is key. At QCash, we understand that strategy, technology, and evolution are primary concerns for staying alive and viable. Imagine our surprise, then, when we heard about the new battlefront technology: the double-edged sword. A blade that drastically increases versatility, but that also cuts both ways. It was a game changer, to be sure; however, it presented ways to hurt us as well, if we weren’t careful.

Fortunately, with respect to financial technology, we’ve had time to understand a little about double-edged swords. We realize that we can’t continue to provide bleeding-edge, innovative technology and services without disrupting elements of standard banking and credit union operations. With that said, let’s take a look at the drawbacks of partnering with an experienced fintech company.

The Cons of Partnering with QCash

Part of the digital transformation package means embracing new technology. Before we talk about how that benefits you, we should consider the full impact that it might have.

Whereas most credit unions may be accustomed to learning new processes and practices every so often, fintech companies focus only on providing value through the specific services that they provide. As a result, they learn to reimagine, fine tune, and change gears quickly. New developments come faster than regulations do. Often, a fintech company will implement new technology or protocols every 45 or 90 days; many credit unions are used to adapting to new things only every six months or so. This can present a significant increase to changes to workload or style for credit unions.

Essentially, the downside to partnering with a fintech like QCash is that we tend to push forward rapidly with innovation, which can require testing, education, and fine-tuning. Consistently reevaluating best practices isn’t easy. The pace can be rather fast.

The Pros of Partnering with QCash 

The pros of partnering with a fintech largely speak for themselves. Fintechs provide access to data, services, protection, planning, and more, all that wouldn’t be available or feasible otherwise. With QCash, we offer small-dollar loans at reasonable rates to help protect your members from predatory payday lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates. We also do it with a high degree of demonstrable protection and moderate benefit to your credit union.

Beyond that, fintechs like QCash offer something a little less tangible, but no less important. First, we can help you get to market to serve your members faster than you could do yourself. Developing and testing new technology takes time when you have so many other things to consider, so fintechs are able to focus intensely on perfecting the service or product at hand.

Fintechs also ensure that their products and services are highly integrated so that credit unions are able to focus on daily operations rather than worrying too much about the development and integration of new technologies. They package their offerings so that they have a minimal net impact on day-to-day minutiae, but a maximal positive impact on productivity and member services.

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Why did WSECU Start Offering Small Dollar Loans?

Why did WSECU start offering small dollar loans? 

How did QCash begin? It’s an excellent story about a front line employee living the motto of people helping people.

Our story begins when a teller at Washington State Employees Credit Union, the credit union that owns our CUSO, that members were coming into the branch repeatedly for money orders. Money orders aren’t anything to be concerned about, but our teller noticed one very important thing: those money orders were then used to write other money orders to payday lenders.

 We didn’t know anything about payday lending at the time, but thanks to WSECU’s empowered culture, the teller told the credit union CEO about what she observed. Our CEO then put together a small group of big, bright minds to figure out what was occurring and how WSECU could help.small dollar loans

What the credit union discovered was its members were using predatory payday lenders to meet their short-term, small-dollar needs. WSECU decided they not only needed to help their members, but short-term lending was something credit unions could and should do.

And, not only can WSECU short-term, small-dollar loans save members money, they can simultaneously create a new, revenue stream for the credit union.

And so, 14 years ago, QCash was created to provide short-term, small dollar loans to WSECU members.

As QCash began to gain local market share, the credit union began to wonder, “if we are changing the payday lending landscape in the state of Washington, where else could we go? How might we be able to share this with the credit union community and change the landscape across the country?”

WSECU didn’t know the answer to that question, but decided to give it a shot. And so, in April 2015, QCash Financial was born and began delivering short-term, small dollar loans to other credit unions and banks, in hopes of meeting the needs of other consumers the same way WSECU has helped its members.

And that’s the story of how QCash has grown from one teller’s thoughtful observation to a CUSO that has sparked a short-term, small dollar lending movement.

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By Ben Morales, CEO of QCash Financial [April 2018]

Ben Morales is the CEO of QCash Financial. QCash Financial is a CUSO providing automated, cloud-based, omni-channel small-dollar lending technology that enables financial institutions to provide short-term loans quickly to the people they serve. QCash Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of WSECU in Olympia, Wash., started as a short-term loan solution for the credit union’s members in 2004.

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