06 July 2022 |

S2 E10: How Kurtis Lin is Building a Fairer Financial System Through Fintech


For most Americans, the financial system is broken. But Kurtis Lin is working to fix it. Find out how his company, Pinwheel, is creating financial equity.

Nicole and Kurtis get into the weeds of how feeling like an outsider inspired him to find belonging through fintech. You’ll hear Kurtis’ uncomfortable truth about Asian Excellence and how it’s shaped him as a leader, plus why Kurtis wants companies who aren’t moving the dial on financial equity to step back and give him room.

You’ll also discover how Pinwheel is building a fairer financial system via payroll APIs and Kurtis’ experiences growing up the son of immigrants.

And if you’re looking to make the best developer hire, you need Lemon. When you want to scale quickly, finding the right support is hard and it slows you down. But with Lemon, the process is made quick and easy with hundreds of developers who’ve been vetted and tested. You’ll get a match within 48-hours, ready to work straight away. Sign up today and get matched at Lemon.io

And if you love listening to Humans of Fintech, please leave me a 5-star review on Rate My Podcast: https://ratethispodcast.com/humansoffintech

Thank you so much!

Follow Kurtis:

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kurtislin

You can keep up-to-date with everything Humans of Fintech at https://workweek.com/brand/wtfintech/

And if you’ve enjoyed Humans of Fintech why not try: Chicks of FinTwit, Tech Unlocked, Breaking Banks or Fintech Insider


00:00 Introduction

02:34 No Such Thing As Something For Nothing

06:11 The Underdog Mentality

11:27 Kurtis’ A-Ha Moment

14:49 When You Realize The System is Broken

18:50 The Mentor Pushing Kurtis Lin

26:06 I Wish I’d Known Earlier

30:31 Moments of Pride

36:13 Who To Follow In Fintech

40:26 From Kanye To The Future And Beyond

The Importance of Financial Equity In The System

Financial equity is the ability of all segments to participate in and benefit from a given financial system. It’s also how fairly and equitably people, institutions, and industries can access financial services. For most people, this probably sounds like a bunch of boring mumbo jumbo that has nothing to do with their life. And you’d be partially correct. 

Money really doesn’t matter if you have enough to lead a comfortable life, right? Wrong. The way money is distributed affects everyone. Even if you aren’t directly impacted by the inequality of incomes or cost of living in a particular city, your personal financial health may still be indirectly affected through interest rates on loans or savings accounts or even your ability to get an affordable mortgage for a home purchase. Financial equity is about more than just having enough money; it’s also about equitable opportunities so that money can go as far as possible no matter what your background might be.

What Is Financial Equity?

The simplest answer to this is that financial equity is the ability of people and institutions to access quality financial services without being discriminated against based on their race, ethnicity, location, income, or any other arbitrary factor. Ideally, financial equity is about removing barriers that prevent people from having the same or similar financial opportunities as others. 

Financial equity is not the same as absolute equity. Absolute equity would mean that everyone has exactly the same amount of money and lives in the same type of house (assuming everyone has a house). This is obviously impossible, so financial equity is a more realistic term.

Why Is Financial Equity Important?

Financial health is an important part of overall health and well-being. When people lack access to basic financial services, such as a bank account or loans, they are less able to improve their quality of life and often become trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt.

 Rewards Financial Equity In The System Increased financial equity in the system means that people can more easily access financial services, such as loans to start a business or investments. This in turn should lead to greater economic growth. It could even lead to lower interest rates for home loans and car loans since banks would have more potential customers to make loans to.

How is Financial Equity Achieved?

There are several ways to increase financial equity in the system. First, there must be increased awareness about the importance of financial equity in the system. It also may be necessary to address cultural and language barriers that prevent people from understanding how financial services work. 

Managing Debt – People may also need help managing their debt and avoiding the cycle of debt that can keep them from being able to participate in the financial system. 

Expanding Access to Basic Needs – Some people may need help accessing basic needs, such as healthcare, housing, and food. Expanding Access to Financial Services – Some may need help even just opening a bank account and making sure they are using their money wisely.

Equity Through Education and Awareness

Providing better financial education and resources can help people who are struggling to get on their feet. It can also help people who are managing their finances responsibly to make better decisions and prevent future problems. There are plenty of great resources out there for learning how to make better financial decisions and get into the habit of saving and budgeting. There are also resources for people who are just looking for basic information about what services are available in their area.

Equity Through Access to Basic Needs

One of the most important ways to increase financial equity in the system is to make sure that everyone has access to basic needs. This includes things like healthcare, housing, food, and education. There are many ways to expand access to basic needs. Some people may need help getting the healthcare they need due to a disability or illness.

 Others may need help with utilities or housing. There may even be cases where people are going hungry and lack access to food. It’s also important to keep in mind that people with financial troubles may not always be the ones who need help with basic needs. Sometimes, it’s necessary to help children whose parents are struggling to make ends meet.

Equity Through Asset Building and Wealth Creation

Not everyone has the same financial goals or desires, but everyone wants to have money to save for their future. Some people, especially those who have grown up in poverty or with little financial education, may not even be able to conceptualize long term financial goals because they’ve never had any money to save in the first place. 

Offering opportunities to save and create wealth can help people to build a better financial future, both individually and as a society. This can include access to low-cost investment vehicles, like mutual funds and index funds, or monetary rewards for saving money, like an interest-free savings account.

Equity Through Responsible Lending Practices

There are several ways to increase financial equity in the system by managing lending practices. Some people may need better access to loans to improve their financial situation. Others may need better protections against predatory lenders who are taking advantage of those with little to no access to financial services. You can help increase financial equity in the financial system by supporting fair lending practices. This includes things like checking your income and credit score to make sure you are getting a fair interest rate on your loan, or looking into other options if a loan isn’t the best fit for you.