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Much has been written about the student loan challenges for domestic students in this country. But what about international students, those people coming to the U.S. to study for a Master’s or Bachelor’s program? There are few good loan alternatives for international students as they are ineligible for federal student loan programs.
My next guest on the Fintech One-on-One podcast is Manu Smadja, the CEO and Co-Founder of MPOWER Financing. They are working to address this problem, providing affordable financing for international students looking to study at American and Canadian universities.
In this podcast you will learn:
The hardship story that was the trigger for starting MPOWER.
The biggest challenges for international students coming to this country.
Why demand from international students is stronger than ever.
Their mix of graduate and undergraduate students.
How they are underwriting these people.
Why the type of major is a critical data point in the underwriting process.
How they approach loan pricing.
The typical terms of an MPOWER student loan.
What kind of documentation is needed to obtain a loan.
What MPOWER does to help students beyond providing the loan.
The percentage of these students that stay in the U.S. after graduation.
Fintech One-on-One Episode 448: Manu Smadja of MPOWER Financing
Peter Renton 00:01
Welcome to the Fintech One-on-One podcast. This is Peter Renton, Chairman and co-founder of Fintech Nexus. I’ve been doing this show since 2013, which makes this the longest running one-on-one interview show in all of fintech. Thank you for joining me on this journey. If you liked this podcast, you should check out our sister shows The Fintech Blueprint with Lex Sokolin, and Fintech Coffee Break with Isabelle Castro, or listen to everything we produce, by subscribing to the Fintech Nexus podcast channel.
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Peter Renton 01:19
Today on the show, I am delighted to welcome Manu Smadja. He is the CEO and co-founder of MPOWER Financing. Now, MPOWER is all about international students getting access to education in the US and Canada. And these people coming don’t have access to traditional student loans. So they are limited in their financial options. So MPOWER is out to change that. They are working with a large number of students every year coming to the US. We get into how they’re doing that, what exactly they are doing, why it is really such a necessary service. We also talk about how they’re funding these loans, what they do to help borrowers after they’ve graduated, and much more. It was a fascinating conversation. Hope you enjoy the show.
Peter Renton 02:16
Welcome to the podcast, Manu.
Manu Smadja 02:18
Thank you, Peter. Thanks for having me.
Peter Renton 02:20
My pleasure. So let’s get started by giving the listeners a little bit of background about yourself. You’ve got an interesting background, we were just chatting before we hit record here. Why don’t you give us some of the highlights. First how you got into this country, and some of the highlights of your career to date.
Manu Smadja 02:36
I came to the US from France originally. I’m French by background, don’t hold it against me, I was born that way. But came to the US for college at the courageous age of 17. I picked up US News and World Report and picked a university. Had been to the University of Virginia and came to study here and never wanted to leave Charlottesville. I did undergrad, a year of research, did grad school there. I was an engineer by background, actually, I don’t know if it’s a little claim to fame, but I I studied AI, if you will, did computer science and cognitive science undergrad and then did systems engineering, which was really applied mathematics as a graduate degree. And then went on to Texas to work in commodity chemicals. And I think French people don’t let other French people stay in Texas for too long. So I escaped and went to Massachusetts, worked in tech, then went to INSEAD for business school, I really wanted sort of a global business education. And then after that, I joined McKinsey out of Brussels out of all places and ended up spending a lot of my time working in financial services and financial inclusion around the planet.
Manu Smadja 03:44
So did mass market banking in the US, and in Europe did a lot of retail banking, private banking, development banking in Sub-Saharan Africa and other places. And so I did that for four years and moved up the ranks at McKinsey. And then sort of my story starts to merge a little bit with almost this, this calling I had to start MPOWER. I say it’s a calling because they think I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I didn’t really grow up wanting to be an entrepreneur, I was happily on the partner path at McKinsey. And one fine day, I get an email in my inbox from this student at the University of Virginia, my alma mater. And the student says the following he reached out to me and a few other alumni were part of the same service organization and he says, Hey, guys, I’m $500 short on my rent this month, I’m going to get evicted. And I’m thinking about dropping out of school. And that really shook me because I’ve experienced financial hardship. Going through college, I took a bunch of odd jobs like a lot of international students and pulled through with the help of my family. And then I financed my younger sister many years later, and then over the years, I saw countless friends and friends of friends, not come to study here or drop out of school.
Manu Smadja 04:59
And so the student who reached out to me in 2014 really, really shook me. I thought, why? Why is this still an issue 15 years after I went to school? Why aren’t banks doing anything about it? And then I looked in the mirror and I thought, well, I’ve experienced this multiple times. I’m an international student, I work in financial inclusion, why am I not doing anything about it? And so I, I sent this student the money, but the challenge kept me up at night. And it kept me up enough that I decided to leave McKinsey and everything behind and focus on this full time. And so that was, that was really the birth of MPOWER
Peter Renton 05:30
It’s one thing to kind of have the idea that you need to do something about this. But did you kind of settle on this kind of student loan platform that you have now? I mean, what was the genesis of that particular way you’ve attacked this problem?
Manu Smadja 05:47
So once I had this idea that obsessively couldn’t get out of my head in early 2014, I decided to leave McKinsey. And the beautiful thing about McKinsey is they give you a couple of months of sort of what they call search time, and you’re supposed to search for an alternative employer. I was actually fleshing out the idea and the thinking behind MPOWER, and trying to better understand what business model might work whether the market was large enough. I also teamed up with a friend of mine from INSEAD, from business school, called Mike Davis, who you interviewed many years back. His story is very inspiring. He was a political refugee, essentially, from Iran, his family had 45 minutes during the Iranian revolution to really leave the country, his dad was the dean of the university in Iran. So it’s, you know, intellectuals were at top at the top of sort of a chopping block, if you will, during that time. So they fled. And Mike grew up on welfare, essentially, in the middle of nowhere in the US, and I shouldn’t say that, but he grew up in Iowa. And he entered college, at the age of 14, so really sort of a child prodigy. And really, the difference between his socioeconomic condition as an early teenager and where he is today, was education. It was that Purdue degree. And plus, you know, the importance of education was driven into him from from his father, obviously, as the dean of a university was quite keen on the power of education for people. So the two of us joined forces after doing quite a bit of research. And that’s really how how we went into it.
Peter Renton 07:24
Interesting, interesting. So let’s just take a step back, I want to look at sort of the whole international student community here in the US, like I presume they can’t apply to federal loans. Right? Is that Is that true? So do they have to kind of finance it in alternative ways? What are the biggest challenges for these kinds of international students?
Manu Smadja 07:45
Taking a step back, international students and immigrants in this country are a story of financial exclusion. Right? They’re left out of federal loans. They’re left out of private student loans like Sallie Mae right, because typically, they don’t have a US citizen or permanent resident co-signer. We call that sort of a rich uncle that would be willing to take on that financial liability, that would be related in some way to the student, that would have the credit score necessary in the US to be the co-signer for the student. And so 99% of international students do not have access to those private student loans. And so what they’re left with is either what I would call fairly mediocre loan options in the home country, typically requiring a home as collateral, that loan at a very high interest rate in rupees or reais, or rands. Just to pick on currencies with Rs. That’s really what the alternative is for them, if they have access to that. Mind you, typically for a loan in the home country, you need to collect like, say you want $100,000 loan, you need collateral, that’s about 5x that, so you need a half million dollar home in India. That’s not exactly your average person’s home out there. So they’re left with very, very limited options. And so MPOWER to some extent is providing better options than what’s available overseas. But more importantly, we’re really providing access to students who have the academic and professional qualifications to come study here. But without our loan just would not be able to come study in the US or Canada at all.
Peter Renton 09:22
Right, right. So then is demand still strong from international students around the world?
Manu Smadja 09:27
Absolutely, ever stronger. So we have about five going on 6 million international students around the world. HolonIQ predicts that that number will double over the next six or seven years. And really the… there’s a few forces at play. One is a lot of young people, right? If you look at the demographics of young people, a lot of young people in Sub-Saharan Africa, in South Asia, India and so on, as well as Latin America. And so these young people are ambitious. They’re moving up the socioeconomic ladder if you will, and they want access to the same things that the affluent sub segment of the population has access to. They want the best education that they can possibly afford. Unfortunately, in their home country, graduate education typically has bottlenecks in terms of capacity. And it doesn’t necessarily give them the step up professionally that a US or Canadian, or Australian, or UK degree might get them. And very well aware of that someone from India or Brazil, or Sub-Saharan Africa, with an undergrad degree, let’s say in computer science and a few years of experience in consulting, like technical consulting, for instance, or technology consulting, rather, will want to apply to a top university in the US or Canada to further their career. So that’s the primary force is the demographic.
Manu Smadja 10:51
So that’s on the demand side, on the student side, but really on this side. So in North America, there’s equal appetite for these students. As you probably know, domestic enrollments in the US is on the decline, right? Again, a function of the age pyramid, as well as just people questioning the value of a university degree here versus alternatives. So that means practically, that there are empty seats in American classrooms, and vice versa. Universities are very, are facing economic pressures. There’s only so much they can increase tuition by. There’s ethical and social pressures not to raise tuition too much. Students, American students are ever more demanding in terms of quality of housing they want to get, four star lunches they want to get at the school cafeteria. So costs are going up. And so how do you solve this very difficult equation of revenues that are sort of plateauing for universities are going down with a declining enrollment and pressures on cost? Well, you can change it at least one lever is to change the mix of students and let in more international students on your campus. So you have this very, sort of hungry for international students university system in the US and Canada. And then obviously it wouldn’t be great if nothing happened after graduation. But the truth is, there’s a massive talent shortage in the US and we feel it in technology. There’s millions of nurses that the country needs, the whole medical system more broadly needs additional talent. And so international students can really come here to get trained, and then take on jobs that are very much needed to support the American economy and the American healthcare system.
Peter Renton 12:37
Right. Right. So then people coming here, you were talking about, like some people coming for like a master’s, I presume you’re available for four year undergrad degrees, right, and as well as master’s, and what’s the mix of the people that you work with?
Manu Smadja 12:53
The overwhelming majority of students we finance today are master’s students, MBAs or master’s in STEM fields, we do juniors and seniors at the undergrad degree. Typically, that would be someone who went two years in a community college and is now transferring to a four-year school and faces a tougher sort of price tag, or someone who is at a four-year college, and junior or senior year, they’re facing financial hardship, and they need an extra 10 or 20, or $40,000 in order to graduate. So that’s, that’s really our focus.
Peter Renton 13:25
Okay, but the bulk is it sounds like the master’s programs, then how you underwriting these people? I presume some of them goes straight into a master’s program without much of a time in the workforce. So what data are you using to underwrite?
Manu Smadja 13:40
It’s funny because we really think of ourselves as a data company. So, the reason we are able to underwrite all these student is not because we have some magical powers, I wish we did, but it is really because we have massively more data on these students than any other lender on the planet. So, we are the only lender in the world that picks up not only your US or Canadian credit history on these students if they have it but also their in-country credit history and then we layer on top of that educational data, employment data, work authorization data, financial data. With all of that information we are able to make a credit decision where typically others cannot. So, that’s really the bread and butter for us.
Peter Renton 14:19
So then, like what is it that leads to a positive decision, and maybe conversely, what will you not approve? Trying to get a sense of the criteria that is most important.
Manu Smadja 14:33
Yeah. What’s critical for us, and what actually has I think positive ramifications for the US educational system, like traditional student loans is we want students to have gainful employment after their degree. So we really think of degrees as an investment. And granted from a social or philosophical standpoint, there’s other ways to think of degrees right? Like someone who is studying art will have a positive contribution on society, etc, but from a, as a lender from a purely economic standpoint, we’re looking at what are you investing? And what are you getting in return? And so someone to your point, who gets approved, is someone who has a very clear, bright financial future ahead of herself or himself. So they’re studying engineering, computer science, business, or they’re top of their field in another division. We finance students who wanted to be movie producers or others, but where there’s a very clear tangible path to employment, they might have interned at Universal during their degree. So that’s sort of a happy example. A student, we won’t finance is typically a student where the debt burden would be too much considering their future earnings. We wouldn’t be doing the student in favor, if we were financing $100,000 for a degree where we thought they might make like $40,000, after graduating, right, and they would be very much stranded from a cash standpoint, that’s not helping the student. So, you know, by that logic, we’re very much in favor of on the domestic side, sort of caps on graduate education loans from the federal government, we think that next, actually, that would be healthy for the students, as well as for the taxpayers. So there are very real sort of implications to our thinking for the domestic side of things as well.
Peter Renton 16:29
Right, so then do you price your loans based on future earnings potential? You know, like, if someone’s got a computer science degree and, and they’re going for a master’s, they clearly are going to get probably a pretty high paying job after they graduate, but versus somebody else who may be like, you know, movie producer or something, and may be a little bit less certain. I mean, does that go in into pricing?
Manu Smadja 16:52
Today those factors influence the chances of approval, and the approved amount. They don’t influence pricing, we always fight to get as cheap of pricing as we can get based on our own cost of capital. And we simplified pricing also, from an operations standpoint, just to be able to scale efficiently. That is an area of opportunity for us as a company.
Peter Renton 17:18
Right, right. So then, what is your pricing? What are the typical loan terms? How long are we going out? What’s the amount, that sort of thing?
Manu Smadja 17:27
And the philosophy we had is when we created MPOWER almost a decade ago, is to provide international students who are excluded from the financial system, the same sort from a look and feel standpoint, the same sort of loan product that their peers were getting with a Sallie Mae or a Discover Financial. So it’s, it’s a 12, and a half year loan, meaning two years while in school, six months of grace period, and then 10 year linear amortization. The rate today is 12.99. It’s a fixed rate loan. So there’s no surprises as interest rates rise. What may be different with our loans is the students make interest payments while they’re in school. And the reason for that is several fold. One is a lot of these students don’t have access to loans to start off with because they don’t have a credit history. And making these payments while in school allows them to build that credit history and get access to credit card products, or get access to a car loan, or even just get to I think we before, before this podcast, you and I were talking about, you know access to an apartment, right to be able to rent an apartment, typically, the landlord will run a credit check on you. And having at least the beginnings of a credit history can help in that way. So that’s why we require in school payments. The other part is so they don’t accumulate interest on top of interest. The last thing you want as a student is to start with a $50,000 loan, and then you graduate two years later, and all of a sudden you have a $75,000 loan or something even higher because your interest capitalized. And so paying it off really makes a big difference for these students.
Peter Renton 19:00
Right, right. So then, do people need to have like a social security number or a bank account, what are the what do they need to have to get this loan?
Manu Smadja 19:08
Those are not required. And actually, we help them. We have bank partners. So we try to help sort of welcome international students in the US financial system. So we might refer them to a bank product that we trust or a credit card product that we trust, that doesn’t require, for instance, a security deposit in order to borrow against that. So there are credit card products today that that aren’t secured credit cards, but that will actually lend you, as an international student, up to a certain balance. We try to guide them almost like a nerd wallet for international students, if you will.
Peter Renton 19:45
Right. Interesting, interesting. So then, like what happens once your borrower has graduated? Do you provide more services, are you helping them find a job? What are you doing to help?
Manu Smadja 19:57
Absolutely so our value proposition in addition to building credit and providing no co-signer, no collateral loans, right really like streamlining the process and basing it on the student’s future potential. The other value adds we have is we help them with the visa process coming into the US and Canada. So we’ll write support letters. And we do that for free. There’s no application fee, there’s no sort of support letter fee or anything like that. Most of that is automated for us, we’ve streamlined the cost on our end, to be as efficient in helping the students as possible, so we help them with the immigration process coming in. But on the other side, once when they’re in school, and they’re graduating, we help with resume reviews, mock interviews, partnerships with third parties that help place international students. There’s a healthy, but very much sort of defined set of employers that will sponsor H-1Bs in the US, or that will welcome international talent in Canada. And so we’re working as hard as we can to essentially help them apply to these employers, help guide them navigating the, as your experience with an L-1 visa coming here and experienced as well with an L-1. And prior to that H-1Bs, it is a complex immigration system when you’re coming from overseas, and whether you’re coming directly or transitioning from an F-1 student visa to an H-1B visa, etc. It’s still complicated. And we’re not equipped internally to provide guidance. We write blogs or facilitate blogs from immigration law firms, we put students in touch with free webinars from immigration law firms, and they can choose to work with one lawyer and another on a fee basis if they decide to go further. But we try to at least facilitate these conversations and guide them in the right place.
Peter Renton 21:48
So having navigated that couple of decades ago now, it is a challenging thing to navigate the immigration system. And I imagine even more so for students. Like what percentage of the students stay in this country after they graduate? And you must keep track of these people. You’re getting repayments back what’s, where do they go?
Manu Smadja 22:10
Absolutely. So 85% of the students we finance stay in the US even four years post graduation. So now that we have 10 years worth of data, we’re able to look really down the line. That’s also a function of the students we finance, we try to optimize. We think we’re the best option on the market for students who want to stay in North America, if a student wants to go back to India, or Brazil or China, or elsewhere, there are tax advantages, and maybe other advantages in terms of convenience and then taking a loan from their home country. But if they want to work in the US or Canada, then there’s obviously major advantages to working with us in that it’s more convenient, they earn in dollars, they pay back in dollars, they build their credit here, depending on their income thresholds, that there may be tax advantages and so on. So we’re very much the best option for students who want to stay and work in North America.
Peter Renton 23:01
Right, right. So I’m interested in loan performance. I don’t know how much, what you can share, but particularly those, like you’ve got 85% staying here, I imagine that’s a much simpler process for you know, they’re establishing a credit score, they’re going to be motivated to pay you back. But what about the 15% that leave, are they harder to track and harder to obtain full payment of the loan? I mean, what’s been your experience?
Manu Smadja 23:29
It’s really interesting because I think it’s a major fear in the US of like what happens when you leave the country? And in reality, what we see is, you know, going back to Mumbai, or Rio, or what have you, isn’t really that different from studying in Seattle and working in DC afterwards. To some extent, at least in our experience, we’ve worked very hard over the past decade to really flatten the planet in terms of payments, right? So we work with the likes of Flywire, or TransferWise, now called Wise, in order to facilitate payments and make those as seamless as possible with their servicer. We collect a lot of information upstream with the students. Some of them choose to continue to replenish their US bank accounts, and they stay on with ACH. And there’s a financial incentive for that. So we’ve worked very hard to make it seamless, regardless of where on the planet the students are. And the performance of students leaving is not as strong as the students staying but it’s also not sort of the abysmal performance that some might imagine are like, oh, who is paying when they’re overseas? No, it’s actually very strong. And what’s also interesting is, we, and I have this conversation with folks all the time, I think we tend to think of students either staying or going back to their home country. And the reality is a lot more nuanced than that. So someone coming from India to study in the US may actually work in Canada afterwards. Canada recently publicized that they were very hungry for all the H-1B workers in the US. And we have some students who get Canadian permanent residencies having studied in the US, faster than they’re getting a US work visa, which to me is crazy and more about the US immigration system than anything else. We have some students who, again, from taking this example from India to the US, will go and work in the UAE, or Germany, or the UK or Australia. So that, again, in this idea of the world has flattened a lot. There are a lot of options between the home country and the US. And so that 15% is intellectually fascinating to me, because I think they’re very creative around what they do and where they work from.
Peter Renton 25:37
Interesting. So then, I saw earlier this year that you secured a debt round from Goldman Sachs, congratulations. But I want to know how you’re funding these loans. Obviously, the Goldman Sachs line is going to is probably dominant in that, but I presume you don’t just have that. I mean, how are you…how are you funding loans?
Manu Smadja 25:59
Absolutely. So today we have two large warehouse lines, one from Goldman, the other one from Deutsche Bank. Over the past decade, we’ve sort of gone with ever bigger warehouse lines as we’ve grown in size. And then over the past year and a half, we hired a head of capital markets, we hired a CFO, Rob Partlow, who was the previous CFO of GreenSky. And so we’ve really matured our capital market strategy. And so yes, we’re getting ever bigger warehouse lines. But really, we’re also edging closer, over the next 12 months towards the first securitization, whole loan sales and so on. So you should see a few announcements from us in the press over the next 12 months. We tend to be not a discrete company, loud would be would be a strong word, but fairly transparent is probably the right way to position it.
Peter Renton 26:49
Right. Okay. So then what is the scale you’re at today? I mean, how many loans are you processing?
Manu Smadja 26:55
So we’re financing 10,000 students this year alone.
Peter Renton 26:58
Manu Smadja 26:59
Yeah. So I like to think about it, and I asked my own team is like, picture how large your high school was, or your college. You know, I went to UVA. And at the time, UVA had about 10,000, undergrad students. And it really gets me excited to think that this is the size of impact we’re having today. And that we can continue to double it or triple it next year.
Peter Renton 27:19
And what’s the average loan size?
Manu Smadja 27:20
The average loan size today is about $40,000.
Peter Renton 27:23
$40,000, okay, that is a lot of money out the door. Okay. So switching gears, you recently became a B Corporation, which I was really interested to read, what was the thinking there?
Manu Smadja 27:36
B, we’re always an impact minded and mission driven company, we incorporated in 2014 as a public benefit corporation in Delaware. That status had been available in Delaware only for a few years, so in that way we were a little bit of a pioneer. And we were GIIRS rated or GIRRS certified very early on also by the B Corporation. And so we always had a very strong commitment to impact. It’s really the calling that I felt when I created MPOWER, it was always about helping students. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t about making money. That’s certainly a goal we have as well, but we don’t think these are contradictory objectives. So there’s always a very strong sense of mission. And the idea that we wanted to scale this mission. Now the B certification was sort of overdue for us. We wanted to, and we started this process about two or three years ago, it took us two years to complete. It’s a fairly long set of exchanges with the organization in charge of it. And we managed to get B certified. And again, the reason for it is it really affirms or further affirms our mission. So it’s again, there’s no structural change in terms of MPOWER, we continue to do what we do. But it’s just another important message to the world around our commitment to impact. And that commitment is true and clear from the partners that we choose to work with, the investor sets that we have, we have a mix of very much for profit minded investors, both on the loan capital side, and the cap table on the equity side, as well as impact minded investors or emerging market minded investors. That’s why we chose to go that route and get B certified.
Peter Renton 29:21
Interesting, interesting. So you’ve got 10,000 students that you’re doing this year. I mean, obviously, you’ve got a large target market, you can certainly grow this company multiple times over before scratching the surface of the whole market. But I’d love to get your sense of what is your vision for the future of MPOWER?
Manu Smadja 29:41
And to your point, we’re financing 10,000 students this year, there’s a million international students in the US and Canada between the growth and raw number of students, and the growth in cost of tuition, especially in Canada as tuition prices start to more and more resemble the US tuition prices. There’s 8 to 12% annual growth. So we could finance a third of just the sheer growth in the US and Canada and triple in size just by doing that, not even tackling the core market. So we’re going to be busy for a while. With that said, 3/5/10 years out, I’d love for us to be a neobank for global citizens. And I hate to use the buzzword neobank, I think it’s overused. But I think it really applies here. It’s really how do we offer people like, candidly like you or I, a suite of financial products that helps them sort of consolidate in one place, their global financial footprint, if you will? So how do I give you a checking account that holds Australian dollars and US dollars? How do I provide you with a credit card that you can use here, but also in Australia without crazy Forex fees? Or other fees? How do I make it easy for you to transfer money back and forth between here and your home country? How do I provide you with a health insurance that protects you around the planet. And so I think there’s a whole slew of financial products that is needed. What’s interesting, and I think our advantage, and again, far down the future moving and becoming a neobank for global citizens is we’re really meeting customers, students today at their entry point, not just in the US educational system, but in the US financial system, I guess we’re building their credit, etc. And they don’t just need a loan from us, they need a checking account, a savings account, health insurance, and so on. And so I really do think that there’s an organic need for us to do more for that demographic. We’re just one tiny company today, with a lot of work to do, and a lot of growth. And so we’re very focused on our core. But it’s a huge opportunity as we continue to scale.
Peter Renton 31:57
Right, sure is. Well, we’ll have to leave it there Manu, great chatting with you, really enjoy hearing your story, and learning more about MPOWER. Best of luck to you. And yeah, let’s stay in touch.
Manu Smadja 32:10
Absolutely, Peter, thanks for having me again.
Peter Renton 32:14
Well, I hope you enjoyed the show. Thank you so much for listening. Please go ahead and give the show a review on the podcast platform of your choice and go tell your friends and colleagues about it. Anyway, on that note, I will sign off I very much appreciate you listening, and I’ll catch you next time. Bye.
Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of Fintech Nexus, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.