LendUp, a socially responsible financial services firm for the emerging middle class, today announced it has appointed Jotaka Eaddy Vice President of Policy, Strategic Engagement and Impact, a new role designed to further the company’s commitment to social impact and advocacy for financial inclusion. Eaddy previously served as LendUp’s Head of Government Affairs and is based in Washington, DC.
Eaddy’s promotion coincides with several important milestones for the company. LendUp has now saved borrowers nearly $135 million in interest and fees, and expects to surpass $200 million by the end of the year. These savings have helped close the gap caused by poor credit, which costs Americans roughly $250,000 more over the course of their lifetimes. LendUp was also recently selected as a finalist in the Social Good category of Fast Company’s 6th annual Innovation by Design Awards, a program that honors the most innovative and disruptive design solutions created to resolve today’s most challenging issues.
“We started LendUp to improve the way Americans access credit, with a mission to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. Reaching these milestones is huge—not just for us, but for our borrowers,” said LendUp co-founder and CEO Sasha Orloff. “Since Jotaka’s arrival, we’ve benefited from her knowledge and leadership, and we value her commitment to our mission. I’m thrilled to see her take on this expanded role, and I can’t wait to see all the good she does with it.”
At LendUp, Eaddy works to advance policies and partnerships that improve economic opportunities for millions of Americans facing financial instability, including:
A cross-sector partnership with the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program to address the growing problem of income volatility affecting American workers. This collaboration led to the launch of Finance Forward, a multi-city event series that for the first time brings together elected officials, businesses, community advocates and nonprofit leaders to identify and advance actionable solutions to income volatility. The series, which is joined by several other national partners, including the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, the Urban Institute and Stride Health, held its inaugural event in Columbia, SC, in June. Its next event is in St. Louis, MO, in November.
Ongoing research in collaboration with the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), the centerpiece being a robust program to measure the overall financial health of LendUp customers. As a result of these efforts, LendUp was named a CFSI 2017 Financial Health Leader.
Innovative service partnerships with nonprofits, B Corps and financial innovators, including Balance, SpringFour and Digit, that connect LendUp borrowers with access to important educational resources, like free credit counseling, that are proven to significantly improve financial health.
“We’re thrilled by the progress we’ve made to address issues related to financial inclusion, income volatility and financial health, but we know we can do more to help our customers make sound financial decisions,” said Eaddy. “We want to see our borrowers develop the day-to-day financial habits that lead to long-term resilience and opportunity. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible when financial services providers and others with a common goal—improving Americans’ financial health—join forces.”
Eaddy has long held a passion for solving complex social problems and bringing positive change to the world. Prior to joining LendUp, she spent more than 18 years in the public sector, working as an organizer and policy strategist with organizations including the United Nations and the NAACP.
“My time at LendUp has showed me that there are many ways to make a difference—often in the places you least expect,” said Eaddy. “I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who share my passion for using technology and innovation to create change for this growing segment of the population that’s been widely left out, both by tech and the financial services sector.”
In addition to her work on financial issues, Eaddy has been an outspoken advocate for improving diversity in the technology sector. She has taken a leading role in LendUp’s diversity initiatives, including the launch of the company’s “Black Leaders,” “Lean In” and “LGBTQ and Allies” Employee Resource Groups. She reports to co-founder and CEO Sasha Orloff and serves on the company’s Executive Management Team.
LendUp was an early supporter of Project Include, a nonprofit that uses data and advocacy to drive diversity and inclusion solutions in the technology industry, and the company is a proud signatory of Kapor Capital’s Founders’ Commitment, a pledge to promote diversity in recruitment, hiring and employment. With Eaddy’s support, LendUp has also teamed up with several other organizations, including NOBEL Women, the Black Female Founders Network and the Anita Borg Institute, to promote positive change.
About LendUp LendUp is a socially responsible fintech company on a mission to redefine financial services for the emerging middle class—the 56% of Americans shut out of mainstream banking due to poor credit or income volatility. It builds technology, credit products and educational experiences that haven’t existed before for this consumer segment, which includes more than 131 million Americans.