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Press Roundup: Esusu Launches in Toledo

2.28.2020

From The Toledo Blade, February 27th (excerpt--click the link for the full article!)

Financial technology platform Esusu, which was founded by Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel, runs two apps — Esusu, which focuses on savings, and Esusu Rent, a rent-reporting platform. The apps have been rolled out in 23 states and have more than 35,000 participants.

Mr. Wemimo, a native of  Lagos, Nigeria, who lives in New York City, said the apps give users the ability to contribute funds into a pool that is then reported as an on-time rent payment to credit bureaus. 

“We’ve created a system where people, especially trusted groups of family and friends, can save together to essentially pool capital,” he said at the news conference Thursday at United Way of Greater Toledo on Jackson Street. “In addition to that, those savings can be reported into the credit bureaus to build credit.”

Mr. Goel, whose parents came to the United States from New Delhi, grew up in Schenectady, N.Y., and saw his parents struggle to build credit when they got to the U.S. 

“Right now there’s a fundamental inequality between being a renter and being a homeowner,” he said. “So, when you make your mortgage payment on time, you get credit for that. But as a renter, you might be paying on time for 20 years, we have this a lot, and you have no credit score. So, you can’t even get a mortgage loan despite being a good credit risk. So, essentially what our platform does is level the playing field.” 

..."The community has invested in having a local office through LISC,” Kim Cutcher, the executive director of Toledo LISC, said. “Because of our partnership, we are able to provide these services and the partnership with Esusu at no additional cost for that partnership, that technology.”

From 13abc, February 27th (click the link to view the video segment)

"Renters are typically lower-income, minorities, immigrants, and the communities we really want to serve and support," Samir Goel, co-founder of the app Esusu said.

Esusu, a saving and renting app, launched in Toledo on Thursday.

"If you have a poor credit score, national statistics show you can pay over a quarter-million dollars in interest rates over your lifetime," Goel's partner, Abbey Wemimo said.

Tenants can pay rent through the app, which reports the payments to the credit bureaus.

"I sent my kids to college. I bought a home. I plan to buy a home in Toledo with the savings I put into this club," Toledo Housing Commissioner Rosalyn Clemens said.

The original app is based on a susu, an ancient tradition of rotational savings. A group of people each put a set amount of money into a pot every week.

"It is pure savings. You put that money in before you buy a cup of coffee, before you buy a new dress, because you know you owe it to your peers in that group," Clemens said.

Every week, one person takes home the entire pot. In addition, the app reports your payments to the credit bureau, meaning your credit grows as your savings do.

"Fundamentally, we are stronger together than we are apart," Goel said.

Local partners plan on adding the app's features into their financial coaching. They will also encourage property owners to sign up, so their tenants can reap the benefits.

From NBC 24, February 27th 

TOLEDO, Ohio — Two credit-building Esusu apps are now accessible for Toledo residents.

With Esusu, users can routinely save money through rotational savings clubs by regularly taking turns contributing and withdrawing their funds to and from a pool. Each contribution is reported to credit bureaus as an on-time payment, increasing credit scores.

Each group will be charged one evenly-split $10 fee per pay-in cycle, but any Toledo Financial Opportunity Center client can start a savings club on the app for free. Residents can become clients through United Way of Greater Toledo by calling 211.

Esusu Rent allows tenants to report rent payments to credit bureaus, which can also build credit scores when rent is paid on time.