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Equifax and Salary Finance form a new partnership

Maria Saporta

By Maria Saporta

Equifax and Salary Finance, a global provider of financial education and salary-linked benefits for employees, will announce a new partnership that willl work with companies to help them improve the economic health of their employees.

Equifax will provide employers with “anonymized and aggregated data on the financial health of their employees” as a way of reducing the economic strains and stress in the workforce.

Special: Equifax

“Our purpose is to get 10 million Americans out of debt and into savings,” said Anita Ward, chief development officer of Salary Finance. Before joining Salary Finance, Ward served as president of Atlanta-based Operation HOPE until last December. “There currently are three million employees on the system.”

The platform currently serves hundreds of leading employers globally, including Tesla, Comcast, Tesco, EY, L’Oreal and Salesforce.

Salary Finance  was started in the United Kingdom in 2015, and it set up operations in the United States about a year ago. It is now serving about half million Americans. Salary Finance also is a United Way Worldwide corporate partner.

Salary Finance was founded by Asesh Sarkar, who was inspired to start the company after helping his family’s caretaker pay off a high-cost payday loan seeing first-hand how regressive credit access could be. Sarkar partnered with Dan Cobley, formerly head of Google UK, and Daniel Shakhani, a social entrepreneur, banker and founder of the Global Financial Inclusion Alliance.

Chart showing financial stress among employees (Special)

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, more than 40 percent of Americans were experiencing financial stress and nearly one-third were living paycheck to paycheck,” said Dan Macklin, CEO of Salary Finance – U.S., in a statement. “Add it all up and financial stress is costing companies 13 to 18 percent of annual salary cost.”

Salary Finance believes the Equifax partnership will be a strategic move to expand its operations in the United States.

“Using Equifax datasets, Salary Finance will be able to deliver valuable insights to the employers we are working with to help those organizations decide how best to add to or enhance their financial well-being initiatives and determine where to prioritize their resources,” Macklin added.

Assad Lazurus, an Equifax senior vice president who leads employee benefit services, said Salary Finance provides a way to help people improve their financial wellbeing.

Assad Lazarus

“We believe we can help empower financial help through employee benefits,” Lazarus said. “During these unprecedented times, we believe this partnership can help deliver the data and programs employers need to help ease the financial stress of their employees, now and in the future.”

Salary Finance works alongside employers to support financial well-being via salary-linked loans and savings products. Through Salary Finance, employers can offer employees alternatives to high-risk borrowing with programs that offer lower interest rates than traditional lenders and guidance to help protect employees from borrowing more than they can afford to pay back.

Lazarus said many American workers already were living paycheck-to-paycheck before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Anita Ward

During this period of financial stress, Ward said they want to help broker a relationship between employers and employees to avoid workers from having to rely on unscrupulous lenders.

“We help employers provide a new benefit that helps workers get to a state of financial well-being,” said Ward, who was able to stay in Atlanta working out of the Gathering Spot. “I’m incredibly hopeful that we can actually move the needle for people who need it most.

 

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Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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