Episode 24: Driving Financial Inclusion With a Mobile Conversation Platform

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week, I spoke with Katie Macc, Chief Commercial Officer and Cofounder of Juntos Global. At a time when customers have low trust in their financial institutions, Juntos provides those institutions with a mobile-based conversation platform that increases consumer confidence. Prior to working at Juntos, Katie worked in microfinance, both in the Democratic Republic of Congo and, later, in the US. On today’s episode, we discussed her journey as an entrepreneur, and how Juntos is breaking down barriers to financial inclusion for many people around the world.

As someone who has always relished the opportunity to build something, Katie’s transition from established jobs to true entrepreneurship was a natural one. Katie wears many hats at Juntos, balancing client-facing teams such as sales client services along with finance and HR internally. Despite the fact that their foreign markets — including Egypt, Paraguay, and Uganda — can make funding a challenge, Katie contends that “great investors make for enjoyable fundraising.” As Juntos continues to grow and enter new markets, they remain committed to diversity: “As a global company, it matters to us to have employees from all over the world.” Katie and her two co-founders, Ben and Dante, recognize the potential for technology to transform customer interactions in the financial services industry. With its roots in a graduate school project at the Stanford d.school, Juntos — now in 15 countries spread across 4 continents — aims to do just that.

While the rapid digitization of most financial transactions has been incredibly convenient, it has also had the unintended consequence of fewer face-to-face conversations at the bank. These conversations have historically served dual purposes: both allowing the bank to learn more about the customer, and providing the customer with an opportunity to alert the bank to their issues. The loss of these interactions has played a significant role in the loss of consumer trust in financial institutions. Juntos provides a bridge between the banks and their customers which, while still entirely digital, emulates the conversations customers used to have with their tellers. Not only does this help banks uncover reasons why customers might not utilize certain services, it also measurably increases account usage.

The barriers that prevent people from opening bank accounts, and keeping those accounts active, usually fall into 3 categories of trust. Consumers need to first trust the institution itself, then trust that the product will behave as expected, and finally feel confident that they themselves are able to competently use the product. Juntos works with customers on all of these facets of trust, helping them to realize that financial institutions do want them to succeed, or identifying next steps to take when the product does not perform as needed. Through these conversations, they’re uncovering a wealth of knowledge about user experience.

Katie, thank you so much for coming onto the show this week and sharing the story of Juntos, as well as all of your valuable advice.  Thank you, as always, to my listeners for tuning in. See you next week!


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