SAN CARLOS, June 11, 2018 – EY today announced that Oportun CEO Raul Vazquez received the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018 Award in the Category Disruptors category in Northern California. The award recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Raul Vazquez was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a special gala event at the Fairmont San Francisco on June 8.
“I am grateful for this recognition, but prefer to think of this award as one for the ‘entrepreneurial and disruptive company of the year’,” said Oportun CEO Raul Vazquez. “After all, Oportun would not be where it is today without the hard work of Oportun employees, all of whom are dedicated to our mission of providing affordable loans that help people with little or no credit history establish credit and build a better future.”
Oportun uses advanced data analytics and technology to lend money to individuals who other lenders consider ‘unscoreable,’ and has already helped more than half a million people begin to establish a credit score for the first time. Oportun customers have also saved more than $1.1 billion dollars by choosing Oportun loans instead of one of the other alternatives widely available to individuals with limited credit history, according to research commissioned by Oportun and conducted by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), a leading authority on consumer financial health. Those alternatives — which include payday, pawn loans and others — are four times more expensive on average but can be up to seven times more expensive. Since its founding in 2005, Oportun has served more than 1.1 million customers and disbursed more than $5.3 billion through 2.5 million affordable, small dollar loans by using a proprietary risk engine capable of ‘scoring the unscoreable.’
Since 1986, EY has honored entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, spirit of innovation and discipline have driven their companies’ success, transformed their industries and made a positive impact on their communities. Now in its 32nd year, the program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as:
- Howard Schultz of Starbucks Corporation
- Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc.
- Jodi Berg of Vitamix
- Robert Unanue of Goya Foods
- Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn
- Andreas Bechtolsheim and Jayshree Ullal of Arista Networks
- Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani
- James Park of Fitbit
- W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. of Marriott International, Inc.
- Lonnie Moulder and Mary Lynne Hedley, PhD, of TESARO, Inc.
As a Northern California award winner, Oportun CEO Raul Vazquez is now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 National Awards. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 10, 2018. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.
Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the US by SAP America, the Kauffman Foundation and Merrill Corporation.
In Northern California, sponsors also include SolomonEdwards and Woodruff Sawyer & Co.
Oportun is a mission-driven financial services company that helps people establish and maintain financial stability despite a lack of credit history or low and volatile incomes.
Oportun uses advanced data analytics and technology to provide responsible, affordable personal loans to people with little or no credit history so they can establish credit. The company’s centralized system calculates each loan applicant’s ability to repay, approves those loans the company believes can be paid back, and sets loan amounts and terms to fit customer budgets. Customer account information is reported to two nationwide credit bureaus to help customers establish credit history.
Oportun operates more than 270 retail locations and delivers bilingual (English/Spanish) customer service via retail locations, contact centers, and mobile to customers in eleven states: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
In April 2018, Oportun announced that it would soon commence testing of a new, no-cost service, OportunPath, that will help people avoid the negative consequences of cash shortfalls to help them maintain a path to financial stability. OportunPath will monitor a customer’s bank account balance and provide daily alerts so the customer is aware of low balances. For eligible customers, it will also offer to bridge cash flow shortfalls with a small deposit to top up their bank account.
In recognition of Oportun’s goals of increasing economic opportunity for its clients, promoting community development, and serving low-income or underserved communities, Oportun has been certified by the United States Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) since 2009.
About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year®, founded by EY, is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, chosen from an independent panel of judges including entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance, and the local community. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/eoy
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