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The Best Thing We Can Do Is Begin

From the beginning, Deserve has operated on three core principles: financial access, advocacy and independence for all. Built on the foundation of providing equal credit opportunities for underserved communities, Deserve continues to put its mission into action and create a more equitable financial landscape. 

Even with this lens of inclusivity, the events of 2020 have provided a sharp reality check as to the state of our industry and every industry in regard to racial injustice in America and beyond. Minorities and underserved communities continue to face an uphill battle for equal treatment and opportunity, and the finance world in particular has a long history of exclusionary policies and treatment.

By evaluating customer creditworthiness based on future potential and eliminating barriers like requiring a Social Security Number to get a credit card, Deserve has always been committed to elevating underserved demographics. We also know we can do better. In October, we joined the Fintech Equality Coalition, a group of companies in the financial technology space united against racial injustice and committed to creating a more equitable financial ecosystem. We now have employee volunteers in each of the available subcommittees, working to change the industry from the inside out. 

We have also established Deserve’s first diversity, equity and inclusion group. Created by and for employees of all levels, this group aims to educate, elevate and celebrate all the beautiful varieties of diversity within our company while also upholding Deserve’s inclusive mission. The first step to creating a more equitable future is to open a dialogue, and we intend to keep this conversation alive and continuously strive to improve.

We’re a fast-growing fintech company, constantly building and adapting. Through this evolving process, we recognize the importance of holding ourselves to the highest standard of creating the change we want to see in the world. We have reached both a size and a moment in history where not only having diversity, but championing and supporting it, are paramount. 

Now, with more than 100 employees and an exciting future trajectory, we have decided to publicly commit ourselves to implementing some important diversity, equity and inclusion measures. Publishing this statement is one of the ways we want to express transparency and accountability in this process.  

Here are the changes in progress:

Advancement of Recruitment and Hiring Processes

Deserve recognizes the importance of hiring employees from all backgrounds and bringing together an abundance of different ideas, values, and experiences. As a global company founded by an immigrant, we stand committed to hiring people from all walks of life, including the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities, women and nonbinary folks, immigrants, and veterans. We aim to hire, inspire and promote these employees and give them the tools to thrive.

Our new initiatives within this category include:

  • Ensuring a diverse hiring panel for all applicants under consideration consisting of Deserve interviewers from different backgrounds.
  • Recruiting from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)
  • Asking diversity-related questions during the interview process
  • Reviewing internal diversity statistics biannually

Increasing Internal DEI Efforts

As a company, we commit to educating ourselves on important diversity issues. We commit to doing the work to recognize our biases, both implicit and explicit, and aligning our actions to create a space where diversity and differences belong. 

New initiatives include:

  • Mandatory unconscious bias training for all employees
  • Hosting regular meetings about diversity, equity and inclusion to hold space for conversations and learning to take place
  • Inviting speakers to an internal DEI lecture series
  • Celebrating heritage months and acknowledging a diverse range of holidays and religious practices

Exploring External Opportunities

It is our goal to not just improve as a company, but to take action in our communities. We pledge to explore opportunities for partnering and volunteering with organizations that create a more equitable world. 

New initiatives include:

  • Creating an internship program focused on hiring minorities from underserved backgrounds and help them succeed in fintech and beyond
  • Continuously auditing our digital and social media presence to ensure diverse representation and inclusive language
  • Undertaking external volunteer and community engagement activities focused on elevating minorities and people from underrepresented communities 
  • Placing an emphasis on working with BIPOC and women-owned vendors where possible

We believe everyone deserves access to equal financial opportunities and we are committed to working toward this goal. Through education and action, we aim to give everyone a seat at the table. By crafting more intentional hiring policies, conducting internal training, giving back to the community and continuing the conversation of inclusivity and belonging, we at Deserve are ready to cement these efforts even further into the core principles of our company. Our goal is to embody our founding principles every day through our work and create institutional change in our industry, from the inside out. 

Our commitment is to start now, perhaps imperfectly, with the aspiration of continually listening and improving. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we dive into this important undertaking. The best thing we can do is begin.