Utah fintech MX is convincing financial institutions to do things differently

Utah fintech MX is convincing financial institutions to do things differently

(Courtesy of MX)

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LEHI — When the idea of using MX's technology was originally brought to Corey LeBlanc, the chief digital officer of Origin Bank, he wasn't sold on the partnership. The bank chain with locations throughout the southern United States already had mobile apps for clients and not many customers were showing interest in using them anyway.

What was the point? What made this financial company from Lehi, Utah, any different?

Turns out, a few things.

In 2016, MX co-founder Brandon Dewitt learned he had 14 tumors in his lungs and additional ones growing on the left side of his face. Doctors gave him, at best, seven months to live. Instead of accepting the sad fate, his colleagues got to work.

They figured their expertise in coding and data aggregation could translate to all kinds of data. They met with doctors across the nation, brought together the data and settled on a treatment plan. A few months have since turned into four years.

"One of the biggest differentiators we have as a company is having purposeful contribution," MX chief financial officer James Dotter said. "(Our employees) aren't just there to check a box or get a job done. They're there to actually solve problems and solve problems for the future. It goes back to the founder mindset, 'If not me, then who?' If not now, then when?'"

That mindset is why many of them didn't simply accept a negative prognosis or the probable outcome. And it's why MX thinks it can solve what it considers to be a centuries-old problem.

Utah fintech MX is convincing financial institutions to do things differently

MX aggregates data that allows banks to provide customers a more accurate picture of their financial health. Want to know what card was spent where or how much money is being used on entertainment? MX helps with that. Want to know how much combined credit card debt you have? MX can answer.

In the simplest form, it provides data for banking apps. In a more complex one, it's trying to change how banking is done.

"We are taking the oldest industry in our economy and helping them migrate from being a financial intermediary to becoming a financial advocate," Dotter said.

MX was founded in 2010 on the heels of the 2008 recession. It was a time that brought heartache to countless individuals as they paid the price of taking bad loans from banks due to bad or no advice. MX wanted to help fix that by altering how financial institutions viewed their customers.

Ten years later, amid another economic crisis due to a global pandemic, its technology may be needed more than ever.

MX founder and CEO Ryan Caldwell told KSL.com last year that "80% of the workforce in the U.S. is living paycheck to paycheck. You have individuals that feel real pain associated with this kind of stress."

Many people have different accounts or loans at multiple different financial institutions. By aggregating different accounts and credit cards into one platform, banks should be able to better understand individual customer's situations and therefore be able to offer stronger advice.

It was the genuineness of MX's message that left an impression on LeBlanc and Origin.

Utah fintech MX is convincing financial institutions to do things differently

"I really got to understand the reason why they do their business and what their principal concept or purpose or vision was," he said. "And it matched so much with what we wanted to do — to literally empower customers and people to be more financially healthy and strong."

It's not just a sales pitch, either. The fight with cancer changed Dewitt's mindset about banking and how financial institutions really needed to be advocates for their customers. The experience has even affected who the company has hired, bringing in people with the same values and beliefs, which has helped MX continue to grow.

"It's kind of become a common slogan within our organization: 'I came to MX and I found people, product and purpose.'" Dotter said. "We have 450 people who build that product with that amazing purpose, to give back to humanity."

Since partnering with the Lehi fintech, LeBlanc has sat on MX's client advisory board that talks about problems and potential solutions. A couple of times a year, he flies from Louisiana to the Wasatch Front to take part in brainstorming sessions. It's not uncommon for him to get new products a few months after those meetings.

"We really liked the product that we bought in 2017 and rolled out in 2018. But it really was the idea that we were partnering with a company that we were going to be able to work with to reimagine and develop that product to something better," LeBlanc said. "So what we bought into was the future products they were working on."

Utah fintech MX is convincing financial institutions to do things differently

So what does the future hold for MX?

Dotter joined the company nearly six years ago to help drive growth. He was previously with InsideSales.com, helping that startup grow into a rare tech unicorn by reaching a valuation of $1 billion as a private company.

MX could well be on the same path.

Last summer, MX announced a funding round of $100 million — bringing the company to a total of $175 million funding to date. Dotter said that money has been used to develop new products, expand into serving different industries, and growing geographically.

"Right now we operate domestically," Dotter said. "In the future, there's no question that this will be a global organization, serving financial institutions and financial services industries across the world. And so that is unequivocally in the future of our organization, but we are still on the launchpad for our organization."

In 10 years, the company has grown to 450 employees with over 2,000 customers and MX products being used by millions — a pretty impressive launchpad.

Contributing: Liesl Nielsen

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