Why I Joined Bond: Michele Masiello

Why I Joined Bond: Michele Masiello

My fintech career began in 2014 at a startup called Bond Street that offered fast and affordable term loans to US small businesses and attractive yields to the institutional investors that funded our loans. As the sixth hire at a growing company, I immersed myself in every aspect of the business but I especially focused on understanding our customers and pitching Bond Street as a smart source of growth capital. Small businesses are truly the lifeblood of the US economy as the largest aggregate employer and, over the course of three years, I spoke to hundreds of business owners across the country, each with a unique story.

The call I remember most fondly was with Jenny of Tone Academy of Music in New York City, the first customer I worked with. She was intrigued by Bond Street’s digital loan application process. The digital process offered a welcome alternative to her bank's entirely paper-based credit application process which was currently "on hold" due to a flood which destroyed her paper application. With no backup, and no digital infrastructure of any kind from her previous bank, she had to start the application over again. 

Jenny’s story always stuck with me because I could feel just how anxious she was as a music teacher running a business whose bank had failed her with its antiquated processes. I really saw the value of painless and seamless access to financial services. It's not the novelty of a well designed app, or seamless UX, or great branding that makes digital financial experiences impactful. Although, all of those areas are certainly important. For someone like Jenny, being able to apply for a loan online materially improves her customer experience. 

The rapid adoption of digital services isn't just a trend, it's making it easier for any customer to participate in finance. 

The same theme of inclusivity underlies the mission of Goldman Sachs’ new consumer banking business where I led business development and strategy for embedded lending. Small businesses and consumers alike want to access financial services within and through the places they already work, shop, and play. This idea resonated with nearly every startup and large corporation I pitched while at Goldman, including JetBlue and Walmart, both of which I worked closely with to launch partnerships.

My experience at Bond Street and Goldman taught me that value begins with onboarding. There's a greenfield of opportunity for Bond to ease the pain of customer onboarding and partner integration for everyone: the brand, the bank, and the customer.

When I learned about Bond’s approach to creating a technology infrastructure upon which both banks and brands can launch customized financial products, I saw just how expansive Bond’s vision was.

It was an easy decision to join the Bond team to help expand access to financial services. I just had to recall Jenny’s awful experience to remember how much room for improvement there still is in financial services and how many more customers are awaiting delight in their financial lives. It doesn’t hurt either that my resume will now include working at two companies both named “Bond.” But, only one is building the future of finance every day.

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