Fireside Chat: Steve McFarland

In the second installment of our Fireside Chat series, our Public Policy Manager, Yvonne Chao, had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Steve McFarland, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. According to McFarland, the Better Business Bureau’s vision is to create an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. In this Fireside Chat, many topics were touched upon including the BBB core values, Earnin’s accreditation and A-rating, BBB success stories, and McFarland’s overall view of Earnin as a company. Watch the conversation here:

BBB Core Values:

“I think some of our core values are trust, integrity, and respect. That's what we really promote. We help good businesses promote themselves and become successful businesses by maintaining ethical and trustworthy standards.”

Earnin’s Accreditation and A-Rating:

“Earnin has met the standards of the BBB to become accredited. The reason why I like Earnin so much is because they're responsive to consumers. They're really responsive in addition to meeting the standards and operating in a transparent manner. [Earnin’s] offering a really neat product to consumers, a very novel and innovative product right when they need it, especially during this COVID time where people are looking at getting a few dollars to carry over for groceries or for that car loan or whatever. It just completely changed my mind and our staff's opinion of Earnin to be a productive and supportive member of the community.

The other thing we really like about Earnin is that we're on the same page as far as our business principles and our alignment of our eight standards. So in that regard, we're really proud to have Earnin as an accredited business.”

BBB Success Story:

“Let me give you a couple examples of some success stories where the BBB has worked with companies, including Earnin, to better themselves. One company is Fashion Nova. When Fashion Nova took on the Cardi B line a little over a year ago, their sales skyrocketed. They went crazy and what they found out was that their customer service group was not capable of handling the large volume. We received a real heavy spike in complaints. We went to them and met with their logistics team, their legal team, their management, and their owners and described their problems and gave them examples. And you know what? They spent millions of dollars on their logistics and on their consumer service group. It made a world of difference and they turned that company around. It's really a model firm now as an accredited business with BBB."

Views on Earnin:

"I want to add that I think what's remarkable about Earnin is the fact that it's not really a loan company. You're providing a community service with funds that the people [earned], it's their money. And what's really interesting is how it evolved in the story that your CEO mentioned to me at a meeting in your office one day. He provided funds to his staff to carry them over from his personal account, just to help them out. And little did he know at the time, that helping his staff out would evolve into this fascinating, innovative company.”

Check out our first Fireside Chat with Max Baucus, former chair of the Senate Finance Committee, in which we discuss rethinking payday and Earnin’s pay-what-you-think-is-fair model.

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