CHICAGO, Aug. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/
A.M. Money, a student loan company led by two Chicago natives, is now providing low-interest, no-cosigner loans to low- and middle-income Chicago college students based not on credit scores but on academic performance and future earning potential. This product, unique in the financial services industry, offers equitable access to higher education financing that will enable students to close funding gaps that would otherwise prevent them from completing college. A.M. Money recently closed an outside venture capital round led by Lightbank, the Chicago-based technology investment fund created by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. The company has also received financial support from the Financial Health Network, formerly the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and the Principal Financial Group.
A.M. Money is led by Chicago natives Daniel Rogers and Jeffrey Wright, who both struggled to pay for college despite strong academic performance. Rogers enlisted in the United States Army to help finance his education after graduating from Kenwood Academy, even taking six online courses while deployed in a combat unit in Iraq.
"This is the product I wish I would have had when I was going to college," said Daniel Rogers, Co-Founder and CEO of A.M. Money. "I'm proud that we can prevent other college students from struggling to complete their educations and help them begin building wealth."
Wright remembers asking eight family members, mentors and friends to cosign on his student loan before being able to obtain one. He then had to pay higher interest rates despite having a strong academic record at Georgetown University.
"Every year, millions of high-performing students with strong potential for successful careers have to drop out of college because they can't afford to pay for that last semester of classes or housing, and they don't have anyone they can turn to for support," said Jeffrey Wright, A.M. Money Co-Founder and Vice President of Finance. "A.M. Money gives them the opportunity to complete their education and move on to successful careers."
A.M. Money's loans do not require a cosigner or a credit score, and the rates and terms are benchmarked on those offered by the federal government. The company is able to offer competitive loans because it uses data analytics to evaluate students based on their academic performance and future earning potential, not their credit scores.
A.M. Money estimates that in any given year, there are over 100,000 students either from Chicago or in Chicago who could use their product. According to Rogers, a college degree can be worth up to $1 million in lifetime earnings. Funding 5,000 of these students would generate an extra $1.2 billion over the same timeframe for the local economy.
"The team behind A.M. Money understands, from personal experience, how difficult it can be to pay for college without cosigners or credit histories, and they have used data to better understand the actual risk of specific student profiles," said Eric Ong, Vice President at Lightbank. "We believe the company has the potential to transform the way students pay for college, and we're excited to help the company scale."
A.M. Money also protects students once they enter repayment. If borrowers struggle or experience a setback when repaying their loans, they can apply for a repayment schedule with lower monthly payments based on their income. This flexibility allows young adults to effectively manage their student debt load and their transition into the workforce without their student loans dragging them down.
A.M. Money was incubated and received startup services and administrative support from Google for Entrepreneurs, as well as The Academy Group, the Chicago-based social enterprise founded by Shayne Evans and Tim Knowles, former heads of the University of Chicago's Urban Labs and nationally recognized leaders in the field of education.
"A.M. Money's mission is to ensure that no hard-working, high-potential student is derailed by a funding gap, and that dovetails with The Academy Group's mission to help young people realize their academic, economic and social potential," said Timothy Knowles, Founder and Managing Partner at The Academy Group. "This is a major gap for students pursuing higher education, and we're thrilled to support A.M. Money as they close that gap."
About A.M. Money
A.M. Money is a student loan company that offers a healthier approach to financing higher education. Their mission is to ensure that financial challenges do not prevent students from completing college and pursuing their careers. The company is the first private lender to offer affordable credit to students without the need for cosigners or credit scores, while providing flexible income-based repayment terms to qualified students to help manage inevitable periods of financial instability. For more information about A.M. Money, please visit www.chicagostudentloans.com.
Lightbank is an investment fund focused on early-stage technology companies. Founded by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, who started Groupon, MediaBank, InnerWorkings and Echo Global Logistics, Lightbank invests money, time and expertise to help innovative businesses achieve dynamic growth. For more information, visit http://www.lightbank.com.
SOURCE A.M. Money