Using Rent Payment Data to Increase Financial Opportunity
Esusu is a platform for large multi-family housing owners and operators to capture rental payment data and report it to credit bureaus to help tenants build and establish their credit scores. Built from the ground up, the founders of Esusu, Wemimo Abbey and Samir Goel, saw firsthand the impact a good credit score can have on financial access and homeownership opportunities. Thier experiences of financial marginalization when their families moved to the United States highlighted a gap in the presence of a safety net for renters. A central belief embedded in the foundation of the organization is that one’s financial identity should not determine where they end up in life.
Wemimo Abbey and Samir Goel, saw firsthand the impact a good credit score can have on financial access and homeownership opportunities.
Esusu is paving the way to help others experiencing financial marginalization and limited access to homeownership with their rent reporting and credit inclusion mechanisms: their partners now cover over 5 million units and provide an average of a 36-point improvement in renter credit scores. By rewarding families for paying rent on time, folks with no to low credit will gain an increase in their credit score and thus. This provides a stepping stone, either providing access to purchase a car or ultimately receive a mortgage. To-date Esusu renters have been able to unlock $21.9 Billion in capital including $14 Billion in mortgages.
Prior to joining the Housing Lab, Esusu’s had 7 team members and had raised $300,000 in outside capital. The Housing Lab assisted with the growth of the organization, expanding Esusu’s network, providing advice and insights on local, state, and federal public policy, and created an opportunity for Esusu to work with potential clients and partner with other Housing Lab cohort members. This included assisting with Esusu’s development of a government relations strategy that laid the foundation for future collaboration with the government sponsored entities (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Today, Esusu has raised over $145 million through fundraisers and expanded its team to 230 members.
To-date Esusu renters have been able to unlock $21.9 Billion in capital including $14 Billion in mortgages.
Esusu works to address systemic burdens that have stopped BIPOC families from accumulating generational wealth. 45 million Americans do not have credit scores; helping them build their credit would “unlock over $3 trillion in mortgages” both helping the American economy and paving a permanent bridge to financial inclusion for everyone. By prioritizing social justice and economic empowerment, Esusu has successfully partnered with various organizations, including the Related Companies, Jonathan Rose Companies, and Promise Homes Company, to help their renters establish and build their credit. Partnerships like these create a win-win outcome: renters are assisted and owners of rental properties experience more security in payments.
Esusu also partnered with Stable Home Fund, to launch a rent relief fund in April of 2020 to help families navigate financial shock and increase their stability. They initially raised half a million dollars to give renters a 12-month interest-free loan to pay their rent in times of financial duress. Since then, the fund has gone on to deploy millions of dollars to over 10,000 families across the nation.The COVID-19 pandemic inspired the rent relief fund as the founders of Esusu noticed the spikes in unemployment and lack of emergency savings for crises like the pandemic. Esusu has supported renters during times of uncertainty, providing much-needed rent relief. However, they also recognize the larger issue: public policy solutions are the true long-term fix for the well-being of renters and property owners. This effort for large-scale change begins with the foundational work Esusu is doing to help families.