September 21, 2022

A Q&A with Colby Ross of Project Finance, a digital banking solution for banks and credit unions

Molly Hetz

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Today, 88% of U.S. consumers are using digital apps and services to better manage their financial lives. As digital finance continues to shape our daily lives, customer expectations continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Project Finance is a digital banking provider that partners with credit unions to build world-class digital banking experiences and to ensure financial institutions are meeting their customer’s needs and expectations. 

To help credit unions and community banks connect to thousands of the world’s leading fintech apps and services, Project Finance turned to Plaid’s latest data connectivity solution, Core Exchange. Here, Colby Ross, CEO of Project Finance, talks to Aly Yarris at Plaid about how they’re using their Core Exchange integration to remove credential sharing, help customers achieve financial wellness, and build a customized world-class digital banking experience. 

Plaid: What’s the biggest problem you set out to solve when you co-founded Project Finance in 2019? 

Colby: I was searching for a financial app that showed me the future of my finances. All the apps on the market were great at showing me the past (i.e., where I spent my money) but I wanted a tool that would show me where I was going, and the decisions I could make to position myself for success. Project Finance was born out of solving this problem for myself and realizing others were looking for a similar way to approach their personal finances.

Plaid: How does something like open finance API connectivity sit within this unique approach to digital banking? 

Colby: We see a world where credit unions become true fiduciaries over their member’s financial lives – moving from a purely transactional model, to helping people make more informed decisions to reach their financial goals. Credit Unions have the relationship, trust, and data to do it, but to be an effective fiduciary, Credit Unions need to have a full picture of their member’s financial lives. We see the FDX open API standard as the most efficient way to get that full picture.

Plaid: As a co-founder faced with so many competing priorities, why was it so important for you and your team to prioritize API connectivity? 

Colby: Application security is always a priority for us. API connectivity gives us as a digital banking provider, as well as our end-users, more transparency, flexibility, and control over data that is shared.

Plaid: Why did you end up choosing Plaid as your open finance partner? 

Colby: Plaid makes it easy for people to securely connect and manage their accounts and has been the leader in the open finance space for a long time. We’ve always had great support from Plaid and were happy to deepen our relationship.

Plaid: What was your experience like working with Plaid to implement Core Exchange? 

Colby: Plaid brought a full team of implementation experts and developers to guide us in our implementation. The technical documentation was clear and straightforward, and we had no challenges getting the connection live. 

Plaid: How has Core Exchange helped you deliver more value to your customers? 

Colby: Our customers know how valuable it is to provide today’s consumers with access to their financial data. Core Exchange makes that possible. It also gives us clear security advantages which only helps to build trust with our customers and by extension, between them and their consumers. In short, being able to provide data connectivity via API connections gives us a huge competitive advantage and allows us to lead the way for digital banking providers. 

Plaid: What’s next for you and the team at Project Finance? 

Colby: Our mission is to help people accelerate the path towards achieving their financial goals. To that end, we’ll be providing more advice and guidance as part of our digital banking solution that’s designed to move people up the ladder financially – no matter where they’re starting from – so they can reach their goals faster.