Aura, a mission-driven financial technology company that offers affordable loans to hard-working families, today named Anne M. Myong as Interim CEO and Joe Martin as Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Myong succeeds James Gutierrez who founded Aura and will remain on Aura’s board while pursuing independent financing for the company.
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Aura Names Anne M. Myong Interim CEO (Photo: Business Wire)
“I’m pleased to share several changes related to Aura’s leadership team,” said former California Senator Dean Florez, a member of the Aura Board of Directors. “Anne M. Myong has been named interim CEO and will also continue her duties as CFO, and Joe Martin will become the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Anne and Joe bring significant business and technology leadership to the table, and looking forward, we’re confident in their leadership amid these uncertain economic times.
“Aura’s founder and CEO James Gutierrez has decided to step away from his day-to-day role as CEO to pursue an independent financing of Aura that will help the company further succeed and to avoid any conflicts as CEO. James will continue to serve on Aura’s board. Aura is grateful for James’ visionary leadership and many contributions to the company’s mission and success, and we’re thrilled to count on his leadership as Aura continues to grow.”
“As we know, COVID-19 has created so much hardship in the nation, disproportionately affecting communities of color. As we look to the future, Aura will continue to support its borrowers and lead the way in the fight for economic justice.”
Anne M. Myong, Interim CEO
Prior to joining Aura, Ms. Myong served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart’s Global eCommerce business, overseeing a global business with direct-to-consumer eCommerce sites in the U.S., China and Brazil. In this capacity, she led finance, accounting, strategic planning, M&A and integration activities. She joined Walmart in 2011 as Chief Administrative Officer of its retail operation in China and became CFO the following year.
During her tenure with Walmart, Ms. Myong served as a member of the board of directors of Walmart Mexico and was a member of the CEO’s advisory board of women leaders. Prior to Walmart, Ms. Myong held a variety of finance, strategy and investment roles in start-up and Fortune 500 technology companies in Silicon Valley and China. Anne started her career with McKinsey & Company in Washington, DC and New York after receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School and B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems from James Madison University. Ms. Myong also serves on the boards of Align Technology (NASDAQ: ALGN) and Goodwill Industries International.
“As interim CEO, I look forward to ensuring that Aura continues to thrive during these challenging times,” said Anne M. Myong. “So many families in America are facing hardship, especially in communities of color. At Aura, we will continue to support those who are hurting by providing affordable loans and financial services.”
Joe Martin, Chief Operating Officer
Prior to becoming Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Martin was Aura’s SVP, Engineering, Product and Design. Previously, he served as SVP of Engineering, Trust and User Operations for Indiegogo. In this role, he ran engineering and product while also managing operational issues such as trust and safety, customer happiness, and campaign strategy. Before that, he served as Senior Director of Engineering for eBay and multiple engineering and product leadership roles for Microsoft. Mr. Martin holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, where he was a member of the Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists.
“I joined Aura because it’s mission is close to my heart,” said Joe Martin. “I want to help families that are working towards financial prosperity. Now as COO, I look forward to continuing to build Aura’s success and talented team, and, together, we will help millions of hard-working people survive in these challenging economic times.”
James Gutierrez co-founded Aura in 2012 to help provide equal access and opportunities to underrepresented communities, minorities, and people of color who remained unseen in traditional banking systems. James is stepping aside from Aura’s day-to-day operations to purse an independent bid for Aura’s financing.
“I started Aura in 2012 because I saw the need for providing equal access and opportunity to underrepresented communities, minorities, and people of color who remained unseen in traditional banking systems,” said James Gutierrez. “At this moment in time, this mission and its success are more critical now than ever. So, I’ve decided to step aside as CEO in order to pursue an independent financing of Aura full-time and avoid any conflicts that I could have with me being CEO. Our collective fight for economic justice continues.”
Starting in 2012, James led Aura’s (formerly known as Insikt) growth from an idea to $100 million in annual revenue and nearly 600,000 affordable loans as CEO. Prior to Aura, James founded and was CEO of Oportun (NASDAQ: OPRT), formerly Progreso Financiero, a leading provider of responsible loans to Hispanics in the U.S. Both of companies that James founded have made a lasting impact in the fight for racial and economic justice among minorities and low-income families in America.
Aura uses technology that goes beyond credit scores to determine borrowers’ ability to repay and enables local businesses to administer credit applications. Since late 2014, the company has provided approximately $800MM in loans to nearly 344,000 borrowers at 1,050 partner locations. Aura loans have saved its borrowers over $500MM in additional fees and interest as compared with predatory options. Two-thirds of Aura’s borrowers have grown their credit score by an average of 312 points after two loans.
Aura is a technology-powered Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small, affordable loans to working families in America. Aura’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities by providing empowering financial services to America’s 66 million underbanked and unbanked. Aura has pioneered a cloud-based lending technology that enables trusted local businesses to submit credit applications for centralized review and approval by its proprietary scoring algorithms.
Currently available in over 1,050 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, Aura has provided hundreds of thousands of credit-building, responsible loans to low-income households since launching in 2014.