How a Fintech CEO Who Focuses on Poverty Reduction Spends Sunday

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Wemimo Abbey, a financial technology entrepreneur, knows how difficult it is for immigrants to start new lives in new countries without resources.

When her family moved from Nigeria to Minneapolis in 2009, her mother had no choice but to accept a loan with an interest rate of over 400 percent so that she could settle the family and pay for college education. from Mr. Abbey.

Without a credit history, immigrants are typically denied loans from traditional financial institutions, Abbey said. “You have to go into debt to get some kind of credit history, which doesn’t make sense to me.”

After earning degrees in business management and public administration, Abbey set out to create a mechanism for immigrants and low-income Americans to save money and build credit.

Together with his partner, Samir Goel, they run Esusu Financial, a digital savings program, as well as Esusu Rent, an app used by tenants of affordable housing that improves credit scores when rents are paid on time. Last year, in an effort to alleviate the pandemic, the company distributed $ 250,000 in interest-free loans to New Yorkers who couldn’t pay their rent.

But Mr. Abbey is still worried. “I have a mortal fear of what will happen when the moratorium on rents and mortgage payments expires,” he said. “Where do people go to get the money? We are on the verge of another homeless crisis, and I don’t know how we are going to handle it as a society.

Harlem resident Mr Abbey, 28, lives with his girlfriend, Taylor Goodridge, 27, responsible for investor relations and marketing.

EARTHING I wake up at 6:30 am, an hour later than when I usually wake up. I pray every morning, but I keep it simple. I ask God to forgive me of all my sins, to be kind to the world, and to give me unwavering faith. This motivates me because I am trying to help people not to be evicted from their homes. Then I like to take a 45 minute to an hour morning walk.

VENERATION Before the pandemic, I used to go to the First Corinthian Baptist Church. Services were normally between 10 and 12:30 p.m. Now I watch and listen to their online service at home. I am frustrated and miss going to church. I’m the kind of person who needs to be there. I miss the energy of the congregation. It’s hard to concentrate online. If I get a call or text, I’m distracted and there’s a good chance I’ll answer. I would never have done this if I was physically there.

EAT LOCAL, COOK GLOBAL If the weather is nice, I meet my friends or my partner for brunch. There are plenty of places to go in Harlem, but I turned to B Squared or Red Rooster Harlem. Lately my girlfriend and I are cooking more. We perfect my jollof, a rice dish, and its fried catfish and collard greens.

CONTINUE If I meet with my business partner, we discuss what we need to do to prepare for the week ahead. The pandemic and our rent relief program have really brought our business ideas to the fore, and I’ve been asked to speak on many forums and podcasts online. I do about three speaking engagements a week, which is a complete reversal from when this company started in 2018, when only six of the 300-plus investors we spoke to even gave us the time of day.

PREPARATION WORK After brunch, I usually go to the 125th Street office. Samir comes sometimes, but I usually go myself. I’m looking at my calendar and getting ready for my next presentations. We are a young company, with 25 employees, but our growth has been crazy. We are always trying to grow and raise funds from investors. It’s hard to deal with everything.

TO SLOW DOWN I rest for the rest of the day. I make sure to call my mom, who lives in Minneapolis. She gives me updates on all my nieces and nephews. She’s very focused and goes down the checklist and asks about my week and what’s on my agenda. Then I could read for about two hours. Right now I’m reading “A Promised Land” by former President Barack Obama. I love autobiographies and the way they describe the struggles to be overcome.

Readers of the Sunday Routine can follow Abbey on Twitter @ Wemimo11.

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