Spotlight on EquiFi
Providing financial lifelines to homeowners impacted by the pandemic
For many Americans, the past year has been a tough time to have a mortgage. With businesses shuttered and unemployment high, 46% of Americans have missed at least one mortgage or rent payment.
EquiFi was founded in San Jose, CA, in 2016, long before the first coronavirus case would appear in the U.S. But its mission—“to improve the life of people, starting with their home”—seems conceived with the pandemic in mind.
In EquiFi, Carpenter Group sees an entrepreneurial culture whose core ideals drive a product design approach in which Brand Acts of Kindness are inherent to functionality. By its own account, EquiFi is a for-profit enterprise with a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) designation. “PBCs are companies that are purpose-driven,” its website explains. “Yes, we’re in business to make money but we care about how we make it.” EquiFi’s primary goals are “to show consumers how to reduce the amount of debt used to finance their home and to help them create and manage their wealth.”
It does this by replacing traditional mortgage financing with an equity-based model, allowing the homeowner to share a portion of the property’s future value with an investor. The approach makes it possible to convert a portion of home equity into retirement income, in the form of an immediate payment, an annuity or some other means.
But retirement planning may not be top-of-mind if you’re facing the very real prospect of losing your home due to the financial consequences of COVID-19. What are your options then?
In 2020, EquiFi launched its Home Equity Relief Option—aka HERO—as a direct response to the COVID crisis. While Washington has allocated trillions of dollars to reduce unemployment and stimulate economic growth, EquiFi notes, “subsidies and accommodations will ultimately end or be exhausted, and consumers will be required to start paying their mortgage. Most will have to deal with the lingering burden of satisfying forbearance accommodations.”
Those who qualify for the HERO program can receive up to 24 months of income dedicated to paying their mortgage, homeowners’ insurance and property taxes. The money can even be used to pay back any forbearance and restore credit that may have been tarnished by forbearance. The program thus offers COVID-impacted homeowners a way to avoid foreclosure and eviction with the help of EquiFi and like-minded investors.
The HERO program is part and parcel of EquiFi’s broader commitment “to bring wealth to all Americans.” Toward that end, the company enlists investors to fund economic development projects in under-served communities. As we see it, this is a company where there is no daylight between brand purpose and corporate responsibility.
“Collective economic improvement can positively effect society on many different levels,” it says. “A more developed community will give life to new talent, new ideas and a sense of belonging.”
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.