Grassroots fundraising effort forgoes funding from big banks and VCs to close opportunity gaps
Fair, an ethical digital bank and multilingual financial services platform, offering banking, lending, investments and retirement announces 90% of its investors are people of color, 80% are immigrants and many are first-time investors in fintech. Fair CEO and Founder, Khalid Parekh, lead the grassroots fundraising effort and intentionally sought investors from the communities most in need of services from Fair to close gaps and launch banking services this spring.
“Hardworking families who carry the economy on their backs deserve access to financial opportunity and freedom,” Parekh said. “We must strive to break away from profit-driven models that widen gaps, and we must do so without the institutions that have held us back or excluded us. Fair exists because we came together as a community to uplift each other to build a pathway for successful financial futures together.”
Stimulating economic opportunity and expanding financial equity is among the shared values that brought the diverse investment group together for Fair. Fair is built on a membership model, where members will pay a transparent price to unlock features including no-fee international money transfers, no-hidden-fee banking, no-interest home, auto and small business lending, high-yield dividend savings accounts with up to 2% returns, ethical investments and retirement planning in multiple languages.
“Unnecessary barriers prevent financial freedom for immigrants,” Fair investor Imran Dhanani said. “My family built the foundation for me to be successful, but others don’t receive the same opportunity. Fintech allows us to change that, but only if it’s built by people who understand these barriers. When I learned about Fair’s mission and how it would help my community, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
Dhanani, a 31-year-old CEO of a private equity firm attributes his career success to his immigrant father. He was inspired to make his first investment in fintech because he recognized how the platform would give back people in his community.
Immigrants are more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to face poverty. While banking systems contribute to the disparities, the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy are undeniable. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. The Fair platform is built to serve these communities with banking, lending, investments and retirement because Federal Reserve data shows opportunity gaps widen when people don’t have the ability to build and grow generational wealth.
Parekh’s vision for Fair is driven by solving problems he experienced as an immigrant striving for the American entrepreneurial dream. From not having access to financial services in his language to complicated fee structures, Parekh overcame these barriers to build multi-million-dollar IT firm AMSYS Group. Parekh recognizes most don’t receive the same opportunities, so Fair is his way of paying it forward. Parekh will not collect a salary from this venture, and he personally funded the initial technology investment for Fair. He brought in a close circle of individual investors to release the platform.
Fair will launch its banking services this spring, which include no-fee international money transfers, up to two-day early access to direct deposit, MasterCard® debit card, no-fee access to over 55,000 ATMs, FDIC-insured deposits, bill payments, mobile check depositing and more. Additional financial services and language options will be available in late 2021. The platform’s transparent membership model will provide all consumers equitable access to these services.
Fair banking services are provided by Coastal Community Bank. Investment and retirement services will be provided by FAIR Invest, LLC. Lending Services will be provided by FAIR Lending, LLC.