When we first launched Wesabe back in 2006, we heard from strategists at nearly every large bank, all of whom were excited by what we were doing and talked about how long they’d been thinking of similar features for their sites. We quickly realized that many of the people calling us were looking at us as an experiment for things they’d long wanted to do — an experiment they perhaps wanted to observe from a safe distance in case it didn’t work.
Fast forward to this fall. As the economic downturn and mortgage crisis developed, we started hearing from more financial institutions. The tone of the calls completely changed –- no longer were these fact-finding missions, but senior-level executives were telling us that they had watched our success and the growth of our space for the past couple of years, and now needed to help their members during these tough economic times. They saw how Wesabe was helping people with their money, how incredibly strong the Wesabe community is, and they wanted to know how they could work with us to bring those strengths to their sites — not as a long-term goal but as an immediate need. Even though the banks and credit unions who were getting in touch weren’t involved in the subprime mess, they were worried about being painted with the same broad brush as the failing institutions dominating headlines. Clearly, it was now a priority to shore up their existing customer relationships and attract some of the consumers who had seen their brand-name banks collapse overnight.
And so in January, we started testing Wesabe Springboard, a web-services-based version of Wesabe for financial institutions. The response so far has been very positive and encouraging — again and again we’ve heard, “This is exactly what we need to make our site into what our customers need right now.”
Today, we’re officially launching Springboard, and hope that through partnerships with credit unions and banks, more and more people will be able to get more value for their money. This revenue model will let us continue to keep the existing Wesabe site free to all our members. And because Wesabe learns from every single person who joins –- be it how they tag or rate a merchant, what Cutbacks they choose or don’t choose, or how often they return to that new restaurant down the street –- we believe that expanding Wesabe’s reach will only serve to improve our community and our ability to help people achieve their financial goals.