Social Currency Ep. 2: MoCaFi’s Vision with CEO Wole Coaxum

Wole Coaxum, Founder & CEO of Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi)

Sunrise Banks will release the second episode of our new podcast, Social Currency, on Tuesday, April 23. For this episode, Innovation for Inclusion: MoCaFi's Vision with CEO Wole Coaxum, we welcome a leader in the financial inclusion community and friend of Sunrise Banks.

A graphic to promote Episode 2 of Social Currency podcast.

Wole Coaxum is Founder and CEO of Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi) in New York City. MoCaFi is a financial technology (fintech) platform designed to assist financially underserved individuals and strengthen economically challenged communities.

With a desire to help close the racial wealth gap prevalent around the country, Wole left his job as Head of Sales and Segment in Business Banking at Chase to open MoCaFi in 2015. We are honored to have such an inspiring visionary as a guest on Social Currency with our host Eric Schurr, Chief Strategy Officer of National Products at Sunrise Banks.

A moment of motivation

To start the show, Eric asks Wole – who brings an extensive background in financial services and banking to the financial inclusion movement – about his motivation to serve the 50 million unbanked and underbanked individuals living across America today.

Wole shares a moment in 2014 that changed his life – and those of many other Americans – forever.

“I had my George Floyd moment after the death of Michael Brown,” he recalls. “I was in my office thinking about the images I had seen on television in Ferguson (Missouri), where you had people who were in pain in that community and had gone to the streets.”

“The protests that were there reminded me of that wonderful documentary about the civil rights movement called Eyes on the Prize,” he continues. “I was looking at the images in 2014 and thinking about the images from the Eyes on the Prize film. I said, ‘It is 2014, and it looks a lot like 1968. And the Black community is struggling in the same way it was then.’ We hadn’t made a lot of progress and I wanted to figure out how I could use my time and talents to address that issue. That’s when I decided to start MoCaFi.”

Innovative approach to supporting asylum seekers

Sunrise Banks is proud to support MoCaFi in its new initiative as partners in a shared mission to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable banking services. MoCaFi has collaborated with New York City officials to launch a pilot program with an innovative approach to providing the city’s asylum seekers with needed resources.

City officials have been using a delivery service to provide non-perishable food boxes and prepared meals to asylum seekers staying in hotels. With the help of the fintech platform, however, they are now supplying some families with pre-paid debit cards to purchase food and baby supplies.

The 500 migrant families participating in the pilot program are able to select specific foods based on their preferences and culture. The cards – which typically total around $1,200 to $1,400 per family of four for 28 days – are only accepted at bodegas, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Positive impact potential

As both an innovative and socially responsible bank empowering financial wellness, Sunrise Banks is pleased to be the issuing bank behind the program’s pre-paid debit cards. By fully embracing fintech, we continue to be well-positioned to help achieve more equitable banking for all. This partnership is another opportunity to multiply the bank’s impact.

Additionally, Wole says the program will save New York City anywhere from $10 to $20 per person, per day, or an estimated $7.2 million per year. These funds can then be invested directly into local communities.

“It’s a win all the way around,” he says.

And while the program is currently focused on the city’s new asylum seekers, it has potential to help all New Yorkers – and eventually other cities, as well. Wole explains that pre-paid debit cards can be used to meet the needs of the elderly, homeless, foster youth and other community members in a safer and more efficient way than has been possible in the past.

With the support of Sunrise Banks, the program not only helps individuals as they navigate challenging times, but it also creates an opportunity to bring those who are unbanked and underbanked into the digital economy in a responsible way.

When values align

At Sunrise Banks, we see ourselves as a social engine for good. The goals behind MoCaFi’s program align with our commitment to values-based banking. Our mission is embedded in the products and services we offer. We are honored to play a role in meeting the needs of individuals that have typically been excluded from banking.

Wole credits this collaboration for providing a path to financial wellness and inclusion for underserved communities. “This wouldn’t be possible without our terrific partnership with Sunrise Banks,” he says.

Tune in to the new episode of Social Currency to hear more of Wole and Eric’s discussion. They talk about getting resources to those in need, how programs like this can help strengthen other communities – including here in Minneapolis–and what fuels Wole outside of his work.

The Social Currency podcast introduces listeners to some of the most innovative changemakers in fintech and ESG (environmental, social and governance), and highlights their efforts to dismantle barriers and reshape their industries for a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future. 

Check out our full lineup of episodes on our website.