At the start of 2022 64% of the U.S. population was living paycheck to paycheck (Lending Club Report). Predatory lending practices create an even greater burden on working americans as they need access to their income more quickly. Payactiv is working to close that gap by creating Earned Wage Access. Join us as I talk with Sabina Bhatia, the Chief Customer Officer of Payactiv.
Earned-wage access empowers workers by providing them with financial flexibility and control over their own earnings. This innovative solution, pioneered by PayActiv, allows employees to access a portion of their earned wages before their scheduled payday, eliminating the need to wait for their next paycheck.
In today’s society, many financially stressed Americans find themselves paying exorbitant fees while waiting for their next paycheck. According to the Financial Health Network, financially stressed Americans pay a staggering $170 billion in fees each year, including payday loan fees, late fees, and bank overdraft fees. This predatory financial system disproportionately affects low-income workers who often live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet.
Earned-wage access addresses this issue by providing workers with immediate access to the money they have already earned. PayActiv’s technology enables employees to access a percentage of their unpaid wages between pay periods, giving them much-needed liquidity. By avoiding costly fees associated with traditional financial services, workers can better manage their finances and avoid falling into cycles of debt.
The benefits of earned-wage access extend beyond financial relief. It also improves employee engagement and productivity. Financial stress can take a toll on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being, leading to decreased focus and motivation at work. By providing workers with the means to alleviate their financial burdens, earned-wage access allows them to be more present and engaged in their jobs.
Furthermore, earned-wage access is a powerful tool for recruitment and retention. In a rapidly changing workforce landscape, where gig workers and freelancers make up a significant portion of the workforce, employers must find innovative ways to attract and retain talent. By offering earned-wage access as a benefit, employers can differentiate themselves and create a more appealing work environment. This solution demonstrates a commitment to the financial well-being of employees, which is increasingly important to the younger generations entering the workforce.
The impact of earned-wage access goes beyond individual workers and extends to the overall economy. By reducing financial stress and improving financial stability, workers are better equipped to make sound financial decisions and contribute to economic growth. Additionally, the reduction in predatory financial practices, such as payday loans and overdraft fees, benefits society as a whole by promoting more equitable and fair financial services.
Earned-wage access is a prime example of leveraging business as a force for good. PayActiv, as a certified B Corp, exemplifies the values of social and environmental responsibility. By prioritizing the financial well-being of workers, PayActiv is making a positive impact on individuals, communities, and the economy.
Earned-wage access empowers workers by providing them with the financial flexibility and control they need to thrive. This innovative solution not only alleviates financial stress and reduces predatory fees but also improves employee engagement and productivity. By embracing earned-wage access, employers can attract and retain talent while contributing to a more equitable and fair financial system. Ultimately, earned-wage access is a game-changer that empowers workers and promotes financial well-being for all.
View It’s About Time: The Film
[00:00] Benn Marine I’ve always believed personally and professionally that what you do is important, but how you do it is even more important. From Dear Go Collective, this is Responsibly Different, sharing stories of certified B corporations and our journey of joining them in leveraging business as a force for good. Welcome to another episode of the Responsibly Different podcast. Today I am so excited to share with you all my conversation with Sabina Bhatia, the Chief Customer Officer for PayActiv. PayActiv has been a certified B Corp since 2015 with a current score of 103.4 and exists to create earned-wage access for American workers. So what is earned-wage access and why is it important you might be wondering? Well according to the Financial Health Network, financially stressed Americans pay $170 billion a year in fees while waiting for their next paycheck. That includes $6 billion in payday loan fees, $10 billion in late fees, and $35 billion in bank overdraft fees. And according to the New York Times, there are now more payday loan stores in the United States than there are McDonald’s restaurants. Sabina shares with us how expensive being poor truly is and how PayActiv is working to get that money that workers have earned into their hands faster to alleviate these predatory financial practices. To kick us off, Sabina, share with us your journey to PayActiv. You’re an accomplished C-suite leader with a ton of experience in the financial sector.
[02:08] Sabina Bhatia I’m just so curious, what got you interested in finance and led you to where you are today? Ben, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. Ben, you know, my finance background goes back about 30 years. So I actually spent 20 years on Wall Street in New York City working at hedge funds as a hedge fund analyst. So my background does come from finance. You know, the usual, got my MBA in finance, and you know, just followed that journey. And then, you know, 2008 happened. And 2008 gave me an opportunity to rethink what I would like to do with all the experience I had gathered on Wall Street with banks, with hedge funds. And I thought it was an opportunity for me to really fill in that gap of fintech. I’ve always been fascinated by technology, but I’m not a technologist by career or academically. So I’m not an engineer. But I appreciate what they do. And so to fill that tech background, I decided to, you know, move to California with Silicon Valley and its relevance. And I had lived in California once before, so I just love to move back to Silicon Valley. And I came here and I joined PayActiv. My background is also of building startups of all kinds. And so that’s just something I enjoy. And at that point, PayActiv was a startup. So it was a great opportunity for me to learn more the technology side of how to combine both finance and technology and to build another organization.
[03:53] Benn Marine Hence, I moved here in 2015 to help build PayActiv. That’s great. Amazing. And so what exactly does PayActiv do?
[04:02] Sabina Bhatia How does it work? Our founder, Dr. Safran Shah, he invented the category of earned wage access. You’ll also hear it as EWA, but that’s really what it is, earned wage access. And the purpose of PayActiv and our solution is really to free the American worker from the two-week pay cycle. So as the word PayActiv suggests, we activate pay. It’s easily understood by taking an example of the hourly worker. Think about an hourly worker who comes to work every day. They clock in, they work through the day, and they clock out. And they follow that process on a daily basis between a pay period and then hits the day they get paid. But they have to wait to get paid even for the hours that they’ve completed. So the funds are clogged somewhere. And what PayActiv has done is we are a technology solution that allows the user, the employee, to access a percentage of what they’ve earned but have been unpaid between pay periods. The main purpose of that being giving them the liquidity. So they don’t have to be exposed to many of those predatory fees like payday loan fees, overdraft fees, late fees, disconnect fees, those things that interrupt their day-to-day life and gets them disengaged at work. So we are a B2B solution. We go through the employer route and we get a buy-in from the employer who really wants to create a better life for their people. And we give them access to this benefit. So it’s the value proposition of the user I already explained, but for the employer, it’s a huge recruitment retention tool. Today it’s escalated, right? The problem has been escalated, but employers have to deal with the whole Gen Z population, the gig workers, the freelancers, you know, I can go on. But just in the U.S., approximately 36% of the workforce considers themselves to be freelancers, which means turnover is a big issue. You know, retention becomes a big issue, right? So it helps to solve that problem for the employer. So the employer is saying, stay with me, come work with me. I will give you access to your pay. Your day is done. You can get paid any day.
[06:57] Benn Marine So it’s an all-encompassing solution both for the employer and for the employee. That’s amazing. And that’s so exciting too. And I think it’ll be really exciting for folks, especially in the B Corp community, who are always thinking about these types of solutions and how to help their employees. I know of a program that’s become popular is like Payment Advance, but that’s more of like a loan. So like an employer will like grant an employee a loan and there may or may not be interest attached to that. Banks have to be involved like this whole thing. So for employers that are like, oh, this is an even better solution than that. One of the things and I imagine this comes up as a question. I know sometimes like time sheets have to be verified or whatever by a manager or something like that. Are employers still able to verify, oh, yep, they were here. They showed up. They worked. And like, yes, they can access those funds.
[07:50] Sabina Bhatia Or what does it look on the user side for the employer? I love the fact that you talked about time sheets because before I started here, when I actually learned a lot about technology that I always appreciated, this is a generation of time attendance data. Everything is automated. So we work very closely with a laundry list of payroll systems and time attendance systems. So we have integrated solutions where we get confirmed day to day hours on employees every day. And what they access is really what they’ve worked. So the hours are verified on a daily basis and sometimes two, three times a day because like a hospital system might have six different shifts, right? A warehouse might have more than two shifts. So we get that data in an automated fashion and we ingest the system and then we convert that data, that time that has been punched in and punched out by the employee, we convert that to the liquidity that they can access. So going back, we are a technology solution that converts time into the liquidity that they can access. So it’s a very easy process. We’ve gotten employers live in three to five business days and the data that we ask for is the data that the employer already uses to process payroll. So there really isn’t much of a change for the employer, which of course the employer loves. In addition to that, it is a zero cost solution for the employer. So if you think about it, we don’t charge the employer anything. If we can help the employer keep even one employee, we’ve actually saved them a lot of money, right? So the ROI for our benefit to the employer is infinite.
[10:07] Benn Marine We are actually helping them make money and save money. So that’s how it essentially works. That’s amazing. It’s not a replacement for payroll, but more like working in tandem with whatever payroll
[10:22] Sabina Bhatia service they might already have. Exactly. An excellent way of addressing is we are not replacing anything, which really allows us
[10:33] Benn Marine to get the benefit in the hands of the employees in a few business days. It’s just an add-on. That’s amazing. Are there certain sectors that you’ve seen this is the most helpful for or tends to be
[10:48] Sabina Bhatia the most successful within? So yes, there are some sectors that are more popular than the others, but really, we are going to talk about B Corps today. We’re going to talk about social responsibility, social mission, purpose. For us, our client is our user. So irrelevant to the size of the organization, the industry, sector, we will serve all of them, right? Because we are trying to make an impact on our user base. Once we have that impact, it’s a positive experience for the employer, for communities, you know, and so on. So when you talk about sectors, yes, you know, talk about any sector that has an hourly work force, we are there. So retail is big, logistics is big, call centers are huge, right? But we also have several banks and we serve their tellers who are hourly workers, right? And there are also credit unions that are our business. They’re retail firms that are our business. So, you know, we serve businesses across the board. It is definitely more popular in organizations that have a large hourly force. But let’s not forget, the median income of our hourly workforce is about $37,000 a year. You know, that barely gets you through the livelihood needs, the day to day needs.
[12:35] Benn Marine Along with them come, you know, supervisors and managers of the hourly workforce that might be salaried, but they don’t make enough to get by, right? So we will serve all, not just the hourly workforce, but, you know, we believe if you earned it and if you need it, you should be able to access your hours, period. I love that you mentioned B Corp and Mission and all of those things. Let’s just go there. Let’s jump right in. I know you mentioned early on earned wage access. Can you dive a little bit deeper into that and kind of unpack that concept for us and how folks can be thinking about the importance of that in their own mission work as B Corps
[13:22] Sabina Bhatia and organizations? Sure. So I’ve always believed personally and professionally that what you do is important, but how you do it is even more important, right? So how we do it is by being a B Corp. B Corp is important to us. Conscious Capitalism is important to us. And you know, we can do deep dives on B Corp, but I don’t believe that is what our purposes today, our purpose is really to explain why we are doing it the way we do it. And there are, you know, of course, every level of B Corp is important, but today we have a score of 103.4, you know. So let’s start by saying that we are there. We are meeting standards. That if you take a look at an entire impact assessment, I would put the governance piece that the B Corp status is the highest level of commitment for a certified B Corp, right? That it ensures that our mission will survive as we scale. Not just that, but our investors are fully committed to that mission. So we have the backing and the commitment. Now in addition to that is really how we look at our customer base and what impact we are making. Today, P-Active has saved over 2 million hourly workers nearly a billion dollars in penalties. And I do want to talk about that because that is really the big impact that we are making. So allow me to talk to you a little bit about the user base and the impact that we are making. Yes, please. So here’s a reality check, right? In order to fill small gaps of $180, $90 between paychecks, right, that liquidity, costly fees are paid, right? An overdraft fee, just an overdraft fee alone could be $35, right? And when they don’t have those funds, where does our user base go if they don’t have access to P-Active, right? We run tons of surveys and here are the results, right? They always say that numbers and stories are easy to remember and believe, right? When we ran a survey, 44% said that they would have to borrow from friends and family. Ben, that is not easy. You and I know that is not easy. How shameful it is for me to, you know, go to my parents, to my family, to my friends and say, hey, you know what? I need $80 to get through the day. That’s a tough call, right? And it’s not a good situation to be in. About 30% said that they would have to go to payday loans. Some of the APRs on payday loans have no caps. So a user could be paying back thousands of dollars just to borrow a couple of hundred dollars. And out of the user base, you talk about that $35 overdraft fee. That’s 27% of them are paying just overdraft fees. So I’ve just put in a couple of fees there to mention. That if you actually add all the predatory fees that our user base could be paying, it’s close to about $250 billion wasted on fees like that paid by our people, right? Every year. Just give them access to whatever they’ve earned, only what they’ve earned. This is not a loan. This is not an advance. You’re not accessing it early. Just give them those few hundred dollars so they don’t have to pay all these fees. They show up to work on time. They’re excited. They start saving. Instead of spending all that money on fees, put that money into a savings account. Or use it for emergencies. Use it for a family vacation. Have a good Thanksgiving, right? If you’re hardworking, you deserve all those things. So that is how we are doing it. That is the impact that we are making. But when we speak to employers, and after this I’ll pause because I’ve been speaking for a while and you’re very quietly just listening, which makes me wonder you’re going to ask me some difficult questions. But you know, when we speak to employers, employers tell us that, okay, once they fulfill that earned wage access need, well, what’s next? We want them to grow. We want them to be excited to be able to save. So you must provide us a more holistic benefit. So that’s exactly what our platform does. EWA is a piece of it. It is the start to the journey for our user. In addition to that, we provide the multiple discounts that they can use for their day to day needs of transportation, grocery. They can get gas discounts on our platform. A gas discount, 10, 15 cents off a gallon of gas. They can get access to prescription discounts, right? Just the day to day needs, right? But along with that, we have goal based savings. So we have many other services within our platform like accessing an Uber ride. You don’t have to worry about going into an Uber app and putting your cart and what if you have a cart that has no funds in it? How are you going to take an Uber ride? Right. You can have a thousand dollars in your pocket in cash. You cannot take an Uber ride if you don’t have a car to put in there. Right. But from our app, they can grab an Uber ride and show up at work, which is where the user’s journey starts. Right. Now I have income because I’m able to show up at work and work. Right. So this is after the feedback we got from employers that we expanded our platform. And last but not the least, we’ve also built a piece of the platform that’s called Connect that connects the employer to the hourly workforce, that community link. Right. Because we need a buy in from the employer. And given the way we are doing these things and the impact that we are making, the employer is there to care for their people and say, I want to solve the problem for you, because now I have this platform that allows me to do it and see the impact.
[20:41] Benn Marine Absolutely. And I’m curious, too. So speaking of all of those predatory fees and things, and I’ll totally own myself. You know, I struggled with credit card debt for a long time. Right. I wonder how I mean, and some of those fees are like 20, 25 percent. I mean, up to twenty nine point nine percent. I’m curious. Have you seen a lot of folks turning to credit cards in some of the way that those can also be financially crippling? Did that show up in that research at all?
[21:08] Sabina Bhatia You know, it’s there. Absolutely. It’s there. The credit card fees are there. But do remember that if you don’t have access to your finances and you don’t have the opportunity to have the right, you know, credit scores and the ability to get credit, not everyone has a credit card. True. Right. Yeah. Sometimes I feel it’s a good thing. Right. They don’t. Because you should really just have access to your hard earned work. Right. So, you know, credit cards don’t become a huge problem. The problem that we face is all these predatory fees that lead to overdrafts, you know, disconnect fees, administration fee, you know, things like that. Right. Not having access to your utilities, not being able to have access to food and transportation. Right. So it’s not easy for them to get a credit card. What really happens is they borrow from family or they go to payday loan places, you know, just the way I addressed earlier. It’s basically additional expense just for being poor, not having access to finance. Right. I mean, that’s what it sounds like it comes down to. Yeah. I mean, it’s very expensive to be poor. Right. If you take what is estimated for 2021, it’s approximately 250 billion. Right. In these fees and interest in 2019, it was 189 billion. And, you know, what do they what are they made up of? Right. 73 percent are your personal loans or credit card. You know, just the way you asked. 73 percent personal loans or credit cards. 17 percent and you’re going to be shocked. Money orders, check cashing or bill payment services. Right. Because if if you are underbanked means, you know, you have a few hundred dollars in your bank account, your bank is not going to give you the ability for online bill pay, free checks, things like that. So what do you have to do is you have to go to one of these check cashing places or get a money order or actually go to these check cashing places to pay a bill. Then what happens is that they pay a fee to pay a bill. That makes no sense. I’m already paying my bill on time. Why are you charging me a fee to pay my bill on time? Right. But 17 percent of those fees go towards that. And then five percent will go towards payday loans, pawn shops. Right. You know, tax refund anticipation loans. You know, and you’ll see some of that now that we’re going into April. Right. And then, you know, they go to these, you know, car places, auto loan places, and you get rent to own or auto title loans, you know, things like that. So all this put together makes about 250 billion. And if you think about the things that I mentioned, those things can be avoided by just giving them access to about 100 bucks every payroll period. That’s it. Wow. That’s amazing. So that’s what makes it expensive to be poor. I’ll give you another example, which, you know, day to day life, you’ll totally get it. You have an option to buy a pack of 24 paper towel rolls from Costco. OK, that’s going to cost you whatever 25 bucks. Right. But you have to afford to pay 70, 80 bucks for the membership on an annual basis. And you have to afford to pay 25 dollars just for the paper rolls. OK, now, the alternative is I’m going to walk into one of those little mom and pop shops and a little strip mall and I’m going to pay four dollars for one paper roll that could have cost me 89 cents in Costco. But what is cheaper? The membership fee and 25 bucks or four bucks. And I got one paper roll and I got by through the day. Right. So the amount I pay per unit is so much higher because I cannot afford to pay 25 dollars plus 65 or 70 dollars. Right. So once again, it became very expensive for me just because I did not have the funds in Costco. Right. So those little things happen and people don’t think about it.
[26:08] Benn Marine But that is how they’re solving their problems. Which I feel like compounds the issue of how do folks, you know, I feel like in America, we have this like pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality. Right. And the reality is a lot of folks don’t have access to be able to do that for these very reasons. Right. That the ability to accumulate wealth is is challenging because of these financial barriers. I’m curious, how can folks that are listening, what are things that aside from also reaching out to pay active and seeing how they how they can get involved with you all, what are what are some policies that business owners can can use to help help with this issue?
[26:50] Sabina Bhatia I’ll start by saying that all of us in the B Corp community, right, we are all following the best practices assigned. Right. You have a buy in from us. Right. And the community. I think the first thing we need to do is all the B Corp’s need to support one another. Every B Corp. Right. Whether it’s Patagonia or it’s atheletam, just throwing in the brands that I’m familiar with. Right. Need to step up and say, I can solve this problem. Right. The liquidity issue by providing EWA to my people. It is the right thing to do because I don’t want the 250 billion wasted. Right. In this economy. Why don’t they use that money, take the liquidity and throw it back into the economy that they are helping us build? These hourly workers are helping us build our economy. Let them inject that liquidity into the economy. And I’m going to stand up and I’m going to support one other B Corp for what they have created. Right. I’m telling you, if I had the choice to buy a jacket from some organization versus Patagonia, I’ll walk into Patagonia. Because I know my money is being put to good. Right. So I think that is just the start. Right. We at Payactive are supporting the mission. We are growing with the best practices assigned to us. We are being measured by a third party on a regular basis to make sure that we are doing the right thing. So I think the first step forward is let’s all come together and support each other businesses. That’s where I would start.
[28:42] Benn Marine That makes a lot of sense. And speaking of B Corp certification, as you mentioned, you all have a score of 103.4. You’ve been certified since 2015. How did you all find B Corp certification? What about it is something that feels most valuable to you all?
[29:02] Sabina Bhatia So I will say that we didn’t start as a B Corp. Right. Our social mission, the impact that we are making to be a business for good, to have a purpose, that’s in our DNA. We started with that way before we became a B Corp. So that was already in our DNA. And then we thought that to actually have a third party come and help us with best practices and build that community and spread the word would be an upside. Right. So that’s really the path we followed. And today we believe, you know, businesses have the power, the influence to do the right. Right. We can make an impact on communities. So we are now growing with that trifecta impact on our mind. Let’s take care of our client user. That impact we will see in the economy and we will see the impact on our business. But we need to start there. Right. I’ll give you another example as to why we say we need to start there and why the liquidity is important and why we need to solve this problem. OK. And I’ll also admit, I tell everyone I do not want to talk about the pandemic anymore. I am tired about talking about the pandemic. Can we please move forward? Like, let’s not blame it.
[30:29] Benn Marine I think we’re all there.
[30:31] Sabina Bhatia Let’s not blame it for everything. Right. Right. So I just ran short of water, but it’s because of the pandemic. Let’s just stop. OK. So but I have to say that when the pandemic happened, people talk about that one vaccine that you and I bought. Right. But there was actually two vaccines that were provided to the people. One was really, you know, your vaccine for, you know, the virus to make yourself better, to make yourself healthy. But there was another vaccine that was given to our people, and that was the stimulus check. Right. And that stimulus check got people by. Right. So so what we did during the pandemic was to try and solve that financial problem. Then the whole definition of the essential worker grew and changed during the pandemic. So today, the person who comes and drops off your Amazon package, the caregiver who’s taking care of our elderly, the hospital staff that takes care of us when we go in there, someone who’s working in a warehouse, the person at a grocery store, they are all essential workers. So, you know, providing that stimulus check got them going.
[32:02] Benn Marine But these are the people who kept our economy running during the pandemic. We have to help them participate in that economy that they’ve helped us build. So that is where our head is, and that is where our heart is in our business. That’s amazing. That makes so much sense. If someone’s listening to this and like, oh, my gosh, that sounds amazing. You know, I want to use pay active. What’s the best? Should they just go to your website or how do they how do they learn more?
[32:33] Sabina Bhatia Sure. You know, our website is there. It’s pay active dot com. There is no E in pay active. But even better, if you want to learn more about what we are doing in a bigger way, even beyond just EWA, you can go to our we have our film, which is it’s about time, the film dot com. And you can learn a lot more about pay active, the impact that we are making and the support that we have from other organizations, academic staff of universities and organizations, you know, data centric studies that have been done to see the impact.
[33:19] Benn Marine So they can learn a lot more from that website. That’s amazing. And I’m curious, what advice do you have for other folks that are
[33:27] Sabina Bhatia more generally looking to use business as a force for good? You have the power. You know, we tell HR, they are not just human resources. They are the source to make the change. Let’s step up as a community and make that change. It is very gratifying. You’ll see the impact immediately. And, you know, you started by talking about my journey, you know, coming from spending 20 years at hedge funds, which was a beautiful journey. But I served a different audience. And today I can see the impact on a day to day basis and with the audience I serve because I speak to users every day. So that would be my advice. But once again, what you do is important. But how you do it is very important. I’m curious, what has been some of the most rewarding moments of this work for you? Some great stories, right? A user telling us that I didn’t get evicted because I was short $135. I paid that $135 and I have a home. Right. Another user saying that it is a Sunday and I don’t have to worry about my food for the next one week, but I’m going to go to work and pay for transportation also. Another user telling me that, you know, my child had an emergency at 2.30 a.m. Right. And I didn’t have to worry about taking my child to the emergency room by grabbing an Uber ride. And I didn’t have to worry about which card is linked to an Uber account and whether there’s money in there or not. They went into our app, they grabbed an Uber ride and took their child to emergency room. Right. So really taking care of food transportation emergencies, you hear those stories and you’re like, oh my God, that’s it? It was just a hundred bucks. That’s all. And then over and above that, the whole dignity issue, right? Never have to go to your friends and family to ask for money. Never. We all know how difficult that is. Doesn’t matter what you do, who you are. You know, it’s shameful to have to do that. And so when you hear those stories, you skip a heartbeat, you get goosebumps. Oh my God, I actually did that?
[36:00] Benn Marine You know, so I think that is the most gratifying for being part of the pay after journey. Yeah, I think it’s so important. The thing too is I feel like finance is such an important role. I mean, it literally touches everybody’s life, whether you like it or not. Finances are part of your life, right? But it’s also, I feel like, really hard to wrap your arms around. Or at least for me, I feel that way. It’s like, oh shoot, do you pay debt? There’s just so much to it. It’s just such a complicated thing. And so I think to be able to have a service like this out there that’s helping folks navigate those financial services, it’s just so important.
[36:47] Sabina Bhatia It’s so important. Well, I’ll tell you, Ben, when I first moved to the U.S. from India, right after I finished high school in India, I moved to New York. And now you’ll know how old I am. I moved to New York in 1990 to start my undergrad, right? And so when I started in New York, one of my favorite shows, don’t repeat that, one of my favorite shows used to be Roseanne. I used to watch Roseanne. I don’t know if you watch Roseanne or not, but I used to watch Roseanne all the time. And, you know, it is the quintessential American family trying to get by, just trying to get by. And what Roseanne and her husband, Dan, used to do, they used to dodge bills constantly. OK, they used to call their utility service and say, oh, I’ve sent the check. So now that gives them five business days. Now they use that money for something else. And then when those five business days come, by then they’ve probably gotten a little loan to pay that immediately to avoid a disconnect notice. Right. And when I used to see the show, you know, I didn’t think much about it. I was still young. I was growing up. I didn’t know what I was doing. For me, it was just trying to get used to what the American culture is like. Right. Because I had come from a developing country. And for me to see that was, oh, it happens here, too. Right. So to think that now I understand what that life is like. So in the U.S., one of the richest countries in the world, there is a third world country in the belly of America that lives like that. Right. And it’s we need to solve the problem. How is it that in the richest country in this world, the most powerful country in this world,
[38:47] Benn Marine right, about 46 percent of the workforce lives like this? How is that acceptable? But, you know, we can’t solve all the problems. But I think what we’re doing here at P-Active is a start. So we would love more support from the B Corp community. What drew you to finance? Like, has it always kind of been like your trajectory of like, how can I help people in finance or was it more evolutionary?
[39:14] Sabina Bhatia So when I first came into the U.S., I actually came to become a lawyer. And so, but I for whatever reason, right, I was in New York City. My school was a block from Wall Street and I was completely enamored by everything that happens on Wall Street, the power, the finance, the impact, things like that. So I decided to go down the route of finance. But then as I grew in the finance community, I learned about the changes I can make and the things I could do with my knowledge. Right. I obviously did not go in with a 10-bullet plan. As I grew in the community, I understood the power of the knowledge that I had. So when I started at P-Active, I already understood that whole predatory loan problem that we deal with and the fact that my past 20 years really wasn’t serving, finding a solution for that 250 billion. Right. I was maybe part of the problem. Right. But it’s great knowledge to have and say, oh my God, I can do all these things with everything I’ve learned. So, you know, as you grow, you say these are the things I can do and these are the things I need to stop doing. Right. And so I used my knowledge and the things that I’ve learned in the past, at great organizations with great bosses, right, and the great intel that I had on Wall Street to come and make an impact over here.
[41:13] Benn Marine That’s amazing. And I feel like that’s such an important story because for so many people, there’s a lot of feeling of guilt of like, oh my gosh, this work I’ve done for 20, 30 years isn’t, you know, I learned a thing and now, oh my gosh, all this work I’ve done isn’t having the impact I hoped it would or maybe I’m creating more harm than good than I realized or whatnot. And I think what people have to remember is you can always pivot, right? Like just because what you used to doesn’t mean that’s what you always have to do or right. I’m curious, do you have any advice for folks in making that pivot or kind of rounding that corner?
[41:51] Sabina Bhatia I’ve always believed that it’s never too late to make a change. I’ve also believed that, and I think I practice it, I believe I practice it, to reinvent yourself, there’s nothing wrong with that, right? You’ll also reinvent yourself with what you have from the past, right? So you’ve already made use of the past, right? So that is also great. Sometimes it’s a change is good, right? There’s nothing wrong with change. Change is good. It could be a lot more fun, right? So I encourage people to do that. That is something I practice.
[42:30] Benn Marine I do different things every few years and I grow through that and it expands my opportunity base. So if someone is hesitant, hey, give it a shot. There’s nothing to lose. That’s amazing.
[42:46] Sabina Bhatia Any parting advice or final thoughts you want to leave folks with? Thank you so much for having me. I keep reiterating just doing what you do is not enough. You have to do it the right way. You have to do it the right way. And so, you know, for us to go by the best practices of the B Corp, you know, keeps us in check and we like that. And I would say I encourage all other B Corps to learn from one another and grow from one another and support each other’s businesses.
[43:45] Benn Marine Thank you so much for tuning into the Respond to the Different podcast. As always, I’ve got relevant links for you in the show notes, including the film It’s About Time, which I highly recommend you check out. It’s only 15 minutes long and you can stream it right from the show notes. It is a really well done documentary that is eye opening and put some great context around the conversation we had with Sabina. Also, today is March 31st, International Transgender Day of Visibility. For listeners new to the show, this feels like a great time to share with you all that I, Ben Marine, am a transgender man. That means I was assigned female at birth and identify and move through the world as a man. If you want to learn more about how you can be a better ally to the transgender community, I recommend checking out the episode we put together on pronouns, which will also be linked to in the show notes. And to my fellow trans folks in the audience, happy Transgender Day of Visibility. A quick update on our B Corp journey. We’re officially in the verification process and are hoping to be certified this summer. For folks wondering about the process, after you submit your B Impact Assessment, when it’s your turn and you come up in the queue, and I would caution to definitely be patient, we were in the queue for about a year, you’ll get assigned an evaluation analyst. Think of this as your pre-flight check, if you will. They do an overview of your documents and if after that process you’re still above 80 points, you get advanced to verification. We just got advanced into verification only a week or so ago, so as we learn more about the process, I’ll be sure to share that with you all. If you have questions, of course, certainly reach out to us. Happy to support you all in any way that we can. Swing by the responsiblydifferent.com site and drop us a note in the contact form. Thank you for tuning in and thank you for all the work that you are doing out in the universe. We’re all in this together. Till next time, be responsibly different. This is a production of Dear Go Collective. To learn more about Dear Go Collective, head on over to deargocollective.com. That’s D-I-R-I-G-O collective.com. This episode was hosted and produced by yours truly, Ben Marine. To learn more about Responsibly Different and discover all the other content we have for you, head on over to responsiblydifferent.com.