HelloWallet Launches with First Bank Partner

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In May of last year, Morningstar purchased HelloWallet for $52.5 million. This week, the startup appears to be broadening its business model by launching with its first bank partner, KeyBank.

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Since rolling out in 2009, HelloWallet has distributed its PFM platform to employers to offer their employees as a benefit. By adding banks to its distribution partners, the startup will reach more users.

Matt Fellowes is the founder of HelloWallet and was recently named Chief Innovation Officer at Morningstar. Fellowes states:

“Our goal is to democratize access to financial guidance for all Americans. Working with KeyBank is a tremendous opportunity to offer the bank’s clients consistent, personalized guidance so they can feel confident in their ability to make well-informed financial decisions.”

The Cleveland-based institution will use HelloWallet to offer customers a free financial health score, ranging from 1 to 100. The scores assess users’ financial health and allow them to compare themselves against peers.

HelloWallet will also offer external account aggregation, a first for KeyBank. By adding external bank account information, customers will see a full picture of their overall finances.

The financial wellness program will roll out in phases over the course of this year.

HelloWallet demonstrated at FinovateSpring 2011.

HelloWallet Acquired by Morningstar in $52.5 Million Deal

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It’s been a week of exits for Finovate alums.

Earlier this week, we reported on the news that Check had been acquired by fintech giant, Intuit. Today we learn that HelloWallet, a Finovate alum from FinovateSpring 2011, has just been purchased by Morningstar.

The total value of the deal is $52.5 million. But because Morningstar already had invested in the PFM startup, the company will have to pay only an additional $39 million for HelloWallet.

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HelloWallet has been referred to as part of the Mint-like world of personal finance management solutions. The technology leverages artificial intelligence and behavioral analysis to better understand how we process financial information. This research is incorporated into HelloWallet with the goal of providing highly personalized, prospective financial guidance to American workers and employees.
“We show both the past as well as the future,” said HelloWallet CEO Matt Fellowes during his demonstration of the technology at Finovate.
The level of granular detail available is one of of the pluses of the HelloWallet platform. Matt suggested that in his experience as a consumer financial specialist, he has seen how missing the smaller expenses is often what undermines most people’s ability to plan for their financial future. HelloWallet responds to this not only with the amount of detail it provides, but also with 100s of personalizable recommendations ranging from budgetary suggestions to goal-setting to tactics for boosting income.
HelloWallet’s business model sets itself apart from its peers and rivals by focusing on businesses and their employees rather than on financial institutions and their customers. This approach appears to have paid off for HelloWallet, which says it has more than 350,000 subscriptions to its service, and claims to have provided guidance to more than one million American working families.
The synergies between Morningstar and HelloWallet lay in the potential to develop what they call “holistic” retirement solutions. Morningstar is a juggernaut in the world of equity and mutual fund information and analysis, and is the largest provider of managed retirement programs in the U.S.
In a blog post at HelloWallet, the company emphasized that the acquisition will help rather than hinder or complicate HelloWallet’s project. They wrote:
“Most important to know is that Morningstar is fiercely independent and committed to amplifying HelloWallet’s mission to democratize access to holistic financial guidance for American workers.”
HelloWallet has had a busy 2014. The company launched its Insights app in February, and has announced partnerships with Aon Hewitt and Vanguard to bring financial wellness solutions and better retirement planning to American workers.
Founded in 2008 and based in Washington, D.C., HelloWallet launched its technology in May 2011. See a video of the company’s FinovateSpring 2011 demo here.