Poulomi Damany has centered her career around how technology and data can be used to create insights that transform how we make decisions in our lives.
Damany has had quite the impressive resume with her career, and formerly worked with the Obama administration as a digital services expert for the U.S. Digital Service, a startup at the White House that teamed up technology professionals with public servants to improve the country’s digital services.
After leaving that role, Damany said she was drawn towards the fintech industry because she saw that people were disrupting the sector with innovative technologies but also fundamentally helping people manage their finances.
Now, Damany serves as Credit Karma’s General Manager of Assets where she manages the company’s business unit.
Damany spoke with FinLedger about her strategy for the year, investments in the fintech space and more.
Interview article has been edited for brevity and clarity.
FL: Tell me about Credit Karma’s investments in financial technology?
Damany: We have, in partnership with the Bureau, the ability to pull your credit score in real time and share that with you. We have a number of different things that we pull in, in terms of information that’s provided by the consumer when they sign up.
For instance, customers say ‘my goal is to own a home in three years,’ or, ‘this is how much I expect to pay for my utilities,’ etc. There’s a lot of data that we collect. What we’re trying to do is use AI and machine learning to make in context recommendations for users. When you log into Credit Karma, the first thing you see is the story feed. That is the most important thing we want to tell you. It says ‘Congratulations, you paid off six payments in a row’ or ‘your credit utilization has gone down, great job’ etc. It allows us to make these actionable insights by using both the data and the technology that we have behind the scenes. As we add more capabilities around Credit Karma Money, we’ll have more insight into their spend and their goals around savings.
FL: What is your overall strategy going forward for the year?
Damany: We want to automate a lot of things that help people who have difficulty trying to make decisions in the moment. Automation is like a new discipline. We can help you set up automated deposits, like putting $10 a month into your savings account.
There’s also a feature that I’m super excited about called Instant Karma. Instant Karma is a way for us to reward members for using money they have in their accounts by randomly refunding purchases made with their Credit Karma debit card. What we found was the surprise and delight of this was so powerful that it was a way for us to nudge that positive behavior. Most often, people use their debit card to make everyday purchases, with this, we’re encouraging people to spend the money they have and not load on debt.
FL: What advice do you have for women in the fintech field?
Damany: There’s always something that I’ve learned in my previous role that is applicable to the new one. I learned a lot about AI at large, data processing and the ad tech world at my previous company. Now I’m using that knowledge to help people make financial decisions. There’s always the ability to translate. I would say to not give into imposter syndrome… You learn how to learn, I think that’s one [piece of advice]. And the second [piece of advice] is that technologies and experiences you have are transferable across industries. You just have to frame what you know and what you could be good at in a very different way.