There is no doubt about the moment FinLocker software engineer Matthew Klein found his calling.
“The first time I saw a computer, I was fascinated,” Klein said. “I explored every inch. I would go to the library and get on the computer just to see what I could do with it.”
By the time Klein reached high school, it was full STEM ahead. He joined his school’s robotics team, and after creating a robot with a fully functional automatic targeting system, went all the way to the FIRST Robotics Competition world championship.
The technically inclined Klein went on to major in computer science and minor in mathematics at the University of Missouri — St. Louis. There, inspired by friends studying in fields like nursing and law, his vision for a career in software development began to take shape.
“When they talked about their passions, it was always related to helping people,” Klein said. “Software development is so broad that you can work almost anywhere, so I made the conscious decision to work for a company where I would be helping people as well.”
Just after graduation, Klein found what he was looking for at FinLocker. The financial fitness platform helps people develop healthy financial habits so they can realize their financial goals, with an emphasis on preparing consumers for homeownership.
"The company has an honorable mission — to help consumers take control of their finances so they can make confident decisions."
“The company has an honorable mission — to help consumers take control of their finances so they can make confident decisions,” he said.
At FinLocker, a 40-plus-person startup based in St. Louis with a second office in DC, Klein is part of the company’s mobile team. FinLocker is quickly growing its tech team, which, Klein said, has opened up a wealth of opportunities to shape the direction and vision for the app, build a brand new features and make an impact on the growing platform.
FinLocker is a B2B2C company, so while its direct clients are mortgage lenders and financial institutions, the platform itself is designed for their customers — everyday consumers and aspiring homebuyers. The platform is branded to each company and, using proprietary analytics, provides end-users with the tools and education to monitor and manage their credit, budget and build savings, and make informed financial decisions as they work to become mortgage-ready. Once prepared to purchase a home, the platform offers a streamlined mortgage application and the ability to track its progress from a simple, single-pane view. It also serves anyone looking to become more financially fit as part of a homeownership journey, whether they’re looking to pay off student loans, buy a car or improve their credit.
While Klein said that for his role as a developer, expertise in finance wasn’t a prerequisite, he has learned a significant amount about the mortgage industry while working on the app. Although it hasn’t come without a couple of speed bumps.
“During my very first week at FinLocker, I worked on building the HELOC [Home Equity Line of Credit] calculator,” Klein said. “In my first demo, I pronounced it ‘hell lock,’ to much amusement.”
In line with the Midwestern company’s friendly, easygoing vibes, his peers had a good laugh. In general, FinLocker encourages the kind of relaxed camaraderie and communication that makes it a great place for technologists to learn and grow in their careers, without the micromanagement or busy work many young technologists encounter early on.
“Management gives us real ownership over the work,” Klein said. “We’re invited to major meetings and can voice our concerns. I appreciate that as a developer.”
Since he first set eyes on a computer as a kid, Klein has known what he wants to do. FinLocker has given him the opportunity to build a career around what he loves most — and to do it in a way that keeps him inspired.
“If I can’t do my best work, I’d rather not do it at all,” he said. “FinLocker allows us to take the time to make sure that what we’re releasing is our very best, and empowers us to make the work our own.”-30-