Diversity & Inclusion
Events / Finance

Two banking leaders bringing fintech group to Wilmington

A new meetup group, Fintech Cafe, looks to bring excitement to Wilmington's dominant industry. AIG's Steven Aller and Barclays' Safwan Zaheer are behind the effort.

What if Wilmington was home to more innovations in financial technology? (Photo by Flickr user Håkan Dahlström, used under a Creative Commons license)

At AIG, Steven Aller and his team are charged with using big data and analytics to help innovate insurance.
Prior to working at AIG, the Malvern, Pa., resident and MIT Sloan School of Management grad also worked with Citibank, Oliver Wyman and the National Bank of Malvern. He’s also worked with both large and regional banks during the recession. As senior director, Aller currently splits his time working at AIG’s offices in New York and remotely from The Loft in Wilmington.
With years of experience in insurance and banking under his belt, the time is now, he said, to help push the slow-to-change field forward.
And Wilmington, he says, is the place to do that.
“Insurance hasn’t seen the same changes as consumer banking,” Aller said. “It’s a great time for all areas of financial services.”
Aller and fellow MIT Sloan grad Safwan Zaheer, the Global Product and Strategy Leader at Barclays, decided they themselves could help spur innovation in the banking sector, particularly in Wilmington where the streets are lined with big banks.
From there, Fintech Cafe — a new Meetup group aimed at innovation in financial services — was born. The group will host its first meeting Thursday, Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilmington. Food and drink will be provided.
During the inaugural session, Bob Savino, CTO of Moven, a Philadelphia-based mobile banking service that helps users spend smarter, is the featured speaker. In 1999, Savino worked for Wingspan Bank in Delaware, one of online banking’s first busts.
“He’s a perfect example of what we should be seeing more in Wilmington,” Aller said. “It dawned on us that there was no social group, no business networking group. Everyone goes to work in Wilmington and then they leave and they go home.”
The group is starting off with monthly meetups, but Aller said he hopes it can expand to include panel discussions, pitch competitions and even accelerator programs.
Aller said he and Zaheer are pushing hard for the group this week, telling friends, former colleagues, banking leaders and so on about the new group. Aller is also reaching out to a local MIT chapter, Princeton and Wharton clubs, along with banks throughout the Wilmington area.
Aller believes Fintech Cafe can be a driver for attracting more attention to Delaware’s financial community.
“If the area is driving cool projects, we should see more and more of a budget for hiring those people in the area,” Aller said. “It’s a symbiotic system that will help everyone.”

Companies: Moven / The Loft

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