MUSCATINE, Iowa–After graduating from Muscatine High School in 2015, Justin Dwyer did not quite know where he wanted life to take him next. He enrolled at the University of Iowa to study business, but felt unsure of what he truly wanted to focus on. Dwyer had some interest in finance, so he started exploring any interesting opportunity he came across, both through his classes and outside of school. He also participated in the university’s Startup Games, which challenge students to design a viable business plan in only three days.
Over time, Dwyer’s interest in using data analytics to guide financial decision making and entrepreneurship grew, and he began studying at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Through his advanced business planning capstone, Dwyer had the opportunity to interview current business owners through social media and learn about how they successfully started companies of their own. Through this process, Dwyer met Blesson Abraham, a serial entrepreneur looking to start a finance company called Cambio, which would provide products to help people unable to access typical banking services and build better credit.
Intrigued, Dwyer wanted to learn more about Abraham’s ideas about starting a challenger bank with rewards programs that encouraged good financial habits. When Abraham offered him an internship during his senior year, he gladly accepted it.
Dwyer enjoyed working with Abraham immensely, as helping people in difficult financial situations appealed to him. As he explained it, “to improve the quality of life for people I know is very rewarding.”
After graduating in December 2020, Dwyer started working for Cambio fulltime as their product development lead and marketing lead. With his help, Cambio developed a variety of products to help people improve their credit. Like other virtual banks, Cambio offers standard banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, debit cards, and online access to accounts. However, instead of offering rewards programs that encourage spending, Cambio offers incentives to those who develop sound financial habits.
By completing financial literacy activities geared at getting people to make small, sustainable changes to their spending habits, participants build their Cambio Score, which in turn gives them access to additional services, such as credit cards with a low limit to help them build credit safely. Over time, users can work towards improving their credit score enough to get services and loans from traditional banks.
In June, Cambio finally launched for the public after about a year and a half of development. As people begin to take advantage of its services, Dwyer feels good about his accomplishments so far. “I feel like the luckiest person in the world,” he beamed. “I feel lucky to work on something I find so interesting and rewarding.”
From an unsure student to a confident professional, Dwyer looks forward to growing both his career and Cambio over the months and years ahead. As the company continues to mature and expand, he looks forward to sharing information about it through Cambio’s website and their social media pages on all major platforms.