Former BlackRock Senior Portfolio Manager Shinda Bickham Joins Aura’s Capital Markets Team

Bickham brings more than 15 years of credit investing and asset management experience to help Aura expand its social bond platform

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aura, a CDFI-certified fintech company that uses technology to disrupt predatory lending, today announced that Shinda Bickham has joined its capital markets team as Senior Director of Capital Markets and Treasury. Mr. Bickham will work to help Aura expand its investor base and fulfill Aura’s mission of providing greater financial inclusion for the unbanked.


Tens of millions of hard-working families in America lack access to responsible and affordable credit. Aura is addressing these challenges through its proprietary underwriting technology and customer-centric approach to providing affordable credit-building loans. Since Aura’s inception, the company has provided over 430,000 loans to working families in America.

“We are thrilled that Shinda has joined our team,” said James Gutierrez, CEO and Founder of Aura. “As a veteran portfolio manager of $30 billion in assets, Shinda brings deep experience in credit markets and strong ties to institutional investors. This experience will help Aura expand our universe of social bond investors so that we may help more borrowers achieve their potential.”

“I strongly believe in Aura’s mission of increasing financial inclusion of working families,” said Mr. Bickham. “By expanding our network of ESG focused capital partners, I believe we can accelerate Aura’s trajectory, meet the needs of more borrowers, and have a meaningful impact in the communities we serve.”

Prior to joining Aura, Mr. Bickham was a Senior Portfolio Manager at BlackRock, where he spent more than nine years in various credit investing and portfolio management roles. Most recently, Shinda served as Head of Portfolio Management within the Factor Based Investing Group where he oversaw the day-to-day management of more than $30 billion in assets under management.

Over his career, Mr. Bickham has spent more than 15 years in the financial services space working with and advising institutional investors. Mr. Bickham received a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

About Aura:

Aura is a technology-powered Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small, affordable loans to working families in America. Aura’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities by providing empowering financial services to America’s 66 million underbanked and unbanked. Aura has pioneered a cloud-based lending technology that enables trusted local businesses to submit credit applications for centralized review and approval by its proprietary scoring algorithms.

Currently available in 1,250 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, Aura has provided hundreds of thousands of credit-building, responsible loans to low-income households since launching in 2014. Aura was founded in 2012 by James Gutierrez, Kevin Kang, and Randy Wong. All three founders helped create and scale Oportun (NASDAQ: OPTN), one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Most Genius Companies in 2018.


Contacts

Scott Gerber, scott@vrge.us, 408-202-4255