Tally Hires Vice President of Credit, Vinh Nguyen
Veteran fintech executive appointed to help even more Tally members pay off their credit card debt
March 4, 2022
Tally has announced Vinh Nguyen has joined the consumer fintech company as VP of Credit. In his role, he will join Tally's efforts to help millions of people pay off their credit card debt and to make debt payoff more effortless and efficient.
Vinh is a seasoned leader in the consumer finance space with over 15 years of experience across marketing, product development, credit strategy and customer success.
“Vinh is a well-regarded leader and credit expert, and his addition to the team highlights Tally’s commitment to expand access for all to tackle their debt sustainably and efficiently,” said Head of Analytics and Operations, Jason Huynh. “He is well positioned to lead our credit strategies to the next level and brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and empathy to this critical role. I am thrilled to partner closely with Vinh and know he will be a strong asset to our team.”
Hailing from Washington, D.C, Vinh sat down with us to share more about life before Tally, his thoughts on building impactful teams and why he is so passionate about consumer finance.
How did you end up in finance? Did you always envision yourself in this career?
Actually, it was a foregone conclusion that my siblings and I would go into the medical field (spoiler: my sister and my brother met expectations, while I went rogue). My parents viewed it as the one profession with guaranteed security and upward mobility. About halfway through college, I felt like the coursework in my economics and commerce electives came a lot more naturally to me than the pre-medical classes did, so I switched majors.
I think that deep down, I was drawn to finance because I was always worried about money. My parents worked really hard to make sure that there was food on the table and clothes on our backs, but there was always tension about bills. Looking back, behind a lot of the choices I made as a kid was a desire not to add extra stress for my folks (e.g., avoiding after-school clubs and activities, attending public university, etc.).
How would you describe your approach to leading a team?
The best way to describe it is ever-evolving. A lot of my approach is borrowed (with permission!) from systems and frameworks that I’ve learned from leaders who I really admired. Some of it has come from making and learning from a lot of mistakes over time.
The most important elements to me are establishing trust, ensuring shared understanding and aligning interests with work.
Trust: One framework I learned early in my career that I really like defines three dimensions for trust: competence (how capable are you?), reliability (when you commit to something, how often do you follow through?), and sincerity (do I believe that you have my best interest at heart?). While the first two elements are obviously important, the last is a must-have to get through tough situations such as admitting to and productively solving mistakes. One of the things I’ve found that has been most helpful in establishing that last dimension of sincerity has been embracing vulnerability and transparency.
Shared Understanding: Nearly all of the difficult conversations that I’ve had as both a direct report and as a manager stemmed from unspoken differences in expectations. There is enough opportunity for surprises due to circumstances outside of our control (e.g., global pandemics); I can’t recall a time I’ve ever regretted spending extra time ensuring that everyone is operating with the same context, scope for commitments and goals.
Roles: My goal is for each person on the team to have a clear lane or area that they own, ensure that they have the context for the destination (even better if they have a strong perspective on what that destination should be), the skills (or the roadmap to develop the skills) to drive to that destination and provide coaching along the way. The times when I’ve felt least fulfilled and empowered during my career were when work felt transactional, so it’s super important to me for people to opt into their roles. That’s only possible if I understand what motivates them.
What motivates you?
I’m really passionate about helping people grow and develop their careers.
The mindset that I grew up with was to just keep my head down and work hard, and good things would follow. Asking for help was a sign of weakness. It was inappropriate to ask for recognition or for a reward for achieving a goal. Failing a task or a project was the pinnacle of shame.
I had carved out a niche early on in my career as a technically proficient analyst, but that hadn’t translated into the trajectory that I had hoped for. I was fortunate with a rotation that paired me with a manager who really pushed and supported my development beyond just overseeing my work product. They provided me with timely and specific feedback (both affirmation and productive criticism), gave me opportunities to present my work to a wide range of stakeholders, advocated for me with others behind the scenes, and most importantly, spent the time to really understand my values and beliefs. Eventually, they helped me start down what has been a ten-year journey of challenging some of those earlier held beliefs and finding my voice as a leader.
That experience was an inflection point for me, both personally and professionally. It made me realize what a profound impact we can have as managers and leaders. In the years since, I’ve found that helping people reach career milestones has been even more rewarding than achieving business objectives or getting projects across the finish line.
What went into your decision to join Tally?
First and foremost, Tally’s mission to reduce the stress that people feel about their finances and to improve their financial health resonated deeply with me. An indelible feeling that I think about often, even decades later, is the distress that my parents would feel when they had to pay $100+ in penalties when bills got paid in the wrong order and there wasn’t enough money left to pay the mortgage on time. It happened more than once, and it always left me with a sense of helplessness. I absolutely love that Tally’s success is tied directly to how much we can help make our members’ lives better.
On a personal level, I was really impressed with the people that I met during the interview process. In addition to being clearly talented and setting ambitious goals, what struck me was how deeply each person cared about helping people. By the time I spoke with the fourth or fifth person, I realized that this wasn’t a facade or happenstance.
Finally, I thought that the business case was really strong for Tally to grow into a meaningful force in consumer finance. In my past life, I spent a lot of time thinking and worrying about the pace at which personal indebtedness was growing (at the time of this interview, $4.7 trillion, not counting mortgages), and unfortunately there will be a need for services like the one Tally offers for the foreseeable future.
What are you most excited about at Tally?
I’m really excited for the impact that I think we can bring through innovation in credit. The team has done a phenomenal job building a scalable base from a technology and operations perspective. I’m looking forward to helping turbocharge the impact that Tally can have as we explore new data sources, different statistical techniques, product constructs and so much more.
Want to learn more about Tally and how we’re leveraging technology to make people less stressed and better off financially? Check out our Careers page.