Fintech’s Rising Star Ashley D. Bell Speaks on Black Entrepreneurship and Building Generational Wealth

by Xara Aziz

If fintech executive Ashley D. Bell isn’t on your radar, allow us to connect you with one of the fastest-rising stars in the financial services industry, tapped recently by AfroTech as a “Changemaker” on its “Future 50” list for 2023.

Ashley is a Georgia-based corporate finance attorney, political adviser and founder and CEO of Ready Life, the Black-owned fintech startup pioneering a new path to homeownership without credit scores. He also helms Redemption Holding Co., the Black-led investment group preparing to acquire the Utah-based nonminority-owned Holladay Bank & Trust, a move he is confident can reinvigorate Black entrepreneurship and investment by focusing less on the transactional nature of banking and more on the community-building potential.

Shine My Crown had the opportunity to learn more about Ashley and his work. Read on to learn more!

1) Talk to us about what led you to merge the two fields of finance and policy. What was the inspiration?

I think it’s accurate to say I’m working to infuse innovation into both. Our financial system has left too many people on the outside looking in and our public policies have been too focused on fixing failed systems. We need to create a safe place to test, try, and take to market the boldest ideas to solve the oldest problems. 

Courtesy: Your Winning Margains

2) Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion so significant as it relates to homeownership for people of color?

Historically, inequality and discrimination have prevailed as a practice in the U.S. As a result, many people of color have been excluded and not given equal access to opportunities for homeownership. These long-term systemic biases have produced a number of disparities–including significant gaps in wealth and homeownership rates. 

Even in 2023, Black families still find themselves having to whitewash their homes to get higher appraisals. Blacks are also denied mortgages at an 84% higher rate than whites and 45% of blacks have subprime credit scores (as opposed to 18.3% of their white peers).

But there is good news, and that is, we live in a time where technology can be utilized as a tool to help increase access–and that’s what we’re doing at Ready Life. We’re helping to level the playing field by pioneering a path to homeownership without credit scores. We’re focusing on the factors that truly matter when it comes to homeownership because we believe an individual is more than a credit score.

3) What (if any) disparities have you noticed regarding Black entrepreneurship and investment?

I always say that credit is like water; and where water flows, things grow. Businesses grow. Communities grow. And in communities where there is a lack of capital it becomes difficult to  scale and grow.  I have the honor of serving as a cofounder and Counsel for the National Black Bank Foundation and I’m a fierce advocate for Black Banks because they serve as a conduit for credit and business growth in underserved communities.

4) What exciting happenings can you share about your work with Ready Life?

Ready Life is an incredible fintech with a stellar team of renowned changemakers as advisors and staff that are truly committed to innovating to provide financial services that equip individuals with the power to improve their lives. I co-founded  Ready Life alongside my dear friend, Dr. Bernice A. King–the daughter of Coretta Scott and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and we’ve been able to create a platform that helps individuals qualify for a home mortgage without a credit score review. Why? Because we believe the credit scoring system is broken and not serving all families.  We believe that a family with a documented history of paying their rent on time will pay their mortgage in the same fashion

As a fintech, we use technology to drive lending based on factors that truly matter. Ready Pay customers use their Ready Pay debit card for rent and everyday expenses, and we’re able to use real-time financial data – such as on-time rent payments and their cash flow–as the basis for their ability to pay, not a three-digit credit score. We believe this makes both financial and common sense.

5) What does the future hold for you? Where do you see yourself and Ready Life in the next ten years?

Ready Life is just beginning. We believe that our work has the potential to change the lives of millions, influence a change in the entire industry and create a solid pathway to not just homeownership but wealth for generations to come. We invite folks to join us on the journey at

6) What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Pursue what you’re passionate about and stay true to your convictions while being open to new ways to achieve your goals.  There’s no easy path. You have to work hard, but it’s worth it. 

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