The No. 4 personal-finance site on the Web, the IAC-Dow Jones joint venture relies on a Q&A format with a host of social and game-like features to get Americans talking about money, still a taboo. Since the site relaunched in February 2009, traffic has exploded from 140,000 visitors to 3.5 million. Top 50: No. 27
The folks at Quicken bought Mint.com, the new leader in online money management, and put the startup's founder, Aaron Patzer, in charge of other products in the personal-finance division. Intuit is also expanding into a full-service tech provider for small businesses.
Its platform is the back end for 85% of all online personal financial management, including online services for 6 of the top 10 U.S. banks, including Bank of America, and many leading portal sites, such as Mint.com. At the 2009 Finovate conference, Yodlee launched the FinApp Store, modeled after Apple App Store, with an Open API so developers can build apps for the company's various program suites.
The global financial crisis brought attention to Triodos, a Dutch bank that backs only organizations that create social, environmental, or cultural "added value." The bank operates in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and the U.K., where its lending grew by almost a third in the first half of 2009.
5. Enterprise Community Partners
In 25 years, Enterprise has invested more than $10 billion in public-private partnerships to fund affordable housing—currently at the rate of $1 billion a year. The for-profit/not-for-profit hybrid announced a new commitment this past October: $4 billion over the next five years for housing that's both affordable and green.
6. Itaú Unibancoe
After a merger earlier this year, this private bank became the largest financial conglomerate in the southern hemisphere and one of the top 20 worldwide. Its funding for education benefits 40,000 students in central Brazil and promotes sustainability.
Winner of Finovate's 2009 Best of Show, this free service makes credit scores easier to understand: Credit.com does a "soft inquiry" on your credit report, then gives you a letter grade that's an estimate of the range of scores you'd get for $15 a throw from the credit bureaus. A grade of B correlates to a FICO score of 700-749, a TransUnion score of 765-844, or a PLUS score of 695-739.
Canada's largest credit union has carved out a niche for itself as a social responsibility/sustainability leader, a vision that helped drive profits up more than 50% in the thick of the financial crisis. In 2009, its slate of eclectic for-profit and community-benefit initiatives included a $400,000 enviroFund grant program for local projects.
This new personal-finance Web site goes beyond the tracking features of a Mint.com to tell you what to do with your money. Named Best Of Show at FinovateStartup 2009, it uses the same financial modeling engine used by 95% of certified financial advisers and is itself a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The pioneering education microfinance outfit, which is financed through a Kiva-like lending model from small donors in the U.S., Germany, and Sweden, has made the first-ever student loans in Peru, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Mongolia, and Vietnam. Although it's less than a year old and still very small—a few hundred students—the startup has drawn accolades.