Fueled by passion for FinTech and love for San Francisco, BerBer Xue is impacting FinTech’s regulatory compliance landscape by ensuring responsible scaling and thoughtful business decisions on the Enterprise Risk Management team at Chime. While recently having pivoted into this new role, her extensive background in FinTech and the challenges she has overcome through her career have well prepared her for this role. BerBer is advocating for women in the industry while serving on the leadership team at Women in FinTech SF.
"One of the biggest challenges I’ve been facing is what it’s like to be an immigrant in this country and all the hoops we have to jump through as a result of our immigration status, and the impact it has on both my career progression and mental health. "
Full name: BerBer Xue
Current job title: Enterprise Risk Management Associate, Regulatory Compliance
Current company: Chime
Current location: San Francisco, CA
BerBer Xue started her career off at Funding Circle, a London-based SME lender, in a quantitative role in San Francisco. BerBer had studied quantitative finance and economics in university and initially thought that was the career route that she wanted to take. After two years in the role, she began wanting to take on more high level analysis, read and write more frequently, and to collaborate more broadly in strategic projects. BerBer then began looking for a new role that would allow her to pursue these wants, and took the opportunity to switch to the regulatory compliance team - joining a supportive team who taught her the ins and outs of the industry. After four and a half years at Funding Circle, BerBer made the jump to Chime as she really aligned with their mission and wanted to experience working on a consumer-focused product. She now focuses on supporting Chime’s AML and Privacy programs.
“The regulatory landscape for FinTech is constantly changing, as most FinTechs are not banks or directly regulated entities, and so as a company, we have to decide - with input from external counsel and our regulator partners - which regulations apply to us, which only ‘sort of’ apply, and which don’t apply at all.”
BerBer explains that the list changes from year to year, and it’s a very dynamic and exciting process to constantly make sure the compliance program is up to date. Most importantly, their function exists to make sure the company scales responsibly, that the company doesn’t make business decisions that harm them or their consumers, and that they are doing right to the members they serve.
Although relatively new to the company, BerBer has been heavily involved in drafting and implementing Chime’s conflict of interest and anti-bribery programs. Her team is kicking off projects this quarter to enhance their transaction monitoring processes, customer risk rating, and model risk management.
When asked about trends in FinTech that she is excited about, BerBer shares “Within neobanks, I’m constantly amazed at how the team at Chime are really considering the needs of our target member base and building a very human product that people love using. I think bringing in that human touch is so important for not only building a product that people come back to because it is genuinely helpful, but also for building a cohesive brand that creates trust as more FinTech companies expand their suite of services.” BerBer believes that we’re going to be seeing a lot of consolidation of services under a single brand umbrella, much like how Square went beyond payment processing, and branched out into a credit and consumer focused cash app. She is also excited for digitizing currency and payments.
“After travelling extensively in China using just my phone to pay for everything in the country, from train tickets to street food, the opportunities for facilitating frictionless payments from person-to-person as well as person-to-business is fundamentally a culture shift away from using cash.”
While BerBer resides in California, she is actually Canadian and came to the United States for college. One of the biggest challenges that she has faced is being an immigrant and the additional barriers she has had to overcome due to her immigration status. This hurdle not only significantly impacted her career progression, but her mental health as well. Being an international student meant not being able to interview at certain companies with strict visa sponsorship policies.
“I once was not able to take a job offer because it would be too great of a stretch to make the case to US Immigration as to how it related to my undergraduate experience. I’ve had experiences with H1-B at both my companies that made me fear that I was going to be forced to leave the country. There are a lot of things broken about the US immigration system and unfortunately, there are a lot of people like me who get kicked around by the system. I’m constantly evaluating if it’s worth the trouble working in this country, but I love FinTech and San Francisco, and I always end up deciding to stay.”
In addition to her role at Chime, BerBer is also on the leadership team at Women in FinTech SF, working to create an empowering and educational community to connect all women who work in FinTech or are interested in the space.
BerBer reflected on one of the best things about her previous role was working so closely with her manager, who was the Senior Compliance Manager at Funding Circle. She had decades of experience as an ex-Fed regulator and bank compliance manager, and had a wealth of knowledge to impart with BerBer. “She is also Asian-American and we had a - lot in common with respect to our upbringings - even though 20 or so years separated us in age) and what it’s like being a female Chinese professional in often male-dominated industries. I really see her as a surrogate mom of sorts here in SF, as she went above and beyond her duties as just my manager to give me personal life advice and folded me into her life here (I’ve taken her kids ice skating and she’s delivered cherries and pie to my house).” Although they are now at different companies, they remain very close, “I owe a lot to her and the support and confidence she’s given me.”
BerBer resides in Potrero Hill, San Francisco with lovely housemates. Pre-pandemic, she enjoyed figure skating, averaging 8-10 hours a week on the iceh. She was able to go back to the rink for a few months during the fall when numbers fell in San Francisco, but restrictions over the holidays shut down the rink again - “I’m just counting the days until I can get back onto the ice.” During the pandemic, BerBer picked the violin back up after a 10-year break and has gotten into croissant-making.
Favorite part the day: I’m an early riser, so I really treasure the quiet morning hour I get before logging onto work. I typically will do some (if not all) of the following: read in bed, drink a cup of tea or coffee, munch on whatever baked goods I made earlier that week, work out, mist my plants, solve the NYT Crossword of the day, and/or listen to a podcast episode.
Productivity hack: I always keep a very neat desk as I find it very hard to focus when there’s any messes around me. I’ve been very intentional during the pandemic while working from home to create a relaxing yet functional workspace -- complete with lots of plants and all the things I need close to me. I listen to a lot of calming music to get into the zone while I work and it really helps me focus. I keep a personal kanban board for my work projects as well as my personal life admin tasks and I find that really keeps me on track.
Pictured: Views of the Bay from the top of Potrero Hill; BerBer's favorite neighborhood coffeeshop in Potrero Hill, Farley's; Croissants baked by BerBer; BerBer's favorite stationary nook on her desk
7:00 am: I wake up and check my email and Slack to make sure there aren’t any time sensitive things I need to address. I do some morning reading of the book club choice for the month: Take a Hint, Dani Brown.
7:45 am: I take a shower and listen to The Daily to catch up on the news of the day.
8:15 am: I make a cup of coffee (using the beans from our neighbourhood coffee shop, Farley’s, in Potrero Hill) and toast a slice of cinnamon sugar bread that my housemate made earlier in the day. I mist my plants and make sure the seeds I’m germinating are getting enough water.
9:00 am: I have to call a bank that I used to bank with in Canada; because I’ve been living in the US for so long, my account has been inactive for more than 2 years.
11:00 am: A meeting with our Compliance Ops team is canceled as the action items can be worked on asynchronously. I’m pretty happy to get the time back.
11:30 am: I have a 1:1 sync with a teammate and we chat about our project priorities for the next few weeks.
12:00 to 12:45 pm: We have a virtual lunch social for the SF team at Chime. We got lunch expensed and spent the time doing some Black History Month trivia and going into breakout rooms to discuss our experiences learning about black history. This is part of Chime’s programming for Black History Month and it was a very fun yet educational social.
2:00 pm: I chat with a college friend who is interested in a role at Chime and she wanted to hear my thoughts on the FinTech industry as a whole as well. We catch up and chat about FinTech trends and what we look for in the next steps in our careers.
2:30 pm: I have a 1:1 meet and greet meeting with a coworker on our larger Compliance team. Since I’m still relatively new to Chime, and our broader team is quite large, I’m slowly doing 1:1 introductory meetings with my new coworkers.
4:00 to 5:00 pm: My team and I have an hour set aside as a working session to strategize on how we want to set up a new project to work on an enhanced customer due diligence rating system for our members.
6:00 pm: I FaceTime my best friend and she shares some exciting career news about a potential new role at a new company. We spend a lot of time discussing salary negotiation strategies; I’m grateful that I’m having these kinds of conversations with my friends and we can help empower each other to have these often uncomfortable conversations with employers so we can help achieve pay parity.
9:00 pm: I work on my needlepoint embroidery in the living room while my housemates watch New Girl for the umpteenth time.
7:30 am: I wake up and scroll through the New York Times and Reddit to see what is going on in the world. I also do a quick scan of my inbox and Slack again -- TGIF! Everything is pretty calm this morning.
8:00 am: I get ready for the morning by putting on the sweatsuit of the day and doing my skincare routine. I make myself a cup of earl grey tea and eat a slice of the lemon earl grey tea loaf I baked on Monday. I am actively fighting pests on one of my houseplants and I paid particular attention to it as I did my daily misting to make sure the pests aren’t coming back.
8:30 am: I brew another cup of tea and start work. I have a block of 2 hours until my slate of meetings for the day start. Chime is starting a push to work more asynchronously, but it hasn’t made it to my calendar for today just yet.
10:30 to 11:30 am: I have 1:1 syncs with a coworker first and then with Komal Patel (former FFF and Women in FinTech SF CFO) about Women in FinTech strategy.
12:00 pm: I eagerly open the leftover Souvla chicken salad I have in the fridge for lunch. It’s a SF staple and I used to eat it frequently when I lived closer to Hayes Valley.
12:30 pm: I attend a ‘Show and Tell’ meeting for the entire company, where updates about the company are given and our CEO answers questions from employees. I actively look forward to these meetings as they are always very informative and very entertaining. Some exciting new benefits for 2021 are announced (I’m personally excited for the new fertility and family planning benefits that were onboarded).
1:30 to 3:00 pm: I attend a series of project status meetings.
3:00 to 4:00 pm: I’m helping organise and host a dumpling making workshop that’s being put on as a joint collaboration by two CRGs (Chimer Resource Groups) Diversichime and Chimmigrants. We have a fun organiser meeting with the owner of a dumpling shop in San Francisco who will be leading the workshop next week. It involved a lot of switching back and forth from English to Mandarin as we talked with the owner and ended with a hilarious discussion about what exactly constitutes a dumpling (is a pop tart a dumpling?).
4:00 to 5:00 pm: I tie up some loose ends at work and call it a day.
5:00 to 6:30 pm: I lie down to take what I thought would be a short nap which ended up being 1.5 hours long.
7:00 pm: I feed Cash and Cardi, the robo dwarf hamsters that I am helping take care of for the next few months (their owner is moving to Hawaii for the rest of the pandemic). They are still terrified by my hand reaching into the cage, but I resolve that they will warm up to me one day.
8:00 pm - My housemates bring back pizza from North Beach Pizza. They got our order wrong initially so we ended up with 50% more pizza than expected -- this is not a hardship at all.
9:00 am: I wake up a bit later than my weekday mornings and it’s nice to get a lie-in. I put on my workout clothes and do a strength class with Jess Sims on the Peloton app.
10:00 am: After showering, I make an iced matcha latte and a yogurt bowl for a protein-filled breakfast. Saturday mornings is when I do the weekly waterings for all the plants in our house. After I water all my plants, I sit down in the sun room with my Kindle to do some reading.
1:00 pm: My housemates and I drive down to Daly City to run some errands. We impulse buy more plants at Home Depot, including strawberries and cilantro, which is extremely exciting. We go to Michael’s afterwards and I buy more skeins of embroidery floss for future projects (I buy enough that the cashier asks me if I just took one of every colour).
3:00 to 5:00 pm: My housemates and I binge the new true crime documentary on Netflix about the Night Stalker. While watching, I organise my new embroidery floss and start on a new project.
6:00 pm: I make sukiyaki for dinner using leftover ingredients from our Lunar New Year celebrations last week.
7:00 pm: I feed the hamsters and while they’re out, I practice the violin to provide some dinnertime music for them; I’ve been working on old repertoire from when I was younger and playing some new pieces like Meditation from Thais and Bruch Concerto No. 1 in G minor.
9:00 pm: I end the day playing video games with my friends in LA and Australia before retiring for the night with some night time reading (still working on that book for my book club!).
Reach out to BerBer on LinkedIn.