Marci Lobel-Esrig, Founder and General Counsel of SilverBills
“The NYC Department of Aging’s bill payment model — which dated back to the 1970’s and 1980’s — had flaws, and we innovated a new way to solve that problem!”
Meet Marci Lobel-Esrig. Marci is the founder and General Counsel of SilverBills, which provides a transparent tech-enabled solution to household bill management. In addition to running SilverBills and raising three kids, Marci enjoys travel, scuba diving, and cooking.
Prior to this Marci was Associate General Counsel of Sterling Equities, the New York Mets parent company, where she witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of the Bernie Madoff investment scandal. Two weeks after joining the company, Madoff’s crimes were revealed. She quickly learned that hundreds of millions of dollars were stolen from her company, and 401k’s were wiped out. “It was a lifechanging experience to watch this unfold.” Marci worked on a resolution to the crime for many years to follow.
The SilverBills team onsite at the AARP Innovation Lab.
What Does She Do?
As Founder and General Counsel, Marci leads the day to day operations of SilverBills. Their solution – bill payment solutions over phone and the mail — has clients across the country – and bridges the geographical divide – helping both urban and rural clients. (SilverBills is currently a for-profit social venture. Marci is evaluating whether certified B Corp status will work for her org.)
Marci is expanding SilverBills and working with AARP on research and additional partnerships through the MassChallenge fintech program.
How Did She Get Into This Work?
“My grandfather was Samuel L. Becker, the former chairman of New York City’s Board of Standards and Appeals, the municipal board in charge of issuing zoning variances and addressing other land use issues. My father is an attorney who practices zoning and land use law and works with municipal agencies. He ran for Town Council of the Town of North Hempstead when I was in pre-school. (And lost) So, this family history of civic involvement has shaped my career trajectory.”
Marci joined Sterling Equities just as Bernie Madoff’s crimes were seeing the light of day. This triggered her interest in financial exploitation and the psychology behind financial security.
In 2015, Marci launched SilverBills as a result of witnessing the challenges her elderly Aunt faced managing household bills. If her time at the Mets had provided insight into the impact of financial fraud, she recognized that financial manipulation took an even greater toll on our vulnerable, aging population. In fact, elder financial exploitation is a $30 billion/year problem in the United States, and crimes are often perpetrated by individuals “helping” older adults write checks. A study conducted by the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging found that when local governments pay for household bill management it saves thousands of dollars a year.”
Marci approached the NYC Department for the Aging to work with them on their household bill pay model – which dated back to the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. “Their model had flaws and we innovated a new way to solve that problem.” With the NYC program, she adds, “they have a case manager or are in a naturally occurring retirement community. If you use the metaphor of a football team, they already have their quarterback.”
Finally, Marci sounds an alarm: “People need to prepare for this stage of life, particularly legal documents, healthcare proxies and powers of attorney.”
How Did She Come To Civic Hall?
Last fall Marci attended a social venture conference at her alma mater, Columbia University. She spoke to a classmate there — beloved Civic Hall member Nancy Vital, founder of Eyes Up Here — who recognized that her solution was civic tech and suggested that she join Civic Hall. Marci became a member in December, 2020.
Marci is also a friend of long-time Civic Hall Board member, Allison Fine, a candidate for Rep. Nita Lowey’s congressional seat in Westchester. “We made our donation!
What is she reading/ watching/ listening to?
“I am watching Call the Midwife on Netlix. Natural childbirth was co-opted by the medical establishment to the detriment of women. This series is set in 1950’s/60’s London, where homebirth was the norm. As a big proponent of natural childbirth, I find the show to be very inspiring.”
What is her ask for Civic Hall?
“We see a digital divide in our population – 17 million Americans 55 and over – who don’t use computers. Many older people don’t have access. They don’t want an app; they want to speak to someone on the phone – which is less and less available.”
“Please, don’t just solve the problems of the young. This is a universal problem. We are facing a huge demographic shift in the country and are going to have a lot of unmet needs of older adults.”
Ask: Marci would love to hear from anyone in the agetech space; those working with the developmentally different; the physically challenged; and anyone thinking about financial exploitation.
“SilverBills is currently hiring for a customer service rep. If this seems of interest, please reach out directly to Marci via email, Slack, or LinkedIn.