Symbiotic relationships, like the way bees help flowers pollinate while harvesting nectar to feed their colonies, can be found all over nature. They are also quite common in fintech.
The latest example of fintech symbiosis is today’s partnership between Amazon and Goldman Sachs. CNN reported this morning that Amazon revealed a lending program for U.S.-based small businesses that sell on its platform.
Goldman’s Marcus will offer revolving credit lines of up to $1 million. The loans will carry an annual interest rate of 6.99% to 20.99%. Minimum payments are due on a two-week cycle and if borrowers don’t use at least 30% of the funds, they are charged a maintenance fee.
Interestingly, the new offering will compete with Amazon’s existing small business lending product, which it launched with Bank of America in early 2018. According to CNN, last year Amazon loaned more than $1 billion to 14,000 sellers.
Goldman, which will service the lines of credit, will underwrite the loans using merchant data collected by Amazon (if the seller agrees to share their data). As CNN pointed out, this is a rare move by Amazon, which, “has kept a tight rein on its small business lending program, using algorithms and closely guarded sales data to determine who could use a loan.”
The data sharing doesn’t extend past lending opportunities, however. Goldman will only use seller data for lines of credit and will not use it to cross-sell other products or services. Additionally, Amazon won’t be able to access the data that Goldman collects from prospective borrowers.
The move makes Amazon the latest third party on Goldman’s list of partners for its Marcus brand, which caters to a younger and generally less wealthy client base. Furthermore, the partnership accelerates the bank’s mission to make Marcus a banking-as-a-service provider for third parties. Marcus’ existing partners include Apple, JetBlue, Intuit, and AARP.