If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them: SoFi Earns Bank Charter

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them: SoFi Earns Bank Charter

Digital banking platform SoFi is leaving the ranks of its challenger banking competitors to become a fully fledged bank. The California-based fintech announced today it has received approval from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve to become a bank holding company.

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto called today’s regulatory approval an “incredible milestone,” adding, “With a national bank charter, not only will we be able to lend at even more competitive interest rates and provide our members with high-yielding interest in checking and savings, it will also enhance our financial products and services to ensure they efficiently meet the needs of our members, business partners, and communities across the country, while continuing to uphold a high bar of regulatory standards and compliance. This important step allows us to add to our broad suite of financial products and services to better be there for our members during the major financial moments in their lives and all of the moments in between.”

The approval comes with one contingency. The OCC said that SoFi Bank may not engage in any crypto-asset activities or services. SoFi currently offers a crypto wallet and trading platform, but as it is held under SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, the OCC’s contingency shouldn’t be an issue.

This approval comes in the wake of SoFi’s proposed acquisition of Golden Pacific Bancorp, a Sacramento, California-based bank holding company with consolidated assets of $150 million. The deal, originally announced in March of last year, is set to close next month for $22.3 million.

After the acquisition closes, SoFi plans to maintain Golden Pacific’s community bank business and footprint, including its three physical branches. Additionally, SoFi will help Golden Pacific pursue its national, digital business plan by contributing $750 million in capital.

As with most digital banks, SoFi relied on partnerships with traditional banks to hold deposits, issue loans, and provide FDIC insurance. Until next month’s acquisition closes, SoFi’s partner banks include Bank United, National Association; MetaBank Sioux Falls, SD; HSBC Bank USA, National Association; EagleBank, Bethesda, MD; East West Bank, Pasadena, CA; TriState Bank Capital Bank, Pittsburgh, PA; and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A, Sioux Falls, SD.

SoFi Technologies will continue to be traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker SoFi, but it will become the parent company of SoFi Bank, National Association. SoFi was founded in 2011 and has a current market capitalization of $11.4 billion. The fintech went public last year after a SPAC merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings V.

Pagaya and SoFi Team Up to Broaden Access to Financial Services for Borrowers

Pagaya and SoFi Team Up to Broaden Access to Financial Services for Borrowers

A newly announced collaboration between AI-powered credit and analysis technology company Pagaya and personal financial services innovator SoFi will help more eligible consumers find and secure financing. The partnership will enable SoFi members to leverage Pagaya’s AI network to access a wider range of financial solutions in what Pagaya said is the largest deployment of its technology in the fintech space to date.

“We are excited to leverage SoFi’s sophisticated tech platform, strong brand, and consumer appeal to originate loans through Pagaya’s AI network,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said, “extending its business to a broader audience, so more people can access credit and achieve their financial goals.”

Pagaya’s technology and infrastructure enables financial institutions, including lenders and fintechs, to offer their customers access to financial products beyond those available via traditional credit models. Using both AI and machine learning, Pagaya lowers risk for lenders and helps them make better credit decisions. The goal is to provide a better, more positive experience for borrowers, and higher conversion rates for loan providers, as well as improving the overall credit ecosystem.

“As Pagaya grows, it is imperative that we partner with companies that share our vision of providing increased efficiency through our AI network for lenders and access for its customers,” Pagaya CEO and co-founder Gal Krubiner said. “Working with a company such as SoFi, we are able to apply our artificial intelligence in a way to not only help SoFi extend capital to more people, but do so in a way to create less risk for our partner. This creates a symbiotic, win-win-win ecosystem across all parties.”

Founded in 2016 and maintaining offices in Tel Aviv, New York, and Los Angeles, Pagaya became a public company earlier this fall in a $9 billion SPAC merger with EJF Acquisition Corporation. Earlier this month, Pagaya appointed former JP Morgan CMO Leslie Gillin to the post of Chief Growth Officer. Gillin arrives at a time when the company is looking to expand into new markets including personal and auto loans, credit cards, point-of-sale financing, single-family residencies, and more.

SoFi is an alum of our developers conference FinDEVrNewYork in 2017, which the company participated in with financial data platform Quovo. In the years since, SoFi has grown into a digital financial services giant with more than $50 billion in funded loans, and more than two million members who have paid off a total of more than $22 billion in debt. Additionally, the company recently has launched solutions such as SoFi Money and SoFi Invest which offer cash management (including early payday) and brokerage services, in a major expansion beyond its roots as online loan financing and refinancing innovator.

SoFi is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ under the ticker SOFI and has a market capitalization of more than $16 billion. SoFi is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

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SoFi is Making Early IPO Investing More Accessible– But it’s Not Alone

SoFi is Making Early IPO Investing More Accessible– But it’s Not Alone

Alternative banking services company SoFi unveiled a new product last month that will enable eligible members to participate in upcoming IPOs.

The tool will sit within SoFi Invest, a suite of investment tools that offers automated investment services, retirement accounts, a cryptocurrency wallet, and more.

Here’s how it works- users with at least $3,000 in their Active Invest accounts can select the IPOs they’d like to participate in by submitting an indication of interest. Once the IPO is live, investors will receive a notification asking to confirm their order and secure their shares.

If you’re a fintech veteran, this concept may sound familiar. There have been a handful of companies that have opened up IPO participation for retail investors, which are generally excluded from IPOs since they don’t generate the same revenues as institutional investors or high net worth individuals.

The first fintech to offer IPO access to retail investors was Loyal3, which was founded in 2008. The company launched a social IPO platform in 2014 that partnered with pre-IPO companies to enable them to include consumers, employees, partners, and fans in their IPO. Investors were required to purchase a minimum of $100 in stock but were not charged a fee. Loyal3, however, may have been ahead of its time. The company closed its doors in 2017.

Linqto, which recently demonstrated its platform at FinovateWest 2020, allows accredited investors to invest in pre-IPO unicorns. The company requires investment minimums ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Among the companies currently available to investors are Impossible Foods, Ripple, and Nerd Wallet.

Yet another fintech in this arena is MarketX, a cross-border marketplace that allows investors to browse deals and invest in pre-IPO companies across the globe. MarketX currently offers investors access to pre-IPO companies in the U.S., China, Singapore, Indonesia, India, the UAE, and more. While MarketX advertises to accredited retail investors, the company requires a minimum of $50,000, a figure that is much higher than others working in this space.

With higher minimums and accredited investor restrictions, the IPO investment offerings from Loyal3, Linqto, and MarketX aren’t as accessible as SoFi’s proposed IPO investment tool. Stock trading app Robinhood, however, is also rumored to be entering this space with an offering that will compete on the same level as SoFi.

Reuters reported last month that Robinhood plans to democratize IPO investing by enabling its users to buy into IPOs. According to the news source, Robinhood is allowing its users to buy into its own IPO (which is slated for later this year) and will then use the technology it built to create a more general IPO investment tool for its 13 million users.

SoFi showcased at FinDEVr New York 2017 in a presentation about leveraging bank authentication. FinDEVr will be returning to the Finovate lineup with its own stage at this year’s FinovateSpring digital event. Check out the event page to learn more.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

SoFi Revamps Auto Loan Investing with MotoRefi Partnership

SoFi Revamps Auto Loan Investing with MotoRefi Partnership

Digital financial solutions provider SoFi is getting into the vehicle loan refinance game. The online lender formed a partnership with MotoRefi to offer users yet another reason to use its services.

Founded in 2016, MotoRefi connects users with lenders and manages the back-end documentation process with each state’s motor vehicle department.

According to SoFi Executive Vice President Jennifer Nuckles, the addition of an auto loan refinancing tool was a logical one since many of the company’s users carry large balances on their auto loans.

Additionally, the nation is an increasingly fertile ground for a car loan refinancing tool. In the past decade, the number of vehicle loans has grown by 41%. Today, auto loans account for 9% of all household debt, with 114 million Americans carrying a total of $1.37 trillion in auto loans.

Through today’s partnership, MotoRefi will have access to SoFi’s two million customers via an integration on SoFi’s website. MotoRefi is banking on this increase in exposure; the company expects to process $1 billion in loans this year after handling $250 million last year.

Overall, the addition of the new service is another step toward making SoFi into a more “bank-like” environment. The California-based company, which originated in student loan refinancing, has since expanded to offer personal loans, home loans, investing tools, a checking account, rewards, budgeting tools, and more.

Launched last month, SoFi’s latest tool offers investors early access to IPOs. Users with at least $3,000 in their account can purchase shares of companies as they go public. This type of access to IPOs, which is generally not available to individual retail investors, will help SoFi reach the new generation of traders that have entered the stock market since the pandemic hit last year.

Fintech connoisseurs may notice the irony in SoFi’s new IPO investment tool. The company itself recently eschewed a formal public listing for a SPAC merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings.

Photo by Brian Lundquist on Unsplash

SoFi Launches Social Trading Investing Platform

SoFi Launches Social Trading Investing Platform

SoFi has spent the past few years broadening its focus. What launched as an alternative lending company has emerged as a platform that provides a deeper breadth of banking services including insurance, checking accounts, credit score monitoring, investing, estate planning, and small business financing.

After building all of these tools, SoFi began focusing on building something different– community. The fintech offers a membership program with a range of perks including career coaching and financial planning.

Today, the company is leveraging its community in the launch of social trading and investing features. The new capabilities allow users to share their investment portfolios and discover and follow the holdings, watchlists, and activity of fellow members who opt in to the feature.

“According to SoFi’s research, about 70% of SoFi Invest member respondents indicated that they regularly (at least weekly) discuss their investments with family members, peers, or colleagues,” said SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. “Our new social investing features not only help us live up to our name of Social Finance, but provide ways for investors to see specifically what members on the platform are doing with their investment decisions, discover new investment ideas, and see how they stack up in their investing performance. Given the importance of investing early and consistently, we are thrilled to be able to provide a more informative, engaging, interactive mobile investing experience rooted in building better investing habits.”

To encourage social interaction, SoFi’s new tools allows users to comment on and react to the others’ trades and compare their performance on dynamic leaderboard.

For privacy purposes, participation is optional and members are not automatically enrolled. Additionally, the amounts of investment portfolios are hidden from other users.

If you’ve studied fintech for any length of time this should sound familiar. U.K.-based eToro launched its CopyTrading platform in 2011. This social investing platform is different from SoFi’s in that it pays top investors when others copy their trades.

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Finovate Alums Earn Spots in CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50

Finovate Alums Earn Spots in CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50

Six companies that have demonstrated their fintech innovations on the Finovate stage have been recognized this year by CNBC as part of their Disruptor 50 roster for 2020.

This year’s list, the eighth in the series, is marked by the high number of billion-dollar companies, or “unicorns.” Fully 36 of the firms in the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 have reached or surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark. Combined, the 50 companies have raised more than $74 billion in VC funding and achieved an implied market valuation of almost $277 billion.

The companies making the cut range in industry from cybersecurity and healthcare IT to education and, of course, fintech. In fact, the top-ranked company in the 2020 Disruptor 50 is none other than Stripe, the $36 billion payments platform founded in 2010. Stripe earned a #13 ranking in last year’s Disruptor 50 roster, and likely owes its first place appearance this year to a major $600 million funding raising – the company’s largest to date – and the economic and social consequences of the global health crisis.

“With many people throughout the world under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” CNBC’s capsule on the company noted, “the move to shopping online has never been greater. That’s good news for digital payments platform Stripe.”

Stripe was not the only fintech to earn high marks from the 2020 Disruptor 50’s methodology. In addition to the half dozen Finovate alums below, some of the other fintechs on this year’s roster include:

  • Virtual bank WeLab (Hong Kong)
  • Digital mortgage company Better.com (New York City)
  • “Buy now pay later” e-commerce company Affirm (San Francisco, California)
  • Challenger bank Chime (San Francisco, California)
  • Banking app Dave (Los Angeles, California)
  • Microfinancier TALA (Santa Monica, California)
  • Trading and investing platform Robinhood (Menlo Park, California)

Also earning spots in this year’s list were a pair of insurtech companies, Lemonade and Root Insurance, as well as cybersecurity and biometric authentication firms SentinelOne and CLEAR, respectively.

Here’s a look at the Finovate alums that made this year’s list.

#5 Klarna

  • Founded: 2005
  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
  • CEO: Sebastian Siemiakowski
  • Valuation: $5.5 billion
  • Previous ranking: #8 in 2016

#8 SoFi

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Antony Noto
  • Valuation: $4.8 billion
  • Previous ranking: #26 in 2019

#24 Kabbage

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
  • CEO: Rob Frohwein
  • Valuation: $1.1 billion
  • Previous ranking: #14 in 2019

#27 Trulioo

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • CEO: Steve Munford
  • Valuation: N.A.
  • Previous ranking: #37 in 2017

#28 Ripple

  • Founded: 2012
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Brad Garlinghouse
  • Valuation: $10 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

#33 Marqeta

  • Founded: 2010
  • Headquarters: Oakland, California
  • CEO: Jason Gardner
  • Valuation: $4.3 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

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Samsung and SoFi Team Up to Offer Debit Card

Samsung and SoFi Team Up to Offer Debit Card

Alternative finance solutions provider SoFi and Samsung’s Samsung Pay joined forces this week to launch a debit card.

The two have spent the last year collaborating to make a mobile-first money management platform with its own debit card and cash management account.

The initiative is part of Samsung’s broader Samsung Pay mobile payments platform that the company launched in 2015. Samsung’s mobile payments platform uses built-in magnetic secure transmission technology (MST) and NFC functionality to enable users to make contactless payments.

“Our vision is to help consumers better manage their money so that they can achieve their dreams and goals,” said Sang Ahn, Vice President and GM of Samsung Pay, North America Service Business, Samsung Electronics in a blog post. “Now more than ever, mobile financial services and money management tools will play an even bigger role in our daily lives while also opening up new possibilities.”

Specific details about the card are still pending.

The new debit card offering will provide Samsung with a unique way to compete with Apple’s Apple credit card. Compared to Apple’s credit card, however, Samsung’s debit card product sounds more sticky. That’s because budgeting and cash management features built into the app will encourage users to spend more time in Samsung’s app and will keep the company’s debit card– along with its mobile payments service– top-of-mind for consumers.

Samsung’s announcement also comes shortly after news leaked that Google has its own debit card in the works. The debit card will work in conjunction with the Google Pay app.

Samsung’s timing on the launch is fairly ideal, despite the global economic crisis. The coronavirus has turned consumers’ attention toward their finances. Because of this, many banks are seeing record downloads of and engagement with their mobile banking tools. This shift to digital, combined with the new low-touch economy when it comes to everyday payments, provides an ideal environment to launch a contactless payment option.

Despite these conditions, the challenger banking space is becoming increasingly crowded in the U.S. However, Samsung’s choice to partner with an existing player instead of creating a product from scratch is a favorable one.

SoFi Inks Agreement to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies

SoFi Inks Agreement to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies
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In a cash and stock deal valued at $1.2 billion, online lender and personal finance innovator SoFi has agreed to acquire financial services API and payments platform, Galileo Financial Technologies.

Galileo enables companies to build innovative consumer and B2B fintech services via its suite of open APIs. The company’s technology powers a variety of functions including:

  • account set-up
  • funding
  • direct deposit
  • ACH transfer
  • IVR
  • early paycheck deposit
  • billpay
  • transaction notifications
  • check balance
  • point of sale authorizations

Galileo processed $53+ billion in annualized payment volume in March of this year, more than doubling its September 2019 tally of $26 billion. Notably, SoFi and Galileo are already quite familiar with each other; SoFi’s Sofi Money solution is currently integrated with Galileo’s payments platform and leverages a number of the platform’s account and events functionalities.

Together, the two companies will further combine their efforts to create value for customers of both firms, who will benefit from a feature set that enables them to participate in the transition from “physical-only to a multi-channel digital and physical platform.”

“SoFi has established itself as a leader in the fintech sector, providing our more than one million members a full array of financial products to help them get their money right,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. He credited SoFi’s members for motivating the company to continue innovating, and for encouraging “bigger, bolder, and more expansive” thinking. “Together with Galileo, we will partner to build on our companies’ strengths to drive even greater financial technology innovation, making those products and services available to both current and future partners.”

Galileo will operate as an independent subsidiary of SoFi, post-acquisition, with Galileo CEO Clay Wilkes remaining on board to continue leading the company. Praising SoFi’s suite of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing, Wilkes said, “these are products that many of our leading fintech clients are asking for. Distributing products through our enterprise class API is the vision behind this combination. I think it’s very powerful.”

SoFi made its Finovate debut in 2017, partnering with Quovo to present How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley. The company, based in San Francisco, California and founded in 2011, has raised $2.5 billion in funding, earning a valuation of $4.3 billion as of May of last year.

SoFi Secures The Bancorp as Debit Card Issuer

SoFi Secures The Bancorp as Debit Card Issuer

Financial services startup SoFi is partnering with The Bancorp to serve as the company’s backend banking provider and card issuer for SoFi Money.

The company launched SoFi Money last year to serve as an alternative banking product. SoFi’s challenger bank features include spending and budgeting tools, billpay, remote deposit capture, peer-to-peer payments, and a high interest cash management account.

Accountholders also have access to SoFi’s flagship borrowing products such as student loan refinancing, private student loans, personal loans, and home loans. As a competitive edge, SoFi also offers member benefits such as career coaching and VIP access to the SoFi Stadium, courtesy of last month’s partnership with Mastercard.

A rendering of the SoFi Stadium, set to open this summer in Inglewood, CA

The Bancorp is one of the top private-label debit and prepaid card issuers in the U.S. for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and UnionPay. The company has more than 75 million prepaid cards in distribution and processes 1.1 billion transactions each year.

“As a true pioneer in the fintech space, SoFi has been setting and surpassing industry standards by providing outstanding products and services to its members,” said Damian Kozlowski, President and CEO of The Bancorp. “We are incredibly proud to be selected as a key partner that will support SoFi’s mission to deliver innovative products and services to new and existing members.”

SoFi Teams Up with Mastercard to Boost Benefits for Members

SoFi Teams Up with Mastercard to Boost Benefits for Members
Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

Courtesy of a new partnership with Mastercard, SoFi members will have access to a new range of products and in-person experiences – including a new fan experience for visitors at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. SoFi will develop these offerings by leveraging Mastercard’s payments network, which will also serve as the exclusive card network for SoFi’s to-be-released credit card.

“Our mission at SoFi is to help our members achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. “In order to do so, we must build products and services that help our members ‘Get Their Money Right’.”

The partnership between SoFi and Mastercard will bring new member benefits to users of the SoFi Money debit card, which enables users to make transactions from their SoFi Money cash management account, launched last February. Cardholders will now benefit from cashback rewards, complimentary cell phone insurance, discounted airport concierge services, as well as other perks thanks to the Mastercard relationship.

“It is imperative that our partners are leaders in technological innovation, security, and enhanced benefits,” Noto said, “and Mastercard is an industry leader across all of those areas.”

SoFi, in collaboration with Quovo, participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York, in 2017. Together, the companies’ presentation “How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication” demonstrated how the integration of Quovo’s Authentication API supports the secure and streamlined authentication of financial accounts.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 2011, SoFi currently has 900,000+ members who rely on the firm’s growing array of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing. SoFi has raised $2.5 billion in funding – including a May 2019 investment of $500 million in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority – and has a valuation of more than $4.8 billion.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Zopa Raises $182 Million En Route to Full Bank Launch
  • Banks Shift to Automation in 2020

Around the web

  • Fenergo teams up with PwC to provide KYC compliance and client onboarding as managed services.
  • SumUp forges partnership with German fintech Penta which will offer the company’s card reader to its customers.
  • Personetics joins Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Global Startups Program.
  • Temenos inks partnership with Egyptian National Post Organization.
  • Maybank Group, the fourth largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia, goes live with Avaloq’s banking suite.
  • Installment payment specialist Splitit partners with smart bed solution provider ReST.
  • SoFi scores New York BitLicense, which will permit the company to offer crytocurrency trading services in the state.
  • Jack Henry to provide a comprehensive technology upgrade, including deployment of its SilverLake core system, for Parkside Financial Bank & Trust.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • TSYS Unveils New Authentication Solution
  • Dorsum Builds Wealth Management Platform for BNP Paribas in Poland.

Around the web

  • Plaid discloses role of Visa and Mastercard as strategic investors in its $250 million Series C round from December.
  • iSignthis secures patent from European Patent Office for PSD2, SCA, and KYC.
  • SoFi inks 20-year arrangement for exclusive naming rights for the new Sofi Stadium where National Football League teams the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams play.
  • Payoneer amps up cybersecurity efforts to significantly reduce phishing attempts.
  • Larky launches its nudge code library to bundle geo-location and engagement technology directly into mobile banking apps.
  • Spreedly launches Spreedly 3DS2 to help execute 3DS2-compliant transactions across multi-gateway environments.
  • BNP Paribas Bank Polska to implement Dorsum’s wealth management platform.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.