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PayPal Makes Strategic Investment in Online Lender LendUp

Is PayPal’s investment in online lender LendUp a hint that the underbanked may not remain the underserved for long? LendUp specializes in providing loans to borrowers who have been unable to secure credit from banks and credit unions. And with more than $111 million in equity funding – including this week’s undisclosed amount from PayPal, the San Francisco lending and financial education platform has even more capital to grow its business.

“We’re building our own technology to create new financial products and experiences for the 56% of Americans shut out of mainstream banking due to poor credit or income volatility,” LendUp CEO Sasha Orloff said. “Right on a mobile phone.”

Operating in 24 states, LendUp provides a suite of solutions geared toward providing credit to the underbanked and helping those with thin credit files or a poor credit history to build or rebuild their credit rating. The company’s LendUp loans provide short-term credit, typically as much as $500 for up to 30 days. LendUp’s L Card Visa, launched in 2015, is a no-security-deposit-required credit card for the underbanked with an annual fee between $0 and $60, and an APR between the low 20s and the low 30s. The company’s LendUp Ladder enables customer to earns points toward better borrowing rates by making timely loan repayments, completing financial education courses, and referring others to the service.

In addition to the strategic investment from PayPal, LendUp announced that former Lending Club CFO Carrie Dolan would join the company as a board advisor. Other major changes at LendUp including hiring Mandeep Walia – a former PayPal executive – as chief compliance officer, and adding former Lending Club executive Jordan Olivier as VP of Finance, and Karry Bryan, formerly of PwC, as VP and controller.

LendUp demonstrated its lending platform at FinovateSpring 2014, following the company’s Best of Show winning debut the previous year. Earlier this month, the company was named a Financial Health Leader by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. In May, LendUp expanded its L Card credit card, launched in 2015. And in March, the company received a credit facility worth $100 million from Victory Park Capital. LendUp was founded in 2011.