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SoFi大“钱”在握 宣布进军抵押贷款市场

SoFi这个名字很有意思,可以理解为Social Finance(社会融资)的缩写。当Mike Cagney选择这个名字的时候,我们都认为这是有意为之,断定当时他瞄准的交易方向肯定不会是学生借贷。如今SoFi在新的C轮融资中募集到了8千万美元,他们的雄心壮志变得愈发明确。

SoFi通过社会融资提高了人们生活的质量。他们的商业模型已经向我们证明,建立借贷的支持网络和社会系统益处多多。SoFi的毕业生基金使毕业生可以通过校友会借款给在校学生,而后还能对于他们进行就业和创业指导。SoFi将人脉关系、生态系统和借贷结合在一个社交金融的交流平台之上。就SoFi而言,我们认为通过体验个人化将会完全改变我们对于银行业的看法,而这才是SoFi的最终目标。就在上周,SoFi宣布扩张业务,进军新型贷款领域,朝向目标迈进了一大步。

SoFi突破学生贷款第一步:抵押贷款

这一轮融资的关键不在于募集到了巨额风险资本(附笔:这笔投资是一项关于Peter Thiel高校借款改革的声明),而是SoFi正在从学生贷款的单一类型转型为借贷市场的多面手。进军抵押贷款领域算是该公司突破学生贷款单一模块的第一步。

针对已有的高信用借款客户群,SoFi准备协助他们完成另一件人生大计——购买第一所住宅。他们所关注的是“薄档”客户,虽然这些客户的事业刚刚起步,但是一切证据都显示他们会在未来取得极大成功。这些借款者很难获得传统贷款,因为他们的信用档案存在一些误导性(零星的信用历史,短暂的工作历史,以及背负了高额的学生贷款)。结果就是,SoFi的借款者可能需要更高LTV,而他们的DTI或许高于平均数,但是这些刚刚从名校毕业的学生们已经准备好成就一番事业。SoFi将这些收入高却尚未成未富豪的借款者们称为“HENRY’S”。

借贷新潮

如今的状况就是这样。上个月Lending Club宣布正在从消费贷款扩张至小微商业借贷。本月,SoFi宣布他们正在从学生贷款延展到房屋抵押贷款。你是否看到这股潮流了呢?传统的银行借贷类别正在被一一瓦解。SoFi紧随Lending Club之后涉足其尚未关注的重大领域。这一招着实高明。这里竞争并不激烈,但是市场规模却十分庞大。

SoFi的挑战在于他们目前关注的只是长期而低收益的贷款类别。也就是说相比于Lending Club,SoFi的收益更低,而且尚需数年才能够成熟完善,因此难以进行零售。现在,SoFi接触更多的是一些机构放款人(比如养老金经纪公司和保险公司),后者常常是因SoFi贷款安全稳妥而被吸引,这一点SoFi安全部门已于去年12月证实。

但是随着时间的变迁,我们期待SoFi能在将来变得更加易于零售。通过与Mike的交谈,我们认识到零售的确是十分重要的。虽然目前机构投资约占80%而零售仅占20%,但是长久看来他们的目标是将零售提升至总额的35%左右。如果他们真的想成为一个真正的社会融资公司,那么他们就应该继续开发新型借贷类别,来帮助个人投资者支持他人的事业。SoFi已经准备好去这样做了,我们拭目以待。

The name SoFi is interesting, it is short for Social Finance.  When Mike Cagney chose the name, we think it was very intentional that he focused on the type of transaction rather than on the student lending category.  Now that SoFi has raised another $80 million in their Series C round, their grand vision is starting to become clearer.

SoFi improves lives through Social Finance.  Their business model already shows us the benefit of building a support network and social ecosystem around lending.  Their alumni funds make it possible for school alumni to lend to students from their alma mater and then mentor those students through their career.  SoFi ties together affinity, ecosystem, and lending in a social financial exchange.  We think that the grand vision for SoFi is to completely change the way we view banking by making it more personal.  They took a big step towards that vision last week when they announced their expansion into a new category.

SoFi’s First Move Beyond Student Loans: Mortgages

The biggest news of this funding round is not the absurd amount of venture capital money raised (side note: this investment is a statement about Peter Thiel’s college debt crusade), it is that SoFi is embarking on a transition from a student lender to a generalist lending marketplace.  Their first step beyond their friendly confines of student lending is to enter the mortgage sector.

SoFi will tap into their network of incredibly high quality student loan borrowers to assist with another major life event, the purchase of their first home.  Their focus category is on “thin file” clients who are just starting out and, by all indications, will have incredibly successful careers.   These borrowers may have difficulty accessing a traditional mortgage because of their misleading credit profile snapshot (little credit history, little job history, high student loan debt).  As a result, SoFi’s borrowers may require high LTVs and their DTI ratios are probably higher than average, but these are recent graduates from top graduate schools who are poised to do well.  SoFi call these borrowers “HENRY’S” for High Earners Not Rich Yet.

A New Trend

So there you have it.  Last month Lending Club announced that they were expanding from consumer credit to small business lending.  This month SoFi announces that they are expanding from student lending to home mortgages.  Do you see the trend here?  Traditional banking categories are being disrupted one at a time.  SoFi is going after the huge categories where Lending Club isn’t focused.  This is really smart.  There is less competition and the market sizes are huge.

SoFi’s challenge is that they have focused on the longer duration, lower yielding categories so far. In comparison to Lending Club, their yields are much lower and the time to maturity takes years, which makes it a tougher sell to retail.  So far SoFi has appealed more to institutional lenders (pensions and insurance companies) that are attracted to the safe and secure nature of their loans, which was best demonstrated by SoFi’s securitization in late December.

But we expect that over time SoFi will become increasingly retail friendly.  We can tell by talking to Mike that retail is really important.  Right now the split is approximately 80% institution and 20% retail but over time their goal is to grow retail closer to 35% of total originations.  If they really want to be THE Social Finance company, then they should continue to expand to new lending categories that help borrowers with life events and they should really emphasize new ways for individual investors support the success of others.  SoFi is poised to make it happen and we are rooting for them.


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