尽管人们对亚马逊的印象可能还停留在电商平台这一层次，但来自多方的报道显示，亚马逊在金融市场上面的布局已经足以与一些大型银行相抗衡。亚马逊市场副总裁Peyush Nahar表示，中小企业是亚马逊发展成功的关键，公司的借贷服务部门Amazon Lending致力于为小企业提供必要的资金，帮助它们扩大库存水平，提高运营能力。此外，亚马逊还计划将在未来把贷款服务扩大到其他重要的海外市场，如加拿大、法国和中国等
当然，Amazon Lending对于亚马逊的意义并不仅仅在于发放贷款。目前，Amazon Marketplace向商家收取6%-15%不等的佣金，并要求规模较大的商家每月缴纳一定会员费，商家周转更快、销量越高，意味着亚马逊将赚取更大规模的佣金。此外，垂直方向打通产业链，为商家提供更全面的服务，将提高卖家对亚马逊平台的粘性，加强亚马逊电商平台业务的竞争力。
Amazon announced today that it had originated over $3 billion in loans to more than 20,000 small businesses since 2011. One billion of those loans came in the past 12 months. Peyush Nahar, VP for Amazon Marketplace, released a statement on the milestone;
“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success. Small businesses are in our DNA. Amazon is providing capital to small businesses to help them expand inventory and operations at a critical period of their growth. We understand that a small loan can go a long way.”
The data points Amazon shared were pretty compelling. 50% of the small businesses that take out a loan come back and do it again. Loans range from as little as $1000 but go up to $750,000. Amazon is now lending in the US, UK and Japan.
But here is the rub. While other online lenders must pay a hefty fee to acquire new lenders that is not the case for Amazon. The worlds largest retailer already has the relationship with these borrowers. Marketing to these small businesses cost, well, very little.
Amazon is not the only internet mega-giant that has realized a digital relationship can be leveraged in many different ways. My guess is that Amazon has been watching Alibaba lead the way in China. While Amazon is only lending to three countries today they currently provide services in 130 different countries. No costly brick and mortar locations necessary.
If this is not a wake up call for the traditional banking model than I don’t know what is. But this should also be a worrisome challenge for some of the pure-play online SME lenders with a higher cost of capital and expensive lead generation operations. Next up, Apple, Google and Facebook.