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华尔街日报:GreenSky上市在即,投资者能否对网贷行业重燃信心?

全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯

华尔街日报:GreenSky上市在即,投资者能否对网贷行业重燃信心?

在近些年快速发展的在线借贷行业中,已经上市的两家企业一直表现平平,而不少企业则干脆选择了不上市。而本周,GreenSky Inc.的上市计划可能会打破这一困境。

据了解,GreenSky本次上市计划发行7亿美元股票,其企业市值也有望因此达到42亿美元。该计划可能最早于本周三实现,这也会让GreenSky有望成为美国有史以来最有价值的在线借贷平台。

据道琼斯VentureSource透露,GreenSky曾先后获得来自日本企业集团SoftBank Group Corp.和名厨David Chang等机构和个人累计30亿美元投资。 摩根士丹利分析师预计,到2020年,在线借贷行业在所有无担保消费者和小企业贷款中的比例将上升到10%。

在过去几年里,LendingClub、Prosper等P2P平台发展不顺,部分原因是它们出现了传统金融公司常面临的问题,如违约率上升、融资额不足等。再加上,2016年LendingClub自作自受,爆出了一场管理丑闻,结果 P2P平台大量裁员,个个都下调了增长指标。

投资者当时纷纷看衰P2P模式。LendingClub市值曾高达100亿美元,现在却比首发价下跌了77%。去年,Prosper在私募融资中的估值不到以前的三分之一。

独立研究公司Autonomous Research分析师表示,假如GreenSky能重新燃起投资者对金融科技IPO 的兴趣,那其他创企上市的可能性也会有所提高。他还说:"GreenSky会是Fintech行业上市的晴雨表。"

GreenSky创办于2006年,由David Zalik担任CEO。该公司在IPO申请中表示,它提供过120亿美元以上的贷款,供消费者用于住宅修缮和选择性医疗。这说明,GreenSky将自己看成是一家一流的科技公司,而不是借贷平台。

GreenSky的盈利能力也高于其他互联网借贷企业。2017年,该公司净收益达到1.39亿美元,增长11%,而LendingClub创立12年以来,大多处于亏损状态。

GreenSky的一部分优势在于,获得顾客的成本较低。LendingClub费用最高的就是市场营销,去年已经增长到了2.299亿美元,占总收入的40%。

大型的互联网借贷企业大多采用雷同的营销战术,即对同一类业务收取较低的费用,这很难在众多竞争者脱颖而出。近些年里,高盛集团(Goldman Sachs Group)、美国运通公司(American Express)及其他银行都在发展个人贷款业务。

不过,GreenSky的大多数客户都是通过其12,231家合作商获得的。这些合作商既有美国第二大零售商家得宝,也有一般的独立承包商,它们会询问自己的客户是否需要GreenSky的贷款来完成住宅修缮。

2017年,GreenSky的市场营销费用只有220万美元,不到总收入的1%。

GreenSky的贷款一般都有免息促销期。如果贷款人在促销期内还清款项,他们本应付的利息就会由GreenSky承担。该公司去年报表中该项费用共计1.27亿美元。

GreenSky的模式一直都不同于LendingClub等P2P借贷平台。2016年,由于投资者将资金撤出平台,P2P模式的不稳定性也暴露出来。

不过,四家大型地区性银行(分别是五三银行、地区金融公司、太阳信托银行和西诺佛金融公司)也向GreenSky作出承诺,会将客户的存款资金用于其发展信贷业务。这四家银行为GreenSky提供了89%的贷款资金,且有能力提供更多。

For all the promise of online lending companies, the two most closely watched stocks in the sector have been flops, while other upstarts have backed away from public offerings. This week, a new entrant, GreenSky Inc., hopes to break the downward trend.

The firm is planning a $700 million public offering that would give it a market value of nearly $4.2 billion at the midpoint of its price range. The deal, which could price as soon as Wednesday, would make the Atlanta firm the most valuable U.S. public company specializing in online loans.

It wasn’t long ago that online lenders were ascendant. More than $3 billion in capital from investors as diverse as Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. and celebrity chef David Chang gushed into lending startups in 2015, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted that year that the nascent industry would account for 10% of all unsecured consumer and small-business loans by 2020.

Over the past few years, though, LendingClub Corp. , Prosper Marketplace Inc. and their peers have stumbled, due in part to challenges endemic to old-school specialty-finance companies, like rising default rates and difficulties securing enough funding to expand. Combined with self-inflicted wounds like a 2016 governance scandal at LendingClub, this prompted companies to dial back growth plans and lay off hundreds of employees.

Investors soured on the sector. Shares of LendingClub, which once had a market value of about $10 billion, are down 77% from their IPO price. Prosper’s valuation was slashed by more than two-thirds in a private fundraising round last year.

If GreenSky succeeds at rekindling investors’ fondness for fintech IPOs, that could prompt other startups to list publicly, said Robert Wildhack, an analyst at Autonomous Research. “It’s going to be a good barometer,” he added.

Started in 2006 and run by CEO David Zalik, GreenSky said in its IPO filings that it has facilitated more than $12 billion in loans to consumers for home-improvement projects and elective medical procedures. That said, the firm portrayed itself in filings as a “leading technology company,” not a lender.

And GreenSky differs from online lenders in terms of profitability. Its net income rose 11% in 2017 to $139 million. LendingClub, by contrast, has been reporting losses for much of its 12-year history.

Part of GreenSky’s advantage comes from its relatively low customer-acquisition costs. LendingClub’s biggest expense is sales and marketing, which last year rose to $229.9 million, equivalent to 40% of revenue.

Most big online lenders follow the same marketing playbook, which has made it harder to stand out in a more crowded field of rivals offering the same kind of loan, often at cheaper rates. In recent years, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., American Express Co. and other banks have either introduced or ramped up their offers of personal loans.

GreenSky, on the other hand, finds most of its borrowers through 12,231 partner merchants, which range from Home Depot to independent contractors. Those merchants ask their customers if they want to finance home-improvement projects with a GreenSky loan.

GreenSky spent just $2.2 million on sales and marketing in 2017, or less than 1% of revenue.

The company’s loans typically come with a promotional, interest-free period. Should borrowers pay off loans before that period ends, GreenSky is on the hook for some interest payments. The company reports those charges under a bucket of items it calls “settlements,” which totaled $127 million last year.

GreenSky has also eschewed the “marketplace” lending model many firms like LendingClub pursued. In 2016, the fragility of that model was exposed when investors pulled back from funding online loans.

GreenSky, however, has commitments from four of the largest regional banks— Fifth Third Bancorp , Regions Financial Corp. , SunTrust Banks Inc. and Synovus Financial Corp. —to use their depositors’ money to extend its credits. Those four banks provided the funding for around 89% of GreenSky loans and have the capacity to commit even more funding.


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