#UK STARTUP CEO: America’s biggest banks are ‘vulnerable’ and we’re going after them (JPM, BAC)


CagneyMike Cagney, the chief executive of online lending startup SoFi, has America’s biggest banks in his sights.

“I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I go after Wells Fargo, how I go after BofA, how I go after JPMorgan,” he said in an interview.  “Those are the guys we think are the most vulnerable.”

In addition to competing for mortgage customers and other borrowers, SoFi has ambitions to offer checking accounts and a wealth management business, Cagney said.  

The company got its start by refinancing student loans and has since expanded into other lending businesses. It raised $1 billion in September, the biggest financing round by any company in the financial technology – or fintech – industry.

To be sure, SoFi’s still tiny compared with the huge banks. But it’s growing fast. The $4 billion in loans its made this year account for roughly 80% of its total lending since its 2011 launch. 

‘Crappy deals’

Though banks, which buy up loans that SoFi originates, have had a huge part to play in that growth, SoFi doesn’t have much of a relationship with the biggest banks, Cagney said. 

“We have a lot of banks that buy loans, and we love that. And it’s good for the banks, because they need the assets, and it’s good for us, because we need the funding, and it’s a very symbiotic relationship.”

“We get along pretty well with everyone else,” he added. “The big four megabanks, we don’t really get along with, and that’s 75% of the banking market.” 

A woman exits a Wells Fargo ATM in the Manhattan borough of New York, October 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - That distrust extends to investment banking, according to Cagney, who said SoFi had a capital markets relationship with Citigroup, but that the other three banks have never done any work with SoFi.

“They’ve made overtures, and the overtures have always been pretty crappy deals for us. A lot of the overtures involve them coming over and figuring out everything that we do, and then leaving, which we don’t think is a fun way to spend time. So we’ve said ‘No.’”

“I don’t think we’ll ever have good relationships with the mega-banks in any form,” he said.

“I think they look at us as an absolute competitor, as we do them.” 

Wells Fargo didn’t reply to a request for comment, while Bank of America and JPMorgan declined to comment. 

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