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SoFi –The First “Non-Bank Bank” to Threaten Big Banks

Posted By:  |  October 27, 2015  |  0 Comment(s)

Outspoken and highly ambitious, Mike Cagney, SoFi CEO, opens up to Inc.’s senior editor Maria Aspan about his mission to become the first “non-bank bank” all while America watches big banks topple over in defeat.


Since the inception of SoFi four years ago, this online lending startup can almost taste the success of $4 billion. Late last month Japan’s SoftBank and other investors fueled what has been called the largest single financing round in the fintech space to date by cutting SoFi a check for $1 billion in series E funding. SoFi said the check will be spent toward accelerated growth and marketing new products and experiences.

In addition to new product offerings, SoFi hopes to fully replace the corporations controlling the nation’s financial system – big banks.

“I want to be able to give you a SoFi card, and I want you to be able to go to an ATM and [shop] and do whatever you want with it, and I don’t want a bank involved…I want you out of Wells Fargo entirely,” said Cagney to Aspan during an interview.

SoFi has extended its reach outside refinancing existing student loans and has branched out to mortgages and personal loans with insurance and checking accounts. Also on the agenda is wealth management and  possibly offered free of charge.

“Every SoFi member gets it. I’ll probably give them 100 bucks to start their account,” Cagney said in hopes this offering will be put toward the long term goals of SoFi’s members.

Year to date, SoFi has hosted events for thousands of members, while helping 146 of those customers find reliable work, and 45 have been aided in their business ventures. According to Dan Macklin, co-founder and head of community and member services, only five of the startups nearly 70,000 members have failed to repay their loans, and in four of those cases, Macklin says “that’s because the customer died.”

The SoFi strategy is to sell one product and from there give the customer a “really good experience, get you to trust us, deliver some really cool externalities–like help you start a business, or help you find a job, or get you to networking events, or buy you a beer. Whatever it is I need to do, until you’re like, ‘You know what? I really like this relationship,” said Cagney.

Building strong relationships is the core of SoFi and now Cagney says he wants to compete with monopolizing banks. SoFi plans to add 100 more employees to the existing locations in California, Montana, Washington DC, and Texas by the end of the year and said achieving this vision “is going to require us to take some chances.”


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