With an eye on providing banking services later this year, online lending startup SoFi is planning to apply for an industrial bank charter in the next month, according to CEO Mike Cagney. If approved, it would become the first company to receive a new industrial loan company (ILC) charter in a decade.
Since launching in 2011, SoFi has gradually added new financial products and services to serve its member community. Banking is one area that it’s keen to enter, as it sees an opportunity to provide checking, deposit and credit card accounts to its users. SoFi has long been interested in applying for an industrial banking charter, and has even weighed the possibility of acquiring a regional or community bank to offer those services. In a profile of the company published last summer, The Wall Street Journal reported SoFi had met with Utah and federal regulators about applying for a charter in March 2016. In a conversation with TechCrunch, Cagney explained why he thinks the time is right for SoFi to move forward with its application, and what it expects to do if approved.