Marketplace Lending Takes the Big Stage for the Big Game

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SoFi Ad Reinforces Industry’s Arrival

So Sunday was the Big Game (which I will not mention by name because I don’t like getting nasty letters), which means one thing: Big Business. And within that business, the battle for TV commercial real estate always draws big press coverage and big dollars.

From wiener dogs to Vikings in coffee to an array of celebrities to whatever that puppy monkey baby thing was, this year we saw the usual mix of hilarity, oddity, sentimentality and Clydesdales. Some were good, some were bad, but all were expensive and seen by more than 110 million viewers.

For a while now, we (and much the business press) have been trumpeting the growth and impact of marketplace lenders on all loan types and in the accelerated adoption of financial technology across the lending process, from application and qualification, all the way through to possible securitization. Simply put, it is impacting the way financial services conduct business, and SoFi has become a poster child of this impact.

By integrating innovation through both technology and nontraditional underwriting approach, SoFi has carved out a name for itself among a crowded fields of peer-to-peer lenders. In 2015, SoFi announced that it had surpassed $6 billion in funded loans across mortgages, personal loans and student loan refinancing. Additionally, SoFi has completed $2.6 billion in student loan securitizations and $1.2 billion in sales of student loans or interests in student loans to banks/insurers through its digital asset management.

Regardless of the SoFi ad’s mixed reviews, this was the biggest public statement yet that marketplace lending has arrived. And while SoFi was the brand, this is also a big moment for Lending Club, Funding Circle, Apple Pie, Payoff, Avant, CommonBond, CircleBack, Upstart, and many, many more innovative and disruptive lenders.

While it is unlikely to be reflected upon like Apple’s “1984” ad, it clearly made a statement that went beyond the commercial, and it is one more marker as marketplace lending stakes out a prominent place in the U.S. business landscape.