An online consumer lender in Kennesaw, Ga., is partnering with a small Utah bank as it seeks to establish a nationwide business.
LendingPoint, which makes unsecured installment loans to borrowers with blemished credit records, currently operates in 14 states. Since the firm started offering credit in late 2014, it has been obtaining licenses on a state-by-state basis.
The new partnership with the $47 million-asset FinWise Bank in Sandy, Utah, will give LendingPoint the ability to operate from coast to coast.
LendingPoint CEO Tom Burnside said that he wanted to test the company’s underwriting model on a limited basis before embarking on a nationwide rollout. The firm’s scoring model is premised on the idea that traditional credit scores are overly pessimistic about the chances that certain borrowers will repay their debts.
“The model has done what it’s supposed to do,” Burnside said in an interview Monday.
LendingPoint’s borrowers have an average credit score of 650, according to Burnside, which is lower than better-established online lenders such as Lending Club and Prosper Marketplace. The firm’s loans carry annual percentage rates of up to 35%.
In a little over two years, LendingPoint has lent out about $190 million, Burnside said. He expects the company’s monthly loan volume to triple or quadruple once it has the ability to make loans nationwide. The nationwide rollout is expected to be completed this spring.
Many online lenders partner with banks to originate their loans as a way to avoid the burden of getting licensed in each of the 50 states. What’s more, banks have the right to export their home state’s interest rate rules to other states, a privilege that enables their partners in the online lending business to get around state interest rate caps.