If you’re tired of traditional lenders, the internet is chock full of options for any type of loan you can imagine. But whether you want to lower your student loan payments, buy a house or get a loan to fix up your home, how do you decide where to get the funds?
SoFi is one of the leaders in the online loan business, promising speed, transparency and a community-oriented approach designed to help customers get the very best bang for their buck. Rachel Reichblum, senior manager of product communications at SoFi, spoke to RewardExpert about the benefits of choosing to become a SoFi member. “We take a unique approach to lending, offering lower interest rates and big savings,” she said.
In the Beginning
From its humble beginnings in San Francisco as a way to help students refinance their loans, SoFi has grown into a lending powerhouse, originating over $30 billion in loans to over 465,000 members, and helping those members save $2 billion along the way.
While student loan refinancing is still a big part of the company’s business, it has expanded into other lending products, including mortgages, mortgage refinancing, medical resident refinancing, parent loans and more. “We offer some of the lowest rates in the industry. We also don’t charge any pre-payment or origination fees,” Reichblum explained.
A New Way to Improve Loans
One way that SoFi differs from a traditional bank is in the way it decides who is able to borrow, putting less emphasis on the credit score. Instead the company considers factors such as estimated cash flow, career and education.
“While other lenders charge higher rates to account for the possibility that borrowers won’t pay back their loans, our unique underwriting process helps ensure our members have a high likelihood of making their payments,” stated Reichblum. “Since almost all SoFi members pay back their loans on time, we’re able to offer lower rates.”
In addition, the company is able to pass on even greater savings to customers, due to the fact that it’s digital with no brick-and-mortar locations, which allows it to save on operating expenses.
Putting Members First
When it comes to getting a loan at SoFi, it’s not just about the money. Customers become members of the SoFi community and receive access to numerous benefits. “We know that when our members succeed, we succeed, so we want to provide them with the tools they need to make that a reality,” said Reichblum.
Benefits available to SoFi members include exclusive events, networking opportunities, free swag, complimentary access to financial planners and complimentary career counseling. In fact, securing a loan with SoFi has also led to new opportunities for many members.
“Nearly 60 percent of SoFi members report a ‘positive change in their career’ after working with a SoFi career coach. Our career coaches have helped nearly 400 members find new jobs,” pointed out Reichblum.
Manage Your Wealth with SoFi
SoFi has also been branching out beyond loans, offering other products, such as wealth management. Reichblum says the wealth management unit has seen rapid adoption, with over 10,000 accounts and $45 million assets under management in less than a year.
“It’s clear that once members pay off their debt, their next focus is investing, and we provide them with the simple, seamless and integrated tool to do that,” said Reichblum. SoFi’s wealth management business offers portfolio selection, auto rebalancing, goal planning strategies and more.
An Expanding Product Lineup
In addition, the company is launching SoFi Money in the spring of 2018. “The account, inclusive of a debit card and a simple, seamless, integrated mobile app, will feature high-yielding interest rates (0.92% in March) with no restrictions on your cash, no account fees, no ATM fees, free P2P payments, and everything else you’d want in your banking experience,” stated Reichblum.