The fintech industry has been wracked with dismal performance of some of its most darling companies. Firms that just a few years ago were touted as the Googles and Apples of the fintech industry, with names like OnDeck and Lending Club, are now smoking holes, having fallen from the sky out of the hubris and incompetence of their leadership.
But one fintech company has nearly single-handedly redeemed the entire industry. While its competitors were bamboozling investors with techy speeches in black turtlenecks about how NINJA loans were the future and homeless indigents could be turned into born-again productive capitalists, GreenSky Credit was busy building a viable business model. The GreenSky Credit model is notable for both its simplicity and its value-additive nature. Unlike so many other trendy fintech startups, GreenSky Credit has sought only to enhance value within the established banking system rather than burning it down and creating financial utopia from the smoldering rubble.
This simple-yet-effective philosophy lies at the heart of what GreenSky founder David Zalik had as a vision of his company from the start. Touring the company’s understated, modern headquarters, one will not be able to locate the Silicon Valley staples of excess and waste, such as foosball tables, beer dispensers or video arcades. What one will find is a company with more than 650 employees, each of whom know their jobs inside and out and who care passionately about helping retail customers get the financing that they need.
The idea behind GreenSky came to Zalik when he was working closely with a number of major home improvement retailers. He saw that many deals were falling through when inexperienced homeowners severely underestimated the true costs of their home renovation projects. Zalik saw a golden opportunity. If someone would connect these homeowners, who often had among the highest possible credit ratings, with instant lending facilities, acting as a sort of retail-level bridge loan, there could be a great deal of money to be made.
Today, GreenSky Credit is originating more than $4 billion in loans every year. And the company expects to be doing nearly five times that amount by the year 2020.