SoFi sees student loan payments returning 'more strongly' next year, as Wall Street sends shares highest in nearly a year

SoFi Technologies Inc. shares rose the most in almost a year after the online bank raised its revenue guidance, citing benefits from deposit growth and lower funding costs on loans.

SoFi now expects adjusted net revenue this year of $1.97 billion to $2.03 billion, up from its prior forecast of $1.96 billion to $2.02 billion, the financial-technology company said Monday.

Deposits climbed as the firm avoided the problems plaguing the regional-banking industry, where a run on deposits earlier this year led to the collapse of several lenders. SoFi, which is shooting for a 30% return on equity, has used its bank charter to weather many of the cost challenges other financial-technology companies have faced with the sharp rise in interest rates.

“We’re taking business, but it’s not from the regional banks, it’s from the largest banks in the country,” Chief Executive Officer Anthony Noto said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “That’s where we’re getting the bulk of our market share.” 

Many of the largest US banks have moved away from unsecured personal loans and mortgages, which SoFi offers, he said.

Total deposits at the end of the second-quarter reached $12.7 billion, up from $7.34 billion at the end of last year, the San Francisco-based lender said.

“As a result of this growth in high-quality deposits, we have benefited from a lower cost of funding for our loans,” Noto said in a statement announcing second-quarter results. “Our deposit funding also increases our flexibility to capture additional net interest margin and optimize returns, a critical advantage in light of notable macro uncertainty.”

SoFi’s student-loan refinancing business, a hallmark of the firm, remained “relatively depressed” as reflected in the second-quarter earnings, Noto said in the interview, but should tick up in the third- and fourth-quarters, and return “more strongly” next year.

The student-loan business was the company’s most profitable through the end of 2019, Noto said, until a Covid-19 payment moratorium was implemented. SoFi sued over that policy, though the Biden administration has since rescinded it. Student-loan payments are expected to resume in the coming months, and could be a boon for SoFi. 

Shares of the company, which have more than doubled this year, jumped as much as 22%, the biggest intraday gain since last August. They were up 18% at 1:14 p.m. in New York. 

–With assistance from Ed Ludlow.

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