SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________ to ___________
Commission File Number 001-39050
OPORTUN FINANCIAL CORPORATION
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
|State or Other Jurisdiction of |
Incorporation or Organization
|I.R.S. Employer Identification No.|
|2 Circle Star Way|
|Address of Principal Executive Offices||Zip Code|
Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share||OPRT||Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of a share of common stock on June 30, 2021 as reported by the Nasdaq Global Select Market on such date was approximately $321.5 million. Shares of the registrant’s common stock held by each executive officer, director and holder of 5% or more of the outstanding common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This calculation does not reflect a determination that certain persons are affiliates of the registrant for any other purpose.
The number of shares of registrant’s common stock outstanding as of February 22, 2022 was 32,018,365.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant's definitive Proxy Statement related to the Annual Meeting to be filed subsequently are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the documents referenced herein, contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, concerning our business, operations and financial performance and condition, as well as our plans, objectives and expectations for our business operations and financial performance and condition. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical facts are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “due,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal,” “intend,” “may,” “objective,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “positioned,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and other similar expressions that are predictions of or indicate future events and future trends, or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•our ability to increase the volume of loans we make;
•our ability to manage our net charge-off rates;
•our acquisition of Hello Digit, Inc. ("Digit"), including the anticipated integration of the acquired business and potential benefits and related synergies of the acquisition;
•our expectations and management of future growth, including expanding our markets served, member base and product and service offerings, including our digital banking services;
•our ability to successfully adjust our proprietary credit risk models and products in response to changing macroeconomic conditions and fluctuations in the credit market;
•our expectations regarding our costs and seasonality;
•our ability to successfully build our brand and protect our reputation from negative publicity;
•our ability to expand our digital capabilities for origination and increase the volume of loans originated through our digital channels;
•our ability to increase the effectiveness of our marketing efforts;
•our ability to grow market share in existing markets or any new markets we may enter;
•our ability to continue to expand our demographic focus;
•our ability to maintain or expand our relationships with our current partners, including bank partners, and our plans to acquire additional partners using our Lending as a Service model;
•our ability to maintain the terms on which we lend to our borrowers;
•our plans for and our ability to successfully maintain our diversified funding strategy, including warehouse facilities, whole loan sales and securitization transactions;
•our ability to successfully manage our interest rate spread against our cost of capital;
•our ability to manage fraud risk;
•our expectations regarding the sufficiency of our cash to meet our operating and cash expenditures;
•our ability to effectively estimate the fair value of our Fair Value Loans and Fair Value Notes;
•our ability to effectively secure and maintain the confidentiality of the information provided and utilized across our systems;
•our ability to successfully compete with companies that are currently in, or may in the future enter, the markets in which we operate;
•our ability to attract, integrate and retain qualified employees;
•the impact of macroeconomic conditions on our business, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
•our ability to effectively manage and expand the capabilities of our contact centers, outsourcing relationships and other business operations abroad; and
•our ability to successfully adapt to complex and evolving regulatory environments
Forward-looking statements are based on our management’s current expectations, estimates, forecasts, and projections about our business and the industry in which we operate and on our management’s beliefs and assumptions. In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate we have conducted exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments may cause our views to change. Forward-looking statements do not guarantee future performance or development and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that are in some cases beyond our control. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, those listed under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. We also operate in a rapidly changing environment and new risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or
combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in, or implied by, any forward-looking statements. As a result, any or all of our forward-looking statements in this report may turn out to be inaccurate. Furthermore, if the forward-looking statements prove to be inaccurate, the inaccuracy may be material.
You should read this report with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and achievements may be materially different from what we expect, particularly given the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, even if new information becomes available in the future. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.
Summary of Risk Factors
Investing in our common stock involves risks. See Item 1A. “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of the following principal risks and other risks that make an investment in our common stock speculative or risky:
Risks Related to Our Business
•The global COVID-19 pandemic has and may continue to adversely impact our business operations, financial performance and results of operations.
•We have experienced rapid growth in recent periods and our recent growth rates may not be indicative of future growth. If we fail to manage our growth effectively, our results of operations may suffer.
•Our results of operations and future prospects depend on our ability to retain existing, and attract new, members.
•We are, and intend in the future to continue, developing new financial products and services, and our failure to accurately predict their demand or growth could have an adverse effect on our business.
•The success and growth of our business depends upon our ability to continuously innovate and develop new products and technologies.
•If we do not compete effectively in our target markets, our results of operations could be harmed.
•Our risk management efforts may not be effective, which may expose us to market risks that harm our results of operations.
•We rely extensively on models in managing many aspects of our business. If our models contain errors or are otherwise ineffective, our business could be adversely affected.
•Our business may be adversely affected by disruptions in the credit markets and changes to interest rates on our borrowings.
•We have elected the fair value option and we use estimates in determining the fair value of our loans and our asset-backed notes. If our estimates prove incorrect, we may be required to write down the value of these assets or write up the value of these liabilities, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
•If we are unable to collect payment and service the loans we make to members, our net charge-off rates may exceed expected loss rates, and our business and results of operations may be harmed.
•Our quarterly results are likely to fluctuate significantly and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business.
•Our results of operations and financial condition have been and may be adversely affected by economic conditions and other factors that we cannot control.
•Negative publicity or public perception of our company or our industry could adversely affect our reputation, business, and results of operations.
•Competition for our highly skilled employees is intense, and we may not be able to attract and retain the employees we need to support the growth of our business.
•If we lose the services of any of our key management personnel, our business could suffer.
•Our success and future growth depend on our branding and marketing efforts.
•We may fail to realize all of the anticipated benefits of the Digit acquisition, and the merger or those benefits may take longer to realize than expected.
•Any acquisitions, strategic investments, entries into new businesses, joint ventures, divestitures, and other transactions could fail to achieve strategic objectives, disrupt our ongoing operations or result in operating difficulties, liabilities and expenses, harm our business, and negatively impact our results of operations.
•Fraudulent activity could negatively impact our business, operating results, brand and reputation and require us to take steps to reduce fraud risk.
•Security breaches and incidents impacting members’ confidential information that we store may harm our reputation, adversely affect our results of operations, and expose us to liability.
•Any significant disruption in our computer systems may impair the availability of our websites, applications, products or services, or otherwise harm our business.
•We may change our corporate strategies or underwriting and servicing practices, which may adversely affect our business.
•We are, and intend in the future to continue, expanding into new geographic regions, and our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, or accurately predict demand or growth, related to these geographic regions could have an adverse effect on our business.
•We are exposed to geographic concentration risk.
•Our proprietary credit risk models rely in part on the use of third-party data to assess and predict the creditworthiness of our members, and if we lose the ability to license or use such third-party data, or if such third-party data contain inaccuracies, it may harm our results of operations
•Our current level of interest rate spread may decline in the future. Any material reduction in our interest rate spread could adversely affect our results of operations.
•A deterioration in the financial condition of counterparties, including financial institutions, could expose us to credit losses, limit access to liquidity or disrupt our business operations.
•Our vendor relationships subject us to a variety of risks, and the failure of third parties to comply with legal or regulatory requirements or to provide various services that are important to our operations could have an adverse effect on our business.
•Our mission to provide inclusive, affordable financial services that empower our members to build a better future may conflict with the short-term interests of our stockholders.
•If we cannot maintain our corporate culture as we grow, we could lose the innovation, collaboration and focus on the mission that contribute to our business.
•Our international operations and offshore service providers involve inherent risks which could result in harm to our business.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
•It may be difficult and costly to protect our intellectual property rights, and we may not be able to ensure their protection
•We have been, and may in the future be, sued by third parties for alleged infringement of their proprietary rights.
•Our credit risk models, A.I. capabilities, and internal systems rely on software that is highly technical, and if it contains undetected errors, our business could be adversely affected.
•Some aspects of our business processes include open source software, and any failure to comply with the terms of one or more of these open source licenses could negatively affect our business.
Risks Related to Our Industry and Regulation
•The financial services industry is highly regulated. Changes in regulations or in the way regulations are applied to our business could adversely affect our business.
•Litigation, regulatory actions and compliance issues could subject us to significant fines, penalties, judgments, remediation costs and/or requirements resulting in increased expenses.
•Internet-based and electronic signature-based loan origination processes may give rise to greater risks than paper-based processes.
•The CFPB has broad authority to regulate consumer financial services, creating uncertainty as to how the agency’s actions or the actions of any other new agency could impact our business.
•The collection, storage, use, disclosure, and other processing of personal information could give rise to liabilities as a result of existing or new governmental regulation, conflicting legal requirements or differing views of personal privacy rights.
•Our business is subject to the regulatory framework applicable to registered investment advisers, including regulation by the SEC.
•Our bank partnership products may lead to regulatory risk and may increase our regulatory burden.
•Anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism financing and economic sanctions laws could have adverse consequences for us.
Risks Related to Our Indebtedness
•We have incurred substantial debt and may issue debt securities or otherwise incur substantial debt in the future, which may adversely affect our financial condition and negatively impact our operations.
•A breach of early payment triggers or covenants or other terms of our agreements with lenders could result in an early amortization, default, and/or acceleration of the related funding facilities.
•Our securitizations and whole loan sales may expose us to certain risks, and we can provide no assurance that we will be able to access the securitization or whole loan sales market in the future, which may require us to seek more costly financing.
Item 1. Business
We are a financial technology company and digital banking platform driven by our mission to provide inclusive, affordable financial services that empower our members to build a better future. By intentionally designing our products to help solve the financial health challenges facing a majority of people in the U.S., we are focused on realizing our vision to deliver a complete set of financial solutions that meet the needs of hardworking people, from borrowing and saving to banking, investing and more. We believe our business is well positioned for significant growth and the expansion of our track-record of profitability.
Financial Health in America
According to a January 2022 survey by Bankrate, more than half of all Americans do not have enough savings to cover an unplanned expense of $1,000. In 2021, the Financial Health Network reported that two-thirds of U.S. households struggle with spending, saving, borrowing and planning. In addition, our research shows that while 90% of U.S. consumers believe financial health is important, 57% of those consumers do not want to think about money.
Our digital banking platform is designed to address these societal issues with a comprehensive set of financial services that help people, even those who are not well served by mainstream financial institutions, access credit and automatically budget, save, and invest, without impacting their ability to meet daily spending needs. By applying artificial intelligence ("A.I"). to automate their financial health, we believe we have a compelling suite of products and services that addresses the very real needs of the vast majority of people living in the U.S.
Serving our Members' Financial Needs
Our members are among the hundreds of millions of hardworking Americans who are not well served by mainstream financial products. We take a holistic approach to serving our members and view it as our purpose to responsibly meet their current capital needs, help grow our members’ financial profiles, increase their financial awareness and put them on a path to a financially healthy life. We believe our strong Net Promoter® Score ("NPS") score, 79 for our personal loans and 70 for our digital banking products, demonstrates our success in providing our members with effective and easy to use solutions. Our members access our products primarily through our website, the Digit mobile application, as well as through our Lending as a Service partners.
Credit Products—Since our founding in 2005, we have extended more than $12.0 billion in responsible credit through more than 4.9 million loans and credit cards, and helping nearly 1.0 million people who came to Oportun without a FICO® score to begin establishing a credit history. According to a study commissioned by us on the credit options available to people with little or no credit history, the Financial Health Network found that Oportun loans are, on average, six times less expensive than other options and up to 25 times less expensive as compared to online-only installment products. In addition, the study found that our unsecured personal loan product has helped borrowers save more than $2.0 billion in interest and fees. While many of the people who come to us are not well served by mainstream financial institutions due to limited credit history, we use A.I. and billions of proprietary data points to score 100% of our loan applicants and offer our members responsibly designed and affordable credit products that are often otherwise unavailable to them, including personal loans and credit cards.
Digital Banking Products—With our acquisition of Digit on December 22, 2021, we believe we now have a strong competitive advantage over other fintechs and neobanks. As a combined company, we can now offer access to a comprehensive suite of digital banking products, offered either directly or through partners, including savings and investing powered by A.I. and tailored to each member's goals to make achieving financial health automated. Digit began with a savings product with the intent to apply A.I. to make financial health effortless for everyone. Following the success of the initial savings product, Digit has now expanded its products and services to include bank account and investment products, available through partners. Since 2015, Digit members have saved over $7.2 billion towards their rainy day fund and other savings goals and paid down more than $$330.0 million in debt. See Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Note 6, Acquisition, in the accompanying Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion of the Digit acquisition.
Lending as a Service—In addition to reaching members through direct marketing channels, we leverage our proprietary credit scoring and underwriting model to enable us to serve consumers by partnering with other brands. Our first strategic partner for this Lending as a Service model was DolEx Dollar Express, Inc. (“DolEx”). In this partnership, DolEx markets loans and enters borrower applications into Oportun’s system, and Oportun underwrites, originates and services the loans. In July 2021, we signed our second Lending as a Service partner, Barri Financial Group, which we launched in several locations in October 2021. In January of 2022, we announced a partnership with Sezzle, a leading provider of Buy Now Pay Later (“BNPL”) financing options. When deployed, Oportun's responsible lending product will be available as a checkout option, through Sezzle, for larger purchases, which we believe will allow us to reach more new members.
Our Digital Banking Platform
Consistent with our mission of financial inclusion, we have designed our digital banking platform to provide integrated products and services that are financially responsible and lower cost compared to market alternatives. Our application of A.I., specifically machine learning, is designed to address the shortcomings of the modern banking system. Since our inception, we have utilized alternative data sets to rapidly build, test and develop our underwriting, pricing, marketing, fraud and servicing models, and with the acquisition of Digit, we now offer machine learning capabilities that help members identify the right amount of money to put towards savings and investments each day. We believe this gives us a strong competitive
advantage and an unparalleled suite of digital banking products, which allow us to offer a lower cost option to millions of people in the U.S.
Through the development and utilization of our sophisticated underwriting models, we are able to assess credit risk more effectively compared to other companies and traditional scoring models. We ingest over 8.4 billion data points into our risk model development using traditional (e.g., credit bureau data) and alternative (e.g., transactional information, public records) data. This helps us to score 100% of the applicants who come to us seeking to borrow money, enabling us to serve more people while minimizing risk. In comparison, incumbent financial institutions relying on traditional credit bureau-based and in some cases qualitative underwriting and/or legacy systems and processes either decline or inaccurately underwrite loans due to their inability to properly evaluate applicants' credit.
Our fully centralized and automated digital underwriting platform powers our ability to successfully preapprove borrowers in seconds. As a result, our credit products, including unsecured personal loans, credit cards, and secured personal loans, are a significant differentiator from other lenders and other digital banking companies. Most fintech platforms are focused on borrowers with more established credit histories and higher incomes and are not able to match our ability to effectively manage credit risk among people who may face challenges with aspects of their financial health.
The evolution of our proprietary risk model enables us to underwrite more applicants and make more credit available to new and returning borrowers, while maintaining consistent credit quality. The continuous development and rapid deployment of our credit models enabled by machine learning creates a virtuous cycle that increases our member base and our alternative data set, improving our underwriting tools and ability to grow profitably.
In addition to the challenge of capital access, millions of people in the U.S. have a difficult time trying to save and manage money. Through our digital banking products, we help our members reach their financial goals and improve their financial health by automating away the guess-work and stress of money management. We meet our members where they are, connecting directly to their checking account to analyze spending and income patterns, regardless of whether their bank account is through Digit's partner bank or another bank. We apply algorithms to this data, along with generalized principles of responsible finance and behavioral psychology, to make personalized money allocation decisions on a daily basis for each of our members.
The algorithms behind our digital banking products intelligently utilize the nuances in transaction data to classify income and expenses with up to 95% accuracy. We classify financial obligations, credit, bills and paychecks based on historical data to forecast a future financial picture for each member. We employ continuous learning to update these models with the most recent financial data, so we do not miss new trends in spending habits or income changes (e.g., new employers, subscription services, insurers, side jobs, sales, etc.). With more than 660 million algorithmic transfers over the last 5+ years based on billions of data points, Digit has built an A.I. engine with a long track record of making financial health effortless for members. This serves as a major competitive advantage in delivering new types of personalized but scalable financial services. Our technology, member-centric culture and effective use of data and analytics enable us to efficiently help our members overcome financial challenges.
We seek to expand our financial services to help a growing number of responsible, hardworking members to borrow, save, bank and invest through our digital banking platform and thus make financial health effortless for them. Our specific objectives are to (1) grow our members, both by organic acquisition and by extending the lifetime of our existing member relationships, (2) increase the number of products that our members use and drive higher engagement of multi-product relationships, and (3) enhance our platform capabilities across all core functions to better serve our members. Our strategy to achieve these objectives is to (a) invest in our member acquisition channels, especially digital and partner channels, (b) enhance our credit and digital banking products, and (c) provide these complementary product categories with a unified and integrated mobile-first experience powered by A.I. Our ability to comprehensively address our members' most pressing financial needs effortlessly and at attractive pricing will lead to increased lifetime value as members take advantage of our multiple product offerings.
Invest in member acquisition channels – To expand our member base, we plan to invest in scaling our marketing capabilities via brand marketing (including online and broadcast media) and direct marketing (including paid and organic online advertising and social media as well as offers made through our Digit mobile application) for our credit products and digital banking services. In addition, our origination partnerships with WebBank for credit cards and MetaBank, N.A. for personal loans allow us to reach new members across the nation, mainly through our digital marketing capabilities. We have significant opportunity to take market share as we increase awareness of Oportun’s superior value proposition to members in markets we entered through these partnerships. In addition to our direct-to-consumer channels, we reach incremental members through our Lending as a Service product offering. By entering Lending as a Service partnerships with other companies, we create new proprietary channels through which to offer our lending products and financial services and acquire new members, multiplying our membership growth potential. We plan to add additional Lending as a Service partners in the future, both with retail origination capabilities, similar to DolEx and Barri Financial, and fully digital platforms such as Sezzle, a leader in the buy-now-pay-later space. We will also seek to market our digital banking products to former Oportun borrowers who successfully repaid their loans and intend to market our credit products to former Digit members.
Enhance our credit and digital banking products – We leverage machine learning to rapidly build and test strategies across the member lifecycle, including through targeted digital marketing, underwriting, pricing, fraud and member servicing. We believe that as we scale our suite of digital banking products and services, we will further improve member loyalty and increase member lifetime value. We also expect to continue to derive actionable insights to further drive growth of our secured personal loan and credit card products that are still early in their market adoption lifecycle. Additionally, we will continue to invest significantly in our artificial intelligence capabilities to expand the functionality and efficiency of our products.
Provide a unified and integrated mobile experience – In order for all members and potential members to be made aware of and offered our full range of products, we are developing a single acquisition funnel for our products to increase member conversion and decrease cost of member acquisition. This affords the broadest possible opportunity to sustain long-term relationships with our members. Our digital banking platform enables us to have frequent and in some cases daily engagement with our members through the benefit of our budgeting and money management tools. We plan to invest in increased content and functionality to further increase our members’ engagement. This will strengthen our relationships with our members and enable us to become their preferred provider of credit and digital banking products. We believe this will result in higher member lifetime value as members extend their relationships with us and utilize more of our products. We will continue to invest in further enhancements to serve more of our members’ needs, continue to build lasting and durable relationships with them and improve their financial health.
Our financial products allow us to meet our members where they are and assist them with their overall financial health, resulting in opportunities to present multiple relevant products to our members. Our credit products include personal loans, secured personal loans and credit cards. Our digital banking products include, automated savings, as well as a digital bank account and long-term investing and retirement savings available through partners.
Consumers are able to become members and access our products through our digital banking app—the Digit app—and the Oportun.com website, which are our primary channels for onboarding and serving members. Our personal loan products are also available over the phone or through our retail and Lending as a Service partner locations. We help potential and current members become aware of our product offerings through brand marketing (including online and broadcast media and outdoor advertising, including the physical presence of retail locations in some of the communities we serve) and direct marketing (including SMS/text, email, mail and offers made available through our digital banking app).
Personal Loans - Personal loans allow our consumers a fast and convenient way to address pressing financial needs (for example an unplanned car repair) as well as planned purchases and personal growth opportunities (such as a deposit on a home rental). Our competitive differentiation in personal loans comes from our segment focus, our technology, data, and A.I.-driven approach to delivering personal loans, and the way we tailor our product designs and borrowers experience to meet and exceed the expectations of our target members. This product is currently the majority of our revenue and profitability, and continues to have significant opportunity for growth, benefiting from category growth as well as growth in our brand awareness outside of our historical regional operating footprint (leveraging our partnership with MetaBank, N.A.).
Our personal loan is a simple-to-understand, affordable, unsecured, fully amortizing installment loan with fixed payments throughout the life of the loan. We charge fixed interest rates on our loans, which vary based on the amount disbursed and applicable state law, with a cap of 36% annual percentage rate (“APR”) in all cases. As of December 31, 2021, for all active loans in our portfolio and at time of disbursement, the weighted average term and APR at origination was 35 months and 32.4%, respectively. The average loan size for loans we originated in 2021 was $3,357. Our loans do not have prepayment penalties or balloon payments, and range in size from $300 to $11,000 with terms of 11 to 52 months. Generally, loan payments are structured on a bi-weekly or semi-monthly basis to coincide with our members' receipt of their income. As part of our underwriting process, we only approve loans that meet our ability-to-pay criteria. As of December 31, 2021, we originate unsecured personal loans in 12 states through state licenses and in 26 states through our partnership with MetaBank, N.A.
Secured Personal Loans - In April 2020, we launched a personal installment loan product secured by an automobile, which we refer to as secured personal loans. This product allows our borrowers to access larger loan sizes than they can with an unsecured loan, which is critical if the need they are facing exceeds our unsecured lending limits for that member. Our secured personal loans business has significant growth potential as we expand geographic and channel availability and make more of our members aware of the product. Our competitive differentiation in secured personal loans comes from leveraging the member base, application flow, and business platform we have already built for unsecured personal loans – we underwrite borrowers seeking a personal loan for both an unsecured and secured loan, allowing them to choose the offer that fits best for them.
Our secured personal loans range in size from $2,525 to $20,000 with terms ranging from 21 to 64 months. The average loan size for secured personal loans we originated in 2021 was $7,003. As of December 31, 2021, for all active loans in our portfolio and at time of disbursement, the weighted average term and APR at origination was 46 months and 29.6%, respectively. As part of our underwriting process, we verify income for all applicants and only approve loans that meet our ability-to-pay criteria. Our secured personal loans are currently offered in California, Texas and Florida, and we are in the process of expanding to other states.
Credit Cards - We launched the Oportun® Visa® Credit Card, issued by WebBank, Member FDIC, in December 2019, and offer credit cards in 45 states as of December 31, 2021. This product has the advantage of being an “everyday, in your pocket” product, easily usable for small ticket purchases. Additionally we are finding that it’s a great additional Oportun product for applicants that first came to us for a personal loan – they appreciate the opportunity to further build their credit and benefit from the convenience of a credit card. Our competitive differentiation will increasingly come from cross-selling credit cards to borrowers that first came to us for personal loans or our digital banking products. Credit lines for our credit cards range in size from $300 to $1,000 with an APR between 24.9% to 29.9%. The average APR of the outstanding credit card receivables was 29.8% as of December 31, 2021. The average credit line for credit cards activated in 2021 was $898.
Digital Banking Products
With the acquisition of Digit on December 22, 2021, we now offer a variety of digital banking products. Digit is a digital financial health platform that offers personalized and automated savings, investing and banking tools. Members integrate their existing bank accounts into the platform or they can make Digit their primary banking relationship through a bank partner. Members set goals for savings or investing through the
Digit application or use the application to help manage their debt. Then, our A.I. engine analyzes their income and spending patterns to find the optimal amount that can safely be applied towards their goals and automatically transfers the necessary funds over time to achieve those goals. One proof point of the success of this A.I.-driven approach is the 660 million algorithmic transfers completed in the last 5+ years.
We believe that the mainstream banking industry focuses on serving more affluent borrowers and has not built core deposit products to effectively serve the needs of everyday consumers. Despite the fact that free savings accounts are available at every corner bank, most underserved people in the U.S. have not been successful in their savings goals. We see this market failure as an opening, and our competitive advantage is to leverage A.I. and mobile to deliver better banking products to everyday consumers, to help them actually succeed with their saving, daily budget management, and spend management goals. Additionally, our digital banking platform will allow us to have as frequent as daily engagement with our members through the benefit of our budgeting and money management tools. This will enhance our relationship with our members and allow us to be a preferred provider of other financial services and credit products. The financial result will be higher revenue as members extend their relationships with us, use more credit products and choose to pay for additional financial services. We will continue to invest in and evolve our digital banking platform to further improve our ability to serve our members and continue to build lasting and durable relationships with them.
Digit Savings – Our Digit Savings product is designed to understand a member’s cash flows and save a calculated amount on a regular basis to effortlessly achieve savings goals. Digit's savings product utilizes machine learning to analyze a member’s transaction activity and build forecasts of the member’s future cash flows to make small, frequent savings decisions according to the member’s financial goals in a personalized manner. According to a January 2022 survey by Bankrate, more than half of all Americans do not have enough savings to cover an unplanned expense of $1,000. After one year using the automated savings product, members have been able to increase their liquid savings by approximately 50%. Since 2015 Digit has helped members save $7.2 billion and pay down more than $330.0 million in debt.
Digit Direct – Our Digit Direct product offers a full checking account, through a bank partner, that intelligently organizes and budgets a member’s money across bills, savings, and spending. The bank account with a brain™, Digit Direct leverages the same A.I. engine used for our savings product to automatically identify and organize recurring bills and guides spending to ensure members' savings goals are met, and that members know exactly what they can safely spend. This is on top of what members can expect from a traditional checking account, including a physical and virtual debit card to use for purchases and ATM withdrawals and checks. According to a BAMM population survey in October 2019, 90% of U.S. consumers think that being financial healthy is important but 57% do not want to think about money. Our product allows our busy members to get back to living their lives without stressing about money management.
Digit Investing and Digit Retirement – Our Digit investment and retirement products are a longer-term savings solution via an A.I.-driven portfolio allocation into low-cost investments based upon risk-tolerance. According to Financial Health Network “Financial Health Pulse: 2021 U.S. Trends Report”, 57% of U.S. consumers are not confident about their long-term financial goals. Our long-term investment solutions automatically allocate our members' savings into low-cost risk-adjusted portfolios held in brokerage accounts or tax-advantaged IRAs. Since 2020, Digit members have invested $36 million into long-term goals through low-cost ETF portfolios. The investment accounts, offered through a broker-dealer partner, include a general investing account and a retirement account for our members’ longer term goals, utilizing smart recommendations to invest savings in risk-adjusted portfolios.
Lending as a Service
Beyond our core direct-to-consumer lending business, we believe that we can leverage our proprietary credit scoring and underwriting model to partner with other consumer brands. Our first strategic partner for this Lending as a Service model was DolEx. In this partnership, DolEx markets loans and enters borrower applications into Oportun’s system, and Oportun underwrites, originates and services the loans. In July 2021, we signed Barri Financial Group as a Lending as a Service partner and we launched in several of their locations in October 2021. In January of 2022, we announced our first all-digital Lending as a Service partnership with Sezzle, a leading provider of BNPL financing options. When deployed, Oportun will be available as a checkout option, through Sezzle, for larger purchases, which we believe will allow us to reach more new members. We believe we will be able to offer Lending as a Service to additional partners, and expand our membership base.
In consumer finance, we compete with other consumer finance companies, credit card issuers, financial technology companies and financial institutions, as well as other nonbank lenders serving consumers who do not have access to mainstream credit, including online marketplace lenders, point-of-sale lending, payday lenders, and auto title lenders and pawn shops focused on underserved borrowers. We may also face competition from companies that have not previously competed in the consumer lending market for borrowers with limited credit history. For example, we are already seeing that the companies commonly referred to as “challenger banks” offering low-cost digital-only deposit accounts are beginning to offer lending products catered to underserved borrowers. In addition, it is possible that, in competitive reaction to the challenger banks, traditional banks may introduce new approaches to small-dollar lending. While the consumer lending market is competitive, we believe that we can serve our target market with products that lead to better outcomes for consumers because they cost significantly less than other products used to fulfill similar borrowing needs and their responsible design supports consumer financial health. On the contrary, the offerings of payday, auto title and pawn lenders, for example, are provided at rates that are too expensive relative to the borrowers’ ability to pay, are often structured in a way that forces borrowers to become overextended, and typically lack the personalized touch that is essential to cultivating the trust of our target member base. Few banks or traditional financial institutions lend to individuals who have limited credit history. Those individuals that do have a credit score, but have a relatively limited credit history, also typically face constrained access and low approval rates for credit products.
The principal competitive factors in our sector include member approval parameters (often described informally as “credit box”), price, flexibility of loan terms offered, member convenience and member satisfaction. We believe our technology, responsible construction of our products, A.I.-enabled digital platform and superior member value proposition allow us to compete favorably on each of these factors. Going forward,
however, our competition could include large traditional financial institutions that have more substantial financial resources than we do, and which can leverage established distribution and infrastructure channels. Additionally, new companies are continuing to enter the financial technology space and could deploy innovative solutions that compete for our members. See “Risk Factors - If we do not compete effectively in our target markets, our results of operations could be harmed” and “Risk Factors - Competition for our highly skilled employees is intense, and we may not be able to attract and retain the employees we need to support the growth of our business.”
In digital banking, we compete with traditional banks, both large and small, as well as other Fintech companies offering mobile-centric digital banking propositions. Currently most consumers continue to bank primarily with traditional banks. However, in the last several years, Fintech companies with digital banking propositions have grown their member bases significantly, especially with underserved consumers. We are already seeing some competitive reactions from traditional banks to this potential disruption. For example a number of larger banks have in the last year introduced more consumer-centric approaches to overdraft, as well as up-to-two-day-early access to payroll deposits. While the digital banking market is competitive, we observe that so far most of the competitive tactics have centered on intuitive low-friction mobile experiences, and reduction or elimination in overdraft fees. Our strategy is to differentiate by harnessing AI to enable members to actually achieve better financing outcomes – to succeed in their savings goals, better manage their monthly budgets, and improve their financial health.
Regulations and Compliance
We are subject to various federal, state and local regulatory regimes related to the financial services that we provide. These laws and regulations, among other things, impose licensing and qualifications requirements; require various disclosures and consents; mandate or prohibit certain terms and conditions for various financial products; prohibit discrimination based on certain prohibited bases; prohibit unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices; require us to submit to examinations by federal, state and local regulatory regimes; and require us to maintain various policies, procedures and internal controls.
We are subject to examination, supervision and regulation by each state in which we are licensed and are regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In addition to the CFPB, other state and federal agencies have the ability to regulate aspects of our business. For example, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), as well as many state statutes provide a mechanism for state attorneys general to investigate us. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction to investigate aspects of our business. Federal consumer protection laws that these regulators may enforce include laws related to the use of credit reports and credit reporting accuracy, data privacy and security, disclosure of applicable loan terms, anti-discrimination laws, laws protecting members of the military, laws governing payments, including recurring ACH payments and laws regarding electronic signatures and disclosures. Digit Advisors is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the "Advisers Act"), and is subject to regulation by the SEC.
We are also subject to inspections, examinations, supervision and regulation by applicable agencies in each state in which we do business. Many states have laws and regulations that are similar to the federal consumer protection laws referred to above, but the degree and nature of such laws and regulations vary from state to state. State laws also further dictate what state licenses we need to conduct business and also regulate how we conduct our business activities.
In addition, as a result of our bank partnerships, prudential bank regulators with supervisory authority over our partners have the ability to regulate aspects of our business.
We are subject to the USA PATRIOT Act, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Bank Secrecy Act, Anti-Money Laundering laws, and Know-Your-Customer requirements and certain state money transmitter laws.
In October 2021, we announced the decision to voluntarily withdraw our previously filed application with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) to obtain a national bank charter through the establishment of a national bank. As previously announced, our intent is to amend elements of the application to reflect the changes in our business and refile with the OCC for a national banking charter; provided, that it is possible that we could establish or acquire a banking entity in a different form, or choose not to pursue a bank charter. In the future, if we decide to pursue and are successful in obtaining a banking charter, we will be regulated by the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, and depending upon the type of charter, the OCC.
The laws and regulations applicable to us are continuing to evolve through legislative and regulatory action and judicial and regulatory interpretation and we monitor these areas closely. We regularly review our consumer contracts, consumer-facing content, policies, procedures and processes to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. We have built our systems and processes with controls in place in order to ensure compliance with applicable laws. In addition to ensure proper controls are in place, we have a compliance management system that leverages the five key control components of governance, compliance program risk assessments, policies, procedures and training, member complaint monitoring and internal compliance audits.
For more information with respect to the regulatory framework affecting our business, see "Risk Factors – Risks Related to our Industry and Regulation."
Information Technology, Infrastructure and Security
Our applications, including our proprietary workflow management system that handles loan and credit card application, document verification, loan disbursement and servicing, as well as our systems that handle that our automated savings, investing and banking tools are architected to be highly available, resilient, scalable, and secure. Supporting systems are managed in a cloud environment hosted by industry-leading cloud service providers that are N+2 compliant.
Cloud-Native Technologies and Scalable Cloud Architecture
We utilize various facets of cloud capabilities to deliver a world-class experience for our members. Utilizing a combination of serverless, Kubernetes and EC2 technologies, we provide a highly available and scalable platform to run our various workloads with minimal overhead.
Critical services in the cloud are deployed across multiple availability zones within a region to ensure that we have the necessary scalability and availability to support our service-level objectives. Service design is vetted against current industry best practices to ensure that as the cloud evolves, we are taking advantage of current feature sets surrounding availability and scalability.
Our information security program governs how we safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our data and systems. We also believe that operating a secure business must span people, process, and technology and as such build security awareness in our corporate communications and training efforts. We continuously monitor our environment in real-time using tools designed to detect security events and ensure our network security with a secure, private cloud network. We also encrypt sensitive personally identifiable information and engage with third parties to audit our information security program and to perform regular penetration tests of our web applications and cloud environments.
Disaster Recovery and Preparedness
Infrastructure is in place and designed to support redundancy across our mission critical systems. Disaster recovery and business continuity plans, and tests have been completed, which help to ensure our ability to recover in the event of a disaster or other unforeseen event. In the event of a catastrophic disaster affecting one of our hosting facilities, we can restore production databases to minimize disruption of service. Furthermore, additional measures for operational recovery include real-time replication of production databases for quick failover. In the event of database restores, we perform data consistency checks to validate the integrity of the data recovery process. A comprehensive business impact analysis is performed annually detailing the maximum tolerable downtime for all mission critical functions.
Across our infrastructure, a robust and holistic monitoring-and-alerting practice allows for awareness and detection capabilities ensuring faster incident response and resolution time, limiting the risk of unplanned events, such as downtime or security threats.
Our Intellectual Property
We protect our intellectual property through a combination of trademarks, trade dress, domain names, copyrights and trade secrets, as well as contractual provisions, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements with third parties, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements and other contractual rights. We currently have no patent applications on our proprietary risk model, underwriting process or loan approval decision making process because applying for a patent would require us to publicly disclose such information, which we regard as trade secrets. We may pursue such protection in the future to the extent we believe it will be beneficial.
We have trademark rights in our name, our logo, and other brand indicia, and have trademark registrations for select marks in the United States and many other jurisdictions around the world. We will pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent we believe it will be beneficial. We also have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business. We may be subject to third party claims from time to time with respect to our intellectual property. See "Item 3. Legal Proceedings" for more information.
In addition to the protection provided by our intellectual property rights, we enter into confidentiality and intellectual property rights agreements with our employees, consultants, contractors and business partners. Under such agreements, our employees, consultants and contractors are subject to invention assignment provisions designed to protect our proprietary information and ensure our ownership in intellectual property developed pursuant to such agreements.
At Oportun, we are building a community of employees, partners, and members who support each other on the path to new opportunities, because we believe that when we work together, we can make life better. Our welcoming and inclusive company culture is grounded in our core values - service, excellence, care, innovation, courage, and empowerment – and our people strategies are committed to fostering a culture which encourages and empowers our employees to live our core values every day.
•Employee Engagement – We conduct an annual engagement survey as a means of measuring employee engagement and satisfaction, as well as a tool for improving our people strategies for the year ahead. Approximately 80% of our employees participated in our 2021
employee engagement survey, of which 81% reported that they were satisfied with Oportun as a place to work and 85% reported that they were proud to work at Oportun. The results are shared with our employees and reviewed by senior leadership to identify areas of progress and areas for improvement. The feedback is prioritized into actions and activities in response to this feedback to drive meaningful improvements in employee engagement.
•Diversity and Inclusion – The majority of Oportun employees identify as women or members of an underrepresented group and the majority of Oportun’s leadership team identifies as either women or members of an underrepresented group. We define the leadership team as Directors, Senior Directors, Vice Presidents and above, inclusive of the Board of Directors. In 2020, we launched a global diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative to actively assess and build on the progress we have made as an organization, including establishing a DEI council comprising a representative group of employees. Our people are encouraged to engage with and support one another through our seven employee-organized employee resource groups, including the Asian Pacific Islanders, Black Professionals @ Oportun, (dis)Ability, Oportun Latinx & Allies (hOLA), True Colors, Self-Enablement & Empowerment Network (SEEN), Veteran's ERG (VERGE), and Women's Initiative Network (WIN). Digit employees have also organized resource groups in the following communities: Asian, black, South Asian, Latinx, people with children/main caregivers of children, LGBTQ+ and women. In 2021, we implemented company-wide diversity, inclusion and belonging training and our leadership teams participated in facilitated workshops focused on improving diversity and inclusion and addressing unconscious bias. We are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion; providing comprehensive training and leadership development programs; and continuing to increase diverse representation at every level of the Company. This focus also extends to our Board. Currently, two-thirds of our Board identifies as women or members of an underrepresented group.
•Health, Safety and Wellness – The health, safety, and wellness of our employees are vital to our success. Our health and safety management system incorporates processes to proactively assess risks to the health and safety of our employees and the community, as well as tracking compliance, incidents, inspections, and corrective actions. We also require employees to participate in extensive training every year on health and safety topics such as physical security, injury and illness prevention, and security incident reporting. We have taken additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing information resources, daily health screening, testing, plexiglass barriers, and supplemental sick leave for employees with possible COVID-19 symptoms. We have also expanded the delivery of mental health and wellness resources, including by increasing the frequency of live webinars and partnering with providers to make mental health counseling and overall wellness tools.
•Total Rewards - To attract and retain talent, we offer competitive compensation and non-financial benefits everywhere we operate. We benchmark market practices, and regularly review our compensation against the market to ensure it remains competitive. These benefits are tailored to the markets in which our employees are located. In addition to salaries, our benefits programs include annual bonuses, equity awards, a 401(k) plan, healthcare and insurance benefits, flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, family care resources, and tools to promote mental health and wellness. In 2021, we transitioned to a remote-first policy that permits most of our employees to work remotely should their roles allow. To support our remote-first culture, we actively encourage personal well-being through initiatives, including wellness days for employees to take time to rest and recharge, engagement programs (speaker events, employee resource groups, virtual events, etc.), and recognition programs.
We had 2,729 full-time and 313 part-time employees worldwide as of December 31, 2021. This includes 746 corporate employees in the United States, of which 326 employees are dedicated to technology, risk, analytics, A.I. and data science.
Our website address is www.oportun.com. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed pursuant to Section 13(a) and 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are filed with the SEC. The SEC maintains a website that contains our filings at www.sec.gov.
These reports are also available free of charge through our website, www.investor.oportun.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after we file them with, or furnish them to, the SEC.
We announce material information to the public through a variety of means, including filings with the SEC, press releases, public conference calls, our websites (www.oportun.com and www.digit.co), the investor relations section of our website (investor.oportun.com), as well as social media, including our LinkedIn pages (https://www.linkedin.com/company/oportun/ and https://www.linkedin.com/company/digit-co/), Twitter accounts (@Oportun and @hellodigit) and Instagram account (@hellodigit). The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report. The website addresses listed above are provided for the information of the reader and are not intended to be active links.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. Any of the following risks could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. The following risks could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline, which would cause you to lose all or part of your investment. You should carefully consider these risks, all of the other information in this report, including our consolidated financial statements, the notes thereto and the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations", and general economic and business risks before making a decision to invest in our common stock. While we believe the risks described below include all material risks currently known by us, it is possible that these may not be the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business operations.
Risks Related to Our Business
The global COVID-19 pandemic has and may continue to adversely impact our business operations, financial performance and results of operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety measures taken by governments and private industry in response to the pandemic have significantly impacted worldwide economic activity and continue to create economic uncertainty. The extent to which the spread of COVID-19 (including its variant strains) impacts our business, results of operations, and financial condition will depend on developments that continue to be highly uncertain and difficult to predict. Concerns over the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused extreme volatility in financial and other capital markets which has and may continue to adversely impact our stock price as well as our ability to access capital markets. If funds become unavailable, we cannot be sure that we will be able to maintain the necessary levels of funding to retain current levels of originations without incurring higher funding costs, a reduction in the term of funding instruments or increasing the rate of whole loan sales or be able to access funding at all. If we are unable to arrange financing on favorable terms, we may not be able to grow our business as planned and we may have to further curtail our originations and reduce credit lines to cardholders.
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected our business in a number of ways, including a decreased demand for our products during certain parts of the pandemic, which, has in turn decreased originations at those times. Actions we have taken or may take in the future intended to assist members impacted by COVID-19 may negatively impact our results of operations. For instance, we have and are continuing to offer payment relief options to members impacted by COVID-19, including hardship programs, reduced payment plans, late fee waivers and other borrower accommodations. There can be no assurance that inquiries related to payment relief options will not increase in the future, either as a result of COVID-19 or a future emergency or disruption in the economy. Legal, regulatory and media concerns about the lending industry in general, or our practices, during the COVID-19 pandemic could result in additional restrictions affecting the conduct of our business in the future either due to regulatory requirements or made voluntarily due to reputational or other pressures.
While the majority of our retail locations remained functional during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to temporarily alter our operations during parts of the pandemic to comply with local health orders, including reducing opening hours or closing certain retail locations. These alterations have at times negatively affected, and if we are required to reinstate them in the future, could negatively affect in the future, our ability to attract new members, conduct business and collect payments from members, which could result in increased delinquencies and losses. In addition, changes in consumer behavior and health concerns may continue to impact demand for our loans and traffic at our retail locations. We are taking precautions to protect the safety and well-being of our employees and members. However, no assurance can be given that the steps being taken will be deemed to be adequate or appropriate.
Our adoption of remote working arrangements for our corporate and many of our contact center employees may result in consumer or employee privacy, IT security, and fraud concerns, as well as increase our exposure to potential regulatory or civil claims. While most of our operations can be performed remotely and are operating effectively at present, there is no guarantee that this will continue or that we will continue to be as effective while working remotely. Many employees may have additional personal needs to attend to (such as looking after children as a result of school closures and mandated quarantines or a family member who becomes sick), and employees may become sick themselves and be unable to work. As conditions improve and restrictions are lifted, we plan to resume in-person activities, travel and events, which may lead to additional costs or disruptions to our business and operations.
The ultimate extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and results of operations remains highly uncertain and will depend on future developments that cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic, vaccine adoption or rollout globally, resurgence of infection rates from COVID-19 (including its variant strains), vaccine efficacy, vaccination as a condition of employment, governmental stimulus and tax credits, and timing of the global recovery. Additionally, if any of our critical vendors are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and unable to deliver services to us, our operations may be adversely impacted.
We have experienced rapid growth in recent periods and our recent growth rates may not be indicative of future growth. If we fail to manage our growth effectively, our results of operations may suffer.
We have experienced rapid growth in our business and operations in recent periods, and our recent growth rates, which has placed significant demands on our management, operational, risk management, technology, marketing, compliance and finance and accounting infrastructure, and has resulted in increased expenses, a trend that we expect to continue as our business continues to grow. In addition, we are required to continuously develop and adapt our systems and infrastructure in response to the increasing sophistication of the consumer financial services market, evolving fraud and information security landscape, and regulatory developments relating to existing and planned business operations. Overall revenue growth
depends on a number of factors, including on our ability to increase the origination volume of our products and services, attract new and retain existing members, build our brand, achieve the anticipated benefits and synergies from the Digit acquisition, expand our workforce, while managing our business systems and operations to support future growth. If we are unable to accomplish these tasks, our revenue growth may be harmed.
Further, many economic and other factors outside of our control, including general economic and market conditions, pandemics, consumer and commercial credit availability, inflation, unemployment, and consumer debt levels, may adversely affect our ability to sustain revenue growth consistent with recent history.
Our results of operations and future prospects depend on our ability to retain existing, and attract new, members.
We operate in a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry and our results of operations and future prospects depend on, among other things, continued growth of our member base, our ability to increase the activity of our members, including by using additional products or services we offer, and our ability to attract members in a cost-effective manner. Our member retention rates may decline or fluctuate due to pricing changes, our expansion into new products and markets, our members' ability to obtain alternative funding sources based on their credit history with us, and new members we acquire in the future may be less loyal than our current member base.
In particular, it is important that we continue to ensure that our members with loans remain loyal to us and we continue to extend loans to members who have successfully repaid their previous loans. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, members with repeat loans comprised 76% and 85%, respectively, of our Owned Principal Balance at End of Period. If our repeat loan rates decline, we may not realize consistent or improved operating results from our existing member base.
We are, and intend in the future to continue, developing new financial products and services, and our failure to accurately predict their demand or growth could have an adverse effect on our business.
We are, and intend in the future to continue, developing new financial products and services. We intend to continue investing significant resources in developing new tools, features, services, products and other offerings. New initiatives are inherently risky, as each involves unproven business strategies and new financial products and services with which we have limited or no prior development or operating experience.
We can provide no assurance that we will be able to develop, commercially market and achieve acceptance of our new products and services, including products offered by Digit. Our development efforts with respect to these initiatives could distract management from current operations and could divert capital and other resources from other growth initiatives important to our business. In addition, our investment of resources to develop new products and services may either be insufficient, result in expenses that are excessive considering revenue originated from these new products and services, or may not be able to attract new members or retain existing members. We have previously invested resources to develop and launch new products and services and subsequently decided to discontinue these products and services in order to strategically realign our resources. If we are not able to effectively implement new technology-driven products and services as quickly as our competitors or be successful in marketing these products and services to our members and strategic partners, demand for our products and services may decrease and our business, results of operations and future prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, the borrower profile of members using our new products and services may not be as attractive as existing members with credit products, which may lead to higher levels of delinquencies or defaults than we have historically experienced. Failure to accurately predict demand or growth with respect to our new products and services could adversely impact our business, and these new products and services may not become profitable, and even if they are profitable, operating margins of some new products may not be as high as the margins we have experienced historically or we may not be able to achieve target margins.
The success and growth of our business depends upon our ability to continuously innovate and develop new products and technologies.
The financial services industry is undergoing rapid technological changes, with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. Developing and incorporating new technologies, including A.I., into our products and services may require significant investment, take considerable time, and ultimately may not be successful. We may not be able to effectively implement new technology-driven products and services as quickly as competitors or be successful in marketing these products and services to our members. Furthermore, our technology may become obsolete or uncompetitive, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to successfully develop, obtain or use new technologies to adapt our models and systems.
As with many disruptive innovations, new technologies present risks and challenges that could affect their adoption, and therefore our business. A.I. and related technologies are subject to public debate and heightened regulatory scrutiny. Any negative publicity or negative public perception of A.I. could negatively impact demand for our products and services or hinder our ability to attract new members and strategic partners. The regulatory framework for A.I. and machine learning technologies is evolving and remains uncertain. It is possible that new laws and regulations will be adopted, or existing laws and regulations may be interpreted in new ways, that would affect our business, products and services and the way in which we use A.I., including with respect to fair lending laws. Our success will depend on our ability to develop and incorporate new technologies and adapt to technological changes and evolving industry standards. If we are unable to do so in a timely or cost-effective manner, our business could be harmed.
If we do not compete effectively in our target markets, our results of operations could be harmed.
The industries in which we compete are highly competitive, continuously changing, highly innovative, and increasingly subject to regulatory scrutiny and oversight. Our current and potential future competition primarily includes other consumer finance companies, credit card issuers, financial technology companies, technology platforms, neobanks, challenger banks, and financial institutions, as well as payday lenders and pawn
shops. We may compete with others in the market who may in the future provide offerings similar or are competitive with ours, particularly companies who may provide lending, money management and other services though a platform similar to our platform.
Many of our current or potential competitors have significantly more financial, technical, marketing, access to low-cost capital, and other resources than we do and may be able to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, sale and support of their platforms and distribution channels. As such, many of our competitors can leverage their size, robust networks, financial wherewithal, brand awareness, pricing power and technological assets to compete with us. To the extent new entrants gain market share, the use of our products and services would decline. Our long-term success depends on our ability to compete effectively against existing and potential competitors that seek to provide banking and financial technology products and services. If we fail to compete effectively against these competitors, our revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business will be materially and adversely affected.
Our risk management efforts may not be effective, which may expose us to market risks that harm our results of operations.
We could incur substantial losses and our business operations could be disrupted if we are unable to effectively identify, monitor and mitigate financial risks, such as credit risk, interest rate risk, prepayment risk and liquidity risk, as well as operational risks. Our risk management policies, procedures and models may not be sufficient to identify all of the risks we are exposed to, mitigate the risks we have identified or identify additional risks that arise in the future.
As our loan mix changes and as our product offerings evolve, including by the addition of the Digit products, our risk management strategies may not always adapt to such changes. Some of our methods of managing risk are based upon our use of observed historical market behavior and management’s judgment. Other of our methods for managing risk depend on the evaluation of information regarding markets, members or other matters that are publicly available or otherwise accessible to us. While we employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and risk mitigation techniques, those techniques and the judgments that accompany their application cannot anticipate every economic and financial outcome or the timing of such outcomes. If our risk management efforts are ineffective, we could suffer losses that could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We rely extensively on models in managing many aspects of our business. If our models contain errors or are otherwise ineffective, our business could be adversely affected.
Our ability to attract members and to build trust in our credit products is significantly dependent on our ability to effectively evaluate a member’s creditworthiness and likelihood of default. In deciding whether to extend credit to prospective members, we rely heavily on our proprietary credit risk models, which are statistical models built using third-party alternative data, credit bureau data, application data and our credit experience gained through monitoring the performance of our members over time. These models are built using forms of A.I., such as machine learning. If our credit risk models fail to adequately predict the creditworthiness of our members or their ability to repay their loans due to programming or other errors, or if any portion of the information pertaining to the potential member is incorrect, incomplete or becomes stale (whether by fraud, negligence or otherwise), and our systems do not detect such errors, inaccuracies or incompleteness, or any of the other components of our credit decision process described herein fails, we may experience higher than forecasted loan losses. Also, if we are unable to access certain third-party data used in our credit risk models, or access to such data is limited, our ability to accurately evaluate potential members may be compromised. Credit and other information that we receive from third parties about a member may also be inaccurate or may not accurately reflect the member’s creditworthiness, which may adversely affect our loan pricing and approval process, resulting in mispriced loans, incorrect approvals or denials of loans. In addition, this information may not always be complete, up-to-date or properly evaluated. As a result, these methods may not predict future risk exposures, which could be significantly greater than the historical measures or available information indicate.
Our reliance on our credit risk models and other models in other aspects of our business, including valuation, pricing, collections management, marketing targeting models, fraud prevention, liquidity and capital planning, direct mail and telesales, and savings and investing algorithms may prove in practice to be less predictive than we expect for a variety of reasons, including as a result of errors in constructing, interpreting or using the models or the use of inaccurate assumptions (including failures to update assumptions appropriately in a timely manner). We rely on our credit risk models and other models to develop and manage new products and services, including our digital banking platform, with which we have limited development or operating experience, as well as new geographies. Our assumptions may be inaccurate, and our models may not be as predictive as expected for many reasons, in particular because they often involve matters that are inherently difficult to predict and beyond our control, such as macroeconomic conditions, credit market volatility and interest rate environment, and human behavior, and they often involve complex interactions between a number of dependent and independent variables and factors. In particular, even if the general accuracy of our valuation models is validated, valuations are highly dependent upon the reasonableness of our assumptions and the predictability of the relationships that drive the results of the models. The errors or inaccuracies in our models may be material and could lead us to make wrong or sub-optimal decisions in managing our business.
Additionally, if we make errors in the development, validation or implementation of any of the models or tools we use to underwrite the loans that we then securitize or sell to investors, those investors may experience higher delinquencies and losses. We may also be subject to liability to those investors if we misrepresented the characteristics of the loans sold because of those errors. Moreover, future performance of our members’ loans could differ from past experience because of macroeconomic factors, policy actions by regulators, lending by other institutions or reliability of data used in the underwriting process. To the extent that past experience has influenced the development of our underwriting procedures and proves to be inconsistent with future events, delinquency rates and losses on loans could increase. Errors in our models or tools and an inability to effectively forecast loss rates could also inhibit our ability to sell loans to investors or draw down on borrowings under our warehouse and other debt facilities, which could limit new origination growth and harm our financial performance. Additionally, the use of A.I. is relatively new and the regulatory
framework is evolving and remains uncertain. Any negative regulatory or public scrutiny based upon this could adversely affect our business, reputation, and financial performance.
Our business may be adversely affected by disruptions in the credit markets and changes to interest rates on our borrowings.
We depend on securitization transactions, loan warehouse facilities and other forms of debt financing, as well as whole loan sales, in order to finance the principal amount of most of the loans we make to our members. See more information about our outstanding debt in Note 9, Borrowings to the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. However, there is no assurance that these sources of capital will continue to be available in the future on terms favorable to us or at all. The availability of debt financing and other sources of capital depends on many factors, some of which are outside of our control. Further, current market conditions may make it difficult to extend the maturity of or refinance our existing indebtedness or obtain new indebtedness with similar terms and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. The debt capital available to us in the future, if available at all, may bear a higher interest rate and may be available only on terms and conditions less favorable than those of our existing debt and such debt may need to be incurred in a rising interest rate environment. Events of default or breaches of financial, performance or other covenants, as a result of the underperformance of certain pools of loans underpinning our securitizations or other debt facilities, could reduce or terminate our access to funding from institutional investors. Such events could also result in default rates at a higher interest rate and therefore increase our cost of capital. In addition, our ability to access future capital may be impaired because our interests in our financed pools of loans are “first loss” interests and so these interests will only be realized to the extent all amounts owed to investors or lenders and service providers under our securitizations and debt facilities are paid in full. In the event of a sudden or unexpected shortage or restriction on the availability of funds, we cannot be sure that we will be able to maintain the necessary levels of funding to retain current levels of originations without incurring higher funding costs, a reduction in the term of funding instruments or increasing the rate of whole loan sales, or be able to access funding at all. If we are unable to arrange financing on favorable terms, we may not be able to grow our business as planned and we may have to curtail new originations and reduce credit lines to cardholders.
In July 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. At the end of 2021, the ICE Benchmark Administration, the administrator for LIBOR, ceased publishing one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR and will cease publishing all remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors in mid-2023. Other regulators have suggested reforming or replacing other benchmark rates. These may be replaced by the Secured Overnight Financing Rate or other benchmark rates over the next several years. Uncertainty as to the nature of such phase out and selection of an alternative reference rate, together with disruption in the financial markets, could increase in the cost of our credit facilities which are currently tied to LIBOR. Changes in interest rates on our variable rate debt could adversely affect our interest expense, results of operations, and cash flows.
We have elected the fair value option and we use estimates in determining the fair value of our loans and our asset-backed notes. If our estimates prove incorrect, we may be required to write down the value of these assets or write up the value of these liabilities, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our ability to measure and report our financial position and results of operations is influenced by the need to estimate the impact or outcome of future events on the basis of information available at the time of the issuance of the financial statements. We use estimates, assumptions, and judgments when certain financial assets and liabilities are measured and reported at fair value. Fair values and the information used to record valuation adjustments for certain assets and liabilities are based on quoted market prices and/or other observable inputs provided by independent third-party sources, when available. During periods of market disruption, including periods of significantly rising or high interest rates, rapidly widening credit spreads or illiquidity, it may be difficult to value certain assets if trading becomes less frequent or market data becomes less observable. In such cases, certain asset valuations may require significant judgment, and may include inputs and assumptions that require greater estimation, including credit quality, liquidity, interest rates, and other relevant inputs. If actual results differ from our judgments and assumptions, then it may have an adverse impact on the results of operations and cash flows. Management has processes in place to monitor these judgments and assumptions, including review by our internal valuation committee, but these processes may not ensure that our judgments and assumptions are correct.
We use estimates and assumptions in determining the fair value of our Fair Value Loans and Fair Value Notes. Our Fair Value Loans represented 81% of our total assets and Fair Value Notes represented 71% of our total liabilities as of December 31, 2021. Our Fair Value Loans are determined using Level 3 inputs and Fair Value Notes are determined using Level 2 inputs. Changes to these inputs could significantly impact our fair value measurements. Valuations are highly dependent upon the reasonableness of our assumptions and the predictability of the relationships that drive the results of our valuation methodologies. In addition, a variety of factors such as changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets, changes in average life, higher than anticipated delinquency and default levels or financial market illiquidity, may ultimately affect the fair values of our loans receivable and asset-backed notes. Material differences in these ultimate values from those determined based on management’s estimates and assumptions may require us to adjust the value of certain assets and liabilities, including in a manner that is not comparable to others in our industry, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
If we are unable to collect payment and service the loans we make to members, our net charge-off rates may exceed expected loss rates, and our business and results of operations may be harmed.
Our unsecured personal loans and credit card receivables, which comprise a significant portion of our overall portfolio, are not secured by any collateral, not guaranteed or insured by any third party and not backed by any governmental authority in any way. We are therefore limited in our ability to collect on these loans if a member is unwilling or unable to repay them for any reason.
Our ability to adequately service our loans is dependent on our ability to grow and appropriately train our customer service and collections staff, our ability to expand our servicing capabilities as the number of our loans increase, our ability to contact our members when they default, and our ability to leverage technologies to service and collect amounts owed with respect to loans. Additionally, our customer service and collections staff are dependent upon maintaining adequate information technology, telephony, and internet connectivity such that they can complete their job functions. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have moved the majority of our contact center staff to remote working environments and continue to operate the contact centers in accordance with local social distancing orders. If a significant percentage of our contact center workforce is unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including because of illness, quarantines, ineffective remote work environments or technology, utility, or other failures or limitations, our ability to collect payment may be adversely affected.
In November, 2021 we voluntarily implemented the call limitations set forth in Regulation F, 12 CFR Part 1006 (“Regulation F”), which is not applicable to creditors such as us who are collecting their own debts. If we did not correctly estimate the impact of a reduced calling strategy, the effectiveness of our efforts to collect on defaulted loans may be impacted. Additionally, in August 2020, we changed our small claims filing practices, we dismissed all pending small claims court filings and suspended all new legal collection actions and have not restarted legal collections programs. If we are unable to employ alternative means of engaging severely delinquent members and collecting on defaulted loans, the effectiveness of our efforts to collect on defaulted loans may be impacted. Because our net charge-off rate depends on the collectability of the loans, if we experience an unexpected significant increase in the number of members who fail to repay their loans or an increase in the principal amount of the loans that are not repaid, our revenue and results of operations could be adversely affected. Furthermore, personal unsecured loans and credit card debt are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy. If we experience an unexpected, significant increase in the number of members who successfully discharge their debt in a bankruptcy action, our revenue and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We incorporate our estimate of lifetime loan losses in our measurement of fair value for our Fair Value Loans. While this evaluation process uses historical and other objective information, the classification of loans and the forecasts and establishment of loan losses and fair value are also dependent on our subjective assessment based upon our experience and judgment. Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy, the amount of subjective assessment and judgment applied to develop our forecasts has increased materially, since no directly corresponding historical data set exists. Our methodology for establishing our fair value is based on the guidance in Accounting Standards Codification, 820 and 825, and, in part, on our historic loss experience. If member behavior changes as a result of economic conditions and if we are unable to predict how the unemployment rate and general economic uncertainty may affect our estimate of lifetime loan losses, the fair value may be reduced for our Fair Value Loans, which will decrease Net Revenue. Our calculations of fair value are estimates, and if these estimates are inaccurate, our results of operations could be adversely affected. Neither state regulators nor federal regulators regulate our calculations of fair value, and unlike traditional banks, we are not subject to periodic review by bank regulatory agencies of our loss estimates or our calculations of fair value. In addition, because our debt financings include delinquency triggers as predictors of losses, increased delinquencies or losses may reduce or terminate the availability of debt financings to us.
Our quarterly results are likely to fluctuate significantly and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business.
Our quarterly results of operations are likely to vary significantly in the future and period-to-period comparisons of our results of operations may not be meaningful, due to factors such as our election of the fair value option and the evolving and uncertain duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the results for any one quarter are not necessarily an indication of future performance. Our quarterly financial results may fluctuate due to a variety of factors, some of which are outside of our control and, as a result, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. Factors that may cause fluctuations in our quarterly financial results include:
•loan volumes, loan mix and the channels through which our loans are originated;
•the effectiveness of our direct marketing and other marketing channels;
•the timing and success of new products and origination channels;
•the amount and timing of operating expenses and capital expenditures, including those related to member acquisition, development of new products and services, and maintenance and expansion of our business, operations and infrastructure;
•net charge-off rates;
•adjustments to the fair value of our Fair Value Loans and Fair Value Notes;
•our cost of borrowing money and access to the capital markets; and
•general economic, industry, and market conditions.
In addition, we experience significant seasonality in demand for our loans, which is generally lower in the first quarter. The seasonal slowdown is primarily attributable to high loan demand around the holidays in the fourth quarter and the general increase in our members’ available cash flows in the first quarter, including cash received from tax refunds, which temporarily reduces their borrowing needs. While our growth has obscured this seasonality from our overall financial results, we expect our results of operations to continue to be affected by such seasonality in the future. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has and may continue to disrupt the seasonal trends our business has otherwise consistently experienced.
Our results of operations and financial condition have been and may be adversely affected by economic conditions and other factors that we cannot control.
Uncertainty and negative trends in general economic conditions in the United States and abroad have historically created a difficult operating environment for our business and can negatively impact demand for our products and services. Many factors, including factors that are beyond our control, may impact our results of operations or financial condition, demand for our products and services, the quality of our loan portfolio, and/or affect our members’ willingness or capacity to make payments on their loans with us. Many factors, including factors that are beyond our control,
may result in higher default rates by our members, a decline in the demand for our products, and potentially impact our ability to make accurate credit assessments or lending decisions. These factors include: general economic conditions, unemployment levels, housing markets, immigration patterns and policies, energy costs, inflation, government shutdowns, delays in tax refunds, significant tightening of credit markets, and interest rates, as well as events such as natural disasters, acts of war, terrorism, pandemics or adverse health developments, social unrest, and catastrophes. Our business was adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and we recorded a net loss of $45.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. We also experienced net losses prior to 2017. As our business grows and we increase our product and service offerings, we intend to continue to expend significant funds, and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to offset our higher operating expenses.
In particular, our members with credit products may be particularly negatively impacted by worsening economic conditions that place financial stress on these members resulting in loan defaults or charge-offs. In addition, major medical expenses, divorce, death, or other issues that affect our members could affect our members’ willingness or ability to make payments on their loans. Our business is currently heavily concentrated on consumer lending and, as a result, we are more susceptible to fluctuations and risks particular to U.S. consumer credit than a company with a more diversified lending portfolio. If our members default under a loan receivable held directly by us, we will experience loss of principal and anticipated interest payments, which could adversely affect our cash flow from operations. The cost to service our loans may also increase without a corresponding increase in our interest on loans.
Decreases in consumer demand for automobiles and declining values of vehicles securing outstanding secured personal loans would weaken collateral coverage for secured personal loans and increase the amount of loss in the event of default. Significant increases in the inventory of used vehicles may also depress the prices at which repossessed vehicles may be sold or delay the timing of these sales. Consequently, if a vehicle securing a secured personal loan is repossessed while the used car auction market is depressed, the sale proceeds for such vehicle may be lower than expected, resulting in higher than expected losses.
If aspects of our business, including the quality of our loan portfolio or our members’ ability to pay, are significantly affected by economic changes or any other conditions in the future, we cannot be certain that we will adequately adapt our business to such changes, so our business would be adversely affected.
Negative publicity or public perception of our company or our industry could adversely affect our reputation, business, and results of operations.
Negative publicity about our industry or our company, including the terms of the consumer loans, effectiveness of the proprietary credit risk model, privacy and security practices, originations, marketing, servicing and collections, use of A.I, and other business practices or initiatives, litigation, regulatory compliance and the experience of members, even if inaccurate, could adversely affect our reputation and the confidence in our brands and business model or lead to changes in our business practices. We regularly engage with media outlets and consumer advocates and have previously, and in the future, may respond to inquiries by modifying our business practices or policies to better align with our mission. Despite our responsiveness to the inquiries, certain media outlets and consumer advocates chose to and have continued to highlight the very past practices that we had already modified. The proliferation of social media may increase the likelihood that negative public opinion will impact our reputation and business. Our reputation is very important to attracting new members and retaining existing members. While we believe that we have a good reputation and that we provide members with a superior experience, there can be no assurance that we will continue to maintain a good relationship with members.
In addition, negative perception may result in our being subject to more restrictive laws and regulations and potential investigations, enforcement actions and lawsuits. If there are changes in the laws affecting any of our products, or our marketing and servicing, or if we become subject to such investigations, enforcement actions and lawsuits, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected. Entry into new products, as well as into the banking business or new origination channels, such as bank partnerships and other partnerships could lead to negative publicity or draw additional scrutiny.
Harm to our reputation can also arise from many other sources, including employee or former employee misconduct, misconduct by outsourced service providers or other counterparties, failure by us or our partners to meet minimum standards of service and quality, and inadequate protection of member information and compliance failures and claims. Our reputation may also be harmed if we fail to maintain our certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
Competition for our highly skilled employees is intense, and we may not be able to attract and retain the employees we need to support the growth of our business.
Competition for highly skilled personnel, particularly engineering and data analytics personnel, is extremely intense across the country and is likely to continue to increase, as more companies are offering remote or hybrid working arrangements. We have experienced and expect to continue to face difficulty identifying and hiring qualified personnel in many areas, especially as we pursue our growth strategy. We may not be able to hire or retain such personnel at compensation levels consistent with our existing compensation and salary structure. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced employees have greater resources than we have and may be able to offer more attractive terms of employment. In particular, employee candidates, specifically in high-technology industries, often consider the value of any equity they may receive in connection with their employment, so significant volatility or a decline in the price of our stock may adversely affect our recruitment strategies. Additionally, changes to U.S. immigration policies, as well as restrictions on global travel due to public health crises requiring quarantines or other precautions to limit exposure to infectious diseases, may limit our ability to hire and/or retain talent.
In addition, we invest significant time and expense in training our employees, which increases their value to competitors who may seek to recruit them. If we fail to retain our employees, we could incur significant expenses in hiring and training their replacements and the quality of our services and our ability to serve our members could be adversely affected.
If we lose the services of any of our key management personnel, our business could suffer.
Our future success significantly depends on the continued service and performance of our key management personnel. Competition for these employees is intense and we may not be able to replace, attract and retain key personnel. We do not maintain key-man insurance for every member of our senior management team. The loss of the service of our senior management team or key team members, and the process to replace any of them, or the inability to attract additional qualified personnel as needed, all of which would involve significant time and expense, could harm our business.
Our success and future growth depend on our branding and marketing efforts.
If our marketing efforts are not successful or if we are unsuccessful in developing our brand marketing campaigns, our ability to attract and retain members, attract new strategic partners and grow our business may be negatively impacted. In the future, we intend to continue to dedicate significant resources to our marketing efforts, particularly as we develop our brands. If any of our current marketing channels becomes less effective, if we are unable to continue to use any of these channels, if the cost of using these channels significantly increases or if we are not successful in generating new channels, we may not be able to attract new members in a cost-effective manner or increase the activity of our existing members, including by using additional products or services we offer. If we are unable to recover our marketing costs through increases in the size, value or overall number of credit products we originate, or other product selection and utilization, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and future prospects.
We may fail to realize all of the anticipated benefits of the Digit acquisition, and the merger or those benefits may take longer to realize than expected.
We believe that there are significant benefits and synergies that may be realized through combining the platform, product and service offerings of Oportun and Digit. However, the efforts to realize these benefits and synergies will be a complex process and may disrupt both companies’ existing operations if not implemented in a timely and efficient manner. The full benefits of the acquisition, including anticipated growth opportunities, may not be realized as expected or may not be achieved within the anticipated time frame, or at all. Failure to achieve the anticipated benefits of the acquisition could adversely affect our results of operations or cash flows, cause dilution to our earnings per share, decrease or delay any accretive effect of the acquisition and negatively impact the price of our common stock.
In addition, as we integrate the businesses post-closing we will continue to be required to devote significant attention and resources to successfully align our business practices and operations. This process may disrupt the businesses and, if ineffective, would limit the anticipated benefits of the acquisition.
Any acquisitions, strategic investments, entries into new businesses, joint ventures, divestitures, and other transactions could fail to achieve strategic objectives, disrupt our ongoing operations or result in operating difficulties, liabilities and expenses, harm our business, and negatively impact our results of operations.
Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to grow our business. In some circumstances, we may determine to do so through the acquisition of complementary businesses and technologies rather than through internal development. The identification of suitable acquisition candidates can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly, and we may not be able to successfully complete identified acquisitions. We have previously acquired, and in the future, may acquire, complementary assets or businesses. The risks we face in connection with acquisitions include:
•diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;
•utilization of our financial resources for acquisitions or investments that may fail to realize the anticipated benefits;
•inability of the acquired technologies, products or businesses to achieve expected levels of revenue, profitability, productivity or other benefits;
•coordination of technology, product development and sales and marketing functions and integration of administrative systems;
•transition of the acquired company’s members to our systems;
•retention of employees from the acquired company;
•regulatory risks, including maintaining good standing with existing regulatory bodies or receiving any necessary approvals, as well as being subject to new regulators with oversight over an acquired business;
•acquisitions could result in dilutive issuances of equity securities or the incurrence of debt;
•cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;
•the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked effective controls, procedures and policies;
•potential write-offs of loans or intangibles or other assets acquired in such transactions that may have an adverse effect on our results of operations in a given period;
•liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, security weaknesses and incidents, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities;
•assumption of contractual obligations that contain terms that are not beneficial to us, require us to license or waive intellectual property or increase our risk for liability; and
•litigation, claims or other liabilities in connection with the acquired company.
Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with our future acquisitions and investments could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions or investments, cause us to incur unanticipated liabilities and harm our business generally.
Fraudulent activity could negatively impact our business, brand and reputation and require us to continue to take steps to reduce fraud risk.
Third parties have, and we expect that they will likely continue to attempt to commit fraud by, among other things, fraudulently obtaining loans or creating fictitious accounts using stolen identities or personal information and making transactions with stolen financial instruments, Third parties may also seek to engage in abusive schemes or fraud attacks that are often difficult to detect and may be deployed at a scale that would otherwise not be possible in physical transactions. Risks associated with each of these include theft of funds and other monetary loss, the effects of which could be compounded if not detected quickly. Fraudulent activity may not be detected until well after it occurs and the severity and potential impact may not be fully known for a substantial period of time after it has been discovered. Measures to detect and reduce the risk of fraud and abusive behavior are complex, require continuous monitoring and enhancements, and may not be effective in detecting and preventing fraud, particularly new and continually evolving forms of fraud or in connection with new or expanded product offerings. If these measures do not succeed, our business could be materially adversely impacted.
Despite our efforts, the possibility of fraudulent or other malicious activities and human error or malfeasance cannot be eliminated entirely and will evolve as new and emerging technology is deployed, including the increasing use of personal mobile and computing devices that are outside of our network and control environments. Additionally, increasing our product and service offerings may introduce opportunities for fraudulent activity that we have not previously experienced. Numerous and evolving fraud schemes and misuse of our products and services could subject us to significant costs and liabilities, require us to change our business practices, cause us to incur significant remediation costs, lead to loss of member confidence in, or decreased use of, our products and services, damage our reputation and brands, divert the attention of management from the operation of our business, result in litigation (including class action litigation), and lead to increased regulatory scrutiny and possibly regulatory investigations and intervention, all of which could have a material adverse impact on our business.
Security breaches and incidents impacting members’ confidential information that we store may harm our reputation, adversely affect our results of operations, and expose us to liability.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect, store, transmit and otherwise process large amounts of sensitive information relating to members and potential members, including non-public personal, bank account, and credit information. It is critical that we do so in a secure manner to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of such sensitive information. We also collect, store, transmit and otherwise process certain sensitive, proprietary, and other information, including personal data and personal information relating to employees, trade secrets, intellectual property, confidential business information, and other confidential data. We have arrangements in place with certain of our third-party vendors that require us to share this information as permitted by law. We have also outsourced elements of our operations (including elements of our information technology infrastructure) to third parties, and as a result, we manage a number of third-party vendors who may have access to our computer networks or the information that we collect, process, transmit, and store. In addition, many of those third parties may in turn subcontract or outsource some of their responsibilities to third parties. As a result, our information technology systems, including the functions of third parties that are involved or have access to those systems, is very large and complex. While all information technology operations are inherently vulnerable to inadvertent or intentional security breaches, incidents, attacks and exposures, the size, complexity, accessibility and distributed nature of our information technology systems, and the large amounts of sensitive information stored on those systems, make such systems potentially vulnerable to unintentional or malicious, internal and external attacks. We have been and continue to be the subject of actual or attempted unauthorized access, mishandling or misuse of information, computer viruses or malware, and cyber-attacks that could obtain confidential information, destroy data, disrupt or degrade service, sabotage systems or cause other damage, distributed denial of service attacks, security breaches and incidents, and other infiltration, exfiltration or other similar events.
We cannot guarantee that our or our third-party providers’ systems and networks have not been breached or that they do not contain exploitable defects or bugs that could result in a breach of or disruption to our systems and networks or the systems and networks of third parties that support us and our products and services. Potential vulnerabilities can be exploited from inadvertent or intentional actions of our employees, contractors, third-party vendors, business partners, or by malicious third parties. Attacks of this nature are increasing in their frequency, levels of persistence, sophistication and intensity, and are being conducted by sophisticated and organized groups and individuals with a wide range of motives (including, but not limited to, industrial espionage) and expertise, including organized criminal groups, “hacktivists,” nation states and others. In addition to unauthorized access to, or loss, extraction, disclosure, or other misuse of personal information, confidential information, or other sensitive information, such attacks could include the deployment of harmful malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering and other means to affect service reliability and threaten the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and systems. We have seen, and will continue to see, industry-wide vulnerabilities, such as the Log4j vulnerability reported in December 2021, which could affect our or other parties’ systems. Significant disruptions of our, our third-party vendors’ and/or business partners’ information technology systems or other similar data security incidents could adversely affect our business operations and result in the loss, misappropriation, or unauthorized access, use or disclosure of, or the prevention of access to, personal information, confidential information, or other sensitive information, which could result in financial, legal, regulatory, business, and reputational harm to us. The automated nature of our business may make us attractive targets for hacking and potentially
vulnerable to computer malware, physical or electronic break-ins and similar disruptions. Despite efforts to ensure the integrity of our systems, it is possible that we and the third parties who support our business and operations may not be able to anticipate or to implement effective preventive measures against all security breaches and incidents, in which case there would be an increased risk of fraud or identity theft, and we may experience losses on, or delays in the collection of amounts owed on, a fraudulently induced loan.
While we regularly monitor data flow inside and outside the company, techniques used to obtain unauthorized access or to sabotage systems change frequently and are difficult to detect. As a result, we, our third-party hosting facilities and other service providers may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. Any event that leads, or is believed to have led, to unauthorized access, to, or use, access, loss, corruption, disclosure or other processing of personal information, including but not limited to personal information regarding our members, potential members, loan applicants, and employees, could disrupt our business, harm our reputation, compel us to comply with applicable federal and/or state breach notification laws and foreign law equivalents, subject us to litigation, regulatory investigation and oversight, mandatory corrective action, require us to verify the correctness of database contents, or otherwise subject us to liability under laws, regulations and contractual obligations, including those that protect the privacy and security of personal information. This could result in increased costs for us, and result in significant legal and financial exposure and/or reputational harm. These mandatory disclosures regarding a security breach are costly to implement and often lead to widespread negative publicity, which may cause our members to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our data security measures. In addition, any failure or perceived failure by us or our vendors to comply with our privacy, confidentiality, or data security-related legal or other obligations to third parties, or any security breaches or incidents or other inappropriate access events that result in the unauthorized access, release or transfer of personal or sensitive information, which could include personally identifiable information, may result in governmental investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, litigation, or public statements against us by advocacy groups or others and could cause third parties, to lose trust or subject us to claims by third parties that we have breached our privacy- and confidentiality-related obligations, which could harm our business and prospects. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attack opportunities available to criminals, as they attempt to profit from disruptions and the resulting shift in companies and individuals working remotely and online, as well as the increase in electronic transfers and other online activity.
We also face indirect technology, cybersecurity and operational risks relating to the members, clients and other third parties with whom we do business or upon whom we rely on to facilitate or enable our business activities, including vendors, payment processors, and other parties who have access to confidential information due to our agreements with them. The establishment of bank partnerships could leave us exposed to additional information security risks arising from the interaction between our and any partners' information technology infrastructure, and the sharing between us of confidential member information. In addition, any security compromise in our industry, whether actual or perceived, or information technology system disruptions, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures, could interrupt our business or operations, harm our reputation, erode public confidence, negatively affect our ability to attract new members, or subject us to third-party claims, lawsuits, regulatory investigations, proceedings, fines or other action or liability.
We incur significant costs to detect and prevent security breaches and other security-related incidents, and we expect our costs will increase as we work to continuously improve our systems and processes to prevent future breaches and incidents. In the event of an actual or perceived breach or incident, we could be required to expend additional significant capital and other resources in an effort to prevent further breaches or incidents. Moreover, we could be required to expend significant capital and other resources to address the incident and any future security breach or incident.
Our retail locations also process physical member loan documentation that contain confidential information about our members, including financial and personally identifiable information. We retain physical records in various storage locations outside of our retail locations. The loss or theft of, or other unauthorized access to or use of, member information and data from our retail locations or other storage locations could subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny, possible civil litigation and possible financial liability and losses.
Further, any belief by members or others that a security breach or other incident has affected us or any of our service providers, even if a security breach or other incident has not affected us or any of our service providers or has not actually occurred, could have any or all of the foregoing impacts on us, including damage to our reputation. Even the perception of inadequate security may damage our reputation and negatively impact our ability to attract new members and retain existing members.
We cannot ensure that any provisions in our agreements with members or breach or other privacy- or security-related incident, would be enforceable or adequate or would otherwise protect us from any liabilities or damages with respect to any particular claim. We maintain errors, omissions, and cyber liability insurance policies covering certain security and privacy damages. However, we cannot be certain that our coverage will continue to be available on economically reasonable terms or will be available in sufficient amounts to cover one or more large claims, or that the insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Any significant disruption in our computer systems may impair the availability of our websites, applications, products or services, or otherwise harm our business.
Our computer systems, including those provided by third-party service providers and partners, may encounter service interruptions at any time due to system or software failure, natural disasters, severe weather conditions, health epidemics or pandemics, terrorist attacks, cyber-attacks, computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins, technical errors, insider threats, power outages or other events. Any of these occurrences may interrupt the availability, or reduce or adversely affect the functionality of our websites, applications, products or services, including our ability to service our loans, process loan applications, and provide digital banking services to Digit members. We also rely on facilities, components, and
services supplied by third parties, including data center facilities and cloud storage services. Any interference or disruption of our technology and underlying infrastructure or our use of our third-party providers’ services could materially and adversely affect our business, relationships with our members and our reputation. Also, as our business grows, we may be required to expand and improve the capacity, capability and reliability of our infrastructure. If we are not able to effectively address capacity constraints, upgrade our systems as needed and continually develop our technology and infrastructure to reliably support our business, our results of operations may be harmed.
In addition, the software that we have developed to use in our daily operations is highly complex and may contain undetected technical errors that could cause our computer systems to fail. For example, each loan that we make involves our proprietary automated underwriting process and depends on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of our computer systems, and all of our loans are underwritten using an automated underwriting process that does not require manual review, any failure of our computer systems involving our automated underwriting process and any technical or other errors contained in the software pertaining to our automated underwriting process could compromise our ability to accurately evaluate potential members, which would negatively impact our results of operations. While we have taken steps to prevent such activity from affecting our systems, if we are unable to prevent such activity, we may be subject to significant claims and liability, negative publicity and a loss of members, all of which may negatively affect our business.
Additionally, in the event of damage or interruption, our insurance policies may not adequately compensate us for any losses that we may incur. Our disaster recovery plan has not been tested under actual disaster conditions, and we may not have sufficient capacity to recover all data and services in the event of an outage. These factors could prevent us from processing or posting payments on the loans, damage our brand and reputation, divert our employees’ attention, subject us to liability and cause members to abandon our business, any of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We may change our corporate strategies or underwriting and servicing practices, which may adversely affect our business.
As our business grows and evolves, we have, and may in the future, change certain aspects of our corporate strategies or any of our underwriting guidelines without notice to our stockholders. Any changes in strategy, underwriting or servicing practices could impact our business in any number of ways, including impacting our member mix, product and service offerings, risk profile of our loan portfolio, and operational and regulatory compliance requirements.
For example, in August 2020, we implemented a nationwide 36% APR cap for newly originated loans. We may also decide to modify our strategy with respect to whole loan sales, including increasing or decreasing the number of loans sold. We continue to evaluate our business strategies and underwriting and servicing practices and will continue to make additional changes to adapt to changing economic conditions, regulatory requirements and industry practices. Additionally, a change in our underwriting and servicing practices may reduce our credit spread and may increase our exposure to interest rate risk, default risk and liquidity risk, all of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are, and intend in the future to continue, expanding into new geographic regions, and our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, or accurately predict demand or growth, related to these geographic regions could have an adverse effect on our business.
We intend to continue expanding into new geographic regions, including through strategic partnerships or a national bank charter. In addition, each of the new states where we do not currently operate may have different laws and regulations that apply to our products and services. As such, we expect to be subject to significant additional legal and regulatory requirements, including various federal and state consumer lending laws. We have limited experience in managing risks and the compliance requirements attendant to these additional legal and regulatory requirements in new geographies or related to strategic partnerships. The costs of compliance and any failure by us to comply with such regulatory requirements in new geographies could harm our business. If our partners decide to or are no longer able to provide their services, we could incur temporary disruptions in our loan transactions or we may be unable to do business in certain states or certain locations.
We are exposed to geographic concentration risk.
The geographic concentration of our loan originations may expose us to an increased risk of loss due to risks associated with certain regions. Certain regions of the United States from time to time will experience weaker economic conditions and higher unemployment and, consequently, will experience higher rates of delinquency and loss than on similar loans nationally. In addition, natural, man-made disasters or health epidemics or pandemics in specific geographic regions may result in higher rates of delinquency and loss in those areas. A significant portion of our outstanding receivables originated in certain states, and within the states where we operate, originations are generally more concentrated in and around metropolitan areas and other population centers. Therefore, economic conditions, natural, man-made disasters, health epidemics or pandemics or other factors affecting these states or areas in particular could adversely impact the delinquency and default experience of the receivables and could adversely affect our business. Further, the concentration of our outstanding receivables in one or more states would have a disproportionate effect on us if governmental authorities in any of those states take action against us or take action affecting how we conduct our business.
As of December 31, 2021, 49%, 27%, 7% and 6% of our Owned Principal Balance at End of Period related to members from California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois, respectively. If any of the events noted in these risk factors were to occur in or have a disproportionate impact in regions where we operate or plan to commence operations, it may negatively affect our business in many ways, including increased delinquencies and loan losses or a decrease in future originations.
Our proprietary credit risk models rely in part on the use of third-party data to assess and predict the creditworthiness of our members, and if we lose the ability to license or use such third-party data, or if such third-party data contain inaccuracies, it may harm our results of operations.
We rely on our proprietary credit risk models, which are statistical models built using third-party alternative data, credit bureau data, application data and our credit experience gained through monitoring the payment performance of our members over time. If we are unable to access certain third-party data used in our credit risk models, or our access to such data is limited, our ability to accurately evaluate potential members will be compromised, and we may be unable to effectively predict probable credit losses inherent in our loan portfolio, which would negatively impact our results of operations. Third-party data sources include credit bureau data and other alternative data sources. Such data is electronically obtained from third parties and is aggregated by our risk engine to be used in our credit risk models to score applicants and make credit decisions and in our verification processes to confirm member reported information. Data from consumer reporting agencies and other information that we receive from third parties about a member may be inaccurate or may not accurately reflect the member’s creditworthiness, which may cause us to provide loans to higher risk members than we intend through our underwriting process and/or inaccurately price the loans we make. We use numerous third-party data sources and multiple credit factors within our proprietary credit risk models, which helps mitigate, but does not eliminate, the risk of an inaccurate individual report. In addition, there are risks that the costs of our access to third-party data may increase or our terms with such third-party data providers could worsen. In recent years, well-publicized allegations involving the misuse or inappropriate sharing of personal information have led to expanded governmental scrutiny of practices relating to the safeguarding of personal information and the use or sharing of personal data by companies in the U.S. and other countries. That scrutiny has in some cases resulted in, and could in the future lead to, the adoption of stricter laws and regulations relating to the use and sharing of personal information. These types of laws and regulations could prohibit or significantly restrict our third-party data sources from sharing information, or could restrict our use of personal data when developing our proprietary credit risk models, or for fraud prevention purposes. These restrictions could also inhibit our development or marketing of certain products or services, or increase the costs of offering them to members or make the models less effective at predicting credit outcomes or preventing fraud.
We follow procedures to verify member’s identity and address which are designed to minimize fraud. These procedures may include visual inspection of applicant identification documents to ensure authenticity, review of paystubs or bank statements for proof of income and employment, and review of analysis of information from credit bureaus, fraud detection databases and other alternative data sources for verification of identity, employment, income and other debt obligations. If any of the information that is considered in the loan review process is inaccurate, whether intentional or not, and such inaccuracy is not detected prior to loan funding, the loan may have a greater risk of default than expected. If any of our procedures are not followed, or if these procedures fail, fraud may occur. Additionally, there is a risk that following the date of the loan application, a member may have defaulted on, or become delinquent in the payment of, a pre-existing debt obligation, taken on additional debt, lost his or her job or other sources of income or experienced other adverse financial events. Fraudulent activity or significant increases in fraudulent activity could also lead to regulatory intervention, negatively impact our results of operations, brand and reputation and require us to take additional steps to reduce fraud risk, which could increase our costs.
Our current level of interest rate spread may decline in the future. Any material reduction in our interest rate spread could adversely affect our results of operations.
We earn over 90% of our revenue from interest payments on the loans we make to our members. Financial institutions and other funding sources provide us with the capital to fund a substantial portion of the principal amount of our loans to members and charge us interest on funds that we borrow. In the event that the spread between the interest rate at which we lend to our members and the rate at which we borrow from our lenders decreases, our Net Revenue will decrease. We have capped the APR for newly originated loans at 36% since August 2020. The interest rates we charge to our members and pay to our lenders could each be affected by a variety of factors, including our ability to access capital markets, the volume of loans we make to our members, product mix, competition and regulatory limitations.
Market interest rate changes may adversely affect our business forecasts and expectations and are highly sensitive to many macroeconomic factors beyond our control, such as inflation, recession, the state of the credit markets, global economic disruptions, unemployment and the fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government and its agencies. Interest rate changes may require us to make adjustments to the fair value of our Fair Value Loans or Fair Value Notes, which may in turn adversely affect our results of operations. For instance, interest rates recently declined significantly. When interest rates fall, the fair value of our Fair Value Loans increases, which increases Net Revenue. In addition, decreasing interest rates also increase the fair value of our Fair Value Notes, which reduces Net Revenue. Because the duration and fair value of our loans and asset- backed notes are different, the respective changes in fair value did not fully offset each other resulting in a negative impact on Net Revenue. Any reduction in our interest rate spread could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. We do not currently hedge our interest rate exposure associated with our debt financing or fair market valuation of our loans.
A deterioration in the financial condition of counterparties, including financial institutions, could expose us to credit losses, limit access to liquidity or disrupt our business operations.
We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, financing and derivative transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds, and other financial institutions. Furthermore, the operations of U.S. and global financial services institutions are interconnected, and a decline in the financial condition of one or more financial services institutions, or the perceived lack of creditworthiness of such financial institutions, may expose us to credit losses or defaults, limit access to liquidity or otherwise disrupt the operations of our business. As such, our financing and derivative transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of a default by the counterparty, which can be exacerbated during periods of market illiquidity.
Our vendor relationships subject us to a variety of risks, and the failure of third parties to comply with legal or regulatory requirements or to provide various services that are important to our operations could have an adverse effect on our business.
We have vendors that, among other things, provide us with key services, including financial, technology and other services to support our loan servicing and other activities. Our expansion into new channels, products or markets may introduce additional third-party service providers, strategic partners and other third parties on which we may become reliant. For example, in connection with the secured personal loan product, we work with third parties that provide information and/or services in connection with valuation, title management and title processing, repossessions, and remarketing. These types of third-party relationships are subject to increasingly demanding regulatory requirements and attention by our partner banks' federal bank regulators (the Federal Reserve Board, the OCC and the FDIC) and our consumer financial services regulators, including state regulators and the CFPB, which could increase the scope of management involvement and decreasing the benefit that we receive from using third-party vendors. We could be adversely impacted to the extent our vendors and partners fail to comply with the legal requirements applicable to the particular products or services being offered. Moreover, if our bank partners or their regulators conclude that we have not met the heightened standards for oversight of our third-party vendors, we could be subject to enforcement actions, civil monetary penalties, supervisory orders to cease and desist or other remedial actions.
In some cases, third-party vendors are the sole source, or one of a limited number of sources, of the services they provide to us. Most of our vendor agreements are terminable on little or no notice, and if our current vendors were to stop or were unable to continue providing services to us on acceptable terms, we may be unable to procure alternatives from other vendors in a timely and efficient manner on acceptable terms or at all. If any third-party vendor fails to provide the services we require, due to factors outside our control, we could be subject to regulatory enforcement actions, suffer economic and reputational harm and incur significant costs to resolve any such disruptions in service.
Our mission to provide inclusive, affordable financial services that empower our members to build a better future may conflict with the short-term interests of our stockholders.
Our mission is to provide inclusive, affordable financial services that empower our members to build a better future. Therefore, we have made and will continue to make decisions that we believe will benefit our members and therefore provide long-term benefits for our business, even if our decision negatively impacts our short-term results of operations. For example, we constrain the maximum interest rates we charge in order to further our goal of making our loans affordable for our target members. Our decisions may negatively impact our short-term financial results or not provide the long-term benefits that we expect and may adversely impact our business operations, results of operations, and financial condition.
If we cannot maintain our corporate culture as we grow, we could lose the innovation, collaboration and focus on the mission that contribute to our business.
We believe that a critical component of our success is our corporate culture and our deep commitment to our mission. We believe this mission-based culture fosters innovation, encourages teamwork and cultivates creativity. Our mission defines our business philosophy as well as the emphasis that we place on our members, our people and our culture and is consistently reinforced to and by our employees. As we continue to grow, including from the integration of employees and businesses acquired in connection with previous or future acquisitions, we may find it difficult to maintain these valuable aspects of our corporate culture and our long-term mission. We recently adopted a remote-first policy that permits most of our employees to work remotely should their roles allow. While we believe that most of our operations can be performed remotely, there is no guarantee that we will be as effective while working remotely because our team is dispersed and many employees may have additional personal needs to attend to or distractions in their remote work environment. Any failure to preserve our culture could negatively impact our future success, including our ability to attract and retain employees, encourage innovation and teamwork, and effectively focus on and pursue our mission and corporate objectives.
We are dependent on hiring an adequate number of hourly bilingual employees to run our business and are subject to government regulations concerning these and our other employees, including minimum wage laws.
Our workforce is comprised primarily of bilingual employees who work on an hourly basis. In certain areas where we operate, there is significant competition for hourly bilingual employees and the lack of availability of an adequate number of hourly bilingual employees could adversely affect our operations. In addition, we are subject to applicable rules and regulations relating to our relationship with our employees, including minimum wage and break requirements, health benefits, unemployment and sales taxes, overtime and working conditions and immigration status. We are from time to time subject to employment-related claims, including wage and hour claims. Further, legislated increases in minimum wage, as well as increases in additional labor cost components, such as employee benefit costs, workers’ compensation insurance rates, and compliance costs and fines, would increase our labor costs, which could have an adverse effect on our business.
Misconduct by our employees could harm us by subjecting us to monetary loss, significant legal liability, regulatory scrutiny and reputational harm.
Our reputation is critical to maintaining and developing relationships with our existing and potential members and third parties with whom we do business. There is a risk that our employees could be accused of or engage in misconduct that adversely affects our business, including fraud, , redirection, misappropriation of member funds, improper execution of loan transactions, embezzlement and theft, disclosure of personal and business information and the failure to follow protocol when interacting with members that could lead us to suffer direct losses from the activity as well as serious reputational harm. Employee misconduct could also lead to regulatory sanctions and prompt regulators to allege or to determine based upon such misconduct that we have not established adequate supervisory systems and procedures to inform employees of applicable rules or to detect and deter violations of such rules. Misconduct by our employees, or even unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct, could harm our reputation and our business.
Our international operations and offshore service providers involve inherent risks which could result in harm to our business.
As of December 31, 2021, we had 1,582 employees related to three contact centers in Mexico. These employees provide certain English/Spanish bilingual support related to member-facing contact center activities, administrative and technology support of the contact centers and back-office support services. We have also engaged outsourcing partners in the United States that provide offshore member-facing contact center activities in Colombia and Jamaica, and may in the future include additional locations in other countries. In addition, our technology development center in India is staffed through outsourcing partners and our own employees. We have engaged vendors that utilize employees or contractors based outside of the United States. As of December 31, 2021, our outsourcing partners have provided us, on an exclusive basis, the equivalent of 652 full-time equivalents in Colombia, Jamaica, and India. These international activities are subject to inherent risks that are beyond our control, including:
•risks related to government regulation or required compliance with local laws;
•local licensing and reporting obligations;
•difficulties in developing, staffing and simultaneously managing a number of varying foreign operations as a result of distance, language and cultural differences;
•different, uncertain, overlapping or more stringent local laws and regulations;
•political and economic instability, tensions, security risks and changes in international diplomatic and trade relations;
•state or federal regulations that restrict offshoring of business operational functions or require offshore partners to obtain additional licenses, registrations or permits to perform services on our behalf;
•geopolitical events, including natural disasters, public health issues, epidemics or pandemics, acts of war, and terrorism;
•the impact of, and response of local governments to, the COVID-19 pandemic;
•compliance with applicable U.S. laws and foreign laws related to consumer protection, intellectual property, privacy, data security, corruption, money laundering, and export/trade control;
•misconduct by our outsourcing partners and their employees or even unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct;
•risks due to lack of direct involvement in hiring and retaining personnel; and
•potentially adverse tax developments and consequences.
Violations of the complex foreign and U.S. laws, rules and regulations that apply to our international operations and offshore activities of our service providers may result in heightened regulatory scrutiny, fines, criminal actions or sanctions against us, our directors, our officers or our employees, as well as restrictions on the conduct of our business and reputational damage.
If we discover a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting that we are unable to remedy or otherwise fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures, our ability to report our financial results on a timely and accurate basis and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.
We have developed our disclosure controls, internal control over financial reporting and other procedures to ensure information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms, and information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our principal executive and financial officers. To maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, we have expended and anticipate we will continue to expend significant resources, including accounting-related costs, and provide significant management oversight. Any failure to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, or consequent inability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, could increase our operating costs and could materially impair our ability to operate our business. Our current controls and any new controls that we develop may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in our business. If our internal controls are perceived as inadequate or we are unable to produce timely or accurate financial statements, investors may lose confidence in our operating results and our stock price could decline. In addition, if we are unable to continue to meet these requirements, we may not be able to remain listed on Nasdaq.
Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires our management to certify financial and other information in our quarterly and annual reports and provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. We are also required to have our independent registered public accounting firm attest to, and issue an opinion on, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if, when required, our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could subject us to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities, adversely affect our ability to access the credit markets and sell additional equity and commit additional financial and management resources to remediate deficiencies.
Because we receive a significant amount of cash in our retail locations through member loan repayments, we may be subject to theft and cash shortages due to employee errors.
Since our business requires us to receive a significant amount of cash in each of our retail locations, we are subject to the risk of theft (including by or facilitated by employees) and cash shortages due to employee errors. Although we have implemented various procedures and programs to
reduce these risks, maintain insurance coverage for theft and provide security measures for our facilities, we cannot make assurances that theft and employee error will not occur. We have experienced theft and attempted theft in the past.
Our business is subject to the risks of natural disasters, public health crises and other catastrophic events, and to interruption by man-made problems.
A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, hurricanes, flood or other catastrophic event (many of which are becoming more acute and frequent as a result of climate change), or interruptions by strikes, crime, terrorism, social unrest, cyber-attacks, pandemics or other public health crises, power outages or other man-made problems, could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, a significant natural disaster in Northern California or any other location in which we have offices or facilities or employees working remotely, could adversely affect our business operations, financial condition and future prospects, and our insurance coverage may be insufficient to compensate us for losses that may occur.
Our IT systems are backed up regularly to highly available, alternate data centers in a different region, and we have conducted disaster recovery testing of our mission critical systems. Despite any precautions we may take, however, the occurrence of a natural disaster or other unanticipated problems at our data centers could result in lengthy interruptions in our services. In addition, acts of war, terrorism, and other geopolitical unrest could cause disruptions in our business and lead to interruptions, delays or loss of critical data.
In addition, a large number of members make payments and apply for loans at our retail locations. If one or more of our retail locations becomes unavailable for any reason or other public health crisis, localized weather events, or natural or man-made disasters, our ability to conduct business and collect payments from members on a timely basis may be adversely affected, which could result in lower loan originations, higher delinquencies and increased losses. For example, during parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily closed a few of our retail locations due to public health orders or other concerns, which we believe resulted in lower Aggregate Originations. While all of our retail locations are currently open, it is possible that we will have to temporarily close retail locations as necessary due to public health orders or other concerns relating to COVID-19 or other highly contagious disease. The closure of retail locations could further adversely affect our loan originations, member experience, results of operations and financial condition.
The aforementioned risks may be further increased if our business continuity plans prove to be inadequate and there can be no assurance that both personnel and non-mission critical applications can be fully operational after a declared disaster within a defined recovery time. If our personnel, systems, or primary data center facilities are impacted, we may suffer interruptions and delays in our business operations. In addition, to the extent these events impact our members or their ability to timely repay their loans, our business could be negatively affected.
We may not maintain sufficient business interruption or property insurance to compensate us for potentially significant losses, including potential harm to our business that may result from interruptions in our ability to provide our financial products and services.
Unfavorable outcomes in legal proceedings may harm our business and results of operations.
We have been, and may in the future become, subject to litigation, claims, investigations, legal and administrative cases and proceedings, whether civil or criminal, or lawsuits by governmental agencies or private parties, which may affect our results of operations.
If the results of any pending or future legal proceedings are unfavorable to us or if we are unable to successfully defend against third-party lawsuits, we may be required to pay monetary damages or fulfill our indemnification obligations or we may be subject to fines, penalties, injunctions or other censure. Even if we adequately address the issues raised by an investigation or proceeding or successfully defend a third-party lawsuit or counterclaim, we may have to devote significant financial and management resources to address these issues.
The enactment of tax reform legislation could adversely impact our financial position and results of operations.
Legislation or other changes in U.S. and international tax laws could increase our liability and adversely affect our after-tax profitability. For example, the Biden administration has proposed to levy a financial statement minimum tax, increase the U.S. taxation of our international business operations and impose a global minimum tax. Such proposed changes, as well as regulations and legal decisions interpreting and applying these changes, may have significant impacts on our effective tax rate, cash tax expenses and net deferred taxes in the future.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
It may be difficult and costly to protect our intellectual property rights, and we may not be able to ensure their protection.
Our ability to offer our products and services to our members depends, in part, upon our proprietary technology. We may be unable to protect our proprietary technology effectively which would adversely affect our ability to compete with them. We rely on a combination of copyright, trade secret, trademark laws and other rights, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to protect our proprietary technology, processes and other intellectual property and do not have patent protection. However, the steps we take to protect our intellectual property rights may be inadequate. For example, a third party may attempt to reverse engineer or otherwise obtain and use our proprietary technology without our consent. The pursuit of a claim against a third party for infringement of our intellectual property could be costly, and there can be no guarantee that
any such efforts would be successful. Our failure to secure, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights could adversely affect our brand and adversely impact our business.
We have been, and may in the future be, sued by third parties for alleged infringement of their proprietary rights.
Our proprietary technology, including our credit risk models and A.I. algorithms, may infringe upon claims of third-party intellectual property, and we may face intellectual property challenges from such other parties. The expansion of our suite of financial products and services may create additional trademark risk. We may not be successful in defending against any such challenges or in obtaining licenses to avoid or resolve any intellectual property disputes. If we are unsuccessful, such claim or litigation could result in a requirement that we pay significant damages or licensing fees, which would negatively impact our financial performance. We may also be obligated to indemnify parties or pay substantial legal settlement costs, including royalty payments, and to modify applications or refund fees. Even if we were to prevail in such a dispute, any litigation regarding our intellectual property could be costly and time consuming and divert the attention of our management and key personnel from our business operations.
Moreover, it has become common in recent years for individuals and groups to purchase intellectual property assets for the sole purpose of making claims of infringement and attempting to extract settlements from companies such as ours. Even in instances where we believe that claims and allegations of intellectual property infringement against us are without merit, defending against such claims is time consuming and expensive and could result in the diversion of time and attention of our management and employees. In addition, although in some cases a third party may have agreed to indemnify us for such costs, such indemnifying party may refuse or be unable to uphold its contractual obligations. In other cases, our insurance may not cover potential claims of this type adequately or at all, and we may be required to pay monetary damages, which may be significant.
Our credit risk models, A.I. capabilities, and internal systems rely on software that is highly technical, and if it contains undetected errors, our business could be adversely affected.
Our credit risk models, A.I. capabilities, and internal systems rely on internally developed software that is highly technical and complex. In addition, our models, A.I. capabilities, and internal systems depend on the ability of such software to store, retrieve, process and manage immense amounts of data. The software on which we rely has contained, and may now or in the future contain, undetected errors, bugs or other defects. Some errors may only be discovered after the code has been released for external or internal use. Errors, bugs or other defects within the software on which we rely may result in a negative experience for our members, result in errors or compromise our ability to protect member data or our intellectual property. Specifically, any defect in our credit risk models could result in the approval of unacceptably risky loans. Such defects could also result in harm to our reputation, loss of members, loss of revenue, adjustments to the fair value of our Fair Value Loans or Fair Value Notes, challenges in raising debt or equity, or liability for damages, any of which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Some aspects of our business processes include open source software, and any failure to comply with the terms of one or more of these open source licenses could negatively affect our business.
We incorporate open source software into processes supporting our business. Such open source software may include software covered by licenses like the GNU General Public License and the Apache License. The terms of various open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. courts, and there is a risk that such licenses could be construed in a manner that limits our use of the software, inhibits certain aspects of our systems and negatively affects our business operations.
Some open source licenses contain requirements that we make source code available at no cost for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the type of open source software we use. We may face claims from third parties claiming ownership of, or demanding the release or license of, such modifications or derivative works (which could include our proprietary source code or credit risk models) or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. If portions of our proprietary credit risk models are determined to be subject to an open source license, or if the license terms for the open source software that we incorporate change, we could be required to publicly release the affected portions of our source code, re-engineer all or a portion of our model or change our business activities, any of which could negatively affect our business operations and our intellectual property rights.
In addition to risks related to license requirements, the use of open source software can lead to greater risks than the use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or controls on the origin of the software. Use of open source software may also present additional security risks because the public availability of such software may make it easier for hackers and other third parties to determine how to breach our website and systems that rely on open source software.
Risks Related to Our Industry and Regulation
The financial services industry is highly regulated. Changes in regulations or in the way regulations are applied to our business could adversely affect our business.
We are subject to various federal, state and local regulatory regimes related to the financial services that we provide. The principal policy objectives of these regulatory regimes are to provide meaningful disclosures to consumers, to protect against unfair and deceptive practices and to prevent discrimination. Laws and regulations, among other things, impose licensing and qualifications requirements; require various disclosures and
consents; mandate or prohibit certain terms and conditions for various financial products; prohibit discrimination based on certain prohibited bases; prohibit unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices; require us to submit to examinations by federal, state and local regulatory regimes; and require us to maintain various policies, procedures and internal controls.
Federal and state agencies have broad enforcement powers over us, including powers to periodically examine and continuously monitor our operations and to investigate our business practices and broad discretion to deem particular practices unfair, deceptive, abusive or otherwise not in accordance with the law. State attorneys general have a variety of legal mechanisms at their disposal to enforce state and federal consumer financial laws. For example, Section 1042 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") grants state attorneys general the ability to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act and regulations promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Act’s authority and to secure remedies provided in the Dodd-Frank Act against entities within their jurisdiction. State attorneys general also have a variety of legal mechanisms at their disposal to enforce state and federal consumer financial laws have enforcement authority under state law with respect to unfair or deceptive practices. Generally, under these statutes, state attorneys general may conduct investigations, bring actions, and recover civil penalties or obtain injunctive relief against entities engaging in unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent acts. Attorneys general may also coordinate among themselves to enter into multi-state actions or settlements. Finally, several consumer financial laws like the Truth in Lending Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act grant enforcement or litigation authority to state attorneys general.
Changes in laws or regulations, or the regulatory application or interpretation of the laws and regulations applicable to us, could adversely affect our ability to operate in the manner in which we currently conduct business and operate in certain states, and may also make it more difficult or costly for us to originate additional loans, or for us to collect payments on our loans to members or otherwise operate our business by subjecting us, our service providers, or strategic partners, to additional licensing, registration and other regulatory requirements in the future.
Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in additional compliance requirements, limitations on our ability to collect or retain all or part of the principal of or interest on loans, fines or penalties, an inability to continue operations, modification in business practices, regulatory actions, loss of required licenses or registrations, potential impairment, voiding, or voidability of loans, rescission of contracts, civil and criminal liability and damage to our reputation. It could also result in a default or early amortization event under certain of our debt facilities and reduce or terminate availability of debt financing to us to fund originations. To the extent it is determined that any loan we make was not originated in accordance with all applicable laws as we are required to represent under our securitization and other debt facilities and in loan sales to investors, we could be obligated to repurchase for cash, or swap for qualifying assets, any such loan determined not to have been originated in compliance with legal requirements. We may not have adequate liquidity and resources to make such cash repurchases or swap for qualifying assets.
Litigation, regulatory actions and compliance issues could subject us to significant fines, penalties, judgments, remediation costs and/or requirements resulting in increased expenses.
In the ordinary course of business, we have been named as a defendant in various legal actions, including class actions and other litigation. Generally, this litigation arises from the claims of violation of do-not-call, credit reporting and collection laws, bankruptcy and unfair practices. The complexity of the laws related to secured personal loans regarding vehicle titling, lien placement and repossession may enhance the risk of consumer litigation. Further, the origination of loans through bank partnerships may increase the risk of litigation or regulatory scrutiny including based on the "true lender" theory that seeks to recharacterize a lending transaction. State legislation requiring licensure and state restrictions including fee and rate limits on bank partner loans may also reduce profitability and/or increase regulatory and litigation risk. Additionally, platforms offering banking services and products through partners have also been challenged by federal and state regulators on a variety of claims. All such legal and regulatory actions are inherently unpredictable and, regardless of the merits of the claims, legal and regulatory actions are often expensive, time-consuming, disruptive to our operations and resources, and distracting to management. In addition, certain of those actions include claims for indeterminate amounts of damages. Our involvement in any such matter also could cause significant harm to our reputation and divert management attention from the operation of our business, even if the matters are ultimately determined in our favor. If resolved against us, legal actions could result in excessive verdicts and judgments, injunctive relief, equitable relief, and other adverse consequences that may affect our financial condition and how we operate our business. We have in the past chosen to settle (and may in the future choose to settle) certain matters in order to avoid the time and expense of litigating them. Although none of the settlements has been material to our business, there is no assurance that, in the future, such settlements will not have a material adverse effect on our business.
In addition, a number of participants in the consumer financial services industry have been the subject of putative class action lawsuits, state attorney general actions and other state regulatory actions, federal regulatory enforcement actions, including actions relating to alleged unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, violations of state licensing and lending laws, including state usury laws, actions alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or other prohibited bases, and allegations of noncompliance with various state and federal laws and regulations relating to originating and servicing consumer finance loans and other consumer financial services and products. The current regulatory environment, increased regulatory compliance efforts, and enhanced regulatory enforcement have resulted in significant operational and compliance costs and may prevent us from providing certain products and services. There is no assurance that these regulatory matters or other factors will not, in the future, affect how we conduct our business or adversely affect our business. In particular, legal proceedings brought under state consumer protection statutes or under several of the various federal consumer financial services statutes subject to the jurisdiction of the CFPB may result in a separate fine for each violation of the statute, which, particularly in the case of class action lawsuits, could result in damages substantially in excess of the amounts we earned from the underlying activities.
Some of our consumer financing agreements include arbitration clauses. If our arbitration agreements were to become unenforceable for any reason, we could experience an increase to our consumer litigation costs and exposure to potentially damaging class action lawsuits.
In addition, from time to time, through our operational and compliance controls, we identify compliance issues that require us to make operational changes and, depending on the nature of the issue, result in financial remediation to impacted members. These self-identified issues and voluntary remediation payments could be significant, depending on the issue and the number of members impacted, and could generate litigation or regulatory investigations that subject us to additional risk.
Internet-based and electronic signature-based loan origination processes may give rise to greater risks than paper-based processes.
We use the internet and internet-enabled mobile phones to obtain application information, distribute certain legally required notices to applicants for, and borrowers of, the loans, and to obtain electronically signed loan documents in lieu of paper documents with tangible borrower signatures. In addition, we have introduced the use of electronic signature-based loan origination processes with a tablet in our retail locations. These processes may entail greater risks than would paper-based loan origination processes, including risks regarding the sufficiency of notice for compliance with consumer protection laws, risks that borrowers may challenge the authenticity of their signature or of the loan documents, risks that a court of law may not enforce electronically signed loan documents and risks that, despite controls, unauthorized changes are made to the electronic loan documents. If any of those factors were to cause any loans, or any of the terms of the loans, to be unenforceable against the borrowers, our ability to service these loans could be adversely affected.
The CFPB has broad authority to regulate consumer financial services, creating uncertainty as to how the agency’s actions or the actions of any other new agency could impact our business.
The CFPB has broad authority to create and modify regulations under federal consumer financial protection laws and regulations, such as the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E, and to enforce compliance with those laws. The CFPB is charged with the examination and supervision of certain participants in the consumer financial services market, including short-term, small dollar lenders, and larger participants in other areas of financial services. To assist in its enforcement, the CFPB maintains an online complaint system that allows consumers to log complaints with respect to various consumer finance products, including the lending products we offer. This system could inform future CFPB decisions with respect to its regulatory, enforcement or examination focus. The CFPB may also request reports concerning our organization, business conduct, markets and activities and conduct on-site examinations of our business on a periodic basis if the CFPB were to determine, through its complaint system, that we were engaging in activities that pose risks to consumers.
On March 3, 2021, we received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the CFPB. The stated purpose of the CID is to determine whether small-dollar lenders or associated persons, in connection with lending and debt-collection practices, have failed to comply with certain federal consumer protection laws over which the CFPB has jurisdiction. We have received additional information requests related to the CID. The information requests are focused on our legal collection practices from 2019 to 2021 and hardship treatments offered to members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digit received a CID from the CFPB in June 2020. The CID was disclosed and discussed during the acquisition process. The stated purpose of the CID is to determine whether Digit, in connection with offering its products or services, misrepresented the terms, conditions, or costs of the products or services in a manner that is unfair, deceptive, or abusive.
We are cooperating fully with the CFPB with respect to both of these matters and, although we believe that ours and Digit’s business practices have been in full compliance with applicable laws, because the CFPB has broad authority to determine what it views as potential unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, at this time, we are unable to predict the outcomes of these CFPB investigations.
Other federal or state regulators could launch similar investigations or join the CFPB in its investigations. In addition, actions by the CFPB could result in requirements to alter or cease offering affected financial products and services, making them less attractive and restricting our ability to offer them. The CFPB could also implement rules that restrict our effectiveness in servicing our financial products and services. Future actions by the CFPB (or other regulators) against us or our competitors that discourage the use of our or their services or restrict our business activities could result in reputational harm and adversely affect our business. If the CFPB changes regulations that were adopted in the past by other regulators and transferred to the CFPB by the Dodd-Frank Act, or modifies through supervision or enforcement past regulatory guidance or interprets existing regulations in a different or stricter manner than they have been interpreted in the past by us, the industry or other regulators, our compliance costs and litigation exposure could increase materially. If future regulatory or legislative restrictions or prohibitions are imposed that affect our ability to offer certain of our products or that require us to make significant changes to our business practices, and if we are unable to develop compliant alternatives with acceptable returns, our business could be adversely affected.
The collection, storage, use, disclosure, and other processing of personal information could give rise to liabilities as a result of existing or new governmental regulation, conflicting legal requirements or differing views of personal privacy rights.
We receive, transmit, store, and otherwise process a large volume of personally identifiable information and other sensitive data from members and potential members, and otherwise collect, store, use, disclose, and process other personal information, including that relating to employees. There are federal, state and foreign laws regarding privacy and the storing, sharing, use, disclosure and protection of personally identifiable information and sensitive data.
Cybersecurity and data privacy issues, particularly with respect to personally identifiable information are increasingly subject to legislation and regulations to protect the privacy and security of personal information that is collected, transmitted, stored or otherwise processed. In November
2021, federal banking regulators, including the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, jointly announced a final rule that will require banking organizations to give notice to the regulators within 36 hours of a cyber incident. The rule extends to a bank’s service providers, requiring us to notify our bank partners in the event of such an incident. The California Consumer Privacy Act (the "CCPA"), went into effect in January 2020, and the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (the "CPRA"), which replaces the CCPA and goes into effect in January 2023 but has a one-year look back period, place additional requirements on the handling of personal data for us and our third-party providers. The CCPA and CPRA also provide for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches, which may increase the likelihood and cost of data breach litigation. The potential effects of this legislation, including any regulations implemented by the legislation, are far-reaching, uncertain, and evolving, and may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, restrict our products and services or certain features, and incur substantial costs and expenses in an effort to comply. Other state, federal, and foreign legislative and regulatory bodies have also implemented or may implement similar legislation regarding the handling of personal data. For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted the Consumer Data Protection Act and the State of Colorado enacted the Colorado Privacy Act, both of which take effect January 1, 2023 and may impose obligations similar to or more stringent than those we may face under other data protection laws. Our failure, or the failure by our third-party providers or others with whom we do business, to comply with applicable laws or regulations or any other obligations relating to privacy, data protection or information security, or the perception that any of the foregoing has occurred, could damage our reputation and market reputation, harm our ability to obtain market adoption, discourage new and existing members and prospective members from using our products and services, require us to change our business practices or operational structure or result in fines, investigations, or proceedings by governmental agencies and private claims and litigation, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, an increase in third-party arrangements, including, for example, with lead aggregators, bank partners, Lending as a Service partners and affiliate relationships including our acquisition of Digit could lead to increased complexity around our compliance obligations with respect to privacy, data protection and information security laws or regulations. We could also be adversely affected if new legislation or regulations are adopted or if existing legislation or regulations are modified such that we are required to alter our systems, products or services or require changes to our business practices or policies relating to privacy, data protection, or information security. Even if not subject to legal challenge, the perception of concerns relating to privacy, data protection and information security, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation and brand and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. For example, on April 21, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc., holding that a debt collector’s transmittal of the plaintiff’s personal information to the vendor used to generate and send collection letters violated the FDCPA provision which generally prohibits a debt collector from communicating with anyone other than the debtor in connection with the collection of any debt without the debtor’s consent. The Hunstein case resulted in a significant amount of litigation against debt collectors and creditors collecting their own debt. In a recent ruling, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the Hunstein decision pending an en banc hearing on the ruling set for February 2022. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, we could determine that changes to our business practices, policies, and procedures are necessary, including the arrangements we have in place with certain of our third-party vendors that require us to share consumer information. These changes could adversely affect our ability to collect and as a result, our results of operations and financial condition could be negatively impacted.
Our business is subject to the regulatory framework applicable to registered investment advisers, including regulation by the SEC.
We offer investment management services through Digit Advisors, LLC which provides automated investment advice regarding the selection of a portfolio of exchange traded funds through the Digit app. Digit Advisors is registered as an investment adviser under the Advisers Act, and is subject to regulation by the SEC.
Investment advisers are subject to the anti-fraud provisions of the Advisers Act and to fiduciary duties derived from these provisions, which apply to our relationships with our members who are advisory clients, as well as the funds we manage. These provisions and duties impose restrictions and obligations on us with respect to our dealings with our members, including for example restrictions on transactions with our affiliates. Our investment adviser has in the past and will in the future be subject to periodic SEC examinations. Our investment adviser is also subject to other requirements under the Advisers Act and related regulations primarily intended to benefit advisory clients. These additional requirements relate to matters including maintaining effective and comprehensive compliance programs, record-keeping and reporting and disclosure requirements. The Advisers Act generally grants the SEC broad administrative powers, including the power to limit or restrict an investment adviser from conducting advisory activities in the event such investment adviser fails to comply with federal securities laws. Additional sanctions that may be imposed for failure to comply with applicable requirements include the prohibition of individuals from associating with an investment adviser, the revocation of registrations and other censures and fines. Even if an investigation or proceeding did not result in a sanction or the sanction imposed against us or our personnel by a regulator were small in monetary amount, the adverse publicity relating to the investigation, proceeding or imposition of these sanctions could harm our reputation and cause us to lose existing members or fail to gain new members.
Our bank partnership products may lead to regulatory risk and may increase our regulatory burden.
We provide our credit card products through a bank partnership program with WebBank and we have bank partnership programs with Metabank, N.A., to offer unsecured installment loans and provide deposit accounts, debit card services and other transaction services to our members. State and federal agencies have broad discretion in their interpretation of laws and their interpretation of requirements related to bank partnership programs and may elect to alter standards or the interpretation of the standards applicable to these programs. In addition, as a result of our bank partnerships, prudential bank regulators with supervisory authority over our partners have the ability to regulate aspects of our business. There has also been significant recent government enforcement action and litigation challenging the validity of such arrangements for lending products, including disputes seeking to recharacterize lending transactions on the basis that the non-bank party rather than the bank is the “true lender” or “de facto lender”, and in case law upholding the “valid when made” doctrine, which holds that federal preemption of state interest rate limitations are not applicable in the context of certain bank-non-bank partnership arrangements.
The uncertainty of the federal and state regulatory environments around bank partnership programs means that our efforts to launch products and services through bank partners may not ultimately be successful, or may be challenged by legislation or regulatory action. If the legal structure underlying our relationship with our bank partners were to be successfully challenged, we may be found to be in violation of state licensing requirements and state laws regulating interest rates. In the event of such a challenge or if our arrangements with our bank partners were to change or end for any reason, we would need to rely on an alternative bank relationship, find an alternative bank relationship, rely on existing state licenses, obtain new state licenses, pursue a national bank charter, and/or be subject to the interest rate limitations of certain states. In addition, adverse orders or regulatory enforcement actions against our bank partners, even if unrelated to our business, could impose restrictions on their ability to continue to extend credit or on current terms. Regulation by federal and state regulators may also subject us to increased compliance, legal and operational costs, and could subject our business model to scrutiny and otherwise increase our regulatory burden, or may limit our ability to expand the scope of our activities in a manner that could have a material adverse effect on us.
Anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism financing and economic sanctions laws could have adverse consequences for us.
We maintain a compliance program designed to enable us to comply with all applicable anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws and regulations, including the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act and U.S. economic sanctions laws administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. This program includes policies, procedures, processes and other internal controls designed to identify, monitor, manage and mitigate the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing and engaging in transactions involving sanctioned countries persons and entities. These controls include procedures and processes to detect and report suspicious transactions, perform member due diligence, respond to requests from law enforcement, and meet all recordkeeping and reporting requirements related to particular transactions involving currency or monetary instruments. No assurance is given that our programs and controls will be effective to ensure compliance with all applicable anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws and regulations, and our failure to comply with these laws and regulations could subject us to significant sanctions, fines, penalties and reputational harm.
We may have to constrain our business activities to avoid being deemed an investment company under the Investment Company Act.
The Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Company Act") contains substantive legal requirements that regulate the way “investment companies” are permitted to conduct their business activities. We believe we have conducted, and we intend to continue to conduct, our business in a manner that does not result in our company being characterized as an investment company, including by relying on certain exemptions from registration as an investment company. We rely on guidance published by the SEC staff or on our analyses of such guidance to determine our qualification under these and other exemptions. To the extent that the SEC staff publishes new or different guidance with respect to these matters, we may be required to adjust our business operations accordingly. If we are deemed to be an investment company, we may attempt to seek exemptive relief from the SEC, which could impose significant costs and delays on our business. We may not receive such relief on a timely basis, if at all, and such relief may require us to modify or curtail our operations. If we are deemed to be an investment company, we may also be required to institute burdensome compliance requirements and our activities may be restricted.
We are subject to governmental export and import controls that could subject us to liability, impair our ability to compete in international markets and adversely affect our business.
Although our business does not involve the commercial sale or distribution of hardware, software or technology, in the normal course of our business activities we may from time to time ship general commercial equipment outside the United States to our subsidiaries or affiliates for their internal use. In addition, we may export, transfer or provide access to software and technology to non-U.S. persons such as employees and contractors, as well as third-party vendors and consultants engaged to support our business activities. In all cases, the sharing of software and/or technology is solely for the internal use of the company or for the use by business partners to provide services to us, including software development. However, such shipments and transfers may be subject to U.S. and foreign regulations governing the export and import of goods, software and technology. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we and certain of our employees could be subject to significant sanctions, fines, penalties and reputational harm. Further, any change in applicable export, import or economic sanctions regulations or related legislation, shift in approach to the enforcement or scope of existing regulations or change in the countries, persons or technologies targeted by these regulations could adversely affect our business.
Risks Related to Our Indebtedness
We have incurred substantial debt and may issue debt securities or otherwise incur substantial debt in the future, which may adversely affect our financial condition and negatively impact our operations.
We have in the past incurred, and expect to continue to incur, substantial debt to fund our loan activities. We depend on securitization transactions, warehouse facilities, whole loan sales and other forms of debt financing in order to finance the growth of our business and the origination of most of the loans we make to our members. The incurrence of debt could have a variety of negative effects, including:
•default and foreclosure on our and our subsidiaries’ assets if asset performance and our operating revenue are insufficient to repay debt obligations;
•mandatory repurchase obligations for any loans conveyed or sold into a debt financing or under a whole loan purchase facility if the representations and warranties we made with respect to those loans were not correct when made;
•acceleration of obligations to repay the indebtedness (or other outstanding indebtedness to the extent of cross default triggers), even if we make all principal and interest payments when due, if we breach any covenants that require the maintenance of certain financial ratios with respect to us or the loan portfolio securing our indebtedness or the maintenance of certain reserves or tangible net worth and do not obtain a waiver for such breach or renegotiate our covenant;
•our inability to obtain necessary additional financing if the debt security contains covenants restricting our ability to obtain such financing while the debt security is outstanding;
•our inability to obtain necessary additional financing if changes in the characteristics of our loans or our collection and other loan servicing activities change and cease to meet conditions precedent for continued or additional availability under our debt financings;
•diverting a substantial portion of cash flow to pay principal and interest on such debt, which would reduce the funds available for expenses, capital expenditures, acquisitions, and other general corporate purposes;
•creating limitations on our flexibility in planning for and reacting to changes in our business and in the industry in which we operate;
•defaults based on loan portfolio performance or default in our collection and loan servicing obligations could result in our being replaced by a third-party or back-up servicer and notification to our members to redirect payments;
•downgrades or revisions of agency ratings for our debt financing; and
•monitoring, administration and reporting costs and expenses, including legal, accounting and other monitoring reporting costs and expenses, required under our debt financings.
In addition, some of our credit facilities currently utilize a floating rate of interest linked to LIBOR. In July 2017, the U.K. announced the discontinuation of LIBOR which could result in interest rate increases under our credit facilities which could adversely affect our results of operations.
A breach of early payment triggers or covenants or other terms of our agreements with lenders could result in an early amortization, default, and/or acceleration of the related funding facilities.
The primary funding sources available to support the maintenance and growth of our business include, among others, asset-backed securitization, revolving debt facilities (including the Secured Financing facilities) and whole loan sale facilities. If we are unable to comply with various conditions precedent to availability under these facilities (including the eligibility of our loans), covenants and other specified requirements set forth in our agreements with our lenders, this could result in the early amortization, default and/or acceleration of our existing facilities. Such covenants and requirements include financial covenants, portfolio performance covenants and other events. For example, our securitizations contain collateral performance threshold triggers related to the three-month average annualized gross charge-off or net charge-off rate which, if exceeded, would lead to early amortization. To support our collateral requirements under our financing agreements, we use a random selection process to take loans off our warehouse line to pledge to our securitizations. An inability to originate enough loans to meet the collateral requirements in our financing arrangements, could result in the early amortization, default and/or acceleration of our existing facilities. Moreover, we currently act as servicer with respect to the unsecured consumer loans held by our subsidiaries. If we default in our servicing obligations or fail to meet certain financial covenants, an early amortization event or event of default could occur, and/or we could be replaced by our back-up servicer or another successor servicer. If we are replaced as servicer to these loans, there is no guarantee that the back-up services will be adequate. Any disruptions in services may cause the inability to collect and process repayments. For more information on covenants, requirements and events, see Note 9, Borrowings of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this report.
During an early amortization period or if an event of default exists, principal and interest collections from the loans in our asset-backed facilities would be applied to repay principal under such facilities and principal collections would no longer be available on a revolving basis to fund purchases of newly originated loans. If an event of default exists under our revolving debt or loan sale facilities, the applicable lenders or purchasers’ commitments to extend further credit or purchase additional loans under the related facility would terminate. If collections were insufficient to repay the amounts due under our securitizations and our revolving debt facilities, the applicable lenders, trustees and noteholders could seek remedies, including against the collateral pledged under such facilities. Any of these events would negatively impact our liquidity, including our ability to originate new loans, and require us to rely on alternative funding sources. If we were unable to arrange new or alternative methods of financing on favorable terms, we might have to curtail the origination of loans, and we may be replaced by our back-up servicer or another successor servicer.
Our securitizations and whole loan sales may expose us to certain risks, and we can provide no assurance that we will be able to access the securitization or whole loan sales market in the future, which may require us to seek more costly financing.
We have securitized, and may in the future securitize, certain of our loans to generate cash to originate new loans or pay our outstanding indebtedness. In each such transaction and in connection with our warehouse facilities, we sell and convey a pool of loans to a special purpose entity ("SPE"). Concurrently, each SPE issues notes or certificates pursuant to the terms of an indenture. The securities issued by the SPE are secured by the pool of loans owned by the SPE. In exchange for the sale of a portion of the pool of loans to the SPE, we receive cash, which are the proceeds from the sale of the securities. We also contribute a portion of the pool of loans in consideration for the equity interests in the SPE. Subject to certain conditions in the indenture governing the notes issued by the SPE (or the agreement governing the SPE’s revolving loan), the SPE is permitted to purchase additional loans from us or distribute to us residual amounts received by it from the loan pool, which residual amounts are the cash amounts remaining after all amounts payable to service providers and the noteholders have been satisfied. We also have the ability to swap pools of loans with the SPE. Our equity interest in the SPE is a residual interest in that it entitles us as the equity owner of the SPE to residual cash flows, if any, from the
loans and to any assets remaining in the SPE once the notes are satisfied and paid in full (or in the case of a revolving loan, paid in full and all commitments terminated). As a result of challenging credit and liquidity conditions, the value of the subordinated securities we retain in our securitizations might be reduced or, in some cases, eliminated.
The securitization market is subject to changing market conditions, and we may not be able to access this market when we would otherwise deem appropriate. Further, other matters, such as (i) accounting standards applicable to securitization transactions and (ii) capital and leverage requirements applicable to banks and other regulated financial institutions holding asset-backed securities, could result in decreased investor demand for securities issued through our securitization transactions, or increased competition from other institutions that undertake securitization transactions. In addition, compliance with certain regulatory requirements may affect the type of securitizations that we are able to complete.
Asset-backed securities and the securitization markets were heavily affected by the Dodd-Frank Act and have also been a focus of increased regulation by the SEC. For example, the Dodd-Frank Act mandates the implementation of rules requiring securitizers or originators to retain an economic interest in a portion of the credit risk for any asset that they securitize or originate. Furthermore, sponsors are prohibited from diluting the required risk retention by dividing the economic interest among multiple parties or hedging or transferring the credit risk the sponsor is required to maintain. Rules relating to securitizations rated by nationally-recognized statistical rating agencies require that the findings of any third-party due diligence service providers be made publicly available at least five business days prior to the first sale of securities, which has led and will continue to lead us to incur additional costs in connection with each securitization. In addition, some of the regulations to be implemented under the Dodd-Frank Act relating to securitization have not yet been finalized. Any new rules or changes to the Dodd-Frank Act (or the current rules thereunder) could adversely affect our ability and our cost to access the asset-backed securities market.
If it is not possible or economical for us to securitize our loans in the future, we would need to seek alternative financing to support our operations and to meet our existing debt obligations, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. If the cost of such alternative financing were to be higher than our securitizations, we would likely reduce the fair value of our Fair Value Loans, which would negatively impact our results of operations.
The gain on sale generated by our whole loan sales and servicing fees earned on sold loans also represents a significant source of our earnings. Demand for our loans at the current premiums may be impacted by factors outside our control, including availability of loan pools, demand by investors for whole loan assets and attractiveness of returns offered by competing investment alternatives offered by other loan originators with more attractive characteristics than our loan pools and loan purchaser interest. In addition, currently 100% of our whole loan sales are to one third-party institutional investor. If this institutional investor were unable or unwilling to continue to purchase loans during the term of our agreement, we may choose not to or may be unable to replace the agreement with a favorable alternate whole loan sale opportunity. In that event, our revenue and liquidity may be negatively impacted, which may adversely affect our financial condition.
Our results of operations are affected by our ability to sell our loans for a premium over their net book value. Potential loan purchasers might reduce the premiums they are willing to pay, or even require a discount to principal balance, for the loans that they purchase during periods of economic slowdown or recession to compensate for any increased risks. A reduction in the sale price of the loans we sell under our whole loan sale program would likely result in a reduction in the fair value of our Fair Value Loans, which would negatively impact our results of operations. Any sustained decline in demand for our loans or increase in delinquencies, defaults or foreclosures may reduce the price we receive on future loan sales below our loan origination cost.
General Risk Factors
You may be diluted by the future issuance of additional common stock in connection with our equity incentive plans, acquisitions or otherwise.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue shares of common stock authorized but unissued and rights relating to common stock for the consideration and on the terms and conditions established by our Board in its sole discretion, whether in connection with acquisitions or otherwise. We have authorized 8,733,812 shares for issuance under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan, 1,273,009 shares for issuance under our 2019 Employee Stock Purchase Plan, and 655,000 shares for issuance under our 2021 Inducement Equity Incentive Plan, subject to adjustment in certain events. Any common stock that we issue, including under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan, our 2019 Employee Stock Purchase Plan or other equity incentive plans that we may adopt in the future, could dilute your percentage ownership.
The price of our common stock may be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
The trading price of our common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and will depend on a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. These fluctuations could cause you to lose all or part of your investment in our common stock, because you might be unable to sell your shares at or above the price you paid. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock include the following:
•failure to meet quarterly or annual guidance with regard to revenue, margins, earnings or other key financial or operational metrics;
•fluctuations in the trading volume of our share or the size of our public float;
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;
•changes in operating performance and market valuations of similar companies;
•failure of financial analysts to maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
•speculation in the press or investment community
•any major change in our management;
•sales of shares of our common stock by us or our stockholders;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our results of operations;
•actual or perceived data security breaches or incidents impacting us or our third-party service providers;
•changes in prevailing interest rates;
•quarterly fluctuations in demand for our loans;
•actual or anticipated developments in our business or our competitors’ businesses or the competitive landscape generally;
•developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property or other proprietary rights;
•litigation, government investigations and regulatory actions;
•passage of legislation or other regulatory developments that adversely affect us or our industry; and
•other general market, political and economic conditions.
If financial or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they issue an adverse or misleading opinion regarding our stock, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock is influenced by the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our business. We do not control these analysts or the content and opinions included in their reports. If any of the analysts who cover us issue an adverse or misleading opinion regarding our stock price, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
Our directors, officers, and principal stockholders have substantial control over our company, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of key transactions, including a change of control.
Our directors, executive officers, and each of our 5% stockholders and their affiliates, in the aggregate, beneficially own a significant number of the outstanding shares of our common stock. As a result, these stockholders, if acting together, will be able to influence or control matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers, acquisitions or other extraordinary transactions. They may also have interests that differ from yours, and they may vote in a way with which you disagree or which may be adverse to your interests. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change of control of our company, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and might ultimately affect the market price of our common stock.
We may need to raise additional funds in the future, including through equity, debt, or convertible debt financings, to support business growth and those funds may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all.
We intend to continue to make investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new financial products and services, enhance our risk management model, improve our operating infrastructure, or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity, debt or convertible debt financings to secure additional funds. If we raise additional funds by issuing equity securities or securities convertible into equity securities, our stockholders may experience dilution. Debt financing, if available, may involve covenants restricting our operations or our ability to incur additional debt. Any debt or additional equity financing that we raise may contain terms that are not favorable to us or our stockholders.
If we do not have sufficient capital, we may be unable to pursue certain opportunities and our ability to continue to support our growth and to respond to challenges could be impaired.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified Board members.
As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended ( the "Exchange Act"), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the listing standards of the Nasdaq Stock Market, and other applicable securities rules and regulations, including changes in corporate governance practices and the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls. Compliance with these rules and regulations increases our legal and financial compliance costs, makes some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increases demand on our systems and resources.
In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards or interpretations thereof relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs and making some activities more time-consuming. We
intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to their application and practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us.
Certain of our market opportunity estimates, growth forecasts, and key metrics could prove to be inaccurate, and any real or perceived inaccuracies may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.
Market opportunity estimates and growth forecasts, including those we have generated ourselves, are subject to significant uncertainty and are based on assumptions and estimates that may not prove to be accurate. The estimates and forecasts relating to the size and expected growth of our target market may prove to be inaccurate. It is impossible to offer every loan product, term or feature that every member wants, and our competitors may develop and offer loan products, terms or features that we do not offer. The variables that go into the calculation of our market opportunity are subject to change over time, and there is no guarantee that any particular number or percentage of the individuals covered by our market opportunity estimates will generate any particular level of revenues for us. Even if the markets in which we compete meet our size estimates and growth forecasts, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all, for a variety of reasons outside of our control, including competition in our industry. Furthermore, in order for us to successfully address this broader market opportunity, we will need to successfully expand into new geographic regions where we do not currently operate. Our key metrics may differ from estimates published by third parties or from similarly titled metrics of our competitors due to differences in methodology. If investors or analysts do not perceive our metrics to be accurate representations of our business, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics, our reputation, business, results of operations, and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Certain provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our Board, delay or prevent an acquisition of our company, and adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, and amended and restated bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our Board. These provisions include the following:
•a classified Board with three-year staggered terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our Board;
•our Board has the right to elect directors to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the Board or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill Board vacancies;
•our stockholders may not act by written consent or call special stockholders’ meetings;
•our amended and restated certificate of incorporation prohibits cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
•stockholders must provide advance notice and additional disclosures in order to nominate individuals for election to the Board or to propose matters that can be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquiror from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquiror’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our company; and
•our Board may issue, without stockholder approval, shares of undesignated preferred stock, which may make it possible for our Board to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to acquire us.
As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to certain Delaware anti-takeover provisions. Under Delaware law, a corporation may not engage in a business combination with any holder of 15% or more of its capital stock unless the holder has held the stock for three years or, among other things, the Board has approved the transaction. Such provisions could allow our Board to prevent or delay an acquisition of our company.
Certain of our executive officers may be entitled, pursuant to the terms of their employment arrangements, to accelerated vesting of their stock options following a change of control of our company under certain conditions. In addition to the arrangements currently in place with some of our executive officers, we may enter into similar arrangements in the future with other officers. Such arrangements could delay or discourage a potential acquisition.
Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a potential acquisition could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock in connection with such acquisition, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or the U.S. federal district courts will be the exclusive forums for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for the following types of actions or proceedings under Delaware statutory or common law: (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our
stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers or other employees arising pursuant to any provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws, (4) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws, or (5) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers or other employees that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This provision would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. Furthermore, Section 22 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”), creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions. Accordingly, both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. To prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation further provides that U.S. federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid, a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring a claim in a venue other than those designated in the exclusive forum provisions. In such instance, we would expect to vigorously assert the validity and enforceability of the exclusive forum provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. This may require significant additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition, and there can be no assurance that the provisions will be enforced by a court in those other jurisdictions.
These exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees. If a court were to find either exclusive-forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur further significant additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, all of which could seriously harm our business.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters is located in San Carlos, California pursuant to a lease expiring in February 2026. We are currently subleasing a portion of our headquarters space to third parties. As of December 31, 2021, we leased additional facilities and office space in California, Texas, Mexico, and India. We also operate retail locations and co-locations across California, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey and Florida.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
The information set forth under Note 16, Leases, Commitments and Contingencies, in the accompanying Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements is incorporated herein by reference. From time to time, we may bring or be subject to other legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business, including legal proceedings with third parties asserting infringement of their intellectual property rights, consumer litigation, and regulatory proceedings. Other than as described in this report, we are not presently a party to any legal proceedings that, if determined adversely to us, we believe would individually or taken together have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows or results of operations.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information and Stockholders
Oportun's common stock has been listed for trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market since September 26, 2019 under the symbol "OPRT". As of February 22, 2022, we had 32,018,365 record holders of our common stock. This figure does not reflect the beneficial ownership of shares held in nominee name or held in trust by other entities. Therefore, the actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of registered stockholders of record.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock, and we do not currently intend to pay any cash dividends on our capital stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings to support operations and to finance the growth and development of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be made at the discretion of our Board.
As a “Smaller Reporting Company” as defined by Item 10 of Regulation S-K, the Company is not required to provide this information.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
In connection with the consideration for the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding stock of Digit, on December 22, 2021, we issued 3,522,182 shares of Company common stock and restricted stock to Digit stockholders. The restricted common stock is subject to transfer restrictions and a repurchase option by the Company. For information about the acquisition, see Note 6, Acquisition, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The issuance was made in reliance on the exemption from registration provided by Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act, as the transactions did not involve a public offering and the recipients of the securities in this transaction represented their intention to acquire the securities for investment only and not for sale in connection with any distribution thereof, and had adequate access to information about us, through their relationships with us or otherwise.
Use of Proceeds
Item 6. Reserved
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
For more information about terms and abbreviations used in this report see the “Glossary” at the end of Part II of this report.
An index to our management's discussion and analysis follows:
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (this “MD&A”) is intended to help the reader understand our results of operations and financial condition. This MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read together with, our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto and other disclosures included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this MD&A, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the information contained in Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this MD&A.
We are a financial technology company and digital banking platform driven by our mission to provide inclusive, affordable financial services that empower our members to build a better future. By intentionally designing our products with our members in mind, we are focused on realizing our vision to deliver a complete set of financial solutions that meet the needs of hardworking people, from borrowing and banking to savings, investing and more. We take a holistic approach to serving our members and view it as our purpose to responsibly meet their current capital needs, help grow our members’ financial profiles, increase their financial awareness and put them on a path to a financially healthy life. In our 16-year lending history, we have extended more than $12.0 billion in responsible credit through more than 4.9 million loans and credit cards. We have been certified as a Community Development Financial Institution ("CDFI") by the U.S. Department of the Treasury since 2009.
With our acquisition of Hello Digit, Inc. ("Digit") on December 22, 2021, we believe we now have a strong competitive advantage over other fintechs and neobanks. As a combined company, we can now offer access to a comprehensive suite of digital banking products, offered either directly or through partners, including lending, savings and investing powered by A.I. and tailored to each member's goals. Digit began with a savings product and the intent to apply A.I. to make financial health effortless for everyone. Following the success of the initial savings product, Digit has now expanded its offering to bank account and investment products. Since 2015, Digit members have saved over $7.2 billion towards their rainy day fund and other savings goals and paid down more than $330.0 million in debt.
Our financial products allow us to meet our members where they are and assist them with their overall financial health, resulting in opportunities to present multiple relevant products to our members. Our credit products include personal loans, secured personal loans and credit cards. Our digital banking products include digital banking, automated savings, long-term investing and retirement savings. Consumers are able to become members and access our products through our digital banking app—the Digit app—and the Oportun.com website, which are our primary channels for onboarding and serving members. Our personal loan products are also available over the phone or through over 480 retail locations, which includes 258 of our Lending as a Service partner locations.
Personal Loans - Our personal loan is a simple-to-understand, affordable, unsecured, fully amortizing installment loan with fixed payments throughout the life of the loan. We charge fixed interest rates on our loans, which vary based on the amount disbursed and applicable state law, with a cap of 36% annual percentage rate (“APR”) in all cases. As of December 31, 2021, for all active loans in our portfolio and at time of disbursement, the weighted average term and APR at origination was 35 months and 32.4%, respectively. The average loan size for loans we originated in 2021 was $3,357. Our loans do not have prepayment penalties or balloon payments, and range in size from $300 to $11,000 with terms of 11 to 52 months. Generally, loan payments are structured on a bi-weekly or semi-monthly basis to coincide with our members' receipt of their income. As part of our underwriting process, we verify income for all applicants and only approve loans that meet our ability-to-pay criteria. As of December 31, 2021, we originate unsecured personal loans in 12 states through state licenses and in 26 states through our partnership with MetaBank, N.A.
Secured Personal Loans - In April 2020, we launched a personal installment loan product secured by an automobile, which we refer to as secured personal loans. Our secured personal loans range in size from $2,525 to $20,000 with terms ranging from 21 to 64 months. The average loan
size for secured personal loans we originated in 2021 was $7,003. As of December 31, 2021, for all active loans in our portfolio and at time of disbursement, the weighted average term and APR at origination was 46 months and 29.6%, respectively. As part of our underwriting process, we verify income for all applicants and only approve loans that meet our ability-to-pay criteria. Our secured personal loans are currently offered in California, Texas and Florida, and we are in the process of expanding to other states.
Credit Cards - We launched Oportun® Visa® Credit Card, issued by WebBank, Member FDIC, in December 2019, and offer credit cards in 45 states as of December 31, 2021. Credit lines on our credit cards range in size from $300 to $1,000 with an APR between 24.9% to 29.9%. The average APR of the outstanding credit card receivables was 29.8% as of December 31, 2021. The average credit line for credit cards activated in 2021 was $898.
Digital Banking Products
Digit Savings – Our Digit Savings product is designed to understand a member’s cash flows and save the right amount on a regular basis to effortlessly achieve savings goals.
Digit Direct – Our Digit Direct product offers intelligent budgeting across bills, savings and spending via a checking account, offered through a bank partner, and members can have Digit be their primary banking relationship.
Digit Investing and Digit Retirement – Our Digit investment and retirement products are a longer-term savings solution via an A.I.-driven portfolio allocation into low-cost investments based upon risk-tolerance. Our long-term investment solutions automatically allocates our members' savings into low-cost risk-adjusted portfolios held in brokerage accounts or tax-advantaged IRAs. Since 2020, our members have invested $36 million into long-term goals through low-cost ETF portfolios. The investment products include a general investing account and a retirement account for our members’ longer term goals, utilizing smart recommendations to invest savings in risk-adjusted portfolios.
Lending as a Service
Beyond our core direct-to-consumer lending business, we believe that we can leverage our proprietary credit scoring and underwriting model to partner with other consumer brands. Our first strategic partner for this Lending as a Service model was DolEx Dollar Express, Inc. (“DolEx”). In this partnership, DolEx markets loans and enters borrower applications into Oportun’s system, and Oportun underwrites, originates and services the loans. In July 2021, we signed Barri Financial Group as a Lending as a Service partner, which we launched in several locations in October 2021. In January of 2022, we announced our first all-digital Lending as a Service partnership with Sezzle, a leading provider of Buy Now Pay Later (“BNPL”) financing options. When deployed, Oportun will be available as a checkout option, through Sezzle, for larger purchases, which we believe will allow us to reach more new members. We believe we will be able to offer Lending as a Service to additional partners, and expand our membership base.
Capital Markets Funding
To fund our growth at a low and efficient cost, we have built a diversified and well-established capital markets funding program, which allows us to partially hedge our exposure to rising interest rates or credit spreads by locking in our interest expense for up to three years. Over the past eight years, we have executed 17 bond offerings in the asset-backed securities market, the last 14 of which include tranches that have been rated investment grade. We issued two- and three-year fixed rate bonds which have provided us committed capital to fund future loan originations at a fixed Cost of Debt. We are also party to a whole loan sale program whereby we sell a percentage of our loans to a third-party financial institution. In addition to our whole loan sale program, we also have a $600.0 million Personal Loan Warehouse facility with a term through September 2024 and a $150.0 million Credit Card Warehouse facility with a term through December 2023 which also helps to fund our receivables growth.
On December 22, 2021, we completed our acquisition of Digit. Digit is a digital banking platform that provides automated savings, investing and banking tools. Digit members can keep and integrate their existing bank accounts into the platform, or they can make Digit their primary banking relationship by opening new accounts via Digit’s bank partner. By acquiring Digit, Oportun further expands its A.I. and digital capabilities, adding to its services to provide consumers a holistic offering built to address their financial needs. The total consideration we provided for Digit was approximately $205.3 million, comprised of $73.2 million in equity and $132.1 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. The total consideration as reported herein differs from the amounts previously disclosed due to changes in the underlying value of the stock between the date the of the definitive agreement and the closing of the acquisition. The number of shares of Company common stock comprising the stock portion of the consideration was determined using the stock price as of the signing of the definitive agreement. We acquired 100% of the outstanding stock of Digit, and Digit is now our wholly-owned subsidiary. The cash consideration was funded with a $116.0 million Acquisition Financing facility.
Digit started as a savings platform that connects to members’ checking accounts and analyzes their income and spending patterns to find amounts that can safely be set aside towards savings goals. Digit calculates these amounts by identifying upcoming bills and regular spending habits to ensure optimal amounts are flagged for savings and transferred to savings accounts. The funds in these saving accounts are owned by Digit members and are not the assets of the Company. Therefore, these funds are not included in the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Retail Network Optimization
Consistent with our retail network optimization plan, during the first quarter of 2021, we closed 136 retail locations and reduced a portion of the employee workforce who managed and operated these retail locations. In addition, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2021, we incurred $11.2 million in expenses related to the retail location closures. In the first quarter of 2021, we recognized $1.6 million related to severance and
benefits related to the store closures which represents all severance and benefits related costs to be incurred related to the retail network optimization plan. The income statement impact for the twelve months ended December 31, 2021 was $12.8 million and was recorded through General, administrative and other on the Consolidated Statements of Operations. As the initial retail network optimization plan was substantially completed in the third quarter, there were no significant expenses incurred for the three months ended December 31, 2021.
Key Financial and Operating Metrics
We monitor and evaluate the following key metrics in order to measure our current performance, develop and refine our growth strategies, and make strategic decisions.
For a presentation of the actual impact of the election of the fair value option for the periods presented in the financial statements included elsewhere in this report, please see the next section, "Non-GAAP Financial Measures". The Fair Value Pro Forma information is presented in that section because it is non-GAAP presentation.
The following table and related discussion set forth key financial and operating metrics for our operations as of and for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020. For similar financial and operating metrics and discussion of our 2020 results compared to our 2019 results, refer to Part II. Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 as filed with the SEC on February 23, 2021 (File No. 001-39050).
As of or for the Year Ended December 31,
|(in thousands of dollars, except CAC)||2021||2020|
Key Financial and Operating Metrics
|1,479,660 ||651,600 |
|1,545,463 ||651,600 |
|Aggregate Originations||$||2,295,012 ||$||1,347,994 |
|30+ Day Delinquency Rate||3.9 ||%||3.7 ||%|
|Annualized Net Charge-Off Rate||6.8 ||%||9.8 ||%|
|Return on Equity||8.9 ||%||(9.4)||%|
|Adjusted Return on Equity||14.7 ||%||(3.0)||%|
|Number of Loans Originated||753,474 ||449,362 |
|Customer Acquisition Cost||$||155 ||$||199 |
Average Daily Principal Balance
|$||1,756,170 ||$||1,701,665 |
Owned Principal Balance at End of Period
|$||2,272,864 ||$||1,639,626 |
Managed Principal Balance at End of Period
|$||2,583,462 ||$||1,895,410 |
|Operating Efficiency||74.6 ||%||67.4 ||%|
|Adjusted Operating Efficiency||67.3 ||%||61.1 ||%|
(1) The Member metric reported as of December 31, 2020 is our previously defined Active Customer metric.
(2) Products presented as of December 31, 2020 represents one product per member as we did not have members with multiple products at that time.
See “Glossary” at the end of Part II of this report for formulas and definitions of our key performance metrics.
Members as of December 31, 2021 grew to 1.5 million, as compared to 0.7 million as of December 31, 2020. This increase was primarily driven by the acquisition of Digit and its members, as well as the increase in application volume and the growth of our credit card and secured personal loan products due to investments in digital marketing, direct mail and referral programs.
Products as of December 31, 2021, grew to 1.5 million, compared to the 0.7 million Products we had as of December 31, 2020. This increase was primarily driven by the acquisition of Digit and its four digital banking products: Digit Savings, Digit Investing, Digit Retirement and Digit Direct. Combined with Oportun's unsecured personal loans, secured personal loans and credit cards, these seven products comprise our product offerings.
Aggregate Originations increased to $2.30 billion for the year ended December 31, 2021 from $1.35 billion for the year ended December 31, 2020, representing a 70.3% increase. The increase is primarily driven by an increased number of applications due to higher demand. We originated 753,474 and 449,362 loans for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
30+ Day Delinquency Rate
Our 30+ Day Delinquency Rate remained relatively flat at 3.9% and 3.7% as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively, due to the effectiveness of our collections tools and payment options that have helped our borrowers manage through the pandemic as well as tighter underwriting criteria for loans originated since the pandemic began.
Annualized Net Charge-Off Rate
Annualized Net Charge-Off Rate for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 was 6.8% and 9.8%, respectively. Net charge-offs decreased due to the overall improvement in the economy, the impact of stimulus payments to consumers as well as the effectiveness of our A.I.-driven underwriting models, collections tools and payment options that have helped our borrowers manage through the pandemic.
Return on Equity and Adjusted Return on Equity
For the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, Return on Equity was 8.9% and (9.4)%, respectively, and Adjusted Return on Equity was 14.7% and (3.0)%, respectively. The increases in Return on Equity and Adjusted Return on Equity are primarily due to higher net income. Net income was higher due to lower credit losses and increased fair value of our loan portfolio due to improved credit outlook. For a reconciliation of Return on Equity to Adjusted Return on Equity, see “Non–GAAP Financial Measures—Fair Value Pro Forma.”
Historical Credit Performance
Our A.I.-driven credit models enable us to originate loans with low and stable loss rates. Our Annualized Net Charge-off Rate ranged between 7% and 9% from 2011 to 2019 and was 9.8% in 2020, a modest variance above this range during the pandemic. Due to credit tightening in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and government stimulus payments our Annualized Net Charge-Off Rate decreased to 6.8% in 2021. However, we anticipate this rate will return to levels consistent with performance in pre-pandemic years. Consistent with our charge-off policy, we evaluate our loan portfolio and charge a loan off at the earlier of when the loan is determined to be uncollectible or when loans are 120 days contractually past due or 180 days contractually past due in the case of credit cards.
In addition to monitoring our loss and delinquency performance on an owned portfolio basis, we also monitor the performance of our loans by the period in which the loan was disbursed, generally years or quarters, which we refer to as a vintage. We calculate net lifetime loan loss rate by
vintage as a percentage of original principal balance. Net lifetime loan loss rates equal the net lifetime loan losses for a given year through December 31, 2021 divided by the total origination loan volume for that year.
The below chart and table shows our net lifetime loan loss rate for each annual vintage of our personal loan product since we began lending in 2006, excluding loans originated from July 2017 to August 2020 under a loan program for borrowers who did not meet the qualifications for our core loan origination program. 100% of those loans were sold pursuant to a whole loan sale agreement. We have managed to stabilize cumulative net loan losses since the financial crisis that started in 2008. We even achieved a net lifetime loan loss rate of 5.5% during the peak of the recession in 2009. The evolution of our credit models has allowed us to increase our average loan size and commensurately extend our average loan terms. Cumulative net lifetime loan losses for the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 vintages increased partially due to the delay in tax refunds in 2017 and 2019, the impact of natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, and the longer duration of the loans. The 2018 and 2019 vintages are increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Year of Origination|
|Dollar weighted average original term for vintage in months||9.3 ||9.9 ||10.2 ||11.7 ||12.3 ||14.5 ||16.4 ||19.1 ||22.3 ||24.2 ||26.3 ||29.0 ||30.0 ||32.0 |
|Net lifetime loan losses as of December 31, 2021 as a percentage of original principal balance||7.7 ||%||8.9 ||%||5.5 ||%||6.4 ||%||6.2 ||%||5.6 ||%||5.6 ||%||6.1 ||%||7.1 ||%||8.0 ||%||8.2 ||%||10.0 ||%*||10.0 ||%*||4.2 ||%*|
|Outstanding principal balance as of December 31, 2021 as a percentage of original amount disbursed||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%||0.1 ||%||1.6 ||%||14.3 ||%||51.8 ||%|
* Vintage is not yet fully mature from a loss perspective.
Our quarterly results of operations may not necessarily be indicative of the results for the full year or the results for any future periods. Our business is highly seasonal, and the fourth quarter is typically our strongest quarter in terms of loan originations. For the three months ended December 31, 2021, our business exhibited growth in originations and revenue and improved profitability. Prior to the pandemic, we historically experienced a seasonal decline in credit performance in the fourth quarter primarily attributable to competing demand of our borrowers' available cash flow around the holidays. General increases in our borrowers’ available cash flow in the first quarter, including from cash received from tax refunds, temporarily reduces our borrowers’ borrowing needs. We experienced this seasonal trend in 2021, consistent with years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic impact of COVID-19 disrupted these seasonal trends in March 2020 and for the remainder of 2020.
Results of Operations
The following tables and related discussion set forth our Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020. For a discussion regarding our operating and financial data for the year ended December 31, 2020, as compared to the same period in 2019, refer to Part II, Item 7. “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, as filed with the SEC on February 23, 2021 (File No. 001-39050).
|Years Ended December 31,|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020|
|Interest income||$||575,839 ||$||545,466 |
|Non-interest income||50,943 ||38,268 |
|Total revenue||626,782 ||583,734 |
|Interest expense||47,669 ||58,368 |
|Total net decrease in fair value||(48,632)||(190,306)|
|Net revenue||530,481 ||335,060 |
|Technology and facilities||139,564 ||129,795 |
|Sales and marketing||116,882 ||89,375 |
|Personnel||115,833 ||106,446 |
|Outsourcing and professional fees||57,931 ||47,067 |
|General, administrative and other||37,480 ||20,471 |
|Total operating expenses||467,690 ||393,154 |
|Income (loss) before taxes||62,791 ||(58,094)|
|Income tax expense (benefit)||15,377 ||(13,012)|
|Net income (loss)||$||47,414 ||$||(45,082)|
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Interest income||$||575,839 ||$||545,466 ||$||30,373 ||5.6 ||%|
|Non-interest income||50,943 ||38,268 ||12,675 ||33.1 ||%|
|Total revenue||$||626,782 ||$||583,734 ||$||43,048 ||7.4 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue:|
|Interest income||91.9 ||%||93.4 ||%|
|Non-interest income||8.1 ||%||6.6 ||%|
|Total revenue||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
Interest income. Total interest income increased by $30.4 million, or 5.6%, from $545.5 million for 2020 to $575.8 million for 2021. The increase is primarily attributable to growth in our Average Daily Principal Balance, which grew from $1.70 billion for 2020 to $1.76 billion for 2021, an increase of 3.2%. The increase is due to growth in our portfolio as a result of higher application volume due to increased demand and due to 2020 originations being depressed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interest income was also favorably impacted by an increase in portfolio yield of 72 basis points in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020 due to growth in originations to new members who generally receive higher APRs than returning members.
Non-interest income. Total non-interest income increased by $12.7 million, or 33.1%, from $38.3 million for 2020 to $50.9 million for 2021. This increase is primarily due to increased gain on loans sold of $6.4 million, or 31.7% under our whole loan sale programs due to an increase in loans sold resulting from higher origination volume. The increase in non-interest income is also due to $4.2 million of increased fees related to our credit card portfolio, $3.0 million increase related to MetaBank, N.A. documentation fees and $0.9 million attributed to Digit subscription income for the last ten days of 2021 after the acquisition, partially offset by decreased servicing fees of $2.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, due to the reduction in our serviced portfolio of sold loans due to lower sale volume since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and our decision to sell 10% versus 15% of originated loans.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Interest expense||$||47,669 ||$||58,368 ||$||(10,699)||(18.3)||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||7.6 ||%||10.0 ||%|
|Cost of Debt||3.1 ||%||4.1 ||%|
|Leverage as a percentage of Average Daily Principal Balance||88.5 ||%||83.8 ||%|
Interest expense. Interest expense decreased by $10.7 million, or 18.3%, from $58.4 million for 2020 to $47.7 million for 2021. We financed approximately 88.5% of our loans receivable through debt for 2021 as compared to 83.8% for 2020, and our Average Daily Debt Balance increased from $1.43 billion to $1.55 billion for 2021, an increase of 9.0%. We have continued to improve our Cost of Debt as we have been able to refinance at lower interest rates and increase the size of our securitizations. In 2022, we expect our interest expense to increase as we borrow to fund our portfolio growth and interest rates increase.
Total net decrease in fair value
Net decrease in fair value reflects changes in fair value of Fair Value Loans and Fair Value Notes on an aggregate basis and is based on a number of factors, including benchmark interest rates, credit spreads, remaining cumulative charge-offs and borrower payment rates. Increases in the fair value of loans increase Net Revenue. Conversely, decreases in the fair value of loans decrease Net Revenue. Increases in the fair value of asset-backed notes decrease Net Revenue. Decreases in the fair value of asset-backed notes increase Net Revenue. We also have derivative instruments related to our bank partnership program with MetaBank, N.A. Changes in the fair value of the derivative instrument are reflected in the total fair value mark-to-market adjustment below.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Fair value mark-to-market adjustment:|
|Fair value mark-to-market adjustment on fair value loans||$||57,044 ||$||(25,548)||$||82,592 ||*|
|Fair value mark-to-market adjustment on asset-backed notes||15,408 ||2,137 ||13,271 ||*|
|Fair value mark-to-market adjustment on derivatives||(3,097)||— ||(3,097)|
|Total fair value mark-to-market adjustment||69,355 ||(23,411)||92,766 ||*|
|Charge-offs, net of recoveries on loans receivable at fair value||(119,413)||(166,895)||47,482 ||*|
|Excess interest - credit card performance fee||1,426 ||— ||1,426 ||*|
|Total net decrease in fair value||$||(48,632)||$||(190,306)||$||141,674 ||*|
|Percentage of total revenue:|
|Fair value mark-to-market adjustment||11.1 ||%||(4.0)||%|
|Charge-offs, net of recoveries on loans receivable at fair value||(19.1)||%||(28.6)|
|Total net decrease in fair value||(8.0)||%||(32.6)||%|
|Discount rate||6.94 ||%||6.85 ||%|
|Remaining cumulative charge-offs||9.60 ||%||10.03 ||%|
|Average life in years||0.86 ||0.80 |
* Not meaningful
Net decrease in fair value. Net decrease in fair value for 2021 was $48.6 million. This amount represents a total fair value mark-to-market increase of $69.4 million, and $119.4 million of charge-offs, net of recoveries on Fair Value Loans. The total fair value mark-to-market adjustment consists of a $57.0 million mark-to-market adjustment on Fair Value Loans due to (a) a decrease in remaining cumulative charge-offs from 10.03% as of December 31, 2020 to 9.60% as of December 31, 2021 due to improving credit trends, (b) an increase in average life from 0.80 years as of December 31, 2020 to 0.86 years as of December 31, 2021, partially offset by (c) an increase in the discount rate from 6.85% as of December 31, 2020 to 6.94% as of December 31, 2021 caused by higher interest rates. The $15.4 million mark-to-market adjustment on Fair Value Notes is due to rising rates and widening asset-backed securitization spreads. In 2022, we expect net decrease in fair value to be lower due to faster growth in new loans leading to increased losses.
Charge-offs, net of recoveries
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Total charge-offs, net of recoveries||$||119,413 ||$||166,895 ||$||(47,482)||(28.5)||%|
|Average Daily Principal Balance ||1,756,170 ||1,701,665 ||54,505 ||3.2 ||%|
|Annualized Net Charge-Off Rate||6.8 ||%||9.8 ||%|
Charge-offs, net of recoveries.
Our Annualized Net Charge-Off Rate decreased to 6.8% for the year ended December 31, 2021 from 9.8% for the year ended December 31, 2020. Net charge-offs for the year ended December 31, 2021 decreased primarily due to the overall improvement in the economy, the impact of stimulus payments to consumers as well as the effectiveness of our A.I.-driven underwriting models, collections tools and payment options that have helped our borrowers manage through the pandemic. Consistent with our charge-off policy, we evaluate our loan portfolio and charge a loan off at the earlier of when the loan is determined to be uncollectible or when loans are 120 days contractually past due or 180 days contractually past due in the case of credit cards. In 2022, we expect growth in new loan originations and our loan portfolio overall to lead to higher charge-offs.
Operating expenses consist of technology and facilities, sales and marketing, personnel, outsourcing and professional fees and general, administrative and other expenses. Operating expenses include $50.1 million and $21.9 million related to new products for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Technology and facilities
Technology and facilities expense is the largest segment of our operating expenses, representing the costs required to build our A.I.-enabled digital platform, and consisting of three components. The first component comprises costs associated with our technology, engineering, information security, cybersecurity, platform development, maintenance, and end user services, including fees for software licenses, consulting, legal and other services as a result of our efforts to grow our business, as well as personnel expenses. The second includes rent for retail and corporate locations, utilities, insurance, telephony costs, property taxes, equipment rental expenses, licenses and fees and depreciation and amortization. Lastly, the third category includes all software licenses, subscriptions, and technology service costs to support our corporate operations, excluding sales and marketing.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Technology and facilities ||$||139,564 ||$||129,795 ||$||9,769 ||7.5 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||22.3 ||%||22.2 ||%|
Technology and facilities. Technology and facilities expense increased by $9.8 million, or 7.5%, from $129.8 million for 2020 to $139.6 million for 2021. The increase is primarily due to $7.9 million service costs related to higher usage of software and cloud services, $3.5 million of increased depreciation commensurate with growth in internally developed software, $2.1 million in usage of India off-shoring services and other temporary contractors to supplement staffing related to new product investment and $3.4 million increase in salaries and benefits due to the increase in headcount. These increases were partially offset by the $3.7 million lower impairment charge related to fixed assets and system development costs associated with our direct auto product recorded in 2020 that were not present in 2021, $1.8 million lower office rent associated with retail locations that were closed as a result of the retail network optimization plan earlier in 2021 and $1.4 million lower expense due to higher capitalization of internally developed software in 2021 compared to 2020.
Sales and marketing
Sales and marketing expenses consist of two components and represent the costs to acquire our members. The first component is comprised of the expense to acquire a member through various paid marketing channels including direct mail, digital marketing and brand marketing. The second component is comprised of the costs associated with our telesales, lead generation and retail operations, including personnel expenses, but excluding costs associated with retail locations.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars, except CAC)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Sales and marketing||$||116,882 ||$||89,375 ||$||27,507 ||30.8 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||18.6 ||%||15.3 ||%|
|Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)||$||155 ||$||199 ||$||(44)||(22.1)||%|
Sales and marketing. Sales and marketing expenses to acquire our members increased by $27.5 million, or 30.8%, from $89.4 million for 2020 to $116.9 million for 2021. To grow our Aggregate Originations, we increased our investment in marketing initiatives by $33.8 million across various
marketing channels, including direct mail, digital advertising, lead aggregators and our referral programs. This increase was partially offset by $8.0 million lower personnel-related costs as a result of the implementation of our retail network optimization plan that began in the first quarter of 2021. As a result of our increased number of loans originated during the year ended December 31, 2021, our CAC decreased by 22.1%, from $199 for the year ended December 31, 2020 to $155 for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Personnel expense represents compensation and benefits that we provide to our employees, and include salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, related employer taxes, medical and other benefits provided and stock-based compensation expense for all of our staff with the exception of our telesales, lead generation, and retail operations which are included in sales and marketing expense and technology which is included in technology and facilities expense.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Personnel||$||115,833 ||$||106,446 ||$||9,387 ||8.8 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||18.5 ||%||18.2 ||%|
Personnel. Personnel expense increased by $9.4 million, or 8.8%, from $106.4 million for 2020 to $115.8 million for 2021, primarily driven by a $9.5 million increase in compensation expense due to a 14.2% increase in U.S. headcount and merit increases.
Outsourcing and professional fees
Outsourcing and professional fees consist of costs for various third-party service providers and contact center operations, primarily for the sales, customer service, collections and store operation functions. Our contact centers located in Mexico and our third-party contact centers located in Colombia and Jamaica provide support for the business including application processing, verification, customer service and collections. We utilize third parties to operate the contact centers in Colombia and Jamaica and include the costs in outsourcing and other professional fees. Professional fees also include the cost of legal and audit services, credit reports, recruiting, cash transportation, collection services and fees and consultant expenses. Direct loan origination expenses related to application processing are expensed when incurred. In addition, outsourcing and professional fees include any financing expenses, including legal and underwriting fees, related to our Fair Value Notes.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Outsourcing and professional fees||$||57,931 ||$||47,067 ||$||10,864 ||23.1 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||9.2 ||%||8.1 ||%|
Outsourcing and professional fees. Outsourcing and professional fees increased by $10.9 million, or 23.1%, from $47.1 million for 2020 to $57.9 million for 2021. The increase is primarily attributable to $11.3 million in debt financing fees and expenses related to asset-backed securitizations, $5.4 million increase in credit report expense due to higher application volume and $4.6 million of higher professional service costs related to credit card and bank partnership programs and expenses associated with our bank charter application. These increases were partially offset by a $5.3 million decrease related to ceasing legal collection on defaulted loans beginning in August 2020, $2.9 million lower outsourced service costs due to the decline in contact center outsourced headcount that was needed as a result of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and $1.5 million in lower legal fees.
General, administrative and other
General, administrative and other expense includes non-compensation expenses for employees, who are not a part of the technology and sales and marketing organization, which include travel, lodging, meal expenses, political and charitable contributions, office supplies, printing and shipping. Also included are franchise taxes, bank fees, foreign currency gains and losses, transaction gains and losses, debit card expenses, litigation reserve, expenses associated with our retail network optimization plan and acquisition-related costs.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|General, administrative and other||$||37,480 ||$||20,471 ||$||17,009 ||83.1 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||6.0 ||%||3.5 ||%|
General, administrative and other. General, administrative and other expense increased by $17.0 million, or 83.1%, from $20.5 million for 2020 to $37.5 million for 2021, primarily due to our retail network optimization expenses of $11.2 million related to the retail location closures and $1.6 million related to severance and benefits related to the retail location closures. The increase was also attributable to $10.0 million of transaction and integration related expenses as a result of the Digit acquisition and a $3.3 million impairment charge recognized on a right-of-use asset related to our leased office space in San Carlos, California due to management's decision to move toward a remote-first work environment. These increases were partially offset by an $8.8 million decrease in litigation reserve relative to prior year and decreases in travel expenses due to travel restrictions and remote working arrangements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Income taxes consist of U.S. federal, state and foreign income taxes, if any. For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 we recognized tax expense (benefit) attributable to U.S. federal, state and foreign income taxes.
|Year Ended December 31,||2021 vs. 2020 Change|
|(in thousands of dollars)||2021||2020||$ ||% |
|Income tax expense (benefit)||$||15,377 ||$||(13,012)||$||28,389 ||218.2 ||%|
|Percentage of total revenue||2.5 ||%||(2.2)||%|
|Effective tax rate||24.5 ||%||22.4 ||%|
Income tax expense (benefit). Income tax expense increased by $28.4 million or 218.2%, from a benefit of $13.0 million for 2020 to an expense of $15.4 million for 2021, primarily as a result of a pretax loss for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Fair Value Estimate Methodology for Loans Receivable at Fair Value
Fair value is an electable option under GAAP to account for any financial instruments, including loans receivable and debt. It differs from amortized cost accounting in that loans receivable and debt are recorded on the balance sheet at fair value rather than on a cost basis. Under the fair value option credit losses are recognized through income as they are incurred rather than through the establishment of an allowance and provision for losses. The fair value of instruments under this election is updated at the end of each reporting period, with changes since the prior reporting period reflected in the Consolidated Statements of Operations as net decrease in fair value which impacts Net Revenue. Changes in interest rates, credit spreads, realized and projected credit losses and cash flow timing will lead to changes in fair value and therefore impact earnings. These changes in the fair value of the Fair Value Loans may be partially offset by changes in the fair value of the Fair Value Notes, depending upon the relative duration of the instruments.
Fair Value Estimate Methodology for Loans Receivable at Fair Value
We calculate the fair value of Fair Value Loans using a model that projects and discounts expected cash flows. The fair value is a function of:
•Prepayments (or principal payment rate for our credit card receivables);
•Remaining cumulative charge-offs; and
Portfolio yield is the expected interest and fees collected from the loans as an annualized percentage of outstanding principal balance. Portfolio yield is based upon (a) the contractual interest rate, reduced by expected delinquencies and interest charge-offs and (b) late fees, net of late fee charge-offs based upon expected delinquencies. Origination fees are not included in portfolio yield since they are generally capitalized as part of the loan’s principal balance at origination.
Average life is the time-weighted average of expected principal payments divided by outstanding principal balance. The timing of principal payments is based upon the contractual amortization of loans, adjusted for the impact of prepayments, Good Customer Program refinances, and charge-offs.
Prepayments are the expected remaining cumulative principal payments that will be repaid earlier than contractually required over the life of the loan, divided by the outstanding principal balance. For credit card receivables we estimate principal payment rates which are the expected amount and timing of principal payments over the life of the receivable.
Remaining cumulative charge-offs is the expected net principal charge-offs over the remaining life of the loans, divided by the outstanding principal balance.
Discount rate is the sum of the interest rate and the credit spread. The interest rate is based upon the interpolated LIBOR/swap curve rate that corresponds to the average life. The credit spread is based upon the credit spread implied by the whole loan purchase price at the time the flow sale agreement was entered into, updated for observable changes in the fixed income markets, which serve as a proxy for how a whole loan buyer would adjust their yield requirements relative to the originally agreed price.
Our internal valuation committee includes members from our risk, legal, finance, capital markets and operations departments and provides governance and oversight over the fair value pricing and related financial statement disclosures. Additionally, this committee provides a challenge of the assumptions used and outputs of the model, including the appropriateness of such measures and periodically reviews the methodology and process to determine the fair value pricing. Any significant changes to the process must be approved by the committee.
It is also possible to estimate the fair value of our loans using a simplified calculation. The table below illustrates a simplified calculation to aid investors in understanding how fair value may be estimated using the last eight quarters:
•Subtracting the servicing fee from the weighted average portfolio yield over the remaining life of the loans to calculate net portfolio yield;
•Multiplying the net portfolio yield by the weighted average life in years of the loans receivable, which is based upon the contractual amortization of the loans and expected remaining prepayments and charge-offs to calculate net cash flow;
•Subtracting the remaining cumulative charge-offs from the net portfolio yield to calculate the net cash flow;
•Subtracting the product of the discount rate and the average life from the net cash flow to calculate the gross fair value premium as a percentage of loan principal balance; and
•Subtracting the accrued interest and fees as a percentage of loan principal balance from the gross fair value premium as a percentage of loan principal balance to calculate the fair value premium as a percentage of loan principal balance.
The table below reflects the application of this methodology for the eight quarters since January 1, 2020, on loans held for investment. The data for the three months ended December 31, 2021 in the table below represents all of our credit products. The data for the three months ended September 30, 2021 in the table below represents our secured and unsecured loan portfolio. For prior quarters, the data in the table below represents only our unsecured personal loan portfolio which was the primary driver of fair value during those periods.
Three Months Ended
|Dec 31, 2021||Sep 30, 2021||Jun 30, 2021||Mar 31, 2021||Dec 31, 2020||Sep 30, 2020||Jun 30, 2020||Mar 31, 2020|
|Weighted average portfolio yield over the remaining life of the loans||30.14 ||%||30.35 ||%||30.28 ||%||30.25 ||%||30.17 ||%||30.50 ||%||30.78 ||%||30.74 ||%|
|Less: Servicing fee||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%||(5.00)||%|
|Net portfolio yield||25.14 ||%||25.35 ||%||25.28 ||%||25.25 ||%||25.17 ||%||25.50 ||%||25.78 ||%||25.74 ||%|
Multiplied by: Weighted average life in years
|0.859 ||0.761 ||0.769 ||0.778 ||0.796 ||0.775 ||0.797 ||0.903 |
|Pre-loss cash flow||21.60 ||%||19.26 ||%||19.43 ||%||19.64 ||%||20.03 ||%||19.75 ||%||20.54 ||%||23.25 ||%|
|Less: Remaining cumulative charge-offs||(9.60)||%||(7.53)||%||(7.59)||%||(8.60)||%||(10.03)||%||(10.61)||%||(12.73)||%||(14.56)||%|
|Net cash flow||12.00 ||%||11.73 ||%||11.84 ||%||11.04 ||%||10.00 ||%||9.14 ||%||7.81 ||%||8.69 ||%|
|Less: Discount rate multiplied by average life||(5.96)||%||(4.96)||%||(5.03)||%||(5.17)||%||(5.45)||%||(6.07)||%||(7.04)||%||(11.54)||%|
|Gross fair value premium (discount) as a percentage of loan principal balance||6.04 ||%||6.77 ||%||6.81 ||%||5.87 ||%||4.55 ||%||3.07 ||%||0.77 ||%||(2.85)||%|
|Less: Accrued interest and fees as a percentage of loan principal balance||(1.03)||%||(0.90)||%||(0.87)||%||(0.92)||%||(1.06)||%||(1.15)||%||(1.35)||%||(1.11)||%|
|Fair value premium (discount) as a percentage of loan principal balance||5.01 ||%||5.87 ||%||5.94 ||%|