Amazon Sure is Making a Lot of Small Business Loans

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Amazon Capital ServicesAmazon had $661 million in seller receivables at the end of 2016, according to their earnings report, nearly double from the year before. These receivables are from loans made to small businesses (primarily to purchase inventory) who are sellers on their platform.

Apparently the lending business is going well for them too, since they claim the allowance for loan losses is so small that it’s not even material enough to report. And similar to Square Capital, Amazon incurs virtually no cost to acquire these borrowers.

One year ago, company CEO Jeff Bezos said in a letter to shareholders that “there are over 70,000 entrepreneurs with sales of more than $100,000 a year selling on Amazon.” By then the company had already lent more than $1.5 billion to small businesses across the US, UK and Japan.

“We wanted to bring the same shopping experience that you have on amazon, which is the one-click shopping experience, to the lending program,” a spokesperson says in a 2014 video about the program. “Instead of going to a bank, having interviews, audited financial statements, a 3 week process and then only a small fraction of people getting approved, our process is literally 3 fields and 3 clicks.”

Last modified: March 26, 2017

Category: Business Lending

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