Looking at PayPal’s Business Funding Charge-Offs

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paypalWhen PayPal announced a sudden and dramatic pullback on its MCA and business loan operations in the third quarter of 2023, it was surprising news. For instance, the company’s net charge-off rate had been trending downward for years, coming in 7.4% at year-end 2019 right before covid and going down to 4.7% in 2021 and down to 4.5% in 2022. By June 2023, however, that number had somehow soared to 13.3% and by September was 20.4%. At the time, PayPal attributed this shift to “the expansion of acceptable risk parameters in 2022, which resulted in a decline in the overall credit quality of loans outstanding.” Because of how they calculate charge-offs, reducing originations at the same time that charge-offs were peaking made that number look a bit worse than it was. But still…

Although many funding and lending companies have complained of an increase in fraudulent applications in the immediate post-covid era, PayPal’s figures can hardly be attributed to fraud. That’s because their charge-off rate doesn’t even include losses from fraud.

PayPal’s products are very short-term so it was able to rapidly scale back its balance sheet exposure. Total merchant advances and loans outstanding, net of participation interest sold, decreased from $2.1B in Q1 2023 down to $1.2B in Q1 2024. Of the active loans, 88.7% were considered current in Q1 and 4.4% were greater than 90 days beyond their projected payment pace. With the exception of 2020 (when the % > 90 days past expected hit 12.5%), 4.4% is among the worst PayPal has experienced since 2017.

Last modified: June 10, 2024

Category: Business Lending

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