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Square Loans (Formerly Square Capital) Originated $627M in Small Business Loans in Q2

August 4, 2021
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Square in San FranciscoSquare Loans, the lending arm of the fintech bank Square, originated $627M of its Flex Loans in Q2, according to the company’s latest announcement. That brings the year-to-date total to $1.02B across 167,000 loans. The numbers produce a rough average of only $6,000 per loan.

“After pausing flex loan offers from early March to late July of 2020, we continued to expand loan offers during the second quarter behind improvements in underlying Seller GPV trends, nearing pre-pandemic quarterly origination levels for core flex loans,” the company said.

Square is on pace to meet or eclipse its pre-covid volume. (It originated $2.3B in 2019.)

Square touted much bigger news in the past few days, however, its planned acquisition of Australia-based Afterpay in a $29B all stock deal.

Square Capital is Now Just a Bank Loan Product

July 20, 2021
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Square Financial Services IncSquare Capital has been reduced to just one of several banking products under the Square Financial Services umbrella. That’s one result of Square successfully becoming a bank earlier this year.

Loans will be one product offered alongside checking accounts, savings accounts, and debit cards.

Just as before, Square’s loans will be repaid by diverting a percentage of a business’s card sales. The methodology is derived from its merchant cash advance roots, but what’s different is that a Square loan has a fixed repayment term.

“Pay it back automatically,” Square says of its loan product. “You won’t have to schedule any payments. We just ask that you meet your minimum every 60 days.”

Square has originated more than $9 billion in small business loans since inception and is one of the largest small business lenders in the country.

Square Capital Originated $392M in SMB Loans in Q1

May 6, 2021
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Square in San FranciscoSquare Capital originated 78,000 small business loans in Q1 for a total of $392M. That figure does not include PPP lending, which comprised of 57,000 loans for a total of $531 million.

“After pausing flex loan offers from early March to late July of 2020, we have been measured in our ongoing ramp of offers to sellers,” Square said. “Revenue from Square Capital was down on a year-over-year basis due to a lower mix of flex loans during the quarter.”

Square Capital originated slightly under $1 billion in 2020, down from the $2.3 billion in 2019.

Square: Banking, Bitcoin, Now Streaming Beats?

March 4, 2021
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Jay-ZSquare bought a majority stake in Tidal, a music streaming service owned by Jay-Z, for $247 million.

Jay-Z will be joining the Square board and Tidal artists will keep their ownership in the firm. Jack Dorsey announced the move on Twitter, seeming to assuage worries from the first post.

“Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces,” Dorsey wrote. “We believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. Making the economy work for artists is similar to what Square has done for sellers.”

Dorsey and Jay have been friends for years and were spotted hanging out with Beyonce on a yacht in the Hamptons this summer. Dorsey and Jay-Z last month went in on a multimillion Bitcoin trust fund to support Bitcoin development in India and Africa.

Square in San FranciscoJay-Z bought Tidal in 2015 for $56 million, but despite working with top music artists like Coldplay and Kanye West, the service has struggled to compete with Apple and Spotify. After a year of closed venues, Billboard reported that last year Tidal had a cash problem and was missing payments to rights holders. Tidal got a cash injection from the sale, while Square spent less than 1% of the firm’s value to bring Jay-Z’s leadership and network of music industry heavy-hitters into the fold.

“I said from the beginning that Tidal was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” said Jay-Z in a press statement. “Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey. Jack and I have had many discussions about Tidal’s endless possibilities that have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board. This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”

Square Officially Becomes a Bank

March 2, 2021
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Square Financial Services IncSquare launched its own industrial bank Monday, after receiving a charter from the FDIC. The Salt Lake City, Utah-based bank will begin underwriting business loans under the Square Financial Services title.

“Bringing banking capability in-house enables us to operate more nimbly,” CFO and Chair of the new bank Amrita Ahuja said, “which will serve Square and our customers as we continue the work to create financial tools that serve the underserved.”

Square had previously offered credit products through a partnership with Utah-based Celtic bank. The move answers the questions “buy or build” when it comes to fintech banking. Many fintech firms, some of who even claimed to be anti-bank alternatives, have made the switch to either partnering with a nationally chartered bank or outright becoming a bank themselves.

“We thank the FDIC and Utah DFI for their partnership enabling us to reach this milestone, and look forward to continuing to expand access to financial services at this critical time for small businesses,” Ahuja said.

Square Originated $254M in Loans in Q4, Nearly a Billion For the Year

February 23, 2021
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Square in San FranciscoSquare released its Q4 earnings on Tuesday, disclosing that the Square Capital division originated 57,000 loans for $254 million.That brings them to $957 million on the year.

Just before the earnings release, Square reported they had also bought $170 million worth of additional bitcoin. After purchasing $50 million in October, no wonder the firm doubled down. Reportedly 48% of Square’s total revenue in 2020 was from bitcoin and bitcoin trading. 85% of all value added in 2020 was bitcoin-related.

Overall, Square added $9 billion in net revenue in 2020. $4.5 billion of which was Bitcoin revenue.

Square Capital Lends $155M to Small Businesses in Q3

November 6, 2020
Article by:

Square Capital loaned $155M in Q3, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

“We paused new flex loan offers until the end of July and, upon resuming offers, we were measured in ramping origination volumes in August and September,” the company said. The $155M originated was spread out across 35,000 loans.

The figure puts them slightly ahead of OnDeck ($148M) for the quarter but well below Shopify Capital ($252M)

2020 YEAR TO DATE:

Company Q1 2020 Q2 Q3 YTD TOTAL
PayPal $1.3B
OnDeck $592M $66M $144M $806M
Square Capital $548M $0 $155M $703M
Shopify Capital $162.4M $153M $252.1M $567.5M

Square, Stripe, Intuit, Shopify, Talked SMB Lending at LendIt Fintech 2020

October 8, 2020
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LenditFintech USAThe LendIt Fintech digital conference last week was a sign of the times. This year, millions of average businesses and consumers have had to go virtual: they had no choice. 2020 has been a year of struggle and survival, and a time of great fintech adoption.

Some firms have been more successful than others. Going full digital, LendIt introduced virtual networking at the conference- the first day alone saw 2,171 meetings. Zoom meetings and virtual greetings took the place of handshakes and elevator pitches that would regularly accompany the convention.

On day three, LendIt hosted a panel of SMB lending leaders from Stripe, Shopify, Square, and Quickbooks Capital. Bryan Lee, Senior Director of Financial Services for Salesforce, served as moderator and he focused the discussion on “How the leading fintech brands are adapting.”


THE PIVOT


Lee began the talk by asking Eddie Serrill, Business Lead from Stripe Capital, about how the industry has pivoted.

Serrill talked about how Stripe was powering online interactions and saw an influx of traditionally offline businesses switching over to their platforms. Stripe also saw an increased demand for online purchases and payment.

“We’ve been trying to find that right balance between supporting users that have been doing incredibly well,” Serrill said. “While trying to support our users who are seeing a bit of a setback.”

Stripe introduced a lending product in September of last year and now SMBs can borrow from Stripe and pay back by diverting a percentage of their sales, much like the other panelists’ companies offer.

Jessica Jiang, Head of Capital Markets at Square Capital, talked about how her firm adjusted. Square reacted to fill the niche of their underserved customers by introducing a main street lending fund, serving industries hard hit by the pandemic, Jiang said. Small buinesess that relied on in-person action like coffee shops and retail community businesses were given preferential lending options.

Product Lead at Shopify, Richard Shaw, said that this year his firm learned to be prepared for anything. Everything that Shopify was potentially going to do or planning on implementing in the coming years suddenly became a here-and-now necessity.

“We tore up our existing plans,” Shaw said. “It was like the commerce world of 2030 turned up in 2020. You need to do ten years of work, but you need to do it today.”

Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce giant has doubled in value this year. The firm launched Shopify Capital in the US and Canada in 2016 and has originated $1.2 billion in funding to small businesses since that time.

Luke Voiles, the VP of Intuits QuickBooks Capital, talked about how his team handled pandemic conservatively.

“Five years of digital shift has happened instantaneously due to COVID,” Voiles said. “Intuit is pretty recession-resistant in the sense that you have to do taxes, you have to do your accounting, and the shift to digital helps a lot.”

Business lending was different, Voiles said, as soon as his team saw COVID coming, they battened down the hatches, slowed lending, and pivoted to facilitating PPP.


PPP


Voiles said the craziest thing he has seen in his career was what Quickbooks did to deploy PPP aid.

Within about two weeks, almost 500 people from across Intuit came together to shift all the data they carried on customers to aid applications.

“We were uniquely positioned to help solve and deploy that capital,” Voiles said. “We have a payroll business where 1.4 billion business use us, we have a tax business where we have Schedule C tax filings, and we have a lending business. We were able to pivot and put the pieces together quickly.”

QuickBooks Capital deployed $1.2 billion to 31,000 business in a process that Voiles said was 90% automated. Now customers are awaiting other rounds of government aid.

Square’s Jiang said the initial shutdown weeks in March and April saw hundreds of Square team members working on PPP facilitation through the night and weekends. As the funds dried up those first two weeks, it was clear to Jiang the program was favoring larger firms and higher loan amounts, leaving out small businesses.

“That’s typical of investment bankers, but not very typical of tech,” Jiang said. “PPP is a perfect example of how small businesses are continuing to be underserved by banks.”


THE SHAKEOUT AND THE FUTURE


2020 has been a major shock to the lending marketplace. Voiles from Quickbooks said the amount of work it took to make it through the first wave was a significant shakeout.

“You’ve seen what’s happening with Kabbage and OnDeck and other transactions with people getting sold; there is a shakeout happening in the space,” Voiles said. “The bigger players will make it through and will continue to help small businesses get access to capital that they need.”

When asked about the future roadmap of QuickBooks Capital, Voiles said it wasn’t just about automating banking. Using Intuit’s resources to build an automated system is only half of the picture- the firm believes in an expert-driven platform. After the automated process, customers will be able to talk to an expert to review the data, and “check their work.” Voiles said Quickbooks wants to offer a service that is equivalent to the replacement of a CFO.

“These small businesses that have less than ten employees, they can’t afford to hire a pro,” Voiles said. “They need automated support to show them the dashboard and picture of what their business is.”

Pointing to Stripe’s online infrastructure, Serrill exemplified what successful lenders will offer next year: a platform that combines many needs of SMBs in one place.

“I think it’s really about linking all of this data, making it super intuitive and anticipating the need for their users, so they don’t need a team of business school grads to manage their finances,” Serrill said. “So they can get back to building the core of their business, not figuring out whether they have enough cash flow tomorrow.”

Jiang said the future of small business would be written in data, contactless payments, and digital banking. She sees consolidation in the Fintech space and has a positive outlook on bank-fintech partnerships.

The FDIC granted Square a conditional approval for the issuance of an Industrial Loan Company ILC in March this year. Jiang outlined plans on launching an online SMB lending and banking service next year called Square Financial Services if the conditional charter remains in place.

For Shopify’s future, Shaw was excited to look forward to the launching of Shopify balance- a cash flow management system, and Shopify installment payments. He reiterated that the success of Shopify’s lending division was due in part because making loans was not the entire business.

“Shopify Capital is one piece of a wider ecosystem,” Shaw said. “All these things together are more powerful than individual parts.”

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