Beyond Bank partners with P2P lender SocietyOne
The partnership will see the bank take a stake in SocietyOne as well as increase its personal loan funding commitment.
Beyond Bank has announced a partnership with leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lender SocietyOne, in what it describes as an expansion into the fintech sector. The agreement sees the customer-owned bank receive an equity stake for a $1.5 million contribution and increase its existing personal loans funding to $10 million.
Wayne Matters, Beyond Bank's deputy chief executive officer, said by partnering with SocietyOne, the bank aims to combine its experience with the P2P lender's entrepreneurial talents and creativity.
"Our partnership with SocietyOne is a perfect example of our approach to innovation, customer service and new product opportunities which are delivering real benefits to our members," Matters said.
"“The links that we have forged with SocietyOne have underlined to both of us what can be achieved when you put the experience, strength and depth of an organisation like ours together with the entrepreneurial drive and creative dynamism of a company like SocietyOne."
SocietyOne was established in 2012 and was the first P2P (marketplace) lender to operate in Australia. The lender facilitates loans through a marketplace, where investors fund individual or groups or borrowers largely based on credit scores.
SocietyOne has had a variety of financial and corporate partners. Westpac Group's Reinventure Fund was an early investor, contributing $5 million in its Series A funding round in 2014. Other notable shareholders include Newscorp, Seven West Media and G&C Mutual Bank.
This is not the first non-Big Four bank to partner with a fintech lender, but the larger banks have been relatively faster in making strategic fintech partnerships. CUA became the first mutual to partner with fintech and startup hub Stone & Chalk, while FlexiGroup has partnered with online SME lender Kikka Capital.
A recent survey by the International Data Corporation (IDC) also found that worldwide, banks want to partner with fintechs as opposed to acquire them. The split between attitudes was relatively closer in the Asa-Pacific region, where Australia was grouped. The survey found 32% of Asia-Pacific banks want to collaborate with fintechs as opposed to the 31% that wanted to acquire the fintech competition.
However, as finance providers continue to partner attitudes in the financial market change, partnerships between established lenders such as Beyond Bank and fintech innovators such as SocietyOne are expected to increase.