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SoFi CEO talks rising interest rates, expansion plans, and sponsoring a football stadium

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how the rising rate environment will affect the demand for financial services, SoFi's 2022 growth plans, and naming the SoFi stadium in Los Angeles.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Well, the street is liking the outlook from SoFi. The company posted better than expected earnings or smaller loss than had been estimated. And SoFi now says it could hit $180 million in adjusted operating profits this year. Last year, SoFi racked up $30 million in adjusted operating profits. Let's talk more about the quarter and what lies ahead.

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto is joining us now. Um, Anthony, good morning. It's good to see you.

ANTHONY NOTO: Good morning

JULIE HYMAN: So I'm going to start--

ANTHONY NOTO: Good to see you.

JULIE HYMAN: --I just want to jump right into it when it comes to interest rate increases, because we're going to be hearing from Jay Powell in, oh, less than 15 minutes now before the House Financial Services Committee is going to talk about those rising rates. This is something you guys have modeled in. And you talked on the call about some areas of the business that don't do as well in a rising rate environment, other areas the business do well. What does that mix going to look like this year? What are you guys modeling out?

ANTHONY NOTO: Yeah, the-- the great thing about our business is that we are a one-stop shop for financial services products. And that's allowed us to drive really phenomenal results throughout 2021, which has been a-- a changing rate environment with the benchmark rates and hitting record revenue in the quarter and exceeding our growth in members is a reflection of having a broad array of products, great marketing. So when we talk through the products and how interest rates affect them, um, we have a checking savings and loans-- checking and savings product SoFi just launched on the back of our bank.

We provided 1% interest on that. That's going to be a very competitive rate compared to others on their checking accounts. It's about 33 times higher and we give you know no minimum balance, no restrictions on your spending, free overdraft protection, and to-date early paycheck. So that is going to be very differentiated in a rising rate environment where people need to get a better yield on their money, because borrowing money is more expensive.

We have four different types of loans. Um, our student loan or refinancing product benefits as people refinance into lower rate loans and they still have a window to do that. But if rates rise, that will go away.

Our personal loans product, on the other hand, is a product that people refinance out of credit card debt. That's variable rate debt that is going to go up as rates go up into a term fixed rate debt loan called personal loans. And so that-- that benefits as well.

And then on the investing front, we have a wide range of products you can buy on our brokerage account, as well as cryptocurrency. So we have single stocks, we have ETFs, we have robo accounts, and we have cryptocurrency. And so depending on your view on interest rates and the type of yield and return you want to drive, you can allocate across that portfolio of different products.

We also do have a credit card, which is a very attractive credit card, because we give you 1% back. But we also allow you to double your rewards if you redeem into paying down a loan, which you'll want to do with higher rates. You can redeem into a checking and savings and you can also redeem into investing. And we double the points when you do that. So people are going to be looking for ways to save and better ways to invest and we have many products that will suit them well when rates are higher.

BRIAN SOZZI: Anthony, I didn't expect I'd be asking about football on a morning like this, but you know what, I'm going to-- I'm going far away here. With your SoFi Stadium, you mentioned a lot on the earnings call, mentioned on the earnings release, do you see an immediate pickup in members because you were so out front at an event like that?

ANTHONY NOTO: Yeah, I think it's important to understand the broad-based strategy and put the stadium in the context of that. So we want to be a one-stop shop for all your financial services needs. We want to be there for every one of the major financial decisions in your lives and all the days in between. And we have all those products available on your phone today, convenient without-- without fees.

One of the things we have to do strategically is make people aware of that and build trust. So the strategy behind the stadium was to build credibility through the association with the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, and the National Football League, and drive really efficient mass reach. So throughout the season in the fourth quarter, we had five nationally televised prime time games and each game averaged about 22 million household viewers over $100 million in total.

That helped increase our brand awareness. It helps make us a household name. It helps drive trust with us. So when our products are marketed to you, you have a higher probability of being responsive to them.

So I wouldn't say it's immediate. It's a continuity strategy. It really paid huge dividends in the fourth quarter. We had record number ads. We exceeded our full year estimate for 3 million members finishing at 3.5 million members.

And we had very high cross buying rates. 30% of our products bought in the quarter, which was also record at 900,000 new products were from our existing members. So the stadium is a critical component of the broader strategy. And it's really paid dividends as we saw in the fourth quarter

BRIAN SOZZI: We've-- I've seen you really lay the groundwork for the future of this company, Anthony. From day one when you start getting the culture right, now you have the bank charter. You have all these new products. What are your international ambitions? And when you see the situation in Russia, in Ukraine, does that make you pause about wanting to be a global company?

ANTHONY NOTO: Yeah, we have had a really huge year, uh, for the company and our shareholders. A number of milestones that you mentioned, but we're really just getting started in the US. There's still about 500 million accounts attached to legacy FDIC banks.

And we think, as a new bank, as well as a financial services company, we have a unique value proposition, something that's going to build a lifelong relationship with you, which gives you products that meet your needs as opposed to their needs. So for example, we don't charge fees on checking and savings, we don't charge overdraft fees like big banks do. So we have a unique value proposition that we're giving back to our members and unique value, because we have lower costs like the 1% on checking as an example.

Outside the United States is a huge opportunity. Our technology platform Galileo, which is a payment processing capability for debit and ACH, and now that we announced the Technisys deal, it's also another piece of our AWS fintech strategy. That is our main effort outside of the United States is enabling these financial pioneers in Mexico, and Colombia, and LATAM to innovate in those markets as well. And we're the underlying infrastructure for that.

Right now, the SoFi brand is primarily focused in the US and will stay true-- true to that. We do have a small business in Hong Kong. That's just in the investment business, but right now our plan is to really prioritize the US. As it relates to Ukraine, it's incredibly devastating to see people with not just the fear of violence, but now the actual violence taking place. And we as a-- as a country and the rest of our partners from a leadership standpoint need to continue to press and support, uh, the Ukraine effort against the violence that they're experiencing.

JULIE HYMAN: Anthony, thanks for being here. I would echo that. Anthony Noto, SoFi CEO joining us on this Wednesday--