GreenSky Credit has been one of the hottest stories in the fintech industry over the last 10 years. In an industry that has been littered with the burnt-out husks of companies that looked good on paper but didn’t last much past their first contact with reality, GreenSky Credit has proven to have an enduring business model that is as robust as it is profitable.
GreenSky Credit founder David Zalik first had the idea for the company when he was running an e-consultancy firm that worked with some of the biggest players in the home improvement business. He saw that a great deal of business was being lost when customers who had little experience estimating costs ended up severely underestimating the final costs of their home improvement projects. Zalik saw a huge opportunity for anyone who could step in with the liquidity that these often-prime borrowers needed to complete their projects.
A good idea always has a wide market
The idea of effectively providing bridge financing for retail-level customers caught on like wildfire. GreenSky Credit proved it had a viable model within its first few years of business. Due to the prime-borrower status of the vast majority of its customers, it was able to partner with some of the biggest and most trusted lenders in the country, including Region’s Bank, Sun Trust and Fifth-Third Bancorp. And these lenders were willing to go the extra distance, loaning up to six-figure amounts to GreenSky customers at the point of sale and on an instantaneous basis. Nothing like it had ever existed in retail finance before.
This idea quickly proved to be easily implemented across other industries. Today, the firm has more than 17,000 retail partners, including operations in industries as diverse as dentists’ offices and plastic surgery practices. While the company has significantly diversified its business, the core concept remains the same; GreenSky finds deals where everyone walks away a winner and where the borrowers rank towards the top of the credit ratings, and then the company extends loans on terms that are almost too good to be true. The model works because, at the end of the day, everyone walks away a winner.