FinTech platform for students secures $1bn financing
The financing, which includes a number of leading financial institutions, will allow the company to expand its innovative global credit model, which supports high-potential students from across 150 countries.
Prodigy Finance provides education loans to international students attending top universities around the world. Funding options are particularly limited for these students, even more so for those who live in emerging markets.
“The world is increasingly global and connected, yet the banking industry has not kept pace,” said Prodigy Finance founder and CEO Cameron Stevens.
“Traditional lenders are bound by local legal constraints, local data, as well as local repayments and collections, which ties an applicant's credit profile to their location.
“Our global credit model has allowed us to help international students with limited or no funding options to gain access to life-changing opportunities and become the next generation of leaders around the world."
The financing primarily consists of $900 million in institutional debt facilities from American, European and Asian lenders including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, M&G Investments and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
Other investors include schools, family offices and high-net-worth individuals participating in Prodigy Finance's international bond programme distributed by Credit Suisse.
Stevens added: "We set out to prove and grow our borderless platform and this capital contribution demonstrates its success.
“The financial services industry will become more global in its outlook and we are leading the charge as we scale our business.
“This could transform the lives of the 258 million people living outside of their home country, as well as 3.2 billion of the middle class population that want to access the opportunities that a world-class education offers."
The company's unique global credit model is built to assess applicant loans based on a range of factors including projected earnings and university acceptance, among others, rather than historical credit.
Prodigy Finance student borrower, Sharon Wandill, said: "My life completely changed the moment I came across Prodigy Finance, as it was literally the difference between me going to pursue further studies or not.”
In 2016/17, the US was host to over 1 million international students, of which the most popular field of study was engineering, followed closely by business and management.
Unlike their business peers, engineering students are generally younger, with less professional experience and therefore have lower savings and a greater need for funding assistance.
Today's financing allows the company to increase its offering, particularly in the field of engineering and at U.S. universities and colleges.
The Prodigy Finance platform now supports 245 specific engineering schools and 2,222 courses, including computer engineering and data analytics among others with the option of 10, 15 or 20-year loans terms and without the need for collateral, co-signer or guarantor.
The financing also enables Prodigy Finance to offer a re-finance product to international graduates from U.S. schools looking to reduce their financial costs.
These alumni previously had limited options available to them, and Prodigy Finance's new refinance product provides them with the opportunity to reduce their interest rate, consolidate multiple student loans, release their co-signer and choose from flexible loan terms.
The option to refinance is available to eligible international graduates who reside in the US or UK.
To date, Prodigy Finance has helped over 11,200 students from 132 countries borrow more than $538 million, the majority (89 per cent) of which had no alternative access to funds.