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1 Clear Bright Spot in SoFi's Q2 Earnings Report

By Bram Berkowitz – Aug 19, 2021 at 7:31AM

Key Points

  • SoFi's financial services business, the smallest of its three segments, raised sales 164% from Q1.
  • The growth can be mainly attributed to a surge in new members in SoFi Invest, the company's online brokerage.
  • The division's new equity capital markets and advisory-services business also performed quite well in Q2.

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Investors were not thrilled with the financial services company's latest update, but here's something you shouldn't miss.

SoFi Technologies (SOFI -1.29%), a one-stop fintech platform that seeks to meet all of the financial needs of high-income earners, recently reported second-quarter earnings results that disappointed the market. SoFi beat on revenue but missed earnings-per-share estimates, and the stock is down roughly 19% since the Aug. 12 release.

While it wasn't a blowout quarter by any means, SoFi continued to make progress on its overall strategic vision and still shows great promise. In particular, the clear bright spot in the quarter came from the performance of SoFi's growing financial services division.

SoFi Invest shines

SoFi has three main business lines. First there's the lending division, which covers student loans, refinancing student loans, and personal loans and home mortgages. Then there's financial services, which includes cash management accounts, credit cards, the online brokerage, and a slew of other products and offerings. Last is the technology platform, which represents the company's 2020 acquisition of Galileo, a fintech that helps other fintechs carry out front-end and back-end functions such as account setup, account funding, and direct deposit, among other things.

Total revenue in the technology division declined from the sequential quarter, while total revenue in the lending segment grew a respectable 12.4%. But in the financial services segment, which is by far the smallest of the three in terms of revenue, total revenue of more than $17 million grew 164% from the first quarter of 2021 and more than 600% from the second quarter of 2020.

The company attributed the surge in revenue mainly to a significant increase of new members on its online brokerage SoFi Invest, as well as from the new equity capital markets and advisory services offerings introduced during the quarter. Management also said they saw good signs from the SoFi Money cash management product.

A person looking and facing a very bright light.

Image source: Getty Images.

SoFi Invest allows members to invest in equities, cryptocurrencies, fractional shares, and robo-investing services. Aside from the fees associated with cryptocurrencies, SoFi Invest offers commission-free trading and earns money on the interest income generated on cash being held, as well as revenue from share lending and order flow.

SoFi Money is basically a checking account for members to park deposits in, but because SoFi is not yet a licensed bank -- it's in the process of obtaining a charter -- the deposits are actually stored with partner banks. But SoFi still makes some interest income on deposits it brings in, and this could be a significant area of growth once the bank charter is acquired. Also in the second quarter, SoFi rolled out an equity capital markets and advisory-services business, which put up strong revenue of $4.4 million in the quarter.

It's definitely good to see growth in SoFi Invest, which will make for an easy cross-sell opportunity, along with the SoFi Money checking account product, as members will be easily able to transfer funds to and from their checking and brokerage accounts. SoFi Invest also doesn't currently offer options trading. In 2020, the online brokerage Robinhood generated 46% of its total revenue from options trading, so it certainly could be a boost if SoFi eventually offers the feature.

More growth ahead

While still a smaller part of the company and not profitable, the financial services division at SoFi contributed about 7% of total net revenue in the second quarter. The growth is promising because most of the products and offerings in the financial services division are still fairly new.

Equity capital markets and advisory services offerings only just had its first quarter. SoFi CFO Chris LaPointe said on the company's recent earnings call that SoFi Money is in the early days in terms of deposits per account but saw triple-digit direct-deposit growth on a year-over-year basis.

SoFi Invest continues to add lots of members and may one day add options trading. Also, many of the offerings in the financial services division will get more profitable once the company obtains a bank charter.

Regardless of what you thought about SoFi's second quarter, the financial services division was a clear bright spot and showed how it has the potential to be a meaningful contributor to the overall business in the long term.

Bram Berkowitz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends SoFi Technologies, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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