Shares of the artificial-intelligence (AI)-centric lender Upstart Holdings (UPST 0.83%) traded nearly 5% higher as of 1:43 p.m. ET today after the company announced a new partnership with Salesforce.com. Also, people on social media are noticing a new piece of information on the website that suggests the company automated a higher percentage of loans in the first quarter of the year.
Upstart announced a new partnership with Salesforce this morning called Upstart AI Lending for Salesforce, which enables bank and credit union employees to launch a loan application for borrowers through any mode of communication, whether it's when borrowers are on the phone with customer service or through a QR code.
Banks and credit unions can now use Salesforce to create an invitation for a customer to apply for an Upstart loan, which can also be emailed to that customer with an easy link to the application. Information on that customer is pulled by Salesforce and used to pre-fill parts of the application.
"With Upstart AI Lending for Salesforce, financial institutions have access to a better, 360-degree view of the customer. Banks and credit unions are able to see and serve customers like never before," Michael Lock, senior vice president of lending partnerships at Upstart, said in a statement. "This integration with Financial Services Cloud enables financial institutions to deliver the most modern personal lending experience anywhere, regardless of their size or geography."
In other news, people on social media noticed that under the "about" section of Upstart's website, the company notes the percentage of loans fully automated in the first quarter of the year was a record 74%, up from 70% in the prior quarter. Upstart has not formally reported earnings results for the first quarter yet, so investors might believe this is hinting at a good quarterly report.
The partnership with Salesforce is certainly a good thing, as a key part of Upstart's model is getting more banks and credit unions to originate loans with its technology, so the easier it is for financial institutions, the more intrigued they are likely to be.
I'm not exactly sure what to make of the loan automation finding -- it's likely good news unless origination volume dropped in the quarter.
But I still have my reservations about the company, largely due to the fact that it's ramping up lending to consumers with lower FICO scores as economic conditions are getting much more difficult.