I am continually amazed by the constant flow of guests from various banks on Upstart’s senior VP of biz dev Jeff Keltner’s podcast. UPST seems to have a deep network bench with many banking players.
For example, a contact from the large bank Wells Fargo made it onto the show 2 months ago. https://youtu.be/0o2qoPh7TIA
That guest was Head of Digital, Product Strategy and Change Delivery - Home Lending at Wells Fargo.
This is great, that Upstart is networking into mortgage/home lending this early on for the future and lay down some groundwork while they are still concentrating on personal/auto. (Although Blend has partnered with Wells Fargo to digitize home lending apps, Blend does not have AI underwriting capabilities, so a Wells Fargo mortgage partnership way way down the line with UPST is still feasible in my eyes. If you are curious, here is more info on Blend which recently IPOed: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/0001855747/000119312…)
Most recently (yesterday) another episode was uploaded involving USAA’s GM of Consumer Lending Line of Business. https://youtu.be/72W11pNydyc
It is very notable that USAA has over $200 billion in assets and more than 13 million customers.
Speculatively, this recent episode might be a hint that USAA will partner with UPST down the line. Such a move would be huge.
If you look at USAA’s personal loan page, they very clearly need to modernize their application process into a digital front, let alone upgrade their underwriting to UPST’s AI platform.
Check the link out, USAA currently asks the prospecting applicant to pick up their phone and call to apply! https://mobile.usaa.com/inet/wc/bank-loan-personal
If UPST cinches a partner several times the size of their recent Associated Bank ($34B assets) win, the network effect will be accelerated.
Other banks might feel even more comfortable signing on with UPST if they see a big, big player do so, and such an annoucement would also increase their fears they are falling behind the trend toward digitization and AI lending.
As we recall from UPST CEO recent interview with Cramer:
“There are about 25 banks and credit unions on our platform today compared to 10 back in December so the growth rate is quick and the pipeline is extremely strong. I would be shocked if in a couple of years we don’t have hundreds of banks and credit unions on the platform.“
It will be interesting to see how the pipeline expands in the next few months!