Chicago-based online lender Avant is moving into deposits through the acquisition of Zero Financial and its neobank unit Level. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2012, Avant began life by lending its own capital to "midprime" Americans with credit scores in the 600 to 700 range, using algorithms and machine-learning capabilities to make decisions on loans of between $1000 and $20,000.
With more than 1.5 million customers, the firm is now turning to Zero Financial's Level and its banking app assets to help it expand its reach. Level brings cash back rewards on debit card purchases, a competitive APY on deposits, early access to paychecks and no hidden fees, says Avant.
James Paris, CEO, Avant, says: "The acquisition of Level is an important element of our strategy to provide underbanked and unserved consumers with a full ecosystem of transparent financial products and services with great features and rewards, all in one mobile app.
"Expanding our product portfolio allows us to serve even more people, offering every consumer access to innovative and rewards-based products to simplify and improve their financial journey."