One of the biggest names to have emerged out of the fintech industry over the last few years is that of GreenSky Credit. For the better part of the decade that followed the company’s 2006 founding, GreenSky Credit didn’t register on most people’s radar. The company was overshadowed by far more widely hyped fintech companies. Unfortunately for the analysts and investors that jumped on board its competitors’ bandwagon, the chief rivals of GreenSky Credit, OnDeck and Lending Club, have proven to be short-lived financial Hindenburgs. Today, those two companies are smoking holes in the ground while GreenSky Credit continues to rapidly accelerate its pace of lending. And all of this success can be squarely attributed to the vision of GreenSky Credit founder David Zalik.
A different vision for creating value in fintech
From the beginning, Zalik fell out of favor with many investors and analysts due to what many people perceived to be the cardinal sin of Silicon Valley: being too conservative and boring. Although Zalik is an innate risk taker, having bet nearly every cent he had in launching GreenSky Credit, his vision of the best way for financial technology companies to create value struck most of the starry eyed mid-2000s Silicon Valley types as being pedestrian and status quo.
And it is true that Zalik took a radically different approach to the creation of value through financial technology. Rather than trying to reinvent the lending wheel in an industry that had been around for thousands of years, Zalik sought instead to deploy his clever technology to do more of what had been proven over millennia to work. That is, Zalik sought to instantly connect high-end borrowers with some of the largest lenders in the country to complete big-ticket point-of-sale purchases that would go off without a hitch. While its competitors were trying to convince investors why they were entering the era of viable NINJA loans, Zalik was concentrating on homeowners with FICO scores of 800 and higher. And these prime borrowers have driven the business ever since.
Today, GreenSky is mulling a multi-billion-dollar IPO while its competitors are looking at bankruptcy.