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SoFi stock is rising as student loan payments resume this fall
Source: Michael Vi / Shutterstock
In just the last month SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) stock has nearly doubled.
It was trading on June 15 at around $9.40 per share. A month ago, it was below $5.
The run-up brings the market cap of the online bank and brokerage back to $8.8 billion. That’s still below where I bought in, at the height of the 2021 boom. In 2023, it has rewarded my patience.
The best reason for the run-up comes down to two words. Student loans. SoFi was founded over a decade ago to refinance student loans and, with the COVID-era moratorium on repayments ending, the company is due some money.
SoFi stock is not affected by the Supreme Court case being decided this month, testing whether the Biden Administration had the power to forgive some federal student loans, reducing the principal by $20,000.
Private loans, like those held by SoFi, aren’t eligible for relief unless the borrower applied to consolidate them into a Direct Loan by last September. They were only subject to the COVID moratorium.
Since 2020, SoFi has been trying to replace student loans in its portfolio with personal loans, and it has made a lot of progress. But there are still many student loans on the books and, once that money starts flowing again, it’s possible the company may show a profit.
SoFi’s most recent quarterly report, for the three months ending in March, showed a loss of $34 million, 5 cents per share. That’s with revenue up 43% from the same quarter a year ago. Some analysts now see a positive quarter as a catalyst akin to Palantir’s (NASDAQ:PLTR) first profit. That stock quickly doubled in price once its business model was proven.
Until a year ago, SoFi mainly sold the loans it made. Then it bought a bank. Now it can hold its loans and make them off its own deposits.
But as I wrote in April, SoFi stock represents a lot more than that. SoFi owns Galileo, allowing other banks to offer its services. It sells its own banking software through Technisys.
Its purchase of Wyndham Capital Management earlier this year puts SoFi in the mortgage business. SoFi is also an online broker, and while Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) made a mess of that business, SoFi’s numbers look replicable.
Mostly, I’m high on SoFi stock because of Anthony Noto. His experience as chief financial officer for the National Football League helped him get naming rights to the LA Rams’ stadium. As I’ve said before, I often bet the jockey rather than the horse, and Noto is a good jockey.
Thanks to Noto, analysts kept pounding the table for SoFi stock even as it fell, from $22 at the height of the last bull market to its recent low. They even forgave SoFi’s original sin, coming public as a SPAC in 2021 under the (now) notorious Chamath Palahapitiya. 
SoFi stock is back to being what it is, an online financial supermarket with the greatest breadth of assets in the industry. They offer banking; they offer brokerage; they offer mortgages; they do it wholesale and retail. You can even get Bitcoin, although I don’t think you want it.
SoFi is perfectly positioned for a new era in finance where there are no offices, where there are very few workers, where everything is done online, in real time. That’s a powerful story. Unlike some brick and mortar banks, it seems to be well-managed.
The reward from buying that story may still lie in the future, but that’s what you invest in. You can’t make money off yesterday.
As of this writing, Dana Blankenhorn held a LONG position in SOFI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.
Dana Blankenhorn has been a financial and technology journalist since 1978. He is the author of Technology’s Big Bang: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with Moore’s Law, available at the Amazon Kindle store. Tweet him at @danablankenhorn, connect with him on Mastodon or subscribe to his Substack.

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