Tandem looks to resurrect its fintech creds with Oplo deal

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Endeam – one of the original digital challenger banks struggling to keep up with fintech superstars Monzo and Starling – re-emerged on the London scene today with a major new acquisition – and is looking to turn a profit and help the environment. promised.

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Tandem announced this morning that it is acquiring Blackpool-based consumer lender Oppo, which has loaned more than £900m to mainstream customers since its launch 10 years ago.

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Although the firm remained silent on the details of the deal, there is speculation that private equity backers Pollen Street may have poured significant new funds into the business as part of the transaction.

With Oplo, the bank will have assets worth £1.2bn – including a £230m green loan for those looking to invest in solar panels and carbon-free heat pumps for their homes.

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The green lending market is set to grow significantly in the coming decades, with the government estimating that the UK needs to spend more than £10bn a year to achieve its net zero targets.

First launched in 2014, Tandem’s ambitions to disrupt the digital banking market have stalled in recent years, while other fintechs have moved on with high client numbers and valuations.

After backtracking from offering accounts and credit cards, recently Tandem has narrowed down to offering savings accounts and offering specialist lending for home improvement loans.

The bank now has more than £1 billion in lending to retail customers, compared to Monzo with less than £100 million in personal loans and Starling which last year had £150 in personal lending before getting a book of mortgages. was less than a million.

Today’s deal means new CEO Susie Alikar — a career banker who was drafted as the new CEO last year — has decided to double down on Tandem’s ability to grow its lending operations. While other fintechs have largely followed suit around its new banking app, many have struggled to get their consumer lending operations off the ground.

What is happening?

Digital bank Tandem has bought fast-growing consumer lender Oppo in an effort to revive it as one of the UK’s leading fintechs – and has promised to provide a ‘fair green’ way for customers to borrow money. The deal creates a bank with over £1 billion in lending and deposits.

total customer

Total assets

retail lending property

retail deposit

Starling (Annual Report, March 21)

2,700,000

£7 billion

£134 million*

£2.38 billion

Monzo (Annual Report, February 21)

5,000,000

£3.6 billion

£87 million

£3.1 billion

Tandem (October 21)

171,000

£1.2 billion

C. £1 billion

c. £1 billion

* Starling purchased the Fleet Mortgage business in July 2021 – operate as separate businesses, c. £1.75 billion in mortgage balances

Who is Tandem Bank – Aren’t they just another digital bank?

Launched in 2014, Tandem was one of the original ‘neo banks’ that emerged in the wave of new fintechs that came on the scene after the financial crisis. Originally offering accounts, credit cards and savings products, it has recently narrowed down to savings accounts, while developing specialist lending products as it struggles to find ways to make money and rivals fintechs. Like with Starling and Revolut the momentum is lost.

Who is Oplo – I’ve never heard of him.

Oppo was launched in 2009 by founder Alex Molart. The consumer lender has created a large lending book that focuses on those with less than perfect credit scores – a market that traditional banks tend to shy away from. Molart’s business has raised over £900m in loans over the past decade and helped over 20,000 customers improve their credit scores while providing strong profits along the way.

Why does the deal matter?

New CEO Susie Alikar is hoping the deal will put Tandem back on the map. Oplo provides Tandem a path to profit with its lending operations that could give Tandem’s growing green loan offerings as well as other fintechs a run for their money in the personal finance market.

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