Freedom Financial Network Secures $125 Million from Vulcan Capital for New Personalized Lending Platform
FreedomPlus to provide fast, simple, affordable loans for 80 million underserved but creditworthy consumers
San Mateo, Calif. - Dec. 11, 2013 - Freedom Financial Network, LLC (FFN) announced that it has received a capital commitment of $125 million from private investment firm Vulcan Capital. FFN will use this capital to grow its lending operations and to launch FreedomPlus, a new personalized lending platform set to debut in early 2014. FreedomPlus specializes in underwriting emerging-prime consumers through a proprietary underwriting process that delivers lower cost loans for borrowers and lower risk access to consumer loan portfolios for accredited investors.
FreedomPlus will serve the approximately 80 million mid-credit Americans who are underserved by big banks focused on super-prime lending products. Through a hybrid underwriting process that combines traditional credit data with real-time consumer inputs, FreedomPlus can more accurately account for a borrower's unique financial circumstances to provide personalized and competitively priced loans. As a direct lender, FreedomPlus will offer both consumers and investors significant advantages over the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model.
"The original idea of the P2P pioneers was to create an eBay of consumer lending," said Andrew Housser, co-founder of Freedom Financial Network and CEO of FreedomPlus. "At FreedomPlus, we believe that an Amazon approach - personal, private, fast and simple - is much better suited to the needs and wants of today's borrowers and investors."
FreedomPlus is the outgrowth of more than five years of FFN lending experience, during which FFN extended consolidation loans at reasonable rates to consumers struggling with their existing debt. The program extended unsecured loans with average balances greater than $15,000 at responsible rates and experienced annual default rates of less than two percent.
"We have the proven ability to understand and address a financially challenged consumer segment with more success than some of the most respected credit providers," continued Housser. "The launch of FreedomPlus allows us to scale our unique approach, reaching an even broader audience and providing millions of Americans with access to the credit they need but currently cannot find."
Housser has been joined by Joseph Toms as the organization's President and Chief Investment Officer. Toms is a veteran asset management executive and the only C-level executive to have served at leading P2P lenders Lending Club and Prosper. He provides unique experience and an understanding of how to bring a pool of investor capital to the consumer lending market in a way that that will benefit both borrowers and accredited investors.
"My experience in asset management and in the P2P industry clearly demonstrated the need to build a next generation, non-bank consumer lending model," explained Toms. "I am excited to grow FreedomPlus on the strong foundation of a well-resourced company with deep financial experience, assets and a proven track record of helping consumers improve their financial condition."
FreedomPlus is the first vertically integrated consumer lending asset manager for accredited investors that manages everything from customer acquisition through to investment decisions. In this model, capital drives borrower acquisition strategy, thereby providing investors with more risk-controlled access to consumer lending portfolios. As a result, FreedomPlus can leverage a larger pool of affordable capital to fund more loans and serve more borrowers.
FreedomPlus continues to speak with additional partners and investors ahead of its 2014 launch. To learn more about FreedomPlus, please visit http://www.freedomplus.com.
About Vulcan Capital
Vulcan Capital was formed in 2003 and is headquartered in Seattle, Wash. The firm serves as the investment arm of Vulcan Inc., the company founded by Paul G. Allen to manage his philanthropic and business endeavors. The firm invests across all stages of corporate development through start-up and early-stage companies, growth equity, leveraged buyouts, distressed situations, as well as investing in public equities and other liquid asset classes. Vulcan Capital's current portfolio spans a range of industry sectors, including technology, life sciences, energy and natural resources, media and communications, and financial and information services. For more information, visit capital.vulcan.com.
About Freedom Financial Network, LLC
Freedom Financial Network (FFN) provides comprehensive consumer credit advocacy services. Through its Bills.com, Freedom Debt Relief, Freedom Tax Relief, ConsolidationPlus and FreedomPlus products, FFN works as an independent advocate to provide comprehensive financial solutions, including debt settlement, debt resolution, debt consolidation and tax resolution services for consumers struggling with debt. The company, which has resolved more than $2 billion in debt for more than 200,000 clients since 2002, is an accredited member of the American Fair Credit Council, and a platinum member of the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., and Tempe, Ariz., FFN has more than 600 employees, and has been voted one of the best places to work in the San Francisco Bay area in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013, and in the Phoenix area in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. FFN's founders received the Northern California Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008.
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