Blockchain And Crypto Unicorn Figure Reveals U.S. Bank Ambitions

Blockchain-based lending company Figure Technologies, a fintech unicorn founded by former SoFi chief executive Mike Cagney, has revealed it’s applied for a national bank charter.

Figure, after last year raising $103 million at a valuation of more than $1.2 billion, claims a fully-fledged national bank charter would help the company better navigate regulation, reduce costs and improve security.

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“Figure is pursuing the charter to reduce the complexity of our business,” Cagney said in a press release, pointing to company’s soon-to-be 200 various state licenses.

“This charter will allow Figure to originate loans to a greater number of consumers,” added Nick Ambrosini, executive vice president at credit union and Figure strategic partner Valley Strong.

CD Davies, currently head of lending at San Francisco-based Figure, is set to lead the company’s efforts to obtain the bank charter from the Office of the Controller of the Currency (OCC) and will eventually become Figure Bank’s chief executive.

“This national bank charter will be instrumental in our efforts to continue to develop and deliver new financial products and services to communities across this country that really haven’t had access to affordable offerings,” Davies said.

Figure uses its blockchain platform, Provenance, to digitize the “cumbersome paper-based [loan] processes” and Cagney claims traditional banks are beginning to do the same.

“Our loan buyers all utilize Provenance blockchain, and are now looking at originating on their own on the chain,” Cagney said via email. “Figure has de-risked blockchain across a variety of verticals—lending, fund services, payments.

While Cagney said Figure Bank will “not initially” offer bitcoin and cryptocurrency services, it “will custody digital securities native to blockchain, however.”

Last year, alongside its $103 million funding round, Figure added Morgan Creek Digital’s Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano to its board.