San Francisco refinancing startup Earnest, just raised $75 million in Series B financing, led by Battery Ventures and Maveron. Earnest, like Sofi, started off providing student loans, but has a bigger vision of becoming a bank for the digital age. Startups are told to stay focused and become market leaders, so what real success can come out of fintech disruptors trying to take on all banking related services? Perhaps these companies should focus on being the best in their target market, before attempting to conquer others.
Earnest’s ambitions for becoming a better consumer bank starts with lending. The company lets college graduates refinance their student loans, potentially giving them better rates than they would get with traditional sources. To do so, Earnest says it tries to get a deeper understanding of the borrowers beyond just a credit score. The company takes into account how much an applicant has saved in a retirement account or 401K, for example.