Activist investors are pressuring the small business lender to cut costs and turn a profit by the end of the year. This maneuver may indicate the company will eventually explore a sale to a strategic buyer.
When it went public in a splashy initial public offering in December 2014 the company was sold as a disrupter of the big banks, likely to steal away customers through generating billions of dollars of loans to small businesses. But since then the New York-based OnDeck has made money in just two of 10 quarters, hit by rising funding costs and bigger provisions for bad loans. Earlier this month the company said it would shift its focus from growth to profitability, cutting about a quarter of its staff, tightening underwriting standards and keeping more of its loans on its own balance sheet, rather than flipping them to institutional investors.