Online lending platform GreenSky edges higher on market debut

(Reuters) - GreenSky LLC GSKY.O, an online platform for consumers to get loans for home improvements or cosmetic surgery, made its market debut on Thursday, with shares rising slightly above the initial public offering price.

The Atlanta-based firm’s upsized initial public offering of 38 million shares was priced at $23 per share earlier on Thursday, raising about $874 million.

“Our ambitions are to continue to grow and be a very, very large company,” Chief Executive David Zalik said in a telephone interview. “We’ve been building this business for 12 years.”

Having fallen as much as 4 percent in early trading, the stock was up at around $23.10 later in the day.

GreenSky is considered one of the most attractive fintech names in America. It is also the second fintech company this week after payments processor EVO Payments Inc EVOP.O to see its IPO priced at the upper end of the expected range.

While many technology-driven online lenders such as LendingClub Corp LC.N and OnDeck Capital Inc ONDK.N have struggled to grow their loan portfolios, weighed down by concerns over underwriting standards and access to funding, GreenSky avoids these perils by being a conduit to banks and other specialty lenders.

The company had 1.7 million customers as of March 31, and has helped finance over $12 billion in loans with its bank partners which include SunTrust Banks Inc STI.N, Regions Financial Corp RF.N, Fifth Third Bancorp FITB.O and Synovus Financial Corp SNV.N.

GreenSky provides its services at the point of sale, which helps attract more customers and increase sales volume. It counts Home Depot Inc HD.N as its biggest merchant.

In 2016, the company began expanding into elective healthcare to target creditworthy consumers who make large purchases. Elective healthcare includes clinics providing cosmetic and aesthetic surgeries, reproductive medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.

GreenSky’s 2017 revenue jumped 23.5 percent year-over-year to $325.9 million, while profit rose 11.4 percent to $138.7 million as transaction volumes surged 31 percent.

Following the IPO, Zalik will hold 47.68 percent of voting power at the company, GreenSky said in its IPO filing

Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley are among the main underwriting banks on GreenSky’s IPO.

Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru and Joshua Franklin in New York; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Lisa Shumaker