Ally plans to expand Wilmington credit business

Fair Square Financial, seen at a ribbon-cutting event in Wilmington in 2019, has been acquired by lending giant Ally and is now planning an expansion project. | Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

Wilmington – just ended Acquisition of fintech startup Fair Square Financialauto loan giant Ally is now planning to expand in Wilmington, adding as many as 150 high-paying jobs.

established six years ago Sponsored by a handful of banking veterans from Bank of America, JPMorgan, Capital One, Citigroup and elsewhere, Fair Square launches subprime and near-premium credit cards olo 2017.

Ally, the new owner of Fair Square Financial, is planning a $500,000 expansion at the Brandywine building in Wilmington. | DBT photo by Jacob Owens

Led by CEO Rob Habgood, the startup quickly gained backing from high-profile investors, taking in $300 million from investment firms. Backed by a $779,000 Strategic Fund grant backed by state taxpayers in 2017, Fair Square expanded its offices in the Brandywine Building in downtown Wilmington and hired additional staff to manage its data analytics, data mining, Marketing and credit underwriting.

Detroit-based Ally bought Fair Square for $750 million in December and has been considering how to grow the business further.

While Ally may choose to shift credit operations — it has multiple offices across the country — the company has opted to invest in an expansion of Fair Square in Wilmington. It will invest $520,000 to equip an additional 7,000 square feet of offices in its Brandywine building and increase employment by as much as 200 percent over the next few years. According to Habgood, the average salary for new positions, which include analysts, managers and directors, is $170,000.

Allies Has the ability to significantly accelerate the growth of our credit card business to support this higher growth opportunity,” said Habgood. “We initially chose Wilmington to start a business because it provided access to a large pool of credit card talent. “

To support the expansion, the state’s Board of Investment, Development Finance Committee unanimously approved Monday a $20,000 capital grant and a $2.64 million job performance grant to create new jobs over the next three years. Ally currently employs 75 people in Delaware, with a handful of employees out of state.

While committee members questioned whether any of the roles would end up being teleported and moved out of the state, state officials assured them that the grant clause would require roles created to file Delaware income taxes. They also noted that Fair Square not only fulfilled the terms of the first grant.

Habgood explained that Fair Square’s employees currently have a mix of working hours post-pandemic, but face-to-face communication remains an important part of their culture.

“Our goal is to attract as many people as possible, and our success as a business is because of the integrated nature of bringing everyone together and solving problems,” he said.

Ollo – a name with no specific meaning, but choose Because of its easy-to-pronounce name – there are two different cards, one with no annual fee and one with unlimited cash back on purchases. It has partnered with Wilmington-based design firm Bonteous to develop products, adding to its local commitment.

Like other quasi or subprime lenders, Fair Square goes beyond traditional credit reporting metrics to identify good customers, including reviewing residence time, long-term credit history and other data to determine whether they can reliably service their debts. To date, Fair Square has about 1 million customers and holds about $1 billion worth of loans.

2020, success securitization $300 million in credit card debt, praised by credit rating agencies, showing that its model produces reliable customers.

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