Ally returns to credit cards in a $ 750 million deal to buy Fair Square Financial


Diving letter:

  • Ally Financial, based in Detroit, plans to acquire the credit card company Fair Square Financial, the company said in its Third quarter earnings report Thursday.
  • The $ 750 million deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
  • This deal marks Ally’s first credit card business since June 2020, when the bank abandoned plans to merge with Woodbury, New York-based sub-prime credit card lender CardWorks in a $ 2.7 billion deal.

Dive Insight:

The Fair Square deal marks Ally’s return to credit cards after a few years. Ally ended its credit card partnership with TD Bank in 2019 when the Detroit-based lender set the $ 100 million loan protfolio did not live up to expectations. The Ally TD Credit card introduced in June 2016 to sell additional products to Ally’s auto loan customers. The card offered cash rewards between 1% and 2% and limited Ally’s risk – TD assumed the credit losses – but Ally also had fewer opportunities to make money on the card, it said.

Ally abandoned credit cards in favor of point-of-sale lending – a maneuver that was first supported with a $ 190 million deal to purchase Health Credit Services, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2019.

Ally then connected with Mastercards Vyze last year to get into the retail point of sale credit space. As part of this partnership, installment loans for purchases between $ 500 and $ 40,000 with interest rates between 9.99% and 26.99% were considered.

In between the two deals, Ally attempted to merge with a subprime credit card issuer CardWorks in a $ 2.7 billion transaction that never materialized. The companies pointed out that “the unprecedented economic and market conditions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. “

“We’ve been trying to figure that out for years,” said Ally CFO Jennifer LaClair said Bloomberg.

Fair Square Financial offers a digital-first credit card platform and has 658,000 cardholders and $ 763 million in credit balances. Based in Wilmington, Delaware, the lender focuses on lower credit consumers.

The average FICO score for Ally’s auto finance borrowers is 683 and the average for Fair Square customers is 657. according to American Banker.

“Our announcement to acquire Fair Square Financial – a digital credit card company – is in line with our long-term strategy to become the leading full-service digital bank,” said Ally CEO Jeffrey Brown on a conference call Thursday. “The transaction enhances our ability to provide Ally’s growing customer base with differentiated products to save, spend, invest and borrow. The addition of credit cards complements our existing offering and adds a growing, customer-centric product with attractive risks. adjusted returns. “

The acquisition will not affect Ally’s plans to repurchase $ 2 billion worth of shares, the bank said.

Meanwhile, Ally reported third-quarter sales of $ 1.99 billion on Thursday. The bank’s auto investments jumped from $ 9.8 billion to $ 12.3 billion last year – a period in which net income rose from $ 476 million to $ 683 million.


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