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SoFi CEO Mike Cagney: Your Bank Is Not Your Friend, and That's a Problem

"A bank has become a utility. It’s not aligned to your interests. It’s not a partner."

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

When SoFi launched its first campaign to refinance student loans at Stanford University, most students turned it down — not because the terms of the loans were bad, but because a financial tech startup seemed less trustworthy than a bank.

Five years later, SoFi CEO Mike Cagney says just the opposite is true, and customers are choosing SoFi over older banks because they can trust it more. On the latest episode of “Re/code Decode” with Kara Swisher, Cagney explained how the marketplace lending company, which recently raised $1 billion in a funding round led by SoftBank, is trying to disrupt financial services from within.

They’re impersonal, and they miss on a lot of the things that are very important to people,” Cagney said of traditional banks. “A bank has become a utility. It’s not aligned to your interests. It’s not a partner.”

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

He also discussed the bigger roadmap for SoFi beyond student loans. One of those plans: A dating app to let SoFi members find each other.

“We are going to have a SoFi dating application,” Cagney said. “And it’s not just because I want to run an ad saying, ‘When did your bank ever get you a date?’”

Listen to or download the episode in the player above, or click here to subscribe to “Re/code Decode” on iTunes; you can also find “Re/code Decode” on TuneIn, Stitcher and Clammr.

Peter Kafka will be in this space on Thursday to talk to Andrew Jarecki, the director of “The Jinx.” Kara will be back on Monday to talk to Founder Hadi Partovi.

You can also hear Kara this Friday on “Too Embarrassed to Ask,” her new podcast with Lauren Goode from The Verge. Click here to subscribe to “Too Embarrassed to Ask” on iTunes right now. And you should also check out “Re/code Replay,” an archive of audio content from our events and interviews by Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more. To subscribe to that, click right here.

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