SoFi to Acquire California Lender as Part of Push Into Banking

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Social Finance Inc. agreed to acquire California lender Golden Pacific Bancorp Inc., with the financial-technology firm calling the takeover a key step in its efforts to obtain a national bank charter.

San Francisco-based SoFi will pay $2.55 in cash for each share of Golden Pacific, or about $22.3 million in total, according to a statement Tuesday. Golden Pacific, based in Sacramento, is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and has roughly $150 million in assets.

In October, SoFi received preliminary approval from the OCC for a national bank charter. With the Golden Pacific takeover, SoFi will switch its current application to a change-of-control application. If granted a national bank charter, SoFi said it plans to contribute $750 million in capital and pursue its national, digital business plan while maintaining Golden Pacific’s community-bank business and three physical branches.

“We believe that by pursuing a national bank charter, we will be able to help even more people get their money right with enhanced value and more products and services,” SoFi Chief Executive Officer Anthony Noto said in the statement. The acquisition will “both accelerate our pursuit to establish a national bank subsidiary, as well as begin to expand our offerings.”

In January, SoFi agreed to merge with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. V, a special purpose acquisition company founded by former Facebook Inc. executive Chamath Palihapitiya, part of a growing trend of closely held firms going public by merging with a SPAC.

Golden Pacific’s community-bank business will be renamed SoFi Bank NA, and Golden Pacific CEO Virginia Varela will continue to lead that business under the direction of Paul Mayer, who will serve as president of SoFi Bank NA. The transaction, scheduled for completion this year, must be approved by the OCC and the Federal Reserve.

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