A bet on banking doesn't seem to have saved troubled fintech LendUp. Parent company LendUp Global has reportedly begun liquidating assets, including its neobank subsdiary, through an assignment for the benefit of creditors, a quieter alternative to a public bankruptcy.
Fintech Business Weekly reported LendUp's plans Sunday. In December, the CFPB ordered LendUp, a fintech primarily known for its earned wage access product, to cease lending operations after allegedly misleading and deceiving customers. At the time, a spokesperson told Protocol that a neobank also owned by their parent company, Ahead Money, would continue operations.
The company, once considered an exciting investment opportunity by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures, faced a lengthy regulatory battle from 2016 to the end of 2021. The company first entered into consent orders with regulators in 2016 after allegedly deceiving borrowers about the terms of their loans. Four years later the company was again cited by the CFPB for violating military lending laws.
But when the CFPB sued the company in late 2021, it was the final straw for the agency: LendUp had violated its 2016 consent order, the agency said, continuing “with much of the same illegal and deceptive marketing.”
In announcing the action, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra condemned VCs for investing in the company. “LendUp was backed by some of the biggest names in venture capital,” Chopra said in a statement. “We are shuttering the lending operations of this fintech for repeatedly lying and illegally cheating its customers.”
According to Jason Mikula’s report on Fintech Business Weekly, Kinly has acquired some of Ahead’s customers. When calling a customer service line, Mikula spoke to a representative from Kinly who said Ahead had “rebranded.” Reviews and complaints from customers that they cannot transfer funds appeared on app stores and social media. Protocol was unable to reach a customer service or press representative, and Kinly did not respond to email requests by publication.
LendUp also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.