WSFS keeps skin in the fintech game after SoFi buys Claymont’s Zenbanx

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Zenbanx Logo: Purple globe with a Z connecting two individuals separated by distance. (PRNewsFoto/Zenbanx)

WSFS Financial Corp. will stay in the Fintech game after the acquisition ofZenbanx by San Francisco-based Social Financial (SoFi).

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Zenbanx, which has a site in Claymont, has developed a smartphone app that can move money around in various currencies. The site employs 25. The office will remain open with staff joining SoFi.

Zenbanx was launched in 2012 byArkadi Kuhlmann, a founder of INGDirect, now a part of Capital One. Zenbanx later formed an alliance with WSFS as its US banking partner.

The SoFi acquisition fits in with Kuhlmann’s strategy at INGDirect of growing businesses under a corporate umbrella. Kuhlmann will head banking activities for SoFi.

WSFS, Zenbanx launch multiple currency account

INGDirect was owned by the Dutch-based financial services company that was later forced to sell off its banking holdings by regulators after the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

As part of SoFi’s acquisition of Zenbanx, WSFS announced it has extended its strategic alliance with SoFi and will continue to issue and support the mobile-first account and explore partnering on a domestic checking account and credit card offering.

SoFi has used the Internet to move into the area of loans for bill consolidation, student loan refinancing and other areas.

“We are pleased to continue our work with Zenbanx and now with SoFi, who together are assembling the best platform, talent, and resources in the fintech arena,” said Mark A. Turner, CEO of WSFS Bank. “As we have done with Zenbanx for nearly three years, we look forward to offering and supporting even more innovative products to the financial services marketplace through SoFi, continuing our organizational learning in this fast-developing space, and participating in value creation through our share ownership.”

“We want to be the center of our members’ financial lives, and our acquisition of Zenbanx is key to that,” said Mike Cagney, SoFi co-founder CEO. “By continuing Zenbanx’s partnership with WSFS, we can more quickly bring people products that we believe are significantly better than what’s on the market today.”

SoFi’s acquisition of Zenbanx is expected to close in mid-February. Following the acquisition, WSFS’ ownership stake in Zenbanx will convert to an ownership in SoFi.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

WSFS has grown into the largest Delaware Valley-based bank, with 75 offices in the region. It has also moved into investment services.

SoFi comes with deep pockets, having received more than $1.4 billion funding, including a 2015 $1 billion Series E led by SoftBank, a Japanese-based investor in technology companies.

SoFi’s customers now number more than 225,000. The company has more than 800 employees.

“SoFi and Zenbanx are well aligned to create an unparalleled financial experience for customers,” statedKuhlmann, “I am absolutely delighted that we are merging our visions and our talented teams.”

If SoFi maintains or grows its presence in Delaware, the move will be further evidence of the growth of FinTech (financial technology) in the state. The disruptive technology is aimed at providing ways for customers who are doing more of their banking on mobile devices.

The disruptive technology is aimed at providing ways for customers who are doing more of their banking on mobile devices while relying less on brick and morter locations.

Chase has established a technology hub in Delaware, with INGDirect successor CapitalOne also focusing on technology in the fast-growing area.

A number of local Fintech and non financial start-ups have also been launched, many from veterans of the entrepreneurial culture of INGDirect.

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