SoFi CEO Anthony Noto told CNBC on Wednesday that the fintech company’s investing platform has seen a strong increase in users this year, in what has been a volatile period for financial markets.
“We’ve seen the number of people that use SoFi Invest double, the number of accounts open since the beginning of the year,” Noto said on “Squawk Alley.”
Noto said the uptick in SoFi Invest usage is indicative of a “tale of two cities” during the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused widespread economic damage in the U.S. in addition to its significant health toll.
“There are some people that absolutely need to repair their financial lives, and they need to borrow to do so,” Noto said. “There are some people that need to build for the future, and they’re choosing to invest during these trying times now that they have more time to be home and be more thoughtful about investing.”
Younger investors, in particular, have sensed opportunity during the coronavirus-driven market downturn as a number of other online brokers say they saw a spike in new accounts so far this year.
Noto, a former executive at Twitter and the National Football League, said that 40% of trades on SoFi Invest are through fractional shares.
Allowing fractional stock purchases is viewed as a way to make investing more accessible, particularly for younger people. Firms such as Robinhood and Fidelity also offer fractional trading, and Charles Schwab‘s “Schwab Stock Slices” service is launching soon.
SoFi, founded in 2011, early on focused on refinancing student loans for millennials but has since expanded its financial products and now offers personal and mortgage loans. It launched SoFi Invest and SoFi Money, a cash management account, in 2019.
Last month, San Francisco-based SoFi agreed to buy payments software company Galileo for $1.2 billion.
More details were released Wednesday about Samsung Money by SoFi, the company’s partnership with Samsung, which is set to launch later this summer. It provides a cash management account along with a Mastercard debit card and integrates with the existing Samsung Pay service.
“Our partnership with Samsung is really an extension of our ability to reach people to help them achieve financial independence and get their money right,” Noto said.