Sentiment for SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) has undoubtedly improved over the past six months, but SOFI stock still has its critics.
There are those skeptical that this fintech/neobank will continue to be successful, during what is a challenging time for the financial services space.
In addition, there is some skepticism about SOFI remaining, that has to do more with valuation. There are some critics that continue to believe that the market should value this company more like a bank rather than like a tech company, once it achieves consistent profitability.
This suggests limited upside potential compared to current prices (around $8 per share).
However, taking a closer look, it’s clear that dismissing SoFi’s potential to stay resilient (or even thrive) in the current environment is perhaps a short-sighted move.
Underestimating upside potential may be a mistake as well.
Read on, and I’ll explain why.
SOFI Stock: Poised to Prosper Thanks to Customer Focus?
Industry bullishness notwithstanding, bank stocks remain out of favor among investors. Shares in banks tanked earlier this year because of concerns related to the impact of rising interest rates on existing bank loan portfolios, and these concerns have yet to fully go away.
In addition, there are worries about the impact of a 2024 recession on the banking sector’s operating performance over the next twelve months.
These problems are likely to keep looming over the banking sector for now. However, these are likely not big issues for this digital-first financial services firm, or for SOFI stock.
As InvestorPlace’s Thomas Niel pointed out when the banking crisis unfolded, this neobank was sitting on a considerably small amount of unrealized losses because of rising interest rates. That’s not all.
SoFi may be well-positioned to not merely ride out/survive a downturn, but thrive. It all has to do with the credit quality of its primary customer base.
As CEO Anthony Noto pointed out during the company’s latest earnings conference call, to both capitalize on rising demand for unsecured personal loans, and at the same time minimize risk, SoFi is focusing on making such loans to these less-risky customers.
A Path to Outsized Earnings Growth
Tapping into rising unsecured loan demand, coupled with booming student loan refinancing demand post-moratorium, are just two factors suggesting continued strong results ahead for this company, and by extension SOFI stock.
As I discussed recently, SoFi yet again reported strong quarterly results, in its Oct. 30 earnings release. The firm’s membership and deposit base keeps rising. As this growth enables Sofi to increase its ability to make and secure new loans, hitting management’s target of positive GAAP earnings this quarter appears within reach.
Again, while recent and upcoming developments may prove wrong those skeptical about SoFi’s growth potential, the valuation critique may still stand for a longer period of time.
Since the start of the market downturn in late 2021, shares in established and profitable fintechs like PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) have moved down to valuations closer to that of bank stocks, and far from the loftier multiples sported by tech stocks, and may not revert back.
However, the situation may differ for SoFi. Analyst forecasts point to outsized earnings growth, following the bank’s hitting of full year profitability in 2024, including a more-than-tripling of earnings per share (or EPS) in 2025. Such growth could help sustain a premium valuation.
Bottom Line: Big Potential for Those Bullish Today
Once profitable, SoFi won’t keep reporting high double-digit or even triple-digit earnings growth in perpetuity. However, if its unique platform keeps catching on in popularity among Millennial and Gen Z customers, it may be many years before this fintech fully reaches the low-growth stage.
Hence, instead of trading for ten to fifteen times earnings, shares could trade at a considerably higher forward multiple. This points to shares, once profitability is achieved and macro concerns ease, trading at prices well above current price levels.
Don’t get me wrong. The skeptical take could keep weighing on its performance in the near-term. Future gains also hinge completely on SoFi continuing to knock it out of the park.
Even so, if you’re bullish on the SOFI stock growth story today, feel free to buy, given the ample upside potential.
SOFI stock earns a B rating in Portfolio Grader.
On the date of publication, neither Louis Navellier nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.