SoFi soars after first-ever profit beats estimates

(Reuters) - SoFi Technologies' stock surged 19% on Monday after the financial technology firm made its first-ever profit and beat estimates.

The digital financial service, which offers student loan refinancing and mortgages, among other financial products, posted a profit of 2 cents per share in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of 5 cents a year earlier.

Analysts had expected SoFi to break even on a per-share basis, according to LSEG data.

Strong deposit growth lowered the funding costs, helping the company reduce its utilization of warehouse facilities - a line of credit given to a loan originator - by over $700 million.

SoFi, short for Social Finance, said it expects net income between $95 million and $105 million for the full year 2024. It posted a net loss of $301 million for the year ended Dec 31.

"Interest rate movements aided the quarter, but other factors were positive as well. SoFi continues to navigate well in a somewhat challenging environment given the macro & rate environment," Jefferies analysts said in a note.

The fintech, which started with an alumni-funded lending model, reported a 44% year-over-year growth in its membership, reaching 7.5 million members in its fourth-quarter results on Monday.

The company said it expects 20% to 25% growth in earnings per share after 2026, fueled by strength in its core lending business and the new businesses it is launching in the next two years.

SoFi also announced that it will now allow members to invest in mutual funds, money market funds and some alternative investment funds.

(Reporting by Arasu Kannagi Basil in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)