How Lorien Finance is revolutionising the student loans market with attractive interest rates and faster approvals
“Financing hurdles hold back millions of Indian students from considering US education. And the students who do avail loans from Indian banks end up paying high-interest rates and fees, impacting their ability to save money and access credit for other important needs in life,” notes Nikhil Mudgal, Founder and CEO,.
With 14 years of experience in the investment banking and lending industry in the US and European markets working at global banks including Goldman Sachs, Jefferies, and PNC, Nikhil launched Lorien Finance after identifying the struggles of immigrant students in securing and repaying a student loan for study abroad purposes. Lorien’s core team brings more than 40 years of experience in the global financial services industry working as operators, advisors, lenders, risk managers, and entrepreneurs. While Vishal Mundhra, Cofounder and CTO, Lorien Finance leads product development at Lorien, Gaurav Arya leads India Sales and brings over 14 years of experience in business development, strategy, and operations in the Indian fintech space.
Lorien is disrupting the status quo by combining its US funding relationships and the understanding of Indian culture and financial risks. “Our mission is to make loans cheaper, accessible, and transparent to students by linking US banks with student’s financing needs and privatising the credit risk while solving an important social problem,” says Nikhil.
What’s in store for Indian immigrants?
The annual spending from Indian students studying abroad is expected to reach $100 billion by 2025 and the number of Indian students studying abroad is projected to reach 2 million by 2025. However, affording a US education can be very daunting for an Indian middle-class family. As a result, most students opt for an education loan to fulfill their dreams of studying in a foreign university or college.
Lorien Finance offers education loans to Indian students at interest rates as low as 8.5 percent, so they do not have to carry the burden of high monthly payments. Furthermore, it does not require any collateral and does not impose forex conversion fees, prepayment penalties, or hidden charges. Applicants can skip the piles of paperwork and get their loans sanctioned within three days, thanks to their fast online application process.
“Our strong relationships with US banks and private credit funds allow us to source capital on favourable terms enabling us to offer lower interest rates on student loans to our customers,” adds Nikhil.
Lorien’s underwriting model is progressive. Unlike other lenders who look at current capacity to pay, Lorien looks at future income potential to underwrite and sanction loans. The company analyses local credit history and alternative data sources to find multiple ways to prove creditworthiness.
Headquartered in New York and New Delhi, Lorien Finance stands out from local banks and other lenders in the market because of its exceptional customer support that makes getting a student loan tremendously fast and hassle-free. It also offers rate discounts to encourage and reward timely payments. The company has also eliminated the need for insurance compared to the 1.5 percent requested by most Indian lenders. Students can also start building their US credit history since the loan is made and paid back in USD.
The road ahead
The platform received more than $75 million of loan applications within weeks of its launch and recently received the Global Icon Award 2022 for the 'Best Cross-Border Fintech Platform' by the World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME). After revolutionising the Indian market, the company envisions expanding the same model to other emerging economies like Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa.
Student loans and US bank accounts are just initial product offerings. The company has big plans for its future. “Lorien is not just a student loan company. Our vision is to become a neobank offering a full complement of consumer financial services to our customers as they work and settle down with families in the US. We are establishing a banking and lending relationship with the customers even before they set foot in the US” says Nikhil.
The company is backed by prominent investors including Venture Catalysts, TSM Ventures, Kunal Shah (), Aman Gupta & Sameer Mehta ( ), Brijesh Agrawal ( ), Varun Alagh (CEO, ), Arjun Vaidya Dhruv Dhanraj Bahl (COO, ), Founders, founders, Yaser Moustafa (CEO, NBK Capital - Kuwait) and John Werner (Ex-EVP, PNC Bank).