Fast Company


The online lender wants to change your definition of banking—even as it takes advantage of Wall Street–style practices.

A half dozen young professionals, newly introduced, stare down at a trio of naked roaster chickens on a wire rack. They wear white aprons and hesitant smiles.

“You guys are going to have to get down and dirty with your chicken,” says Ashton Keefe, a pastry chef turned cooking class instructor. They lightly dribble a marinade of ramps, serrano peppers, and thyme over the trussed birds, but Keefe isn’t satisfied. “Get on in there,” she implores.

A volunteer comes to the rescue with a generous glop of green-flecked sauce. “Caress,” he purrs with a flirtatious smile, drawing laughs from around the prep table as he massages the skin. An hour later, the novice chefs are convivially tucking into roast chicken, pancetta peas, and panzanella salad. They linger over dessert, sharing photos and exchanging emails. Somewhat remarkably, when they had arrived at 7 p.m. they had just one thing in common: debt.

This year, Social Finance, or SoFi,

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