David Zalik is a college dropout, and a billionaire. The CEO of GreenSky Credit found a niche lending market that offers loans to people for home improvement projects. Zalik offers cheap financing with a very simple application process. In a manner of seconds, customers can find out if they are not just preapproved for financing, but receive a full approval. Zalik does not charge any interest or require any payments for the first 12 months of the loan.
GreenSky Credit is a $3.6 billion company. The business model is simple, match consumers with banks offering home improvement loans. In 2016, the Atlanta-based company ranked third in overall value when compared to other finance-related tech companies who receive venture capital and remain private. The only two fintech companies that came in ahead of Zalik and his company at the time were SoFi and Stripe.
Zalik moved from Israel to the U.S. with his family when he was just four. Zalik did not attend high school and was once enrolled at Auburn University. Zalik left Auburn to put his attention to a computer-related company he created. Zalik is on the radar of many media outlets, but he eludes almost any attention that comes his way. He rarely answers any emails, phone calls or any other communication from any media-related agency. When Bloomberg interviewed him on Aug. 31, 2016, it was his first interview.
Although the attention is tough to avoid, Zalik formed partnerships with well-known banks such as Fifth Third Bancorp and SunTrust. In 2016, Fifth Third bought a $50 million stake in GreenSky Credit. Unlike chief rivals such as Lending Club, whose stock has plummeted nearly 80 percent since its high in 2014, Zalik and GreenSky Credit seem to have found a niche market, and the company is receiving high praise form fintech insiders.