SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) has been plummeting this week on fears of another pause on federal student loans. Today, the White House extended its moratorium on federal student loan payments through Aug. 31. SOFI stock is so far down about 6% today.
Following this, borrowers will be required to start repaying their loans again. In this situation, SoFi will benefit, as refinancing can generate revenue for the company. But for now, the company’s revenue and earnings may continue to suffer in the coming months.
Student loan refinancing was a major contributor to the company’s lending business before the pandemic. In 2019, nearly 60% of the company’s total loan originations came from student borrowing. However, with the pause on federal loan payments, there’s little need for those borrowers to refinance. As such, student loans have declined considerably as part of SoFi’s loans in the last two years.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, management noted the company saw more demand for student loans. Overall, student loans increased 51% sequentially to $1.5 billion. An anticipated rate hike in 2022 and expected expiration of the loan moratorium in January led the demand.
However, as the government unexpectedly extended the federal student loan payment moratorium in late December 2021, demand for refinancing curtailed during the last week of the quarter. Hence, management expects the first quarter of 2022 to be unfavorably impacted. Adjusted revenue is estimated to be at least $30 million lower.
Going forward, although uncertainty prevails, the upcoming midterm elections in November are likely to play a part when the Biden administration considers a further extension.
Morgan Stanley analysts Betsy Graseck and Jeffrey Adelson have downgraded the stock to “equal weight” from its previous “overweight” rating. Bank of America analysts have also lowered their rating to “neutral” from “buy.”
On the date of publication, Sakshi Agarwalla did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.