As we close out 2016, Progressa has a lot to reflect on about the world we live in. Canadian household debt levels have continued to break troubling records, having risen to over 167% relative to disposable income by the second fiscal quarter of 2016. Political uncertainties around the globe have been reflected in declining Canadian consumer and marketplace confidence, underscoring the need for stability and sound future planning for financial growth. Progressa and the alternative lending industry at large has a responsibility to help consumers build financial health while reducing their long-term reliance on debt. I believe Progressa has taken large steps in 2016 to achieve this. We’ve now helped more than 10,000 Canadians borrow for the right reasons and find the financial stability they need in order to build on their goals that will define their futures. It has been an exciting year at Progressa and here are some of the highlights. We look forward to growing and serving Canada even better in 2017 and beyond!
Growth, Growth, and more Growth
Since completing our $11.4 million Series A financing backed by Conconi Growth Partners and Cypress Hills Partners, the company has experienced staggering growth, including over 300% year-over-year growth in loan origination and revenue, over 200% year-over-year growth in application volume, and 215% growth in our number of employees.
Hello Toronto, Hello to New Partners!
Progressa made a major shift toward the country’s largest banking hub this year. We added a new team in Toronto, bringing on over 40 new employees dedicated to making our customer service and underwriting efforts more efficient and responsive across the country, and to capitalize on proximity to the growing fintech cluster community in Toronto.
We also forged important business partnerships this year, which have contributed to our ability to service new and important markets for alternative financing. These include partnerships with industry leaders such as Alpine Credits and Borrowell, two of Canada’s more recognizable alternative lending brands.
Expanding Depth at the Executive Level
With greater size comes greater responsibility, to our customers and our investors. We have brought in over 100 years of combined business experience at the senior management level to manage the company’s growth strategy this past year and lead us into 2017. Chief Operating Officer, Tony Vardy, has one of the most extensive alternative lending backgrounds in Canada, with prior experience at CIBC, Home Trust, and FinanceIT, spanning almost 20 years, while Chief Financial Officer Mary Lynn Tardelli also comes with almost 20 years of financial reporting experience, with prior stints as VP Finance of Boston Pizza and CFO of Red Robin Restaurants.
In Q4 2016 and in conjunction with our 2017 strategic plan, we brought on three Vice Presidents, Jeff Carnochan – VP Operations, comes with over 20 years of experience in the collections industry and will lead our Toronto production team and partner account management, Jason Wang – VP Risk Analytics, was formerly TransUnion’s Director of Research and one of Toronto’s most recognizable and talented financial services professionals, and will lead our credit risk team in Toronto, and Karim Nanji – VP Product & Partnerships, whom has been a part of scaling businesses such as TIO networks and Crelogix and will lead our product and partner development from Vancouver.
These hires are a testament to both the Company’s execution strategy, and our commitment to investors and institutional partners to grow and preserve capital in a responsible manner. The extensive experience and knowledge, and diverse set of backgrounds in the financial and technology sectors, represented by our executive team will see us confidently into 2017 and toward our goal of being a brand Canadians can be proud of.
As we move into 2017, I want to thank our investors, employees, and partners for their continued shared belief in the ability to use financial technology to make lending both easier and more sustainable for everyone. I want to thank our thousands of customers across the country for their commitment to the idea that borrowing for the right reasons can make a positive difference in your life. We are proud to be on the forefront of developments in socially responsible lending, and we will be working harder than ever to reduce the dangers of excessive reliance on debt across Canada in the coming year.
On behalf of our entire team, thank you.
Ali Pourdad, CPA, CA