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Is Amazon Quietly Getting Into The Lending Business?

It’s no secret that following the trail of hiring announcements can often signal the strategic directions of a company. The more quiet the announcement, the more it tends to reveal. With that in mind, a LinkedIn update recently showed Nick Talwar, until recently the Senior VP of Visa’s North American credit card unit, has move to Amazon as general manager of Amazon Lending. Wait, there exists an Amazon Lending group? The LinkedIn reference said the group is there to lead “Amazon’s global expansion into the lending industry,” an update first reported by Recode.

“Three years ago, Amazon started lending thousands of dollars at a time to some of its best marketplace sellers. There was no press release or public announcement, just invitations for select small businesses to get capital to sell more stuff on Amazon,” the Recode story said. “Prior to Visa, Talwar worked at peer-to-peer lending service Prosper and ran Citibank’s consumer banking business in Sweden.”

Recode looked at some recent job postings and found that the group only currently functions in the U.S. and Japan and is officially supposed to provide “Amazon sellers with quick access to capital at rates that are normally cheaper than most credit card interest rates. Repayment is automatically deducted from sellers’ Amazon accounts each month. Amazon’s lending business has focused on business loans up to now. But Talwar’s consumer background at least raises the question of whether Amazon is considering lending to individuals as well.”

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