CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Danielle Chemtob/Charlotte Observer) - Online mortgage lender Better.com has opened an office in Charlotte and plans to hire 1,000 people for it, officials said Monday, the latest financial technology company to expand in the city.
The firm announced that it had opened an office last month at the new WeWork coworking space at the RailYard in South End. The office will serve as the hub for a partnership announced this year between Better.com and Ally Financial, the parent company of online-only Ally Bank.
Better.com CEO and founder Vishal Garg said the company plans to hire 100 employees by the end of the year, and 1,000 over five years. A city spokeswoman said there were no incentives involved with the company’s expansion.
The amount of investment by the company in its Charlotte project was not immediately known.
Starting salaries for the Charlotte jobs range from $65,000 to $100,000 for recent graduates, according to Garg.
The New York-based company, founded in 2016, funds $450 million in mortgages each month, according to the release. The startup’s investors include Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Ally and American Express Ventures. The number of people who work for Better.com has grown from about 200 last year to around 800.
In an interview, Garg said the city’s talented workforce in the financial services industry was a major factor for the move.
“We think there’s just this very large group of people that probably before would leave Charlotte to go work at a fintech (company) in New York or San Francisco,” he said. “Instead, they can stay here, enjoy all the benefits of living in Charlotte … and still work for a very fast-growing company.”
Charlotte’s status as the nation’s second-largest banking center has been a boost for financial technology firms.
LendingTree, which CEO Doug Lebda founded in 1996, was named to Fortune’s 2017 list of the fastest-growing companies. Construction is underway on the company’s new headquarters in South End, where it will occupy 175,000 square feet.
And AvidXchange, which automates bill payments and invoices for midsize companies, announced in July it would spend $41 million to double the size of its Charlotte headquarters. The company said in December it will hire more than 1,200 people, doubling its staff in Charlotte.
SOUTH END OFFICE GROWTH
South End, where restaurants, retail and thousands of apartments have sprung up since the light rail opened in 2007, is quickly becoming a hub for major corporations.
The RailYard, where Better.com plans to move, is a pair of eight-story towers developed by Beacon Partners.
The buildings have almost 300,000 square feet of office space, along with ground-floor shops and restaurants. Insurance company Allstate recently moved into the development.