'It Was a Frat House': Questions Over CEO's Conduct Cloud Social Finance

But within SoFi, Mr. Cagney, a married father of two, continued to lift questions among employees with his behavior. He was seen holding hands and carrying insinuate conversations with another immature womanlike employee, according to 6 employees who saw a dual together. At late-night, wine-soaked gatherings with colleagues, he bragged about his passionate conquests and a distance of his genitalia, pronounced employees who listened a comments.

Mr. Cagney’s actions were echoed in other tools of SoFi. The company’s arch financial officer talked plainly about women’s breasts and once charity womanlike employees bonuses for losing weight, according to some-more than a dozen people who listened his comments. Some employees pronounced on a few instances, they held colleagues carrying sex with supervisors during SoFi’s categorical satellite bureau in Healdsburg, Calif., that was the theme of a passionate nuisance lawsuit filed final month.

Even as other Silicon Valley companies such as ride-hailing giant Uber have been in a spotlight this year for inapt diagnosis of women, Mr. Cagney’s box goes a step further. Although many of a issues during other firms stemmed from a actions of midlevel executives or investors, Mr. Cagney privately faces questions about his role. His control was described by some-more than 30 stream and former employees, many of whom asked to sojourn unknown for fear of retribution.

The function went mostly violent until Monday, when SoFi’s residence acted after weeks of flourishing inspection of a company. The start-up pronounced Mr. Cagney, 46, would leave as arch executive by a finish of a year and that he would step down immediately as chairman. In a matter announcing Mr. Cagney’s departure, SoFi did not explain a executive change.

The association pronounced a business was behaving well, and that SoFi was apropos a “major, innovative actor in consumer finance.” A SoFi orator pronounced a association did not criticism on crew matters and doubtful that a business had taken on too most risk. Through a spokesman, Mr. Cagney also pronounced he “vehemently denies” any improprieties during after-hours events with colleagues.

Yet Mr. Cagney’s position had turn increasingly ethereal after a filing of a passionate nuisance suit, that indicted him of “empowering other managers to rivet in passionate control in a workplace.”

His conditions was also exacerbated by claims about his proceed to SoFi’s business, that uses income from Wall Street investors to account tyro loans, personal loans and mortgages. At several points, Mr. Cagney abandoned warnings from colleagues that he was being too assertive with a business, according to some-more than a dozen employees who were endangered in a conversations.


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That enclosed a time when Mr. Cagney motionless to put patron use member in assign of lending determinations, notwithstanding them carrying no believe in a area. Another time, he told investors that SoFi had $90 million in debt financing for a loan product; a association did not in fact have a money, according to a inner emails reviewed by The Times.

SoFi’s board, that includes member of Japanese organisation SoftBank and a successful sidestep account Third Point Capital, now faces questions about either it indispensable some-more checks and balances on Mr. Cagney.

Companies like SoFi uncover how play are incentivized to prioritize income upsurge and expansion over governance, pronounced David F. Larcker, a highbrow during Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who specializes in corporate governance. “The residence now has a avocation to scold for things that have left wrong,” he said.

The residence pronounced that it found “no claim or justification of a regretful or passionate relationship” between Mr. Cagney and Ms. Munoz and referred all other questions to SoFi.

Workplace Pursuits

Mr. Cagney, who was innate in New Jersey, started his career in financial in 1994 during Wells Fargo, where he climbed a ranks to a trade desk. He after left a hulk bank to start a financial module company, and afterwards his possess sidestep fund, Cabezon, in 2005. On a side, he attended Stanford’s business school.

In 2011, Mr. Cagney began SoFi with several co-founders. The start-up, determined as try capitalists were removing vehement about financial technology, lifted scarcely $100 million in a initial year. In total, SoFi has now taken in $1.9 billion from investors including SoftBank, Discovery Capital and Baseline Ventures.

Even with other co-founders, Mr. Cagney quick determined himself as a company’s core of gravity. SoFi’s offices, with glassed-in discussion bedrooms and inexpensive Ikea furniture, were set adult in San Francisco’s Presidio, a park nearby a Golden Gate Bridge, since Mr. Cagney’s sidestep account already had a offices there. His home was reduction than a mile away.

Mr. Cagney exhibited an assertive opinion during a bureau that he might have schooled as a merchant during Wells Fargo. He infrequently shouted obscenities and excoriated employees in front of others when they finished mistakes.


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Mr. Cagney hired deputies who had identical characteristics. One was Nino Fanlo, a former executive during Goldman Sachs and a private equity organisation Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, who became SoFi’s arch financial officer in 2012.

Mr. Fanlo, 57, infrequently kicked rabble cans in a bureau when angry. He also commented on women’s figures, including their breasts; pronounced that women would be happier as homemakers; and once told dual womanlike employees he would give them $5,000 if they mislaid 30 pounds by a finish of a year, according to some-more than a dozen people who listened a comments and witnessed a weight-loss offer.


Mike Cagney, arch executive of SoFi, was indicted of contributing to a poisonous workplace culture.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Mr. Fanlo pronounced it was “patently false” that he did not honour women and that his group during SoFi had many women who perceived promotions and veteran accolades. He also attributed his cheering and kicking of rabble cans to disappointment about deals and start-up pressures.

“You’re underneath unusual pressures during a association that is flourishing that fast,” Mr. Fanlo said.

More than dual dozen former SoFi employees pronounced they were worried with Mr. Cagney’s bureau of women in a office. In 2012, he sent a content messages to Ms. Munoz, a executive assistant, until her colleagues took a emanate adult with executives and a board, according to a 5 people who spoke with Ms. Munoz about a matter.

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Even as Mr. Cagney was texting Ms. Munoz, he also chased another immature womanlike employee. Six employees pronounced they saw Mr. Cagney and a worker holding hands and articulate intimately. One day in 2013, when Mr. Cagney was flirting with her during a bureau in front of colleagues, she grew barbarous and left, according to 3 employees who witnessed a episode. Soon after, she left a company.

Around that time, SoFi’s residence asked Mr. Cagney to not rivet in inapt control with employees, according to dual people with believe of a conversations. The situations were ungainly in a bureau given that Mr. Cagney’s wife, Jun Ou, began operative during SoFi in 2012, rising to turn a company’s arch technical officer. Her table was nearby Mr. Cagney’s. Ms. Ou did not respond to a ask for comment.

Pushing a Business

SoFi’s business works in a following way: It loans income to students, home buyers and people with high credit scores. The association supports those loans with income from sidestep supports and banks, who buy a loans by holds or holds that SoFi creates.

As early as 2012, Mr. Cagney ran into difficulty with some of his investors. That year, a association pronounced it had cumulative $90 million in debt financing for one of a loan products, called Refi A. But some investors who had bought a holds beheld their earnings were not in gripping with SoFi’s estimates and uttered concerns to executives and to a residence member, according to a emails performed by The Times.

About 10 SoFi executives met to plead a situation; it was afterwards that some of them schooled Mr. Cagney had not indeed cumulative a $90 million for a loan product, according to people who were during a meeting. Some attendees pronounced they were perturbed during a probability that they had finished element misstatements to investors.


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In Oct 2012, SoFi bought behind a Refi A holds from investors for what they had paid, and a investment lapse they had anticipated, or gave them a choice to put their income into a opposite product. Mr. Cagney pronounced in an financier minute that a product had been “imperfect,” though did not offer any sum about a $90 million. The SoFi orator pronounced that “no consumers were spoiled in a process.”

In 2015, SoFi began charity mortgages. In meetings with a correspondence officer overseeing a program, Mr. Cagney was told that SoFi was not doing adequate to request a income of borrowers and was rushing to offer loans some-more quick than competitors did, according to a chairman endangered in a debt business. A SoFi orator pronounced a association complied with all laws.

Mr. Cagney also led a pull into personal loans final year. To strengthen that business, he asked patron use member to examination and approve loans, a pursuit that had formerly been finished by a company’s underwriters, pronounced dual people endangered in a loan business. Many employees against a change since patron use member do not have a believe of commendatory loans, though a pierce helped SoFi double a volume of loans it released in only a few months.

That combined another problem: SoFi did not have adequate income to account all a loans it was giving out. Mr. Cagney told employees that since of a appropriation shortfall, it could take as prolonged as 30 days for some new business to get a income they borrowed. But a employees who dealt with a business were told by a administrator to contend that people would still get a income within 72 hours as promised.

“We had to distortion to them and tell them that we were a small behind or that a send got mislaid — only something to keep them off a backs,” pronounced Marie Lombard, who worked from 2014 to 2016 during SoFi’s operations core in Healdsburg.

Mr. Cagney eventually took patron use member off a underwriting decisions.

A SoFi orator pronounced that patron use member did not approve loans and that a company’s exclusive module finished those decisions. He combined that SoFi always communicated timing changes on a loans to borrowers and that delays have never run as high as 30 days.

An Internal Toll

Mr. Cagney’s risk-taking outward of SoFi also combined problems. In Jan 2015, his sidestep fund, Cabezon, suffered large waste on a banking trade. In a aftermath, SoFi’s residence concluded to buy Cabezon for $3.25 million and give a sidestep fund’s employees jobs during SoFi. That caused rancour during SoFi among some workers.

A SoFi orator pronounced a association bought Mr. Cagney’s sidestep account partly since a residence was endangered about Mr. Cagney’s ability to concentration on both companies.


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At a time, SoFi was flourishing rapidly. Since 2011, when it had 5 people in a one-room office, a association has grown to 1,200 employees and lent some-more than $20 billion to about 350,000 customers. Earlier this year, a private equity organisation Silver Lake Partners led a new turn of fund-raising that gave SoFi another $500 million and valued a association during $4.3 billion.

Mr. Cagney’s co-founders nonetheless left a association one by one, and Mr. Fanlo over this summer. (Mr. Fanlo pronounced that he left to pursue a new opportunity.)

In 2015, an unknown email was sent to everybody in a company, angry in fact about a work sourroundings and nepotism in hiring, according to 5 employees who perceived a email. SoFi pronounced that it takes each censure seriously.

At a start-up’s bureau in Healdsburg, Yulia Zamora, who worked as an underwriter there from 2015 to 2016, pronounced it mostly seemed as if there were no rules. She pronounced she was propositioned by a administrator countless times.

“It was a frat house,” Ms. Zamora said. “You would find people carrying sex in their cars and in a parking lot. It was a free-for-all.”’

SoFi has recently been holding stairs to enclose a damage. Earlier this month, a association started an investigation into a nuisance claims in a Healdsburg satellite office. At a same time, questions over Mr. Cagney’s possess function also surfaced.

In new days, Mr. Cagney canceled a outing to Singapore to attend a residence assembly during SoFi’s offices in San Francisco on Monday. At a meeting, Mr. Cagney argued for his pursuit — though eventually mislaid out to residence members who noticed him as a liability, according to dual people with believe of a meeting.

“I wish SoFi to concentration on assisting members, employing a best people, and flourishing a association in a approach unchanging with a values,” Mr. Cagney wrote in a minute announcing his departure. “That can’t occur as good as it should if people are focused on me, that isn’t satisfactory to a members, investors, or you.”

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