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SoFi wants to build itself into a financial services powerhouse for the Millennial age

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But the hard-driving fintech startup, valued at roughly $4.5 billion, has been rocked by scandal in the past year. The company has faced lawsuits from former employees, including two that claim it failed to address endemic sexual harassment. In September, CEO and cofounder Mike Cagney abruptly resigned as criticism of SoFi’s frat-house culture mounted.

Now under the leadership of former Twitter executive Anthony Noto, the company wants to get back on track. It’s close to the official launch of its new checking and savings account, SoFi Money. Noto has discussed getting into stock trading. And an IPO is on the table.

Yet issues tied to the old regime keep cropping up. SoFi is repeatedly asked to talk about how it changed its corporate culture. Last quarter, the company reported a loss to investors after it had to write down underperforming loans issued before Noto came on. It’s not clear if the company will pursue a bank license again, after it withdrew its application last year.

“It’s still trying to balance that rapid growth with something that’s a little more responsible and a little more focused on being a viable and successful business longer term,” said Robert Wildhack, an analyst at Autonomous Research.

Noto says SoFi is working to build a strong company culture. An initiative called One SoFi pulls together employees from different teams, and has rolled out a set of core values.

New banking app

A big test for Noto is his first product launch: SoFi Money, a digital bank account that touts no fees and 1% interest — much higher than what most traditional banks pay on checking accounts.

“We give you all the liquidity of a checking account, with the higher interest of a savings account,” Jennifer Delaney, SoFi’s director of product management, told CNN. Continue reading