SoFi, Nov 2019 - Dec 2020
Design thinking, User research, UX, UI, Brand design, Content design, 0 to 1 design
Overview / Contributions
I was the lead and sole designer on a startup project within the SoFi financial product ecosystem called Lantern. The product was meant to be a "catch-all" net to re-capture revenue from SoFi's personal loan declines, but ended up evolving into much more. I constructed the design system, executed all product design work, all branding and marketing design work, and all content design work for our SEO strategy.
Acquisition backstory
Lantern was actually acquired by SoFi for its credit score monitoring technology which was to be used for its Relay product. Meanwhile, SoFi had also been sending their personal loan decline traffic to external partners (Credible and Fiona). Eventually, a decision was made to use Lantern's site as a personal loan decline marketplace so that we could keep that revenue in-house.
Lantern today
Over time, Lantern has expanded to a full financial product marketplace, similar to Nerdwallet, where a user can compare financial products aggregated from a number of different lenders (personal loans, credit cards, student loans, SMB loans, and mortgages).
Personal loan declines
As I mentioned previously, Lantern was originally launched just to re-capture revenue from our SoFi personal loan declines. However, one big issue I was having was the conversion rate from the SoFi PL decline page into the Lantern marketplace. You can see the PL decline page that we originally inherited below, which had a conversion rate of just 31%.
Improving conversion via A/B testing
We needed to fix this ASAP, as 100% of our traffic was coming from SoFi declines. I wanted to test two alternatives: one version that would show a user the partners Lantern supported, and another with partners and rates. Once the designs were ready, the eng team got them live for A/B testing. While both vastly improved the conversion rate, the "partner + rate" variant doubled our conversion and then some.
Capitalizing on covid
Almost as soon as we had ironed out our personal loan experience, Covid-19 arrived - leaving millions of small business owners and employees impacted by the economic collapse that followed. We acted incredibly fast, and within two weeks had set up an SMB marketplace experience with PPP offerings alongside more standard SMB loan options (invoice financing, term loans, SBA 7a loans, etc.). Within our SMB marketplace alone, we generated over $100M total submitted lead volume on PPP.​​​​​​​
Shift to SEO strategy for growth
As PPP offers were running dry, we were also seeing a steady decline in personal loan applications as well as decline traffic in general from SoFi. We needed to widen our top of funnel if we wanted to survive. Cue our SEO play! We partnered with an SEO agency, NPD, to help guide us in the content we would want to produce. Based on the content they recommended, I designed several templates for our editorial content and then joined forces with our engineers to put together a CMS in Contentful so that it was easy for our content writers to simply copy and paste their articles into our templates and publish!
Learning more from users: Secondary offers
Our team was finding that a large portion of our users were not being accepted for a personal loan with our partners, even after they had been denied from SoFi. We also were realizing that a personal loan wasn't even the right financial solution for most of these people, and that a 0% APR credit card would work just as well.

I set out on conducting some user interviews to learn more about how open users would be to receiving secondary offer types.
“I mean if I can get an interest rate lower than my current credit card, of course I’d be interested [in a credit card instead of a pesonal loan]"
  • Anonymous user quote from my interviews
Expanding to credit cards
Based on the insights we got from our user interviews, I first designed a credit card marketplace.
Moving to combined offers
Next, I combined personal loan and credit card offers into one design, with the user landing on their selected product.

Our overall offer rate increased from 40% to 50%.
Taking on mortgage declines
Towards the end of my time at SoFi, there became a business need for Lantern to have a mortgage marketplace to capture jumbo mortgage decline traffic from SoFi, which was kind of a full circle moment for me. I again got to work setting up a marketplace using our pre-existing patterns.
One fun addition to this experience was finally introducing some financial calculator tools, like this mortgage purchase calculator.