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Jefferies, BTIG bullish on specialty lender Oportun

Analysts from Jefferies and BTIG are bullish on Oportun Financial Corp., which completed its IPO in late September.

Jefferies analysts noted that the company, which provides loans to consumers who cannot access traditional financing options, has posted double-digit growth in adjusted EBITDA and earnings since year-end 2015. The analysts also said Oportun has made investments that will "position it for highly scalable growth" and that its "multi-pronged strategy" will lead to more organic growth.

Oportun identified growing its core business, demographic expansion, geographic expansion and new product rollouts as pillars of growth, according to a research note by John Hecht, Kyle Joseph, Trevor Williams and Ryan Carr. They believe the four points given will represent "meaningful" long-term opportunities.

Jefferies was a joint lead book-running manager for Oportun's IPO.

BTIG analyst Mark Palmer noted that the specialty lender's customer acquisition cost is three to four times lower than its peers. The analyst also said Oportun's designation by the U.S. Treasury as a community development financial institution since 2009 will make it less likely to attract regulatory scrutiny from authorities. He also said Oportun uses data sources that enable it to provide loans four times cheaper than "realistically available alternatives" and seven times cheaper than payday loans, and also generate better risk-adjusted yields than its peers.

Palmer believes the company's pending offerings of auto-secured loans and credit cards will support its growth through an extended relationship with personal loan customers.

Both firms initiated coverage of Oportun at "buy" and set a price target of $19.