San Francisco-based online lender Social Finance, Inc. (commonly abbreviated to SoFi) is preparing to launch in Australia to offer mortgages in direct competition with established banks.

Recently ranked as one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in the United States, SoFi was founded in August 2011 and provides student loan refinancing, personal loans, and mortgages to US clients.

The company recently used LinkedIn to post three Sydney-based job openings: manager of mortgage operations, operations manager, and marketing manager.

The job posting for the new operations manager said the successful candidate would be “responsible for building out an in-house mortgage customer service and underwriting operation to serve SoFi's new mortgage business line.”

Sydney will be SoFi’s first office outside of the United States, where it has funded more than US$14 billion in student loan refinancing, personal loans, and mortgages since its inception.

SoFi’s plan to break into Australia’s $1.5 trillion mortgage market will be closely monitored by Australian banks, given that home loans comprise the majority of their assets.

Over the past two years, SoFi has raised over US$1 billion ($1.3 billion) in new equity funding and has grown staff numbers from 200 to 700.

SoFi carved out a niche as a pioneering fintech lender specialising in peer-to-peer (P2P) loans for US college students. However, the company has since moved into the securitisation markets.

In 2013, SoFi became the first P2P lender to complete a public securitisation, which included US$152 million ($202 million) of post-graduate student loans, which was underwritten by Morgan Stanley.

Since then, the company has moved into securitisation deals in consumer loans.