Apple Card's credit risk manager leaves for credit card startup X1

Apple’s manager of credit risk for the Apple Card, Abhi Pabba, has left the company.

Pabba, who worked out of the Apple’s Austin, Texas, office, will join the California-based credit card company X1 beginning next week as chief risk officer, according to X1 CEO Deepak Rao.

Pabba specializes in evaluating credit and risk. Before Apple, he worked at Capital One, where he focused on credit card authorizations.

In the past few years, there have been a string of exits from Goldman Sachs‘ consumer business, which handles the lending and issuing parts of Apple Card.

But defections from Apple’s side have been less apparent. The tech giant’s aim with the Apple Card isn’t to generate revenue from strong lending decisions but to make the iPhone more essential to its customers. The card is primarily accessed and managed through the iPhone.

CNBC reported this week that Goldman Sachs is debating internally whether the company’s card loans, which are primarily related to the Apple Card, have an unacceptably high loss. A large percentage of loans are given to customers with low FICO scores. Apple Card is also having issues with automated customer service disputes because of the card’s fast growth.

Apple also is expanding into offering credit to its customers through a feature called Apple Pay Later, which splits purchases into four weekly payments. Apple is handling some of its own credit decisions for its buy now, pay later product.

Abhi Pabba, chief risk officer at X1


Pabba told CNBC his jobs at Apple and Capital One involved monitoring metrics from credit card holders in aggregate, including how much users are spending, what percentage of them end up as delinquencies and the average of approved credit scores.

“I would say these three [metrics] are pretty high level, but you know, Capital One takes a lot of pride in being very, very thorough with these things, and of course, Apple had similar standards as well,” Pabba said.

Pabba is expected to build X1’s underwriting policies, which will use alternative data, such as bank account access or information from Plaid in addition to traditional FICO credit scores to determine credit limits and rates for customers.

X1 has backing from Silicon Valley venture capitalists like PayPal founders Max Levchin and David Sacks, among others. Its main product is a credit card with deep app integration, which allows users to create new credit card numbers for individual transactions and to easily monitor spending.

X1 also plans to offer higher credit limits to some customers, which can help keep total credit utilization down.

X1 currently has a wait list for its credit card, which it says is currently used by thousands. It also has hired a new chief financial officer in order to position the company to increase sign-ups to accelerate growth.

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