Amazon has been ramping up its small loans business, with the company announcing today that it has loaned more than $1 billion to around 20,000 merchants on its platform in the past 12 months alone.
This figure represents a third of the total amount the ecommerce titan has loaned through its Amazon Lending program since its inception back in 2011.
Amazon Lending is available on an invite-only basis to small businesses that sell goods through Amazon’s online marketplace. It was initially only available in the U.S. before it was expanded to Japan, followed by the U.K. in June 2015. The company previously revealed plans to expand the offering to a number of other countries, including China and Canada, but it appears this has yet to come to fruition.
In an SEC filing earlier this year, Amazon revealed that its lending program had roughly doubled from $337 million for the fiscal year ending December 2015 to $661 million a year later. But taken on a rolling yearly basis, starting in mid-2016, Amazon says it has ramped up its lending by around a third.
“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, VP for Amazon Marketplace, in a statement. “Small businesses are in our DNA. Amazon is providing capital to small businesses to help them expand inventory and operations at a critical period of their growth.”
Amazon is one of a number of tech companies that have opened up lending businesses to encourage spending. PayPal launched its Working Capital program back in 2013 and recently revealed it has lent more than $3 billion to firms operating online. Back in November, Jack Dorsey’s Square revealed it had passed $1 billion in loans after launching Square Capital in 2014.
Through Amazon Lending, companies can apply for funding ranging from $1,000 to $75,000, enabling sellers to boost their inventory.