Base Image: NASA | Amazon Logo Superimposed on Solar Eclipse

If you lived in an ancient civilization, and we don’t mean B.S. (Before Smartphones), but hundreds or thousands of years ago, a solar eclipse was a disrupting event. Most often interpreted as bad, evil, or even the Apocalypse.

Here are a few interesting beliefs and superstitions about solar eclipses:

  • The Chippewa people shot flaming arrows into the sky to try to rekindle the Sun.
  • Tribes in Peru did the same, thinking a beast was attacking the sun, so the flaming arrows were supposed to scare off the beast.
  • In Transylvania, they believed that solar eclipses could cause plague.
  • People in China, Mongolia, and Siberia, believed beheaded mythical characters chase and consumed the Sun and Moon.
  • In Armenia, a dragon swallowed the Sun and Moon.
  • Native people in Colombia screamed to the heavens, promising to work hard and mend their ways.
  • And in some religions, a solar eclipse is said to be a warning sign from God, as it allegedly fulfills prophecy.

WAIT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH AMAZON?

Amazon is our modern day solar eclipse. This year the company has been disrupting one industry after another, placing fear among industries and investors. Let’s take a quick but incomplete look at Amazon and 2017.

AMAZON LENDING? ARE THEY A BANK NOW?

What may come as a surprise to most, Amazon lending is not new. It started about 6 years ago and to date provided $3 Billion in capital to about 20,000 small businesses in the U.S., U.K., and Japan.

“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, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a statement made to Forbes.

“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. We understand that a small loan can go a long way.”

Of that $3 Billion in capital, almost $1 Billion in loans were issued just in the last year. Sounds like they are turning up the wick on that service.

BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN AN APPLICATION FOR AMAZON LENDING!?!

If you are selling on Amazon’s Marketplace, you may didn’t see information about Amazon Lending because the is still by invitation only.

But as the company is aggressively acceleration the availability of loans, certainly it will increase availability to more sellers.

Amazon Lending works similar to PayPal Working Capital. The company lends the businesses “working capital” and the loans are typically paid back within a year.

Unlike PayPal Working Capital, Amazon sets a fixed monthly repayment schedule, so it does not base the payments to sales. Presumably, it matches the amount that can be borrowed to past sales.

The company claims about 50% of the small businesses that Amazon provided a loan to, took a second loan. So it appears the program is an attractive option for small business Marketplace Sellers.

AMAZON BANK? IS IT POSSIBLE?

Image: Capital One | Capital One Cafe
Image: Capital One | Capital One Cafe

Earlier in the year, Amazon was rumored to be in talks with Capital One, which is one of the top 10 banking holding companies in the U.S ranked by assets and deposits, to acquire the banking powerhouse.

Originally started as a mass marketer of consumer credit cards, Capital One now has 800+ domestic branches and conducts business in Canada and the U.K.

The bank also has a bit of a disrupter streak to it. Some of its branches are coffee shops called Capital One Cafe and it makes it easy to open up personal and business bank accounts online.

Given that Capital One is a bit unsual in the traditional banking sector with its unique branch ideas and online service offerings, it probably would fit into the Amazon world.

Since Amazon is already a merchant, payment processor, and a credit card issuer, if it added banking, it could offer business and consumer financial services in its ecosystem.

Those Fire tablet could become more than just media consumption devices.

AND HERE IS WHERE WE CYCLE BACK TO THE SOLAR ECLIPSE

Amazon seems to strike fear into any industry it enters. Just like solar eclipses did to many ancient people, civilizations, and tribes.

While there has not been any more news of a Capital One acquisition, Amazon did add a variety of “financial services” that slowly provide bank like services.

They even have a method to deposit cash into your Amazon Account.

An acquisition of the size of Capital One would certainly receive lots of government attention. It would probably take years to clear all hurdles by U.S., Canadian, and U.K. regulators.

So it seems a bit more likely now that Amazon is slowly adding more financial style services that may not require it to be a fully-fledged bank. They could cherry pick the financial services they like best and with Whole Foods add “banking” locations.

What are your thoughts, would you bank at an Amazon Bank? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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