Is Lending Club Bankrupt?

Lending Club, the popular peer-to-peer lending site sent out an email this week to members basically saying that they are ceasing to accept any new loans indefinitely. In the email they mention they are filing with the SEC to be able to create a secondary market for their loans, but there isn’t any mention of why they can’t keep accepting new money.

I find this is extremely suspicious behaviour. What kind of company stops selling their product while a new one is being developed?

Over at TechCrunch, there is speculation that Lending Club needs to get a broker-dealer license from the SEC to legitimize its operations. If true then it’s very possible that Lending Club will be back in business, but it doesn’t say much for the company if they didn’t get this license before they started.

Obviously I didn’t anticipate that Lending Club would run into financial trouble but in a post I did recently, I raised a concern about their marketing costs:

Another issue I have is that Prosper and Lending Club seem to be spending a lot of money to get clients – advertising, free money giveaways. Where does this money come from?

Speculation alert!

I think that Lending Club is finished. While it’s possible they can come back from the dead, I suspect they will just sell their portfolio of loans to another company and that will be it.

[edit  – looks like I was wrong!  Lending Club is alive and well]

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19 replies on “Is Lending Club Bankrupt?”

Thanks for the link, Mike. To be honest, I’m not so sure LC is dead. I just got off the phone with their customer service and I found out a few interesting things (by reading between the lines of what they said and could not say). I will write about this next week, so be sure to stop by.

[…] Earlier this week LendingClub announces that it no longer accept new lenders and terminates the referral program (via The Dough Roller). This drew various responses among the PF bloggers: Chief Family Office is happy she procrastinated and didn’t start lending, Lazy Man thinks LendingClub is dead, and Four Pillars asked Is LendingClub Bankrupt? […]

but it doesn?t say much for the company if they didn?t get this license before they started.

Normally, I would agree with you, but when it comes to SEC regulations, this stuff is kind of dicey to start with. My father tried to start a hedge fund in Manitoba and it took months and thousands in legal fees.

A peer-to-peer lending club is probably not a concept for which the SEC even has adequate regulations, so I’d expect this to be par for the course.

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