LendingClub’s fall from rock star status

Not long ago, LendingClub was the brightest star in the rapidly-growing world of online lending. With shares having dropped two thirds in two months, the company now has investors nervous. LendingClub’s fall began following the announcement of a government investigation, an investigation LendingClub has announced it is “fully-cooperating” with. The investigation is looking into three key issues:

  1. then-CEO Renaud Laplanche failing to disclose a personal investment in Cirrix Capital, a firm that invested in LendingClub loans and vice versa;
  2. the improper sale of USD 22.3 million worth of loans, despite them not meeting certain criteria;
  3. loan manipulation in the form of LendingClub employees changing application dates on USD 3 million in loans as part of an attempt to meet investor requirements.

To help reassure investors, LendingClub launched an internal investigation into the matters, hired a new CEO and let go of a number of senior management. The company has also claimed that no material adjustments are necessary to be made to its financial statements as a result of the uncovered instances. Experts believe that it will take a considerable amount of time for the fallout to be overcome. Moreover, they state that it is possible that confidence in online lenders in general could be hurt by LendingClub’s improprieties.