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Lending Club Shifting Focus Back to Retail?




By Ryan Weeks on 13th August 2015


The world’s foremost marketplace lending platform appears to be actively chasing retail money.

 

Lending Club has launched a new tool: Lending Club Open Integration (LCOI). LCOI allows online advisors and broker-dealers to quickly and efficiently showcase Lending Club investment products to their clients. Advisors can use the new plug-in to replicate the Lending Club experience on their own websites, providing their clients with access to money movement, investing, reinvesting, real-time reporting and tax reporting functionalities.

 

The UK-based consumer lender RateSetter attempted to crack the advisor market open in July 2014 by launching a bespoke portal for IFAs. The device allows IFAs to set up, manage and benchmark clients, set fees, and receive notifications as client funds mature. Lending Club has adopted a different approach, opting instead to allow financial advisors to effectively white-label the platform’s investor interface, rather than requiring those advisors and their clients to continually track to and from the platform itself.  

 

Renaud Laplanche, Founder and CEO of the NYSE-listed platform, commented:

 

“Retail investors have always been a key constituency for us. With LCOI, we are making it easy for advisors and broker-dealers to offer Lending Club Notes to their retail clients and deliver a blissful, seamless experience.”

 

LCOI is an intriguing development for Lending Club. The move is surely designed to spur on retail investment, which represents something of a strategic about-turn for the platform. 

 

Take, for example, Lending Club’s movements since its IPO in December 2014. The platform has signed partnerships with Google, Alibaba and HomeAdvisor between January and March – each one devised to drive up deal flow. The platform also tied up with Citi on a $150m investment programme, as well as a consortium of 200 community banks – which have each committed to buying a certain amount of Lending Club loans.

 

In other words, since IPO (and indeed, long before that) loan origination and institutional investment have been chief among the platform’s priorities. But now, Lending Club, which has facilitated a jaw-dropping $11.2 billion in cumulative lending, appears to once more be turning its attentions to the retail investor.

 

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