The two pioneering P2P lending platforms have mostly operated in distinct geographies and loan markets but Funding Circle's rapid growth in the US and LendingClub's increasing pivot into wider financial services has prompted a tie-up.
LendingClub has teamed up with global SME lending platform Funding Circle and Opportunity Fund, a non-profit US small business lender, to expand SME’s access to credit in the US in strong expansion of its business model.
LendingClub will now refer would-be borrowers looking for small business loans on its platform to both Opportunity Fund and Funding Circle rather than originate small business loans itself.
LendingClub has come a long way since being simply the largest online consumer lender in the US, pivoting more and more into 'financial health' and it says it will increasingly be opening up its platform to include integrated offers from trusted partners.
Launched in 1994, Opportunity Fund has lent more than $750m but has committed to lending an additional $1.2bn to small business owners across the US by 2023. As part of the tie-up Opportunity Fund will start using LendingClub's technology platform.
Funding Circle, the largest UK P2P lender with operations in Europe and the US also, has lent £1.9bn in the US.
"With partners like Opportunity Fund and Funding Circle, we're creating an ecosystem where LendingClub's members can take advantage of additional services from trusted providers that can help them generate more savings," said Scott Sanborn, CEO of LendingClub.
"This enables us to both deliver greater value to our applicants and capture a new revenue stream for LendingClub, while further simplifying our business and setting the stage for more partnerships and innovations for Club Members,"Sanborn added.
"This collaboration solidifies our strategy of growing Funding Circle's presence in the United States by working with partners who share our commitment to helping small businesses thrive," said Bernardo Martinez, US Managing Director, Funding Circle.
"This relationship with LendingClub will play a key role in accelerating our growth as well as increasing access to affordably priced capital for businesses whose credit needs remain unmet by the traditional financial system," Martinez added.