Online Lending’s Ugly Quarter Stretched Far Beyond LendingClub

  • Internet lending to U.S. consumers fell 34% in second quarter
  • ‘Everyone had to hit a reset,’ says CEO of firm tracking data

LendingClub Corp. wasn’t alone in its suffering during the second quarter.

Online lending to U.S. consumers tumbled 34 percent industrywide from the first quarter as investors pulled back from funding loans, according to a report Wednesday from Orchard Platform, a data provider tracking the sector. That’s even worse than the 29 percent drop at LendingClub, where the surprise resignation of its leader in May rattled confidence.

Global market turmoil at the start of the year and an uptick in online loan charge-offs had left many buyers of the debt on edge before LendingClub announced Chief Executive Officer Renaud Laplanche was leaving amid an internal probe into a botched loan sale. While it’s known that many of company’s smaller, closely held rivals felt repercussions too, Orchard’s report offers some of the first figures on the extent of the industry’s pain.

“Everyone had to hit a reset,” Orchard CEO Matt Burton said in a phone interview.  “Now all of the consumer platforms are refocusing on being profitable and, for a lot of them, that meant they needed to cut originations and staff.”

Online loan platforms typically pair people looking to borrow money with various types of investors -- from individuals to investment funds and banks -- looking to make some money on interest. There are dozens of startups offering unsecured loans in the U.S., and Orchard doesn’t specify which are included in its figures.

The report also shows debts originated in 2014 are posting charge-offs faster than some other vintages. Orchard found that some of that stems from ventures offering more subprime loans at interest rates designed to reflect the risk.

LendingClub helped pioneer online lending in the U.S. roughly a decade ago, operates one of the largest platforms and was first to sell stock to the public in late 2014. Earlier this month it signaled the second quarter’s turmoil is subsiding: The firm said it’s “substantially” done with internal reviews and many big buyers are finishing due diligence checks and resuming purchases, albeit at lower volumes.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE