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Venture capitalist Craig Jones is waiting for, finally, the IPO market will work and it will be able to cash out their illiquid assets. In the meantime, have to make a liquid. He gave $ 1.2 million, or 20% of its investment portfolio, the loans to his countrymen.

Someone starts a business, someone extends an existing one, someone is looking for a new home. But most Americans are simply mired in debt and looking for a way to repay the loan Visa and MasterCard. “Now hard to find a way to make money, not binding to trade on stock exchanges, had to approach this issue creatively,” – says Jones. He asked the company Lending Club.

Lending Club was founded by Renaud Laplanche, a Frenchman, who worked as a lawyer for the Securities in New York until he opened the firm MatchPoint (search database). Laplanche quickly exhausted the credit limit of your card (18%) to cover costs for the purchase of computers and furniture. When he told friends about it, some of them said that he would gladly lend him money not to such a harsh environment.

Laplanche sold his business and in 2007 opened the Lending Club. He began to offer their services in May 2007, becoming one of the first applications on Facebook. This fact made him an advertising and attracted young borrowers with short credit history. Laplanche then invested in it $ 12 million from business angels and Bank Silicon Valley. During the three years of Lending Club has allowed lenders to take 23 000 18 500 loans. Total loans were $ 179 million.

Currently, Lending Club is an equal handful of creditors, which fill the gap created by stingy banks. Prosper, another such firm that conducts auctions in which lenders compete for borrowers, offering the most favorable interest rates.

Lending Club borrowers breaks in 35 categories based on their credit histories and other data. To qualify, the borrower must be perfect: with an index of FICO (widely used in the U.S. system for assessing the borrower) at least 660 points (on a scale from 300 to 799 points). The debt to income ratio (excluding mortgage debt) must be at least 25%, the borrower should not be delays in payments, bankruptcies and seizures of property for nonpayment of taxes. Lending Club denies approximately 90% of potential borrowers.

Lenders can choose who to give money, and pay only $ 25 in loans, which total $ 1000-25 000. They can also become creditors of the debtors in the baskets of loans of different risk levels. Lending Club charges borrowers a fee, and assigns the difference between the percentage who are creditors, and the higher rate paid by borrowers. The following year, revenues have tripled compared with $ 7 million received in 2010 and, therefore, then there will be profit.

When Gina and Erica Echeke almost completely burned down the house, the insurance entirely left the mortgage lender. The Bank was slow in granting funds for repairs. Local bank offered loans at 13% per annum. Echeke appealed to Lending Club and received $ 10,500 under 8.94%.

As lenders earn on these transactions? It turns out quite well by the standards of the bond market. On the recently released corporate bonds of 5 years (Class B) pay about 7.5% per annum, at a frequency of 3.4% of defaults over the past 90 years. For comparison, the lenders can earn 14.5% per annum for five-year loans at Lending Club, at the level of no return 4.9% over the past three years. Subtract the non-payment and a share of the Lending Club, and the yield of 9.6% per annum before tax, says Laplanche.

Lender David Niekerk, vice president of, did not know how to use his money to borrowers, but participation in this project brings inner satisfaction: “We had to fill the void, because the banks were not going to pull us out of crisis.”

Article author: Victoria Barrett

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