Recent Default Rates Influenced by Two Sectors

We’ve seen a rise in default rates across asset classes, whether you’re talking about P2P lending, stocks, or bonds. The bulk of it is attributed to the Energy and Materials sectors. Specifically, oil prices have undergone a massive fall in pricing due to a supply issue, which led many energy projects to halt / cancel exploration and drilling projects and consequently laid off many employees. From Lending Alpha’s point of view, the loans we invest into are materially affected by a borrower’s main source of income: their jobs. That is why our loan selections models since late 2015 have been enhanced avoid lending to borrowers from zip codes that are heavily exposed to the Energy and Materials sectors. We have performed the necessary research to identify these geographic locations and applied exclusion filters across the board in order to avoid impacted borrowers who may have lost their jobs or are at risk of losing their jobs soon. Effectively, this is one of among many  of the risk management strategies we employ in our models, and are transparent and seamless to our investor clients. We actively improve everyone’s returns using proprietary techniques not available anywhere else, in addition to traditional methods. Here’s a look at some macro-economic data. We reference the HY (high yield corporate bonds) indices to represent the health of corporations by sectors (those who employ the potential borrowers in Lending Club’s platform). It’s clear that the Energy sector is attributed to a disproportionate amount of the recent defaults within the HY index. When these two sectors are combined and compared against all other sectors from a global perspective. It’s clear see where the...

Direct Pay Loans

On December 28th, Lending Club sent investors an e-mail regarding a brand new segment of loans. The new segment is called “Direct Pay Loan.” This new segment will guarantee a portion of the loan to go directly to the borrower’s creditor to refinance. This greatly increases the predictability of loan usage to refinance/consolidate existing debt.   Benefits Reduce erroneous loan usage Reduce fraud – likely more documentation are required for this type of loans Allows Lending Club and investors to tap deeper into higher risk population Potential Implementation to Lending Alpha Selection The new loan segment is currently in pilot mode and we will not see a sizeable data until another year or more. We will investigate the grades that these loans are appropriated to and see how different they are compared to non direct–pay loans. Likely these loans will be allocated into a lower interest rate loans, but we will investigate to make sure. Once we see that these loans have its advantage, we will add them into our existing filter. Unfortunately, this may take another year to validate that this loan segment can compete with our current filters. We will strive to maximize client’s loan selection with both logical borrowers and statistical outperformance. Let us know if you have any questions or would like to schedule a 1:1 with us to chat via web or in person in Los Angeles/San...

2015 – A Big Year for Eligible Investor States

Lending Club opened 14 new states to retail investors in 2015, which made the platform available to over 92 million Americans (+29% of the U.S. population). The biggest states were Texas and Michigan. This was in the works since the company went IPO in late 2014, which made it easier to open up new states for investors in its platform. When we rank all the newly eligible states by population, it’s clear that Lending Club pushed for making their platform available to the everyone. The remaining states that are not yet eligible are (in order of population rank): Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Alaska. To sum it up, Lending Club now has 43 eligible investor states, covering over 276 million people (86% of the U.S. population), up from 201 million people a year...

Lending Club Raises Interest Rates by 0.25%

Lending Club increased interest rates just days after the Fed raised the Fed Funds rate by 0.25%, being one of the first in the industry to do so. However, an environment with interest rate hikes is foreign to P2P investors and many of us have questions on its implications. Here are our thoughts from a few angles: Loan Interest Rates We expect interest rates to rise inline with, and promptly after, future Fed rate hikes. Since Lending Club also adjust interest rates periodically based on market conditions and model changes, they will likely piggy back a Fed rate hike to make the net changes. However, do not expect the rate adjustment to benefit every grade level by the same amount. For example, our most recent Fed rate hike and Lending Club rate adjustment had a weighted interest rate change of 0.25% across all of its loan grades, but the changes were mostly in the mid- and high-risk grades. Lending Alpha’s strategies are expected to see a +0.23% to +0.46% interest rate increase for the latest adjustments, which a good thing: Default Rates Higher interest rates mean a higher cost of financing for new borrowers. We don’t expect interest rates to move up quickly, and any move will be gradual (+0.5% to +1% per year). The net impact to the borrower due to financing cost should be minimal due and would imply that it’s a small contributor to any increases in default rates.    Net Returns Investor returns should increase due to the higher interest rates, especially those employing strategies that optimizes for rate changes over time (like Lending Alpha’s strategies). We could see default rates stabilizing in...

New Investor States: Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma

Lending Club has opened up 5 new states in the past few weeks to allow more investors to participate in its platform. This is good news for people in the states of Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma. These 5 states have a combined 42.2M in population, which opens up the investors demand for LendingClub loans. We suspect LC would only do this when they can expand their loan originations business and/or when retail/institutional investing slows down. 6/29/2015 +34.1M population reach Arizona: 6.4M Texas: 27.7M http://ir.lendingclub.com/file.aspx?IID=4213397&FID=30118697 7/14/2015 +8.1M population reach Arkansas: 2.9M Iowa: 2.1M Oklahoma: 3.1M http://ir.lendingclub.com/file.aspx?IID=4213397&FID=30281456...

LendingClub Moving Office Across the Street

The latest SEC 8K filing reports that LendingClub is soon to move out of its current San Francisco, CA office space in Stevenson St. and in to a new building across the street on Market St. We suspect this is to accommodate the increasing size of their team as previously mentioned in an earlier post on the 90 job openings a few months ago. LendingClub make use of the 10 year lease to occupy 112,000 sq. ft of space over 8 floors in a newer, larger building. They would be spending $4 million and $6 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, respectively. The lease will be between $7-9 million per year thereafter expiring in 2025....
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