On January 5, 2015, the 25-day quiet period concluded regarding the Lending Club IPO, one of the leading marketplace lenders in the U.S. This means that those responsible for underwriting the securities may start publishing their analysis of the company starting today. The underwriters include many top banks, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, BMO Capital and Wells Fargo.
The Lending Club offering was well received by the market, including a spike of approximately 65% over its initial offering price of $15, which was already at the high end of its expected share price. The stock has traded as high as $29.29, with an end-of-day closing high of $27.90. The stock opened today at $24.15, and any insight that can be gleaned from the underwriters is expected to have an impact on the stock.
Although Lending Club is one of the leading marketplace-lending platforms, its IPO and ensuing stock market growth provides validation to an area of alternative finance that many see as a niche industry. An online marketplace-lending intermediary such as Lending Club has many advantages over traditional banks. They are able to utilize technology in order to both reduce operational costs and inefficiencies as well as more proficiently connect the supply and demand of the lending market through automated processes.
The firm originally operated exclusively in the peer-to-peer lending space, but has subsequently expanded to include small businesses as the recipient of loans funded through marketplace lending. The market for these loans continues to grow, especially as borrowers are unable to secure loans from banks, which have a limited ability to lend under increased regulatory restrictions. In its SEC filings, Lending Club reported that since its inception in 2007, it has origination in excess of $6 billion in loans, with $1.2 billion of this in the third quarter of 2014.
With the success of Lending Club’s IPO represented by the market’s positive response to the company, marketplace lending has taken another step forward to become a more established, viable form of alternative finance lending. Lending Club is not alone in this industry, with many, well-known marketplace-lending competitors also seeing an increasing numbers of borrowers. This coupled with investor enthusiasm showing few signs of abating, this new, technologically-adept form of linking borrowers and investors with attractive rates appears to have well-positioned itself to see an increased position in the debt markets.