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Prosper and Lending Club Issue $53.7 Million in New Loans in April

by Peter Renton on April 30, 2012

The numbers keep rolling on. After posting just over $50 million in total new loans between them in March, Lending Club and Prosper continued their steady rise with $53.7 million in new loans issued in April. The growth remained very strong at Lending Club while at Prosper the growth rate has slowed down somewhat but volume is still heading upward.

Lending Club Now Over $42 Million in New Loans a Month

The growth engine at Lending Club kept chugging along in April. Most of the month saw over 1,000 new loans available for investors on the platform at any one time – this seems to be the new normal now at Lending Club. They have really hit on a winning formula which was evident when I spoke with Renaud Laplanche, CEO of Lending Club, earlier this month. He indicated that they could actually grow much faster if they chose to, but they are limiting their growth to this steady pace. This way, they can avoid stressing their systems (both IT and people) too much and provide better service to both borrowers and investors.

When you look at the numbers Lending Club issued almost $42.1 million in new loans this month. The total number of new loans was up substantially (over 10%) from last month with 3,230 loans issued. This meant for the second month in a row their average loan size reduced – in April it was $13,019. The total loans issued since inception is now around $612 million and with eight months left in the year it is clear that Lending Club will cross over $1 billion in total loans before the end of the year.

Below is their impressive 18-month growth chart for new loans. The black line is the three month moving average.

Lending Club 18-month p2p loan chart

Prosper Issues $11.6 Million in New Loans This Month

Over at Prosper the rapid growth that they experienced during the last few months seems to have stalled a bit. Over the last year many times there was month over month growth of more than 10% but that hasn’t happened for the last three months. There are some signs that the number of loan listings is improving, though, so I actually think the growth will pick up quite a bit from here, possibly as soon as next month.

Their largest investor, worth-blanket2, had another busy month. According to Lendstats, worth-blanket2 invested over $3.1 million in new loans in April. There was a new kid on the block at Prosper this past month that goes by the screen name of Cash-Flow – they invested over $600,000 to make them the second largest investor in April. The usual number two, Index_Plus, kicked in just over $330,000 and just one other investor (another new entrant), tolerant-responsibility051, invested more than $100,000 according to my research.

So just like March Prosper enjoyed a wide base of investment spread between retail and institutional investors with probably a bit more volume on the retail side. Below is their 18-month chart.

Prosper 18-month p2p loan volume chart

A reader emailed me this month and asked why I didn’t include Peerform in the monthly numbers. I would be happy to, and have extended an invitation to them a couple of times, but they do not wish to disclose their monthly numbers yet. My guess is that once they are doing some substantial volume they will be happy to be included here.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan May 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

It seems that Cash-Flow has been investing primarily in lower risk loans (A-B). This sets them apart from the other big investors that pursue more aggressive returns through higher risk loans.

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Peter Renton May 2, 2012 at 4:10 am

@Ryan, Yes they have a much more conservative approach which seems to be unusual for the big investors on Prosper. Of the top 20 investors on Prosper (of which they are number 11 right now) they have the most conservative portfolio with an average interest rate of 14.1%.

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Danny S May 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Peter, any thoughts on why LC is doing such a higher volume than Prosper? I dont think either one is necessarily outspending the other in marketing or getting their brand name out more… and both platforms are very similar to one another in terms of what they offer to investors and borrowers.

Maybe I’m missing something but I also dont quite get why LC’s growth rate continues to increase while Prosper is not quite stagnant but certainly not growing as quickly. I would think that with Prosper being a smaller company, their growth rate could increase at a faster rate than LC’s.

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Roy S May 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm

@Danny, One explanation is that Prosper can’t handle the increase in loan volume as well as LC is able to. I currently have a Note pending that was in verification stage 3 when it was fully funded…last week (I think it was last Thursday that it was fully funded). I have seen the timeframe for a lot of Notes in pending status seem to take a little longer to originate than I did even 3 months ago. Perhaps Prosper is doing a little more DD than usual, but a Note that is in the third stage of verification should NOT take a week to originate. I purposely invest in as few stage 1 Notes as possible for this very reason. But with the uncertain economic climate and all the government regulations and everything else Prosper has to deal with, they may purposely be holding off on hiring and spending (like everyone else) creating a bottle neck and slowing down the volume of loan originations.

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Peter Renton May 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm

@Danny, That is a very good question. I think there are several factors in play. Lending Club has attracted much more institutional money than Prosper with their LC Advisors arm now with well over $100 million under management. They are also doing very well on the retail side although we don’t know the exact numbers there. Another factor is loan size. Prosper is very conservative when it comes to loan size and their average loan size of around $7,500 is almost half that of Lending Club. LC also has a bigger marketing budget and seem to have no problem finding good loans.

I also think that many retail investors were burned by Prosper 1.0 and haven’t come back. Both old and new investors don’t always understand that Prosper’s underwriting changed dramatically in July 2009 and that their returns are now excellent.

@Roy, Underwriting and loan approval is still a somewhat manual process and it would make sense that Lending Club could handle a larger volume than Prosper. I don’t know whether the loan you are talking about was an isolated case or part of a trend. When I took out a loan last year I found the process on Prosper to be very fast but that was eight months ago now.

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