The New York bank might buy loans or provide a financing facility for the embattled online lender, according to people familiar with the matter.
The San Francisco-based lender rose 12.6% Friday, trading at $4.92 per share, after losing nearly 60% of its market value following the surprise resignation of CEO Renaud Laplanche earlier this month. This followed an internal investigation that found irregularities with the sale of some loans to investors.
Citigroup might provide financing to banks, investors and other funds that buy the loans listed on LendingClub's platform, which are originated through Salt Lake City-based WebBank, sources say.
"We are productively engaged with Lending Club on a number of fronts," a spokeswoman for Citigroup says.
Citigroup and LendingClub have worked together before. Last year, the bank partnered with LendingClub through alternative-management fund Varadero Captial to provide up to $150 million in more affordable loans "to underserved borrowers and communities."
Expanding the relationship would be an additional boon for LendingClub, which got a boost earlier this week when Singapore-based investment firm Shanda Group disclosed an 11.7% stake in the firm.
"We are a strong believer in the innovative business model LendingClub has pioneered and we are positive on its long-term prospects," Shanda Group said in an email. "We hope to contribute to Lending Club's efforts to bring fundamental, disruptive changes to the industry."
Others have been less optimistic: Goldman Sachs and Jefferies both ended transactions with LendingClub, and some regulators have begun probes.
The New York Department of Financial Services issued a subpoena to the lender asking for interest rates charged, underwriting standards and borrower verification details, but is potentially looking at other online lenders, Reuters reports. LendingClub has until June 21 to respond.
When Laplanche resigned, the company said it found $22 million in subprime loan sales to an investor that didn't meet the investor's requirements. Application dates had also been altered on $3 million of loans, the company's SEC filing said.
In the aftermath, the company's partnerships, with banks like Citigroup should help executives as they work to stabilize the lender, says Susquehanna Financial Group analyst James Friedman.
Susquehanna, which has a neutral rating on the lender, lowered its price target from $7.50 to $5 following the resignation of the CEO. The company's shares have fallen 56% this year.