While LendingClub (LC) still faces challenges, CEO Scott Sanborn is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
He's winning back bank investors, expanding into the lucrative auto-refinance market and rebuilding the company's leadership team, which are positive signals for a company that lost 17% of its market value since CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned in May.
The loan-sale irregularities reported along with Laplanche's resignation were a blow to the San Francisco-based fintech lender. It lacks the deposits that banks typically use to fund loans and relies instead on capital from sources such as asset managers, hedge funds and banks as well as individual investors.
Because banks are highly regulated, they pulled back sharply and were slower to return. Sanborn has been working diligently to win them over since their cheap capital makes them vital partners for providing lower-rate loans to high-quality borrowers.
"We dedicated a lot of resources this quarter to supporting banks, as they worked through their complex diligence and regulatory requirements," he said on an earnings call with investors this week. Those efforts paid off, he added, resulting in "nearly all of our key bank partners being back on the platform." Lending Club capped that achievement by winning a $1.3 billion infusion from the National Bank of Canada.
The company's shares have climbed 16% this week to $5.96. They are still lower than at the end of last year, though, while key financial indexes have risen in the same period.
And banks, while they have returned to Lending Club's platform, now constitute just 13% of its investor pool, down from 26% a year earlier, and overall loan volume is down.