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Peer2Peer Finance News | May 29, 2017

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Lending Club posts Q1 loss but lifts full-year forecast

Lending Club posts Q1 loss but lifts full-year forecast
Anna Brunetti

LENDING CLUB posted its fourth consecutive quarterly loss on Thursday but raised its revenue forecast for the full year, as chief executive Scott Sanborn restated his ambition to return the company to growth within one year from his predecessor’s departure.

The scandal-struck US peer-to-peer lender reported a two per cent per-share loss in the first quarter, which compares with analysts’ expectations of a three per cent fall.

Conversely, the drop in net operating revenues was smaller than economists’ forecasts, falling by 18.3 per cent to $124.5m (£96.27m), against their $122.8m prediction.

However, the firm’s finance chief Tom Casey said the company would generate full-year revenues of between $575m and $595m, which is $100m higher than last year’s results and slightly higher than his previous forecast of $565m to $595m.

Read more: Lending Club losses increase after tough 2016

The upbeat remarks come a few days ahead of the one-year anniversary from the resignation of Lending Club’s founder and former head Renaud Laplanche on 9 May last year, amid a high-profile corporate governance scandal.

The firm is still undergoing an operational shore-up, with operating expenses having surged a further 4.3 per cent in the first three months of this year. This also impacted loan origination, which fell severely by 29 per cent to $1.96bn, down from $2.75bn a year earlier.

On the upside, the company said that banks that had stopped investing through the platform in the wake of the scandal have since returned, contributing 40 per cent to the total first-quarter origination, almost 10 per cent more than in the previous quarter.

Sanborn said the firm expects its recovery efforts to produce results during this quarter.

“We said we were planning to return to growth on the one year anniversary (from the departure of Laplanche) and we continue to maintain that plan,” he said.

The platform is targeting a six to 10 per cent quarterly growth in the next three months, aiming to add $132m to $137m to its net revenues in the second quarter.

Read more: Now Lending Club’s CTO has resigned

Read more: Lending Club’s Laplanche to set up rival firm