I have already commented on Lending Club’s quiet period and referral program suspension. I decided to check other blogs to see what they have to say on the email notice that went out today. Since I was reading everything anyway, I decided to post links and a few quotes to everything that I could find using Google’s Blog Search for Lending Club.
Peer-Lend commented on the uncertainty of the meaning of the communication:
There has been a large amount of speculation recently in many corners that the P2P Lending models might be subject to some legal uncertainty regarding whether the loans should be classified as securities… The speculation has primarily been concerned with who, in fact, owns the loans (notes), and how exactly that ownership [is transferred]….
It is unclear whether LendingClub has ceased operations as a result of an SEC action or whether LendingClub has chosen to bite the bullet and submit to regulation voluntarily. This event could have major repercussions…
The g-spot posted:
My guess is their legal team is burning the midnight oil. Anyone thinking of starting their own P2P lending marketplace may want to review this telling video from 2006 where Chris Larsen of Prosper talks about the effort they spent working with regulators…
What’s new in? blogged about Lending Club sorting out some legal issues:
While the company will not talk to media â€œuntil the registration process is completed,â€ we suspect that Lending Club is looking to obtain a broker-dealer license from the SEC that would legitimize its operations.
Rate Ladder mentions that he does not have much choice but to withdraw funds as they become available. He also lamented the closing of the referral program which I can understand if you see his screen shot showing how much was earning from referrals.
NetBanker posted some screen shots and a few links. Additionally, it seems he got a statement from Prosper.com about the Lending Club quiet period:
Person-to-person lending is an increasingly popular way for individuals to borrow and lend money at attractive interest rates. Understandably it must be done in a secure and trusted way. While weâ€™re not in position to comment on another companyâ€™s regulatory stance, Prosper believes that…
– See the rest of the quote at NetBanker’s post on the topic.
I think this blog is jumping the gun in his assessment of the situation:
…it is no longer peer-to-peer lending… The whole idea behind P2P Lending is to keep the banks out of it… Now at Lending Club “lenders” will ensure the funding is provided, then the loans will be sold off to some institution… while the lender most certainly will not receive the full amount…
It destroys the whole “community” aspect of P2P lending…
Could the company be working towards an IPO? My guess is not and that this is a standard process to protect Lending Club as they grow. The term “quiet period” is being used and we hear this period could last as long as three months. I have an email into Lending Club to try to get more details.
Good luck on getting more information — it is called a quiet period for a reason. Update: I ran across a second post from CenterNetworks confirming that they received a “no comment” response from Lending Club.
TechCrunch’s post mentions: “…we suspect that Lending Club is looking to obtain a broker-dealer license from the SEC that would legitimize its operations.”
I think of all the posts on the topic, Jason commented best — it seems like very poor communication to announce this so abruptly. Maybe due to regulation they had no choice about how quickly this was announced, but I wish they would have mentioned that in the email. It might have stopped some of this speculation. And now of course, Lending Club will not be able to correct this communication for three, four, or more months due to the quiet period.
Anyway, I am still hoping for the secondary loan market which would bring liquidity to the P2P lending market. We’ll find out sooner or possibly later, but in the mean time, I’ll be making my next transfer of funds to Prosper.com.
UPDATE: I added more blog links related to the Lending Club quiet period in a second blog post.