Showing the value of a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace, Lending Club’s upcoming IPO is expected to net the firm close to $700 million in funds and a $4 billion valuation. The funding figure surpasses an earlier estimate of $500 million that had been floated when Lending Club first filed documents in August revealing its desire to go public.
A provider of loans, Lending Club has built a peer-to-peer platform which connects borrowers with lenders/investors. Removing banks as dealers to both borrowers and investors, the P2P platform allows for decreased fees to users. In addition, due to record low rates available in traditional investing of bonds and fixed income products, investors are finding better terms in P2P platforms like Lending Club. As a result, investors of the platform have migrated from private individuals to now be dominated by asset managers and hedge funds.
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While providing more liquidity to the P2P lending marketplace and lower rates to borrowers, the arrival of institutional investors has caused Lending Club to be less of a P2P platform and more similar to an institutional lending marketplace.
As the first P2P lender in the US to file for an IPO, the deal is being closely watched by competitors as well as the overall fintech industry. At $4 billion, Lending Club’s value is purely forward based as the firm ended 2013 reporting $7.13 million in net income and showing a loss during the first half of 2014.
Valuations were a topic discussed during the Fintech Panel at the Forex Magnates London Summit. The consensus among panellists was that despite sky-high valuations and money being funnelled into the fintech sector, we are still not in bubble territory. The opinion was based on the fact that compared to the existing financial sector, fintech values account for a tiny overall percentage, but are currently disrupting incumbents and have the potential to become major players in banking and finance in the near future. In regards to P2P lending, the sector is already an area closely watched by banks, with several firms explaining to Forex Magnates that they are internally investigating the product’s long term potential and role in traditional banking.