Banking & Finance

LendingClub Fires CEO, Reports Mixed Q1 Highlights

Peer-to-peer loan provider LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) announced Monday that CEO Renaud Laplanche has resigned, following an internal review of a sale of $22 million in near-prime loans to a single investor earlier this year. President Scott Sanborn has been appointed acting chief executive officer.

The company also said that it would delay filing its Form 10-Q quarterly report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to no later than May 16.

Among its financial highlights reported Monday, the company said it earned adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.05 on revenues of $151.3 million. In the prior-year period revenues totaled $81 million and LendingClub posted EPS of $0.02 per share. Analysts were looking for EPS of $0.05 and revenues of $148.23 million.

The newly appointed executive chairman, Hans Morris, said:

A key principle of the Company is maintaining the highest levels of trust with borrowers, investors, regulators, stockholders and employees. While the financial impact of this $22 million in loan sales was minor, a violation of the Company’s business practices along with a lack of full disclosure during the review was unacceptable to the board. Accordingly, the board took swift and decisive action, and authorized additional remedial steps to rectify these issues.

The impact on first-quarter revenues was reported to be approximately $150 million that could not be recognized from the sale of the loans.

The loans were sold in March ($15 million) and April ($7 million) of this year to a single, accredited institutional investor, reported by The Wall Street Journal sources to be Jefferies. The company’s announcement added:

The loans in question failed to conform to the investor’s express instructions as to a non-credit and non-pricing element. Certain personnel apparently were aware that the sale did not meet the investor’s criteria.

In early April 2016, Lending Club repurchased these loans at par and subsequently resold them at par to another investor. As a result of the repurchase, as of March 31, 2016, these loans were recorded as secured borrowings on the Company’s balance sheet and were also recorded at fair value.

In an unrelated matter, the internal review discovered a failure (by whom is not clear) to inform the board’s risk committee of “personal interests held in a third party fund while the Company was contemplating an investment in the same fund.” There was no financial impact from this issue.

LendingClub’s stock has plunged nearly 27% and traded at $5.21 Monday, after posting a new 52-week low of $5.18. The 52-week high is $19.48, and the consensus price target on the stock is $13.89.

In December 2014, LendingClub came public at a price of $15 per share.

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