Lending Club Fires 179 Staff, Names New CEO, Chairman

June 28, 2016 by Paul Ausick

Peer-to-peer loan maker LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) announced Tuesday morning that it has named a new CEO, a new chairman of the board, and that it will cut 179 jobs. The troubled lender’s annual meeting begins later this morning as an online-only event — there is no physical location for the meeting.

The new CEO is Scott Sanborn who has been with LendingClub for six years in a number of senior management roles. Hans Morris is the new, independent chairman of the board. Morris had been the temporary executive chairman since the company fired founder and former CEO Renaud Laplanche.

Regarding the job cuts the company said:

In light of lower loan volumes in the second quarter and recognizing that fully restoring investor confidence may take time, the company has decided to reduce 179 positions in the organization.

At the annual meeting the company will address a number of other items that have contributed to the 70% share price drop over the past 12 months. But here’s a preview of what to expect:

Based on quarter to date originations, the company expects loan originations in the second quarter of 2016 to be roughly one third lower than in the first quarter of 2016. In addition, the company expects to report investor incentives of roughly $9 million, $15 – $20 million of additional expenses related to employee retention, employee severance, advisory relationships, board review, remediation and due diligence activities, and a goodwill write-down of between $20 – $40 million related to slower growth expectations for Springstone, subject to finalization of this analysis. … Lending Club provided several investor incentives (to both retail and institutional investors) most of which are expected to continue into the third quarter. The company expects to transition away from these incentives in the fourth quarter and plans to resume revenue and EBITDA growth in the first half of 2017.

The company has also identified two items it says have been substantially concluded following its internal review. The first is the adjustment of asset valuations held by six private funds held by a subsidiary that “were not consistent with generally accepted accounting principles and impacted net asset values and monthly return figures.” The second item is related to loans made in December 2009 to former CEO Laplanche and three family members.

Since the firing of Laplanche in early May the shares have dropped about 20%. Tuesday’s announcement has raised some investors’ hopes, apparently, because the shares traded higher in the premarket session at $4.46, up about 3.7% from Monday’s closing price of $4.30. The consensus price target on the stock is $8.18 and the 52-week range is $3.44 to $15.14.