LendIt USA 2016 Day 1: P2P enters adolescence

April 12, 2016
3 min read

The first day of LendIt USA 2016 was a busy one. The conference opened with a keynote from Renaud LaPlanche, the CEO of Lending Club. LaPlanche suggested that marketplace lending is leaving its period of rapid growth and entering a phase of stabilization, with branching out to follow. LaPlanche discussed the challenges of growth, particularly investor demand and pending regulation. Both issues are seen across the Fintech landscape, and are definitely not limited to marketplace lending.

LaPlanche also mentioned Lending Club’s focus on returning to the first peer in peer-to-peer, noting that, currently, individual investors represent over half of Lending Club loan funds, and that a new partnership has been launched with Millennium Capital, an investment firm, to help continue diversifying the suppliers of loan funds. Finally, in true conference keynote fashion, LaPlanche hinted a new exciting product launch on June 13. I believe this could be a point of sale (POS) product, while a colleague thinks it may be an auto loan product.

Small business lending is a hot topic at LendIt this year. The Chase/OnDeck deal has provided what seems to be a best practice in platform lending and bank partnership. OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow said the lender is looking to expand its servicing model to more banks, both big and small, and is not slowing down after the Chase deal.

Marketplace lenders see their value in small business lending in their speed of processing and risk scoring, attributes that attracted Chase to OnDeck. In fact, most of the lenders and platforms here were sure to mention their own take on risk scoring; which prompted conference presenter FICO to highlight that they “do a lot more than scoring.”

Marketing was another popular theme from day one. Direct Mail was a darling of the marketing workshops, mostly due to its effectiveness in targeting over other, perhaps trendier, mediums. Mintel Comperemedia’s Claire Stewart discussed best practices in communication and acquisition, highlighting SoFi’s recent multi-channel customer communication campaign which included direct mail, on a marketing mix discussion panel. Harry Zhang, CEO of Lob, a direct mailer and analytics firm, mentioned that he’s seen some of the best direct mail returns from mailers who email customers to let them know an offer is in the mail. A novel concept.

LendIt day 2 highlights will include PayPal founder’s Peter Thiel’s opinions on Fintech, an in-depth discussion on regulation and politics, and thoughts on the relationships marketplace lenders form with customers. Stay tuned.

Claude Lawrence is a Senior Research Analyst with Comperemedia. His areas of focus include Credit Cards, Unsecured Lending and Banking. He will be tweeting live from LendIt USA at @claudethinks.

Claude Lawrence
Claude Lawrence

Claude Lawrence is the Director of Insights, Payments & Lending at Mintel. His areas of focus include credit cards, unsecured lending and banking.

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