Lending Club’s full disclosure…

June 8, 2009

We had never heard of a company called Lending Club before, but when we came across this filing from late Friday, we decided to take a closer look. Turns out that Lending Club, which basically allows people to make loans to one another, has already gotten a fair amount of press coverage, including this piece by Felix Salmon, which embraced the concept back in late April.

What made Friday’s filing so interesting are the requests that people post to the Lending Club site seeking funds — requests that turn up in the company’s SEC filings. Here’s one such request:

Promised daughter I would take her on a Disneycruise. I had funding for the trip but evaporated with the down turn of the stock market and companies I invested with in their stock. Please help me keep a promise to my daughter for this trip I booked over two years ago before the market crashed.

The filing then goes on to disclose how much the person is looking for ($7,000), the interest rate (12.84%), the person’s credit score (679-713), their current and past employers, their educational background and their gross income. While the person’s name isn’t listed, it seems like an awful lot of information to have out there in the public domain.

Here’s another request from another borrower looking for $18,000 at 11.58% interest.

I own a high end rug business in Austin Tx. We have a great business catering to both the Austin and San Antonio area. We have a great reputation in the design community. We need some extra money for new inventory…we’re always trying to stay ahead of the trends. We’ve Never missed a payment!

We won’t go into every request, but most of them have to do with loan and credit card consolidation, with a few business requests sprinkled in — someone looking to buy a hot dog franchise in Beverly, MA, is another one that jumped out at me. But they make for some interesting reading about the sorts of things people are looking to borrow money for in the current economic climate. It also makes me wonder if the people posting these requests for money online from other participants in Lending Club, knew that so many details would find their way into SEC filings.

Now Felix, when he wrote his piece, noted that the fact that Lending Club had “gone through all of the legal pain to get full SEC registration” made it less sleazy than some of the other lending schemes out there online. But if I was that borrower looking for money to pay for my cruise, the idea of having so many people know so many details about my life would kind of creep me out.

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