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LendingClub (LC) Dips as CEO Resigns; Q1 Earnings in Line

Shares of LendingClub Corporation LC tanked nearly 35% after the announcement of resignation of its Chairman and CEO, Renaud Laplanche. The CEO resigned following an internal investigation into “sales of $22 million in near-prime loans to a single investor, in contravention of the investor's express instructions as to a non-credit and non-pricing element, in March and April 2016.”

Hans Morris, the newly appointed Executive Chairman 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. We have every confidence that Scott and the management team are well positioned to lead Lending Club forward.”

LendingClub disclosed this news along with the announcement its first quarter 2016 results. Earnings per share of 1 cent were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Nonetheless, the figure reflected improvement from a loss of 2 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter.


Results benefited from substantial growth in revenues, partly offset by escalating costs. Also, a surge in loan origination acted as a tailwind.

Results marked the third profitable quarter for the company since its initial public offering in Dec 2014. Net income, on a GAAP basis, came in at $4.1 billion as against a loss of $6.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Total net revenue jumped 87.5% year over year to $152.3 million. The rise was attributable to a drastic increase in all revenue components. Additionally, the figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $148.3 million.

Total operating expenses were $148 million, up 70.2% from the prior-year quarter. The increase depicted rise in all expense components.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”) totaled $25.2 million, up significantly from $10.6 million in the prior-year quarter. Further, adjusted EBITDA margin came in at 16.7%, up from 13.1% recorded a year ago.

In the reported quarter, loan originations were $2.75 billion, up 68.2% from the prior-year quarter.

As of Mar 31, 2016, cash and cash equivalents were $868 million. Further, loans grew 46% year over year to $4.7 billion as of Mar 31, 2016. Total stockholders' equity summed $1.1 billion, up 6.9% from Mar 31, 2015 level.

Share Repurchase

As of May 9, 2016, LendingClub repurchased roughly 2.3 million shares for approximately $19.5 million. In Feb 2016, the company had announced share repurchase authorization of $150 million, with validity of one year.

Our Take

Results reflected a solid quarter for LendingClub. With its top-line strength, we expect the company to sustain its recently achieved profitability. However, since LendingClub seeks to maximize the use of technology to make borrowing cheaper and easier, it needs to constantly maintain and upgrade its online platform. This, in turn, leads to higher technology-related expenses.

Also, the company incurs significant expenditure for selling and marketing its products. As a result, the high-cost scenario is further worsened, hampering the company’s bottom line.

Currently, LendingClub carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked finance stocks include Financial Engines, Inc. FNGN, Euronet Worldwide, Inc. EEFT and FleetCor Technologies, Inc. FLT. All these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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LENDINGCLUB CP (LC): Free Stock Analysis Report
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EURONET WORLDWD (EEFT): Free Stock Analysis Report
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