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Actionable news in BX: THE BLACKSTONE GROUP L.P,

Steve Schwarzman Wants You to Borrow Money to Buy a Dishwasher

Blackstone Group LP owns 50,000 rental homes. Now the firm wants to help people buy things to put in them.

Blackstone, led by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, acquired the domain name Lending.com and plans to use it to provide financing for U.S. consumers to buy goods from autos to air conditioners with the click of a mobile-phone button.

As Wall Street banks and other traditional consumer lenders pull back from the market due to post-crisis banking-law changes, Blackstone, one of a group of less-regulated firms nicknamed the shadow-banking system, is diving in deeper. This year the buyout firm took over Finance of America Mortgage and acquired a majority stake in national home-loan lender Stearns Holdings. It already originates loans through its B2R Finance to real estate investors buying rental homes, and its credit arm, GSO Capital Partners, lends to cash-constrained companies.

Lending.com expects to help facilitate $10 billion in loans in the next three years, according to Chief Executive Officer Jason Hogg. Marketplace lenders, which arrange financing online, set up about $12 billion in borrowing in the U.S. last year, Morgan Stanley said in a May report.

“The direct-lending opportunity is far and away the most attractive part of U.S. fixed income today,” said Carl Bell, co-head of investments at Washington-based alternative-asset manager Invictus Capital Partners. “The ability to effectively access that has led to the huge growth and early success of marketplace lenders.”

With Lending.com...


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