Federal rate hikes, a rocky trade relationship with China, the stock market experiencing one of the worst Decembers on record... 2018 was an odd year for the economy, and on the consumer level, it seems another worrying trend is emerging:
Lendees took out more money per loan at Lending Club ($LC) — a peer-to-peer lending platform startup founded in 2006 — than any other year over the past decade, according to data tracked directly from the lender's website.
This past year, there were 552,290 loans taken out at Lending Club, according to data taken directly from the website. That's not a huge improvement over the company's individual loan numbers for 2017, which was a drastic fall from the company's prime years of 2015-16.
What is promising for the platform, however, is the amount of money loaned this year. About $7.8 billion dollars was loaned out through Lending Club, an increase of over $1 billion year-over-year. This money was shown through each loan's max principal, which was stored and calculated over every year since 2008.
On paper, it seems that 2015 was the best year for Lending Club. And technically, it was; 2015 was the year they introduced auto loans and mortgages, partnered with companies such as Google ($GOOG), and a multi-draw line of credit for small businesses.
But, the data could argue that after dealing with an industry-wide crisis the year after, Lending Club has come back by way of loaning more money to people per loan. The average principal taken out of Lending Club was $14,033.91 in 2018, an increase of $1,892.53 since 2017.
It is the highest average principal at the company since we began tracking it in 2008. This also continues a trend of a rising average principal since 2008.
Although the introduction of new products during 2015 could have influenced the amount of money people are borrowing from Lending Club, it still remains that people are borrowing more money overall on the platform. And, given the state of the economy in the beginning of 2019, this might be another sign of concern for the future.