Following the 2008 financial crisis, personal loan interest rates at Lending Club ($LC) rose steadily, as individuals looked for cash and banks grew more cautious.
But beginning in 2013, when the economy was a bit more settled, interest rates for personal loans at Lending Club saw a slow but steady decline.
That is, until January, 2016, when the average personal-loan interest rate saw a quiet — but apparent — incline. This trend appeared to reverse itself, at least during 2017. However, since January 2018, it looks as though rates are once again climbing.
On January 1, 2016, the average loan issued by Lending Club was issued at an interest rate of 12.44%. On January 1, 2017, that average was 13.00%. On the first business day in 2018, average rates had dropped to 11.75%.
But as of September 4, 2018, average interest rates have made their way back up to 13.48%.
Many factors could cause fluctuation in interest rates: the quality of the borrowers, macro economic factors, or changing practices at Lending Club. And above all else, this data is only based on loans issued from Lending Club, which only issues loans up to $40,000 and doesn't issue APRs lower than 6.16%.
That all said, however, this provides an interesting look at how interest rates have changed at an isolated bank over the past 10 years beginning with the 2008 financial crisis when all banks — including smaller lenders like Lending Club — revisited their underwriting methodologies. Could banks be revisiting said practices again as new factors enter their process? Time will, of course, tell, but the trend is clear.