April 25, 2018 / 5:21 PM / 5 months ago

U.S. regulator sues LendingClub over hidden fees

NEW YORK, April 25 (Reuters) - A U.S. regulator sued online lender Lending Club Corp on Wednesday for allegedly overcharging consumers and misleading them on hidden fees.

The Federal Trade Commission said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that LendingClub deducted hidden fees from the loans it issued to borrowers, despite promising no “hidden fees.”

LendingClub also allegedly deducted payments automatically from consumers’ bank accounts even when they had paid off their loans, or had canceled automatic payments, according to the complaint. Some consumers were allegedly charged double payments, the complaint said.

LendingClub shares were down as much as 15 percent following the news.

The San Francisco based startup is one of the largest companies known as peer-to-peer lenders and runs a website where consumers can apply for loans that are either funded by individual investors or by institutions such as banks.

“We support the important role that the FTC plays in encouraging appropriate standards and best practices,” a spokesman for LendingClub said in a written statement. “In this case, we believe the FTC is wrong, and are very disappointed that it was not possible to resolve this matter constructively with the agency’s current leadership.”

LendingClub has been in recovery mode since May 2016, when it acknowledged issues including the way it had sold loans to an investor, prompting the departure of its then chief executive. (Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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