November 6, 2018 / 9:22 PM / 8 days ago

LendingClub profit beats estimates on record loan originations

(Reuters) - Online lender LendingClub Corp (LC.N) reported an adjusted third-quarter profit that edged past analysts’ estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, helped by record loan originations and higher transaction fees.

The company said it now expects 2018 adjusted earnings of between $89 million and $94 million, up from a previous range of $75 million to $90 million.

LendingClub shares were up 1.4 percent at $3.69 in extended trading on Tuesday.

The company originated a record $2.9 billion of loans on its platform in the quarter, up 18.2 percent.

Its overall quarterly revenue rose 20 percent to $184.6 million, with transaction fee revenue up 13 percent.

“We had another record quarter, driven by strong borrowing and investor demand,” Tom Casey, LendingClub’s Chief Financial Officer, said on a call with analysts.

LendingClub is one of the best-known companies that runs an online marketplace connecting consumers looking for loans to individuals or institutional investors, such as banks.

The San Francisco lender has been working to restore investor confidence after an internal investigation in May 2016 into a series of loan malpractices led to the ouster of then-CEO and founder Renaud Laplanche.

The incident also led to a drop in loan originations.

Since then, the company has worked to turn itself around by cutting costs and enhancing its marketing tactics, in particular working to entice consumers to become return customers.

The company’s third-quarter results reflected “delivery against the plan” LendingClub laid out for investors late last year, Chief Executive Scott Sanborn said in a call with analysts.

LendingClub also announced that it plans to open an office near Salt Lake City, Utah, to house its operations staff. The initiative aims to help drive down costs by reducing its need for more expensive San Francisco real estate space.

“We’ll benefit from lower real estate and staffing costs, which will give us greater long-term scalability and operating leverage,” Casey said.

LendingClub has committed to creating 860 jobs at the new location over the next 10 years, as part of a state tax incentive program, it said.

On an adjusted basis, LendingClub earned 3 cents per share, while analysts on average had expected a profit of 2 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

LendingClub's net loss fell to $22.8 million, or 5 cents per share, in the quarter, from a loss of $6.5 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier. (reut.rs/2F7thXx)

Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru and Anna Irrera in New York; editing by Bernard Orr and Bill Berkrot

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