A Lending Club fan who created a research firm to independently rate Lending Club's loans discusses how he unearthed unusual characteristics in some loans on the platform.
Bryan Sims and I were sitting in the dining room of his modest home in Portland, Ore., in front of a laptop and a flatscreen monitor. A bulky home-built computer sat on the floor, with a handwritten warning taped on the side: “DO NOT TURN OFF. POST-APOCALYPTICAL FINANCIAL CRISIS WILL ENSUE.” The sign was a joke, but with a hint of truth. It was early June, and for months, Sims’s computer had been churning through a database of loans made by Lending Club. The San Francisco-based marketplace lender is either the most important company in the booming financial technology sector or, if its many critics are to be believed, a Silicon Valley-tinged credit crisis waiting to happen.