Recently I noticed two changes on p2p lender’s Lending Club website.
On the statistics page the link to download the loan data was removed. Before it was possible to download the complete loan data since inception of the service. Furthermore the predefined setting for the parameter “Loans issued from” is set on March 1,2008 now. That means, if you look on the page and do not change that parameter manually you see how loans performed that were issued between March 1, 2008 and today. Older loans issued between June 1, 2007 and Feb 29, 2008 are not included in the displayed results.
When I noticed that, I was reminded of what Prosper did with it’s statistics. Prosper segmented it’s loans (e.g. prosper select index) and cited only results for better performing segments in press releases. Furthermore the predefined values on Prosper’s statistic page, were set in a way that lowered the late payments and default ratios compared to an average over all Prosper loans.
But Lending Club had successfully positioned itself with transparency a core value in the past, so I asked Lending Club to comment on the reasons for the changes.
Rob Garcia, Director Product Strategy told P2P-Banking.com:
This is a temporary situation. We chose to take down the files due to privacy concerns raised by our customers. We are working to address these concerns in a way that continues to provide full transparency to platform data, while protecting the privacy of our customers….
On the setting of the parameter he stated:
The default setting for the statistics page is a year. So since we are now in March, the “From” date is defaulted to March 2008. This is to show the most relevant annualized indicators for the last year. Users can then change the “From” and “To” dates to explore the indicators for a specific time frame they may be interested in, including from inception (June 1, 2007). We did this based on numerous email inquiries from lenders asking for annual default rates instead of a general default rate since inception (so that they can compare annual defaults to annual interest rates to get actual net returns). We’re looking at tools to make that calculation easier…
Yesterday Lazy Man wrote about his observations on how Lending Club reports risk. The posted screenshots show that interpretation of the risk figures is not obvious under certain circumstances.