My Lending Club account has been kind of hands off the last couple of months, with no new loans being bought or sold. The good news is that my returns are continuing to improve. My returns are now up to 11.93%, getting close to the 12% I said I was looking for a while back. By moving away from purchasing only A and B grade loans, and selectively choosing more C, D and F grade loans I've been able to boost my returns significantly. Hopefully next month I'll be over that 12% hump.
Lending Club continues their steady growth, as they added an another 42.1 million in new loans for April 2012. From SocialLending.net
When you look at the numbers Lending Club issued almost $42.1 million in new loans this month. The total number of new loans was up substantially (over 10%) from last month with 3,230 loans issued. This meant for the second month in a row their average loan size reduced – in April it was $13,019. The total loans issued since inception is now around $612 million and with eight months left in the year it is clear that Lending Club will cross over $1 billion in total loans before the end of the year.
Lending Club has continued to show strong growth, and should be able to cross $1 billion in total loans by the end of the year. I think that goes to show that they aren't just a flash in the pan. Peer to peer lending is here for the long haul! Prosper has also continued to show growth as well, and may be worth a second look by investors.
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Also this month Peter Renton of SocialLending.net has relaunched his peer to peer lending training video course. The course goes over the social lending sphere in depth, talks about how to maximize returns and gives some of Peter's best investment strategies to help you succeed. The course is well worth the cost, and worth a look if you're interested in maximizing your returns with P2P Lending.
Returns Now At 11.93%
A week or two ago I started looking at my Lending Club account for 2011 tax purposes. Trying to figure out your taxes when it comes to Lending club can be extremely confusing as the reporting processes can vary depending on how much you're investing in each loan, how your interest income will be reported, etc. If you're as confused as i was when I started looking at it, check out my post on Lending Club and taxes.
A couple of months ago I had my first charged off loan. It was disappointing to see my perfect record of no charged off loans go down the tubes, but it wasn't completely unexpected. With as long as I've been investing with Lending Club I would have expected at least 1 or 2 charged off loans a while ago. Here's a look at my account to date:
- Net Annualized Return of 11.93%: Up from 11.61% in early April, 11.44% in February, all the way back to 10.53% in July of last year. It continues showing progress.
- Number of defaults.. one, with 2 new late: A few months ago now I had my first charged off loan, a Grade B loan. It's interesting that the loans I've had either go late or get charged off have mostly been the higher grade loans. I've now got two more late loans, one of them a grade A loan, and the other a Grade D loan. The grade A loan is thankfully almost all paid off already, so even if it gets charged off my losses would be minimal. The grade D loan that's late is about 1/2 paid off by now, and is already on a payment schedule to hopefully get them back on track. We'll see.
- Twenty seven loans have been paid off early: Ten were A grade loans, eight were grade B loans, six were C grade, two grade E and one F. Looks like grade A and B loans are more likely to get paid back early, reducing returns. Another reason why I've started investing in more higher grade loans.
- My account balance increasing, re-investing returns: I currently have $2,777.11 in my account, with $170.87 of that ready to invest. I'll get around to re-investing that money soon.
- I’m still diversified by investing across a large number of loans: I've had 169 loans, with no more than $25 in each loan. In other words, I'm diversified across a large number of loans, lessening my risk from any one loan going into default or getting charged off.
NOTE: Did you know that 100% of investors who have invested in 800 notes or more had positive returns. Not too shabby, not everyone in the stock market can say that!
What's Your Actual ROI?
When you're looking at the numbers on the Lending Club and Prosper sites, it has been pointed out time and again that their numbers are overly rosy view of what your actual return on investment will be. The ways that they calculate the ROI isn't really standardized, and they don't take into account how old your loans are, possible future default rates, or other things that may become a factor. The numbers they show are just something you have to take or leave.
A site that I discovered a while ago that gives what I think is a better picture of the actual ROI you can expect is Nickel Steamroller's Lending Club portfolio analyzer. Basically the analysis tool with give you an estimated ROI after you download all your notes from your Lending Club account and upload the .csv file. It will go through you notes and give sell recommendations, show duplicate notes and highlight notes that are below Lending Club’s average return (so you can sell them on the secondary platform). It will even give you a fun little map showing where your loans are (see mine above).
In looking at my returns on the analyzer, my actual return according to the site will be closer to 10.74%. It also gives me quite a few sell recommendations, particularly on some of my older lower interest loans that I did when first starting out. Those particular loans tend to be grade A or B, and have interest below 8%.
Evolving Lending Club Strategy
Here's the basic strategy I've been using with Lending Club since I started investing. The strategy has changed a little bit over time to include more low grade loans and a few loans with higher balances.
- Less than $10,000: I believe I’ll still be sticking with mostly loans below $10,000. Lower amounts mean higher likelihood of payback of the loan.
- Zero delinquencies: Again, I may fudge slightly on this one, but I still want it to be very few or zero delinquencies.
- Debt to income ratio below 20-25%: I like to invest in loans where the borrowers have a lower DTI ratio, and preferably have higher incomes. I’ll try to keep this as is.
- Good employment history: I like loans with a decent employment history of at least 2 years, and a decent income.
So that's what I'm doing with my Lending Club portfolio right now, and how I'm investing.
Are you currently investing in Lending Club? How are your returns looking? Tell us in the comments!