Lending Club Shares Remain Under Pressure

canstockphoto12552402The firing of Renaud Laplanche at Lending Club has not stemmed the stock’s decline, and some market observers are starting to say that the online marketplace company might go into a financial “death spiral.”

The issue was and is trust. Apparently, the errant sale of loans to Jefferies & Co. was not just about skirting business ethics. Lending Club purportedly played many investors hard, pitting them against each other to extract the best yield, as opposed to “cultivating relationships,” which is Wall Street-speak for not sucking every last basis point out of every last investor transaction.

Lending Club didn’t need those “relationships” on its way up, when demand was high for Lending Club assets. But on its way down, the lack of “relationships” inclines investors to suck every last drop of value out of Lending Club — and that could cause a death spiral. As the lack of trust in Lending Club amplifies, it becomes exceedingly difficult for it to find investors to buy its assets, who don’t much care about Lending Club, because of its aggressive business tactics. And without buyers … well, you get the picture.

Lending Club stock is down 49.2% since May 9, when the Laplanche news hit, and already down about 4% today, at 10:55 am ET. The company still has a market capitalization of $1.25 billion. For now.

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