LendingClub’s Incoming CTO To Focus on Mobile, Data and Simplicity

EXCLUSIVE— Mobile, data usage, and a simple experience are three of the things Bahman Koohestani, the next chief technology officer for marketplace lender LendingClub, will be focusing on this year, Koohestani told Bank Innovation.

“There’s no question that mobile apps and mobile access continue to be very important,” Koohestani told Bank Innovation. A CTO veteran, he currently serves that role for Clarivate Analytics, also based in San Francisco, and has previously held executive roles at NexTag and PayPal.

“Mobile is going to expand significantly,” he said.

Koohestani, who will officially step into his role at LendingClub in the middle of May 2018, was not able to share how, exactly, LendingClub would be improving its mobile apps (the company currently has apps for both Android and Apple devices), but noted that they would be adding “more functionality” into the applications.

As well as mobile, data usage and analytics continue to be top priority for LendingClub, though “the use of data is nothing new [in financial services],” Koohestani said, pointing to the industry’s decade-long use of FICO credit data to support loans.

Innovation in this field (thanks to technologies like artificial intelligence], allows “data usage to become much sharper, something that’s going to accelerate,” Koohestani told Bank Innovation, as well as provide “a sharper quality of loans.”

Since he has not yet assumed the CTO role, he was unable to share any specific data plans or innovations from LendingClub.

The third area of focus for Koohestani at LendingClub will be simplicity, he said, noting that consumers have come to expect “significantly simpler” experiences, now that online applications and financial transactions are becoming the norm. As consumers grow more comfortable making larger financial decisions online, a simple online experience remains key to customer acquisition.

Founded in 2006, LendingClub is based in San Francisco. The lender originated $2.44 billion in loans during the fourth quarter of 2017, and is expected to report its first quarter earnings on May 8, about one week prior to Koohestani’s official start date.

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