LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC), the first peer-to-peer lending site to go public, looked like a serious financial sector disruptor in December 2014 after its stock shot up 56% with its initial public offering (IPO).
Eight months later, I warned my readers about LendingClub's pitfalls in "Storm Clouds Are Gathering Around Peer-to-Peer Lending." And again, only two days after the one-year anniversary of LC's IPO, I released another piece inspired by LendingClub, "I Warned You about 'P2P Lending' – And I Was Right."
I hope you listened to me.
Not only has LC's stock collapsed, but the company's also reeling from regulatory hits, it just announced a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission, and it's facing a class-action lawsuit over lack of material disclosures that should have warned shareholders the stock was vulnerable to investigations.
Here's how tight the vice clenched around LendingClub really is…
The Numbers Don't Lie
LendingClub sure looked like a new-era disruptor to reckon with at the time of its IPO on Dec. 10, 2014.
While the first range suggested for the stock's coming-out party was $10 to $12, it got bumped up to $12 to $15 a day before its IPO. It was priced at $15 the night before breaking out onto the New York Stock Exchange and soared 56% that Thursday.
Coming out at the high end of its expected range and continuing to rocket upwards was even more impressive given the Dow Jones Industrials had sunk 200 points the day before.
The IPO raised $870 million for the company and gave it a capitalization of $8.5 billion.
But the IPO day's high watermark of $24.75 was about as close to the sun as LC would fly.
Eight months later, when I warned about troubles in paradise, the stock was already down 36%, trading at just about $15. It was still hanging around that level when I warned about it again in December 2015.
Today (Tuesday, May 8), LC's stock is trading pennies above its all-time low of $2.57, down 89% from its opening day achievement, and down 82% from where I warned about the tough road ahead.
That sky-high market cap of more than $8.5 billion has dwindled down to just $1.12 billion.
Another Day, Another Scandal
About the Author
Shah Gilani boasts a financial pedigree unlike any other. He ran his first hedge fund in 1982 from his seat on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When options on the Standard & Poor's 100 began trading on March 11, 1983, Shah worked in "the pit" as a market maker.
The work he did laid the foundation for what would later become the VIX - to this day one of the most widely used indicators worldwide. After leaving Chicago to run the futures and options division of the British banking giant Lloyd's TSB, Shah moved up to Roosevelt & Cross Inc., an old-line New York boutique firm. There he originated and ran a packaged fixed-income trading desk, and established that company's "listed" and OTC trading desks.
Shah founded a second hedge fund in 1999, which he ran until 2003.
Shah's vast network of contacts includes the biggest players on Wall Street and in international finance. These contacts give him the real story - when others only get what the investment banks want them to see.
Today, as editor of Hyperdrive Portfolio, Shah presents his legion of subscribers with massive profit opportunities that result from paradigm shifts in the way we work, play, and live.
Shah is a frequent guest on CNBC, Forbes, and MarketWatch, and you can catch him every week on Fox Business's Varney & Co.