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Bank of Google? Search Engine Takes Minority Interest in Lending Club

Rise of Alternative Financing Market Holds Longterm Ramifications for Real Estate Borrowers
May 8, 2013
Google has acquired a minority stake in online peer-to-peer lender, Lending Club. The investment came as part of a secondary transaction in which new and existing investors acquired shares in Lending Club from existing investors. Buyers include Google and existing investor Foundation Capital.

"Lending Club is using the Internet to reshape the financial system and profoundly transform the way people think of credit and investment," said Google's head of corporate development David Lawee. "We are excited to be a part of it."

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As part of this investment, Google's Lawee will take an observer seat on the Lending Club board.

"Few companies have such an in-depth understanding of the Internet as Google," said Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche. "We believe our relationship with Google will be very helpful in better serving our customers. We couldn't be more excited to have them on board."

Lending Club continues its significant growth with more than $1.65 billion in loans facilitated since inception including over $350 million in the last quarter. By focusing on high-credit-quality borrowers, the Lending Club platform has generated 22 consecutive quarters of positive returns.

This high-profile move by Google into the financial world comes at a time when alternative financing - peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, etc.-is growing very quickly. Online lending marketplaces have tapped into a variety of investor sources ranging from large pension funds all the way down to self-directed individual investors.

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