In a research report released yesterday, Wedbush analyst Henry Coffey initiated coverage on shares of LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) with an Underperform rating and a $3.75 price target, which implies a downside of nearly 36% from current levels.
From Coffey’s perspective, LC remains “by most measures” the ultimate heavyweight marketplace lender in the consumer loans market. Yet, the fintech firm has had to handle its fair share of challenges. In May, the company’s founder and CEO Renaud Leplanche, after building the first billion-dollar U.S. online lending marketplace was forced to hand in his resignation to the empire he primed after violating business practices to the tune of approximately $22 million in relabeled loans.
From May on, LC wiped its board clean with a brand new team of fresh hires to run the empire, from a new CEO to new CFO to Chief Capital Officer, a team Coffey notes has been largely “successful” in its efforts to stabilize the rocky platform. Even 16 of the top 20 institutional loan buyers who had “immediately put on the brakes” amid LC’s tarnished repute have since returned to the firm.
Nonetheless, overall, the analyst continues to remain bearish on the company’s long-term prospects, explaining, “While we want to give management full credit for the job they have done in stabilizing the funding platform since the disruption to the C-suite in May, our rating and price target reflect the expectation that this company is 3 to 5 years away from reporting a meaningful level of earnings and that growth in originations much above current levels is going to be held back by the size/limitations of its marketplace model and the complexities of moving to more conventional sources of funding.”
Ultimately, “In valuing the shares and rating the stock, we looked at the company more as a lender, than a ‘FinTech’ growth company,” Coffey concludes.
As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, analyst Henry Coffee is ranked #3,421 out of 4,184 analysts. Coffey has a 38% success rate and faces a loss of 3.8% in his yearly returns. When recommending LC, Coffey loses 31.0% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics exhibit LC as a Hold. Based on 9 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 1 rates a Buy on LC, 7 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $5.96, marking a 2% upside from where the stock is currently trading.