Lending Club and Opportunity Fund Announce Partnership to Grow Responsible Small Business Lending

Partnership announced at Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting to provide millions in funding for small businesses in California

June 15, 2015 8:00 AM EDT

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DENVER, June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --  At CGI America, President Bill Clinton announced a Commitment to Action between Lending Club (NYSE: LC), the world's largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, and Opportunity Fund, a national leader in community-based lending to small businesses.

"Access to capital for entrepreneurs is key to restoring real economic mobility, job creation and the economic health of the middle class. Opportunity Fund and Lending Club are committed to pilot an unprecedented partnership," announced President Clinton.

This pilot program is intended to provide up to $10 million in loans to small businesses in underserved areas of California, helping an estimated 400 businesses create 1,000 jobs, based on historical impact data collected by Opportunity Fund. The partnership was developed as part of the Community Investment Working Group.

"This is a breakthrough collaboration of high-tech and nonprofit business lending, and it draws on the best of both worlds. We think this points to the future of responsible business lending, and has the potential to take it to a whole new scale," said Opportunity Fund CEO Eric Weaver. "We've been lending in disadvantaged communities for twenty years. The plan for this partnership is to allow us to reach many more underserved businesses by developing a first-of-its kind technology integration with Lending Club. We believe that combining a best-in-class community-based lender with the world's largest online credit marketplace will provide a customer experience that is seamless and will deliver funding quickly to borrowers that are currently shut out."

Renaud Laplanche, CEO of Lending Club, said, "Opportunity Fund has developed deep expertise in providing capital in communities underserved by emerging players and traditional banking. Through this partnership, our goal is to make our technology available to Opportunity Fund to help them scale further, to meet the needs of a greater number of small business owners."

Access to capital for entrepreneurs plays a key role in economic mobility, job creation, and the health of the middle-class, but bank lending to small businesses has failed to recover from the 2008 recession. According to FDIC data[1], while bank commercial loans of $1 million or more have increased by 47% from 2007 to 2014, loans of $100,000 or less have actually fallen by 9%. According to Opportunity Fund, minority communities and women entrepreneurs are particularly underserved, exacerbating disparities in wealth and opportunity.

Opportunity Fund and Lending Club will work to create a loan program specifically designed for businesses in underserved areas of California. The partnership will leverage the Lending Club technology platform to identify qualifying applicants under Opportunity Fund's specific credit criteria; allow Opportunity Fund to review the pre-screened applicants through a seamless technology integration; and then Opportunity Fund will fund qualifying loans. The goal is for these small business owners to gain access to affordable credit, as well as expert advice and support from Opportunity Fund's dedicated staff.

About Lending Club

Lending Club (NYSE: LC) utilizes technology and innovation to reduce costs and offer borrowers better rates and investors better returns. As of March 31, 2015, over $9.3 billion in loans have been facilitated through the Lending Club platform. For more information: https://www.lendingclub.com. Currently only residents of the following states may invest in Lending Club notes: CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, KY (accredited investors), LA, MA, ME, MN, MS, MT, NH, NV, NY, RI, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, or WY.

About Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund is the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and a national leader for the microfinance movement. We believe that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives. We say "Yes!" to small business owners because entrepreneurship remains a proven pathway to greater economic opportunity. As California's leading microfinance provider, our team has deployed $100 million and helped more than 8,000 people since 1994.

For more information, visit: www.opportunityfund.org

About CGI America

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 400 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 1.4 million people.

CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI will also convene CGI Middle East & Africa, which will bring together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

[1] FDIC Call Report, Q2 2014

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SOURCE Lending Club

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