WebBank Alleged to be “Sham Pass Through Bank” in New Lending Club Usury Class Action

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Lending Club IPO

A new class action lawsuit filed on April 6th alleges that Lending Club and WebBank among others, violated state usury laws, consumer protection laws and the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).

Plaintiff Ronald Bethune, a New York resident, is arguing that his 29.97% APR loan through Lending Club violated the state’s 16% interest cap.

While the Second Circuit’s ruling in Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC is cited, the complaint focuses more on WebBank’s role in carrying out a collaborative fraud scheme.

Defendants associated together for the common purpose of limiting costs, eliminating oversight, and maximizing each members’ profits by engaging in the fraudulent conduct described herein. Specifically, the members of the Enterprise enticed tens of thousands of consumers to sign up for loans through LCC [LendingClub Corporation], hoping that enough consumers would select LCC for their loans without the fact that WebBank was a “pass through” sham party to the transaction being brought to light making the loans illegal and usurious. The purpose was to allow Defendants to charge, and profit from, usurious interest rates to Plaintiff and members of the Class, and to do so without regulatory oversight.

The plaintiff acknowledges that Lending Club recently adjusted its relationship with WebBank and the class seeks to recover damages for all loans made prior.

WebBank’s parent company, Steel Partners Holdings LP, who is also named as a co-defendant, has barely registered any movement in its stock price.

Lending Club by contrast, is down almost 10% since the complaint was filed.


This case is unrelated to another pending class action against Lending Club.

Last modified: April 15, 2016
Sean Murray

Category: Legal Briefs, Marketplace Lending

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