Letter From the Editor May/June 2016July 16, 2016 | By: Sean Murray
How can I possibly sum up the events that have occurred between this issue and the previous one? At the LendIt Conference, the excitement was still there but it had retreated from the blinding levels of sensational bliss it had exhibited in years past. That energy would only drop further in the weeks thereafter. Q1 reports showed a slowdown in originations at some of the industry’s largest players. Then, of course, Lending Club announced their chief executive had resigned in what originally appeared to be a small scandal.
The timing couldn’t have been worse because regulatory scrutiny was already starting to pick up. A controversial bill introduced into the Illinois State Senate was one of the first signs that the times are a-changin’. Several trade organizations have formed in 2016 to educate policymakers, an accomplishment that seemed almost impossible in previous years because of the competitiveness between rivals. And yet, there they were on Capitol Hill just recently, grouped together to tell their stories and explain the positive impacts they are having on the American consumer or small business.
The Internet will indisputably have a central role in how lending takes place in the future. But does that make the companies that provide loans over the Internet online lenders? Or will they just be lenders that are perhaps more tech-enabled or tech-dependent? Even banks are using technology and the Internet to interact with their customers. That makes naming the industry or sub-industries of which each company is a part of even more challenging these days. Are they online lenders? Marketplace lenders? Balance sheet lenders? Fintech companies? Crowdfunders? Peer-to-peer lenders? Non-bank funders? An identity crisis only makes advocacy more challenging, especially when distracting headlines are dominating the news. One can only imagine what a regulator must think. Hopefully all becomes clear in due time.Last modified: February 17, 2018