At least three federal lawsuits have been filed against the directors of OnDeck relating to the announcement that the company is being acquired by Enova. These suits allege securities act violations with regards to how the technical aspects of the deal were disclosed while the initially reported action in the Delaware Court of Chancery alleged a breach of fiduciary duty.
The federal securities lawsuits are:
Daniel Senteno v. On Deck Capital, Inc. et al – Case 1:20-cv-01179-MN
Eric Sabatini (on behalf of a class) v On Deck Capital, Inc et al – Case 1:20-cv-01166-MN
Mohamed Aboubih v On Deck Capital, Inc. et al – Case 1:20-cv-07319-Vm
Shares of OnDeck have suffered in the last week as the market has seen a dramatic pullback. Shares have traded as low as $2.17 on Wednesday, down 12% from the previous day. The company’s market capitalization is at $128.2M million, down from its 2014 IPO value of $1.32 billion.
The collateral damage of market panic led to all-time low share prices for online lending companies OnDeck and LendingClub on Monday. By noon, OnDeck was down 7.5% on the day at $2.55 (the low was $2.47) and LendingClub was down 5% at $9.62 (the low was $9.26).
Online lender Elevate also hit a new all-time low of $2.50.
Lending Club’s stock dropped to its lowest level on Monday, closing at $3.27, according to the online lending tracker. That puts the company down 78% from its IPO price of $15 and down 87% from its all-time high.
Worse yet though for the company is that competitors like Goldman Sachs have been able to undercut Lending Club’s rates (Goldman Sachs’ Marcus charges no late fees or origination fees), while simultaneously tapping into a cheaper cost of capital (deposits).
Square is the big winner thus far according to the deBanked Online Lender Tracker. The company’s stock price is up 373% since its IPO and already up 22.76% YTD.
OnDeck and Lending Club by contrast are down by more than 70% from their IPOs and down 17.6% and 2.66% YTD respectively.
But the real loser so far in 2018 is Bitcoin. As of this writing, the Coinbase price of BTC is around $11,310, down more than 18% from its 2017 year-end price of $13,860. Bitcoin had previously reached an all-time high of nearly $20,000.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is already up 5.11% YTD. That’s about 59x more than what a Marcus Savings account returned over the same period. Marcus is Goldman Sachs’ online lending and retail online banking arm.
OnDeck closed at the exact same price on September 14th as it did on July 20th, $4.58. In between, OnDeck reported one of their best quarters ever (they released their 2nd quarter earnings on August 7th) and experienced a temporary boost to $5. Even then, the stock was 75% down from the IPO price and more than 80% down from their all-time high, yet that too couldn’t be sustained.
In Q2, OnDeck only had a GAAP net loss of $1.5 million and announced that they had expanded their collaboration with JPMorgan Chase for up to four years to provide the underlying technology supporting Chase’s online lending solution to its small business customers.
In the rest of the lending world, optimism is in style. Square is up 121% year-to-date, according to the deBanked Online Lender Tracker and even Lending Club is up 14%.
More traditional finance companies like American Express and Intuit are meanwhile hovering near their 52-week highs, according to the Specialty Business Lending Tracker.
Some of OnDeck’s former employees at least appear to be doing well. Just recently, the former Chief Sales Officer was named COO of CoverWallet, the former Director of External Sales was named Chief Revenue Officer of Pearl Capital and the former Director of Portfolio Management and Credit Operations was named SVP at Breakout Capital.
Small business lending company OnDeck was down nearly 23% on the year when the market closed on Friday. One of their closest rivals, Square, a company that makes business loans in addition to offering payment processing services, was up almost 64% this year so far. The disparity can be partially attributed to the market’s changing perception of OnDeck, originally viewed as a disruptive technology company, to what they’re seen as now, a niche commercial lender. Their tech multiple is gone, putting their market capitalization near book value.
Square is faring differently since they have virtually no borrower acquisition costs (whereas OnDeck has high acquisition costs) and a strong revenue stream outside of loans. Square’s strategy is to turn its existing payment processing customers into borrowers.
Meanwhile, Lending Club, an online lender that makes both consumer loans and business loans, is up 6.48% on the year. Despite being down 63% from their IPO price, Lending Club is different in that they generate fee income off of originated loans rather than book loans on balance sheet like OnDeck.
What ties them all together is that OnDeck, Square and Lending Club all rely on chartered banks to make the loans they advertise, a model that is coming under scrutiny by states such as New York. OnDeck and Square both depend on Celtic Bank, a Utah-chartered industrial bank.
Among its peers, OnDeck arguably has the riskiest makeup. They’re concentrated in only one type of lending, they have high acquisition costs, and they retain direct exposure to the loans they generate. Combine that with a lack of profits, lack of growth, and future regulatory challenges ahead, and it’s easy to understand why they’re so significantly underperforming the pack.
The market continued to express their unhappiness with OnDeck on Tuesday by driving the stock down another 6% to $4.06. The stock had already fallen by 7% the previous day after OnDeck posted their quarterly report. Tuesday’s rout may have been caused by a profile published in the Wall Street Journal Monday evening that asserted that OnDeck was really a niche financial company rather than a revolutionary technology platform.
“At 1.2 times book value, it is now valued like a financial company and roughly in line with the average bank. This still looks a bit rich because it has no profits,” wrote WSJ’s Aaron Back.
The deBanked Tracker currently pegs OnDeck’s all-time performance as the worst of their peer group, down 80% since they went public in 2014.
A decent day for OnDeck’s stock on Tuesday was enough to place the company’s share price in positive territory year-to-date, where just about every other public online lender finds themselves as well. According to the new deBanked Tracker, Square is up more than 33% on the year and Yirendai up 19%. Even Lending Club, whose stock is still miles below their IPO price is still up more than 12% in 2017.
Meanwhile, Elevate just only went public earlier this month, singlehandedly putting an end to the drought of fintech IPOs. They’re already up 33% from their $6.50 IPO price.
On the publicly traded fund side, Ranger Direct Lending’s YTD struggles stem mainly from their exposure to Argon Credit who is going through bankruptcy. Ranger invested in the Princeton Alternative Income fund who had invested in Argon.
While the deBanked Tracker shows Canadian-listed IOU Financial as significantly underperforming their lending peers, very little volume of the stock trades on a daily basis. A major shareholder of the company however, FinTech Ventures LLLP, shed more than half their holdings of the company last week. As that amounted to nearly 10% of all of IOU’s outstanding shares, the company had to file a document announcing the move.
As an aside, the S&P 500 was up 6.69% YTD by market close on Tuesday and Bitcoin, which doesn’t get as much attention anymore, is up nearly 22% over the same time period.
The deBanked Tracker is still in beta and for now is automatically updated once per day after markets close in the US.
FinTech Ventures Fund, LLLP (“FinTech”), a major shareholder of IOU Financial, shed more than half of its holdings in the Canadian-listed company last week. The 7 million shares sold represented nearly 10% of IOU’s outstanding common shares.
According to a statement:
FinTech will review and monitor its options and alternatives with respect to additional acquisitions of Common Shares in light of all relevant factors from time to time, including general market conditions, prevailing market prices for the Common Shares, the business and prospects of IOU and alternative investment opportunities available to FinTech.
Marathon Partners, which owns 1.25 million shares of OnDeck Capital, has drawn a line in sand on the shore of the online lender. The private investor is urging OnDeck, whose share price has shed approximately three-quarters of its value since its IPO, to lower its risk profile amid lofty overhead expenses, which Marathon believes are preventing the online lender from achieving real profitability. Marathon has given OnDeck until the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May to respond. Otherwise the investor has vowed to withhold its support for a trio of board members who are up for a vote.
“We’re talking about a stock that is down 75 percent to 80 percent from its IPO price. You’re not going to find a lot of happy campers in that situation. Shareholders are going to ask tough questions,” Mario Cibelli, Marathon Partners managing member, told deBanked.
OnDeck Capital, meanwhile, believes it is on the right path for creating greater shareholder value.
“OnDeck welcomes open communications with all stockholders and values constructive input. Members of our board and management team have met with Marathon on several occasions. We are committed to driving value for all OnDeck stockholders and will continue to take actions to achieve this important objective,” said OnDeck’s Jim Larkin.
Indeed Marathon and OnDeck executives have had their share of discussions in the past year, over which time Marathon has acquired its stake and during which time the company’s valuation has become more interesting.
While other institutional investors have been buying shares, evidenced by EJF Capital’s 13-D filing in recent weeks, Marathon — though it has the capital to increase its stake in OnDeck — would not consider doing so with the company’s current risk profile. Marathon Capital’s lack of support for the vote, however, is less a reflection on any one individual and more a protest against the actions or lack thereof of the board as a whole.
“The only way for shareholders to reflect any disappointment or criticism on the proxy is by withholding votes for directors. Instead of picking out one or two of them, we said we’re not going to vote for any of them. This is a clear protest vote for poor performance,” said Cibelli.
Chief among Marathon’s criticisms is an executive compensation structure, including that of CEO Noah Breslow, which omits detail for investors. “There is not a tremendous amount of detail on executive compensation in the proxy, so it’s hard for investors to know what the incentives are that drive the senior management team. The board needs to be very thoughtful around creating the right set of incentives to increase shareholder value,” said Cibelli.
For instance, OnDeck Capital in its quest for profitability points to adjusted EBITDA, which Cibelli said is a “terrible” metric to use to incentivize a management team of a lending business. “It excludes stock-based compensation and depreciation. It also ignores the risk level on the balance sheet. For OnDeck profitability ought to mean GAAP net income,” said Cibelli. “You don’t hear Chase, Wells Fargo or any specialty finance company talking about adjusted EBITDA. GAAP net income is the proper metric and that is what we want OnDeck Capital to achieve.”
The murkiness surrounding Breslow’s compensation incentives has been exacerbated by what Cibelli described as an “excessive” overhead structure at the company that amounts to approximately $200 million each year.
“Given the high level of overhead, they have a tremendous amount of pressure on them to maintain and grow the loan portfolio,” said Cibelli, pointing to the company’s lack of profitability. If the company were profitable, Cibelli said OnDeck would start from a very different place when making its loan decisions.
“They would focus more on the quality of loans and interest rates. If OnDeck was profitable today, they might choose to step back from certain types and durations of loans since they would be under far less pressure to grow. Instead they could let the market and their competitive positioning dictate the level of growth,” he said, adding that OnDeck Capital is very challenged to be both prudently leveraged and profitable with its current level of overhead at $200 million.
As for next steps, Marathon Partners, which also wants the online lender to consider a sale of the company, is watching and waiting to see what OnDeck Capital will do.
“The ball is in their court,” said Cibelli. “We will see what they have to say and what they tell shareholders in a couple of weeks on the first quarter call.”
In case you missed it, the class action lawsuit filed in August 2015 by small retail investor Carl Stitt against OnDeck, its officers and underwriting banks for violating securities laws, was dismissed in late September of this year. Stitt withdrew his suit without prejudice as to all parties, including another investor, Isaac Malafsky, whose own class action suit was eventually consolidated into Stitt’s.
The case never gained any traction. Once the two suits were consolidated, OnDeck filed a motion to dismiss on multiple grounds, while pointing out that part of the complaint’s argument for a supposedly undisclosed negative trend came from a blog post on SeekingAlpha whose author had a short position in OnDeck’s stock. deBanked reported this on August 7th, 2015, when it was determined that the author was not just any short seller, but a company owned by Hunter Adams, who notoriously served time in prison for his role in a previous stock manipulation scheme.
Once the judge asked the parties to present oral arguments on the motion, the plaintiffs withdrew instead.
OnDeck traded at $10.47 on the day Stitt’s case was filed last year. It closed at $4.30 on December 9th, 2016, down by more than 50% since then.
Jack Dorsey-led payments company Square released its first earnings as a public company yesterday and although it did not disappoint, it just wasn’t enough to keep its stock from tumbling.
Square’s stock opened 7.86 percent lower today even after its fourth-quarter revenues totaling $374 million beat analysts expectations hovering around $345 million. The San Francisco-based company proved to skeptics that its business is more than just payments with a convincing quarter. The seven year old company that went public in November 2015, originated more than $400 million in merchant cash advances annually and over $150 million in the fourth quarter with an average deal size of $6,000 and its software and data business brought $58 million in annual revenue.
Square also processed $10.2 billion in payments from 2 million merchants in the fourth-quarter, at an annual increase of 47 percent. Square realized that the best way to retain consumers is to sell them more products without losing its core — payments. The company received 350,000 orders for the mobile point of sale chip reader which accepts payments on smartphones. “We want to associate our logo with the ability to pay with your phone,” said Jack Dorsey during the earnings call.
Square is confident that it has built a “cohesive commerce ecosystem” for merchants. Then why is the stock being punished?
Chinese stocks got a much-needed respite and traded at a four-week high after the country ousted the head of its securities regulator, China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Xiao Gang amidst a volatile stock market. Gang will be succeeded by Liu Shiyu, former deputy governor of the central bank and chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China.
The Shanghai Composite was down 18 percent within the first two weeks of this year and 40 percent since last year. And twice in a week, last month the Chinese stock market traded only for 29 minutes after the CSI 300 Index fell 7 percent.
The slump on stock markets is an amalgam of various factors like a weakening renminbi, slowing down of manufacturing activity and China’s slow transition to a consumption-led economy.
All signs point to drying up of capital in the country. China News Service last week reported a decline in the number of P2P lenders following the Ezubao Ponzi Scheme where marketplace lenders swindled $7.6 billion from investors.
Chinese lender Yirendai closed 0.73 percent up.
If it was involved in online lending, investors dumped it on Wednesday January 13th. LendingTree, a consumer lending platform, dropped nearly 30% for the day despite reporting positive results.
OnDeck closed at a new all-time low of $7.33, a drop of almost 14% for the day.
Lending Club also closed at a new all-time low. They finished at $8.86, after a comparably modest drop of 6.5%.
Enova International, the company that acquired The Business Backer back in August, closed at an all-time low. At $5.58, their stock dropped 3.13% for the day.
Square, a payments company with a substantial merchant cash advance operation, was down 4%, but they did not break the record for the all-time low they had just set six day earlier.
Yirendai, a Chinese peer-to-peer lender on the New York Stock Exchange, also managed to escape an all-time low despite being down 1.55%. Their all-time low record was also set just six days earlier.
For comparison’s sake, the S&P 500 was down 2.5% on the day. The continuous beating for online lenders, which can’t seem to catch a break in the market, is especially ominous because the economy is not in a recession and there are no indications that any of their business models are legitimately threatened. Nearly a decade since the beginning of the financial crisis, it’s apparently still cool to hate lenders. For LendingTree in particular, the precipitous drop on POSITIVE news was ugly enough to make the headlines in the New York Post. “LendingTree stock was sliced, diced, creamed and puréed,” the Post wrote.
Out there, the little guys who took a leap of faith to support fintech disruption seem like they’re preparing to riot in the streets:
— TheMoneyTeamTMT (@TheMoneyTeamTMT) Jan. 13 at 03:42 PM
This is absurd $LC …this stock is either complete sh*t or we're going to have a monster rally
— Alex (@ROIRogers) Jan. 13 at 03:25 PM
— Mark Holder (@StoneFoxCapital) Jan. 13 at 01:42 PM
— BasicNews (@BasicNews) Jan. 13 at 11:49 PM
$SQ Here's another garbage company with bloated forward earnings, all these p o s stocks headed way lower
— QEBubble (@QEBubble) Jan. 13 at 05:18 PM
$LC F* this!
— Don Juan (@fluppy) Jan. 13 at 02:56 PM
$LC selling into oblivion. wtf
— Bork Bork (@calicat) Jan. 11 at 05:00 PM
Perhaps contributing to the damage in Lending Club’s case is that company executives have been dumping their shares over the last several months despite the stock constantly hovering near all-time lows. It certainly doesn’t show a lot of short-term confidence that something is going to change soon.
Insider selling is not the issue in OnDeck’s case which hasn’t really had any. While they were most likely just collateral damage from today’s unyielding carnage, Noah Breslow proclaimed on Squawk Box prior to the opening bell that OnDeck was regulated like a “non-bank commercial lender,” one of those rare characterization departures from their supposedly being a tech company. Aside from that was the sobering letdown that disrupting banks may have never been the goal for them or for online lenders. In a recent article by Broadmoor Consulting’s Todd Baker, he argued that “disruptor” has been the wrong word used to describe many of these companies and that their potential may only go as far as to digitally “enable” banks who are struggling with lagging technology to enable themselves in the modern era. Sound boring? Maybe there’s something bigger in play.
For some of us working in the merchant cash advance industry, we saw the IPO of OnDeck (ONDK) as a major stepping stone in getting recognized by main street and receiving overall exposure. Unfortunately it has not been the best representative of us in the stock market. I started monitoring ONDK on the first day it started to trade and after 7 months, it clearly hasn’t looked positive.
I am a student in technical analysis. In layman’s terms, it is the study of price action of a traded financial instrument to make an informed investment decision. The following is my view.
The first thing that pops out when viewing the chart is that the single biggest day of volume (number of shares traded) was the IPO day. The stock has yet to trade in that kind of volume since then.
The other obvious thing that pops out is that the stock has been in downtrend, a series of lower lows and lower highs. As the old Wall Street adage says, “The trend is your friend.” Trying to call a bottom in this stock has been useless as it seems like those that have, are catching a falling knife.
Moving averages are used to determine whether the stock is trending or not. With very few trading days the longer term averages are not able to be rendered. In May the stock met resistance at the 20/50 EMA crossover. Coincidentally this was also the beginning of the latest down leg. It is also worth noting that the stock has not closed above the 20 day EMA since it was breached. There was one failed attempt that resulted in the continuation of the down trend in the middle of May. The stock is currently at the 20 EMA and is testing this level again. A close above this could be an indication of a possible change in trend.
The bottom of the chart has the RSI. This is a measurement of Overbought and Oversold conditions, which is telling us that the stock has been oversold for a couple of months. It recently started moving upward from the oversold condition.
The MACD is another technical indicator used. It measures the momentum of the stock. I like to think of momentum as the thrust/force of the move in a stock. This indicator points two things to me. As the stock has been going lower there hasn’t been a lower low in the indicator. It actually seems there is a slight uptrend in the indicator, which tells me as the stock has gone lower, there hasn’t been the same force/thrust to the move. This is a classic example of divergence, meaning the stock is doing one thing while the momentum indicator is doing another.
The information above points to two possibilities. The first is that the stock is currently taking a breather from its downtrend. This is normal in a stock cycle; after all, stocks do not go up or down in straight lines. The other is that the stock could be in the beginning stages of stabilizing. Stabilizing does not mean that the stock will begin a new uptrend. It means the stock could be range bound for a couple of months.
OnDeck (ONDK) is scheduled to release Q1 2015 earnings today at 5pm EST. Anyone can register to listen to the call via web HERE or by dialing in through (877)201-0168 with conference ID 23530259.
OnDeck closed Friday at $19.29, just 8 cents below where it closed leading up to the 2014 Q4 and year-end earnings call on February 23rd. By that measure, the stock has been relatively flat.
Recently, the company announced expansions into Canada and Australia, though analysts such as Henry Coffey of Sterne Agee remain skeptical.
“If the opportunity is so large in the U.S., why go halfway around the world to lose money?” Coffey told the Wall Street Journal.
The Street doesn’t see eye to eye on OnDeck. Compass Point issued a sell rating with a price target of $14 while Deutsche Bank issued a buy rating with a price target of $28. Meanwhile, news media continue to disseminate incorrect information about the company by often times referring to them as a peer-to-peer lender.
OnDeck has never been a peer-to-peer lender.
In April, the company announced a strategic partnership with Prosper, though the extent of their collaboration is uncertain.
OnDeck predicted a net loss for all of 2015 in their 2014 year-end report. Consequently, it is likely OnDeck will report a loss today for Q1, though analysts expect year over year revenue growth of almost double.