I have a confession to make. When making new investments I never use the loan filter on Lending Club’s site. It is completely inadequate, in my humble opinion, as I have told their management many times. But most people stick with it because the alternative (filtering in Excel) can be cumbersome.
Enter PeerCube, the new analysis tool by the person behind the Random Thoughts blog. Finally Lending Club investors can access the available loans with a flexible filtering tool. One of my biggest pet peeves with the Lending Club interface is that they don’t allow investors to run filters on all their data. For example, borrower income is available in the data download but you cannot use that field in your filters on Lending Club’s site. It is simply missing. PeerCube allows you access to that filter and more.
There are two main components to PeerCube: Peer Insights and Loan Filtering. Before you can use either, though, you must register at the site.
PeerCube Peer Insights
PeerCube is more than just a filtering tool. The founders have also created a peer review tool. Here you can give a rating (one to five stars) and make a comment on a loan. You can also review other investor comments. Now, the site is just getting going so nearly all the comments right now are from Anil, the site’s founder. If he gets hundreds of investors signing up and using Peer Insights it could be interesting but the trend towards loans being funded more quickly might make it difficult for this feature to get a lot of traction.
PeerCube Loan Filter
PeerCube’s loan filter gives investors many advantages. As I said above it gives investors access to all the data that Lending Club makes available. You also have complete control over this data. For example on Lending Club’s site if you wanted to use Revolving Credit Balance as one of your filtering criteria you have three choices: Less than $100K, Less than $50K, Less than $15K. At PeerCube you can enter any range you like. Same thing with Debt-to-income ratio – on PeerCube you are not restricted to Lending Club’s limited choices.
When it comes to creating your loan filter you can start from scratch or you can use existing Peer Filters. These filters have been created by other investors who have chosen to make them public. Anil has shared a couple of different filters and I shared the filter I use to fund my Roth IRA. Once you have your filters in place then the next step is to show the available loans. When that list is displayed you can click on the Details button for more information.
On the Loan Details screen there are several interesting components. A popular feature is Funding History – this shows the amount funded by investors over time including number of lenders and average amount per lender. This screen also allows investors to write their own notes on the loan and to rate the loan from one to five stars. There is also the Funding Progress indicator on this screen and any Peer Insights will be displayed here as well.
This week Peercube released their Bad Loan Experience (BLE) index filter. This is a proprietary index that weighs 18 loan parameters and gives each loan a numerical rating based on risk. A value of 1.0 is considered an average risk with lower numbers indicating lower risk and higher numbers considered highest risk. Here is the link to the BLE filter where you can select the lowest risk loans by grade.
Data is Updated Once a Day
Now, I should point out that the data on PeerCube is not real time. It is updated once a day, just after 10am Pacific Time. Anil would be happy to update more regularly but the file he uses, Infundingloanstats.csv, is only updated by Lending Club once a day. Some time soon I expect Lending Club will move this to four times a day but for now PeerCube will be most useful for investors right after 10am Pacific each day.
PeerCube has only been around for about a month but even in this first iteration investors could easily use it to manage all their new investing on Lending Club. There is really only one flaw that I could see. Some of the fields such as state, FICO range and loan purpose don’t default to all, but Anil said that should be fixed some time soon. I like the attractive user interface and the short learning curve.
If you are frustrated by the lack of flexibility of Lending Club’s available filters you should really give PeerCube a try.