The peer to peer lending community is still a tiny one, particularly when it comes to high level executives. So in what Prosper must view as something of a coup, they have lured away Joseph Toms from Lending Club where he was the Managing Director for Lending Club Advisors. He will join Prosper as Chief Investment Officer.
Here is a quote from the press release that Prosper put out this morning:
“As we continue to scale Prosper, Joe is a strategic and timely addition to the executive management team,” said Chris Larsen, chief executive officer and co-founder of Prosper. “His more than 25 years of experience working with global institutional investors makes him the perfect candidate to serve as a strong advocate for our growing retail and institutional investor base. He joins James Alexander, our EVP of Investment Sales, as a key contributor to build social lending into a new way of banking and to create a mainstream asset class for investors seeking consistently strong returns.”
Toms was only at Lending Club for less than a year, but his arrival there was met with enthusiasm last August as evidenced by this press release. When I called Lending Club to ask for a comment this is what they had to say:
Lending Club has achieved dominance in the category and continues to experience tremendous growth as a result of the compelling value we provide to borrowers and the consistent returns we have delivered for investors – both retail and institutional – since inception. We appreciate that Prosper continues to align itself with our business model and practices, and we hope that Joe is successful and can help grow our overall market through his expanded role at Prosper.
As an outsider it is hard to gauge the significance of a move like this. Both Lending Club and Prosper continue to grow rapidly and there is vast potential at both companies as peer to peer lending becomes more mainstream.