[Update 12/4/2015: We have written an in depth analysis now about this deal.]
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase made a statement today that they plan to enter the online lending market by partnering with a p2p lender. This is significant news as JPMorgan is the largest bank in the United States and until now they have not revealed any plans. They are joining one other national bank who has committed to getting involved in the online lending industry. We reported earlier this year that Goldman Sachs plans to launch their own platform next year and that new entrants in this industry may increasingly be big banks.
Jamie Dimon was quoted in this Bloomberg article from a panel discussion in Washington DC earlier today:
We haven’t announced it yet, we’re going to be doing a thing with one of these peer-to-peer, small-business lenders. The kind of stuff we don’t want to do or can’t do, but there’s somebody else who can do it and do it probably well. So this is going to be collaborative.
This isn’t the first time we have heard Jamie Dimon speak out about fintech. Back in April in a letter to shareholders Jamie Dimon warned that Silicon Valley is coming. While we still have yet to see many other national banks participate it seems that JPMorgan has been very aware of what is going on in the market, not just from a p2p lending perspective, but also fintech in general.
While we have no idea which lender they plan to partner with our best guesses are Lending Club, OnDeck, Kabbage or possibly Funding Circle. Of those, we think that Lending Club is the likely partner particular given the fact that Dimon specifically said a “peer to peer” small business lender and they are the largest company in the space. We have no inside information here, but we did reach out to Lending Club for a comment this morning and as expected Renaud Laplanche declined to comment on any potential partnership.
It is interesting that JPMorgan has decided to take a different approach than Goldman Sachs. As the largest bank, they very well could create their own online lending platform, but it looks like they are taking the partnership approach. A partnership like this proves that the marketplace lending industry can work in conjunction with big banks and that banks are happy to work with companies who have proven the online lending model.