Lending Club Flooded With Swimming Pool Partnerships

I never expected to be writing about swimming pools on this blog; certainly not twice in the same month. But there was an interesting announcement earlier this week regarding a new partnership between Lending Club and the world’s leading distributor of swimming pool supplies, POOLCORP.

Like the Viking Pools partnership I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, POOLCORP will be sending borrowers to Lending Club who are looking to finance their swimming pool. They own the domain name, swimmingpool.com and they have setup a page on their site for pool financing. This page in turn will take you to a landing page on Lending Club’s site for borrowers. POOLCORP will earn a referral fee for every borrower that obtains a loan through Lending Club and they will be refunding that fee back to the borrower.

Playing Both Sides of Peer to Peer Lending

The big difference between the Viking Pools partnership and POOLCORP is that POOLCORP will be playing both sides of the transaction. By this I mean they will be also investing in the loans. Yes, they have set aside up to $2 million to invest in the loans of people they refer to Lending Club. Now, according to Mark Joslin, CFO at POOLCORP, they won’t be funding a large portion of these loans, it will just be to the tune of $500 of so. But this is the  first time that I have seen a company invest in loans for borrowers that they have referred.

When I chatted with Joslin earlier this week he said that he analyzed the Lending Club loan data from 2010 and he noted there were about 50 loans issued for swimming pools. By creating this program he hopes that number will increase many times. Although I don’t think he will need $2 million because it will be unlikely to jump from 50 to 4,000 loans in one year no matter how much they promote the service.

Good Marketing

This looks to be more of a marketing exercise than anything. It is unlikely that this partnership will drive a significant increase in pool financing, but at least POOLCORP can be seen as being proactive in their customers eyes. The pool and spa industry has picked up on this news, so their marketing is already paying dividends. The whole program is going to cost them very little and for the money they invest they will be earning some decent interest on that money.

Regardless of the success of this program I find it interesting that a company is partnering with a peer-to-peer lender both to drive new borrowers and to invest in loans. It brings up an interesting idea for a company whose customers are struggling to obtain financing. Maybe we will see more of this kind of thing going forward. Companies that aren’t large enough to have their own financing division could partner with a peer to peer lender and provide a hybrid company/peer to peer financed loan.

Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech.

LendIt Fintech conducts three conferences a year for the leading fintech markets of the USA, Europe, and Latin America. LendIt also provides cutting-edge content all year long via audio, video, and written channels.

Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series.

Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.

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Dan B
Dan B
Mar. 24, 2011 6:27 am

Hold on, I thought that Rob Garcia, LC’s Director of Propaganda, sorry I meant Director of Product Strategy said that SEC regulations prohibit the issuance of referral fees ? So how come Poolcorp can get a referral fee & we can’t ? I see a post on facebook from March 20th where he repeats the claim in response to a post asking about referrals.

C. Jensen
Mar. 24, 2011 8:04 am

This is the part that is really interesing:

“Regardless of the success of this program I find it interesting that a company is partnering with a peer-to-peer lender both to drive new borrowers and to invest in loans.”

The potential here is great. Any savvy business (home remodeling, auto sales, etc.) should be telling customers about LendingClub. I suspect that we’ll see a lot more of this soon.

The biggest problem I see with LendingClub and Prosper (in my part of the world at least), is that no-one knows about them. I’ve yet to talk to someone who is familiar with or has heard of either.

Dan B
Dan B
Mar. 24, 2011 3:43 pm

And the few that have heard of Lending Club really mean Lending Tree, or vice versa.

C. Jensen
Mar. 26, 2011 5:58 pm

Prosper comes out with a similar partnership, but for timeshares (argh): https://www.insidethegate.com/tag/prosper-com/

Dan B
Dan B
Mar. 28, 2011 5:20 am

This is too funny………….2 money pits (that are used 2 or 3 times a year) partnering with 2 companies who are supposedly trying to lessen the consumer debt burden. What’s next? Oh wait, I know, how about p2p financing for people who want golf club memberships. That’d be just perfect.

Pool Shop Ipswich
Aug. 18, 2011 4:03 am

Thanks for sharing your article about swimming pool business. It would really help to my small business of swimming products.

Mr. Pool Finance
Dec. 21, 2013 4:53 pm

Working in the pool industry for a little under 6 months…
I’ve learned
1. The industry wants people to get approved so they can do their job, building pools.
2. Lending Club’s rates for the typical amount a pool loan is… is dismal.
3. There are really only a handful of pool lending “private” institutions. HFS, Lyon, Lightstream. The only one of them that’s competitive is lightstream, but excludes a pool of customers below their magic 700 credit score.
4. We used a sample “pool” of customers (roughly a 100 over the past 3 years) . The typical Pool-interested client, because its a luxury product has:
a) disposable income
b) decent but not perfect credit
c) actually pays their loans off.
Why isn’t the finance industry all over this sh*t?
5. 2008 hurt the pool industry because of the finance industries inability to get once “potentially approved” customers approved. It let to a smaller “pool” of customers willing and able to get approved.
Why doesn’t P2P offer larger loans for industries that need it?