There is big news on the trade association front today. The Marketplace Lending Association (MLA), the trade organization for fintech lenders, has merged with the Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the advocacy group for the online lending community have agreed to merge to form the American Fintech Council. Here is a link to the press release that LendingClub put out this morning about the merger. The tagline for the new organization is “Promoting a transparent, inclusive, and customer-centric financial system” while also “Fostering responsible innovation in financial technology.”
The MLA was formed in 2016 when LendingClub, Prosper and Funding Circle got together to create an industry group that would not just have a voice in Washington but to establish a code of conduct and operating standards for members. Their first executive director was Nat Hoopes, who held the position until he left the MLA to take a position at Upstart (an MLA member) late last year. There was a temporary executive director briefly but the position has been left unfilled for some time now. No doubt the search for a new ED is ongoing and that person will become head of the new association, obviously with the approval of the new executive committee (more on that later).
The MLA grew from the three founding members to 38 members today representing pretty much all the leading firms in the fintech lending space (including LendIt Fintech). They hosted an annual meeting for CEOs in Washington that was well attended and they helped provide access to lawmakers and others on Capitol Hill. They have advocated for the industry around “valid when made” and “true lender” and participated in the writing of federal legislation. They have been the primary voice of the industry in Washington for the sub-36% fintech lenders for several years now.
Here is an official quote from the MLA courtesy of Richard Neiman, Head of Regulatory and Public Policy at LendingClub: [Read more…]