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Ex-LendingClub chief’s new venture set to issue ABS


Upgrade Inc, an online personal loan company started by former LendingClub CEO Renaud Laplanche last April, will tap the securitization market this year, sources told GlobalCapital.

Upgrade is said to have a private warehouse facility in place and is looking to debut a securitization in the coming months, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

Jefferies is advising the company on its capital markets strategy, according to an April 2017 press release, and is expected to participate in loan purchases to help kick start the company’s ABS programme.

Upgrade did not respond to a request for comment on the size of the warehouse facility and the bank on the deal. 

Laplanche, who left LendingClub in 2016, launched Upgrade last April. The company says that personal loans originated through the Upgrade platform are issued by WebBank. Upgrade will then acquire the loans, retain a “representative portion” of these loans on its balance sheet and offer whole loans to investors.

Last September, Upgrade built up its leadership team with the hire of Louis Shansky as deputy general counsel. Shansky was a former partner on the securitization team at Mayer Brown. Upgrade also hired Freddie Mac and Citi alum John Dye as general counsel.

Separately, Laplanche also announced the addition of a "personal credit line” product to Upgrade’s product suite, on the second day of the LendIt Conference in San Francisco. Borrowers can get approved for up to $50,000, and have the control to request an advance on the line when they need it. Terms will vary from 12-60 months. 

“This product allows investors to get monthly cash flows and interest payments based on borrower risk. There’s also the promise of borrowers accessing more credit as they stay on the line,” Laplanche said in his April 10 keynote speech.