Later this week, I will have some very exciting news to share with you. Stay tuned ...
The Panic of early pay-offThe presidential campaign is getting hotter and hotter these days. So, today’s topic is how bad political extremes are…. Oops! This is about peer to peer lending. Let me change the gear.
The other day, Mr. RT said that one of his loan at Lending Club was fully paid off. What!? No, we were supposed to keep on collecting interest for five years. Wasn't that the term of that loan? Did we lose money because of fees? I became a little panicked. “Calm down, Mrs. RT”, said Mr. RT. Then, I realized I was talking about losing 25 cent fee. It’s good to have analytical person as partner.
The Good and Bad feeling of early pay-offThat was how I found lenders could pay off early without pay-off penalty. This is good to know!
In our own situation, we paid off our mortgage before the loan term ended. Our interest was so low that it didn't make sense to hang on to the mortgage balance as it was not beneficial for the tax deduction anymore. Moreover, we can save future interest. That’s a great feeling to become loan free! So, I can imagine this borrower, who paid off our loan far in advance, must feel the same way I do.
However, it’s contradicting thought, I know, as lender, I’m looking for more “reliable” loans, so that I can collect money during the loan term and count on estimated return. Hmm..., that’s how all the banks and mortgage lenders are thinking…? I feel I am becoming greedy like them.
Avoiding early pay-offIf I read the loan descriptions like these for 3 year loan, there’s no way I will lend money to those “responsible” borrowers:
“I have a great job, make a 6 figure salary and can pay this back in about a year; if it came down to it a few months,”
“I can even afford to pay off this loan in less than 2 years if necessary.”Sorry, you are too good for me! I became curious to know what characteristics people who paid off early have in common.
Imitating Mr. RTI downloaded historical loan data from Lending Club site. I limited my analysis to the loans issued in 2012 and that were fully paid off. There were 536 loans issued in 2012 that were already fully paid off as per the data available on September 3rd. Because there are only two loan terms, 36 months and 60 months, these borrowers are way ahead of the schedule to pay back.
Further, I excluded partially funded loans. In the end, there were 454 loans that were paid off and issued this year. What I found interesting and think it would be good for me to consider selecting loans are following:
- 398 loans or 87.7% of loans that were paid off early were for amount $20,000 and less.
- 364 such loans or 80.2% of loans were issued to borrowers with credit grade from A to C.
- 29% and 27% of borrowers that paid off loans early were with credit grade A and B respectively.
- 20% of such loans were issued to borrowers with credit grade A for amount less than $10,000.
Key TakeawayI defer to Mr. RT for detailed analysis in the future. But what I concluded for my lending criteria is to avoid good credit borrowers for low loan amount because they may pay off early and cause the expected return of portfolio to be lower.
Now I will have to be careful in selecting both extremely good and bad credit borrowers.