Lower investor demand resulted in a tough first quarter for LendingClub (NYSE:LC), which reported a roughly $48 million net loss in the quarter. That's a significantly worse result than it had in the first quarter of 2019, when it posted a net loss of roughly $19 million. 

Loan originations decreased 8% on an annualized basis in the first quarter, while net revenue declined 31% year over year.

But the big problem was that the value of many of LendingClub's loans dropped significantly. The company recorded net unrealized losses on loans invested in by the company of almost $102 million, significantly higher than the roughly $35 million in unrealized losses it recorded in Q1 2019.


Image Source: Getty

"The deteriorating environment clearly has an impact on our outlook as we significantly reduce originations to allow platform investors time to assess and address issues pertaining to their capital, their liquidity and the expected performance across their portfolios." Scott Sanborn, CEO of LendingClub, said in a statement.

The situation does not appear to have stabilized in April.

LendingClub disclosed in a recent regulatory filing that loan originations on its platform were only $140 million in April, a 90% reduction from pre-coronavirus levels in the first quarter. 

The company did take action in Q1 to shore up liquidity. It cut staff by 30%, laid off its president, and reduced the compensation levels of senior management. Overall, it reduced expenses by $70 million compared to the linked quarter, and has $550 million of liquidity including $184 million of cash and cash equivalents. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.