The first eight months of 2022 have been absolutely brutal for growth stocks. A toxic combination of rising interest rates, reopening headwinds for pandemic beneficiaries, and tepid consumer spending have all conspired to send even high-quality growth stocks down by huge amounts.

But for those with a long-term perspective, today's beaten-down growth stocks could present tremendous bargains when looking a few years down the road.

In fact, when looking at recent operating metrics for last year's darlings, Sea Limited (SE 5.21%) and LendingClub (LC 1.23%), there's still a lot to like. That's why long-term oriented investors shouldn't hesitate to load up on these two names for the long haul.

Sea Limited sank on second-quarter earnings, but it's making all the right moves

Sea Limited had been recovering from its first-half swoon up until its recent second-quarter earnings report, after which the stock retreated another 25% toward its May lows.

The drop most likely had to do with management's withdrawal of guidance for the rest of the year, which is something investors never like. The reason, Chief Corporate Officer Yanjun Wang said on the conference call with analysts, was that management is now optimizing the rest of the year for efficiency and profitability, not revenue growth, as it had in the past.

"We will see the growth -- top-line growth more as an output at this stage, not as a target," he said. "And what is the target now is going to be increasingly efficiency improvements and long-term health and strength and profitability of the platform."

To be sure, Sea's revenue growth showed a sharp deceleration to just 29% last quarter, which is much lower than investors had grown accustomed to. Of course, the company's three main businesses are in gaming, e-commerce, and digital payments and finance, with the first two particularly hard hit by tough comparisons to the pandemic period and lower consumer spending.

Of note, Sea's gaming division is dominated by Free Fire, which has seen a big drop in revenue relative to the year-ago quarter. Gaming revenue was down 10%, but bookings were down an even sharper 39%. Segment EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) plunged 55% to just $333.7 million. 

Yet while gaming is the only profitable division, I would argue the Shopee e-commerce and SeaMoney digital finance platforms are actually more valuable. Fortunately, those segments seem on very solid ground.

Shopee managed to grow its revenue 51% year over year (56% ex-foreign currency), even though last year's second quarter still had Southeast Asian economies under pandemic conditions, with the year-ago quarter growing a stunning 160.7%. Therefore, the two-year "stacked" growth was about 98% annualized. That's really impressive, and just about the best e-commerce growth rate one will find anywhere in the world these days, especially compared with the U.S. or China.

SeaMoney is also growing gangbusters, up 214% to $279 million. SeaMoney only makes up about 9.5% of revenue, but investors shouldn't minimize its growing importance. After all, rival MercadoLibre (MELI 1.09%) is also a combined e-commerce and fintech platform, and its digital financial platform revenue is now approaching that of its older e-commerce marketplace revenue and is likely to surpass it at some point.

Both Shopee and SeaMoney are losing money, which is concerning for some. However, management has succeeded in improving both segments' margins over the past two quarters. Shopee's adjusted EBITDA narrowed from a $742.8 million loss in Q1 to a $648.1 million loss in Q2, and SeaMoney's EBITDA sequential losses narrowed from a $124.9 million loss to $111.5 million in the same period.

With $7.8 billion in cash still on the balance sheet and management now focused on bringing Sea's market-leading platforms to profitability, longer-term investors should take advantage, given the favorable demographic and digitalization trends for Sea's main markets in Southeast Asia and Brazil.

LendingClub is highly profitable, unlike its peers

LendingClub may be an unfortunate victim of being grouped together with other fintech stocks, many of which are losing money and targeting lower-quality borrowers.

However, as the oldest and largest personal loan platform in the U.S., LendingClub has transformed its business model from several years ago. First, it pivoted to target prime borrowers, who are lower credit risks, with FICO scores over 700 and incomes over $100,000, while bringing on institutional lenders as partners. This is different from its early days, when it sought to connect yield-seeking individual investors with more overlooked parts of the credit market.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, LendingClub acquired Radius Bank in early 2021, which brought with it a banking license and low-cost deposits. That transformed LendingClub into a hybrid model, whereby it would still serve as a platform for third-party loan buyers, but it would also hold between 20% and 25% of its loans on its balance sheet. While the company takes some credit risk, personal loans are generally done at high rates, since they compete with credit cards, and holding a loan is actually much more profitable than selling it.

The results have been nothing short of amazing. Last quarter, LendingClub increased originations by 41% year over year, when peers without a strong funding mechanism like Upstart (UPST 2.21%) had to pull back. Revenue soared 61%, and earnings per share were up nearly 400% from the year-ago quarter. That was far ahead of analyst estimates.

Confoundingly, LendingClub's stock didn't respond favorably to those numbers, as it gave some conservative guidance; however, given the macroeconomic environment, it's no sin for a lender to become careful in its growth outlook. In addition, LendingClub has guided conservatively and gone on to blow away its own guidance each quarter this year.

Miraculously, this stock trades at just 8.1 times the past quarter's annualized earnings rate. But the current recession fears won't last forever, and LendingClub's healthy balance sheet and focus on Prime borrowers should make it resilient to an economic downturn. Once we get past those fears, this bargain-priced stock should rip higher once again.