Prosper Marketplace has joined other online lenders in reporting a net loss for 2016 as the sector continues to struggle with a reduction in loan purchases by investors.
Prosper’s annual loss more than quadrupled to $118.7 million from $26 million for 2015. Total revenue fell 33% to $68.3 million, primarily reflecting a 42% decline in loan volume, while expenses rose 11% to $24.3 million.
Since the second quarter of last year, Prosper said in a regulatory filing, “A number of our largest investors … have paused or reduced their investment activity because of an increase in their cost of capital; negative actions and publicity at competitors; and our limited use of investor rebates, which have become more prevalent in the industry.”
The company makes money mostly from fees it charges borrowers who take out unsecured personal loans. In 2016, the number of loans it originated fell 42% to 161,297 while the value dropped 41% to $2.2 billion.
“Prosper’s loss compared with $85.5 million red ink for 2016 at online small-business lender On Deck Capital Inc. and a $146 million loss at online consumer lender LendingClub Corp.,” The Wall Street Journal noted.
Prosper attributed its increased expenses in part to $17 million in charges related to the termination of roughly 200 workers and the closure of offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and Tel Aviv and $30.3 million in charges mostly related to the settlement of a loan-buying dispute with one of its investors, the hedge-fund firm Colchis Capital Management.
In a move to shore up loan funding, Prosper last month made a deal to sell up to $5 billion in loans over the next two years to a consortium of investment firms including affiliates of New Residential Investment Corp., Jefferies Group, and Third Point.
Under the agreement, the investors will receive an equity stake in Prosper based on the volume of loans they purchase.