Renaud Laplanche, the founder of LendingClub who was ousted as CEO last week, used a joke “loan drone” to shower a conference audience with fake money last year — a fun touch that he may now regret.
Here it is:
Laplanche, who was giving a keynote address at the LendIt USA conference last April, joked with the audience that it was “a new mode of credit delivery” as the drone spewed out fake notes.
Thomson Reuters’ International Financing Review first pointed out the stunt, writing: “Given recent events, the incident now carries symbolism that he may not have intended. After all, the drone did dump fake money onto unsuspecting victims.”
Laplanche was ousted from LendingClub last week after an internal review found $3 million (£2.07 million) worth of loans sold to a bank had been altered to artificially fit the bank’s criteria. Laplanche was not directly involved but the Wall Street Journal reports that he did not disclose his full knowledge of the matter.
A probe by an outside law firm also raised questions about Laplanche and LendingClub’s investment in a fund that purchased LendingClub’s loans.
The company has been contacted by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) in the wake of Laplanche’s departure. LendingClub is also scrambling to find new buyers for its loans after two major buyers, Goldman Sachs and Jefferies, “paused” their purchases.
Since Laplanche’s departure, LendingClub shares have fallen over 50%. The company, founded in 2007, listed its shares at $15 on the New York Stock Exchange when it launched its IPO in December 2014. Shares are currently trading at $3.93.
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