Last Friday, LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda spoke with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Mad Money and shared his thoughts on why the lending market is changing and how it will benefit consumers. While online lenders have experienced some recent growing pains, Lebda explains we’re now witnessing an industry shift in financing similar to the changes experienced by the travel and hotel industries in the early 2000s. The end result? Consumer choice, competitive pricing, and convenience.
Lebda states he is confident in the long-term capabilities of online lenders, but as with any market, they will need to compete as many traditional banks are also beginning to enter the personal loan lending space. Lebda mentions what has driven recent market success and greater industry change is the capabilities of lenders now being able to automate. Consumers are increasingly able to comparison shop financing, apply in a more convenient manner, and receive faster feedback, and LendingTree is poised to be a financial marketplace in this space similar to how Kayak and Expedia have been for travel.
Lebda and Cramer both agree a lending bubble does not seem to be evident in today’s current market despite recent media coverage highlighting concerns over subprime auto lending. Lenders have been careful in managing their underwriting standards to avoid capital risks. Lebda mentions he believes there have been bubbles in the market valuations of some newer online lending companies, whoms stock prices have since dropped. However, once the growing pains have been resolved, we can expect a competitive financing market that offers consumers more choice.