Over the last couple of months, we have featured 3 tools for automating your investments in Lending Club. Before the question and answer sessions we posted, my process for my investing was completely manual. Brian was investing manually as well and he actually setup a third party mobile app to send him notifications just before Lending Club releases notes. Even with my relatively small account, I was missing feeding times and had available cash just sitting in my account pretty often. Automation tools are starting to mature and I decided that it was finally time for me to try them out and hopefully help others who were considering automation.
I have to say - I do not miss manually investing at all. I now never have to worry what my account balance is (It’s almost always below $25) . Sure - I’m not able to look at every single note and throw them out if I decide I don’t like the title (or some other factor), but the convenience of automation and being able to stay fully invested all of the time makes up for it. At the end of the day, we have to have faith in our filters and the credit models of these tools. If I can stay above the average return with little intervention - I am one happy investor.
What I like…
Both tools I’ve used offer the ability to automate via custom filters from the user, but I’ll outline below what makes these tools unique from one-another.
LendingRobot’s interface is intuitive and straight forward. I’m a big fan of simplicity and really like what they have done (and added in the last release). Lending Club explorer is a great way to test out your loan filter strategy (free), but what really makes this tool unique is the popular notes filter. Many of these popular notes are funded by people who have much more at stake than I do and have likely spent much more time analyzing what notes are less likely to default. You can view some of the popular notes here. I’m sure there are many more features to come, so definitely keep an eye out for LendingRobot.
BlueVestment’s claim to fame is their tie in with P2P-Picks and the fact that the tool is completely free. I fully believe in the models of Bryce at P2P-Picks and it sounds like he is doing equally amazing things for institutional investors. I hope he continues to allow retail investors access to his picks. He’s already done the analysis on matured notes and investing in the notes that appear in his ‘profit maximizer’ model is a no brainer in my opinion.
Unfortunately, I do not have access to NSR premium. I know they are releasing a new version, but until that happens I can’t comment on it. However, there is a lot of free data available on the site.
What I’m most excited about…
It is exciting to see firsthand how these tools are evolving. I also enjoy interacting with the dedicated people behind these tools. One of the things I am most looking forward to is Prosper automation. It’s all about being able to compete with the institutional investors and it’s great to have tools for us retail investors.
Peer to Peer Automation Sites, Legality & Security
There has been a lot of talk recently in our small social lending blogosphere about the legality of third party sites investing in notes for you. None of the tools that I know of are registered investment advisors, but I think we will see this in the not too distant future. If you want to read some other thoughts, you can read/listen to them here:
It’s not ideal that we have to provide these third party services with our Lending Club credentials. Based on our Q & A sessions it sounds like it is something they are taking very seriously. Being in IT, I would caution investors when they decide to sign up for a tool. The ones I mentioned in this post are the most reputable automation tools that I know about. Do your research before you decide to simply sign up with a company. This is another area where I hope improvement is made. It would be great if Lending Club and Prosper can work with these third party tools to allow (or limit) access without the need for us to provide our full credentials.
Having my investment automated has completely changed my relationship with peer to peer lending for the better. If I had to guess, a majority of investors will be automating their investment in some way (whether using Lending Club Prime or a third party tool) within the next year. I think for peer to peer lending to truly go mainstream, new investors will require that their investments are automated. As much fun as it was hand picking notes, it is not viable long term - especially for large accounts. I also see peer to peer funds being a viable alternative as well.
What are your thoughts about third party tools? Are you automating your investment or continuing to wait until these tools continue to mature?
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