Former Citigroup executive Vinayak Gurjar has joined marketplace lender CommonBond as Chief Risk Officer. Gurjar joins a growing number of traditional banking managers switching over to new, fast growing financial firms. While the banking industry has suffered years of slow growth, crushing regulations and a hostile political environment, new forms of finance, such as peer to peer lending, have been soaking up business from the traditional banking space. CommonBond is a direct lending platform that targets student loans by matching investors to borrowers. Since 2013, CommonBond has raised more than $300 million in lending capital to fund and refinance student loans saving borrowers an average of $10,000 during the life of the loan.
Gurjar, prior to joining the CommonBond team, was Global Head of Governance in Treasury Capital Markets at Citigroup, where he led authorization for issuance of Citigroup’s third-party debt, including securitization. He also managed liquidity risk metrics for the holding company and led assessment of internal controls for compliance with policies. Before his stint at Citi, Gurjar was a Director at Standard & Poor’s where he rated structured finance transactions backed by both consumer and commercial assets. According to CommonBond, while at S&P, Gurjar had an instrumental role in leading credit and structure analysis for a variety of issuers of asset-backed securities covering consumer assets such as credit cards, student loans and auto loans/leases, as well as commercial assets. Gurjar’s position with CommonBond is to lead risk management for the online lending platform.
Gurjar explained that marketplace or P2P lending is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and is expected to surpass “$1 trillion in 10 years”.
“As I looked across the landscape, CommonBond stood out based on its balance of scale and responsible underwriting. I look forward to further developing CommonBond’s risk management strategy and positioning the company to grow responsibly in the years to come,”stated Gurjar.
David Klein, co-founder and CEO of CommonBond said they were fortunate to have Gurjar lead risk management.
“Vinayak brings a very strong background in capital markets and structured finance which will help bring CommonBond to more and more borrowers.”
CommonBond’s mission is to tackle the student loan industry by saving qualified borrowers money while providing investors with a solid return. To date the platform has funded or refinanced over $100 million of student loans working with over 700 graduate programs. CommonBond expects to broaden their reach in the near future.
CommonBond’s main financial backers include Tribeca Venture Partners, The Social+Capital Partnership and Nelnet Inc. CommonBond also has the support of finance industry stars like form Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, Tom Glocer and Tom Kalaris.