On August 5th the US Department of Treasury hosted over 80 individuals as part of a series of roundtables and information seeking events to discuss the fast growing sector of Marketplace Lending. This past July, Treasury published a “Request for Information” regarding Peer to Peer / Marketplace Lending with a deadline of August 31st. So far – few platforms have submitted their comments but expectations are for every operating platform to share their perspective and advocate on behalf of the nascent industry.
Orchard, the company that operates the internet pipes that connect institutions to marketplace lending loans, joined the meeting on the 5th. Orchard CEO Matt Burton, CFO Angela Ceresnie and General Counsel Mark Solomon made the trip to the District of Columbia to listen, and learn, about Treasury’s intentions.
Burton described the invite only event (which was closed to the media) as “the most significant indicator yet of the Federal government’s interest in our space and should serve as a validation of the efforts of so many to develop this industry into a meaningful part of the financial landscape”.
”The key themes of the day were clearly the potential for marketplace lending to act as a new avenue for access to credit by underserved segments of consumers and small businesses and the need to resolve regulatory uncertainty in an efficient and mutually beneficial way,” stated Burton.
While much public discussion has focused on the potential for online lenders to benefit those sectors with limited access to credit, there remains a lingering concern that regulators will move in and slow industry growth.
Burton commented on the Small Business Borrowers Bill of Rights, something revealed the day after the MPL Treasury event;
“I believe this is a great way for the industry to get ahead of regulators, and create its own set of standards and best practices required to build a better future for borrowers and lenders.”
Burton hopes the ongoing communication with Treasury, and affiliated parties, will lead to create a path to “forge a constructive way forward”.