The Lending Club Website Product Review
I came across Lending Club through a connection from my school. I’ve since read up on their story, stalked (in the most uncreepy way) the CEO (he’s a sailor!), talked to several people within the company, and visited their HQ on a tour. I love the concept and hope to contribute to its growth, starting with this review.
Here’s a joint review of the website, their main product, from the point of view of two college students. We’re hoping this can help Lending Club out in some form or way. This review is a joint effort of Mikaela Reyes & Nina Domingo, founders of The Lemon Scope.
The Lending Club is an online peer-to-peer lending system that is revolutionizing the financial industry and the traditional banking experience. Though its market seems to be composed of older, working professionals, anyone with a credit history and ratings is able to make an account. Its source of revenue comes from transaction fees, which have been reduced as all capital is transferred online rather than in physical stores.
- Love the concept! It’s biggest plus is definitely its business model (and the story as to how the CEO, Renauld, came up with this idea.) It has a similar appeal to Paypal that seamlessly integrates the different aspects of the lending process in a single online platform
- Impressed by how many reviews they’ve gotten from more established institutions such as the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, etc.
Page by Page
- Transparency, their main selling point, is not as clearly articulated as I’d like, especially since the interface feels a bit outdated. The points about transparency with their system come later on, and are not highlighted very well.
- Statistics at bottom left are great, but should be highlighted. This is after all a financial company, and should be flaunting its numbers to show credibility and security.
- Intro video helps explain a lot of the process but it’s hidden away at the bottom right of the page with nothing drawing attention to it.
- Some terms used to sell the customer on the product seem intentionally vague. For example, “solid returns”. I would rather they just highlighted the expected or average return for a given grade.
- Media press has a separate link. Using a carousel of all the logos of media press on the front page might do a better job of emphasizing LC’s credibility.
- The items in navigation don’t seem to be in the same category. The first three (personal loans, business solutions, patient solutions) are all types of products that Lending Club offers, while the last three (investing, how it works, about us) aren’t. This gets confusing as it isn’t clear that the first three are products.
No Call to Action
- If unfamiliar with the lending/investing process, the design doesn’t provide a lot of intuition of what exactly the platform is for or what they want me to be doing.
- I don’t outright know what Lending Club does at first glance. Where’s the pitch? I see this under the “Financial Innovation” bucket, but I notice some problems with that. a) The chunk of text is long. It can benefit from being broken down into three parts (accompanied by related icons), which are the three core competencies of LC. b) Parts of the text get cut off when I first land on the page. I’d rather have it all or nothing: you wouldn’t want your main pitch only halfway highlighted.
- There are 3 different calls to action (sign in, check your rate, join now) and I’m unsure if those are different things or one and the same. Which one should I click?
- Colors are not clear or consistent. Are the main colors red, green, blue?
- Cluttered and outdated appearance due to inconsistent font shifts, and uneven distribution of whitespace.
- I wonder why the corners of each box are rounded and why the entire box is pointed. I also wonder why the white boxes are on grey backgrounds instead of using a flatter design.
- Art style is rather childish and seems to be animation more suited for video games than a financial platform.
- If I hadn’t been told the business was doing well, the design would make me question its credibility. I think traditional bank websites look pretty outdated so it’s weird that The Lending Club seems to be following the trend. I would like it if it copied Paypal’s sleeker aesthetic.
- No clear process on how to go about applying for a loan. Do I need to get a rate quote before applying for the loan?
- Again, though the amount of available information could be very helpful to the customers, its poor presentation (small font, large chunks of text) make it more overwhelming than helpful
- Customer Reviews and Borrower Stories lend a lot to the business’s credibility, but the use of drawings rather than pictures of their customers makes the page look less professional. It is also more effort on the website’s part.
- The customer review videos also lend a lot to credibility, but it’s not obvious they are available. In addition to personal anecdotes on how Lending Club helped these individuals, I think it would also really help to have a video of a professional talking through the process and benefits of a personal loan through Lending Club.
- Seems very unprofessional to require customers to email firstname.lastname@example.org if they want to change their payment method or want to make an additional payment. Why hasn’t this functionality been integrated into my account? How do I know if those changes have been processed? If this is for security purposes, I would like that explained to me.
- There is a tendency to leave holes in the information provided. For example, under the Repayment Process it mentions that there is an additional fee for payments made by checks though it does not specify or redirect me to a link that specifies that amount. It would be very helpful if the Lending Club could help make the connection to the section of the Rates & Fees page the info is in.
- Very static. Once you load the page, there’s nothing to do but scroll and read, which makes the website feel quite outdated.
- Confused as to why the stars in customer review are yellow, but those under borrower stories are blue. Do they signify some difference? Not clear whether these two types of reviews fall into different categories or not.
- A lot of the pages are made up of walls of text, which can be intimidating. Text is also very small and difficult to read. How might the design portray enough information, but not overwhelm the user with too much text?
- Definitely sleeker than the personal loans page but inconsistent fonts and font sizes still make it look quite messy.
- The presentation of the eligibility requirements, among other text sections, are much more readable and professional looking thanks to the larger font size and shorter paragraphs.
- Nice that they use pictures of actual people for the reviews rather than drawings. This should be consistent with everything else.
- Core competencies well highlighted down the middle. However, the way it’s presented (zigzag fashion) can be straining to the eyes as one will have to look on either side to go through it.
- Appreciate the comparison in loan arrangements and the neat formatting, but I wish they were more specific than “another leading online lender”
- Begs the question, why does the page for businesses look so much more sleek and professional than that for individuals?
Who is this for?
- Not clear if initial page is for doctors or patients. Are the featured plans for doctors or patients? Is there a difference?
- Language seems to be directed at doctors. For example, “we offer financing solutions tailored to your specialty.” To see this on the first page would be very confusing for a patient. Would be helpful to start with a pitch that speaks to both parties.
- There seems to be a lack in focus on how the offering is different from other patient financing options. Customers need to understand the basic concept before jumping into the details
- Exactly the same content as the initial page but with added testimonials. The content placed in this page seems more fitting.
- More in-depth comparison of the different financing options, comprehensive reviews or testimonials would do a lot for credibility.
- This layout is more cohesive than those in the previous pages because there’s more color coordination and less white space. Text is much bigger and wording is more concise. It’s probably my favorite page, design-wise.
- Still unsure why the content of the website is in a white box on an off-white background. Would it be sleeker if it were all white?
- The original taskbar disappears which makes it very confusing if I want to go back to the original landing page
- Love the livechat feature. However, it looks like a very pixelized photo. This aesthetic pops out throughout the website, which decreases its credibility.
- FAQ section makes you identify yourself as a provider or patient so why not just put each FAQ under their respective sub-page?
What Do I Do?
- Video is very helpful and at a much easier to spot; really like that they explain the math and logic in layman’s terms to incentivize different types of people to invest.
- No prominent call to action. “Open a Retirement/Investment Account” buttons don’t stand out because of where they are located, their dull colors and small size.
- Some pictures seem kind of low res compared to others; some text in images are too small to read
- The graphics are helpful, but need to be presented in higher resolution and designed more consistently.
Inconsistent Experience Across Pages
- When I go to different products, the navigation AND the design changes, making me think that these are separate from Lending Club, or mutually exclusive. It’s also unclear if I need to make a totally new account for each product. I feel there should be some consistency with the designs. Why does this happen?
- Because of this, I’m also unsure if I should create different accounts for each of the products.
Lack of Information/No Call to Action
- Unclear what types of “solutions” or products are offered to the user. It would be helpful to have a description of all products offered upon landing on the front page.
- There’s no clear call to action on any of the pages; not obvious what the website wants me to do to get the process started
- Need to communicate origination fee early so they can compensate for it.
Presentation of Information
- Amount of information available is super helpful but the organizational clutter and inconsistency makes it quite difficult to process
- Too many words! (e.g. footnote is very long!) A great design challenge: how might we communicate enough information about security and transparency most efficiently and simply?
- Use clearer pictures, not posterized ones. Doesn’t lend itself to professionalism.
- Some text look like text fields, which tell the user that it can be clicked on and typed on.
- No clear intent on the white box on off-white background, and the shadows for the smaller boxes.
- Lots of unnecessary empty space that is not being used, despite the high amount of text content.
As an economics major, and an avid tech enthusiast, I think I’ve solidified my intent in joining the financial technologies industry, and hope to gain more knowledge about it as an intern (fingers crossed!!!) at Lending Club. My favorite part about them is how the employees talk so highly about the future of financial innovation and how they Lending Club as leading the trek towards it. I really admire this foresight and hope to be a part of that process. Either way, we hope this product review was beneficial for Lending Club, and that we somehow contributed to the financial innovation revolution in our own little way.