Is Lending Club Going to Introduce AA Grade Loans?

Is Lending Club planning to add a new loan grade AA to their platform?  There is no conclusive evidence, however I have discovered strange anomalies that would support this. Within the website there appears to be references to a loan grade of AA.

HTML & CSS

The following is the source HTML from the main investing page located at https://www.lendingclub.com/portfolio/autoInvest.action. You can go to this page and view the source yourself.

<li><span class="gradeText2L AA">AA</span> <span id="pie-legend-AA-percentage" class="gradeText2LPercentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText A">A</span> <span id="pie-legend-A-percentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText B">B</span> <span id="pie-legend-B-percentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText C">C</span> <span id="pie-legend-C-percentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText D">D</span> <span id="pie-legend-D-percentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText E">E</span> <span id="pie-legend-E-percentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText F">F</span> <span id="pie-legend-F-percentage">(0)</span></li>
<li><span class="gradeText G">G</span> <span id="pie-legend-G-percentage">(0)</span></li>

Notice the top line references a loan grade of AA. Another thing to point out is the class of the span element is “gradeText2LAA“.  If you look at the their combo CSS file there is an explicit CSS tag to hide this AA grade from the user’s view.

#master_content span.gradeText2L, #master_content span.gradeText2LPercentage {
    display: none;
}

The display:none means don’t show.  What does the “2L” in the class name mean? Programmers usually give very literal names to their program elements. Perhaps 2L means “two length” as to indicate the formatting of this loan grade block has twice as many characters, thus requires special formatting to fit.

CSS Sprite

A CSS sprite is a technique web applications use to reduce requests to web servers, subsequently reducing latency and page load times. Lending Club makes use of these to display the background color of their loan grades. I took a snap shot of their sprite and it also confirms the existence of a AA loan grade if you look at the colors:

CSS Sprite from Lending Club’s Web Server

There are a total of 8 loan color boxes. If I link the colors up to what information we have we find a very compelling case for the existence, or at least platform support for AA loans

 AA    (New Loan Grade)
  A  
  B  
  C  
  D  
  E  
  F  
  G  

NSR’s Interest Rate Chart Also Supports a Possible AA Loan

Everyday data from Lending Club and Prosper is processed by the NSR platform. It’s no secret that interest rates on Lending Club have shifted up over the past year.  “A” grade loans are consistently over 7% on average, and it’s clear that there is a possible room for loans that are sub 7%.  This could also open a whole new market to borrowers with stellar credit.  Currently Lending Club’s cheapest loan is 6.78%, while Prosper advertises a loan for 6.59%.  The existence of a AA loan from Lending Club to complete directly with Prosper’s AA is a very interesting proposition indeed.

This Might Just Be Legacy Code

Visting http://web.archive.org/web/20110816090450/https://www.lendingclub.com/browse/browse.action shows that rerferences to AA loans exist in the system all the way back to August 2011.  Unfortunately there is no history beyond that to determine when it was first added. It would certainly weaken the case that Lending Club would be introducing a AA loan grade any time soon or even at all…  This might just be legacy code, and the loan grade was determined to not be a fit for the platform.

Conclusion

Perhaps this is just legacy code that never made it into the platform, or maybe Lending Club is planning to introduce a new grade of AA. This is all speculation but makes for a fun “conspiracy theory”. What are your thoughts, do you think Lending Club will be introducing a AA loan grade in the future?

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  • buyhomes

    Who cares, I’m buying Silver.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705083114 Charles Vanderhoff

    Haha! From one web developer to another this is pretty funny. Good snooping!