“I had just gone through a divorce, and the stress was killing me. I felt sick and tired all the time.”
Christy, a LendingClub member, is one of so many Americans who have been through a difficult life event that breeds high levels of stress, compromising our health.
In tough times, it is easy to put our health on the back burner—financial or otherwise. And when it comes to our finances, if we’re operating at a deficit from the start, we fall further and further behind, often racking up credit card debt with virtually no savings. In fact, 47% of us couldn’t come up with $400 for an emergency. A new CFSI study found 72% of Americans are considered financially unhealthy. Thirty percent say they have an unmanageable amount of debt.
This lack of financial control is less about having access to tools and resources. According to a recent LendingClub survey, it is more about a lack of motivation.
Even Christy, when describing her situation after her divorce told us, “I was just kind of going along, flying by the seat of my pants, and I realized, that’s not getting me anywhere. I needed to take an active role in my financial health.”
This moment of realization is so critical. Unfortunately, it is also so rare.
As a nation, we are finally waking up to what a lack of control over our money has bred—a financial health crisis.
There are many ways to tackle a crisis. Other industry leaders like PayPal have shared their mission to democratize financial services, bringing digital banking to the masses.
We turned inward to determine how to address this crisis. The answer was clear: Now is the time to really lean into our name. Although we’ve always been “LendingClub,” it has not been clear what kind of club we intended to be. Until now.
Each day more than 40,000 Americans come to LendingClub looking for help. That’s 15 million visitors per year. We primarily focus on consolidation loans to help set you free from the burden of credit card debt. That’s a good start, because credit card debt is among the least healthy forms of debt. It is the “saturated fat” of debt. Along with consolidation loans, we offer options like Direct Pay so you can seamlessly pay down your credit card debt as part of the borrowing process in exchange for a better rate. Joint Application allows you to apply with a co-borrower and enables us to say “yes” to people who may have otherwise been declined.
Through our innovative loan programs and committed partners, we have helped so many people transform unhealthy debt into healthy debt. What is healthy debt? It is debt that provides a clear path to freedom from high-interest credit card debt and saves you money while helping to build your credit.
So we’re already in the financial health business, and have been for 11 years. But our future will take us far beyond that into what we’re calling America’s Financial Health Club. Because while escaping from unhealthy debt is a great first step, being financially healthy is about far more. A financially healthy life is a continuum, including spending, borrowing, saving, and planning. It is what you get when your day-to-day activities build resilience and put you on a path to success.
Our recent survey found that while most Americans want to improve their financial lives, doing so is mentally draining and therefore gets placed on the back burner.
What’s more, there is an element of secret shame around debt, especially when more of us are willing to share relationship issues than credit card debt concerns with each other. This type of shame is so common, and unique in comparison to, say, society’s expectations around weight and weight loss—aspects about ourselves that can be visually apparent. But a person can be financially unhealthy, and their family, friends, and social networks may be none-the-wiser.
To help combat these issues, we’ve built a Club membership to put you on a sustainable path to financial health. The first step in joining is making a commitment. That can be taking the crucial first step to attacking high-interest credit card debt, or even just taking a good, honest look at your financial life starting with a financial health checkup. Because awareness is the first step to a healthy financial life.
Just as companies like Nike and Apple have partnered to optimize and digitize your fitness goals, we also partner with familiar names, like Intuit, so you can easily import your TurboTax data into your loan application to simplify the process (coming late 2018). We also launched a pilot program with Credit Karma where you can see pre-approved offers from LendingClub and shop for credit with more certainty.
We’re all about providing the tools and encouragement to help our members build financial strength. And by strength, we mean credit. Is “credit” that card in your pocket or that score in your latest credit report? Yes. But at LendingClub, we also view credit as a muscle you can build and flex when you need it.
Just like it takes willpower to get to the health club, it takes willpower and discipline to prioritize your financial health. So, while we can’t do all the work for you—any more than a health club can exercise for you—our mission is to support you every step of the way.
As a member, you’ll be joining a community of more than 2.5 million borrowers and our growing force of peer-to-peer investors, currently numbering more than 100,000, some of whom first came to us as borrowers. By becoming LendingClub investors, they are promoting America’s financial health, even as they seek to further improve their own. We believe that with wise choices, your financial health can improve consistently throughout your life no matter where on the continuum you start.
Get started with simple steps you can take to improve your financial health today.
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