Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm No Longer On Top

I knew it had to happen. I am no longer the top dog on Lending Club as far as Net Annualized Returns. I dropped from 21.54% to 20.56% and dropped from the top 100% to the top 99%. I imagine that all this time I wasn't really the #1 investor, but the 99.5% top investor.

I've now fully invested all the money I've transferred in. I did it slowly, so as to not affect prices too much. I noticed that I did raise the low end for the notes I was investing in.

If you browse the notes for sale, and look at All Rates and only Never Late and All Current (no past due notes) and then sort by Yield to Maturity (high to low), of the top 60 notes listed, I either own a note from that loan or it is more than a $25 share of the loan (except for 2 notes).

For a while there, if you looked at 15.5% and higher notes (again Never Late and All Current only) and then sorted by Markup/Discount (sorted low to high) of the top 60 I would own about 80% of them. After three days of only buying notes to replace sold notes and now I only own three of the top 60 discounted notes (15.5% and higher Never Late and All Current).

So now I have been humbled. It probably wasn't as big a drop as it seems (I wish they'd show an extra decimal place on the percentile). I'm still near the top. The average return is about 9.5%

The notes that I currently hold I've held about 7.3 days average. Given that I bought the bulk of them in the last two weeks due to my increased investment, that makes sense. I've paid an average of $24.63, or in other words I generally buy $25 fractions early in their lifetime. This gives me the most interest for my investment (at the end payments are mostly principal, at the beginning they are mostly interest).

I mostly hold F grade notes (53%), followed by G grade (38%). The D and E grade notes are usually the notes I buy when I have a little money left (less than $20). The best deals there seem to be in the D and E grades.

Right now I've got 2.4% more in my account than I put in. Since the bulk of that money was put in in the last two weeks, that would be more than a 50% return per year, if I can keep it up.

I've sold around half as many notes as I currently hold. I've held them for an average of 11.7 days before I sell them. The median Annualized Return on notes I've sold is 59.1%.

Looking over the notes I've sold, about 25% of them have been less than 16% Annualized Return, and most of those have been between -14% to -99%. Some of these have been typos. Some have been an error in my sell calculation (I think). However, given that the other 75% get 17.5% or higher Annualized Return and over 40% of my sales have been at over 100% Annualized Return, I'm still doing pretty well even considering the little glitches and mistakes.

It's interesting that even though I am now over the $1,000 mark (also over the 100 Note mark) that I am still compared to investors with less than $1,000. I think they only take into account notes you've actually funded (which is illegal for me to do in my state).

Now that I've crossed the first milestone (100+ notes) we have some statistics on people who hold that many notes. Almost 83% of those with 100+ notes make between 6% and 18%. It looks like around 10% make 3% to 6%. This leaves 7% to be divided among the -5% through 3% and the 18%+. It looks like more of that 7% is in the -5% through 3% range. So let's say 3% of those with 100+ notes make 18% or more.

You'll note on the image here that they state that 100 Notes can be purchased with a minimum investment of $2,500. Of course, if you are using the secondary market (Foliofn) you can get 100 Notes for less than that. However, the less you spend on the 100 Notes, the less your return will be. Remember that early in the life of a Note, you get more interest per payment. The smaller the note (the more payments have been made on it), the less interest you'll get in the payments, and hence a lower return also.

Update: I figured out how to get some more information on the 18%+ bracket for 100+ notes. So of those with 100+ notes, I'm in the top 1.31%. The average investment is $19,094 (I'm not quite there yet) and the average number of Notes is 274, or an average of $69.69 per Note.

It was interesting to see the average Note value for 100+ Note holders by return. If you are getting between 0% and 3% return and you have 100+ Notes, chances are you hold $250 Fractions (smallest fraction is $25). That means you are banking a lot on a few loans.

Even if you have a lot of Notes, they may still be from the same loan (my tool filters out Notes from loans I already hold).

It looks like most of the 9%+ return crowd go for higher notes. I can understand, as without some tool to manage your notes, it can be a pain to handle a bunch of notes. If you double or triple the size notes you hold, you cut in half or third the number of notes you have to deal with.

Still beginners luck. Still no defaults. Still playing the game. Until next time …

Friday, September 16, 2011

Second Month Of Lending Club

(See other Monthly Status Updates)

So it's been two months and things are still looking pretty good. I've had a 4.5% growth in the funds I deposited. 58 Days ago I bought my first notes. I've been adding a little money to my account over the last two months, but if I had put it all in at the beginning, that would be an annualized rate of 32%. Since my minimum target is 16% per year, I think double is a good rate.

I've moved from a Google spreadsheet to a custom tool I developed that grabs the data directly from Lending Club's website. This way I am not limited by the amount of data I am willing to copy into a spreadsheet, it cuts down on the time I spend entering data (none) and I have more flexibility with what I do with the data. I now can spend less than 10 minutes a day to sell dozens of notes and buy at least a half dozen notes.

In a previous post I stated that I was going to change my strategy to cut down on the number of trades I do. This was mainly to cut down on the time. Every note that I bought I would enter a limited set of data into a spreadsheet. For each not I sold, I would add some more data about the sale. All this manual entry was time consuming. Now with my new tool, I can trade more frequently with less time being taken to enter data. Buying notes still takes a bit of time to find the right notes to buy. I wish Foliofn had better filters (like "only show notes with Yield to Maturity greater than X").

So I am still Top of the Class. My Net Annualized Rate dropped to 21.79% (or 22.01%, depending on where I look). The lowest it has been was 21.68%. Lending Club reports that for "Investors Like [Me]" 100% have a NAR less then me. Less than 4% of all Lending Club investors get over 18%.  "Investors Like [Me]" dropped to 5.56% NAR and overall average remains at 9.64%.

I'm still not convinced this is more than beginners luck. I am, however, transferring a larger chunk of funds into my account.

Currently I am holding about 1/3 of the notes I've ever held. Or, in other words, I've sold twice as many notes as I currently hold. The notes I sell I hold for an average of about two weeks. The average return is really high because I've sold some notes for a premium (I really wanted to hold them) the day after I got them. When you annualize that, it gets pretty crazy. However, my median annualized return from selling notes is 43.7%. The notes I am currently holding I've held for an average of about two weeks. The purchase price of the notes I am holding now average $18.27.

I still haven't had a default. I focus on buying high interest rate notes in their first year with either the highest Yield to Maturity or the lowest Markup (roughly equivalent). I want the notes to be $25 fractions of the overall loan. Then I sell the note for somewhere between 16% and 32% annualized (assuming it sells in 7 days). Since I don't hold notes for more than two weeks on average, that means no note really even has a chance of defaulting. That and I choose notes in the first year, which is the least likely time to default on a note (in my opinion).

I've found that there is a limited number of low Markup (or high Yield to Maturity) $25 fraction notes for sale. There are several in the range of $250 fraction, but the minimal ones tend to have a higher markup. The opportunity is there to take the lowest Markup $25 fraction notes and mark them up higher. If I can continually buy all the lowest Markup $25 fraction notes, and make sure the lowest ones are the ones I am reselling, then it increases the demand for my notes. At least that's the theory.