Friday, April 6, 2012

Lending Club Chrome Extension: Buying FolioFN Notes

(See Other Posts about Lending Club Extension)

Version 0.3 of the Lending Club Extension has been released (see what changed). I am getting feedback that we need more detailed information about how to use it.

(click on this link in Google Chrome)

The first step is to click on the link above and go through the installation process (you may need to click a button at the bottom of this page saying you trust me, you do trust me don't you?). After you have installed the extension, you will see a Lending Club icon in your browser window. Clicking on this will bring up a settings window. If it feels a bit cramped, you can get a bigger page with the settings by clicking on the wrench (spanner) in the upper right corner (shown in the image here) and selecting Tools -> Extensions. 

In the extensions list you'll see Lending Club FolioFN Note Filter (I need to change that name). The image below shows what it looks like (except it will be version 0.3 and it won't say (Unpacked)).

If you click the Options link you'll get the same options you would get by clicking the Lending Club icon at the top of the window, but you'll have more space to look at things like Help.

There are two main features that this extension helps you with,  Buying Notes and Selling Notes. 

Buying Notes (or Note Filters)

When buying Notes on the FolioFN platform, you'll see a table that looks something like the above. When the Lending Club extension is working, the table will have green rows (if not, there will be blue rows). There are some limited, though helpful, filters already available on FolioFN, seen in the box before the table. I usually choose the Never Late checkbox and uncheck the rest and leave everything else as is. Once you search with the FolioFN filters, then it's time to pull in the extension filters.

Clicking on the Lending Club icon at the top of the window will reveal a window with the extensions filters. They mostly match the column headers (and in the same order) as seen in the Browser Notes list above.

Some values have a Min/Max, for instance Days Since Payment. Let's say that you want Notes that are about to make a payment, but not so close that it is processing just yet. You would enter a Min of 18 and a Max of 24 (I've seen some Notes start processing 25 days after the last payment).

Any Notes that have Days Since Payment at 18 through 24 will be left untouched. If the Days Since Payment falls outside that range, the extension will look at the Out Of Range Color box to decide what to do.

Clicking on the popup menu next to the Out Of Range Color box for Days Since Payment will reveal options for actions to take. By default (empty box) the filter is disabled, meaning it will do nothing if it is outside the range. You can Hide Notes that are outside the range (you won't even see them). This will fill in the Out Of Range Color with six 0's (000000).

The rest of the options for Out Of Range Color are actually colors. These set the background to the selected color. The value that is filled in the Out Of Range Color box is of the format RRGGBB for the Red, Green and Blue value in web format (two digit hexadecimal values). Don't worry, you don't have to know what any of that means, you can just select from the menu the background color you want. The numbers and letters in the boxes are for those who want absolute control over the colors. Feel free to play around with them (6 characters either 0-9 or A-F).

There are four items that do not have a Min/Max, Duplicate Loan, Loan Owned, Note Owned and Imperfect Status.

Duplicate Loan

The second time (or more) a Loan Number is seen on a page, the Out Of Range Color will be applied. This helps prevent purchasing multiple Notes from the same Loan.

Loan Owned

If you own a Note from this Loan (either this Note or another Note) the Out Of Range Color will be applied. The is another help to prevent buying Notes from Loans you already own.

Note Owned

These are the Notes you actually own. Lending Club replaces the checkbox with a little blue circle so you can't select them anyway. If you select Hide Note (000000) for the Out Of Range Color then this noise will be removed from the table (you can't buy it anyway).

Imperfect Status

There are two statuses that are considered perfect, Current and Issued, anything else is considered Imperfect. This allows you to highlight or remove Notes that are In Grace Period or Late.

The selections above are what I use when I am hunting for Notes to buy. I remove all chances (well, nearly all) that I will buy two Notes from the same Loan (Duplicate Loan, Loan Owned, Note Owned). I don't care if Term is 36 or 60 months, so I leave that alone. I only want Perfect Status, so I hide all Imperfect Statuses. I don't want to buy Notes that are processing a payment, so I highlight in Light Red any Notes 25 days or more since the Last Payment (this helps filter out people selling Notes in Pre-Grace Period). I always want a Yield To Maturity of at least 16%.

What settings do you use? Are you having any problems or something is not quite clear? Have a suggestion to improve the extension? Leave a post below and I'll see what I can do.

Lending Club Chrome Extension Version 0.3

(See Other Posts about Lending Club Extension)

It's taken longer than I expected (partly because I got sucked into Empire Avenue, ticker MARCPAGE). Then Peter Renton (of Social Lending Network fame) pointed out that the extension doesn't work well when selling Notes that have been Funded as opposed to Purchased on FolioFN. As I am in a state that I cannot fund Notes, I wasn't sure exactly how to handle this. With Peter's help we've come up with a pretty nice solution.

Install Note Browser Filter 
(click on this link in Google Chrome)

First, a little background. When selling or repricing Notes, the extension will add two extra columns, one for Annualized Return and one for Markup. The Annualized Return is the return you would get if that Note was sold between now and the Order Expiration Date for the given price, taking into account how long the Note has been held. In other words, if you put the money into a bank account with an APR of the Annualized Return, and left it in there for the same period of time as you held the Note, you would get your Asking Price when you withdrew the money.

In order to do this calculation, the extension needs to know when you acquired the Note. If you purchased the Note this month via FolioFN, it will get this information from the My Account page (just visiting this page will get these dates). If you purchased the Note in a previous month, you can find the purchase date in the Trading Statements at the bottom of the FolioFN My Account page (change Showing Notes to All). again simply loading these pages once the extension will store off the purchase dates for the calculation.

However, if you did not purchase a Note from FolioFN, I now get the acquired date from the Loan Performance page (just about every Note on any page has a link to this page, see the Current links in the images below). Loading the Loan Performance page will store off the Issue Date for use in the calculation.

In version 0.2 there was a bug where if we could not find the purchase date, the two extra columns would be added, but they would be left blank. Now we will fill in the Markup right away (we can calculate that from the data on the page). While loading the acquisition date we now let you know what we are doing.  Once we have finished our search for the acquisition date, we simple state "Purchase Date?" to let you know that the extension has not seen any page that lists the Issue Date nor the Purchase Date. At the point you can go to the My Account page and then the appropriate (or all) Trading Statement(s).

If an Issue Date is found but not a Purchase Date then the Annualized Return will be blue to let you know that it hasn't seen evidence that you purchased it, so it is assuming you funded the Note (plus an extra row will be added to the top of the table letting you know what blue means).