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.


32 comments:

  1. Hi Marc,

    I've been using the new chrome extension for buying notes since you released it. It is awesome and is a huge time-saver. Plus, it works on Linux now!

    I can't thank you enough for this!!!

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  2. @Zopito, I am so glad that you are finding benefit from it. Let me know if there is anything I can do to make it better.

    Happy investing.

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  3. Even with your great extension, FOLIOfn is torturous to use. Online movie databases have better search capabilities than this. I can't find any contacts on their page. Anyone have an idea as to when they might be upgrading?

    Thanks for your work on the extension, it really does help.

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  4. @bgeorge77, The extension was born from my frustration with it. Glad it helps.

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  5. Hello Marc,

    I have been using your system with Chrome for about a month now. It certainly reduces the amount of time needed for me to do my once a week pricing and buying.

    I am wondering if you have found a system for downloading your information into Excel or other programs in order to track investments. I tried downloading from Lending Club but then I am still missing information like purchase date to track how long it takes me to sell.

    Thanks again for the work you've put into the extension.

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  6. @Martin Smallidge,

    I'm so glad the extension is helping you.

    I've toyed with getting information out. I've tried a few hacks to my extension, but they were only slightly less painful (see: http://lcp2p.blogspot.com/2012/03/discounted-notes-on-lending-clubs.html).

    I'm looking at a better "portfolio" page that will list *all* your notes (LC and FolioFN) and better track your performance. It's quite an effort, and I'm not sure I can quite pull it off, but I'm looking at it.

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  7. Thanks Marc, neat plugin. One suggestion would be to have the option under Preferences to set a desired discount/markup and have the Sell/Reprice field auto-populate based on that rather than on Minimum Preferred Gain. I'm still experimenting with which value is more important for attracting buyers, and that would be a helpful feature.

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  8. @Unknown, Excellent suggestion. I'll start looking into adding that. Thanks.

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  9. @Unknown, I've just posted version 0.5. Now in the Preferences section you can choose Minimum Preferred Gain or Preferred Markup to populate the sell price.

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  10. Wow, that was quick! :) Sorry about the "Unknown", must not have been logged in correctly.

    Looks great, but there's a bug with calculating Sale Price. If your Minimum Preferred Gain is set lower than the Markup would produce, the extension uses the Gain price even if Markup is selected.

    The problem is in sellNotes.js populateSalesPrices() line 267:

    if(priceAtGain < salesPrice) {salesPrice= priceAtGain;}

    This check (as well as the calculateSalesPrice call that sets priceAtGain above) should only be called if useMarkup == False.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Sean McDaniel, Thanks so much for debugging that for me. You were right. I didn't examine the code fully when I made the change. Good catch.

    I've now posted version 0.6 with your fix applied.

    Thanks again.

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  12. Hi Marc,

    This extension is great. I've been using it the past couple of months and it really does make using folioFn tolerable. I haven't used it for about a week and now I can't seem to get it to work. I uninstalled and then installed it again but that didn't help.

    I'm running Windows 7 with the current Chrome stable release (19.0.1084.56).

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!

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  13. @Me,

    Thanks for the feedback. What isn't working? Does the button at the top of the window work? How about Wrench (Spanner) Icon -> Tools -> Extensions, does it show up there? If so, does the options link work?

    If those work, go to the LC page that isn't working and select View -> Developer -> Developer Tools and then go to the Console tab. Let me know anything it says in that tab.

    Thanks for letting me know. Hopefully we can clear this up quickly.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, I should have been more specific. The actual extension works (I can adjust the options, etc.) but it isn't filtering the notes on the folioFn "Browse Notes" page. It doesn't hide or highlight the notes it should based on the filters I set.

      This is what the console tab said when I was on the "Browse Notes" tab of folioFn:

      Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'status' of null

      chrome-extension://ggepjjbgapjipkgfjabncbggfkchfapo/browseNotes.js:198

      Thanks for looking into this so quickly!

      Delete
    2. @Me,

      Thanks for the info. What are your filter values?

      Delete
    3. @Me,

      Lending Club slightly modified their Notes listing page. I've released b7 of the extension that has the fix.

      Thanks for helping me find this.

      Delete
    4. Well that was weird, it is working again. I cleared out every filter color and value (I had previously just changed the color in the drop down to a different one) and the filters started working again as I added them back.

      Everything seems to be working again. Maybe updating to a new version caused an issue with some of the fields already being populated?

      Sorry for the false alarm but thanks for being so responsive.

      Thanks!

      Delete
    5. No problem. I thought I was going crazy for a second there.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  14. Hi Marc,

    Still having fun with the extension, and had a couple more thoughts. The desired markup field has been very useful, since it lets me set values that are competitive enough to show up in searches. A similar enhancement for sellers would be to show and auto-set price based on "Yield to Maturity". I'm guessing that Markup/Discount and YtM are the fields buyers commonly sort by when looking for good deals, and both are time-consuming to calculate when pricing.

    Another feature that would be interesting is extending the additional sell columns to the "Sold this month" section. It would be useful to be able to see what discount and/or YtM caught a buyer's eye for pending and completed transactions - would help with adjusting prices as well as giving data about which value is more important.

    Thanks again for the extension, and let me know if you're looking for any assistance with coding/debugging in addition to suggestions.

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  15. @Sean McDaniel,

    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I have considered determining the YtM (which I agree would be very useful). However, I have not sat down and done the math to calculate that and made sure I have the data I need to calculate it.

    Excellent idea on the Sold this Month.

    I'm a little too swamped right now to make sweeping changes. If you can make the changes and email them to me, I'll put them in.

    Thanks so much for all the help you're providing!

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  16. There are some great suggestions here! I also find it at appalling that the interface for foliofn is so bad. It's very time consuming for me to find notes that I want to buy based on my criteria. This extension helps a lot though.

    Even though I am frustrated with foliofn, at the same time I also think that the terrible interface my have some benefits. If they improved the interface so that you could search/sort better and buy based on your criteria quickly and easily, I think there would be a lot more competition for note buyers. The competition is already heating up I feel because notes with a good history definitely command a premium and it's hard to find good deals.

    I had another suggestion that I wanted to add. I will check each individual note and then buy based on my own criteria. I buy notes on a weekly basis and I always need to sort through notes that I decided to reject for whatever reason. When I am looking through the list of notes, I don't know which ones are notes that I rejected in the past. I need to open up each note and start reading the details. Very often, I think to myself, "this seems strangely familiar". It would be nice if there was a way of marking certain notes / loans to always hide them so that they will always be filtered out by the extension. That way I don't have to keep wasting time looking at notes that I am not going to be buying and I've already researched.

    Keep up the good work Marc!

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    Replies
    1. @Zopito,

      I've also pondered the benefit of the FolioFN barriers. I also considered what it would mean to share my extension with the world. I'm glad it helps.

      I used to buy Notes based on criteria of the Note itself, but as fast as I cycle through Notes it took too much time. I'm considering adding some high level Note evaluation to the extension, but it will have to wait until I have time to think it through and design it.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  17. Thanks, Marc.

    I filter out higher priced notes by using the 'Outstanding Principal' filter; however, if I use $100 as a max value (for example) and hide everything else, notes with >$1,000 outstanding principal still show up. What am I doing wrong?

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    Replies
    1. @Mike,

      I'll have to look into that. I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It's probably that I don't handle the comma correctly (ie $1,000 has a comma vs $999 does not).

      Thanks for catching that.

      Delete
  18. Chrome is now blocking any 3rd party extensions that are not offered through their extension marketplace. Any chance of getting a copy?

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  19. Marc,
    I am looking for a better way to filter on FolioFN, and your extension appears to be exactly what I am looking for. Is there any way I can get it from you now that Chrome is blocking it?

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  20. Mike,

    You can unzip the package and use it in development mode (Load Unpacked Extension). I apologize I haven't had time to revamp it. I will have to before I start investing again, so I have a big incentive to do it.

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  21. Hi Marc, Interesting blog, thanks for your insight. Liten, I am trying to load your browser extension in Chrome Version 24.0.1312.57 Running on my Mac, and Chrome will not allow it to install... "Manifest file is missing or unreadable." Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  22. @Another brick in the wall,

    I'm afraid Chrome has gone and left me. They have dropped support for the version of the manifest that I was using. It needs a re-write, and unfortunately, I haven't had time to rewrite it.

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  23. I appreciate you responding, and I will keep an eye out for an update on it. :-) Are you currently active with Lending Club? I live in Texas and I am not able to participate in the notes before they are funded. Do you think that I can still benefit by only purchasing and selling notes in the secondary? Cheers.

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  24. Ah (follow up to my last comment) I just read your post from July '12 that answers my question. Thanks again.

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  25. Marc, I know your busy but Please Please Please fix the extension. I can go back to the old way but who would want to! Using your extension has saved me hours and hours of time. How much would it cost to get me up and running again???

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