by John Egan.
LendingTree is banking on credit cards for growth. Doug Lebda, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the online lending marketplace, recently told Wall Street analysts that the credit card sector “can be the next significant growth engine for the company.” As it stands now, Lebda said, LendingTree is “just barely penetrating” the credit card market.
LendingTree’s competitors in the credit card space include CardHub, CreditCards.com, Credit Karma and NerdWallet. Lebda said he thinks the LendingTree brand “plays incredibly well” in the credit card market, “particularly compared to the brands out there.”
“We believe that we represent only a small portion of this very large and growing category and that there are substantial opportunities ahead of us,” Lebda said. Lebda will participate in a “State of the Union” speech at LeadsCon Las Vegas 2016 about the current state of lead generation. LendingTree is a sponsor of the Vegas show.
As a relative newcomer, LendingTree is definitely making a dent in generating leads for the credit card sector. In the third quarter of 2015, LendingTree attributed $2.7 million in revenue to the credit card market, up from $400,000 in the previous quarter. LendingTree expects to report credit card revenue of more than $5.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2015.
The revenue picture for credit cards promises to keep improving, according to Lebda, as credit card issuers further embrace LendingTree and their payouts to LendingTree go up. Then, he said, LendingTree “can step on the marketing gas.”
Gabe Dalporto, Chief Financial Officer of LendingTree, said: “The growth we’re experiencing in credit cards further illustrates how the LendingTree brand can successfully expand into new financial product categories.” Today, LendingTree’s credit card marketplace features the five major credit card companies, with American Express being the latest addition.
To entice credit card consumers, LendingTree offers free credit scores from VantageScore through its My LendingTree platform. The platform now has more than 2 million users.
My LendingTree is “the next step forward for LendingTree to help consumers take control of their financial lives,” Lebda said. “We’re able to give consumers a thorough review of their financial and credit accounts, with an analysis of their credit score and ongoing monitoring, in one convenient place. And when a consumer is ready to evaluate new loan options, there's no need to repeatedly fill out loan forms.”
As LendingTree ramps up its credit card offerings and My LendingTree platform, products such as home loans, personal loans and auto loans continue to be LendingTree’s bread and butter. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company predicts annual revenue of $315 million to $320 million in 2016, up from an expected $244 million to $247 million for 2015.
LendingTree “is still in the early days of a significant shift to online comparison shopping for all types of loans, just like the Internet has enabled most other categories of consumer shopping,” Lebda said. “Our product will continue to improve, our sales pipeline is extremely strong, and our team is executing very well.”
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