Marlette Funding LLC, a Wilmington-based personal-loans company, says it has raised $495 million by selling notes and certificates based on recent loans.
Through its Best Egg marketing subsidiary, with its banking partner Cross River Bank of Fort Lee, N.J., Marlette makes 3- and 5-year loans of up to $50,000, and charges rates starting around 5 percent.
The sale marked Marlette's fifth securitization, for a total of $1.7 billion, since August, 2016. The company says it has closed a total of $4.7 billion in loans to 320,000 borrowers, pitching its loans as cheaper than credit cards and faster than traditional bank loans.
Marlette officials say the latest sale was "significantly oversubscribed," proving investor demand for notes that pay modestly above Treasury and corporate yields. The quick sale was a sign "2018 will be an exciting year" for Best Egg, said Mark Elbaum, Marlette CFO, in a statement. He said the "healthy performance" of past Marlette loans will help attract a "significant uptick" in new loans and sales.
Goldman Sachs led the sale, with Citi, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley. Kroll Bond Rating Agency gave the largest tranche (which totaled nearly $309 million) an investment-grade rating of AA, priced to yield 2.629 percent, with smaller tranches paying higher rates at A, BBB, and BB, the last yielding 4.903 percent.
The company's affiliate Marlette Funding LLC retained some of the debt in each tranche to comply with Dodd-Frank Act requirements designed to prevent the kind of securitization collapse and losses that followed the 2008 home-loan market freeze, by ensuring companies that make and resell loans keep some and share in any losses.
Marlette, with 120 employees, says it uses Amazon Web Services cloud-computing services, data analytics, and a "flexible technical architecture" to scale new business to the point where it adds just $1 in expenses for every $7.33 in new loans. The company has raised $91 million from equity investors led by the New York-based Invus Group investment house and from Wilmington-based Navient, the student-loan company, plus a $50 million corporate-debt facility, since its founding in 2013.
(An earlier version of this story referred to the loans as "small-business" loans. While they can be used for many purposes, the lender classifies them as "personal loans" because they are unsecured.)