I had heard the rumor a few weeks back but did not immediately believe it until a reader sent me these pictures showing a Lending Club drone prototype during a test flight in the Presidio in San Francisco. If confirmed, the program could have a major impact on this industry, following in the footsteps of Amazon’s drone program for delivering packages that was announced last year.
The sighting above was not the only one and we heard that the prototype has successfully flown around San Francisco making test deliveries.
When I first heard of this new program I wasn’t sure it was real so I reached out to Renaud Laplanche, the CEO of Lending Club, to get confirmation. While Renaud declined to comment, we were able to independently confirm the existence of the program and gather more information about how the program will work. When a borrower applies for a loan they will be able to choose whether they want a transfer to be made into their bank account or delivery of cash via the Lending Club Loan Drone. If a borrower chooses the Loan Drone option then once the loan is approved and funded the cash will be counted and loaded on to the Loan Drone for delivery.
Unfortunately, you will not likely see a Lending Club Loan Drone flying in your neighborhood any time soon because they have to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for permission. That process could take years but sources told me that Lending Club is committed to making this an option for borrowers as soon as possible.
A Compelling Move by Lending Club
I must admit I was quite skeptical when I first heard about the Loan Drone program. But after seeing the prototypes and talking with sources close to Lending Club I am now a believer. The Loan Drone would provide two things that borrowers love: speed and cold hard cash. While getting a transfer into your bank account is nice, getting a wad of $100 bills delivered to your doorstep in less than 60 minutes is very compelling.
Obviously, I will be following this story closely and if there are any new developments you will read about them here. Below is a photo of the Loan Drone in action.
Over to you readers. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.