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Should Investors Value Lending Club as a Tech Company or a Bank? CEO Renaud Laplanche Shrugs.

"We’re not pushing investors to view us one way or the other."

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

In the past, banks offered lots of different services to their members because the convenience of doing multiple things at one physical branch made banks more valuable.

For financial tech companies, that’s not the way to compete. On the latest episode of Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche said many of the old labels and traditions of the financial world are blurring or disappearing.

Still, he cautioned that the baby shouldn’t go out with the bathwater — things like regulation are still important for Lending Club and its peers.

“There’s a misconception that marketplace lending isn’t regulated, like it clearly wasn’t in China,” Laplanche said. “I wouldn’t mind having more oversight.”

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

He also discussed why Lending Club, which is publicly traded, has seen its stock price slip consistently since it went public in December 2014, and how it’s competing with private venture-capital-funded rivals. He argued that as the economy wobbles, investors’ fervor for financial tech startups is cooling. And he is bracing for a widespread economic dip.

“We spent more time on downturn readiness in the past few quarters than we had before,” Laplanche said.

Listen to or download the episode in the audio player above, or click here to subscribe to Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher on iTunes; you can also find Re/code Decode on TuneIn, Stitcher and Clammr.

On Monday, Kara Swisher will be back in this space to interview 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki. And on Thursday, don’t miss Re/code Media with Peter Kafka. This week, Peter talks to Refinery29 co-CEO Philippe von Borries. Click here to subscribe to Re/code Media on iTunes.

Kara will also be back this Friday on Too Embarrassed to Ask, her podcast with Lauren Goode of The Verge. If you missed last Friday’s special episode with Walt Mossberg, check it out at that link. Click here to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on iTunes right now. And you should also check out Re/code Replay, an archive of audio content from our events and interviews by Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more. To subscribe to that, click right here.

You can follow @Recode on Twitter for the latest on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara. You can also suggest guests for the show on Twitter, and we’ll do our best to nab them for a Red Chair interview.

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