Online consumer lending startup Avant this week told nearly 60 employees, most of whom work in its Chicago headquarters, that they would be losing their jobs. That's about 7 percent of the fast-growing firm's workforce.
The cutbacks are happening because privately held Avant, impacted by an abrupt negative turn in investor sentiment toward online consumer lenders of all stripes, is scrapping plans to expand its product offerings into credit cards and refinanced auto loans this year. Avant also is putting on hold plans to expand its core online consumer loan product to Australia. Instead, the company will focus on achieving profitability as soon as possible via its well-established online consumer lending platforms in the U.S. and the U.K., CEO Al Goldstein confirmed yesterday. The moves follow a meltdown at San Francisco-based Lending Club, one of the biggest players in the unregulated consumer lending industry that has taken the financial world by storm in the past few years.