/// A New Perk for Google Employees? It Could Be Low-Interest Personal Loans.
Forget the free gourmet food. If peer-to-peer lending marketplace Lending Club has its way, low-interest loans may be the next big employee perk at Google. According to sources, Google is among the companies Lending Club has been pitching on putting cash holdings to work by offering low-interest loans to employees, with the Lending Club platform facilitating the deals. (Perhaps it has to do with Google’s new late-stage investment fund Google Capital . which happens to have recently led a $125 million investment in Lending Club, by acquiring shares from existing shareholders.) Lending Club’s pitch is part of the company’s strategy to push beyond its initial focus on peer-to-peer loans by opening up its platform to large institutions such as banks and corporations as it eyes a potential 2014 IPO. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment, noting: “There’s nothing to share on Google’s end.” Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche said that his company is not currently working with Google on such an initiative, but would not confirm or deny that talks have taken place. Still, he did confirm that his company is in talks with large companies — with employee counts of Google’s size or larger — about facilitating this type of human-resources benefit. “The program we’re putting in place gives the ability for large companies with lots of employees to make loans to their employees and use their treasury reserves, on which they are earning like one or two percent, and put them to work,” he said in a recent interview. “At the same time, they would be offering a lower interest rate to their employees than what they’re paying on their credit cards or other loans they have. It’s really an HR benefit and recruiting tool.” Laplanche imagines employees using these loans to pay off high-interest credit card debt, large student loans or simply to consolidate debt into one loan, with payments being automatically deducted from paychecks
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