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LendingTree Reports First Quarter 2021 Results | State / Regional

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online financial services marketplace, today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

The company has posted a letter to shareholders on the company’s website at investors.lendingtree.com

“We’re pleased to report another strong quarter at LendingTree,” said Doug Lebda, Chairman and CEO.  “We once again exceeded our prior guidance and each of our three segments is showing signs of momentum.  Our Home segment was particularly strong in the quarter, delivering record revenue as both borrowers and lenders increasingly turn to LendingTree to meet their mortgage needs.  Our Insurance segment once again posted strong growth, and our Consumer segment continued to exhibit tangible signs of recovery as the economy gradually begins to reopen.”

J.D. Moriarty, CFO, added, “We remain confident in our future prospects as two of our three segments are showing considerable strength while our Consumer segment is very clearly improving off the lows experienced last Spring at the height of the pandemic.  Even more encouraging is the progress we are seeing in some of our strategic growth initiatives such as My LendingTree syndication and our Insurance agency capabilities.”

First Quarter 2021 Business Highlights  

  • Record Home segment revenue of $128.1 million grew 62% over first quarter 2020 and produced segment profit of $39.0 million, up 9% over the same period.
    • Within Home, record mortgage products revenue of $116.4 million grew 74% over the prior year period.
  • Insurance segment revenue of $86.6 million grew 5% over first quarter 2020 and translated into Insurance segment profit of $32.8 million, up 8% over the same period.
  • Consumer segment revenue of $57.9 million improved 21% sequentially over fourth quarter 2020 as trends continued to improve in credit card and personal loans.
    • Within Consumer, credit card revenue of $17.6 million improved considerably from $11.9 million in fourth quarter 2020.
    • Personal loans revenue of $14.9 million improved from $13.7 million in fourth quarter 2020.
  • Through March 31, 2021, 17.7 million consumers have signed up for My LendingTree.

 

LendingTree Summary Financial Metrics

(In millions, except per share amounts)

Three Months Ended

March 31,

Y/Y

Three Months Ended

December 31,

Q/Q

2021

2020

% Change

2020

% Change

Total revenue

$

272.8

$

283.1

(4)

%

$

222.3

23

%

Income (loss) before income taxes

$

28.0

$

15.9

76

%

$

(13.2)

312

%

Income tax (expense) benefit

$

(8.7)

$

3.1

(381)

%

$

5.1

(271)

%

Net income (loss) from continuing

operations

$

19.3

$

19.0

2

%

$

(8.1)

338

%

Net income (loss) from continuing

operations % of revenue

7

%

7

%

(4)

%

Income (loss) per share from continuing

operations

Basic

$

1.48

$

1.46

1

%

$

(0.62)

339

%

Diluted

$

1.37

$

1.34

2

%

$

(0.62)

321

%

Variable marketing margin

Total revenue

$

272.8

$

283.1

(4)

%

$

222.3

23

%

Variable marketing expense (1) (2)

$

(183.8)

$

(184.9)

(1)

%

$

(140.0)

31

%

Variable marketing margin (2)

$

89.0

$

98.2

(9)

%

$

82.3

8

%

Variable marketing margin % of revenue (2)

33

%

35

%

37

%

Adjusted EBITDA (2)

$

30.7

$

44.9

(32)

%

$

26.3

17

%

Adjusted EBITDA % of revenue (2)

11

%

16

%

12

%

Adjusted net income (2)

$

2.5

$

17.1

(85)

%

$

1.8

39

%

Adjusted net income per share (2)

$

0.18

$

1.20

(85)

%

$

0.13

38

%

 

(1)

Represents the portion of selling and marketing expense attributable to variable costs paid for advertising, direct marketing and related expenses. Also includes the portion of cost of revenue attributable to costs paid for advertising re-sold to third parties. Excludes overhead, fixed costs and personnel-related expenses. 

(2)

Variable marketing expense, variable marketing margin, variable marketing margin % of revenue, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA % of revenue, adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share are non-GAAP measures. Please see “LendingTree’s Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures to GAAP” and “LendingTree’s Principles of Financial Reporting” below for more information.

 

 

LendingTree Segment Results

(In millions)

Three Months Ended

March 31,

Y/Y

Three Months Ended

December 31,

Q/Q

2021

2020

% Change

2020

% Change

Home (1)

Revenue

$

128.1

$

79.2

62

%

$

88.8

44

%

Segment profit

$

39.0

$

35.9

9

%

$

32.3

21

%

Segment profit % of revenue

30

%

45

%

36

%

Consumer (2)

Revenue

$

57.9

$

119.9

(52)

%

$

47.8

21

%

Segment profit

$

24.6

$

43.1

(43)

%

$

22.7

8

%

Segment profit % of revenue

42

%

36

%

47

%

Insurance (3)

Revenue

$

86.6

$

82.7

5

%

$

85.6

1

%

Segment profit

$

32.8

$

30.5

8

%

$

33.4

(2)

%

Segment profit % of revenue

38

%

37

%

39

%

Other (4)

Revenue

$

0.1

$

1.2

(92)

%

$

0.1

%

Loss

$

(0.1)

$

(0.3)

(67)

%

$

(0.4)

(75)

%

Total revenue

$

272.8

$

283.1

(4)

%

$

222.3

23

%

Total segment profit

$

96.3

$

109.2

(12)

%

$

88.0

9

%

     Brand marketing expense (5)

$

(7.3)

$

(11.0)

(34)

%

$

(5.7)

28

%

Variable marketing margin

$

89.0

$

98.2

(9)

%

$

82.3

8

%

Variable marketing margin % of revenue

33

%

35

%

37

%

 

(1)

The Home segment includes the following products: purchase mortgage, refinance mortgage, home equity loans and lines of credit, reverse mortgage loans, and real estate.

(2)

The Consumer segment includes the following products: credit cards, personal loans, small business loans, student loans, auto loans, deposit accounts, and other credit products such as credit repair and debt settlement.

(3)

The Insurance segment consists of insurance quote products.

(4)

The Other category primarily includes revenue from the resale of online advertising space to third parties and revenue from home improvement referrals, and the related variable marketing and advertising expenses.

(5)

Brand marketing expense represents the portion of selling and marketing expense attributable to variable costs paid for advertising, direct marketing and related expenses that are not assignable to the segments’ products. This measure excludes overhead, fixed costs and personnel-related expenses.

 

Financial Outlook

Today we are issuing an outlook for the second quarter 2021.  Our assumptions reflect current trends, although we continue to acknowledge the difficulty in forecasting the recovery of our Consumer segment and the effects of volatile interest rate movements in our Home segment.

Our guidance assumes that year-over-year growth in our Home segment moderates relative to the extraordinary performance recorded in Q1.  A sequential decline in Home revenue and segment profit should be at least partially offset by sustained improvement in our Consumer segment and an acceleration in Insurance, where we expect revenue growth of 30% or more compared to Q2 2020.  Our outlook also factors in approximately $2 million in additional expense to support the build of our Medicare agency capability.

Q2 2021 Outlook:

  • Revenue is expected in the range of $263$273 million.
  • Variable marketing margin is expected in the range of $86$92 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is expected in the range of $27$31 million.

LendingTree is not able to provide a reconciliation of projected variable marketing margin or adjusted EBITDA to the most directly comparable expected GAAP results due to the unknown effect, timing and potential significance of the effects of legal matters, tax considerations, and income and expense from changes in fair value of contingent consideration from acquisitions. Expenses associated with legal matters, tax consequences, and income and expense from changes in fair value of contingent consideration from acquisitions have in the past, and may in the future, significantly affect GAAP results in a particular period.  

Quarterly Conference Call

A conference call to discuss LendingTree’s first quarter 2021 financial results will be webcast live today, April 29, 2021 at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (ET). The live audiocast is open to the public and will be available on LendingTree’s investor relations website at investors.lendingtree.com. The call may also be accessed toll-free via phone at (877) 606-1416. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial (707) 287-9313. Following completion of the call, a recorded replay of the webcast will be available on LendingTree’s investor relations website until 12:00 PM ET on Friday, May 7, 2021. To listen to the telephone replay, call toll-free (855) 859-2056 with passcode #3708969. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial (404) 537-3406 with passcode #3708969.

 

LENDINGTREE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2021

2020

(in thousands, except per share

amounts)

Revenue

$

272,750

$

283,084

Costs and expenses:

Cost of revenue (exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown separately below) (1)

13,895

14,252

Selling and marketing expense (1)

197,462

195,538

General and administrative expense (1)

34,989

32,082

Product development (1)

12,468

10,963

Depreciation

3,718

3,378

Amortization of intangibles

11,312

13,757

Change in fair value of contingent consideration

797

(8,122)

Severance

158

Litigation settlements and contingencies

16

329

Total costs and expenses

274,657

262,335

Operating (loss) income

(1,907)

20,749

Other (expense) income, net:

Interest expense, net

(10,215)

(4,834)

Other income

40,072

Income before income taxes

27,950

15,915

Income tax (expense) benefit

(8,638)

3,061

Net income from continuing operations

19,312

18,976

Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax

(263)

(4,575)

Net income and comprehensive income

$

19,049

$

14,401

Weighted average shares outstanding:

Basic

13,070

12,957

Diluted

14,119

14,158

Income per share from continuing operations:

Basic

$

1.48

$

1.46

Diluted

$

1.37

$

1.34

Loss per share from discontinued operations:

Basic

$

(0.02)

$

(0.35)

Diluted

$

(0.02)

$

(0.32)

Net income per share:

Basic

$

1.46

$

1.11

Diluted

$

1.35

$

1.02

(1) Amounts include non-cash compensation, as follows:

Cost of revenue

$

397

$

242

Selling and marketing expense

1,802

1,156

General and administrative expense

12,171

9,123

Product development

2,066

1,396

 

 

LENDINGTREE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(Unaudited)

March 31,

2021

December 31,

2020

(in thousands, except par value

and share amounts)

ASSETS:

Cash and cash equivalents

$

162,091

$

169,932

Restricted cash and cash equivalents

79

117

Accounts receivable

123,067

89,841

Prepaid and other current assets

28,638

27,949

Current assets of discontinued operations

8,556

8,570

Total current assets

322,431

296,409

Property and equipment

71,572

62,381

Operating lease right-of-use assets

81,622

84,109

Goodwill

420,139

420,139

Intangible assets, net

117,189

128,502

Deferred income tax assets

87,586

96,224

Equity investment

121,253

80,000

Other non-current assets

5,403

5,334

Non-current assets of discontinued operations

15,982

15,892

Total assets

$

1,243,177

$

1,188,990

LIABILITIES:

Accounts payable, trade

7,230

10,111

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

113,442

101,196

Current contingent consideration

9,046

Current liabilities of discontinued operations

803

536

Total current liabilities

130,521

111,843

Long-term debt

619,502

611,412

Operating lease liabilities

97,352

92,363

Non-current contingent consideration

8,249

Other non-current liabilities

359

362

Total liabilities

847,734

824,229

Commitments and contingencies

SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY:

Preferred stock $.01 par value; 5,000,000 shares authorized; none issued or outstanding

Common stock $.01 par value; 50,000,000 shares authorized; 15,797,177 and 15,766,193 shares

issued, respectively, and 13,155,859 and 13,124,875 shares outstanding, respectively

158

158

Additional paid-in capital

1,200,306

1,188,673

Accumulated deficit

(621,860)

(640,909)

Treasury stock; 2,641,318 shares

(183,161)

(183,161)

Total shareholders’ equity

395,443

364,761

Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity

$

1,243,177

$

1,188,990

 

 

LENDINGTREE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

 (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2021

2020

(in thousands)

Cash flows from operating activities attributable to continuing operations:

Net income and comprehensive income

$

19,049

$

14,401

Less: Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax

263

4,575

Income from continuing operations

19,312

18,976

Adjustments to reconcile income from continuing operations to net cash provided by operating

activities attributable to continuing operations:

  Loss on disposal of assets

348

530

  Amortization of intangibles

11,312

13,757

  Depreciation

3,718

3,378

  Non-cash compensation expense

16,436

11,917

  Deferred income taxes

8,638

(3,061)

  Change in fair value of contingent consideration

797

(8,122)

  Unrealized gain on investments

(40,072)

  Bad debt expense

516

880

  Amortization of debt issuance costs

1,275

582

  Amortization of convertible debt discount

7,346

3,111

  Reduction in carrying amount of ROU asset, offset by change in operating lease liabilities

7,132

(196)

Changes in current assets and liabilities:

  Accounts receivable

(33,743)

(6,952)

  Prepaid and other current assets

(915)

(1,430)

  Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities

7,154

(3,271)

  Income taxes receivable

(89)

65

Other, net

(240)

(862)

Net cash provided by operating activities attributable to continuing operations

8,925

29,302

Cash flows from investing activities attributable to continuing operations:

Capital expenditures

(10,553)

(4,189)

Equity investment

(1,180)

(80,000)

Net cash used in investing activities attributable to continuing operations

(11,733)

(84,189)

Cash flows from financing activities attributable to continuing operations:

Payments related to net-share settlement of stock-based compensation, net of proceeds from exercise of

stock options

(4,801)

(5,087)

Net proceeds from revolving credit facility

55,000

Payment of debt issuance costs

(168)

(306)

Contingent consideration payments

(3,000)

Other financing activities

(31)

(6)

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities attributable to continuing operations

(5,000)

46,601

Total cash used in continuing operations

(7,808)

(8,286)

Discontinued operations:

Net cash used in operating activities attributable to discontinued operations

(71)

(752)

Total cash used in discontinued operations

(71)

(752)

Net decrease in cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents

(7,879)

(9,038)

Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents at beginning of period

170,049

60,339

Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents at end of period

$

162,170

$

51,301

 

 

LENDINGTREE’S RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP MEASURES TO GAAP

Variable Marketing Expense

Below is a reconciliation of selling and marketing expense to variable marketing expense. See “LendingTree’s Principles of Financial Reporting” for further discussion of the Company’s use of this non-GAAP measure.

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2021

December 31,

2020

March 31,

2020

(in thousands)

Selling and marketing expense

$

197,462

$

153,275

$

195,538

Non-variable selling and marketing expense (1)

(13,760)

(13,248)

(11,772)

Cost of advertising re-sold to third parties (2)

1,086

Variable marketing expense

$

183,702

$

140,027

$

184,852

 

(1)

Represents the portion of selling and marketing expense not attributable to variable costs paid for advertising, direct marketing and related expenses. Includes overhead, fixed costs and personnel-related expenses.

(2)

Represents the portion of cost of revenue attributable to costs paid for advertising re-sold to third parties. Excludes overhead, fixed costs, and personnel-related expenses.

 

 

LENDINGTREE’S RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP MEASURES TO GAAP

Variable Marketing Margin

Below is a reconciliation of net income (loss) from continuing operations to variable marketing margin and net income (loss) from continuing operations % of revenue to variable marketing margin % of revenue. See “LendingTree’s Principles of Financial Reporting” for further discussion of the Company’s use of these non-GAAP measures.

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2021

December 31,

2020

March 31,

2020

(in thousands, except percentages)

Net income (loss) from continuing operations

$

19,312

$

(8,117)

$

18,976

Net income (loss) from continuing operations % of revenue

7%

(4)%

7%

Adjustments to reconcile to variable marketing margin:

Cost of revenue

13,895

13,558

14,252

Cost of advertising re-sold to third parties (1)

(1,086)

Non-variable selling and marketing expense (2)

13,760

13,248

11,772

General and administrative expense

34,989

34,825

32,082

Product development

12,468

10,384

10,963

Depreciation

3,718

3,738

3,378

Amortization of intangibles

11,312

12,475

13,757

Change in fair value of contingent consideration

797

(2,384)

(8,122)

Severance

105

158

Litigation settlements and contingencies

16

40

329

Interest expense, net

10,215

9,894

4,834

Other income

(40,072)

(369)

Income tax expense (benefit)

8,638

(5,095)

(3,061)

Variable marketing margin

$

89,048

$

82,302

$

98,232

Variable marketing margin % of revenue

33%

37%

35%

 

(1)

Represents the portion of cost of revenue attributable to costs paid for advertising re-sold to third parties. Excludes overhead, fixed costs, and personnel-related expenses.

(2)

Represents the portion of selling and marketing expense not attributable to variable costs paid for advertising, direct marketing and related expenses. Includes overhead, fixed costs and personnel-related expenses.

 

 

LENDINGTREE’S RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP MEASURES TO GAAP

Adjusted EBITDA

Below is a reconciliation of net income (loss) from continuing operations to adjusted EBITDA and net income (loss) from continuing operations % of revenue to adjusted EBITDA % of revenue. See “LendingTree’s Principles of Financial Reporting” for further discussion of the Company’s use of these non-GAAP measures.

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2021

December 31,

2020

March 31,

2020

(in thousands, except percentages)

Net income (loss) from continuing operations

$

19,312

$

(8,117)

$

18,976

Net income (loss) from continuing operations % of revenue

7%

(4)%

7%

Adjustments to reconcile to adjusted EBITDA:

Amortization of intangibles

11,312

12,475

13,757

Depreciation

3,718

3,738

3,378

Severance

105

158

Loss on disposal of assets

348

474

530

Unrealized gain on investments

(40,072)

Non-cash compensation

16,436

14,497

11,917

Costs of secondary public offering

863

Change in fair value of contingent consideration

797

(2,384)

(8,122)

Acquisition expense

29

(188)

2,180

Litigation settlements and contingencies

16

40

329

Interest expense, net

10,215

9,894

4,834

Income tax expense (benefit)

8,638

(5,095)

(3,061)

Adjusted EBITDA

$

30,749

$

26,302

$

44,876

Adjusted EBITDA % of revenue

11%

12%

16%

 

 

LENDINGTREE’S RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP MEASURES TO GAAP

Adjusted Net Income

Below is a reconciliation of net income (loss) from continuing operations to adjusted net income and net income (loss) per diluted share from continuing operations to adjusted net income per share. See “LendingTree’s Principles of Financial Reporting” for further discussion of the Company’s use of these non-GAAP measures.

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2021

December 31,

2020

March 31,

2020

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

Net income (loss) from continuing operations

$

19,312

$

(8,117)

$

18,976

Adjustments to reconcile to adjusted net income:

Severance

105

158

Loss on disposal of assets

348

474

530

Unrealized gain on investments

(40,072)

Non-cash compensation

16,436

14,497

11,917

Costs of secondary public offering

863

Change in fair value of contingent consideration

797

(2,384)

(8,122)

Acquisition expense

29

(188)

2,180

Litigation settlements and contingencies

16

40

329

Income tax expense (benefit) from adjusted items

5,699

(3,402)

(1,760)

Excess tax benefit from stock-based compensation

(32)

(51)

(1,054)

Income tax benefit from CARES Act

(6,104)

Adjusted net income

$

2,533

$

1,837

$

17,050

Net income (loss) per diluted share from continuing operations

$

1.37

$

(0.62)

$

1.34

Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) from continuing operations to

adjusted net income

(1.19)

0.76

(0.14)

Adjustments to reconcile effect of dilutive securities

(0.01)

Adjusted net income per share

$

0.18

$

0.13

$

1.20

Adjusted weighted average diluted shares outstanding

14,119

14,163

14,158

Effect of dilutive securities

1,112

Weighted average diluted shares outstanding

14,119

13,051

14,158

Effect of dilutive securities

1,049

1,201

Weighted average basic shares outstanding

13,070

13,051

12,957

 

LENDINGTREE’S PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL REPORTING

LendingTree reports the following non-GAAP measures as supplemental to GAAP:

  • Variable marketing margin, including variable marketing expense
  • Variable marketing margin % of revenue
  • Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization, as adjusted for certain items discussed below (“Adjusted EBITDA”)
  • Adjusted EBITDA % of revenue
  • Adjusted net income
  • Adjusted net income per share

Variable marketing margin is a measure of the efficiency of the Company’s operating model, measuring revenue after subtracting variable marketing and advertising costs that directly influence revenue. The Company’s operating model is highly sensitive to the amount and efficiency of variable marketing expenditures, and the Company’s proprietary systems are able to make rapidly changing decisions concerning the deployment of variable marketing expenditures (primarily but not exclusively online and mobile advertising placement) based on proprietary and sophisticated analytics. Variable marketing margin and variable marketing margin % of revenue are primary metrics by which the Company measures the effectiveness of its marketing efforts.

Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA % of revenue are primary metrics by which LendingTree evaluates the operating performance of its businesses, on which its marketing expenditures and internal budgets are based and, in the case of adjusted EBITDA, by which management and many employees are compensated in most years.

Adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share supplement GAAP income from continuing operations and GAAP income per diluted share from continuing operations by enabling investors to make period to period comparisons of those components of the nearest comparable GAAP measures that management believes better reflect the underlying financial performance of the Company’s business operations during particular financial reporting periods. Adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share exclude certain amounts, such as non-cash compensation, non-cash asset impairment charges, gain/loss on disposal of assets, gain/loss on investments, severance, litigation settlements and contingencies, acquisition and disposition income or expenses including with respect to changes in fair value of contingent consideration, gain/loss on extinguishment of debt, one-time items which are recognized and recorded under GAAP in particular periods but which might be viewed as not necessarily coinciding with the underlying business operations for the periods in which they are so recognized and recorded, the effects to income taxes of the aforementioned adjustments and any excess tax benefit or expense associated with stock-based compensation recorded in net income in conjunction with FASB pronouncement ASU 2016-09. LendingTree believes that adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share are useful financial indicators that provide a different view of the financial performance of the Company than adjusted EBITDA (the primary metric by which LendingTree evaluates the operating performance of its businesses) and the GAAP measures of net income from continuing operations and GAAP income per diluted share from continuing operations.

These non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to results prepared in accordance with GAAP, but should not be considered a substitute for or superior to GAAP results. LendingTree provides and encourages investors to examine the reconciling adjustments between the GAAP and non-GAAP measures set forth above.

Definition of LendingTree’s Non-GAAP Measures

Variable marketing margin is defined as revenue less variable marketing expense. Variable marketing expense is defined as the expense attributable to variable costs paid for advertising, direct marketing and related expenses, including the portion of cost of revenue attributable to costs paid for advertising re-sold to third parties, and excluding overhead, fixed costs and personnel-related expenses. The majority of these variable advertising costs are expressly intended to drive traffic to our websites and these variable advertising costs are included in selling and marketing expense on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations and consolidated income. When advertising inventory is re-sold to third parties, the proceeds of such transactions are included in revenue for the purposes of calculating variable marketing margin, and the costs of such re-sold advertising are included in cost of revenue in the company’s consolidated statements of operations and consolidated income and are included in variable marketing expense for purposes of calculating variable marketing margin.

EBITDA is defined as net income from continuing operations excluding interest, income taxes, amortization of intangibles and depreciation.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as EBITDA excluding (1) non-cash compensation expense, (2) non-cash impairment charges, (3) gain/loss on disposal of assets, (4) gain/loss on investments, (5) restructuring and severance expenses, (6) litigation settlements and contingencies, (7) acquisitions and dispositions income or expense (including with respect to changes in fair value of contingent consideration), and (8) one-time items.

Adjusted net income is defined as net income (loss) from continuing operations excluding (1) non-cash compensation expense, (2) non-cash impairment charges, (3) gain/loss on disposal of assets, (4) gain/loss on investments, (5) restructuring and severance expenses, (6) litigation settlements and contingencies, (7) acquisitions and dispositions income or expense (including with respect to changes in fair value of contingent consideration), (8) gain/loss on extinguishment of debt, (9) one-time items, (10) the effects to income taxes of the aforementioned adjustments, and (11) any excess tax benefit or expense associated with stock-based compensation recorded in net income in conjunction with FASB pronouncement ASU 2016-09.

Adjusted net income per share is defined as adjusted net income divided by the adjusted weighted average diluted shares outstanding. For periods which the Company reports GAAP loss from continuing operations, the effects of potentially dilutive securities are excluded from the calculation of net loss per diluted share from continuing operations because their inclusion would have been anti-dilutive. In periods where the Company reports GAAP loss from continuing operations but reports positive non-GAAP adjusted net income, the effects of potentially dilutive securities are included in the denominator for calculating adjusted net income per share.

LendingTree endeavors to compensate for the limitations of these non-GAAP measures by also providing the comparable GAAP measures with equal or greater prominence and descriptions of the reconciling items, including quantifying such items, to derive the non-GAAP measures. These non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.

One-Time Items

Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income are adjusted for one-time items, if applicable. Items are considered one-time in nature if they are non-recurring, infrequent or unusual, and have not occurred in the past two years or are not expected to recur in the next two years, in accordance with SEC rules. For the periods presented in this report, there are no adjustments for one-time items, except for the $6.1 million income tax benefit from the CARES Act in Q1 2020 and the Q4 2020 expenses incurred in connection with a secondary public offering of our common stock by our largest shareholder, for which we did not receive any proceeds.

Non-Cash Expenses That Are Excluded From LendingTree’s Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income

Non-cash compensation expense consists principally of expense associated with the grants of restricted stock, restricted stock units and stock options. These expenses are not paid in cash and LendingTree includes the related shares in its calculations of fully diluted shares outstanding. Upon settlement of restricted stock units, exercise of certain stock options or vesting of restricted stock awards, the awards may be settled on a net basis, with LendingTree remitting the required tax withholding amounts from its current funds. Cash expenditures for employer payroll taxes on non-cash compensation are included within adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income.

Amortization of intangibles are non-cash expenses relating primarily to acquisitions. At the time of an acquisition, the intangible assets of the acquired company, such as purchase agreements, technology and customer relationships, are valued and amortized over their estimated lives.  Amortization of intangibles are only excluded from adjusted EBITDA.

Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

The matters contained in the discussion above may be considered to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations or anticipations of LendingTree and members of our management team. Factors currently known to management that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include the following: uncertainty regarding the duration and scope of the coronavirus referred to as COVID-19 pandemic; actions governments and businesses take in response to the pandemic, including actions that could affect levels of advertising activity; the impact of the pandemic and actions taken in response to the pandemic on national and regional economies and economic activity; the pace of recovery when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides; adverse conditions in the primary and secondary mortgage markets and in the economy, particularly interest rates; default rates on loans, particularly unsecured loans; demand by investors for unsecured personal loans; the effect of such demand on interest rates for personal loans and consumer demand for personal loans; seasonality of results; potential liabilities to secondary market purchasers; changes in the Company’s relationships with network lenders, including dependence on certain key network lenders; breaches of network security or the misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer information; failure to provide competitive service; failure to maintain brand recognition; ability to attract and retain consumers in a cost-effective manner; the effects of potential acquisitions of other businesses, including the ability to integrate them successfully with LendingTree’s existing operations; accounting rules related to contingent consideration and excess tax benefits or expenses on stock-based compensation that could materially affect earnings in future periods; ability to develop new products and services and enhance existing ones; competition; allegations of failure to comply with existing or changing laws, rules or regulations, or to obtain and maintain required licenses; failure of network lenders or other affiliated parties to comply with regulatory requirements; failure to maintain the integrity of systems and infrastructure; liabilities as a result of privacy regulations; failure to adequately protect intellectual property rights or allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights; and changes in management. These and additional factors to be considered are set forth under “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2020 and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. LendingTree undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results or expectations.

About LendingTree, Inc.

LendingTree, Inc. is the parent of LendingTree, LLC and several companies owned by LendingTree, LLC (collectively, “LendingTree” or the “Company”).

LendingTree operates what it believes to be the leading online consumer platform that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. The Company offers consumers tools and resources, including free credit scores, that facilitate comparison-shopping for mortgage loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, reverse mortgage loans, auto loans, credit cards, deposit accounts, personal loans, student loans, small business loans, insurance quotes and other related offerings. The Company primarily seeks to match in-market consumers with multiple providers on its marketplace who can provide them with competing quotes for loans, deposit products, insurance or other related offerings they are seeking. The Company also serves as a valued partner to partners and other providers seeking an efficient, scalable and flexible source of customer acquisition with directly measurable benefits, by matching the consumer inquiries it generates with these providers.

LendingTree, Inc. is headquartered in Charlotte, NC. For more information, please visit www.lendingtree.com.

Investor Relations Contact:

Trent Ziegler

[email protected]

704-943-8294

Media Contact:

Megan Greuling

[email protected]

704-943-8208

 

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lendingtree-reports-first-quarter-2021-results-301279842.html

SOURCE LendingTree, Inc.

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How Much Do Credit Repair Services Cost? – News Anyway

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On average, one in five Americans has an unfair credit score. Mistakes on reports from bureaus are quite common. They range from misspellings to events that never happened. A false bankruptcy may tarnish your records for up to a decade! Experts may have such errors erased, so your FICO total will rise immediately. These services are not free, but what is the best value for money?

Credit repair is a highly competitive industry. As a result, the best credit agencies on Credit Fixed     have to offer reasonable pricing. Customers are always charged depending on the length of the billing cycle (e.g., 30-45 days). In addition, there could be an upfront fee.

Cost vs. Duration

Repair is a lengthy process. Although professionals speed it up, you still need several months (between 2 and 6) to clean your records. The most complex cases linger for a year. Trusted companies allow you to stop using their services at any time. Still, the longer — the more expensive.

Today, monthly rates from the most popular providers range between $79 and $129.95. If the upfront fee applies, it may be equal to the monthly payment or different. For example, with Sky Blue Credit, you pay $79 upon enrollment and $79 monthly.

Compare Service Levels

As you can see from this Sky Blue Credit vs Lexington Law review, not every company divides its services between packages. The first provider offers a universal solution that is also modestly priced. The competitor has three tiers, from basic to advanced.

This second scheme is the most common in the industry. Consumers choose cheaper or more expensive bundles depending on their needs. The tiers often include different numbers of disputes. For example, you may be able to disprove five items per bureau per billing cycle.

In addition to analysis and disputes, premium clients may get identity theft insurance, score tracking tools, and personal budgeting solutions. The biggest firms provide their proprietary apps — for instance, the Lexington Law app is highly rated in both Google Play and App Store. On the other hand, almost every company will let you track the status of your case through their web portal.

What You Are Paying For

While add-ons vary, the core services are the same. Any company will collect your reports from three major bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. The staff will scrutinize the records in search of debatable inaccuracies. Next, they will collect evidence and send dispute letters to bureaus on your behalf. Eventually, the errors should be eliminated, which pushes the total up immediately.

This describes the mission of any repair firm. It will help you fix your status more quickly. After all, experts can identify the most damaging mistakes and collect sufficient evidence from the get-go. In the process, they may also send different types of correspondence to lenders and collectors. This includes:

  • debt validation letters asking the lender to prove that you owe the specified amount;
  • goodwill letters asking them to stop reporting particular items;
  • cease and desist letters to collectors, do they stop bothering you.

Repair companies may eliminate different types of mistakes. However, only some of them can delete hard inquiries. Ideally, such items are created when you apply for a loan and the lender checks your credit history. Too many hard inquiries over a short period are damaging to the total.

Money-Back Guarantee

No company can guarantee specific results. The professionals will not promise to increase the total by a certain number of points. However, you may get your money back if the firm is inefficient. Check the conditions of its money-back guarantee (if it exists).

Most commonly, clients are paid back if no entries are deleted within the first 60 or 90 days. Removal of a single item voids this guarantee. In exceptional cases, the policy is unconditional. At the moment, it is only provided by Sky Blue Credit Repair. You may stop using the services for any reason within the first 90 days and get a refund.

Choose Wisely

As there are so many companies, choosing the right provider is not easy. Consider the BBB ratings and genuine feedback from consumers on sites like TrustPilot. Check if the firm delivers on its promises. It must provide excellent support, while the absence of a money-back guarantee is a legitimate deal breaker.

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How Long Will It Take to Fix My Credit Score? – News Anyway

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Your FICO or VantageScore status depends on the contents of your credit reports. Unfortunately, data stored by TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian may be inaccurate. Correction of mistakes will make your score rise. However, this is not an overnight process.

The duration depends on the number of false entries, the bureaus involved, and the quality of the evidence submitted. Experts from top-rated credit repair companies at https://creditrepairpartner.com/ will give a tentative evaluation. If you open disputes by yourself, resolution may take longer. It may require a couple of months or half a year. Here are the basics of credit repair in the US in 2021

Why You Need a Higher Total

Many consumers suppose their credit score only affects borrowing. The lower the total — the more difficult and expensive it is to take out a loan. In reality, the consequences are more varied. Aside from banks, your credit history is accessed by landlords, insurers, and even employers. You may fail to land your dream job because your score is far from perfect.

Causes of Deterioration

This may happen fairly or unfairly. In any case, deterioration stems from negative information on your credit reports. Items like missed payments or evictions pull the score down. Some consumers have to remove bankruptcies and judgments that never happened. Even your personal details may be flawed, although correcting the wrong spelling does not affect the total.

Both systems (FICO and VantageScore) look at similar factors for the calculation. The three most influential elements for the first method are:

  • history of payments (35% of the score)
  • how much you owe in total (30%)
  • length of credit history (15%)

Your credit mix (use of different types of credit) and new accounts affect 10% each. As you can see, late or missed payments, bankruptcies, and defaults are extremely damaging. Another crucial aspect is your ‘credit utilization ratio’, which applies to revolving credit — i.e., credit cards.

The lower your balance in comparison with the total amount of credit — the better. For example, if the limit is $5,000, and you have used $2,500, the ratio is too high (50%). Experts recommend keeping it below 30% or 11%, depending on who you ask.

The Fixing Process

So, what should you do if your reports contain wrong amounts or false entries? First, you are not alone. On average, every 5th consumer in the US has mistakes on their official records. Fortunately, everyone can have errors deleted to raise the total. There are two ways to go about it. You could try doing everything by yourself or hire repair experts. Either way, here is what the process involves.

1.   Collection of Data

Every US citizen may get a free annual copy of their report from each of the three major bureaus. Due to the pandemic, the service is now accessible every week. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to collect data from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian at once.

Downloading it online is the fastest way, but you may also call the organization or send them a request by mail. If you hire a fixing company, they will collect this information for you. You may also get a free introductory consultation.

2.   Identification of False Derogatories

Next, you (or the expert) will need to establish inaccuracies. Note that credit reporting agencies do not share data with one another. Any or all of your reports may be flawed, which complicates the process.

As you can see from the score breakdown above, different categories of items affect the total differently. Credit repair professionals will prioritize the mistakes to fix the score faster.

  1. Collection of Evidence

When the report is inaccurate, it is your job to prove this. A repair firm will gather evidence on your behalf. This includes bank statements and other documents showing that the damaging entries are false. Professionals also send debt validation letters to your lenders. These ask them to prove that you owe the amount specified in the reports. As you can imagine, the duration of this stage varies. The more mistakes you want to be removed — the more evidence must be gathered.

4.   Formal Disputes

Armed with the evidence, you may now send formal dispute letters to the reporting agency (or agencies) involved. The bureau will investigate the claim and reply to you within 30 days. It may accept or reject the changes. Alternatively, additional proof may be required.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, fixing the score in under 30 days is next to impossible. You need to collect the reports, analyze them and gather evidence to support your claims. It is crucial to provide conclusive proof, so there is no back and forth between you and the bureaus.

The simplest cases may be resolved and just over a month. The most complex repair may last a full year. Generally, delegating this job to professionals will accelerate the result. The key is to choose a reliable firm that delivers on its promises. Check websites like BBB and TrustPilot for customer feedback, and make sure the company has a money-back guarantee for your peace of mind.

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How To Fix Credit Report Errors – Forbes Advisor

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The coronavirus pandemic has been a mental and physical drain for Americans. And during this global crisis, many consumers faced the added stress of dealing with financial services companies that didn’t always follow the rules or were slow to move when the federal government suspended certain loan payments during the pandemic.

The CFPB’s annual consumer response report reveals that credit report inaccuracies more than doubled during the pandemic, signaling dissonance between the laws that were introduced to help consumers during the pandemic, and how servicers reported suspended payments to the credit bureaus. 

And it sometimes left consumers to deal with the consequences on their own. 

Pandemic Forbearance Periods Caused Credit Report Headaches

The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, gave legal protection to consumers by providing loan forbearance periods on federal student loans and federally-backed mortgages. 

Under the act, consumers were given the option of not making payments on their loans without suffering any credit-related consequences, like late payments and delinquencies (both of which can decrease your credit scores by dozens of points). These lapsed payments were to be treated simply as payment suspensions—or, in some cases, still count as payments, such as under the PSLF program with federal student loans.

Although the federal government created these new guidelines to protect consumers from negative credit implications during the pandemic, some servicers were slow to implement new processes for how to properly report the suspended payments. Wells Fargo, for one, went as far as providing blanket forbearance; some customers saw their loans marked as negatively impacted by Covid-19 and their credit scores drop even though they didn’t request the forbearance and continued making payments.

Credit reports are the official record of your credit history and include a detailed look at loan balances, credit utilization and payment history. These reports are used by credit scoring companies and lenders to determine your credit scores, which is a number that may be used by lenders (along with your reports and other factors, like your debt-to-income ratio) to determine whether they should lend money to you, and at what cost. 

Your credit may be important for other big life decisions, too. Landlords may access a version of your credit reports when deciding whether to rent an apartment to you. Some employers may check your credit before offering you a job.

Before the pandemic, the CFPB handled approximately 350,000 consumer complaints annually. In 2020, the bureau received more than 540,000 consumer complaints. 

The CFPB report says that consumer credit reporting complaints  increased a staggering 129% from the prior two years’ monthly average, for a 2020 average of more than 23,400 per month. Complaints specifically about credit report inaccuracies increased 147% from the prior two years’ monthly average. 

The CFPB report also found that student loan borrowers and eligible mortgage borrowers both saw their credit scores drop during the pandemic, either for being automatically enrolled in forbearance without asking or for their continuing payments not being accurately counted during the forbearance period.

For consumers who opted into these forbearance programs but ended up with errors on their credit reports, inaccuracies like these could have a huge impact on their lives. In some cases, potential lenders view these marks negatively and may decline to lend to these consumers. 

Some servicers, such as student loan servicers, corrected the inaccurate reporting on their own—but consumers should still review their credit reports to be sure. 

Filing a dispute with a credit bureau can be a time-consuming task that doesn’t always guarantee having the error removed from a report. But when successful, doing so results in having the error removed, which can increase your credit scores. 

The credit reporting industry refutes the CFPB report’s findings, stating they’re the product of third-party spam in the complaint portal.

“We do not believe the complaints in the CFPB database are an accurate reflection of consumers’ experiences with credit reporting agencies,” says Francis Creighton, president and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), which represents the major credit reporting agencies, in a statement emailed to Forbes Advisor. “Over the last year, America’s credit reporting agencies have seen an increase in complaints submitted by organizations like credit repair companies. Many of these companies misrepresent their ability to help consumers through unfair, deceptive and abusive practices. They essentially spam the complaint portal, making it difficult to help consumers with legitimate problems.”

The CFPB report, however, addresses third-party abuse of the complaint portal, stating “The Bureau takes steps to identify third parties who may be misusing the Bureau’s complaint process and, when appropriate, discontinues processing future complaint submissions from those sources.”

The CDIA continues to dispute the CFPB’s report, though, saying the credit reporting bureaus have processes in place to determine whether something is a legitimate dispute, including systems to examine IP addresses, the ability to determine spoofed email addresses, measures of the volume of complaints coming from the same fax number or the use of identical form language.

How to Check Your Credit Reports

The CFPB report’s findings signal how important it is to be aware of what’s on your credit reports. Though millions took advantage of automatic payment suspensions, their credit reports could portray a much different reality—and cause serious harm to their financial wellbeing. 

Pulling your credit report used to be a once per-year, per-credit bureau privilege, as mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  During the pandemic, however, consumers can now access their credit reports from the three main consumer credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—once a week. The free weekly pulls are available now through April 2022.

Read more: Free Credit Reports Extended Until April 2022—Here’s How To Get Yours

Though it might sound like a tedious and stressful process, obtaining your credit reports can be simple—if you know the correct information. 

After heading to AnnualCreditReport.com, click “Request your credit reports.” You’ll then be directed to a new screen to fill out a form for one, two or all three of your credit reports. Each bureau requires its own request form/process.

You’ll need to provide information including your Social Security number, current address (and a previous address if you have not lived at your current address for two years or more), and then choose which report you wish to pull, if not all three. The credit bureaus will then ask questions about loans or credit accounts you may have opened to verify your identity. 

You cannot access the report you viewed after closing your browser, so make sure you save it to your desktop.

Be sure to read each page carefully. An Equifax report, for example, breaks down credit history by revolving accounts (such as credit cards), then mortgage, installment and other types of accounts. You’ll want to review each account to make sure your payments have been recorded correctly and that accounts have not been closed without your consent. 

It’s also important to take a close look at hard and soft inquiries: Soft inquiries occur when lenders review your credit report for preapproval, but they don’t affect your credit score (it’s also what a service like Credit Karma does when you check your scores and reports through its platform). Hard credit inquiries are the official check when you apply for credit, and usually drops your credit score a few points. 

If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that someone has obtained your personal information and is conducting fraudulent activity by opening accounts under your name. 

No, Your Credit Scores Won’t Be on These Reports

The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that you want your credit report to be completely accurate so your credit scores are accurate, too. A credit score is a rating of your creditworthiness, which is how lenders determine what type of loan terms you may qualify for. 

While reviewing your credit reports, you might be flipping the pages wondering, Where is my credit score?

The answer is a bit counterintuitive: Your credit scores aren’t recorded on your credit report.

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are private companies that collect and maintain information about consumer credit. This information is then used by credit score modeling companies, such as VantageScore and FICO, to determine your credit scores. You can have multiple credit scores, and each company has their own way of calculating scores, so not all of your credit scores will be the same (although they typically use the same underlying information on your reports to calculate your scores). 

Lenders may also have their own credit scoring models.

How to Fix Errors On Your Credit Reports

Errors relating to pandemic forbearance programs include incorrect recordings of missed payments or deferments, which can be found in each account section of a credit report. Some forbearance programs started as early as March 2020 and are still applicable, including federal student loan forbearance

If you find an error on your credit report, get ready to roll up your sleeves: Errors can be tough to remove. The FCRA gives consumers the right to dispute incorrect or incomplete information on their credit reports, and requires bureaus to correct it. 

The FCRA makes credit reporting companies and information providers responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information on a credit report. The Federal Trade Commission lists the steps consumers can take to correct credit report errors:

Write a dispute letter to the credit reporting company. Include the information you think is inaccurate on your credit report, such as a recording of a missed payment during the forbearance period. This information will be found on your credit report under the payments section for the specific loan or credit account. The FTC provides a sample dispute letter template here and advises consumers to include copies of any documents that support your dispute, while also explaining why you dispute the information and explicitly request that it be corrected. 

Be sure to send this letter by certified mail with a return receipt requested so you know exactly when the credit reporting company received it. All three of the major credit bureaus also have online options to file credit report disputes, and third party credit monitoring apps including Credit Karma sometimes allow you to file disputes directly through their platform.

The credit bureau must investigate the items in question, usually within 30 days, unless it considers your dispute to be “frivolous”—meaning it’s not a serious or real dispute. The credit bureau is also required to forward your information about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided it, such as a credit card company or loan servicer. If that organization finds the disputed information is in fact incorrect, it must notify all three bureaus so they can fix the information in your credit report.

Obtain results from the credit bureaus investigation. Credit bureaus are required to give you the results of their investigation in writing, as well as a free copy of your credit report(s) if your dispute results in a change.

Request notices of correction. If your dispute is successful and a change to your credit report is made, you can request the credit reporting company to send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the past six months. You can also request a corrected copy be sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

Request a statement of the dispute be included in your file and future report. If your dispute is unsuccessful, meaning the credit reporting company doesn’t resolve the error, then you should request a statement of dispute to be included in your file and future reports. This statement will indicate that you do not agree with the recorded information and you made an attempt to have it removed from your report. 

Write a dispute letter to the information provider. In addition to the steps listed above, be sure to inform the information provider (such as a credit card company or loan servicer) that you’re disputing incorrect information on your credit report. Use the same sample letter as the one used to inform the credit reporting companies. The process of investigation will be the same, and the information provider will have to inform the credit reporting company of your dispute if it’s found to be correct, and it will also be required to tell the credit reporting company to update or delete the inaccurate item.

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