For online lenders, what a difference a year makes. In July 1999, investors were so smitten with online mortgage lending that upstart E-Loan Inc., which went public in June 1999 at $37 a share, saw its share price soar to almost $75 within a month. Investors and stock analysts loved the firm. No online lender got more "most likely to succeed" votes from Wall Street than E-Loan.
But the bloom has clearly faded from the rose in the eyes of investors. Now the stock of consumer-oriented Web companies is taking a beating, and E-Loan's determination to stick by its focus on servicing consumers hasn't been popular with investors. At the end of May, Dublin, CA-based