Aqush Launches Family and Friends P2P Lending in Japan has launched Aqush Tomo, a p2p lending service to facilitate loans between friends and family members. Aqush is a service of Exchange Corporation K.K., which states it’s mission as “… to leverage innovation and international best practices to pioneer ‘Social’ financial services in Asia. Our goal is to bring transparency and choice to markets and assets that previously were illiquid, opaque and tightly controlled, by empowering people to legally and securely deal directly with each other.”

Aqush offers a framework that helps borrower and lender in creating loan documentation and repayment plans.

Features of the “Basic Service” are

  1. Creation of promissory notes and repayment schedules
  2. Interest rates mutually agreed between borrower and lender
  3. Three types of repayment supported – Amortized, Interest Only and Fixed Payment with Balloon.
  4. Repayment management and tracking using online tools, document backup and email-remainders

The fee for the “Basic Service” is 8,800 Yen (approx. 88 US$)

The “Plus Service” adds additional features:

  • Professional review by Aqush staff
  • Repayment processing – payments are made and tracked through an Aqush account
  • Annual reporting

The “Plus Service” is priced at about double the “Basic service” plus a small fee for handling each repayment.

Russell Cummer, Executive Director told

AQUSH TOMO, is a Family and Friends loan documentation and management service …. We are the first service of this kind in Japan ….

We will also be launching a full-service P2P lending exchange, “AQUSH Market”, this summer to cover both the friends and family and true P2P aspects of social finance in Japan.

Aqush is an alternative spelling of the Japanese word for handshake, “Akushu”.

(Sources: forum post, press release, company management)

Review of peer to peer lending developments in 2008

As the end of 2008 approaches here is a look back on the highlights of peer to peer lending news in 2008:

Maneo launch in Japan today launched the first active p2p lending service in Japan. The service connects lenders (aged 20-65) and borrowers (aged 20-60). Maneo verifies the identity, credit grade and the income of potential borrowers (minimum annual income required is approx. 30,000 US$). Borrowers then create a loan listing and set a maximum interest rate. Lenders can bid on the loan through an auction process.

For information about Maneo’s funding see the earlier coverage: “Maneo to introduce p2p lending in Japan

Maneo screenshot date 10/15/2008

Maneo to introduce p2p lending in Japan aims to be the first active p2p lending service in Japan. Their mission statement (from a press release):

maneo Inc. plans to offer a user friendly and highly secure online community for people to borrow and lend money through an online auction system. maneo is about helping people lend and borrow money with each other, sidestepping the expense and inconvenience of traditional banks and consumer finance companies. People who want to borrow money register with maneo and create loan listings. Potential lenders register with maneo and bid on the loan listings they are interested in. maneo aggregates the bids with the lowest rates to fund the relevent loans and handles all of the administrative matters relating to the loans

Maneo received venture capital from J-Seed Ventures Inc. and Yasuda Enterprise Development Co., Ltd. The last funding round was in April 2008 for 80 million Yen (approx. 0.75 million US$). The first funding round was in April 2007.

The company website currently says “Coming in Summer 2008”. Zopa and Prosper also have announced plans for Japan, but no launch date has been set so far.

(Sources/further reading: 1, 2, 3 – all in japanese)

maneo screenshot date 08/01/2008

Zopa to launch in Japan

P2P lending service Zopa – already present in the US, the UK and Italy announced it will launch in Japan.

Zopa Japan will be led by Chairman Takashi Yoneda and Managing Director Tatsuya Kuboi, both highly experienced and distinguished technology-based financial services professionals. Zopa Japan further strengthens Zopa´s position as the leader in its field. Zopa will continue its track record of firsts, as it will be the first social finance offering in Japan.

Takashi Yoneda, Zopa Japan´s Chairman, says: "We are very pleased to be part of the expanding Zopa worldwide operations, and we look forward to offering innovative financial solutions for the Japanese market. We will draw from the Zopa´s experience across the globe and introduce a social lending platform that is tailored for the Japanese culture and regulatory environment

Zopa tomorrow celebrates it's third birthday – it launched in March 2005 in the UK market. 

Other sources: Techcrunch UK

P2P lending Asia

Some news from p2p lending in Asian markets:

Chinese (see earlier coverage) says it has received a first round of funding from Essentia Private equity. The amount was not disclosed.

On February 27th, Zopa's managing director Giles Andrews mentioned in a webchat "I have also been spending time in Asia and hope that we will launch in 2 very significant markets there in 2008, one of which we may even announce shortly….".
In the webchat Giles Andrews also said regarding the US market: "@Tealer We also think that our "competitors" over there are illegal, and I don't want to go to jail!".
Furthermore Zopa said it plans to launch an (optional) capital guarantee product in the UK market.

See earlier coverage of on the p2p lending markets in Corea, China, India or Japan.