Smava starts p2p lending in Germany

Startup starts offering p2p lending in Germany. Anybody can lend or request a loan online. Borrowers, after registering will by checked for identity and credit grade by smava. Smava uses PostIdent (a service offered by German postal service Deutsche Post) to verify the identity of the borrower and relies on credit report information from Schufa, a leading German credit bureau. Smava is only open to borrowers with credit grades A to F (which smava says leads to expected default rates between 1.4% and 7.2%).

After validation the borrower can post his request which can range from 500 to 10000 Euro and state the interest rate he is willing to pay. Lenders can bid in intervals of 500 (minimum) Euros.

If the loan request is fully funded the loan is payed to the borrower which will repay it in monthly rates for a period of 36 months. The borrower has the right to payoff early anytime (without any additional fees).

Smava does not take fees from the lenders. Smava charges 1% fee of the loan amount from the borrower.

An interesting though complicated instrument are the so-called Anleger-Pools (engl. lender pools). The purpose of these is risk spreading over all loans of a given creditgrade. Say a specific B loan is not payed back. In this case this would lower the repayment on all B loans (not just this specific one). Does this mean the lender can invest in any loan regardless of description. No because this instrument applies only to repayments not to interest due.

Due to German regulation smava, which is a startup founded as limited company, had to partner with a bank. While there are different views on whether under German laws a banking licence is required to run a p2p lending platform or not, Smava chose the safe route by partnering with the ‘Bank für Investments und Wertpapiere AG (BiW)’. This way deposits are secured by the German Einlagensicherungsfonds. Deposits which are not lend out, do not earn interest.

Some interesting feature, when viewed in comparison to Zopa, Prosper and Boober:

  • There are individual listings (like Prosper)
  • There are groups (like Prosper), but seemingly no group rewards
  • There is no auction bidding down interest rates (or I missed it)
  • In case of non-payment (for over 40 days) smava has the right to sell the loan to the collection agency Intrum Justita for a percentage of the value
  • maximum a lender can loan is 25000 Euro
  • maximum per loan is 10000 Euro
  • minimum bid is 500 Euro
  • only German residents can borrow or lend
  • no interest on unlend deposits
  • simple fee structure (borrower pays 1% of loan amount), no late or other fees
  • new Anleger-Pool (lender pool) concept for risk spreading on defaults within same credit grade

The management team behind Smava has a lot of ecommerce experience. I could not determine when smava launched publicly, according to forum and loan activity it can have been no more then a few days ago.

Smava already received press coverage by a large regional newspaper.

P.S.: If you blog about this a link back here would be appreciated. Thank you!



CommunityLend to offer p2p lending in Canada has announced the start of p2p lending in Canada on the site in fall 2007 enabling person to person lending without a bank as the middlemen, thereby eliminating banking fees. It promises lenders higher returns and borrowers lower interest rates and flexible payment options on loans. It aims to 'revolutionize the way lending works in Canada'. 

Earlier it will launch a working pre-view which allow users to test drive the site without using real money. CommunityLend expects useful user feedback during this work preview which it plans to use to enhance the site until the launch date.

CommunityLend is driven by an impressive team which includes Michael Garrity (Founder and President), ex-Bank of Montreal exec and BankWatch blogger Colin Henderson and John Philip Green, currently Director of Engineering at Affinity Labs and Co-Founder of of Savvica and Rapleaf.

CommunityLend profits as it can pick the best form the existing models (Prosper, Zopa). It will not just replicate one site. Few is known about the plans, but the announcement states that Community Lend will include auctions and groups (as does Prosper) as well as selectable paypack periods (as does Zopa).

Sources: and others

P.S.: If you blog about this a link back here would be appreciated. Thank you!


Communitylend preview

C4-World to launch MyC4 – competition for Kiva announced that it will start closed beta testing on in May. On MyC4 social lending will aid African businesses. Individual lenders grant loans for the duration of 6 to 12 months. A difference to the microfinance concept of is that lenders will earn interest. Furthermore C4-World aims to not only offer money, but also knowledge to the entrepreneurs in Africa through it's online community. 

Public launch of MyC4 is scheduled for Q4 2007. Minimum investment is $200. I am to participate in the closed beta and will publish my experiences.

Dzogchen view on good groups

Dzogchen analyses in this thread which Prosper groups have grown fast and larger. He uses own categories like 'distressed borrowers' to analyse group performance and found out that groups directed at some causes have experienced much higher defaults then others. E.g. in 'distressed borrowers' 12.1% are delinquent, while in 'entrepreneurs' it's 6.2% compared to 0.5 in 'computer users. techies'.

Following discussion included whether this allows predictions and if listings without groups are better risks. An asked for report was if borrowers that posted in the 'Review My Listing' did have a higher rate of defaults.

It Is Time!

I think most of you will agree that Prosper is a wonderful concept and has tremendous potential! Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this (is anyone reading this?).

But Prosper’s approach has a fundamental flaw: They have cherry-picked states to license in as a means to keep costs down.

That creates two problems:
1) Lack of consistency across the various States, which leads to borrower confusion.
2) Lack of growth opportunities.

Publicity is a great thing! It draws attention and gets people excited. I’m sure Chris Larsen has done a thousand interviews by now. Local, national and international news programs. I’ve read about Prosper in no less than then major print publications. The buzz is there!

But many potential borrowers are left wondering why they cannot have access to this wonderful tool. Some are so severely rate-capped that they list and relist without so much as a bid. They are helpless and they leave frustrated. What business wants people leaving with that?

Currently, Prosper can only grow through increased market share. While I’m confident that they have a product that is capable of such, they are leaving a lot on the table. By opening up in the other States and removing the rate-caps in the rest, they could expand their market significantly. Effectively, grow wider and deeper.

It is time for Prosper to go National! It is time for them to abandon the State-by-State licensing strategy and give Prosper members (and future Prosper members) a consistent platform to grow. I hope you’ll join me in my quest to get Prosper moving on this issue. Please visit for details on how you can help.

Short urls to link to prosper listings, loans and groups

Based on an idea from frequencydip and using code first implemented by zieri of I just added short urls, which are much easier to remember and do not use that much space in forum signatures or elsewhere.

Everybody can now use the following short URLs:

This URLs instantly without delay redirect to the pages.

New group promotion tool for prosper group leaders

Wiseclerk today released the prototype of a group promotion tool to be used for marketing purposes on websites.

The prototype displays all open listings of a given group. They look roughly like this:

Example display for group "Apple User Group":
prosper group promotion tool example

Example display for group "ProsperLenders":
prosper group promtotion tool

However this is only a picture. To see the full function, which includes automatic links to each of the listings check the the example in the upper right on this website (point the mouse over a listing).
The display will automatically update daily.
Be aware that while width is fixed, height of display will automatically change according to number of open listings. Therefore placement should be carefully selected, e.g. in left or right bar of a website.

To get the code for your website go here:

As mentioned, this is a prototype.
I did choose a rather simple layout, allowing for the group leader to put his own headline above it, or to choose a border, or to place a prosper button alongside.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome!


Two Millionaires becomes the largest group on ever!

With the click of a mouse late Thursday night March 1, 2007, the leader of the Two Millionaires Group on admitted the 5,509th member and created the largest group on Prosper ever! The one remaining challenge at the time was to beat PsychDoc's record number of loans created….

Asked about how his group succeeded in growing so large so rapidly, "TwoMillionaires1" the group leader replied that he did a lot of internet marketing in the beginning to bring new members in, and it grew from there to the point where today word of mouth from contented borrowers brings in probably hundreds of new members each week.

 "It didn't hurt either to have a private website that has attracted more than 300,000 hits and 10,000 unique visitors," the group leader added.

An upcoming press release is likely to bring in a huge influx of new members over the next few weeks.

As of the date of this report, more than one and a half million dollars has been loaned to members of this popular people-to-people online borrowing and lending group, almost 400 individual loans.

Details are available at: