The Good and The Bad

All things have a learning curve…

I’m learning that as a Group Leader on Prosper, even when you think you’ve worked through that curve, you probably haven’t. I, like many Group Leaders, have had my good news and my bad news.

Bad News
My first group loan has gone late. But worse than that, without any notice to me as a Group Leader, they reversed payments that had already been made. Apparently they can do that. Now she shows two months late.

I’ve passed emails with her over the past couple of weeks. She is showing a strong conviction to get caught up when she can. But it will be a while.

I have my rank now, but not too cool to be one star. I hope she does catch up soon!

Good News
We just closed our fourth group loan. YourAverageJane blew my wildest expectations with her listing. A last minute surge dropped her to 11% (and she is a clean D). Amazing! I’m so happy for her and glad I made enough low bids to ensure I was on this loan no matter what.

I am working with a new borrower who may be ready to list as early as Monday. Another clean D. Stay tuned!


Zopa to branch out into additional markets

Zopa, a competitor of, is on it's way to enter two additional markets (aside from UK and the long planned launch in California), informed sources say.

This source stating Zopa will launch in Germany as next country, is a false report however. It is based on a misleading interpretation of a German newspaper interview.

A summary of the situation for p2p lending in Germany is published at It states that there are tough regulatory issues to be solved and that it is expected that a first service might launch in late 2007 or early 2008.

Prosper loan growth accelerating

Since the start about a year ago over 39 million dollar have been loaned through
That averages to roughly 100k dollar new loans per day.
However when I look into the amounts of new prosper loans created lately I found out that last week loans for the amount of $1.48 million have been created and the week before $1.52 million.  

These statistics show that the growth of the Prosper business is picking up speed.

New report on open listings where borrower answered questions

Inspired by this thread in the discussion forum, I added a report that shows all open listings where questions have been answered. Already there are 150 listings where questions have been publicly answered. The majority of those is one question, but there are several listings where 4 questions have been answered. Good to see that we won't need the RML section of the forums any more.

Keep in mind that the borrower can choose if Q&A is public or not offers P2P lending in the Netherlands

I just became aware of a new service that brings the concept of peer-to-peer lending to the Netherlands. As far as I am aware of this is the third market (after Zopa in UK and Prosper in US) where p2p credits over the internet are possible.

Since you probably do not read Dutch (the boober website does not have an english translation) – here is a short summary of the service:

  • Boober takes a fee of 1% (0.5% from lender, 0.5% from borrower) plus 19.95 Euro fee from borrower for creditrating plus annual fee of 9.95 Euro from lender
  • Loans are possible for amounts from 1500 to 10000 Euros (approx 13000 US$)
  • Lenders can invest from as little as 5 Euro to a maximum of 250 Euro in an individual listing
  • Available terms are 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48 and 60 months
  • Interest rates go up to 15%
  • As of today, there are 2 dozen open listings

Boober has more similiarities with Prosper than with Zopa since lenders can pick individual loans.The information available on borrowers listings is very limited but it has to be taken into account that boober launched only 2 weeks ago.

It will be interesting to see how Boober develops.

In case you are wondering what ‘Boober’ means. The website says that ‘Boober’ is the name of the dog of the founders, which they say is stubborn, creative and loyal.

Update: It is only possible to invest for lenders that are located in the Netherlands

Temporary problems with some reports

Since two days the status field for the loans in the xml file of the Prosper data export is empty. Unfortunately this causes problems in some of the wiseclerk reports, which either show wrong values or are empty (e.g. the late loan list). For newly created or update maps the status of the loans is wrong, too.

Be assured that the reports will work fine again, once the the data export file contains correct values again.

Group leader endorsement very valuable for loan funding

Research conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business shows that several variables statistically have very different impacts on the funding success of loans. E.g. a group leader endorsement is twice as effective as improving one credit grade.

This study is a must read for group leaders and is very interesting for lenders too.


Major changes at Prosper

Yesterday Prosper announced major improvements to the site and the customer service. Biggest news is that Prosper will manage customer support inhouse starting end of February (so far it was outsourced to a provider in the philippines). Credit and employment data on borrowers for new listings is now much more detailed. Due to bad experiences borrowers with a HR credit score below 520 and NC borrowers can no longer use Prosper.

Prosper raised fees for new listings and increased group leader rewards for AA to D loans while eliminating group leader rewards for E and HR loans.

Lenders will be glad to hear that Prosper now offers a Identity Theft Guarantee on all funded loans.

Read about the changes in detail (quoted from a Prosper announcement):

Prosper’s First Anniversary

First of all, let’s take a moment to celebrate. On Feb 5, Prosper turned one year old. In our first year, exactly 7048 loans with a value of $35,166,711 were made on the Prosper marketplace. If you’re coming from the perspective of a massive bank, $35M might not seem like a lot. Considering that all of that money came out of actual people’s pockets, it’s quite amazing.

Customer Support Improvements

We are in the process of significantly improving the support we provide our community. We have not met your standards, or our own, for customer support. While our service levels will not be transformed overnight, our hope is that you have already seen an improvement in our response time.

The biggest change is our plan to manage customer support ourselves rather than rely on an overseas provider. By the end of February, all customer support will be handled in our San Francisco office. Concurrently, we are making changes that will allow us to speed up key processes, such as identity verification and the loan review many borrowers go through once their loan is funded.

As a result you will experience speedier and more professional answers to your inquiries.

Friends and Endorsements

Back in August, we started allowing group leaders to write an endorsement for their group members. Since then, a group of Stanford MBA students did a regression analysis of lender bidding, and found that a group leader endorsement was the single biggest contributor to increased bidding on a borrower’s listing. A GL endorsement turned out to be twice as valuable as improving by one credit grade. Said another way, a GL endorsement is worth two credit grades.

To encourage and expand this kind of activity, we’re introducing the concept of Prosper “friends”, who can leave an endorsement, just like a group leader. So very soon you’ll start seeing borrowers have multiple endorsements, from GLs and also from their friends. Also, importantly, if a friend places a bid on that borrower’s listing, we’ll highlight that bid as the truly strong endorsement that it is.

In addition to helping borrowers get funded, a borrower’s friends will also be notified if the borrower goes 15d late. We hope that this virtuous cycle of endorsement and accountability will improve delinquency rates among borrowers.

Invite your friends to Prosper now:…te_friends.aspx

Additional Credit and Employment Data

In response to requests from lenders, we are making more Experian credit data available. Now lenders will have six additional credit data fields and four new self-reported employment status fields to review. This new data will help lenders further evaluate a borrower’s loan request.

New credit fields:

  • Amount delinquent: Total past due amounts owed by the borrower. This includes any charge-offs or other unpaid derogatory balances. This includes amounts included in Chapter 13 bankruptcies, but excludes all other bankruptcies.
  • Public records in last 12m: The number of negative public records on the borrower’s credit report over the last 12 months. Negative public records include, among other things, bankruptcies, liens, and judgments.
  • Current credit lines: The number of credit lines presently current that have been reported within the last 6 months. These lines can be open or closed.
  • Open credit lines: The number of credit lines presently open that have been reported within the last 6 months.
  • Revolving credit balance: Sum of outstanding balance on all open revolving credit lines reported within the last 6 months.
  • Bankcard utilization: Overall balance/limit ratio on open bankcards reported within the last 6 months. Calculation: (sum of total balances) / (sum of total limits)

New employment fields:

  • Employment status: The borrower’s employment status. Options include: full-time, part-time, self-employed, retired, and not employed.
  • Length of status: The number of months and years that the borrower has had the stated employment status. If employed or self-employed, since when has the borrower held their current job or owned their current business? If retired or not employed, since when have they had this status?
  • Occupation: The borrower’s current occupation.
  • Income range: The borrower’s current income range, in $25,000 increments, or over $100,000. A borrower may also decline to state their income range, in which case “Not displayed” will be shown.

Also, (and this is my favorite feature), you won’t have to keep clicking that little “plus” button next to the credit grade to expand the additional credit data. If you like it expanded, it will always be expanded. If you like it collapsed, it will do that, too.

Learn more about credit data:…yment_data.aspx

Questions & Answers

Are you tired of going to RML to see if anyone has asked a borrower substantive questions about his or her listing? Now you can ask a borrower a question directly from the listing page, and if the borrower chooses to answer it, they can also choose to publish it on the listing page so that everyone can see it.

Learn more about Q&A:…ns_answers.aspx

Estimated ROI

We have built a new tool that will help lenders understand how different characteristics contribute to a portfolio’s ROI (Return On Investment). Located on the Marketplace Performance page, this tool will enable lenders to create projections of expected returns based on the actual performance of loans to-date.

See the marketplace performance page now:

Credit Grade Adjustments

Borrowers with an Experian Scorex PLUS(SM) credit score below 520, and borrowers with an NC (No Credit) rating, will no longer be able to borrow on Prosper given their low appeal to lenders relative to the costs and resources required to process their listings.

The underlying Experian Scorex PLUS credit score range for E and remaining HR (High Risk) borrowers will change slightly to be consistent with the spread for other credit grades. There will be no credit grade changes for borrowers with an AA, A, B, C or D credit grade. The credit grade spectrum is shown below:

AA: 760+
A: 720-759
B: 680-719
C: 640-679
D: 600-639
E: 560-599
HR: 520-559

Borrower & Lender Fee Changes

Not surprisingly, it costs more to list and service loans from borrowers with lower credit grades. To better align our fees with these costs, we are raising the closing fee for E and HR borrowers and the servicing fee for lenders on loans made to B, C, D, E and HR borrowers. The new fee structure will only apply to listings created after February 11, 2007.

New borrower closing fees:
AA – A: 1%
B – D: 1%
E- HR: 2%

New lender servicing fees:
AA – A: 0.5%
B – D: 1.0%
E- HR: 1.0%

Failed payment fees also will change from $5 for each incident to $15 per monthly billing period (subject to state limits).

See the new fee structure:

Group Leader Reward Changes

We’re making a significant increase to the revenue that group leaders can earn. In recognition of the effort they put forth to grow and manage their groups, group leader match rewards will change from a flat $10 or $20 to .5% of a funded AA, A, B, C or D loan from a new borrower to Prosper. There will be no match rewards for loans made to E or HR borrowers.

This match reward change should drive a dramatic increase in new high quality listings. A group leader can now earn four times what they could earn before for an average listing and twelve times their previous return for a $25K loan.

Learn more about group leader rewards:…ps-rewards.aspx

100% Identity Theft Guarantee

Prosper will now offer a “100% Identity Theft Guarantee” on all funded loans. Although we have a stringent process in place to prevent fraudulent persons from using stolen identities to acquire loans, there are still limited times when identity theft occurs. In the future, if a loan goes into default because the borrower is a victim of identity theft, we will repurchase the loan from the lenders for the unpaid principal amount.

Learn more about 100% Identity Theft Guarantee:…_guarantee.aspx

Collection Agency Shuffle

As of today, we are removing NCI as a collection agency, and replacing them with Firstsource, LLC. All lenders who had NCI chosen as their default collection agency will now have Firstsource set as their default agency. Additionally, all loans in collections with NCI have been transferred to Firstsource.

Learn more about Firstsource here:

What’s new on Prosper?

There’s a new page under the “Home” tab called “What’s new?”, where you can see what the biggest changes from each big site update has been, all the way back to the original site launch on Feb 5, 2006.

See what’s new:

Read discussions on the changes at following sources: Forum announcement, Forum post

Incremental data export of prosper data now available

Are you tired of downloading the complete Prosper Data Export of 60 to 100 MB every day, when actually you only want the new data?

At registered users now can download an incremental data export file. This is a xml file that is produced daily and contains only the new data.

This reduces file sizes to only 5 to 10 MB per day. You can download a sample file here (8 MB) – please right click with your mouse on the link and use "save as" to save the file on your computer. scripts reliably run since April 2006 without any major downtimes. Should for any reason a script fail to run on a day, the next produced incremental file will include all data since last run (in this case it would contain data for two days).

Please note that by downloading data you agree to be bound by Prosper's API Terms of Use.
Furthermore please not that data supplied by is provided as is – without any guaranties for correct representation of data. By downloading data from you agree not to make any claims against in the future for whatever reasons (e.g. missing data, wrong data).