Could Social Networks be the Next P2P Lending Players?

Most of the discussion so far was whether p2p lending is or could become disruptive – threatening the bank’s core business. So it was fast moving internet startups versus the incumbents which were often viewed as not very innovative.

As for social networks, the thoughts centered on how available social networks data could be used to improve the process of p2p lending service. See my article ‘For Debate: Can Data From Social Networks be Used to Reduce Risks in P2P Lending‘. Lending Club in fact aqknowledged in January that it already uses some social network data in it’s process.

Now there is an interesting speculation on the Finextra blog (read the comments, too) whether Facebook could compete with the banks and might enter p2p lending in this course. This is an interesting thought. But  the main argument is that Facebook has a large number of users and if only a fraction of them would use financial services  they could gain a huge customer base. With that argument you could argue that Facebook could compete in any industry. Just pick one you like.

And while cross border p2p lending would be fascinating the downside as we already now is that regulation differs widely between national markets. But Facebook could have the size to tackle a task like this. The real question is: Do they plan to?

Lendingclub to introduce p2p lending to Facebook members

Lending Club

Today, launched offering a p2p lending service to Facebook members. Members can request loans between $1000 and $25000. Other facebook members can the lend the money to the borrower. While technically not arranging loans between freinds like CircleLending, Lendingclub makes uses of the social network and the trust that users have into it. Lendingclub combines aspects from other p2p lending sites like and

Comparing it to Prosper:

  • Lendingclub requires higher credit score as threshold for borrowers to apply (640 compared to Prosper’s 520)
  • Lendingclub suggests an interest rate based on the borrowers credit grade rather than letting the borrower set an interest rate.
  • There are groups like at Prosper

Lendingclub uses what it calls “LendingMatch” to automatically match parties on shared connection it finds. Lenders can additionally manually select and search loans.


The founders of Lendingclub, one of them has a background at Mastercard, raised $2 million in angel funding (source: VentureBeat).

Using an existing social network gives Lendingclub a great marketing advantage over competitor, which had to build its memberbase starting from zero.