Ever wondered how p2p lending is regulated in the US in detail? The new GAO report ‘Person-To-Person Lending: New Regulatory Challenges Could Emerge as the Industry Grows‘ has all the details and covers the situation of Prosper, Lending Club and Kiva. It also reviews possible regulatory changes.
Austrian p2p lending service Bankless-Life (see earlier coverage on Bankless-Life’s launch) was closed by the FMA, the authority supervising banking regulation in Austria. The FMA sent an order to Bankless-Life on Dec. 22nd, demanding it to stop arranging loans, since it lacks the necessary concessions. Today FMA issued a notice to the public, informing potential lenders that the offering of the service is not in compliance with the law.
Bankless-Life.at has published a statement on their website on planned legal steps against the order to close.
The State of Montana signed an agreement with Prosper Marketplace Inc. to resolve matters relating to unregistered securities and securities fraud. Continue reading
The Netherlands will possibly be the first country where a law will be changed in reaction to peer to peer lending. Peer to peer lending in all countries is regulated by national laws but so far these did apply to all financial institutions and did not have specific provisions for peer to peer lending.
Dutch treasury secretary Bos says he sees the need to amend existing laws. In the Netherlands there have been parliament debates and regulation hassles triggered by the launch of p2p lending service Boober.nl in February 2007.
Most changes and discussion aroundÂ Prosper.com in May related to the impact of the changes Prosper did to theÂ State Lending Limits on May 1st.Â While Prosper lending is nearly nationally availableÂ (46Â of 50 stats)Â it is regulated based on state laws. Since the launch of Prosper several parameters differ depending on the state the borrower is living in:
- Maximum interest rate:Â In states without severe restrictions borrowers can offer up to 30 percent interest rate.Â Other states are capped to much lower rates (e.g.Â Pennsylvania allows 6%Â maximum)
- Maximum loan amount. ProsperÂ usually allows borrowing up to $25000.Â In some states lower amount maximums are imposedÂ (e.g. VermontÂ – $4000).
- You might not believe it but even the minimum loan amount is regulated in some states. In Georgia loans through Prosper must have amounts of at least $3001. Borrowers can deal with this, by borrowing the minimum and directly repaying the unneeded surplus.
- Further differences existregarding Late Fees and Failed payment fees
While most users were unsatisfiedÂ they had over timeÂ accustomed themselves fairly to theÂ situation. Main impact was that in states with low rate caps nearly no loans were founded.
ThisÂ by state table shows the concentrationÂ of funded loans on few states likeÂ California, Georgia and TexasÂ while other populous statesÂ like Pennsylvania, Tennessee, OhioÂ und KentuckyÂ saw only a handful of successful loans.
But progress was made. Prosper succeeded in gaining licences for states, allowing higher maximum interest rates in these states.
OnÂ May 1stÂ ProsperÂ conductedÂ many changes.Â For the firstÂ time maximum interest rates sank in some states, e.g. in TexasÂ from previouslyÂ 30Â percentÂ to 10 percent. In other states loans for personal purposes are no longer available. Changes apply to all new listings.
The rules got more complicated, since for some states:
- different rulesÂ forÂ private andÂ business loans were introduced
- maximum loan ratesÂ are different depending on loan amount
- APR is used to determine maximum interest rate, while in other states nominal interest rate is used.
Prosper did not disclose the reasons that led to these changes but explained:
All of the changes being made to our rate and loan amount limits are being made by Prosper on our own accord and are not being mandated by any state or federal regulatory authority. Prosper, like any other state-based lender, must make its own legal analysis and determination as to how various state regulations should be (or will be) interpreted, and establish state-by-state rate and loan amount limits accordingly.
Many users found the changes unsatisfactory. Group leaders that concentrated on impacted states complained that prosper made their business impossible.Â There were discussionsÂ how a business loan is defined and how Prosper will validate if the loan is used for business purposes. (Answer: If the borrower has written in his listing that the loan is for business purposes then it is, there is no validation).Â There was even speculation, if ProsperÂ knowingly violated Texas state law.
Zopa hasÂ announced it will launch national in the US.
Whether caused by this changes,Â the high default ratesÂ orÂ other reasons:Â the growth of theÂ count of recentlÃ¶y active lenders did slack in the last weeks. While new lenders enter the chartÂ indicates, that numerous lenders stopped reinvesting and are withdrawing.