Benefits of Investing in P2P Lending via Lending Club

Lending Club lenders have invested more than 45 million US$ in loans to fellow borrowers. Not yet a Lending Club investor?

You might off by watching this presentation, which was recently webcasted by Lending Club to lenders. The 30 minute presentation lists benefits and explains the basics on how the website works.

Since it is marketing material it does show a very rosy picture on the numbers, but you can crunch all figures for yourself on Lending Club’s statistic page (e.g. change observation to loans issued from June 2007 to June 2008).

If you are ready to start investing at Lendingclub. com you can sign up here.

Mind-Boogling

Free by Chris Anderson is one of the most thought provoking book, I have read in the last few years. Anderson argues convincingly, why most digital products will end up being priced at zero – free. And he show the reader how this could be turned from the author or musician, that created the content, to an advantage instead of a threat to his profits.

The book gives ample examples. You may have already heard of the electric cars that Better Place wants to roll out. But how can Better Place offer a free car? And still allow the user to benefit from lower operating costs than with a conventional car?
One sector that still has to embrace ‘Free’ seems to be the financial service industry – there is only one mention of Zecco, no other financial service let alone banks is among the examples.

Anderson takes wide strives into history, philosophy and science fiction literature. The topic being pricing models and pricing strategies it will still appeal to a readership beyond economists, since it is interesting and entertaining to read.

Above all I found it inspiring to consider the outcome of further sectors embracing ‘Free’ instead of  viewing ‘Free’ as the enemy.

I recommend the book.

Instead of buying the paper version you can read it for free online (limited July 2009 EDIT: this link works only from US, see below (next page) to read outside US) or download the audio book version free.

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Zopa Partnerships Bring in New P2P Lending Borrowers

British p2p lending company Zopa has recently entered two partnerships.

Zopa Prime

Zopa partners with the Charity PRIME to offer loans to entrepreneurs over 50 starting or running a business. The loan is not a loan to the business but a personal loan of up to 15,000 GBP (approx 24,125 US$). PRIME is the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise. The charity’s role is to vet the business plan of the applicant.

Lenders benefit because all Zopa prime loan listings are 50% guaranteed by PRIME. More details on how to obtain a loan.

Zopa and Good Energy

Zopa also partnered with Good Energy, a 100% renewable electricity supplier. Customers of Good Energy can use a Zopa loan listing to fund the initial installation cost of solar panels or wind turbines. In this partnership Zopa uses affiliate links with a branded landing page:
http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/affiliates/zopa

Benefits for Zopa from the partnerships are:

  1. More borrowers
  2. More quality without more costs – borrowers are vetted/screened by partners
  3. 50% of loan amount secured for PRIME loans
  4. Possibly earning referral fees from the affiliate link to Good Energy
  5. Great story for press coverage and marketing (catchwords:  “Prince Charles”, “renewable energy”, “credit crunch”, “older age”, …)

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Interest Free Loan

The borrower who receives the 10,000th loan from Zopa UK will be lucky – it will be an interest free loan.

Furthermore Zopa has a referral promotion in July. Zopa pays 100 GBP (approx. 165 US$) to members that refer a borrower who successfully gets a loan in July.

Smava Funds More Than 1M Euro Loans in June

P2p lending site Smava.de for the first time reached more than 1 million Euro (approx. 1.4 million US$) loan volume funded in one month. One factor contributing to this is that Smava is in the top 10 rankings for German Google search results for the keywords kredit (engl. loan) and kredite (engl. loans) since the end of May. I find it interesting that there is not one single bank site in the top ten for these search results.

Furthermore Smava profited form TV exposure, which also helped its competitor Auxmoney to achieve a record month with approx. 130,000 Euro loan volume.

In international comparison by p2p lending loan volume funded per month, Smava is in the top 5 behind Virgin Money, Kiva, Zopa UK and Lending Club.


(Source: Smava p2p lending stats; A-H are credit grades)

Exciting Week for German P2P Lending Services

Positive TV coverage (see video here) on nationwide German TV on Monday during primetime caused traffic spikes at the German p2p lending services Smava and Auxmoney. The websites were partially down during Monday and Tuesday or so slow they were practicably not useable. Auxmoney reacted by temporary deactivating non-vital functions like sorting. Meanwhile stability of the web applications has been restored.

The surge in user demand led to a 20% increase in active lenders at Auxmoney and most ever parallel open loan listings (currently 332). At Smava nearly all reasonable loan listings are funded within a few days or even hours at the moment.

To encourage more loan listings Smava has upped the bonus for inviting new borrowers to 150-200 EUR (approx 200 to 275 US$) for each referral of a borrower that is success fully funded (up from 100 Euro before).

Viral Kiva video


A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Kiva.org Loan from Kieran Ball.

The video was made by Kiva fellow (volunteer) Kieran Ball, who worked for Kiva in Cambodia. It explains the transfer of the money for a Kiva loan from a lender in London to a borrower in Cambodia.

This is a great example how many people can be reached over the internet with a well made video in a short time. Online since only 8 days the video has been watched over 32,000 times and was embedded in many websites (at least 50).