Which P2P Lending Developments Happened in 2009 as Forecasted?

In January I published my predictions for p2p lending trends in 2009. Now let’s see how good my crystal ball was. The black text is my original prediction, with the review added in green and yellow.

More competition and entering more national markets (probability 100%)
In many markets multiple p2p lending services will compete for the attention of lenders and borrowers. In other markets, where there is no national p2p lending service active yet (e.g. Canada, New Zealand), p2p lending will be introduced by the launch of a service. Possible candidates include Communitylend and Nexx.
It is hard to predict when the dormant US players (e.g. Prosper, Loanio) will overcome the regulatory hurdles and if that step is lasting.
The British market which has (compared to other markets) rather low regulatory barriers so far is dominated by a single player –  Zopa. I wonder if we’ll see the launch of a competitor there.

Multiple new services launched in 2009, e.g. Aqush in Japan, Sobralaen in Estonia, Uppspretta in Iceland as well as ill-fated Pertuity Direct in the US. Prosper reopened. The mentioned Communitylend and Nexx did not make it so far, though it looks like  Communitylend missed a launch in 2009 only by weeks. No competition in Britain for Zopa yet.

Boom of social lending services/p2p microfinance (probability 100%)
2008 saw the launch of Babyloan, Veecus and Wokai. Kiva funded more the 1 million US$ new loans in a single week in the end of December. The steep growth of Kiva, MyC4 and other services will continue and new p2p microfinance platforms will launch.

Kiva continued it’s enormous growth and popularity. Vittana and United Prosperity launched. For MYC4 it was a hard year with decreasing loan volumes. Continue reading

P2P lending companies by loan volume – Jan 09

P2P lending is spreading internationally. While the biggest loan volumes are generated in the US market, many p2p lending websites have been established in other international markets.

P2P-Banking.com has created the following overview table listing services that are in operation and ranked them by loan volume. The loan volumes are not directly comparable for they are cumulative since launch of each service and represent different time spans.

In total approx. 740 million US$ have been funded through peer to peer lending/social lending services so far worldwide.


This image may be reprinted on other internet sites, provided it is not altered or resized and the following text (including the direct link to this article) is given as source directly below the image:
Source: P2P-Banking.com

Since the previous version of this table especially Zopa (UK), Lending Club and Kiva thrived. With Prosper, Loanio and Fynanz halted, Lending Club profits from the situation.


This image may be reprinted under the same conditions as the first one.

P2P lending trends to expect in 2009

As last year I’ll again attempt some predictions on what trends and developments can be expected in peer-to-peer lending 2009.

More competition and entering more national markets (probability 100%)
In many markets multiple p2p lending services will compete for the attention of lenders and borrowers. In other markets, where there is no national p2p lending service active yet (e.g. Canada, New Zealand), p2p lending will be introduced by the launch of a service. Possible candidates include Communitylend and Nexx.
It is hard to predict when the dormant US players (e.g. Prosper, Loanio) will overcome the regulatory hurdles and if that step is lasting.
The British market which has (compared to other markets) rather low regulatory barriers so far is dominated by a single player –  Zopa. I wonder if we’ll see the launch of a competitor there.

Boom of social lending services/p2p microfinance (probability 100%)
2008 saw the launch of Babyloan, Veecus and Wokai. Kiva funded more the 1 million US$ new loans in a single week in the end of December. The steep growth of Kiva, MyC4 and other services will continue and new p2p microfinance platforms will launch.

First Banks experiment with own p2p lending applications (probability 50%)
While p2p lending volumes are far from being a business threat to banks – banks do watch the developments. Possibly in 2009 a bank will launch its own p2p lending application. The principal aim will not be to generate revenue, but rather to collect experience and to gauge acceptance by the bank’s customers. It will be interesting to see banks testing the water on their path to implement a p2p lending concept that supplements their core business.

Continue reading

Which of my predictions for p2p lending trends 2008 came true?

In January 2008 I made some predictions what might happen in p2p lending this year. Now I’ll check on those (the black colored text is the original text, the green and red texts are the review as of today):

More competition and entering more national markets (probability 100%)
In many markets multiple p2p lending services will compete for the attention of lenders and borrowers, especially in the largest market: In the United States Globefunder.com and Loanio.com will launch. In other markets, where there is no national p2p lending service established yet (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, Spain), p2p lending will be introduced by the launch of a service.

Loanio did launch, but went into quiet period shortly afterwards. As did Prosper. Zopa US closed. Fynanz launched. Competition in the US is in fact lower than at the End of last year. Internationally several p2p lending services launched.

Insurance against defaults (probability 75%)
Not totally new, since Boober.nl and Smava.de already offer some protection of the loan principal. Insurance can be implemented as a classical insurance product (supplied by an insurance company) or as a market mechanism, spreading the risk over multiple loans.

Several p2p lending services offer insurance.

Secondary market (probability 25%)
One of the disadvantages for lenders currently is that on all p2p lending platforms, the invested money i locked in for the duration of the loan term. Prosper.com has already announced that it plans a secondary market, enabling lenders to sell and buy loans any time. Depending on the market there are huge regulatory hurdles to allow trading of loans. For example German executives told P2P-Banking.com that on the German market a secondary market is unlikely for years to come.

Zopa Italy and Lending Club introduced secondary markets.

Cross-market lending (probability <25%)
Aside form the social lending approaches (Kiva, MyC4, Microplace) so far all service are open only for lenders and borrowers that live in the same market. If lenders could lend to borrowers in markets with higher key interest rate than the market the lender lives in, the advantages could outweight the risks. In the European Union due to the Euro zone there would be no currency exchange risk. Again there are steep regulatory hurdles to be taken.

Has not happened.

Variable interest loans (probability ?)
So far all loans are for fixed terms (prepayment allowed) with fixed interest rates. Variable interest loans could add flexibility. The interest rate could rise or decline following an indicator (e.g. market prime rate). Another possibility would be a mechanism where the variable interest rate would rise or fall as a result of the level of defaults of the credit grade. This could protect lenders, if the actual default ratio is higher then the forecasted default ratio.

Fynanz loans have variable rates. But this is the only example so far.

Third party bidding management (probability?)
Just a thought. Lenders could allow a third party to manage their portfolio. Like an investment funds the lender would invest an amount of money, while the funds manager does the actual selection of loans. This could possibly be done by a sophisticated software (would you trust this?) selecting loans by statistical analysis of performance of loans with similiar parameters or by a fonds manager. The later is unlikely because the amount of time needed for each loan is too high to be covered by fees.

Prosper introduced bidding via API in February.

I’ll publish my p2p lending predictions for 2009 in January.

P2P lending companies by loan volume

P2P lending is spreading internationally. While the biggest loan volumes are generated in the US market, many p2p lending websites have been established in other international markets.

The services can be divided in three categories:

  1. p2p lending marketplaces (e.g. Prosper, Zopa, Lending Club, Smava) – participants driven mainly by economic motives
  2. social lending services enabling micro financing (e.g. Kiva, MyC4) – participants driven mainly by social motives
  3. other concepts (e.g. Virginmoney which is special in the way that it does not do the matchmaking between borrowers and lenders, but supports the process between persons that already had offline relations- slogan “We manage loans between family and friends“)

Sites funding student loans can fall into any of these three categories or combine motivations.

P2P-Banking.com has created the following overview table listing services that are in operation and ranked them by loan volume. The loan volumes are not directly comparable for they are cumulative since launch of each service and represent different time spans.

Asked for a figure, a Microplace spokesman pointed out “…it is important to note that MicroPlace is not a P2P site.  We are a platform that offers investments to the retail public.“. No loan volume was quoted, but he stated “investments purchased on our site have enabled over 26,000 microfinance loans.

In total approx. 685 million US$ have been funded through peer to peer lending/social lending services so far worldwide.

This image may be reprinted on other internet sites, provided it is not altered or resized and the following text (including the direct link to this article) is given as source directly below the image:
Source: P2P-banking.com

If you are a representative of a p2p lending service and want your service to be included in the next update of this table, please send me an email with information about your company.

IOU central launches p2p lending in Canada

IOU central launched the first active p2p lending service in Canada today. Borrowers can request loans from 1,000 to 25,000 CAN$ and select a term between 1 and 36 months. IOU central allows the borrower to specify a minimum amount at which he will accept the loan, should it not fully fund in the 2 weeks listing duration. IOU Central pulls the TransRisk credit score of the borrower, provided by Transunion Canada. According to the press release, lenders can expect to earn interest rates between 5 and 25 percent.

Borrowers pay a closing fee ranging from 1 to 3 percent depending on their credit score. Lenders pay an annual servicing fee of 0.5 percent of the open principal balance. Only Canadian residents can borrow or lend. The borrower needs to have a Trans union credit score.

Borrowers may have several loans, but the total outstanding principal may not exceed 25,000 CAN$.

Lenders earn interest on deposited money (bank prime rate minus 2.5%). Individuals may lend up to 5 million CAN$. Corporations may lend up to 50 million CAN$. Minimum bid amount is 25 CAN$.

Studying the team of IOU Central I noticed Robert Bialek (VP Technology) and Arkadiusz Hajduk (Product Manager), which were the founders of FairRates.dk, a p2p lending service in Denmark, which now is part of IOU Central. An assumption would be that IOU Central acquired (or merged with) the company, to gain the knowledge and experience made.

The IOU Central launch did beat Communitylend in being first in the Canadian market. Communitylend has long announced to launch a Canadian peer to peer lending service, but has not launched yet. 

To discuss IOU central, the lending or borrowing experience or to ask questions on the service you can use Wiseclerk's IOU Central forums.

(Link)