Should P2P Lending Services Actively Offer Refinancing?

A p2p lending loan is one year into the 3 years loan term, the payments are current and the credit score of this borrower has improved a bit. Of the original amount of 10,000 US$ the remaining balance is 7,241 US$. Average interest rates on the p2p marketplace have dropped considerably since origination of that loan. Let’s also assume that from it’s data, the p2p lending service can gauge the probability and interest rate of a new loan with that credit score funding.

If the p2p lending service constantly monitors all running loans for their refinancing chances and then actively promotes a refinancing offer to those borrowers that have chances to lower their rates, there is a lot to gain:

  1. The borrower will be pleased that the p2p lending company offers a solution that could lower his rates
  2. The p2p lending company can earn origination fees again. This measure costs nearly nothing and therefore is much more cost-effective in generating revenue then market to attract new borrowers
  3. P2P lending services that are short on borrowers (surplus of lender demand) can generate new loans for lenders to bid on
  4. New lenders will find this loan attractive as the past performance record of this borrower shows that he pays on time.

The only disadvantaged party are lenders on the old loan. They lose the high interest rates for the remainder of the term.


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Loanio launch!

Updated: Just after I wrote this, access to the Loanio website has been restricted again.

Finally! After more than a year of anticipation and announcements Loanio has entered the p2p lending stage. When I looked there were no loan listings yet, so let’s have a look on the concept in the meantime.


US residents with a VantageScore (Experian) of 569 or with a Co-Borrower with a higher score can borrow at Loanio, provided Loanio is licensed in their state. Currently this is not the case everywhere (e.g. when I looked today, it was not available to California or Florida borrowers). The maximum loan amount is dependant on the state limits (e.g. 25.000 US$ in New York).
Terms are 36, 48 or 60 months. Borrowers can repay the loan early without penalties.
Borrowers pay a origination fee of 1 to 4% of the loan amount (dependant on credit grade). Borrowers can opt for platinum verification which costs 35-45 US$. If chosen, Loanio verifies photo identification, proof of income, bank account, employment, salary, postal address and homeownership.

Second loans are possible if the first loan has been paid at least 6 months on time.

The initial interest rate is set by the borrower. If the listing ends with less then 100% but more then 35% funding, the borrower can elect to accept a loan for the funded amount (partial funding).


All US residents can lend. Lenders are charged a 1.25% annual servicing fee. Lenders bid at the interest rate they want, lowering the interest of fully funded loans in an auction based style.


Co-Borrowers have so far not been used often in peer to peer lending.  To make loans to users with lower credit grades more secure for lenders Loanio introduced this feature, which might be used by close relatives or friends of the borrower.

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Changes at Prosper applied several changes as described in this announcement. Some of the changes were expected as plans had been known, some were surprises.

Portfolio plans

Portfolio plans allow the lender to automatically build a conservative, balanced, moderate or agressive portfolio. That means the lender no longer picks individual loans to bid on but chooses to invest in a plan. The feature is implemented based on Prosper's standing orders. The difference is that it uses standing orders predefined by Prosper, not by the lender. Prosper shows "estimated returns" for each portfolio – currently ranging from 8.37 to 11.06 percent.
Comment: Lendingclub introduced this concept earlier on. Lenders are currently examining and debating on which rationale Prosper did build the standing orders behind the portfolios.

Estimated ROI is shown in listings

Prosper now shows the estimated return on each listing, including predictions for defaults and costs for the servicing fee. The default estimate is now based on Prosper's own data (past performance) rather then Experian data.

Comment: This display does improve lender information especially for unexperienced lenders.

Ended listings hidden (surprise!)

Prosper now hides all data of expired listings. Continue reading