A few days ago I was talking to a close friend about LendingClub.com and its rival Prosper.com. I was surprised he had never heard of the sites and the whole P2P (Person to Person) lending concept. So I figured it was a good time to post it up on the site to let a larger audience in on something I’ve been playing with for a few years now.
I had first heard about the concept while listening to an NPR segment and quickly became involved as a Lender. I then found Lending Club.com as I became a little more “SAVVY” with the process. Various news organizations like WIRED, CNN, USA TODAY, etc. have covered them.
I’m going to quickly talk about Lending Club since Prosper no longer accepts new lenders which honestly is fine because I personally like Lending Club.com much better.
The way it works is first you log in and create an account; then you decide if you want to become a borrower or a lender. Here’s a quick review:
As a Borrower, you go through a process as you would with any other bank (Credit Check, Address Confirmation, Credit Score, Employment Verification, etc.) Once you’re approved, you can request a loan amount and then tell a short story about the purpose of the loan. All loans are a three-year term, and there is no penalty for early payment.
As a Lender, you can be as picky as you like browsing through all the various loans currently open. You can setup filters, to display only the lowest risk loans or highest depending on how much risk (and return) your willing to accept. Lending Club also has a step-by-step wizard you can use which allows using a slider to decide the type of loan and return you want, and it pulls the loans for you.
As you become more comfortable with the process, you can setup automated loans which meet certain criteria (Debt to Income, Home Owner, Credit Score, etc.) However, I personally like to read the details for each investment I make.
Personally, I’ve learned not ever to loan more than $25 at any given time. Also, I found it best to spread my loans out between high and low-risk borrowers. I’ve had a few loans go bad so that cash is pretty much gone. <sigh> However overall, I’ve had fun, and even made a <LITTLE> bit of side cash on the deal.
Again, this is NOT a get rich quick scheme. However, I have found it gives me a better return overall than the 1% from my Savings Account or Money Market fund. Try it out, post your thoughts here, would love to get feedback on your adventure into BECOMING A BANKER!!! :)
My name is Steve Krause. I am not a banker, millionaire, or financial planner as my name might suggest. ;) Although very tempting, you should not take any financial advice from my groovy blog or me. I wrote this article because I’m a GEEK who had a few extra bucks my wife didn’t know about, (shhhh) and wanted to try out the groovy p2p scene. After playing around with it, I actually made a respectable return on my investment which is why I’m ok with telling you, my groovyReaders about the service.