Friday, December 21, 2007

P2P Lending Report: Disruptive service or market niche?

Veteran analyst Jim Bruene, who runs NetBanker, has just published a 48-page report about Prosper, Lending Club and Zopa - Person-to-Person Lending 2.0 - Disruptive service or market niche? As part of the research process he became a lender and a borrower at all three major U.S. P2P lending exchanges: Prosper , Zopa, and Lending Club. He also set up friends and family loans at Virgin Money USA and LoanBack.

The report was originally expected to come out earlier but due to the rapid changes in the market he delayed the report. As he explains on Netbanker, "I had originally intended on publishing it in early December. But as I was trying to wrap things up, Zopa launched its new U.S unit. So I stopped the presses and added an analysis of its unique model. Then as I was finishing that, Lending Club made a significant change last week, becoming a national lender instead of state-sanctioned one. That too is now in the report."

Here's the abstract:

Person-to-person lending is the perfect product for the Web 2.0-social-networked consumer. Why, then, has growth been relatively slow compared to other networked services? Because it’s a difficult business. Not only are P2P lenders competing with 20,000 other financial institutions for good borrowers, the are up against thousands of investment alternatives for funds to lend, all the while waging a fierce battle with fraudsters and deadbeats. It’s not a business for the faint of heart.

In this report, we look at the market as a whole, examining the strengths and weaknesses of existing products. We list opportunities both for web-based startups and existing financial institutions and lay out a ten-year market forecast. Finally, we take a close look at the four major U.S. P2P lenders: Prosper, Lending Club, Zopa and Virgin Money.

If you would like to have a copy of the report you can get it here. It's only $595.

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