By business guide writer

Banks have historically handled most consumer and small business lending because they have the resources to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness, and the regulatory approval to fund loans. However, this model has some key inefficiencies – interest rates are not individualized, the costs of underwriting loans are high, loan decisions can take from weeks to months, and small businesses in particular have been shut out of the process.

This has left room for the growth of online lending marketplaces – dubbed peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders – that leverage the internet to give both borrowers and investors a better deal.

P2P lenders solve the banking model’s inefficiencies by developing marketplaces that link match borrowers with investors according to each party’s specifications.

These are the keynotes for P2P lending

  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms offer loan opportunities outside of traditional lending institutions. P2P platforms leverage metrics such as credit scores and social media activity to link borrowers and lenders at favorable interest rates. Platforms have lower regulatory burdens because they are merely acting as intermediaries between borrower, lender, and partner bank, and thus can keep fees and rates low.
  • The P2P lending industry is seeing significant growth, especially in developed countries with strong financial markets. P2P lenders in the US generated $6.6 billion in loans last year, up 128%.
  • P2P borrowers are often individuals seeking to refinance debt at reasonable rates or small businesses that have trouble getting low-value loans from traditional institutions.