We’re excited to announce today a partnership with Western Independent Bankers — a consortium of small community banks — that will give more banks the opportunity to offer credit to their customers, and more consumers access to affordable loans.
Banks are under increasing pressure to deliver attractive interest rates for all consumers, and smaller banks just can’t compete with the big institutions in offering credit, primarily because of overhead and other operating costs. At Prosper Marketplace, we believe that independent and community banks are essential to the future of the American economy, and this partnership gives them the ability to broaden their product offerings and vie for a piece of the credit market.
This exclusive WIB Endorsed Program partnership with Western Independent Bankers (WIB) opens the consumer credit doors to more than 160 independent and community banks in 13 states in the U.S. WIB provides community banks with networking opportunities, educational programs and access to new products and services. Not only does the partnership allow consortium banks to offer access to unsecured loans to customers, but it educates consumers about alternative lending as a smarter, lower cost option for borrowing money.
Community banks comprise 96.8 percent of all banks in the U.S., amounting to nearly 7,000 community banks with more than 50,000 locations. They’re the primary source of lending for small businesses and farms. Community banks focus on providing high-quality service for local families and business, much like we do for our borrowers and investors. That’s just one area that we see eye to eye.
Smaller banks are always looking for new ways to generate revenue while offering low interest rates. In fact, interest rate pressures are one of the top barriers community banks face for significant growth. We’re happy to welcome WIB into our community to provide more loans with attractive interest rates to a wider group of consumers.
CEO, Prosper Marketplace
Today, Prosper Marketplace is excited to announce its first-ever acquisition — American Healthcare Lending, a leading patient financing platform. This is an important step in expanding our capabilities and bringing our product into a market where we believe it can make a positive impact.
Healthcare lending is a growing industry, and one that we’re excited to become more involved in via this acquisition. The healthcare industry is plagued with high deductibles and spotty customer service. We see a huge need for consumer-friendly, competitively priced financing alternatives for people whose elective medical procedures aren’t covered by insurance or fall below the deductible. American Healthcare Lending gives its nationwide network of healthcare providers the ability to offer affordable loans to patients right from the doctor’s office.
This means that women who need lengthy and costly fertility treatments can pay for them, and patients who need to lose weight and are considering surgical options that insurance won’t cover can still get them. They won’t have to wait to get treatments that can improve their quality of life. They don’t have to walk away from procedures that could make their future brighter. Health and wellness aren’t luxury items.
This is best illustrated by Scott, the winner of Prosper’s $2 Billion Strong video contest. Scott was in need of gastric bypass surgery. When his insurance wouldn’t cover it because he wasn’t sick enough yet, he turned to Prosper for a loan. You can watch his inspiring story here.
2014 was a year of tremendous growth for Prosper. There were a record $1.6 billion in loans made through the platform, up more than 350 percent from the previous year, with $205 million in December alone. 2015 will be another year of growth, and we’re excited about this opportunity to bring financing options to people in need and to expand into a vital and growing market.