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Addressing the removal of the Loan Description & Loan Details Fields

by Prosper on 09/20/13

Addressing the removal of the Loan Description & Loan Details Fields

Some of our lenders have expressed concern with the recent removal of the loan description and loan title fields on the Prosper borrower application. I want you all to know that we hear your concerns. This is something that we are currently testing. We have not made the decision to permanently remove these fields at this time.

I would like to take a moment to explain why we removed the fields and why we believe it will have a strong positive impact for our lenders long term.

  • Created Confusion – In recent user testing, we found that borrowers were significantly less likely to complete a Prosper loan application when they were asked to provide a Loan Description or Loan Title. Borrowers found this question to be intrusive and, in many cases, confusing to their private loan application process. These fields proved to be the biggest drop off point for potential borrowers. We removed them to gauge response for a period of time.
  • Supply and demand – We strive to have an onboarding process that is simple and easy and makes sense to users. The more simple a process can be made, the more potential borrowers we can reach. In order for Prosper to better streamline the borrower application and meet the demand that you all have expressed for new loans, we will consistently make changes to our platform that we believe will positively impact the way users interact with our product and ultimately, the way the platform performs.

Ultimately, we understand your concerns, and we are exploring the best way to meet both the lenders’ concerns and improve the borrowers’ experience at equal measure, including adding the field back in the near future. Standby for updates on this potential change and more as we begin to interpret its impact on our platform.

Aaron Vermut
President, Prosper Funding LLC


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77 Responses


Sean Hunter | September 21st, 2013 at 9:05 am

Is it possible to add it as an optional field, even if it’s after the loan application is complete? It’s been personally useful for me in choosing to fund, or not fund, certain loans. It’s also an interesting way of connecting with borrowers in a small way.


Brad | September 21st, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Mr. Aaron Vermut,

First, let me say that I applaud you for responding to the lender’s
concerns so quickly. I’m one of those lenders that were (very) upset
with the removal of the loan description fields.

I did attempt to look at this from Prosper’s perspective and figured you removed the fields because you felt that prospective borrowers were feeling a bit inundated with the loan application form.

May I suggest that you put the word ‘Optional’ next to each of the Loan Description questions? I’m sure you’ve already considered that and felt some borrowers would still be ‘turned off’ by all the questions. Another suggestion
would be to bring back SOME of the fields.

Please, please do something! I was really enjoying your company and everything it had to offer. I cannot express enough how the removal of the fields has affected my desire to continue to invest; particularly with the higher risk loans. I much prefer Prosper over your competitor and was very pleased with the direction your company was heading in (prior to the removal of the fields, of course).

This may not be a huge issue for the Institutional investors, but I believe that Retail investors want to do more than just look at numbers.

Best Regards,

Brad B.


Lavarock | September 22nd, 2013 at 4:14 am

I prefer to know why someone needs my funding. I won’t fund a couple borrowing money for their wedding or honeymoon. I won’t help them start their life together in debt. I will fund certain business ideas while other don’t make much sense to help.


Michael Williams | September 22nd, 2013 at 7:48 am

Thank you. I’m glad you took our concerns seriously. I find it surprising that potential borrowers think a question about what they intend to do with the money we advance them is intrusive. Don’t banks always ask this question?


AF | September 22nd, 2013 at 9:41 am

As a lender I’m incredibly uncomfortable with this change. At the very least make the description optional with a description that encourages borrowers to fill it out but doesnt require it.


Sean Turner | September 22nd, 2013 at 11:30 am

Ok well speaking from personal experience I use their descriptions as a way of gauging if they know what they’re getting into. If I see a break down of their monthly bills and they say they spend $100 on food a month or less, I can be pretty confident they dont know what they’re spending. If I see reasonable numbers for all their bills and they still have enough spare room to pay the loan then I’m much more likely to fund it. If its a D or below quality loan I wont even consider it without this, unless they’re already successfully paid off a prosper loan. I still want to see this for B and C rated loans as well, but if they had less than 20% of their annual income in debt I might consider it. I really need to see a statement of what their monthly bills are though to determine whether to fund them. Someone who doesnt have car payments is hugely different from someone who has it paid off, and you can have a modest home or gigantic rent and I want to see them talk about it. If someone gets stopped at the page asking them what their monthly budget break down looks like, cause they dont know it, then they shouldnt be taking the loan in the first place.

If this system stands the only loans I’d be willing to take would be either A or AA, since those guys basically have no debt and wouldnt expect to default unless they suffer a hardship, or loans from borrowers who’ve successfully paid off a previous prosper loan of similar size.

Encouraging someone to say in an intelligent manner why they want your money is a very reasonable request IMO, and was a big reason why I chose to fund your loans vs lending club ones.


Luke Albers | September 23rd, 2013 at 8:28 am

In the past I would not lend to a borrower who did not fill out the description unless they had very good credit. If they had bad credit and wanted a loan for something stupid that was good info to know. I also checked for basic grammar and spelling problems – a surprising number of borrowers couldn’t write a coherent sentence explaining what they needed to borrow $10k+ for – I’d figure that was a bad sign and move on. Please bring it back.


ProsperLoans | September 23rd, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hi Lavarock- We agree! Our borrowers are still asked to complete the Loan Purpose which is provided to lenders.


ProsperLoans | September 23rd, 2013 at 9:07 am

Hi Sean- This is a great idea. These fields were previously optional on the borrower application. But we will explore other ways it can be communicated. Thanks!


ProsperLoans | September 23rd, 2013 at 9:08 am

Hi J.C.- We agree! The Loan Purpose is still information that borrowers must supply. Thanks for your input!


Sandy MacDougall | September 23rd, 2013 at 10:47 am

As a lender, I need to know the specific loan purpose other than “debt consolidation”. I understand Prosper’s desire to acquire more loan applications, but removing the valuable loan description and loan detail section of the listing significantly reduces my comfort underwriting and investing in the loan. I also, would not invest if the loan description field had not been filled out with minimal grammar mistakes.


Jennifer Brown | September 23rd, 2013 at 11:13 am

More changes that make me consider pulling out. As it is, I have money just sitting there not invested because of the lack of loans that hasn’t changed since opening to institutional investors. Of course Prosper makes more money with them, so losing us won’t really matter. I’m sure Aaron will say that isn’t the case, but the daily list of available loans doesn’t lie. I also didn’t loan to anyone who didn’t fill out the description. I figure if they can’t take a couple minutes to do it, they are not worth the risk.


John Parker | September 23rd, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I am one of those that have expressed concern over these changes and hope to see a return of the field so I can continue to be a Prosper investor in the future.

When I first started with Prosper I viewed the P2P loans as a great way to help a number of people that sincerely wanted to dig themselves out of debt. As a 26 year vet, I also wanted to be able to help fellow vets, and the only way for me to ID those loans was with the loan description field. I saw this as a true win-win event; assisting others while earning good interest with reasonable risk.

But for any loan to be peer-to-peer, I need to understand exactly who the person is that wanted me to fund their request. And for risk, we cannot have a true measure of the individual’s risk without having the loan description field filled out. I accept that many applicants did not fill that field out, so for the most part I skipped over those loans. That is my choice; while other Prosper investors are content with just the numbers game, I feel a need to “connect” with the person and I just cannot do that without reading why the person wants the loan and why I should trust them.

I have really enjoyed scanning through the notes and slowly adding funds to my Prosper account as I could. I am by no means a major player in this game, but I suspect many others feel the same way that I do and we need a better way to understand the applicant, so request that this action be reconsidered.


RJ | September 24th, 2013 at 8:33 am

Aaron / Prosper:

I very much appreciate your willingness to listen to lenders. That said, I’d like to let you know that there are those of us who don’t mind the change (although we may not be as vocal as those who want the descriptions back). I’ve been lending for 3 years, and I’ve learned from experience that the loan descriptions have not actually helped me find quality borrowers. Looking back at some charge-offs, I can see that many of these borrowers described themselves as completely trustworthy — and maybe they were and just fell on hard times. However, I’ve seen that other fields like delinquencies, income, debt, etc., are much more important to analyze as a lender. I think this would come as no surprise to those who study the data.

Therefore, my suggestions are two-fold:

1- Try to listen to lenders by considering easy / optional ways for borrowers to include descriptions. My idea: Give borrowers the option to add a description AFTER their application is complete. That way, the application is already done so they won’t drop it, but they can still add it if they choose to.

2- Try to educate lenders about how to choose loans using the data in the Credit Profile (then they might not miss descriptions so much). I personally think some lenders (including myself) put too much weight on the description in the past because it was a narrative and made sense to them, and perhaps they weren’t equipped to look at the other data. My idea: Maybe create a short animated video that describes the Credit Profile data, how to read it, and why it matters. (Many people are more likely to watch a short animation than read a report about seasoned returns or download your performance data).

Keep up the good work,
RJ


RJ | September 24th, 2013 at 10:19 am

Two suggestions. 1- Why not give borrowers the option to add a description AFTER the loan application is finished? That way, they can still add it if they wish, but it won’t interrupt their app. 2- Why not a short, animated explanatory video of the Credit Profile fields? Personally, I think lenders should not give the description too much weight. A little creative education might show lenders that the credit data is usually more important than the description.


Order23 | September 24th, 2013 at 10:59 am

I also was one of those concerned over the removal of the description field. I think my peers here have said it all. I only look to invest in those loans providing a description. (While we’re on the subject, I have also asked if description could be a field within the search criteria) if someone cannot string together a coherent statement as to why they need the loan, then they shouldn’t be applying for the loan. In this scenario, we should be creating a drop-off point for borrowers, these are (in my opinion) the ones most likely to default anyway. make it optional by all means, but bring it back.


ememememme | September 24th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

ah…

that is why still however I’d assume anywhere else you go for a loan outside of p2p they ask what your loan is being used for.


Mac McElroy | September 25th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

It appears that I am in agreement with most of the lenders who have posted here but I am more insistent. I WON’T (and never have) loan anyone money unless I know what it’s for and the (my opinion) lame “Loan Purpose” doesn’t do it for me!

I will start pulling my money out unless the borrowers are at least OFFERED the “Purpose of the loan:” AND “My financial situation:” back again. Many wouldn’t fill it out before and that’s just fine. They can have that option, then so too do I. If they don’t fill it out, they’re not getting my money!

I’ve been loaning money in here since JUN 2008 and I’d hate to lose the
opportunity, but I’m not willing to loan my money under these current
conditions.


Brett | September 26th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I am livid at the removal of the description field.

While I can understand the borrower P.O.V., from the lender’s standpoint: why on earth should I lend money to people who cannot even give me their rough income and expenses per month?!

This is a critical part of my investment strategy and lenders like me absolutely need to have it back!


BN1019 | September 27th, 2013 at 6:55 am

I want to reiterate what almost every other commenter has said. I will not loan money to people who don’t fill in the loan description. Maybe, maybe if the loan is AA or A rated but never to lower rated loans. If the borrower has high debt ratios or has credit issues in the past, I have to know why those issues arose. I was going to add more funds to my account but now I will find other investments if the description is not added back. I do agree with other commenters that it could be an optional field after completing the loan application.


Jonathan | September 27th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Can you make it optional but rate the loan higher (i.e. move a loan from a 4 to a 6 or from a D to a C if they fill out the information?


Jake Larsen | September 27th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I just want to voice my opinion that I found the loan description and loan details page extremely beneficial to me when weighing whether or not to fund a loan. Please consider making it optional and a brief video explaining how the user can do this would be useful as well.

Personally there are some risks that I don’t feel comfortable funding unless I feel like I can know a little bit about the borrower and this information isn’t fully captured in the raw numbers. In fact, quite often I will not fund any amount of a loan whatsoever if the borrower is not willing to put forth a minimal amount of effort to explain why they are worthy of receiving funds and why I should contribute my hard-earned cash towards their loan. I feel like default is less likely when someone can write and think through a compelling case for asking for loan funds.


Wayne Bevan | September 27th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I have to say I too want this back. I understand why it might be removed, but people wanting to secure a loan through Prosper should understand they are borrowing from a community of investors. We are not the impersonal big banks with bland interior and the don’t care attitude of who we lend too. We want and care that our money is going to a good responsible person, even if they have fell on hard times. I think Prosper should take advantage of this fact that there is a need and desire from lenders to have this and help promote why its so important for the lender community to know more about the borrower.

In fact may be encourage them to fill it out by offering them a lower rate, shave a fraction off the interest rate and I’m sure most people will provide something. I would sooner invest in a lower rate loan if I have more confidence in the person requesting the loan and this description as many have said helps us understand the borrower more. I unlike a bank don’t really trust the FICO scores as the only marker of a good loan.

I would like to see Prosper really back this need up with pushing the fact that we are a peer to peer lending community with real people behind the loans that borrowers obtain. May be we need to help bridge this with more public lender profiles and videos on the web site, for those that feel comfortable in sharing why we are doing this. I personally would like to see Prosper have more of a connection between the lender and the borrower and not have it turn into more of a conventional loan shop, which this feels like it is a step in that direction.

We should be personable and responsible in lending!

Sounds like a good marketing opportunity even a chance to attract more conventional borrowers may be that crave that ‘old community bank’ friendly feeling


Generous Lemon | September 30th, 2013 at 8:56 am

Prosper,

I challenge you to find ANY lender that will loan
money without first knowing what the loan is for. Getting a loan is
never a “private” affair. If a borrower is providing their SS#, job and
bank information, surely describing what they want the money for isn’t
too much to ask.

If a borrower is confused by a
question it doesn’t mean the information is irrelevant; It means you
need to ask the question better or provide clarification. Give the
borrower a better description of what information is requested or even
provide some examples. Rather than have a field on the form that just
says “Loan Description,” or “Loan Title,” ask the borrower: “What will
this loan be used for? (for example: Car loan; Medical expenses).” I
regularly use this information to determine whether I invest in a loan.

To me, this change is indicative of the slide toward favoring
institutional investors who can rely solely on numbers and high volume
to fill their portfolio. I understand that they are also very important
to Prospers economic health. But please don’t drop useful loan details
when simply rephrasing the question might be all that’s required.

Thanks.


Order23 | September 30th, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Yes, Debt Consolidation is a great purpose to consider. If you see a listing with exactly what’s being paid off, and the corresponding interest rates, then the loan can make a lot more sense. If that info is not there there’s nothing to go on past the “numbers”


Thomas Brandenburger | October 1st, 2013 at 7:44 am

As an institutional investor, I highly support this move and understand how it can reduce your cost of acquisition. However for the retain investor, it is attractive. I believe someone else mentioned perhaps making this an optional thing for the borrower which may help satisfy some lenders and frankly may be preferable for some borrowers. That seems like an interesting suggestion.


Michael Nuckols | October 1st, 2013 at 9:54 am

The loan description and loan detail fields are critical to me as a lender. I will not loan based solely upon credit history except for those individuals with perfect credit. What Prosper is effectively doing is making it impossible for those with imperfect credit or past problems to explain why and how they plan to address those problems. I can forgive past mistakes — but I need the borrower to explain to me their path forward.


fordownr | October 1st, 2013 at 9:57 am

Glad I am not in the minority. I am disappointed at the removal of the “loan description” and expenses fields. That to me is a VERY large determining factor as to funding the loan or not. Generally id a person is unwilling to fill this out then I am unwilling to help fund their loan, Period.


DHarvey2000 | October 2nd, 2013 at 11:30 am

Late to this, but here’s a crazy idea ….

Put the loan description back in as an optional field, then adjust the Prosper score according to whether or not the borrower entered the description.

You have the data to make this happen – thus adding still more accuracy to the Prosper score!

Meanwhile, as a lender, if a borrower doesn’t even bother to say a few words in the loan description, the borrower strikes me as having a lazy attitude toward the loan, ya know?


poppy | October 3rd, 2013 at 5:44 am

I also strongly request return of these fields. I have over $100K out in loans so will be around for a while, but within the past half year I have gone from being a big promoter of Prosper to being dismayed at its new direction; once again just last night I had to tell some investors that I no longer recommend Prosper for individual investors. Without even a cursory description of what a loan will be used for, I can now invest ONLY in “Debt Consolidation”, and then only if the amount requested is no more than the borrower’s stated debt (compared to those in the past who wrote that the loan was to help a parent move into assisted living, a young adult child move into a first home, debt from emergency surgery, etc.) Without the fields I will not even consider “Business” (I would have lent to an established company buying seasonal inventory, but probably not someone who wants to open a restaurant for the first time in this economy—–but this way I can’t consider it.) Likewise Medical/Dental, Home Improvement, right down the line——there’s a big difference in asking for a loan for unreimbursed expenses from a broken leg compared to one for cosmetic surgery.
I also regret the elimination of 1-year loans, my personal favorite (and they all got snapped up quickly, so I was not alone in my preference for them), and I continue to be disturbed by the glaring, confusing accounting oddities that have cropped up after the last few ‘upgrades’ (like the entire amount of a paid-off loan coming out of the account value before the loan payments are posted.) And definitely miss the P2P experience of Prosper before the Institutional lenders. We individuals are no longer needed or wanted, and I have reluctantly started taking money back out of Prosper. I will hope that at least these optional fields for a description of how a loan will be used come back.


Matthew Troy-Regier | October 4th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I have not expressed concern about the changes, but I do have it. I think that knowing something about the borrower is key to making it peer to peer. I am less likely to invest money in a loan when I don’t have any information other than numbers (this is especially true of higher risk loans). Numbers say a lot, but in each group of people that are given any particular rating, there are a group of people that will default, and a group that will pay off the entire loan. This information helped me differentiate those two groups, and was therefore useful for me as an investor.

Maybe it would be possible to have it be an option for them to fill out (it was always an option as many people didn’t answer the questions, but we could make it a more obvious option). You might say that investors are more likely to fund loans that they identify with, so that Prosper suggests they say a little bit about themselves and their loans. Hopefully this will give us as investors the information that helps us, while not inhibiting borrowers from finishing the process.

Hope this helps,
Matt


Marcus Arelius | October 4th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Please return the loan descriptions. However, should a borrower not wish to provide that information out, let that be their choice.


djalan2000 | October 8th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Banks actually REQUIRE a lot more info as to where the money is to be used, and even in many/most cases if it’s for Debt consolidation, they want to know how much is going where and then THEY cut the checks directly to those institutions – otherwise, they would see someone wanting a loan for $10,000 that has $12,000 in bills and they loan them the $10,000 only to find out later that they SPENT the money on other things and STILL owe the $12,000 they said they were to pay down.

I am seriously considering not loaning out ANY money if this continues and in the meantime, I have limited my loans to those who have AA ratings, no bad items, CC utilization below 25%, must be homeowner AND working for at least the past 5 years. Oh, and I won’t do ANY debt consolidations to ANY person.

You need to protect us (the lenders) and this is blatantly doing just the opposite – making it easier for borrowers but riskier for the lenders. I am sure you will see the number of defaults climb upward from these over the next 1-3 years and I would hate to be on the default side of things.

Put it back the way it was!


disqus_44DdSEPJuZ | October 9th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

The reason this was removed was because borrowers didn’t want it? Well what if lenders wont lend because of it? I refuse to invest a significant amount in another note until this feature is added back. I agree with everyone’s comments that this helps in making a decision to lend.


Jonathan Hobbs | October 14th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I am also very uneasy about this proposed change for all the reasons everyone has stated; and I offer an alternative below. It is a CRITICAL aspect of these loan apps. This potential move only benefits Propser bc the more loans originated, the more revenue for Prosper. It doesn’t make the loan application any easier bc it wasn’t required in the first place! I think it is a reckless proposal and can in no way be twisted into being favorable for lenders. And although this short-term test may result in a favorable result for Prosper (i.e. more borrowers), the long term effects will be diminishing Prosper’s non-corporate, “marketplace” feel and turning away potential lenders (I, for one, will certainly look to invest elsewhere).

My proposed alternative to eliminating the description field is this: clearly mark the description field as optional during the app process so there’s no borrower confusion (this is NOT difficult, and any borrower who “doesn’t get it” shouldn’t be borrowing money); and let the borrower know that although it’s not required, if they DO NOT fill it out, their listing can not reach level 3 verification (I would prefer it not even reach level 2). This way, the borrower clearly has the option not to complete the description (a pro for Prosper and irresponsible borrowers), but he is incentivized to complete it (an advantage for saavy borrowers and lenders). Win-win. Please consider this.


Supermex | October 17th, 2013 at 8:41 am

Today will be my last loan unless the Loan description and data fields are returned. I have slowly built up the amount of money in prosper and have averaged over 10% return since starting with prosper over 3 years ago. I have a sizable amount of cash that I would love to put into prosper as I am retiring next year and don’t know of any place else where I can get 10% return. However the loan description field is an intricate part of what I use to choose the loan candidates. I am simply guessing without this peace of data. I would rather guess in the stock market as it takes less time and effort to just dollar cost average into an index fund.

Paul


Matt | October 17th, 2013 at 10:14 am

I am transferring any proceeds from my notes to my bank
account until the loan description field is restored. I do not want to loan money to people who can’t
take the time to explain why they need it.


Order23 | October 17th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

What purpose then is the loan description “Other” – gives me no information at all.

I’ve just been trying to re-invest, and having a really hard time of deciding which loans to go with absent the description field.


T. Caine | October 18th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I’m going to add my concerns to the pile as well. I have been a Prosper investor for over five years and I have traditionally never invested in loans that do not have a description…at least a sentence–something that acknowledges you are asking other people for money and are conveying not only what it will be used for, but also a desire to pay it back.

If this was happening in person, there would need to be some conversation, not just a pile of financial information meant to transfer confidence in character. Loan purpose isn’t enough, especially when some of them are as vague as “major purchase.”

I would even go one step farther than some of the other investors saying that a loan description should be mandatory. I don’t know how the description process affects your incoming borrowers, but I have to believe that the confidence of lenders (where the real revenue stream is coming from here) would go up significantly if every listing had a description.

Prosper has been great, but I need the description field back before I can invest more on the site.

Best-
T. Caine


Paul Kuckhahn | October 21st, 2013 at 9:19 am

I believe that the question you need to ask yourselves is “Why did many potential borrowers back out when asked those questions?”

If the answer is that the amount of paperwork or some other task is so onerous that they give up and don’t pursue a loan, then that is a hurdle that should be removed. However, two simple questions that didn’t even really need to be answered (they were often blank on potential loans I perused) do not fit that description.

If, however, a relatively simple step is too much for someone to complete, it could be for a variety of other reasons – many of which would lead me to avoid lending to them. Off the top of my head:

-They cannot write a coherent sentence. (I know that not everyone is a master of the English language, but if you can’t even express a simple thought, I would question your ability to pay back a $10k loan.)

-They just want to buy more stuff they can’t afford. (I have no desire to help someone dig a bigger hole for themselves.)

-They don’t intend to use the money for the purpose stated by the category listing.

Concerning the privacy issue – no private information is required. If a brief description of how the money will be used is information that you feel needs to be private, I’m not sure I’m comfortable making that loan.


Doug | October 24th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

You can add me to the list of individuals that will not invest until I can get more information. You(prosper) get to see a borrower’s credit report, but lenders(certainly not individual lenders) do not. This makes descriptions(WHY someone wants a loan) that much more important.

Not only was I ignoring new boats and wedding rings, but I know the difference between a loan with a description and one without. My loan listings had full, written descriptions, and were funded in as soon as 8 hours. This is in comparison to listings with no description that would, more often than not, not get funded, and RARELY ever got past level 2 verification.

As it is, I will be withdrawing all the funds I get back from loans, and going elsewhere for my investing, even though it means going from an average of 8.5% returns to a meager 2% on CDs.


Mr. Credit | October 27th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I felt the same way, if they would not take the time to fill out the description, why should I take the time to fund their loan.


epilitimus | October 29th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

There were three things which originally drew me to Prosper: high returns, volume of listings, and detail of listing. Over the last year Prosper has removed all three. Like many others here I refuse to lend to someone that can’t be bothered to tell me why they want the money, and give me some reason to think they will pay it back. If borrowers find such information intrusive they don’t have to fill it out, and I don’t have to give them my hard earned money. I recognize that the traditional lending market is loosening up somewhat, resulting in more competition for borrowers. This is why I have stuck around this long, hoping things would work themselves out. With the removal of these fields it seems like we lenders are simply supposed to fork over our money and be happy we can get anything for it.

Bottom line, if things don’t improve here soon I will be looking for somewhere that wants to do business with me, and taking my money with me. Even my patience has it’s limits.


Scott Goll | November 3rd, 2013 at 8:31 am

Simply put, if a prospective borrower didn’t take the time to explain why they were looking for a loan, and why they were a low risk, I moved on. Peer to peer lending is much more personal when you connect and have a feel that the borrower is making a serious commitment. Part of that is allowing them to express themselves and let the lenders vet that out. I would highly recommend returning this option as soon as possible.


Gary Lazar | November 4th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I was the same way….i want to know a little about the person and what their obligations are. I think the process she be even more intrusive…let me know what you do for a living, how many kids you have, if you have a pensionable job…these are big factors when i decide who to choose to lend my money too….right now i have alot of money sitting here as cash, and will probably just withdraw it all. This is a business for us. I am not here to lose money.


Bob Taylor | November 5th, 2013 at 5:56 am

I would like to add my vote for returning to the practice of having a description of what the money is to be used for. As a lender, I feel very uncomfortable lending “MY MONEY” to someone who can’t be bothered to say where it will be going.


free-stater | November 5th, 2013 at 8:07 am

I agree with the others. I relied heavily on the description to decide who to loan money to. With this change, I will be putting my money elsewhere.


disqus_CRfDXEVoU9 | November 5th, 2013 at 11:13 am

The more information we have, the better. I’d even say borrowers should be sending in W-2s and most recent paystubs


bluefootedpig | November 8th, 2013 at 10:05 am

I am concerned about this as this was a key component of my criteria. I felt that someone who was unwilling to fill the info was more likely to default. Maybe I am wrong, and I am sure prosper could say if I am or not.

I guess I don’t like the idea of someone just filling in some boxes, it makes it for me, an investor, that these could be people looking to just make a quick 25k.

So my question back, is can we find out the default rate of those that did a description over those that didn’t?


Order23 | November 8th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

So when is the description field coming back then ?


Corey McDonald | November 20th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I agree. I would like to see this return. I think it was something that kept away bad borrowers. Just because we have more volume now probably means we have more bad borrowers and fewer ways to filter them out. I think I’m going to reduce my lending until it goes back on.


bobby | November 21st, 2013 at 11:47 am

Why not leave the field optional for borrowers? Like many here, I would prefer to invest in those who describe their loans and it matches my goals. For those who would drop off in the borrower application at this point, let them skip it. That would allow lenders who want to see descriptions to continue to invest in those taking the time to describe their loan and for borrowers who can’t be bothered to fill that out, they don’t have to.


Jeff deRhodes | November 24th, 2013 at 9:57 am

Hi Aaron, I fully support bringing these fields back.


John Curran | November 29th, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I will cease using (and recommending Prosper to my investing friends) until these fields are returned; it appears to me that Prosper needs some form of Investor Advisory board to help prevent missteps such as this in the future.


AnnG | December 3rd, 2013 at 8:04 am

I have stopped investing in Prosper until such time as this is changed. Every lender in the known universe requires a reason for borrowing, and if this is too hard to comprehend, you should hit up your family/friends for loans.
Like everyone who is a lender, I want to help people in need, but I want to know how my money is being spent.


evergreen16 | December 3rd, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Totally agree, and have stopped lending for the same reason.


Robert Smith | December 4th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Dear Generous Lemon,

Apparently, Prosper found $50+ dollars willing to be lent out to borrowers without a loan title/description fields. Apparently, these lenders understood what “purpose of the loan” meant.


Fred Huling | December 4th, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I agree wholeheartedly. I have stopped funding loans because I simply lack enough information. I have a background in retail lending which included HR clients. Scammers run when confronted with unveiling. Good people in a jam will work with a lender to everyone’s benefit. After all there is a profit to be made on lower credit ratings but one must be prudent.
Prosper has more info, i.e. the Prosper rating (1 through 11), but we are not privy to the basis. I feel patronized when Prosper hands me a list of preferred applicants. Lets put all prequalified applicants out on equal footing with adequate data for us to digest.


brian burke | December 6th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

What is the status of this? Has Prosper abandoned individual investors? I will start pulling money out of Prosper if the description doesn’t return. Make it optional for people. If they fill out the description in a meaningful, grammatically correct way, it adds confidence.


brian burke | December 6th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Yes but we have no opportunity to differentiate between a good and a bad business idea. Bring back descriptions or I will bail from Propser.


rberger909 | December 8th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I could’t agree more with my fellow loan funders, removing this information is a horrible idea. I’ve also got to question the logic of going “all in” on the borrowers side while the loan funders get less information and absolutely ZERO support in terms of recovering loans that have defaulted. As it sits plenty of loans default with the information we already get, getting less information is bound to see these defaults increase dramatically as scammers will see this as a great opportunity and it’s going to leave us loan funders holding the bag.


Samir Nainanajad | December 10th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Any updates on if and when Prosper is planning to bring these fields back?


Dan Federman | December 11th, 2013 at 10:41 am

The details field isn’t fact-checked, so it isn’t terribly useful. Though it was a good indication of whether a user could write a sentence (which may or may not be a good indicator as to whether the loan would be paid back).

I love the auto-invest feature, but I’d love to be able to access historical data in a machine-parsible format to better tune my auto-investing algorithm.


Steven | December 18th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

PROSPER – please let your lenders do their due diligence. I was going to invest but until you change your mind, I’ve changed my mind.


Greg Littleton | December 19th, 2013 at 4:08 am

I’m a borrower and I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to be here or not, but I thought I’d throw my 2 cents in anyways. I agree with those that want the reason for loan field added back in. If I was going to loan money out to someone, I would like to have basic knowledge to where the money is going to be used. As a borrower I don’t feel like its an invasion of my privacy having to explain why I need to borrow money, money which is someone else’s. Some of us out here are trying to get rid of our debt and if telling you where the money is going makes you feel better as a lender, and will help with your decision, then the field should be there. Plus in my in case, if you look at my DTI ratio, the first thing you would say is why should I loan this individual money. But if you know that I’m requesting this loan for consolidation reasons, to get rid of the high interest rate credit cards, maybe that will help in your decision


Andrea | December 29th, 2013 at 7:06 pm

How much longer do you need for this experiment? It appears you might be approving borrowers but won’t have any investors.


Doug | January 2nd, 2014 at 10:41 pm

They’ll have plenty of institutions investing, but they ARE cutting the individual out rather efficiently…


T_Will | January 4th, 2014 at 9:31 am

I won’t be investing anymore until the description field returns.


Galen M | January 12th, 2014 at 12:15 am

I am also going to reiterate my support for those fields. I think the power of Prosper is that the individual lenders can decide who to lend to or not lend to. I, personally, like to invest in lendee’s who are going to make good responsible decisions with the capital. The risk of default is brought on by the lender and therefore that information would aid on our decision to allocate money towards, what we may perceive, as higher risk investments or towards the types of lendee’s that we prefer, individually. I also believe that if the person didn’t take the time to fill out those fields then they probably don’t need my money. Please consider bringing these fields back.


eyeRollz | January 17th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

John, I totally agree. Part of what I looked at when deciding to invest in a certain note was the expense/income breakouts and the person’s story. Being able to ask questions was something I liked too. This feels less like peer-to-peer lending and more like taking a chance in the stock market. I really liked the personal feel and connection that I made to a borrower. Also seeing the list of all the investors was fun too. It made you feel like part of a community. This is feeling too institutionalized.


Damien | January 21st, 2014 at 7:50 am

Same. I was about to invest a lot, but clearly Prosper took a wrong turn. Their only goal is to increase the number of loans, disregarding the increasing risk for the investors. There is NO WAY someone who is not able or willing to explain clearly why he needs money isn’t highly risky. Only pawn shops do not ask for a clear description of the loan, and this is because they have a collateral. We don’t. As many other lenders, I stopped investing, and I am withdrawing slowly from Prosper. I originally left Lending Club for Prosper solely because of these “loan descriptions”, despite otherwise less attractive loans and features. I am now going back to LC: if I’m not going to get a loan description, I figured I’d at least go to a place where I can see hundreds of loans a day, with a lot higher interest rates. ( if I have to play the number games, I prefer to go for 25% interest rate, plan a 50% loss and expect 10 to 13%, than go blindly in Prosper for under 10% a loan and pray that they don’t default. Not only there is no information on the loans, but there are few numbers, very few loans, and almost NO loan with higher interest.

N.B: Over the past year, my prosper loans with a description proved to be flawless, not one late payment. I got MANY late payment from a couple loans that didn’t include the description but that I took anyways because they were rated higher (“A ” rating, while others were low ratings). Another proof that loan description works.


Damien | January 21st, 2014 at 8:05 am

lol. Credit data, more important? I am a lender with both Prosper and LC. I also invest in real estate (hard money lending), and total over $300,000 of cash investment that I can put on the table anytime, quite quickly. I tried to do a Prosper loan for $2,000, just to experience the other side, and was planning to pay it back within a couple of months… and my application was rejected: not good enough credit, according to Prosper, who redirected me to places I would be ashamed to name. ( by the way, I have no debt, never had a late payment, never will. Which, in Europe, would be considered very responsible and safe.)
The credit rating in the USA is a big joke, outdated and irrelevant, that nobody controls. I don’t trust it for myself and won’t trust it for others either.
How can you trust a credit rating that increases the more you get into debt, that goes down when you close a credit card, and that refuses to go higher if you are not making sure that you get all kind of imaginable credit, over a looong period of time… and on top of that, a credit rating that you can’t even know without paying. What a joke. This country has many jokes but the credit rating is one of the best.


Supermex | January 23rd, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Well since they refuse to bring back the field I have started pulling my money. I am leaning towards teaching them a lesson, I retire next year and will live overseas. I am past the point of needing credit as I have cash to buy what I want, once the individuals investor gets out I’ll take the max loan out with a title that says “kiss it good bye I’m not paying it back” since they auto loan based on credit and my score is around 800, I’ll get funded a buy a new jet ski and boat motor. Hum what an idea, if enough people do this they will go under…..


ocean-cruise | February 1st, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I picked which borrowers to lend to based on the loan description. I skipped the ones that don’t have this filled out. I don’t understand why Prosper would remove the field because some borrowers didn’t like it – they don’t have to fill it out, then. Let other borrowers fill it out. As far as I’m concerned, as a lender, if you don’t want to fill out the field, you’re not going to borrow my money. If it’s too intrusive, either don’t fill it out or don’t ask for a loan. As others have pointed out, other lenders happily loan their money to those without the loan description. That’s fine. Why can’t Prosper simply provide for both needs? Make the loan description field optional. Problem fixed.


W. A. Floyd | February 3rd, 2014 at 9:09 am

I agree with the other investors here. I would not invest my money with any borrower who could not make a clear explanation for why they needed the money and how they planned to use it and pay it back. A good description at least showed that the borrower had thought the process through. I would read every description, and so would notice those who had simply copied what others wrote; those I would avoid, since their lack of original effort made me think this laziness was likely a behavior pattern that might also indicate a lack of diligence with loan repayment. I would always avoid loans where the borrower would not fill out the description. If they do not value me enough to give me some useful information, then I do not feel convinced that they would make a serious effort to repay.


Remos | February 3rd, 2014 at 6:22 pm

The borrower who does not bother explaining the reason for money is red flag. Now, we have no idea on what money are spent


Stanley Ginn | February 6th, 2014 at 6:31 am

Please do restore the Loan Description and Loan Details Field. As lenders to a stranger, these information are vital and the only tools we have to go by rather to make the loan or not. More details about the borrower is always better for lenders. After all if they go to a bank for loans, look at all the paper work they have to fill out. If a borrower is that secretive about his/her background then they should not apply for these easier to get loans than anywhere else. As you are making decisions on this matter, do considered the lenders as much as the borrowers. After all it’s our money being given to a stranger and all we have to go by to give that money to them, at the present, is very scant information.


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Notice: Blogs and other materials posted on or linked from this page that use the name "Prosper" generally use that name to refer to Prosper Marketplace, Inc. if published before January 31, 2013 and to refer to Prosper Funding LLC if published on or after February 1, 2013.