Prosper Marketplace just closed out our first quarter and we’re very pleased to report that it was our strongest yet. In the first quarter of 2015, Prosper facilitated a record $595 million in loans through the platform, up 200% from the first quarter a year ago. We attribute this to the increasing awareness of Prosper combined with the rapid growth across the entire consumer marketplace lending industry. On the borrower side, we continue to see more people turn to us for access to three types of personal loans (debt consolidation, large purchases and business loans based on personal credit). They are attracted by the competitive rates and convenience over traditional lending. We also continue to speak with a variety of investors who want access to this asset class.
As we plan for more growth this year and beyond, our focus remains on building a business for the long term. This means focusing on quality underwriting, people and a scalable technology infrastructure. I often say that underwriting is the most important thing we do here at Prosper, and that continues to be true. Our investors have come to rely on the quality and predictability of our platform. We’re also actively working on building out our verification and customer service teams (among other parts of the business) so that we can deliver the best customer service experience in the industry.
On the borrower side, more and more Americans are turning to marketplace lending to finance their home improvement projects, elective medical procedures, special occasions (such as weddings and vacations), and to start small businesses. People are taking out personal loans not just to get their finances in order, but to make their lives happier and less stressful. One example is Cheri of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s a single mom who adopted two children from Haiti. After an expensive four-year adoption process, she struggled financially. With a loan through Prosper, Cheri was able to get back on track.
To help reach new types of borrowers, Prosper Marketplace announced that it acquired American Healthcare Lending in February, now Prosper Healthcare Lending. This incredible group of people, who are now Prosper Marketplace employees, are bringing awareness of marketplace lending as a consumer-friendly financing option for medical procedures. Prosper Marketplace also partnered with a consortium of community banks through Western Independent Bankers to enable them to offer customers access to affordable consumer loans.
We are continuing to build the Prosper team and are always looking for great people. We currently have more than 30 job openings listed on our site, so if you are interested in being a part of what we are building, apply or tell a friend. We have almost 400 employees between San Francisco, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, and will continue to grow well beyond that.
We’re grateful to our loyal borrower members, investors and partners and look forward working with all of you in the future.
From April 16 – 21, Prosper Marketplace sponsored a study of 213 American females between the ages of 25 and 54 from MarketCube, a research panel company, about their experiences trying to conceive a child with fertility treatments.
Each respondent had to meet the following criteria to participate:
Between 25 – 54 years old
Either actively trying or have tried to have a child and experienced difficulty conceiving (defined as at least six months of trying prior to pursuing treatment)
Are actively going through or have gone through fertility treatments
According to the CDC, 12 percent of women of childbearing age (15-44) have received treatment for infertility – a total that equals 7.3 million U.S. women. Even considering this scope, though, it’s exceedingly rare for health insurers to cover the majority of the cost incurred by infertility treatments. In many cases coverage at all is a rarity.
Just 15 states have passed laws that require insurers to cover infertility diagnosis and treatment, while an additional 13 states have laws that require insurance companies to cover infertility treatment. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the average cost of an in vitro fertility treatment cycle is $12,400.
Our study found that the majority of women (84 percent of those surveyed) undergo at least two cycles of IVF, and as a result are struggling with the financial implications of infertility. The majority of respondents have incurred considerable debt (especially credit card debt) as a result of these treatments. In fact, our survey found that the financial implications of infertility far outweighed the health or emotional concerns.
Also of note is the large disparity between women incurring credit card debt as opposed to debt from alternative lending options, many of which can offer considerably lower interest rates and more favorable repayment terms than traditional credit cards.
Prosper Marketplace conducted the survey to better understand the challenges that women are facing when it comes to financing fertility treatments. In February 2015, Prosper Marketplace acquired American Healthcare Lending, now Prosper Healthcare Lending. The company, which is one of the fastest growing providers of patient financing, gives Prosper Marketplace the opportunity to bring consumer-friendly personal loan options to people who need to finance their medical procedures.
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.
BIGGEST CONCERNS ABOUT FERTILITY TREATMENTS
Cost is by far the most significant concern for women undergoing infertility treatment, with nearly 84 percent of respondents saying they were concerned or very concerned about financing treatments.
When we break out by age groups, the numbers shift in some interesting places. While cost remains the single-biggest concern across the board, the younger set is far more concerned with the emotional and societal pressures than older respondents.
NUMBER OF FERTILITY CYCLES
The majority of respondents have completed 2+ fertility cycles to date.
PROFILE OF FERTILITY CYCLES
PERCENTAGE OF COSTS COVERED BY INSURANCE
In a majority of cases, insurance covered less than 50 percent of the total cost of fertility treatments. For more than 20 percent of those surveyed, insurance covered nothing.
PRIMARY PAYMENT METHODS
Fewer than 30 percent relied on health insurance as their primary payment method (top chart refers to whether a payment method was used at all in paying for fertility treatment; bottom chart refers to primary payment method for fertility treatment).
TOTAL AMOUNT OF DEBT FROM FERTILITY TREATMENTS
70 percent of those surveyed incurred some degree of debt from their fertility treatments. Nearly half (44 percent) incurred more than $10,000 in debt from fertility treatments. For younger women (25-34), this jumped to 52.4 percent incurring more then $10,000 in debt. For the same age, more 26 percent reported incurring more than $30,000 of debt.
TOTAL DEBT FROM THOSE USING CREDIT CARDS
Respondents that used credit cards to pay for at least part of their fertility treatment were more likely to incur at least $10,000 in debt. Also of note, less than three percent of respondents relied on peer-to-peer loans, an increasingly popular and effective way to consolidate credit card debt, as a form of payment.
HOW COSTS IMPACT TREATMENT CHOICES
For nearly half of those polled (49 percent), costs impacted the level of treatment they ultimately chose to pursue (less expensive treatment or facility). Almost 34 percent of those women had to stop treatment due to costs.
BIGGEST CONCERNS RELATED TO FERTILITY TREATMENTS
Once treatments began, cost remained the single largest concern – closely followed by the emotional impact of fertility treatments.
REASONS FOR DELAYING TREATMENT
The cost of treatments was also the single largest factor for those respondents that initially decided to delay fertility treatment – nearly 82 percent.
PUTTING OTHER FINANCIAL GOALS ON HOLD
Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed put other financial goals on hold to receive fertility treatments. The primary things put on hold were travel and buying a home.
SUPPORT AT WORK
More than 33 percent of respondents reported their employers to be less than “Supportive” of women’s health issues. Getting time off was the most prevalent issue with those that felt their employers were not supportive.
In February of 2015, Prosper Marketplace announced that we had acquired our first company – American Healthcare Lending (now Prosper Healthcare Lending). Since that time, we’ve learned a lot about the healthcare industry and the opportunity to bring a consumer-friendly personal loan product to people who need to finance medical procedures. As awareness of marketplace lending has grown, we’ve also heard inspiring stories from people who have used a loan through Prosper* to finance medical procedures that were either not covered by insurance or were out of reach due to high deductibles. This includes Scott, who took out a loan through Prosper to fund bariatric surgery that saved his life. He shared his emotional story with us in this video.
The stories of how our customers used a loan through Prosper to help them achieve their goals are inspiring, and we wanted to learn more about the economics of elective procedures, as well as the hurdles people are facing. We decided to start with one procedure that is becoming more commonplace than ever before: fertility treatments. More than 7.4 million women in the U.S. have had them, with 175,000 procedures in 2013 alone at an average cost of $12,400 per cycle.
Working with Market Cube, we commissioned a survey to find out more about the assisted reproduction process and what barriers women face, including how they pay for treatments and what the financial impact is given that only 15 states require coverage for infertility treatments. What we found was compelling, and underscored our belief that marketplace lending can make a positive impact on people looking to finance these types of procedures.
First and foremost, the survey told us that cost was by far the biggest cause of concern for woman considering fertility treatment. In fact, financial impact outweighed the health or emotional concerns for women when seeking treatment. Furthermore, the survey found that 84% of women have concerns about how they can finance their fertility treatment, and one-third had actually delayed treatment for financial reasons.
When it comes to insurance coverage, fewer than half of the respondents relied on health insurance to pay for treatments, and less than 30 percent used insurance as the primary payment method.
The survey also gave us insights into the types of financial burden that can come with fertility. According to the survey, more than 70 percent incurred some degree of debt from fertility treatments and nearly half of those incurred more than $10,000 in debt. Additionally, nearly 30 percent used credit cards, with close to half of those using credit cards as the primary payment method
Overwhelmingly, the survey showed us that when it comes to starting the process of fertility treatments, cost is by far the thing that concerns patients the most. We also learned that today, only 2.3 percent of those surveyed had used peer-to-peer lending as a payment method, bringing us to the conclusion that more awareness is needed about how a marketplace loan can offer an affordable way to manage the costs associated with this and other important medical procedures.
When insurance isn’t an option, loans through marketplace lenders can offer a better way to borrow money than racking up credit card bills. The process is fast and convenient, freeing up time to focus on family building instead of finances.
For a more detailed overview of the report’s findings, click here.
*All loans through Prosper are made by FDIC Member Banks.
For 16 years, Danny Clark has worked as a customer service engineer for a telecommunications company in Indianapolis, but for years he also harbored another secret desire: to become a race car driver. Unless you’re backed by a giant company though, that can quickly become a prohibitively expensive hobby. He tried to take out a loan three years ago to make his dream come true, but local banks all turned him away. So, he turned to marketplace lending.
Today, Danny drives his outlaw Micro Sprint, an open-wheel racing car with a 600cc motorcycle motor, in 20 to 25 races per year in Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and Oklahoma in his spare time. Here, Danny shares how a five-year loan through Prosper helped him pursue his lifelong passion:
How did you learn about Prosper?
The local banks didn’t want to help me out. I was going to fund some of it myself and get a personal loan for the rest of it, but the local banks weren’t an option. That’s when I started asking around about other loan options, and a family member told me about peer-to-peer lending and specifically, Prosper. It sounded like just the thing I was looking for.
How has Prosper helped you fund your car racing hobby?
In the first year of racing, the initial investment for a car, trailer, tools and other things costs a fair amount of money — about $30,000 for me. After the initial investment, the ongoing cost isn’t as bad as long as you don’t tear up your equipment. The second year, expenses were about half of what they were the first year, about $15,000 give or take. This year, I’m already at $6,000. As long as I stay in the same car, don’t wreck my equipment and keep recurring costs low — I had one major wreck last year — I can take care of the costs myself and work on paying off my loan.
What’s one of the biggest benefits of marketplace lending?
With the loan through Prosper, I can still race, pay the recurring costs on my own, make my normal payments and save in my 401K. Some people may have a dream car or dream house. You can probably get a loan from the local bank for those things. For buying a sprint car, you can’t just go through the classic loan options. Prosper allows you to take care of that initial investment, turn it into a payment plan and continue to pay your bills. It was such a simple, easy process from the response via email to checking on loan status online.
What tips would you give others with similarly expensive hobbies?
I believe it’s good to pay for things with cash and have the money upfront. I’ve done that for many years and still have a retirement account. But racing cars is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. The process to fill out the Prosper application was really simple and quick. It’s a lifestyle decision in my mind. If there are other hobbies you want to do, Prosper gives you the ability to do that and be reasonable about it because traditional banks typically have higher interest rates than those you can get through Prosper.
*Loans through Prosper are made by WebBank, a Utah-chartered industrial bank, member FDIC. Annual Percentage Rate depends on credit history, income, and other factors.
Today we are very excited to announce we have officially surpassed $3 billion in personal loans issued through the Prosper platform since inception. In April 2014, we announced that we crossed the $1 billion mark. It took us eight years to reach that milestone and it was huge achievement for our company. Just six months later, in October 2014, we announced that we crossed $2 billion in loans. And now, just five months after that, we’ve surpassed $3 billion. In addition, we closed out a record first quarter with $595 million in loans through the platform in the first quarter of 2015. Since 2006 we have helped hundreds of thousands of people get one step closer to achieving their financial goals.
We could not have achieved this success without the Prosper community. We’re grateful to borrowers, investors and partners that have worked with us over the years. At Prosper, our customers’ stories inspire us, and so this week, we want to highlight some of these great stories on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Please visit us on social to read about how people have used a Prosper loan for everything from debt consolidation to paying for medical expenses to home improvement and special occasions. We also want to hear from you. We hope you’ll continue to share your stories through a tweet or comment on our Facebook page using the hashtag #HowIProsper.
As we build our business, we continue to look for new partnerships and opportunities to bring our product to more people. To this end, Prosper made two significant announcements so far in 2015:
In February Prosper Marketplace announced its first acquisition of American Healthcare Lending. The addition of what is now Prosper Healthcare Lending gives us the opportunity to bring a consumer-friendly option for financing elective medical procedures to an industry that has been characterized by high rates and a lack of options.
Prosper Marketplace also announced its first partnership with a consortium of community banks through Western Independent Bankers, giving more than 160 independent and community banks in 13 western states in the U.S. unprecedented access to affordable consumer loans through the Prosper platform.
We are also proud of the awards and recognition we have received this year. Prosper was recently named one of Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies in America” in 2015 and is part of the Always On 2015 OnFinance Top 100, an award recognizing the most promising private companies in business, personal finance and digital currencies. For the past three years Prosper has been recognized as one of the fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times.
Thank you to all of our customers and partners for your continued support. Every day we are working hard to exceed your expectations of what a financial company can be.
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.
As of February 1, 2013, the Prosper marketplace was transferred by Prosper Marketplace, Inc. to Prosper Funding LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prosper Marketplace, Inc. From and after February 1, 2013 Prosper Funding LLC is the sole obligator of Notes offered and secured by loans made through the Prosper marketplace, including Notes originally issues by Prosper Marketplace, Inc. prior to such transfer. Prosper Marketplace Inc. contiinues to provide services to Prosper Funding LLC relating to loan and Note servicing, and may interact with borrowers and investors in relation thereto as agent of Prosper Funding, LLC. Except where otherwise noted, throughout this website "Prosper" refers to Prosper Funding LLC including acting directly or through its agents.
All personal loans are made by WebBank, a Utah-chartered Industrial Bank. All Prosper personal loans are unsecured, fully amortizing personal loans.
Notes offered by Prospectus. Notes investors receive are dependent for payment on personal loans to borrowers. Not FDIC-insured; Investments may lose value; No Prosper or bank guarantee. Prosper does not verify all information provided by borrowers in listings. Investors should review the prospectus before investing.