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Tennessee Daughter Turns Garage into Home for Her Aging Mother

By Sarah Cain

As the population ages, there are more people in nursing homes and more adult children caring for elderly parents too. Turning a home into a safe place for the elderly isn’t easy, and families often need to revamp their homes to accommodate adding more people to the same space. That’s what Kelli MacDonald-Risner of Maryville, Tennessee, dealt with after her mother was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Kelli’s mother raised her and her sister all on her own and worked full time, but was still able to take her daughters on vacations to SeaWorld and other places. A few years ago, Kelli noticed changes in her mom’s behavior and doctors ordered tests to find out the cause — Alzheimer’s. Kelli decided that if her mother couldn’t live on her own then she belonged with her family, so she began making arrangements to move her into her suburban home near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

With four children of her own, Kelli and her husband already had a full house. With all bedrooms occupied, the only space that could accommodate her mother was the garage. Kelli decided to remodel it into a small “in-law” apartment, but in order to do that, she needed a loan.

Initially, Kelli’s bank approved the loan application but requested additional information. Then the bank rescinded its offer of credit, saying the loan was a “bad investment.” Kelli was even more determined to get the money so she could help her mother.

Kelli and her husband didn’t know where they were going to find the money for the remodel, but then they saw an advertisement for loans through Prosper on CreditKarma.com. They researched Prosper online and initially thought “it sounded a little too good to be true,” Kelli admits. But they went ahead and applied for a loan.

The application process was quick and easy, and within a week they had their loan. They immediately started the remodeling and in a relatively short time they had turned their old garage into a spacious apartment with a living room, kitchen, dining area, bedroom and bathroom. Kelli’s mom would retain her independence but have the security and peace of mind knowing that her daughter’s family was just steps away.

Kelli is thankful to Prosper and its community for enabling her to care for her mother at her home and to keep her family together.

Note: This post is based on a video submitted to our $2 Billion Strong Contest. To see more videos, visit our Facebook page.

All loans through Prosper are made by WebBank, a Utah-chartered industrial bank, member FDIC.

08/31/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured

Helping People Celebrate Life’s Milestones

By Sarah Cain

When Prosper customer Madeline Lauro wanted to provide her daughter with her dream wedding, she was stuck. She didn’t have the money upfront to pay for the wedding cake, photography, DJ and other wedding expenses. Rather than putting a large purchase on her credit card, Madeline decided to use Prosper to apply for a loan. She was approved, and had her funds within a week.

Celebrating a major milestone like an engagement, wedding, birthday or anniversary can be both exciting and stressful when it comes to the cost. Increasingly, people are realizing that rather than borrow money through high-rate credit cards, there are options to take out loans at more competitive rates through peer-to-peer lending or what is now commonly called “marketplace lending.”

At Prosper, our mission is to advance people’s financial well being. We are inspired by customer stories like Madeline’s, where Prosper was able to provide access to a customer-friendly, affordable option. The process is easy, and borrowers typically receive loans within four to five days, instead of the typical 10 days it takes to get a traditional bank loan. Loans are also fixed rate, fixed term and there is no pre-payment penalty. To get started, visit www.prosper.com.

All loans made by WebBank, a Utah-chartered industrial Bank, member FDIC.

08/26/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured

New Prosper Marketplace Survey Examines Credit Card Debt in America

By Sarah Cain

How much would you be willing to give up for instant credit card relief? Not dining out for 10 years? 20 years of gym membership? Never getting to see the final Game of Thrones episode? Listening to one band for the rest of your life? A new survey commissioned by Prosper Marketplace reveals some interesting findings about how people are planning to tackle debt and what sacrifices they’re willing to make to get out of the red.

The survey also found that credit card debt is not just a generational problem. Millennials, baby boomers and seniors alike are dealing with credit card debt. In fact, the average American household carries $15,863 of total credit card debt. Increasingly, however, people are realizing there are options for paying off debt and getting their financial life back on track so they can get back to doing things that give them pleasure. One of the options that people are using to consolidate debt is alternative lending services such as loans through Prosper.

For example, Sarah Thomas, a single mother who pursued a Master’s in nursing, consolidated her financial debt and got her finances under control with lower interest and better terms. While Sarah is still paying off debt, a loan through Prosper gave her access to a loan that was fixed-term and fixed-rate, so she has an easy, streamlined way to deal with her debt and a clear path to relief.

Some of the other key findings in the survey include:

  • Credit card debt is a major stress factor, with 19.5 percent saying it’s higher stress than their jobs and 9.9 percent of people saying it’s more stressful than personal health issues.
  • 13.7 percent of people have no plan for tackling credit card debt.
  • Only about half of credit card holders pay their balance in full.
  • More than one in ten people would be homeless for one year if it meant they could immediately get out of their current debt.
  • 30.2 percent of people said they would never get a credit card again if it meant they could be absolved of credit card debt. And almost 5 percent would end their current romantic relationship.
  • Better yet, 15.3 percent would get no closure on “Game of Thrones” if their credit card debt vanished.

Marketplace lending is opening the doors for more people to consolidate debt and pay it off faster. Read on below for a more comprehensive overview of our findings.

All loans through Prosper made by FDIC-member banks.

Debt Consolidation in the United States


From July 10-13, 2015 Prosper Marketplace commissioned a Google survey that polled 517 adult Americans about their credit card debt to get some context around the existing statistics. The survey looked at how much debt people have, how they plan to tackle it, and how far they would go to rid themselves of it.


The average American has four credit cards, and the average American household carries $15,706 of total credit card debt. Given that large amount, more consumers are looking to alternative lending channels for debt consolidation. Prosper Marketplace wanted to better understand how people are managing that debt, from a tactical and emotional perspective.


Key Findings


Credit card debt seems to be a universal problem: There was no statistical difference between the responses received from respondents of various age and income groups, showing that earning levels have minimal bearing on this problem.

 Age groups of respondents


Income groups of respondents


When it comes to how much of their balances people pay and how they do it, 15.9 percent pay the minimum balance owed on their credit card, while 17.3 percent pay whatever they can afford that month. 37.4 percent of those who have a credit card pay the statement balance or current balance month to month, showing that the majority of respondents are carrying at least some of their balance over to the next month on a regular basis.

How people handle their credit card payments


A majority of the respondents (48 percent) knew what their credit card(s) interest rate(s) was, but only about 14 percent knew what their annual fees where. 

Familiarity with credit card interest rates and annual fees


36.5 percent said their plan for getting out of debt was paying off each credit card individually, while 13.7 percent had no plan for tackling their credit card debt. Only 1.8 percent said they would consolidate their debt by transferring balances to another card.


Preferred plan of action for tackling credit card debt


Prosper Marketplace asked people what luxury – of comparable monetary value – they would consider doing or not doing, if it meant they could immediately get out of their current debt. A majority of the respondents (46.3 percent) were not willing to give up any of these luxuries. Highlights include:

  • Only 27.3 percent people would not take a vacation for the next 5 years
  • 16.1 percent would not go to the gym for 20 years
  • 14.5 percent would not dine out for the next 10 years

Note: These figures are based on the average amount spent annually by Americans on each category (housing costs, insurance expenditures, amount spent on vacations, etc.), and extrapolated to equal $15,706 (source: Federal Reserve). They are as follows:

  • Housing: $1,200 monthly (CBS MoneyWatch)
  • Insurance: $6,025 annually (Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • Vacation: $1,200 annually (American Express)
    • Dining Out: $1,500 annually (Forbes)
    • Gym Membership: $660 annually (U.S. News and World Report)
    • Alcohol Expenditure: $400 annually (Bureau of Labor and Statistics) 

Luxuries people are willing to give up to get out of current debt

Prosper Marketplace also asked people if they would be willing to do any of the following activities if it meant they could be absolved of credit card debt immediately. 30.2 percent said they would never get a credit card again, yet 70 percent of people in debt would still want the purchasing power of a credit card. 8.3 percent said they would be willing to listen exclusively to Nickelback for the rest of their lives, while only 2.9 percent said they would sacrifice a limb, if their debt vanished.

Activities people would do if their credit card debt vanished


Credit card debt tops the list of stress factors in many respondents’ lives. 19.5 percent said credit card debt was more stressful than their jobs, while almost 10 percent said it was more stressful than the death of a pet or personal health issues.

Level of credit card stress compared to other stress factors




08/06/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured

Building a Real Estate Business One Property at a Time

Posted by Bill Walker

The average listing price of a 3-bedroom home in Kansas City is $120,000. That’s no small change for a college student looking to get into the real estate business.

Meet Jordan Mackey of Bonner Springs, Kansas. Nestled among rolling hills and situated along the Kansas River, Bonner Springs is a small suburban neighborhood outside Kansas City. In 2009 Jordan had plans to start his own real estate and property management company. He had the passion for the work, but not the capital needed to get started buying properties.

“My first [loan] got me into the real estate game. I was a young pup and didn’t really know what I was doing, but I had already purchased my first home with tax credit,” Jordan says.

Jordan heard about Prosper Marketplace from a friend who said it was a good alternative to credit cards or traditional bank loans for obtaining a personal loan. After learning more about the fixed-term, fixed-rate loans Prosper provides access to, he knew it was the perfect way to finance his business.

Jordan applied for a $15,000 loan that was quickly approved and funded, giving him the capital he needed to get his business off the ground. Jordan paid off the loan, refinanced the first house he bought and since then has take out two additional loans through Prosper. His business has now expanded to four properties.

Jordan’s real estate business Rnt2KC isn’t simply about renovating homes for a quick profit. It’s about revitalizing neighborhoods, helping people find the home of their dreams and improving the city’s neighborhoods. He’s thankful to the Prosper community for helping him get his business off the ground.

Note: This post is based on a video submitted to our $2 Billion Strong Contest. To see more videos, visit our Facebook page.

All loans are personal loans made by FDIC-member banks. Equal Housing Lending.

08/05/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured

Couple’s Dream of Parenthood Comes Within Reach

Posted by Sarah Cain

Houston couple Carolina and Alex struggled with getting pregnant. Like one in eight couples in the U.S. that deal with infertility, they learned that their best chance of starting a family would be through in vitro fertilization treatment. The news improved their spirits, until they saw the price tag.

The average cost for an IVF cycle is $12,400, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, an amount that was beyond their means. Carolina and Alex decided to look into affordable options to pay for the procedure, a process that led them to Prosper. After taking out a loan through Prosper, they were able to pay for the complex and costly procedure, as well as for the necessary medications and diet supplements. “As of now, we don’t know if we will have a baby, but we’d like to say, ‘Thank you, Prosper, for giving us hope,’” Alex says.

A recent study by Prosper Marketplace found that cost is by far the most significant concern for women undergoing infertility treatments, even outweighing the health or emotional aspects. In fact, nearly half of respondents have incurred more than $10,000 in debt, and in the majority of cases insurance covered less than 50 percent of the total cost of fertility treatments. With three and five year loans that are fixed term, fixed rate and competitively priced, Prosper offers many people access to a smart and affordable option for financing fertility treatments or other medical expenses.

Note: This post is based on a video submitted to Prosper’s $2 Billion Strong Contest. To see more videos, visit Prosper’s Facebook page.

All loans through Prosper are made by FDIC-member banks.

07/24/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured


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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.