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Karate Academy Improves Student Training with New Equipment

Posted by Bill Walker

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

Kevin Johannes, a seventh degree black belt and owner of TASK Karate Academy, borrows through Prosper Loans because it offers him the best interest rates. But, that’s not the sole purpose of his loans.

As the owner of a karate and family fitness center in Wixom, Michigan, Johannes took out a loan to buy new exercise equipment for the preschool and kindergarten programs. With new foam machines and trampolines, preschoolers can grow strong and stay active, and kindergarteners develop tactical skills by practicing rolls on new floor mats and kicks with target aids.

The Dojo, or training hall, is fully matted for safety and mirrors help students develop proper form. Students use heavy bags, focus mitts and kick target aids to improve their technique and learn proper contact. Because the academy has updated equipment, students receive more advanced training and are winning more competitions, including the World Karate & Kickboxing Commission World Championships. Johannes is thankful to the Prosper community for helping him teach young kids karate skills and self discipline with updated equipment — and we’re thankful to him for training a new generation of karate kids!

03/04/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured, Lenders, Personal Finance Education, Prosper News, Prosper Spotlights

Prosper Marketplace Partnership with Western Independent Bankers Expands Credit Opportunities for Small Banks and Their Customers

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.

Aaron Vermut

CEO, Prosper Marketplace

02/26/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured, Lenders, Personal Finance Education, Prosper News, Prosper Spotlights

Prosper Marketplace Announces Acquisition of American Healthcare Lending

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.

01/27/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured, Lenders, Prosper News, Prosper Spotlights

Prosper Updates its Data Policies and Reiterates Commitment to Investors and Data Quality

Prosper has recently made the following updates to its API and data files:

1. As of January 25th, historical data for each calendar quarter will now be made available 45 days after the close of the quarter.
2. Investors on the Prosper platform will still have access to the same data for new listings as they are deciding whether or not to bid on loans.
3. Additionally, investors will still have access to the same performance data for the notes and loans they own.

We are making these changes in order to protect our intellectual property and proprietary data, not to inhibit our clients who are using the data for their credit models and to make investment decisions. We understand that our investors need our data to analyze investment performance, but we also need to ensure that people can’t reverse engineer our underwriting model. One of Prosper’s main competitive advantages is our data asset, and we have spent a considerable amount of time and effort building it. These changes strike a balance between maintaining appropriate levels of transparency and protecting our intellectual property.

We remain committed to providing a true marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. We will continue to be a collaborative player and support our clients, partners, and the industry ecosystem, and we have plans this year to invest in building the retail channel. We look forward to working with all our investors and are committed to answering any additional questions about these changes.

Investors can contact us at investorteam@prosper.com or by phone at 877-611-8797.

01/26/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured, Lenders, Prosper News, Prosper Spotlights

Starting 2015 with Community, Quality, Partners and Focus

We’ve just wrapped up 2014 and what a year it has been for everyone in our industry. First and foremost we want to say thank you to our customers, partners and investors. We could not have done it without you.

One of the big highlights of 2014 was our $2 Billion Strong Photo and Video Contests. We heard amazing stories from every corner of the country that reminded us of why we do what we do everyday. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the gallery, the videos and photos are still available on our Facebook page. In addition to the winners, here are a few more of my favorite videos:

We Bought a Bus!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpd8bLdbF5Y#t=97

Cruiser’s Special Journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxFEyzjZHFQ#t=102

In December, we reached $205 million in loan originations through the Prosper platform – our largest month ever and a great finale to the year. In total in 2014, there was $1.6 billion in loan originations on the Prosper platform and more than 123,000 people have turned to the platform for loans for everything from home improvement to debt consolidation to medical procedures as highlighted in the videos and photos above. We’re thrilled by the opportunity and humbled by the momentum and potential of our company and our industry. You may wonder why we are seeing such uptick and growth. There are a number of reasons:

  • Awareness — Word is getting out that people have alternatives to credit cards and traditional bank loans to get access to credit. As a result, lending marketplaces are becoming mainstream, much like ridesharing and other innovative online marketplaces are becoming more popular.
  • Quality — At Prosper we have a proprietary formula for assessing the risk of our borrowers with verification and validation of a host of criteria. Our first time borrowers fall within the prime or super-prime range, with an average FICO score between 700 and 710[1]. This means investors can have confidence in the system, and everyone benefits. On average, our investors earned about 7 percent[2] in 2014.
  • Convenience — In addition to low rates, one of the biggest benefits for borrowers is the ease and speed with which they can get loans online: 4-5 days[3] rather than the 10 days or more it could take getting a traditional bank loan. Our customers also love the flexibility of online borrowing; we work around your schedule.
  • Partners — Prosper works with a number of partners, which include credit education sites, airlines and mortgage originators that help us get the word out about the benefits of working with Prosper. We continue to look for new companies that we can partner with to help our mutual customers.
  • Repeat visitors — After experiencing Prosper, many of our customers have started turning to us again for help through the various moments in their lives when they need financial support – medical bills, wedding expenses, travel costs or a second-car.

We’re building a strong community, with quality borrowers, confident investors and a growing numbers of partners. And we’re expanding our company and investing in people to meet the demand for services. Prosper Marketplace is up to 240 employees, with a thriving new office in Phoenix and new headquarters in San Francisco.  And we’re going to keep growing — Prosper Marketplace is looking to add significantly more people to its team in the coming year.

But one thing that remains constant is our focus on the community we’ve built through our marketplace. So you’ll see new services and features coming in 2015 that are designed to enhance the borrowing and lending experiences even more – area like mobile access, and even faster verification and validation.

It’s been a fantastic journey so far, and we’re grateful to our customers, partners and investors that have joined us. We feel this is only the beginning, so stay tuned for more in 2015.

Aaron Vermut

CEO, Prosper Marketplace



[1] Average FICO score for first-time borrowers who obtained loans in 2014

[2] Average investor return of about 7% is based on estimated return of loans originated in 2014

[3] Average time Prosper borrowers obtain loan based on loan originations in 2014

 

 

01/07/2015 by in Borrowers, Featured, Lenders, Personal Finance Education

 

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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.