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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

Behind the Scenes of Prosper’s SF Headquarters

By Sarah Cain

We recently moved into our new headquarters in San Francisco’s SoMa district. Before we were able to offer a look at our new office, San Francisco Business Times beat us to the punch, naming Prosper to its annual list of the coolest offices in the Bay Area!

We still want to take a moment to show some candid shots of our new (and fast-growing!) workspace. Working with architect Gensler, our goal with the design was to create various spaces that support different work styles and encourages employees to collaborate.

The flexible workspace lets people work how they want, whether they like working with background noise or in complete silence, and each person has desks that offer the option to stand or sit.

The open space is modern, simple and clean.

Prosper has been hiring aggressively this year, with no plans to slow down on the horizon. Over the past two years, we’ve grown from just 88 employees at the beginning of 2013 to approximately 500 employees total across our San Francisco, Phoenix and Salt Lake City offices.

We encourage our employees to live healthy, active lives. The vertical bike racks offer employees who ride to work a convenient place to store their bikes or scooters.

A pool table and rooftop garden offer escapes for employees to take a break from work.

While an aesthetically-pleasing, perk-filled office does not make a great company – it’s about the culture and team and an unwavering commitment to serving customers – there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of color once you’ve gotten a grip on those fundamentals.

 

08/17/2015 by in Featured, Prosper News

Prosper Introduces Sixth-Generation Credit Model

By Eric Thaller

We are very pleased to announce that starting Thursday evening, August 13th, Prosper will begin using an updated credit model, PMI 6.  We have many goals at Prosper, but first and foremost, we are focused on ensuring that the pricing, credit, risk and underwriting model we use is constantly improving. This benefits all of our customers – retail investors, institutional investors and our borrower members.

Advances in the credit model – from the early days, to PMI 4 in 2013, PMI 5 in 2014 and now PMI 6 – have enabled us to provide access to more loans to credit-worthy people for a variety of purposes, including consolidating high-interest debt. Since inception, more than $4 billion in loans have originated through the Prosper platform, and the company continues to grow as more people turn to Prosper for an easier and smarter way to borrow money.

The launch of PMI 6 underscores our commitment to ongoing improvement, and will enable us to continue our growth while maintaining loan quality.

Investors that have questions about PMI 6 can email the Prosper Investor Services team at investorteam@prosper.com.

08/12/2015 by in Featured, Lenders, Prosper Spotlights

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

OVERVIEW

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.

CONTEXT                           

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 TRANSCENDS DEMOGRAPHICS

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

ONLY ABOUT HALF OF CREDIT CARD HOLDERS PAY THEIR BALANCE IN FULL

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

MORE PEOPLE ARE FAMILIAR WITH INTEREST RATES THAN ANNUAL FEES

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

MOST PEOPLE WANT TO PAY OFF EACH CC INDIVIDUALLY

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

PEOPLE WANT TO BE OUT OF DEBT BUT DON’T WANT TO SACRIFICE LUXURIES

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

DEBT IS A MAJOR STRESS FACTOR

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

 

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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.