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. This means investors can have confidence in the system, and everyone benefits. On average, our investors earned about 7 percent 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 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.
CEO, Prosper Marketplace