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Prosper.com: P2P micro finance system

Prosper is America's largest people-to-people lending marketplace. Connecting people to people eliminates the need for borrowers to go through a bank for a loan—and fewer middlemen means Prosper lenders also benefit.

At a Glance
* Launched 2006
* America's largest people-to-people lending marketplace
* Over 830,000 members
* Over $178,000,000 in loans funded on Prosper

People who register as Prosper lenders set the minimum interest rate they are willing to earn and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings they select. In addition to criteria commonly used by institutional lenders, such as credit scores and histories, Prosper lenders can consider borrowers' personal stories, endorsements from friends, and group affiliations.

Borrowers create loan listings for up to $25,000 and set the maximum rate they are willing to pay a lender. Then the auction begins as Prosper lenders can bid down the interest rate. Once the auction ends, Prosper takes the bids with the lowest rates and combines them into one simple loan to the borrower. Prosper handles all on-going loan administration tasks including loan repayment and collections on behalf of the matched borrower and lenders.

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Update: the Securities and Exchange Commission has shut them down.
 
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