US-based online person-to-person loan exchange Prosper says it has signed its 100,000th member and presided over $20 million in loan agreements in its first six months of operation.
The company, modelled on the UK's Zopa loans marketplace, was launched by Chris Larsen, co-founder of E-Loan, and technology entrepeneur John Witchel, in February 2006.
Larsen says the figures signal a shift in the way Americans are managing their money, as individuals look to gain more personal control over their finances and investments. "Over 100,000 individuals are now funding more than $20 million in loans in a marketplace that has historically been dominated by larger financial institutions, and we believe that these numbers will only continue to increase as more people realise the financial benefits available to them through participation in the credit marketplace," he says.
Prosper will soon face competitions from the UK-based Zopa marketplace which earlier this year secured $15 million in series b funding to support a US-based start-up. Zopa too claims to have reached the 100,000 customer milestone mark in the past month. Since its UK launch in March 2005, the company has overseen several hundred loans worth millions of pounds with no bad debt.