Monday, April 24, 2006

Prosper Improves Tools For Lenders

Last week, I received a newsletter from Prosper that detailed some new features they have added to improve the site for lenders. These feature are:

  • Additional credit data, including "current delinquencies" and "adverse public records" to assist lenders in verifying a borrower's stated credit history. This info is only visible to lenders.
  • Special icons identify homeowners and borrowers with verified bank accounts. Personally, I find this last one somewhat pointless. Prosper verifies people's bank account anyway, which needs to be done because payments are made via automatic electronic withdrawals, so it seems to me like every borrower on Prosper will have a verified bank account.
  • The number of listings a borrower has made in the past 30 days has been added. There has been some problems with people posting listings that are basically advertising - they have no intention of borrowing money and cancel the listing as soon as it has enough bids to fund. Since bidding ties up a lender's funds for the duration of the listing, people abusing the system like this are costing lenders money. This will help lenders avoid such people.
  • Lender statements.
The last item is something that I like. I just received mine today and it presents a good view of your account. There are some things that might be confusing. For example, when you make a bid that doesn't win or where the listing is withdrawn, the amount still shows up in your Account Activity summary. For example, I deposited $500 and I had three $100 bids get cancelled. My account activity shows $800 total credits and $-800 total debits. Since I only put $500 into the system, this immediately jumped out at me. What is happening is the three $100 bids are shown as debits and when they were cancelled, the funds were added back as credits. It understandable, but could be confusing to new users. To their credit, they do provide a detail section that breaks out the bid cancellations.

The one thing that is nice in the statement is a chart showing the allocation of your loans across the various credit ratings. Here's mine:

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