October 29, 2009 Review

Lending Club sets higher standards for prospective borrowers than most social lending sites. FICO credit scores must be at least 640; even lenders need a certain net worth to join. Unlike member-run auction sites like Prosper and Loanio, Lending Club sets the interest rates. The result is less guesswork for lenders and guaranteed low rates for borrowers with the best credit histories.

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The opposite of most social lending sites, Loanio welcomes borrowers with poor credit. It’s an auction-based site like Prosper, but provides extra tools and more flexible terms that give have-nots a better crack at getting a loan, albeit with heavier fees.

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Launched in early 2006, is the granddaddy of social lending sites and the best all-around community for borrower and lender alike. Application requirements allow in all but the worst credit offenders. Lenders enjoy useful loan filtering tools and a robust auction platform for bidding on the most attractive investments. Unfortunately, Prosper currently is in a quiet period likely to last well into 2009 as it files with the SEC to launch a secondary loan market competitive with the LendingClub’s. In the meantime Prosper is not accepting any new lenders or funding loans, only servicing existing ones.

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