Web-based money companies

These competitors may be worth watching when you’re formulating your CU’s strategic direction

by Charlene Komar Storey

Web-based companies that offer businesses and individuals access to funds run the gamut. Some are dedicated to these transactions, while others are in different fields but have seen the opportunities offered by leveraging the information they have on their customers.  Most dodge the cost and red tape of government regulations by avoiding traditional loan structures.  One thing they all seem to have in common is that they’re growing with astonishing speed.

Here’s a summary of some Web-based “money companies” that your credit union might want to watch as you formulate strategy.

  • Lending Club connects borrowers and investors, with more than $9 billion in loans funded. The company stresses that it doesn’t offer loans, but is simply a platform – it doesn’t have lenders, it has investors. Thus, loan regs don’t apply.
  • Similarly, Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, with more than 2 million members and over $2 billion in funded loans.
  • Since the launch last September of PayPal Working Capital business loans (through lending partner WebBank), more than 20,000 U.S. businesses have collectively borrowed more than $150 million. Merchants can borrow up to 8 percent of their yearly revenue, up to $20,000, through the program. Borrowers choose what percentage of daily PayPal sales they’ll use to repay the loan. Loans have flat fees based on the amount borrowed, the repayment plan and a company’s PayPal sales history, according to CNN.
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