But any small business owner that has ever filled out a small business loan application at a Canadian bank and was denied will tell you that things don’t always go as planned.
When a loan application is denied by a bank, the next logical step for many consumers and small business owners is to seek out other financing options. This non-traditional financial services market that provides what is often referred to as “non-bank loans” is known as alternative lending-and peer-to-peer lending is one of the most popular forms of alternative lending today.
A Brief History of Peer-to-Peer Lending
The very first modern peer-to-peer lending platform in the world was created by Zopa, a pioneering fintech that initially launched in the United Kingdom back in 2005. It was quickly followed by several peer-to-peer fintech startups that emerged in the United States only months later, particularly in California and New York. Those first US-based peer-to-peer lending fintechs included Prosper, which was founded in 2005, and LendingClub, which emerged shortly after, in 2006, initially launching as a social lending solution and one of Facebook’s first applications.
Backed by venture capital funding, early peer-to-peer lending fintechs launched exclusively online believing that they could leverage technology and an intuitive online origination process in order to match investors with borrowers and fill in what they saw as a gap in the alternative lending market-a market that, at the time, was considerably littered with high-interest payday loans and had a deeply rooted reputation for being, well, shady.