As the financial crisis has hit harder and harder, and the possibilities to get loans have evaporated, some people have found possibilities in people-to-people or peer-to-peer banking. For us social network freaks, this is a interesting concept. This is literary social capital, where banks and other middlemen are cut out. The concept is not brand new, some of these sites started around 2005 and 2006, but I assume they are getting much more attention these days.
At Prosper (also called eBay of loans), people list and bid on loans using Prosper’s online auction platform. At this point, they have 820 000 members. The UK site Zopa argues that “rather than making the fat cats fatter you pay interest to real people.” Loanback, Loanio and Lending Club are similar sites. Here, you can compare the different sites, and find out which are best for lenders and borrowers.
And yes, this is very similar to microcredit, but in a developed country.
I have not tested these new banking methods, and would be curious to hear from someone who has. I just learned about it as I interviewed network expert Clay Shirky recently (the interview will be in the next edition of Mandag Morgen, Monday 20th).