The Business Models and Economics of Peer-to-Peer Lending

Alistair Milne, School of Business and Economics, University of Loughborough

Paul Parboteeah, Prosperity 24.7

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Abstract

This paper has reviewed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, its development in the UK and other countries, and assessed the business and economic policy issues surrounding this new form of intermediation. P2P platform technology allows direct matching of borrowers and lenders diversification over a large number of borrowers without the loans having to be held on an intermediary balance sheet. P2P lending has developed rapidly in both the US and UK, but still represents a small fraction, less than one percent, of total bank lending. In the UK – but not elsewhere – it is an important source of loans for smaller companies. We argued that P2P lending is fundamentally complementary not competitive too conventional banking. We therefore expect banks to adapt to the emergence of P2P lending, either by co-operating closely with third party P2P lending platforms or offering their own proprietary platforms.  We also argue that the full development of the sector requires much further work addressing the risks and business and regulatory issues in P2P lending, including risk communication, orderly resolution of platform failure, control of liquidity risks and minimisation of fraud, security and operational risks. This will depend developing reliable business process, the promotion of as full a degree as possible of transparency and standardisation and appropriate regulation that serves the needs of customers.