Seems like 2006 is beginning to be 1999 all over again.
This time it’s all about social networking and web 2.0, which are 2.0 things that you’ll find on every startup profile. Lots of money chasing new web ideas, with minimal justification. It’s not my money, so might as well have fun with it.
So stay tuned for a couple of favorites in the coming weeks. This week, it’s prosper.com in the spotlight. Prosper.com claims to match up lenders and borrowers with an overlay of social networking as the glue that makes you not default on a loan that you can’t afford. Brilliant!
Unfortunately, I think Prosper.com (the market) will make a fair amount of money and get purchased by eBay/Paypal, a majority of borrowers will default with no recourse (there’s no collateral in a prosper.com loan, just that below average credit rating to damage), and the lenders will be left holding the bag of uncollectable paper.
Even better, Prosper.com better unload this deal soon before regulators catch up with them for usury, fair lending practices, and a number of other strict regulations.
I do think this is the start of a new idea of lending, where a Countrywide, Ameriquest, or LendingTree.com (they are close already) will setup a market that allows private investors to buy in on bigger pieces, say $10-100k, of home loans. The mortgage business could service the loan and would source more loans without need for brokers. No mortgage brokers? Now that’s an idea!