Prosper Marketplace, one of the leading U.S. consumer marketplace lenders, announced $165 million in equity funding from large banks and other investors Wednesday.
The investors include United States Automobile Association and SunTrust Banks, along with arms of JPMorgan Chase, BBVA, Credit Suisse, and venture capital firms, Prosper said.
In addition to the equity investments, USAA, BBVA, and SunTrust have all been talking to San Francisco-based Prosper about making co-branded loans, according to Aaron Vermut, Prosper's chief executive officer. "This is a strategic investment in us for them," he said in an interview.
Prosper's top rival in the burgeoning marketplace lending sphere, Lending Club, currently has co-branded relationships with Union Bank and community banks that are part of BancAlliance.
The $165 million in new equity funding will help fuel Prosper's expansion beyond debt consolidation loans, according to Vermut. Prosper bought American Healthcare Lenders in January to expand its marketing into healthcare lending. "Medical's the next big thing for us," Vermut said.
Although Prosper only offers one kind of unsecured consumer loan, capped at $35,000, Prosper markets those loans for a variety of uses, from home improvement to special occasions.
In response to a question, Vermut said that Prosper has no plans to enter small business lending, as Lending Club has done.
"For me, any kind of other lending is fundamentally different from personal lending," he said. "We are going to
spend this to continue to grow."
Vermut did express an interest in expanding overseas, particularly in Latin America, though he said that nothing has been finalized, and any such plans are still some time from solidifying.
"If we were to go to a new market, whether it be South America or Asia, it would be with a partner," he said.