Some peer-to-peer lenders not only differ in the ways they evaluate prospective borrowers they can also diverge in how they tell a story.
The creators of P-to-P lender Upstart recently told American Banker about how 22-year-old co-founder Paul Gu encountered difficulty securing a loan. Lending Club offered Gu an interest rate above 20%, Upstart Chief Executive Dave Girouard said. A bank and another competitor, Prosper, rejected Gu's application, according to Girouard as well as Upstart's press materials.
Gu's experience showed that young, responsible borrowers often lack access to affordable loans because of their short credit histories, Girouard says.
But Lending Club's records show the company actually offered Gu a better deal, according to Scott Sanborn, its chief operating and marketing officer.
"We'd love [Gu's] help in locating the offer information he shared with you, as the only profile we see in our system shows a significantly lower interest rate than what he relayed to you," Sanborn wrote in an email Tuesday. The company declined to share the exact interest rate figure, citing privacy concerns.
That said, Sanborn acknowledges that young people with thin credit files often do have trouble getting loans through traditional underwriting models.
"We're glad we were able to make Paul an offer," he wrote. "For young people who are new to credit it can be a challenge within the traditional banking system, as limited experience with credit is typically seen as a risk factor, even for those with a high FICO [score]."
But there are additional reasons why Gu may have been stymied in his hunt for credit, according to Sanborn.
"It's also worth noting that if [Gu] applied for a loan at several locations, he could inadvertently have negatively affected his ability to get approved and the price he'd be paying for his loan," Sanborn wrote.
"While checking your rate at Lending Club does not impact your credit... many institutions will place a 'hard inquiry' on your credit file when you apply. Several of these inquiries within a short time period would commonly be seen as an indicator of risk that could negatively influence an application."