Prosper Marketplace Inc. said the credit crunch is continuing to drive more prime borrowers to its online lending service.
According to data Prosper released Tuesday, 43% of loans granted through its Web site last month went to prime borrowers (those with credit scores of at least 720), compared with 32% a year earlier and 25% in August 2006. In the past two years the percentage of loans to subprime borrowers (those with scores of 520 to 599) fell 18 percentage points, to 7% last month.
Chris Larsen, Prosper's chief executive, said in a press release that it noticed a year ago that home equity lines and teaser-rate credit card offers were becoming less available, making Prosper "an increasingly attractive financing alternative."
Since banks have become even more wary about lending this year, "the trends we observed at this time last year remain in full force today, particularly as the pervasiveness of the credit crunch is extended even further," he said.
As of Aug. 31 there had been 27,371 loans worth $170 million funded through Prosper, the company said. The site now has almost 800,000 members.