Author Topic: Loan Descriptions Missing  (Read 12166 times)

neals384

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Loan Descriptions Missing
« on: September 12, 2013, 01:24:09 AM »
♫ Where have loan descriptions gone, since last Monday?
    Where have loan descriptions gone, we need them now.
    Where have loan descriptions gone, gone from Prosper, every one.
    When they bring them back, when will they bring them back?  ♫

Apologies to Dylan.  Listings posted to Prosper starting Monday, 9/9/13 do not show a description field.

core

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 04:57:57 AM »
It appears this was intentional.  From Prosper's blog post regarding the latest "upgrades":

Improved borrower experience: We’ve recently released an optimized borrower experience on our website which will provide a smoother onboarding process for new borrowers. These changes include increased access points to customer service assistance (added an 800 number for live customer service), fewer field requirements, and a streamlined application process.

♫ We don't need no loan descriptions
   We don't need no fields at all
   No information for loan decisions
   Hey!  Prosper!  Leave our *** alone. ♫

My apologies to Floyd.

neals384

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 11:43:35 AM »
+1

John.Parker

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 09:41:51 PM »
I too was surprised by this and contacted Prosper directly, to have them confirm this. This is the end of my Prosper investing. I looked at the loan description field as an important connection between the person requesting the loan and the investor.  I passed up many loans simply because they had no listed reason or purpose for the loan.  I also passed up many others because the requester could not write well enough to get their reasons across, so to me they were a poor risk.  I will let my current notes run their life, but I will no longer invest in new notes with Prosper.

I have to say I am very let down by this action by Prosper.  I truly enjoyed supporting people with my funds (though limited compared to many) and really liked to scrub the requests to pick out the best, but without the loan description field available to "connect" with the applicant, I'm done.

core

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 02:05:45 AM »
I have to wonder what Prosper was really thinking.  How long does it take to type a one-line description?  Maybe 15 seconds, and that's if you're missing half of your fingers from a shop accident.  Now there isn't a single thing left that the borrower has actually typed himself.  They're trying to commoditize these loans which is an error and it will not work out well for the individual investor.  This is one step closer to the European socialist lending sites where everything's just thrown into a pool, you get no information, and everyone gets the same return.

Peter

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 12:31:01 PM »
I have to wonder what Prosper was really thinking.  How long does it take to type a one-line description?  Maybe 15 seconds, and that's if you're missing half of your fingers from a shop accident.  Now there isn't a single thing left that the borrower has actually typed himself.  They're trying to commoditize these loans which is an error and it will not work out well for the individual investor.  This is one step closer to the European socialist lending sites where everything's just thrown into a pool, you get no information, and everyone gets the same return.

So here is what Prosper was actually thinking. I just spoke with Aaron Vermut about this change. Prosper found that one of the most common places where borrowers abandon their loan application was on the page where they enter a description. Even though it was optional many borrowers would abandon their loan application at that point and never come back.

The good news is that change is resulting in more loans coming through their borrower funnel. Aaron said he knows that the loan descriptions are important so some investors but it is also important for them to get as many loans as possible on their platform.

I never read loan descriptions anyway, so I am completely in support of this move. In fact I didn't even realize they were gone until reading this thread.

Aaron is on the process of writing a blog post that will explain this in more detail.
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DanB

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 12:47:50 PM »
I have to wonder what Prosper was really thinking.  How long does it take to type a one-line description?  Maybe 15 seconds, and that's if you're missing half of your fingers from a shop accident.  Now there isn't a single thing left that the borrower has actually typed himself.  They're trying to commoditize these loans which is an error and it will not work out well for the individual investor.  This is one step closer to the European socialist lending sites where everything's just thrown into a pool, you get no information, and everyone gets the same return.

So here is what Prosper was actually thinking. I just spoke with Aaron Vermut about this change. Prosper found that one of the most common places where borrowers abandon their loan application was on the page where they enter a description. Even though it was optional many borrowers would abandon their loan application at that point and never come back.

The good news is that change is resulting in more loans coming through their borrower funnel. Aaron said he knows that the loan descriptions are important so some investors but it is also important for them to get as many loans as possible on their platform.

I never read loan descriptions anyway, so I am completely in support of this move. In fact I didn't even realize they were gone until reading this thread.

Aaron is on the process of writing a blog post that will explain this in more detail.

I'm suspicious by nature, but in this case I have little doubt that this is true.

core

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 12:54:01 PM »
Prosper found that one of the most common places where borrowers abandon their loan application was on the page where they enter a description. Even though it was optional many borrowers would abandon their loan application at that point and never come back.

Interesting.  I certainly cannot argue with hard data.  I wish I had been through the borrower page flow before this so I would have some idea of how it appeared before.  If they had an entire page dedicated to one optional field then that might seem kind of odd.  On the other hand, if there was not an entire dedicated form for this text field, then they cannot know it was that one field that turned people away.  Perhaps there was something else on that page that caused them to think twice.

At any rate, there is little point in discussing the merits now.  What's done is done.  Whatever changes were made, on the whole, obviously accomplished what Prosper wanted.

PennySaved

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 01:27:05 PM »
I remember the Prosper loan descriptions that had a long column of the borrower's estimated monthly expenses:  rent, utilities, car payment, credit cards, medical, food etc.   I don't know if that was a form they had to fill out or a suggested format for the loan description.  I think it was easy for them to fill in the monthly payments such as rent or mortgage that are the same every month, but harder for some other expenses.  Most people have a hard time tracking exactly how much they spend on variable expenses like food (groceries and eat out) unless they have carefully tracked it before.  I used to laugh at the loans where the borrower estimated they spent $50 a month on food.  Could be true if they are still living with parents.  So I can see how borrowers might be put off trying to supply all these estimates if they don't already have then within easy reach.

Here is a loan description from one of my Prosper loans made in August 2008 (by the way,  my favorite Prosper loan whose borrower made all 36 timely payments on the loan at interest rate of 26.75%.  So I made a profit of $23.34 on a $50 note.)

Purpose of loan:
This loan will be used to pay for Medical Expenses not covered by Medical Insurance. 

My financial situation:
I am a good candidate for this loan because my job is solid during this uncertain time with the economy.  I have very little debt.  My car is paid for.  I also, have a large amount ($1,638) of disposable income left over each month after all bills and expenses have been paid.
 
Ran into a little financial difficulty during 2002 and 2003 when my airline job was eliminated after the events of 911.  Have been financailly solid for the last several years. 

Monthly net income: $3,149 (Monthly gross income $4,333)

Monthly expenses: $1,511 
  Rent: $959
  Electric: $25
  Gas: $6
  Cable: $24
  Cell Phone: $62
  Food: $250
  Auto Insurance $39
  Auto Gas: $40
  Credit Card: $28
  Health Insurance: $78

MONTHLY LEFT OVER INCOME $1,638

John.Parker

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 02:05:37 PM »
My view when I first started with Prosper was that these loans would be peer-to-peer; I do not see how that is really the case if we know nothing of the individual and the purpose of the loan request. It's more like peer-to-computer screen.  It is an unfortunate step (leap) away from true P2P investing in my opinion by taking away knowledge, however limited, of the individual.

I will continue to divest from Prosper and return my funds to my bank rather the reinvesting in other notes. I'll miss reading through the notes looking for the golden gem.  I really liked finding the notes for the service/military personnel; being a vet myself I liked the thought of assisting other vets, but I see no way of finding those anymore with these changes.

Best wishes to all.

SeattleSun

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 12:01:46 AM »

I found the descriptions useful in eliminating "liar loans", like the Title was "debt consolidation" and when you read the description it would say things like "buy a used car for my son to take to college" or "pay off my daughters debts". lol

Again, I only read the descriptions on loans I was about to make it was the last thing I did.  And the only use of the description I found was to change my mind when the borrower said something “dumb”.

I will miss them.

core

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 01:19:11 AM »
If they previously asked for a 2000 word essay like the one PennySaved posted, then I can see that turning people away.  Just a short title is all I would ask, like Lending Club has.  But the "titles" are also all gone... aren't they?  They all say the same generic thing which is just the selected loan purpose.

investforfreedom

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 09:07:06 AM »

I found the descriptions useful in eliminating "liar loans", like the Title was "debt consolidation" and when you read the description it would say things like "buy a used car for my son to take to college" or "pay off my daughters debts". lol

Again, I only read the descriptions on loans I was about to make it was the last thing I did.  And the only use of the description I found was to change my mind when the borrower said something “dumb”.

I will miss them.

And sometimes "Debt Consolidation" is what is listed, but then the borrower would say in the loan description that he or she needs to pay down or refinance their business debt.  But, sorry, I don't invest in business or business debt.  And they should have come clean and listed their loan under "Business."  If borrowers abandon the loan process at the point where they enter a description, so be it.  If they can't even spare a couple of minutes or are so afraid of not getting their loan filled because of the info. divulged--which is highly unlikely these days given investors' demand, then they should not be borrowing to begin it. 

Investors can no longer ask questions. Now Prosper eliminates the description altogether.  This is just another desperate move on the part of Prosper to generate loan volume, given that they burned over $6 million in the last quarter, plus the $10 million class action lawsuit settlement: http://www.lendacademy.com/forum/index.php?topic=1447.0 

 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 09:17:11 AM by investforfreedom »

core

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 10:08:17 AM »
Keep in mind the Prosper's philosophy is the exact opposite of Lending Club's as far as approving borrowers goes:  LC carefully screens borrowers and rejects 90% of them, whereas Prosper goes for quantity over quality (nothing wrong with that), just letting the majority flow right through and leaving it to the investors to sort things out.  But tell me:  How are we supposed to do that when we have no information?

DanB

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Re: Loan Descriptions Missing
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 12:28:45 PM »
Keep in mind the Prosper's philosophy is the exact opposite of Lending Club's as far as approving borrowers goes:  LC carefully screens borrowers and rejects 90% of them, whereas Prosper goes for quantity over quality (nothing wrong with that), just letting the majority flow right through and leaving it to the investors to sort things out.  But tell me:  How are we supposed to do that when we have no information?

I'm not sure the divergence, whether it be in philosophy or in reality is as diametrically opposite as you are suggesting it is.  As far as the 90% applicant rejection number.............how accurate that number is, really depends on at what point you consider an applicant to be an applicant. Besides, though 90% rejection rate sounds good, I'm not sure what is says about the longer term viability of a company if it s in fact accurate. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the history of history I can't think of a single company that has survived while consistently excluding 90% of its potential customers. Can you?