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One of the fastest turnoffs for me when judging the merits of a loan request on Prosper is a meager description of why the borrower needs the money. I have seen descriptions as tiny as “Got some bills to clear up” or “Consolidating cards”. This, frankly, won’t do.

It’s been proven that the longer the description (within reason) the better the chances of getting funded are. As lenders, we want to know what the money is for and why you feel you are qualified for the loan. While many lenders on Prosper don’t care and just look at the numbers, most don’t.

There are a few reasons a short description is a turn off. First, it appears the borrower has something to hide. Second, it appears the borrower doesn’t really care about this listing implying they don’t care about paying it back. Next, lenders want to know if you have writing skills, this may sound ridiculous but its true: when something is very badly written it demonstrates a lack of care which implies no repayment. Furthermore, lenders just want a basic idea of who someone is, the way a borrower describes their needs tells lenders a lot.

As far as better descriptions go, there is certainly room for improvement. My biggest pet peeve is the “magical thinking” listing that seems to imply an alignment of the stars or some other metaphysical event that will cause Prosper lenders to flock to a listing. This attitude implies the loan will be repaid magically as well. A good description does 4 simple things:

  • Clearly describe why the loan is needed
  • Clearly describe your financial situation
  • Explain any marks on your credit
  • Clearly describe why and how you intend to pay
You’d be amazed how many loans don’t even achieve one of them. There is a second good reason to do this: once you lay this information out, it should be obvious to you as well whether you can really afford this loan. If your numbers don’t clearly demonstrate enough income to fund the loan consider asking for less or changing your budget so you can actually afford it.


At August 19, 2008 at 7:36 AM Anonymous said...

I started to loan at the end of 2007 with no idea of what I was getting into. It looked like a great idea. How naive I was. I have 69 loans with 7 in default. I'll be fortunate to recoup my investment. I have stopped lending. I do not need any more sad stories. I am tired of scam artists. What a rip off??


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