Colektivo, Prosper, Zopa, Communitylend & IOU Central
A bit slow on the Canadian P2P Front, but here's an update with what I've found & been following.
Here's a new(ish) Canadian P2P Lending company in development which was actually mentioned in a previous blog posting here. Their website is... sparse to say the least. But Julien from Colektivo has made an interesting blog comment over at Thickenmywallet.com:
Firstly, I'll say that I believe that they didn't get outside venture capital, but rather funded the thing in-house through their existing investment company/fund. In other words, the founders were the funders. They definitely went about it in a "let's try our best and hope for the best", which seemed to work out okay for Paypal and Prosper, but not so much for them.
Pulling their domain registration data shows that they purchased their domain name in November 2007 and that they're based in Montreal.
I have a feeling with Canada's rather fragmented securities regulation that each market entrant will likely have to seek separate registrations in each province/territory that they wish to do business in. It is possible that they might only need to seek registration in each jurisdiction in which their lenders are located, I'm not really sure. Of course, I'd assume that if you ever ask a regulator if ______ needs to be regulated by them, they'll probably say "yes, of course, you can start the process by writing a cheque to us."
If anyone can remember back in the day before Communitylend's official blog, if you just went to blog.communitylend.com, you'd get to what looked like their beta test for a blog, and on it, it just had a post about Prosper's Securities Registration. If my memory isn't fooling me, I thought that it said (Prosper's quote, not Communitylend's) that they were seeking to set up a secondary market. Prosper filed this at the very end of October 2007.
Here's the SEC.gov link to their filing. Don't bother with the .txt file, it's just the HTML file with all HTML formatting, but as a text file, how useful...
I'll try to read through at least parts of it and offer my thoughts sometime in the future (no sooner than May 2nd, that's for sure).
At the time, I thought that this meant that they wanted to make it possible/feasible/legal for people to sell their existing loans on Prosper to others after they've already been funded. Eg: I'm a lender that has hit some hardships and is willing sell off this profitable loan to someone else. Or perhaps to just create a market for defaulted loans, I'm not sure. But, now by the looks of it, they just want to go all-out as securities regulators.
Nothing on their US blog about any kind of securities registration. My search of filings at the SEC hasn't come up with much, just a filing that looks like they sold shares of the company itself. But note, their US service is partnered with major credit unions and has none of the bidding systems in place like Prosper or IOU Central did. You merely deposit money into an account with them which is the equivalent of FDIC insured (but insured by the credit unions), and then they, Zopa themselves, lend out the money, likely under their terms with the borrower agreement through them, and not the true funder. Where's the fun? The excitement?
Well, I guess they're chugging along. That Thickenmywallet.com article I found that Colektivo comment on above should be required reading for anyone at all interested in P2P lending in North America. Read the comments too. Remember, Colin is one of Communitylend's senior management people. Also, I no longer feel that my URLs are too long :)
Still limited functionality. They must have had their BDRVM (Quebec Securities Quasi-Judicial Body) meeting yesterday (April 23rd) at 9:30am. No news yet it seems. I guess we'll be able to read a decision shortly enough on the BDRVM's decision page, or wait for something from IOU Central themselves. Knowing the BDRVM, it might show up on their French decision page first. It'll probably be in French only anyway (even on their English page). I'll try to machine translate it as soon as I get a hold of it, plus I have access to native French speakers in case the machine translation doesn't go so awesome.
One long-time Microlending.ca reader found them to be "Honest but frustrating" in handling their loan (that went through before they shut down). I'd also like to add that I haven't seen anyone arrive to this site that had searched for terms in Google that would suggest that IOU Central was scamming them in any way, or holding their funds hostage.