In the first quarter of 2015, Prosper facilitated a record $595 million in loans through the platform, up 200% from the first quarter a year ago. We attribute this to the increasing awareness of Prosper combined with the rapid growth across the entire consumer marketplace lending industry. On the borrower side, we continue to see more people turn to us for access to three types of personal loans (debt consolidation, large purchases and business loans based on personal credit). They are attracted by the competitive rates and convenience over traditional lending. We also continue to speak with a variety of investors who want access to this asset class.
As we plan for more growth this year and beyond, our focus remains on building a business for the long term. This means focusing on quality underwriting, people and a scalable technology infrastructure. I often say that underwriting is the most important thing we do here at Prosper, and that continues to be true. Our investors have come to rely on the quality and predictability of our platform. We’re also actively working on building out our verification and customer service teams (among other parts of the business) so that we can deliver the best customer service experience in the industry.
On the borrower side, more and more Americans are turning to marketplace lending to finance their home improvement projects, elective medical procedures, special occasions (such as weddings and vacations), and to start small businesses. People are taking out personal loans not just to get their finances in order, but to make their lives happier and less stressful. One example is Cheri of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s a single mom who adopted two children from Haiti. After an expensive four-year adoption process, she struggled financially. With a loan through Prosper, Cheri was able to get back on track.
To help reach new types of borrowers, Prosper Marketplace announced that it acquired American Healthcare Lending in February, now Prosper Healthcare Lending. This incredible group of people, who are now Prosper Marketplace employees, are bringing awareness of marketplace lending as a consumer-friendly financing option for medical procedures. Prosper Marketplace also partnered with a consortium of community banks through Western Independent Bankers to enable them to offer customers access to affordable consumer loans.
We are continuing to build the Prosper team and are always looking for great people. We currently have more than 30 job openings listed on our site, so if you are interested in being a part of what we are building, apply or tell a friend. We have almost 400 employees between San Francisco, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, and will continue to grow well beyond that.
We’re grateful to our loyal borrower members, investors and partners and look forward working with all of you in the future.
CEO, Prosper Marketplace