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Abstract: The current paper examines loan-level data from Lending Club to look at peer-to-peer borrowing by small businesses. We begin by looking at characteristics of loan applications that were and were not funded and then take a more in-depth look at funded applications. Summary statistics show an increasing number of small business loan applications over time. Beginning in 2010-when consistent measures of loan purpose were recorded for all applications--loan applications for small businesses were on average less likely than loans for other purposes to have been funded. However, logistic regression results that control for the quality of the application show that, holding all else constant, applications for a loan for a small business were almost twice as likely to have been funded than loans for other purposes. Focusing on funded applications, we note that funded business loans were slightly larger on average than loans funded for other purposes but paid similar interest rates. However, relative to small business loans from traditional sources, peer-to-peer small business borrowers paid an interest rate that was about two times higher. Regression results that control for application quality show that peer-to-peer loans for small businesses were charged almost a percentage point interest rate premium over non-business loans. Logistic regression results that look at loan performance indicate that loans for small businesses were much more likely to be delinquent or charged off.

Keywords: Peer-to-peer lending, small business, alternative small business borrowing, lending club

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