If a few weeks ago the talk was about how social media data shouldn't be used for underwriting loans (or at least it would be frowned upon by regulators), social media data can still be a vital attribute to the lifecycle of a loan - minimizing defaults and encouraging repayment. The interesting takeaway from this, is that borrowers in the US aren't so different then borrowers in emerging markets. Alternative lenders in emerging markets have put a strong emphasis on building trust between borrowers and the lending platform, together with the utilization of social media connections as a catalyst to minimize default payments. No one wants their friends to know that they can't pay off debt, right? Social pressure seems to be working well so far, and it will be interesting to see if larger alternative lenders start taking this data into consideration as well.
Able’s structure means borrowers have support from family and friends, but also pressure not to default. For the ultimate source of capital, at hedge funds like Garrison Point Capital in San Francisco, a borrower’s social circle acts as the bottom tranche in a securitisation: friends and family take the first hit on loan losses and are the last to get paid. Able has had no defaults, so far. Its model of originating loans and passing them on to institutional buyers is typical of online lenders that still operate as “peer-to-peer” platforms, where borrowers are matched directly with lenders, usually hedge funds or asset managers.