This year, it has never been more difficult to get a student loan, thanks to new federal regulations. Hundreds of lenders announced that they would no longer be taking part in federal loan programs and schools are struggling to try to offer loans directly to students. This opened up a huge marketplace in the p2p sector for student loans, and business is definitely booming.
Fynanz.com is probably one of the best known p2p student lending marketplaces in the business and they have built up an impressive track record. The process is actually quite interesting and so far, they have been very successful with placing student loans with those that need the help. In brief, a student will need to join the Fynanz.com community, and then set up what amounts to an online auction.
This auction details the student’s loan request, and further information about why they need the money. Once the auction starts, lenders in the community bid on the loans. In order to place an auction, Fynanz.com first has to verify the identity of borrowers and lenders, and will underwrite the loan request. After the auction is complete, the lender supplies the money, which is then disbursed by Fynanz.com to the student and the school of their choice.
The process goes quite quickly and it’s very easy to get everything set up. Fynanz.com uses something called FACS to assist them in underwriting loans. What this means is that students are ranked according to risk, and assigned rates. Academic scores count heavily on this, as well as the student’s background. For those under the age of 21, a cosigner may be required to complete the loan.
We found it interesting that Fynanz.com decided to calculate risk on an academic model rather than the traditional credit scoring model. Rankings range from 500 to 820, much like FICO scores, and if a student’s FACS ranking is below 640 they will not be able to arrange for a loan through the service. Apparently, the company has found that grades are a very good indication on whether or not the loan will be paid, and they have had a lot of luck using this scoring method.
At the end of the day, this is a very fair way to determine whether or not a student should have a loan. This removes any economic barriers between students and focuses on their actual academic performance. It will be interesting to see if this model expands beyond p2p lending and into traditional banking.
The higher the FACS score, the lower the interest rate, which is also quite fair. For students that rank in the top tier, the margin range is 2.5% to 3.7%. This changes to 7.2% to 7.9% for scores that are in the 640 range. If there was ever a reason for students to focus on their grades, this is a pretty good one.
Fynanz also provides either partial or full guarantees on the original loan amount. The guarantee percentage is dependent on the FACS Grade of a loan listing.
FACS GradeLoan Guarantee
(percentage of loan amount)Platinum Honors100%Platinum Plus90%Gold Honors80%Gold Plus70%Silver Honors60%Silver Plus50%
While in enrolled in school at least half-time, a borrower may choose between different repayment options:
- Deferred Repayment Option or academic deferment – while in academic deferment the borrower is required to make monthly $25 Good Faith Payments. The Good Faith payments made while in academic deferment help the borrower establish a good relationship with lenders and demonstrate financial discipline. A six month grace period is given after separating from school.
- Interest Paid Option – full monthly interest payments are due on the loan while enrolled in school. Choosing the Interest Paid Repayment option can save thousands of dollars in interest expense over the life of the loan, because the $25 monthly Good Faith payments will likely not be enough to cover the interest accrued on the loan.
In either option mentioned above, monthly principal and interest payments will be due once loan repayment begins. We realize that some students may not yet have found employment even after six months; therefore, borrowers may request to pay just the interest expense on the loan for the first two years of repayment, “Initial Interest Only” option.
We liked Fynanz.com’s methods and have placed 2 bids on listings as of this morning… One is a platinum plus and the other a gold honors…
They also have a very attractive lending bonus as well. $25 bonus once you successfully lend to a borrower (you must sign up with a referral link to receive the bonus and in doing so the referrer would also receive $25). A 3% bonus when you lend $3,000 (that is a minimum bonus of $90 on $3000 lent.) If you lend $3K and refer 5 people the bonus is retroactively increased to 5% in addition to the $25 per referral. This is a very attractive bonus offer and one that I encourage all RateLadder readers to consider.
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Another month another update… The picture is rather muddled right now between the accrued interest showing up in my account balance even on loans that are technically “charged off”and lending stats changing their algorithm… All I can do is continue to track and hope fore some clarity… On a positive note I have had no loans in the 1 month late category for most of the last month… (There are 2 in that category now, but for most of June they were not there…)
I am often asked what is the biggest thing I would do different if I could go back and do it again? I would follow advice very similar to Rich Credit Debt Loan in the post Making Extra Money With P2P Lending. I have learned a lot about credit risks and the like, but I would have much rather been more successful in my lending endeavours… My single biggest mistake in my lending was to ignore inquires.
Here is my current tracking chart…
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