Peer to Peer (p2p) Lending in Japan
Japan has securities regulation that is similar to the US, which provides a substantial barrier to entry into the marketplace.
Two providers of p2p services have made it through the hurdles and two more are online to launch soon.
Maneo, which launched in October 2008, offers unsecured peer-to-peer loans. The guaranteed loan “G-Loan” product is providing lenders with a guaranteed 1.5% interest rate, substantially greater than the average .25% savings account interest. Other loans are fixed at 7, 8, 9.5, 11 and 12%.
Another option for lenders who know one another is Aqush Tomo, which provides loan documentation and servicing, but doesn’t actually do the banking parts of the transaction. These loan documentation and payment reminder services are available similar to Lending Karma.
Two other well-known p2p players, Prosper and Zopa are planning expansion into Japan, but are not yet online.
Jessica Ward is a freelance writer and blogger who writes on personal finance among other things. She also blogs at www.pennywisefamily.blogspot.com.