Monday, September 10, 2012

Introducing PeerCube: Smart Lending with Peer Insights for Lending Club

I am very excited to announce the launch of PeerCube, a web service platform to assist peer to peer lenders make collaborative and speedier decisions during loan selection process. PeerCube is currently available to all lenders on Lending Club P2P lending platform. We plan to roll out similar features for Prosper Marketplace in the future.


I feel it is important for me to share what PeerCube offers before I talk about how PeerCube came about.


What PeerCube offers?

I will be upfront. PeerCube is optimized for how I and Mrs. RT make loan selection and lending decisions. I hope that PeerCube provides value to fellow lenders, too. We focused on two areas of loan filtering and loan review.

Personalized Loan Filters

  • Ability to create, load and delete custom loan filters available at one location.
  • Load a saved filter, adjust any of the 29 parameters, and save the resulting filter as a new filter.
  • Filtered results showing loans meeting a filter criteria, high level information about the filtered loans and a Detail button to view the loan details, funding progress and peer insights.

Collaborative Decision Making

  • Review top peer rated loans, your recent reviewed loans, and loans with most peer opinions at one location.
  • Rate loans, share your opinion and review peer rating and opinions

A few screen captures from PeerCube website are shown at the end of this blog post for your review.

How PeerCube came about?

The credit for the idea seed that grew into PeerCube goes to Mrs. RT. As she wrote in her blog post Filtering the Currently Available Loans, she wasn't impressed with the loan selection process through Lending Club website as well as through CSV download that I was using.

She thought both processes were slow and took too much of time commitment versus the amount to be invested. She suggested I look into automating the loan selection process with couple of her requirements in mind:
  1. Avoid downloading the CSV file for currently available loans and inserting the custom filters on the columns to filter loans every time we decide to review available loans for investment.
  2. Avoid the need to save the filter criteria in a separate document that is referred to create custom filters, every time we download new CSV file for currently available loans.
Personally, I was also feeling that we were spending too much time for the amount we were investing each time. With the original requirements from Mrs. RT, I created a couple of web pages for our home server that automatically downloaded the currently available loan data from Lending Club, a loan filter, and result page that showed the filtered loans.

Mrs. RT likes to select loans and decide on investing together as mentioned in her post Let's do Lending Club night!. When we couldn't hold Lending Club night several times due to scheduling conflict, it was clear we needed "virtual" Lending Club nights to continue investing. So a new requirement of collaborative decision making and opinion sharing was tacked on to the original project.

Mrs. RT was so excited with peer to peer lending and Lending Club that she couldn't stop talking about it with her friends, doctor, hair dresser and everybody else who will listen. Naturally, some people expressed interest in learning more and requested access to our project. Such requests along with complexity of using VPN to access home server remotely, it became clear that this web service needed to be hosted at a web hosting company with public access. So a new requirement of user authentication and management was tacked on to the original project requirements. And, the final result is PeerCube as it stands today at www.peercube.com.

As a fellow peer to peer lender, all readers are invited to use this free service. Your feedback and suggestions for improvement and new features are most welcome through blog comments, Contact Us page at this blog and Contact page at PeerCube.

Screen Capture #1: Create, load and delete custom loan filters


Screen Capture #2: Adjust any of the 29 loan parameters


Screen Capture #3: Filtered Results


Screen Capture #4: Loan Review


Screen Capture #5: Peer Insights


Disclaimer: PeerCube is not endorsed by, owned by or affiliated with Lending Club, Prosper, and any other peer to peer lending platform.


4 comments:

  1. Anil,

    Great stuff. Really glad to you did this. Looks to be working really well.

    Here are my first few ideas for the Loan Filter tool:
    - Sort by Loan Amount Quantity (it is sorting alphabetically right now, not quantitatively)
    - Ability to upload my CSV file of Notes and filter out those notes as well (I noticed as I am looking through my filter, that I am already invested in many of them)
    - Filter by Minor Loan Grade (eg. B3-B5)
    - I suggest defaulting the Location, FICO, Home Ownership, etc. filter selections to select all options (like you did with Loan Length), not just the first one
    - Indicate the number of Peer Opinions on the Loan Filter results for each loan. I am much more interested in looking at a loan that people are chatting about than one that is blank.

    Also, I got signed out pretty quickly. Maybe 5 minutes or so of inactivity? Would prefer to keep it open longer.

    Great work, keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Conor,

      Thanks for trying out the site and providing the feedback. We will include your recommendations on our requirement list and incorporate as I modify and develop site further.

      I noticed you discovered our "stealth" table sort feature. ;-) Actually columns with $ and % sign are sorting alphabetically and incorrectly. I have pretty good idea what may be wrong but I deferred the fix and made sorting non-obvious! In near future, I am planning to revamp the filtered loan page completely including adding peer opinions and rating as you suggested.

      Both selecting all in filter selection and minor loan grade, we have gone back and forth several times in last month without any consensus on what makes better sense - Minor loan grade versus Major loan grade and by default selecting all options. The opinions are equally divided.

      I will check out the quicker signed out issue. System shouldn't have signed you out that quickly. Authentication system has a few other quirks too.

      Once again, thanks a lot for taking the time to provide feedback. Such valuable and constructive feedback will help us improve PeerCube and make it more useful for ourselves as well as for our users.

      Thanks.

      Anil

      Delete
  2. Anil, this looks like a great tool. I'll be trying it out personally as well. Kudos to you and Mrs. RT for sharing your learnings with the LC community.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. Please let me know your feedback and suggestions for improvement on PeerCube. I just wish that I had access to Lending Club beta API. I had to slow down further development on LC front as I don't want to redo work once API is released.

      Thank you for your nice comments. I am sure Mrs. RT will be pleased to hear that readers read her posts. She mentioned to me a few days ago that how come I get comments on my blog posts and no one comments on her posts. My response was "Honey, how can someone argue with you, you are always right." ;-)

      Thanks.

      Anil

      Delete