I just saw this fascinating video that brought up a question I must admit I have never contemplated – will Facebook become a bank? Of course, Facebook will never become another Bank of America with thousands branches, but they could become a Bank 2.0 type bank. The heart of such a “bank” would likely be peer to peer lending.
Peer to peer lending is such a new industry we are still in the wild west days with few of the players anywhere in the world making money. Yet. I always thought that if Lending Club or Prosper really got going and started to eat away at traditional banking loan volume, then one of these banks would snap up these leading social lenders.
But now, there is a second, more tantalizing option. If Facebook were to buy Lending Club or Prosper that would open up the entire world (literally) to peer to peer lending. It makes perfect sense to me. If you want to loan or invest money then who better to start with than your existing social network. It would be easier to fund loans and collections would become easier too. All loan transactions could be automatically posted to your profile. Of course, there would be huge regulatory hurdles (particularly expanding beyond a single country) but the idea may be one whose time has come.
I have no idea whether or not this will ever come to pass, but I expect that both Facebook and peer to peer lending will continue to evolve rapidly. It will be fun to see what happens.