With banks scrutinizing loan applicants with renewed fervor, students who need money to cover college tuition could start looking to friends, family, and social networking for cash.
Two start-ups are banking on the premise, with Web sites that help college students secure small loans for school from relatives, close friends, and their extended social networks. Their timing couldn't be better, given that banks and other private lenders are pulling up stakes on risky loans (e.g., those granted without a proven credit history) and students need to bridge the gap between a $40,000 tuition bill and a $20,000 government loan.
One such start-up, Redwood City, Calif.-based GreenNote, will officially launch its service Tuesday to help students solicit as little as $100 from friends and family at an interest rate that's on par with subsidized government loans. For a percentage fee, the site legally formalizes what would otherwise be a transaction sealed with a handshake or nod. Its rival, Fynanz, launched in March.
"They're essentially playing the role that banks had in the past," said Forrester Principal Analyst Brad Strothkamp. "Banks have tightened up lending standards, so if you're looking for a small loan, and you don't have a credit history, this may be the only option."… Read more