The investor flexible-economy2 was the subject of my article on investors earning over 20% on Prosper. Their return has maintained at more than 20% despite the fact that they have had two more defaults and have made no new investments. In fact Lendstats has recorded a slight increase in ROI since April from 20.05% to 20.27%.
The average loan age for the portfolio of flexible-economy2 is now 23.6 months and they have received over 75% of their principal back. So any future defaults will have far less impact as these loans enter their third and final year. I suspect when it is all said and done this investor will have achieved an annual ROI well over 15%. So one has to wonder why on earth they have stopped investing?
Focusing on Repeat Borrowers
The other two borrowers I took note of seven months ago were golffish2 and sweety075. The return of both these investors has declined a little in the last seven months but they are still earning over 18% and they continue to add new money into their Prosper accounts. In fact, golffish2 has gone from $77,000 to $119,000 invested. Sweety075 has almost doubled their investment in the last seven months to around $14,000 today. Both investors have maintained an admirably low default rate, under 1% in the case of golffish2.
One of the things that all three of these investors have in common is their focus on repeat borrowers. Each investor has over 60% of their loan portfolio made up of repeat borrowers and in the case of sweety075 it is 99%. They have all isolated this group, as I have, as being an excellent investment.
Keeping Early Defaults to a Minimum
So what is the secret to a great return on Prosper? Keeping defaults, particular early defaults, to a minimum. These investors did not have a crystal ball, and they may well have been somewhat lucky, but when you look at their portfolios it is clear they have a strategy. In the case of sweety075 from what I can tell they focus not only on repeat borrowers but only certain segments within that group. They look for borrowers that have maintained a decent credit score from their previous loan, passing on most of the repeat borrower loans.
While we would all like a crystal ball to eliminate those investors who are likely to default, we can get some idea by looking at the historical loan performance. While the future may not repeat the past exactly, learning what has worked in the past is a great place to start as an investor. Armed with that knowledge and a little luck maybe one day you can join the ranks of the very top investors on Prosper.
Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.