The tragic terrorist shootings in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015 shed light on serious risks associated with online marketplace lending. The attackers obtained $28,500 from an online marketplace lender under a pretext, but then allegedly used the funds to reimburse their arms dealer. This apparent link between the money lent and the mass murders led public officials to re-examine the risks associated with this new and increasingly popular method of lending.
Online marketplace lending represents a chance for investors to realize greater returns and for borrowers to refinance expensive debt and pay less interest, as technology and peer-to-peer matching/evaluation greatly reduces the overhead of the business model. Given both the widespread interest in and the potential for the misuse of such online lending platforms, federal and state lawmakers and regulators are increasing scrutiny of the industry.