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Peer to peer lending
Peer-to-peer lendingW and social lending is a certain type of financial transaction (primarily lending & borrowing) which occurs directly between individuals ("peers") without the intermediation/participation of a traditional financial institution. It is growing in popularity as a form of socially responsible investing - particularly in the microfinance sector of the developing world - but there are also sites for peer to peer lending in developed countries, such as the USA, New Zealand and Australia.
Zopa is the world's first social finance company with a way for people to lend and borrow directly with each other online as part of our continuing mission to give people around the world the power to help themselves financially at the same time that they help others. For a review of several such p2p lending institutions you can be involved with see http://www.p2plendingreview.com/for_lndrs.html
A relatively recent discussion of them:
Person-to-person lending and microfinance
Peer-to-peer platforms have also developed in the microfinance sector. Some of these platforms enable microfinance institutions to access capital, they might have not got otherwise through conventional sources of credit such as local banks. Peer-to-peer platforms allow the general public to participate in alleviating poverty by lending, guaranteeing or contributing to micro-entrepreneurs.
Lending to micro-entrepreneurs
Kiva  launched in 2005 and is the first micro-lending website that enables an individual to quasi-lend money to a micro-entrepreneur in the developing world through a microfinance institution. No interest is earned by the lender.
United Prosperity - United Prosperity is a website that enables an individual to micro-lend money as a guarantor for a micro-entrepreneur in the developing world. The loan itself comes from a local bank, enabling the micro-entrepreneur to build a relationship with their local bank for future loans. Appears to concentrate on India. No interest is earned by the guarantor. Allows for greater impact.
UYDO  is a youth-led charity that allows young people globally to fundraise and invest in young entrepreneurs in developing countries. The idea is you can never withdraw the money - but you maintain control to lend to future young people when your original loan is repaid.
Wokai allows you to contribute towards micro-entrepreneurs they choose to connect and support. Since the contribution is a donation, contributors in the United States may also get a tax-deduction. It operates in a model similar to Kiva with a special focus in rural China, one of the countries Kiva does not operate.
Zidisha launched in January 2010 and allows lenders to communicate and transact directly with computer-literate, disadvantaged entrepreneurs in developing countries. Bid to give loan at some interest rate.
- Socially responsible investing
- Peer to Peer Finance Mechanisms to Support Renewable Energy Growth
- Economic Strengthening: Finding the Right Tool for the Job
- The Daily Tell, Nonprofit Uses Social Guarantors to Support Strugging Entrepreneurs, 27 August 2009, accessed 25 October 2009
- "BUGLE Issue 10 March 2010". Bournemouth University Global Local Education. 5th April, 2010. http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/the_global_dimension/centre_for_global_perspectives/pdfs/bugle-10.pdf. Retrieved 5th May, 2010.