A start-up firm has launched a social networking site exclusively for borrowers and lenders.

The peer-to-peer lending site, named i-lend, enlists prospective borrowers and lenders and offers a matchmaking forum to pitch for loans and bargain for interest rates.

“We are three months old and have enlisted 300 borrowers and 100 lenders. We have facilitated loan disbursals to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh in four deals,” V.V.S.S B. Shankar, founder-director of Dipamkara Web Ventures Pvt Ltd, said. Angaros Group Pte, a Singapore-based firm, has invested Rs 80 lakh to pick a 35 per cent stake in the social networking firm.

The firm has outsourced the task of verifying the creditworthiness of borrowers to a firm that does the job for 19 banks. “After verification, we will enrol them as members and let them interact with the lenders. The lenders can either offer to give loans individually or share with other lenders. The system will pick the best offer,” he said.

The company had written to the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). “Both had said that we don’t require any permission as we don’t collect funds or disburse them. It is up to borrowers and lenders to arrive at an agreement,” he said.

Niti Gupta, Head (Operations) of Dipamkara, said the firm would take 3.5 per cent (of the loan amount) from borrowers and one per cent from lenders as fee. For now, the company has restricted the borrower registration only to Hyderabad, keeping in view the issues involved in verification.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 23, 2012)
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