questionsdo any of you have any experience with peer-to…

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Next month I am assuming administration of a micro-enterprise assistance program which provides technical assistance to small businesses, in part, for qualifying, obtaining and managing micro-loans. One of my co-workers manages a federal Empowerment Zone micro-loan program. So I am about to get to know more about this stuff.

The closest I have come is considering a payday loan to close the gap between my property tax bill due at the end of the month and my savings account depleted this weekend by emergency vet bills. But I examined my calendar and I get paid on the 1st, so I can go after 5pm on 1-31-13 and pay my taxes with a check and have my 2-1-13 paycheck direct deposited at 6am 2-1-13. I don't like shaving it that close, but I am slim on options.

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When I was in business school it was the latest and greatest way to invest in 3rd world countries. It was cool because alot of good came from it when it all worked out right but their tended to be alot of problems with the organizations that ran it. There is a fine line between providing a loan because you want to help but also want your money to accidentally having the program administrators whom you’ve never meet turn out to be the local mob/enforcer ....

Next thing you know this organization that you donated money too isn’t a non-profit rather it’s the local loan shark shop.

Same as any donation to lots of organizations I suppose but I was always a fan of the concept becasue it was a let me teach you to fish type principle rather than a here is a fish principle.

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Well, in terms of micro-business, the problem is that most of these little shops start up because the owner has a skill to sell. But that skill isn't business management. So they have a great little restaurant, repair shop, home improvement or yard care truck, and they may be very talented at it. But they don't understand employment law, taxes, regulations, interest, etc. So their perfectly legitimate dream becomes a nightmare that drags their family into financial ruin. My department's perspective is that the technical assistance is in many ways more important than the loan/grant offerings. I'd personally be loathe to contribute to a micro-loan program that didn't include a T/A component.

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I did a lot of research into Prosper and Lending Club and would trust them as a lender or borrower. The only reason I haven't signed up with either as a lender is they haven't gotten approval to operate in my state.

If you're borrowing, they can usually give you better rates than a bank. If you're lending, just make sure you spread your notes out as wide as possible so a default doesn't break the bank.

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My only micro-lending experience is a [cough] international financier. I've done micro-loans through www.kiva.org for many years. I've helped fund 53 loans at $25 a pop, and I've lost under $5 in defaults and under $3 in currency-exchange differences.

They have a stellar reputation and history, thoroughly investigate their in-country lending partners, and are very transparent about their partners' lending practices.

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@moondrake: Please please please please PLEASE don't take a payday loan unless you've exhausted every other option!

I deal daily with the fallout from their totally dismal, barely legal actions; I haven't seen or heard of a single one that doesn't cause subsequent difficulties for borrowers.

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In paying after my bank closes against my direct deposit that occurs before my bank opens, I will be able to make the payment without having to resort to any shady lenders. I am just tapped out right now due to a couple of unexpected expenses, and the vet bill just couldn't have come at a worse time. But thanks for your kind concern. :)

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I've been interested in doing this before but then totally forgot about it until a couple of days ago. I think it would be kind of fun to do something like kiva. It isn't as though I'm earning much interest on my checking account, anyway. Thanks for reminding me of this!

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