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Factors determining default in P2P lending

Evangelia Avgeri (Department of Economics, University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece)
Maria Psillaki (Department of Economics, University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece) (Department of Accounting and Finance, Neapolis University Paphos, Pafos, Cyprus)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 5 September 2023

Issue publication date: 8 May 2024

332

Abstract

Purpose

The research documented in this paper aims to examine multiple factors related to borrowers' default in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in the USA. This study is motivated by the hypothesis that both P2P loan characteristics and macroeconomic variables have influence on loan performance. The authors define a set of loan characteristics, borrower characteristics and macroeconomic variables that are significant in determining the probability of default and should be taken into consideration when assessing credit risk.

Design/methodology/approach

The research question in this study is to find the significant explanatory variables that are essential in determining the probability of default for LendingClub loans. The empirical study is based on a total number of 1,863,491 loan records issued through LendingClub from 2007 to 2020Q3 and a logistic regression model is developed to predict loan defaults.

Findings

The results, in line with prior research, show that a number of borrower and contractual loan characteristics predict loan defaults. The innovation of this study is the introduction of specific macroeconomic indicators. The study indicates that macroeconomic variables assessed alongside loan data can significantly improve the forecasting performance of default model. The general finding demonstrates that higher percentage change in House Price Index, Consumer Sentiment Index and S&P500 Index is associated with a lower probability of delinquency. The empirical results also exhibit significant positive effect of unemployment rate and GDP growth rate on P2P loan default rates.

Practical implications

The results have important implications for investors for whom it is of great importance to know the determinants of borrowers' creditworthiness and loan performance when estimating the investment in a certain P2P loan. In addition, the forecasting performance of the model could be applied by authorities in order to deal with the credit risk in P2P lending and to prevent the effects of increasing defaults on the economy.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills an identified need to shed light on the association between specific macroeconomic indicators and the default risk from P2P lending within an economy, while the majority of the existing literature investigate loan and borrower information to evaluate credit risk of P2P loans and predict the likelihood of default.

Keywords

Citation

Avgeri, E. and Psillaki, M. (2024), "Factors determining default in P2P lending", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 51 No. 4, pp. 823-840. https://doi.org/10.1108/JES-07-2023-0376

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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