As these firms slow down, will getting a loan become more difficult? Michael Tarkan, director of research at the Washington, D.C.-based investment bank Compass Point, doesn't think so.
"Even though Prosper and Avant and Lending Club to a certain extent have pulled back, there are other lenders that are filling the void," Tarkan says. "So I don't know if there's going to be this massive decline in availability of credit because the marketplace lending sector is contracting."
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Loan availability not shrinking
John Ulzheimer, a credit expert who formerly worked for FICO and Equifax, says "every mainstream lender" now issues personal loans, and there are many good options, particularly for people with good credit.
"When you have good credit, not only do you have more options, but those options are cheaper," he says.
Indeed, there is a diverse set of lenders in Bankrate's survey -- from national institutions to small community banks.
To give some examples, Wells Fargo branches throughout the country offer personal loans. In Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest bank offers personal loans for as little as 9.25%, while Houston-based Integrity Bank -- with 3 southeast Texas branches -- charges 9%, according to the Bankrate survey.
“When you have good credit, not only do you have more options, but those options are cheaper.”
And, although banks tend to demand higher credit scores from would-be borrowers than non-bank lenders do, Tarkan says the pullback by marketplace lenders shouldn’t affect consumers with low credit scores, either.
"You don't necessarily think about traditional lenders as ones that cater more toward subprime, but there are certainly lenders that do that," Tarkan says.
Be cautious in borrowing
Most borrowers take out personal loans to consolidate debt. If that's your loan purpose, make sure you change your spending habits or you could end up in a similar -- or worse -- financial situation than when you started, says Thomas Nitzsche, a certified credit counselor and spokesman for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions based in Atlanta.
"If it's a consolidation loan, it's a fixed period of time, it's a fixed interest rate -- you know when you're going to be done and you can't put any more debt on that particular account," Nitzsche says. "The danger, though, is that people will get a consolidation loan, put all their credit card balances on it, and they continue to use the card. And so then they end up with credit card payments plus an old debt consolidation loan payment."