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Asia Facebook

Facebook in Talks with Peer-to-Peer Lending Sites

As murmurs about Facebook’s plans to offer payment services grow louder, the company has also been setting its sights in a different direction: lending.

Facebook has been in talks with peer-to-peer lending services, including Lending Club and Prosper, about integrating a way for Facebook users to get loans into the social network, according to three sources familiar with the talks. The conversations began several months ago and have continued as Facebook has gotten more serious about its payment strategy, one of the sources indicated.

Although people caution that these partnership discussions remain early, the possibility of letting its users apply for loans through these online marketplaces presents an intriguing next step for both Facebook and the growing—and much debated—industry of peer-to-peer lending.

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Online lending has been growing quickly overseas in countries like China where traditional credit is hard to come by. Chinese companies, including Xiaomi, have invested in peer-to-peer loan companies, while Internet conglomerate Tencent offers rudimentary banking services through its WeChat messaging service.