June 24, 2014

Capital One co-founder Nigel Morris has joined Prosper's board

Nigel Morris, who co-founded financial services firm Capital One, recently joined the board of Prosper Marketplace, the parent company of peer-to-peer online loan marketplace Prosper.

San Francisco-based Prosper announced this after originating $124 million worth of loans during May - the largest monthly amount since inception.

Strong history of results
Morris has a history of delivering great results, helping build Capital One from a startup firm during its founding in 1994 to the Fortune 500 company it is today. He served as president and chief operating officer before retiring in 2004.

Morris has since broadened his horizons, becoming the managing partner of venture capital firm QED Investors. He also serves as non-executive chairman of Borro, a company that grants short-term loans to wealthy individuals, according to American Banker.

Prosper Marketplace CEO lauds Morris
Aaron Vermut, CEO of Prosper Marketplace, commented on Morris' value in a statement.

"There are few people with as keen an insight into the trends and technologies that affect the world of credit as Nigel," he said. "His extensive experience building one of the premier names in financial services instantly makes him a key member of our team."

While Vermut spoke to the importance of his new board member, Morris commented on the impact of online marketplaces.

"Online marketplaces have transformed many of our everyday experiences, and Prosper is transforming the financial industry by creating an online marketplace for credit," said Morris. "The growth and momentum at Prosper over the past year has been absolutely stellar and I'm thrilled to be able to contribute my own experience to the company."

Morris move could show broader trend
While the decision of Morris to join the board could be viewed as an isolated incident, it may also be part of a broader trend. Many people who previously worked for traditional banks and regulators are serving as directors for P2P lenders.

Raj Date, who previously worked for Capital One and also served as deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, joined Prosper's board in July 2013, according to American Banker. Lending Club, which competes with Prosper, has a board that boasts several big names. John Mack, former chief executive of Morgan Stanley, and Lawrence Summers, who previously served as Treasury Secretary, are all members, the media outlet reported.

Potential game changer
Since former regulators and bankers have been infiltrating the boards of P2P lenders, it is possible that these innovative online marketplaces will merge with more traditional financial institutions.

If this happens, financial institutions can potentially turn to Garnet Capital Advisors for guidance. Garnet can serve as a bridge between the sectors, since it understands the goals and products of both.