http://www.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/ is social lending brought to the masses. The principle is no different from a 12 year-old kid asking her parents for 10 bucks to go to the movies, but the implications are much wider-ranging. Through the very pretty Zopa website, individuals can borrow from other individuals, much like the "earlier profiled":http://duenos.net/article/106/lend-money-online-to-third-world-entrepreneurs micro-lender "Kiva.org":http://www.kiva.org/. Unlike, Kiva, Zopa facilitates big loans in the same way that banks do, only with much lower interest rates. Spreading the risk over dozens of lenders, a £5,000 loan over 3 years would brook 6.38% interest as compared with high-street banks rates of 8.7%-14.9%. It's also a good deal for lenders who can dictate the rates and risk they're willing to take, making an average of 6.75%. Rather than feed the bloated banking industry, paying a 0.5% fee to Zopa seems like a good idea. Unfortunately Zopa is only working in the UK at the moment, although they do have plans to open in the US soon. *Redjoe says: "For a comparable US based site that aims to democratize the banking industry try "www.prosper.com":http://www.prosper.com/"