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Econ Focus

Nov. 30, 2016

Richmond Fed’s Econ Focus Looks at the Future of Online Nonbank Lenders

Consumers and businesses in the United States are increasingly turning to online-only nonbank institutions to borrow money. Research indicates that these companies more than tripled their lending volume from 2014 to 2015, from $11.7 billion to $36.5 billion. Some of these “fintech” lending firms use a peer-to-peer model, while others hold loans in their portfolios. What do borrowers like and dislike about them? And what market issues and regulatory issues may be lurking? The cover article in the latest issue of Econ Focus magazine examines these and other questions about fintech lenders.

Also in this issue:

  • Social Security. A look at how economists helped to shape Social Security over the decades as the program grew — and then came under strain.
  • Federal Reserve. Monetary policy is made independently of Congress and the executive branch, but, over time, the Fed is accountable to Congress for its monetary policy successes and failures. How have the Fed and Congress tried to resolve the tension between independence and accountability over the years?
  • Winston-Salem’s pivot to medical innovation. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, went through the wringer economically in the 1980s with the decline or departure of several major employers. Today, it’s looking to science programs of Wake Forest University and private research-oriented companies as the basis for a resurgence in good-paying jobs.
  • Interview with Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School on entrepreneurship, the ways that private equity creates value, and the continued relevance of distance in venture capital.

Econ Focus is the economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. It covers economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District and the nation. 

For a free subscription to Econ Focus or for copies of the magazine, call (800) 322-0565 or subscribe online. The articles also are available online


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.


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