On Wednesday, May 13, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing titled "Bridging the Small Business Capital Gap: Peer-to-Peer Lending." The purpose of the hearing was to examine the rise of peer-to-peer lending platforms that seek to satisfy the demand for debt capital that is currently not being met by banks and other conventional lenders. It in part focused on "crowdfunding" as a venue for raising capital, which the SEC is currently in the process of finalizing its rulemaking on under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012.
NAR sent a letter to the Committee thanking the Chairman, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ranking Member Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) for holding the hearing. It highlighted the nearly $1 trillion in commercial real estate loans that will mature in the next couple of years, and new regulations in the industry (such as the Basel III regulations, and the FASB/IASB lease accounting project) which may create further tension in commercial financing. Alternative sources of financing, such as peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, may present opportunities to alleviate some of that tension, as long as the appropriate consumer protections, transparency, and accountability are built into them.