5 alternatives to borrowing from banks

Online lending sites that facilitate loans between friends and family aren't immune to the economic meltdown, but they do offer an option to those in need of fast cash.

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Traditional student loans are drying up and college tuition costs are soaring. Enter GreenNote, a Redwood City, Calif.-based startup that has developed an online service for students to hit up friends and family willing to help foot the bill for school. Here's how it works: students create an online profile listing their university and how much they're trying to raise, then enter the e-mail addresses of people in their network for GreenNote to solicit. Loans are paid off within ten years at a fixed 6.8% interest rate, similar to a government-subsidized Stafford loan. The downside - there is little protection for lenders and the site doesn't run credit checks on borrowers. The company says about 6,000 students have used the site.
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Last updated November 18 2008: 8:08 AM ET
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