Is banking - as we know it - over? A new breed of company is now offering lending and borrowing online through what's called peer to peer lending, or crowdfunding. These websites match potential borrowers, who need money, with potential lenders who have money to invest.
Now powerful institutional investors are piling into the area - hoping to invest in this fast-growing sector. One prediction, made for the World Bank, suggests that this kind of alternative finance may be worth more than $93 billion by 2025. Is this stealing business from the banks? What about the lack of bank guarantees and comparatively light regulation; how secure is the money placed with these websites?
Presenter Lesley Curwen is joined by Rhydian Lewis, founder and CEO of RateSetter, one of the largest UK peer-to-peer lending companies,
Irene Graham, managing director of business finance at the British Bankers Association and Richard Swart, director of research in entrepreneurial finance from the University of California, Berkeley.
And our regular commentator, comedian Colm O'Regan suggests even the Dutch East India Company got its money from an ancient form of crowdfunding.