With the belief that the way people write their requests for loans reflects their attitude towards lending and, therefore, their probability of repayment, I set out on a journey to find words which are associated with failed loans.
So I looked at the word "need" in a few different ways. I saw that there is variation on Prosper across the years and across the credit grades, and I've seen that something similar is happening on Lending Club.
I also looked at words that are associated with failed loans and words that are associated with loans that get paid off.
In the next few weeks, I'll start testing the words that have failed before and see if they fail on newer loans with the idea of building a list of words that, if used by a borrower, indicate that a loan is more likely to fail. I'll show how my first attempt failed -- words associated with failure in Prosper loans before 2008 weren't all associated with failure in 2008 loans -- and I'll try different sets of words to see if I can find some consistent pattern.