A new trend in the student loan business is capitalizing on the online social-networking phenomenon to connect students with those willing to lend them money for college.

The credit crunch has driven dozens of lenders out of the student loan market. But a number of new web sites are trying to sidestep the traditional players, facilitating loans between students and anonymous investors or even friends and family members.

The latest startup player in this so-called "peer-to-peer" student lending market, GreenNote, marked its official launch June 4.

The field is still fairly small but hoping for sharp seasonal increases. Fynanz, a competitor that matches


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