Online Lender TWINO Group Tops €1 billion in Originated Loans, Appoints New CEO Anastasija Oleinika as CEO

TWINO Group, a European peer to peer lending platform, has topped €1 billion in originated loans, according to a company release. Launched in Latvia in 2009, TWINO reports half of the billion Euros in lending has been issued in the past three years as the Fintech scales its services.

TWINO issues loans via subsidiaries in Poland, Russia, Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Denmark, and Spain. Investors come from all over Europe with the UK accounting for the second-largest share of investment at 12%, according to the company. Germany is the largest market with 33% of the investing.

TWINO provides unsecured consumer loans, small business loans, and invoice financing. Most of the loans are short term in nature. Some of the loans incorporate a “buyback guarantee” thus mitigating investor risk. Overall, the default rate stands at 6.6%. TWINO hosts an informative stats page here.

TWINO reported a profit of just under €9 million for 2018.

Simultaneously to the milestone event of surpassing a billion Euros in lending, TWINO has announced that founder Armands Broks is being replaced by Anastasija Oleinika, former CFO of TWINO. Oleinika has worked at TWINO for about three years, managing the Group’s finance as well as its business operations during the past year. She has also managed TWINO’s operations in Russia, one of the largest lending markets. Oleinika has worked on several M&A deals at SEB Enskilda and Superia Corporate Finance prior to joining TWINO – a fact that may foreshadow future events.

The change in management is said to help strengthen the company’s “financial, operational and risk management.” Broks will focus more on the development of new business opportunities, as well as attracting new talent and supporting the local ecosystem.

TWINO states that during the past 10 years TWINO has become one of the largest Fintech firms in Europe, serving over 1.5 million customers.  TWINO Group’s turnover is said to have increased by 157% year-on-year.

Oleinika said that reaching the €1 billion milestone is significant for TWINO, and is reflective of the business’ continued growth and expansion.

“The restructuring process we started in 2017 has brought the expected results in a very short time, and our financial results are testament to this,” explained Oleinika. “European Fintech is revolutionizing the way people view and manage their money, and we are proud to be driving this renewal of trust in financial services. As the market evolves, we are continuing to develop and expand our product range to meet customers’ changing needs and preferences. This will involve strengthening our data science and IT capabilities and expanding our team of financial technology experts.”

Broks said they are delighted to have Oleinika leading the team at this important time in the company’s growth.

“We’re currently working on a number of new business developments and are evaluating opportunities in new markets, most notably Asia in the next year,” added Boks.

Peer to Peer Crypto Exchange LocalBitcoins Registers with Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority

Peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins has registered with the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, FIN-FSA, the financial regulatory authority of the Finnish government. Earlier this month, Crowdfund Insider reported that five different virtual asset service providers (VASPs) had been approved and LocalBitcoins was in the mix

As noted on LocalBitcoins’ official website, only registered virtual currency providers that meet the relevant legal requirements will be permitted to provide services in Finland.

According to an announcement from the company:

“As part of the registration process, the FIN-FSA has determined that LocalBitcoins has suitable procedures in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, that customer assets are adequately held and safeguarded, and that the company’s management and key personnel fulfil the fitness and propriety criteria.”

LocalBitcoins’ management says that becoming an official virtual currency provider is “part of a longer evolution” of the company. The P2P exchange aims to provide greater transparency, accountability, and reliability if its bitcoin trading service globally.

LocalBitcoins CEO Sebastian Sonntag stated:

“Finland is a well-functioning society, which holds trust and confidence at high levels. At the same time, the controls in the financial sector are of particularly high quality and the position of the clients is well protected. These themes are also at the heart of LocalBitcoins’ operations”

LocalBitcoins’s management noted that it is planning to further expand its operations, with a special focus on improving the platform’s customer service and it will also address matters involving the FIN-FSA, particularly the “prevention of money laundering.”

Sonntag added:

“Operating as an official virtual currency provider strengthens our position and enables us to continue to operate responsibly and reliably. At the same time, it opens up new business opportunities for us. Our goal is to create a truly global marketplace where everyone, regardless of their starting point, can participate in the virtual economy.”

Report: P2P Lender Zopa Nears Launch of Digital Bank Offshoot in the United Kingdom

Zopa, a peer-to-peer (P2P) money lending platform that allows borrowers and lenders to deal directly with each other (cutting out the banks who serve as intermediaries), is nearing the launch of its new digital bank offshoot in the United Kingdom.

The company will conduct a limited one-month beta test of its first fixed-term savings account, which already has 200 prospective clients.

Zopa reportedly acquired a limited UK banking license in December 2018, after receiving £60 million (appr. $76.9 million) in investments for the build-out. The capital raised helped Zopa in launching several new financial products, which were developed using its proprietary technology.

Zopa is currently preparing to launch a new credit card platform and a billing engine. The company also plans to introduce an Open Banking hub in order to facilitate account aggregation and provide access to various personal finance tools.

Chief product officer at Zopa, Didier Baclin, told Finextra:

“Inviting existing customers to test our fixed term saver is a major milestone in our bank journey. It is a great opportunity to ensure that the product meets their expectations before the full launch next year so that we deliver a great product that customers can trust.”

Zopa is reportedly seeking additional funding as it is working on satisfying regulatory requirements for obtaining a full banking license.

Last month, Zopa introduced a new credit scoring tool on its app, which is part of its offering that aims to compete against the UK’s retail banks.

Founded in 2005, was the very first peer to peer lending platform that helped to launch an entire industry. Today, according to the 

Zopa has been using its technical expertise and machine learning to offer consumers services that are as easy and intuitive to use as major platforms such as Amazon and Netflix.

The company’s new tool, Borrowing Power, allows users to find out their credit scores while also being able to receive advice on how to improve their scores. Zopa’s tool gets data from Equifax and, via machine learning, provides insights to consumers regarding why they have a particular credit score and what they can do to improve it.

Kapital Boost Receives Regulatory Approval in Indonesia to Provide P2P Crowdfunding for SMEs

Kapital Boost, an Islamic peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform for SMEs, has received regulatory approval from the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Kapital Boost described the approval as “validation that its business model and processes are in accordance with Indonesia’s financial services regulatory requirements, which has gotten tighter over time.”

Kapital Boost said the event was a milestone in its development as Indonesia is its key target market for SME financing.

Kapital Boost’s co-founder and CEO, Erly Witoyo, said Indonesian SMEs have been struggling to get access to financing and they will strive to meet this demand.

“This registration will allow us to accelerate our business and channel far more financing to SMEs in Indonesia. Technology innovation and regulatory compliance will be our main focus going forward. This is important to ensure that we offer the best service to all stakeholders in terms of ease-of-use, fairness and transparency,” said Erly Witoyo.

Chief Operating Officer Norliana Hamber added, they also realize that they can grow faster through collaborations.

“Therefore we intend to engage with various partners including regulators, banks, and technology companies to provide the best service to users.”

SMEs may seek up to IDR2 billion on Kapital Boost (approx. USD $143,000). For SMEs who pass the in-house credit assessment, their crowdfunding campaign will be launched on the website for both local and international investors. Kapital Boost states that the expected returns to investors are 15-24% on an annualized basis. The use of Shariah-compliant contracts ensure that financing is ethical.

Ronald Wijaya, co-founder of Kapital Boost and chairman of AFSI (Indonesian Shariah Fintech Association), is optimistic about shariah fintech in Indonesia.

“Following Kapital Boost’s registration with OJK, we desire to actively participate in promoting growth of the Shariah economy in Indonesia,” said Ronald Wijaya

Established in 2015, Kapital Boost is an Islamic peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform for SMEs. Kapital Boost operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Funding Circle to Update Lending Process for UK Retail Investors

Funding Circle (LSE:FCH) has announced updates to the lending experience for retail investors in the UK. According to a blog post, on 2 December, the company will launch a new selling tool that is expected to improve retail lenders’ ability to access funds more regularly and attract new funds to the platform.

Funding Circle notes that money is matched to loans that are paid back over a period of up to five years and that it is “important to treat lending as an investment, as your money may be tied up for this time period.”

Regarding the new service, Funding Circle explains:

“On 2nd December, all investors currently selling loans will be automatically transferred over to the new selling tool, and investors will start to sell loans with funds made available more regularly. Every investor will continue to sell for 120 days, and will receive a notification at the end of this period to confirm how much has been sold in that time. If you would like to sell more loan parts, you can make another request and start selling loans again.”

Funding Circle states that it is of the opinion they are launching a service that is in the best interests of the majority of investors. Currently, investors are able to access funds in two ways. First, by switching lending off which expedites the return and by listing loan parts for sale. The new service is designed to improve access to funds.

Funding Circle reports that over 83,000 investors have earned over £300 million in interest since 2012 (net of fees and bad debt). Funding Circle claims this is more than any other lending platform. Loans originated since 2012 have generated annualized returns from 4% to 7%.

Landbay Says October Was Record Month

Fast-growing Fintech Landbay says October was a great month for the real estate peer to peer lending platform. Without providing any details, Landbay tweeted out the news.

Earlier this year, Landbay reported that a “leading financial institution” had committed to funding £1 billion in buy to let mortgages originated on the site. This may have something to do with its growth.

Landbay offers investors the opportunity to invest in loans to buy-to-let landlords. All loans are secured by first‐ranking mortgages over tenanted residential properties across England and Wales.

The P2P lender currently promotes up to a 3.45% return for investors. In a historically low interest rate environment, these returns are far higher than a savings account for some additional risk.

According to Landbay’s statistic page, since platform launch, the site has originated over £360 million for more than 1500 mortgages. Default rates sit at zero.

Landbay is not just a Fintech platform but is also a beneficiary of crowdfunding having raised capital online multiple times.

CrowdProperty Reports Topping £50,000,000 in P2P Loans

Peer to peer property lender, CrowdProperty, is reporting that it has now lent more than £50 million after closing on the 121st loan today during a “record month” of lending £5 million.

CrowdProperty says it has supported the development of over £120 million of property and 700 homes, enabling over £40 million being driven into the UK economy.

Of note, CrowdProperty states that it has a 100% capital and interest payback track record through 5 years of lending, paying back over £18 million to date.

Mike Bristow, CEO of CrowdProperty, said these milestones are indicative of his platform solving fundamental pain points for both lenders and borrowers – as well as the UK housing market:

“Property professionals come to CrowdProperty not because it’s a peer-to-peer lender but because we’re building the best property project lending business in the market to service their needs best – as expert property people offering property finance,” said Bristow. “The business is underpinned by technology for speed and efficiency as well as deep expertise for effectiveness, becoming the lender of first resort for quality property projects being undertaken by quality property professionals, curated from £1.7 billion of funding applications per year.”

Bristow explains that CrowdProperty projects have been funding in a matter of minutes. The performance of the platform is due in part to the 100% capital and interest payback track record:

“We have a strong pipeline of projects ahead, all meeting our specialist property team’s exacting standards – which have only ever tightened through 5 years of lending and seeing a material proportion of the market apply for finance from CrowdProperty. As Neil Faulkner, co-founder and chief executive of 4th Way, a leading independent peer-to-peer lending market commentator, said: ‘The key people at CrowdProperty have clearly demonstrated the talent and deep experience needed to properly assess complex development projects, monitor them, keep them on track, and take steps when things go wrong. I believe they are fanatical about maintaining quality.'”




Peer to Peer Lender RateSetter Adds Martyn Scrivens as Board member

Peer to peer lender RateSetter has announced the appointment of Martyn Scrivens as Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Board Risk Committee.  Scrivens officially joins the Board on 1 November 2019.

Scrivens commented on his selection:

“RateSetter stands out with its unique model, strong reputation for risk management and unrivalled track record of delivering for customers.  It is very exciting to join such an innovative and dynamic business and I look forward to working with my new Board colleagues on the next stage of RateSetter’s growth.”

According to a note from RateSetter, Scrivens has experience in audit and risk management, including operating at Board level in both the private and public sector.  Scrivens spent five years at Credit Suisse Group where he was Global Head of Internal Audit and prior to that he oversaw group audit functions at  Lloyds Banking Group.

Scrivens also serves as Non-Executive Director at Yeovil District Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and chairs the Institute’s Internal Audit Advisory Panel.

Paul Manduca, Chair of RateSetter’s Board, said that Scrivens brings extensive leadership experience to the company:

“I am delighted to welcome him to the RateSetter Board.  Martyn joins at an exciting time, with P2P becoming a mainstream investment class and RateSetter establishing itself at the forefront of the sector as the lowest-risk and most liquid P2P investment proposition.”

RateSetter claims to be the UK’s most popular peer to peer lender with over 700,000 individuals having invested or borrowed via the platform. RateSetter incorporates a Provision Fund and reports that no investor has ever lost any money.

EstateGuru Reports Having Financed €153 Million in Loans since 2014

EstateGuru, an online lender for short-term, property-backed loans for SMEs, is reporting having financed 1040 loans for a total amount of €153 million since 2014.

Geographically, 68.27% of them were in Estonia, 17.92% in Latvia, 12.24% in Lithuania, 1.37% in Finland, 0.1% in Portugal, and 0.1% in Spain. EstateGuru is based in Estonia.

Daniil Aal, Head of Group Sales at EstateGuru, issued the following statement:

“Although the majority of loans are currently financed in Estonia, we’re witnessing an increased inflow of loan requests from Spain, Finland, Portugal and Italy. By integrating different public databases into our data warehouse and using sophisticated valuation models, it’s possible to make quick and professional loan decisions and help small and medium sized companies all over Europe,” said Aal. “It’s a global trend that traditional banking is becoming more and more localized due to AML and KYC procedures, as it’s very expensive for them to handle those procedures cross-border. Although at the same time people and businesses are more and more borderless because we live in a borderless world enabled by technology and data.”

EstateGuru explains that the German banking system takes on average 10 weeks to get a loan paid out to an SME. In comparison, EstateGuru takes on average three working days.

The average loan sum in the Baltics is said to be between €150 000 – €200 000. Outside the Baltics the average loan sum is considerably higher, starting from €500 000 and typically exceeding €1 million. The average contractual loan term for the issued loans is 14 months, however, the average loan term of repaid loans has been 10 months.

Andres Luts, Baltic Risk Manager at EstateGuru, said there are differences within the Baltic countries:

“… in Estonia the secondary cities like Tartu, Pärnu and Narva also have very active real estate markets, while in Latvia, it’s mostly based in Riga. In Estonia, entrepreneurs can easily put their home up as collateral for a business loan, this however isn’t an accepted practice in Lithuania. We also see that legal and tax environments are different and in Estonia the enforcement procedure costs are lower for the creditor than in Latvia and Lithuania.”

Germany: Digital SME Lender creditshelf Says More Loans Originated in 2019 So Far than All of 2018

creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft, a peer to peer lender providing financing options to German SMEs, says that more loans have been originated on its platform in the 9 months of 2019 than all of 2018.

According to creditshelf, loan volume through the past 9 months stands at €51.7 million – 72% higher than year prior. The volume of arranged loans after the first nine months is already higher than for the full
year 2018 which was € 50.7 million.

Since platform launch, creditshelf has originated loans totaling € 154.0 million.

creditshelf adds that the volume of requested loans was € 944.5 million,  26 % higher than previous year.

As of September 30, 2019, outstanding loans was reported to be € 67.3 million.

The average ticket size in the first nine months of 2019 was € 728 thousand versus 652,000 in prior period.

Dr. Tim Thabe, CEO of creditshelf, issued a statement on platform performance:

“Digital SME financing continues to gain importance in Germany and has by no means fully realized its market potential. Despite a tense economic environment, we had the highest volume of requests in the history of our company in the third quarter, in total 43% above the previous quarter. Our pipeline is well filled and marks a good starting point for a traditionally strong fourth quarter.”

creditshelf said the complete Q3 release will be published on November 21, 2019.

Belgian SME Lender Look & Fin Raises €6 Million to Fuel Growth

Look & Fin, a European crowdlending pioneer, announced that it has raised €6 million from local investment fund finance & and private investors.

Founded in 2012, Look & Fin, is one of the top SME crowdlender in the European area of Belgium, Luxembourg and France with €70 million in loans to 230 SMEs, including
€28 million over the past 12 months.

Selected companies can borrow from €50,000 to €5 million for any type of need. Lenders are retail investors and institutional investors. Some €30 million have already been repaid with an average annual net default rate of 5.5%.

With the funding raised, the platform aims to strengthen its market presence with a twofold objective:

  • Financing 1,000 SMEs for up to € 300 million over the next 3 years.
  • Continue its technological developments in data processing to give access to SMEs an almost instant and 100% digital access to credit.

Frédéric Lévy Morelle, Founder and CEO of Look & Fin commented:

“We launched Look & Fin to create a bond market for SMEs listed. 7 years after our launch and almost 100% growth per year, the model is successful among borrowers as well as lenders. Our goal is to become the solution of choice for 100% digital and non-bank credit for SMEs, regardless of size, need or sector . We were looking for investors with profiles and complementary networks capable of supporting us on the long-term development of our activities.”

Morelle added;

“In a context where rates are lower and lower, Look & Fin allows lenders to obtain a return of 3% per annum on the insured files and historically has an average yield of over 5% per annum to more than 80% of its lenders on uninsured files. By improving our offer to borrowers, we will allow our lenders to optimize their portfolios.”

The platform which raised a first €3 million in 2016, welcomes, in this new €6 million round, the regional investment fund finance &, as well as successful entrepreneurs, including historic shareholders who are renewing thus their confidence by participating in this second round.

Pierre Hermant, CEO of finance & declared:

“Our mission is to facilitate and complete the funding chain. With this in mind, we consider the crowdlending as an additional tool to meet the financing needs of SMEs. At present, Look & Fin has managed to distinguish itself by its rigor and its simple and effective procedures. The company is considered as a fintech of reference which enjoys a very good reputation, including internationally, through the quality of its proposed investments, and therefore its low default rate among borrowers and good return for the lenders. “

“The synergies between our entities are as natural as beneficial for the economic fabric of Brussels and Belgium. Our investment contributes to the creation of a participative, citizen and regional economy: Look & Fin gives meaning to savings by allowing individuals to finance the real economy – by supporting innovative and concrete projects -, creator of value and jobs,” he added.

Thibaud Elzière (eFounders) stated:

“In a world where everything is instantaneous, business executives must be able to subscribe a credit as easily as they buy a product or service on the internet. Look & Fin fits this trend. ”

Therese Torris, PhD, is a Senior Contributing Editor to Crowdfund Insider. She is an entrepreneur and consultant in eFinance and eCommerce based in Paris. She has covered crowdfunding and P2P lending since the early days when Zopa was created in the United Kingdom. She was a director of research and consulting at Gartner Group Europe, Senior VP at Forrester Research and Content VP at Twenga. She publishes a French personal finance blog, Le Blog Finance Pratique.

European P2P Lender for Property Backed Loans Estate Guru Launches Secondary Market

Pan European peer to peer lender EstateGuru has launched a secondary market for their loans, according to a note from the company. Investors may now buy and sell the securities online.

EstateGuru is a peer to peer market for short term, property-backed loans for SMEs. Based in Estonia, EstateGuru currently claims over 32,000 investors from 106 different countries.

EstateGuru said that by providing a path for liquidity for its investors it has reached the next crucial milestone in its technological development agenda, with a variety of features set to follow in the near future.

Mihkel Stamm, COO of EstateGuru, said that although all the loans are short-term in nature, with an average term of 10.4 months, providing an option to sell an investment is an important addition to the platform:

“Having a wider variety of loans on the platform makes it possible for new investors to build diversified investment portfolios right away. Since the aim of the secondary market is not to fulfill the role of a trading platform, but rather to offer an early exit opportunity to those who need the liquidity, a 2% service fee has been applied,“ said Stamm.

Stamm added that research conducted by EstateGurue showed that liquidity is one of the major motivators that would generate additional interest in investors.

To date, EstateGuru reports approximately €150 million in loans originated. The average loan is around €147,000 with a 12.04% historical rate of return. The current default rate is 3.7%. The majority of the loans are originated in Estonia.

Thameside Investment Group Purchases 20% of Institutional P2P Debt Trading Platform ASMX at £5 Million Valuation

Thameside Investment Group has purchased 20% of peer to peer debt trading platform ASMX, according to a note from the company. ASMX was valued at £5 million.

Thameside is a UK-based multi-asset investor that currently holds two portfolio companies.

ASMX is a secondary market designed to provide liquidity in the the multi-billion Sterling private debt market. ASMX uses distributed ledger technology (DLT or blockchain) to operate its platform.

ASMX is developing a new secondary market that will allow p2p platforms and loan originators to integrate with its blockchain settlement technology. ASMX believes this will have the effect of creating a market that platforms can use internally or choose to become part of an ecosystem that can share liquidity.

Martin Holland, CEO of Thameside Investment Group, said they have been very impressed with the core platform which has been developed by a team with over 25 years of experience of building the technology underpinning some of the world’s leading exchanges.

“They have combined the key trading and settlement elements, through a combination of DLT and FIX to result in what we believe is a significant shift in secondary market technology. When brought together with the expertise and network that ASMX has successfully developed it will provide an institutional grade trading destination for the P2P debt market,” said Holland.

David Bradley-Ward, CEO of ASMX, explained they have had a vision of joining a number of platforms together:

“This evolved into a broader ambition of connecting multiple platforms and creating economies of scale for lending platforms and loan originators throughout the world,” Bradley-Ward said. “This will create more diversification for lenders, more tools for lending and more analysis, making lending even more effective.

Alex Benger, Business Development Director of ASMX said they needed to partner with a strong team who believe in their mission of providing liquidity in the private debt space.

ASMX said it will operate on a low-latency blockchain technology stack, with multi-party and multi-directional transaction support. The company expects this to evolve into an international marketplace.

According to the ASMX roadmap, the peer to peer trading platform is scheduled to launch this November.

ASMX said the total volume of institutional assets under management allocated to private debt is estimated to be around US$ 638 billion. P2P platforms globally are continuing to originate billions in loans and small bond issues continue to collectively raise large amounts of money. ASMX has been designed to provide a scaleable, institutional-grade platform, with instantaneous settlement for these market participants

P2P Lender RateSetter Reports “Significant Reduction in Losses,” Profitability Nears

Peer to peer lender RateSetter has reported that for the year March 2019 losses have dropped from £27.5 million in the previous year to £4.2 million. The company claims it has taken a “big step towards profitability.

Topline revenue was reported at £33 million with total loans under management at £891 million.

RateSetter’s CEO, Rhydian Lewis OBE, issued a statement on the results:

“It is very encouraging that we are now within touching distance of profitability. Our model has always been differentiated from other peer-to-peer lenders because we have focussed on a low risk and liquid product for investors. On the borrower side, we compete in traditional and deep markets where we do not need to take undue risk to build a sizeable business. We believe this makes RateSetter the sustainable challenger to the banking model of deposit-backed lending.  Some fintechs may have raced off quicker than us, but we think the tortoise will overtake the hare.”

Additionally, RateSetter’s total number of active investors reportedly rose by 26%. Over 600,000 investors have leveraged the platform.

RateSetter’s Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) stands at over £1 billion invested.

RateSetter notes that no investor on RateSetter has lost a penny, due to its Provision Fund

P2P lending Platform Beehive Announces First SME Facilitating Funding in Bahrain

Peer to peer lender Beehive announced on Tuesday it has facilitated funding for its first SME in Bahrain. According to the online lending platform, the SME, Bahrain-based Mira Packaging Factory, manufactures disposable paper cups and other food packaging solutions to the GCC and African F&B industry. 

“Since its inception in 2015, Mira Packaging has experienced high demand both locally and regionally for its products. This latest round of funding on Beehive is testament to the company’s growth, in terms of both demand for its products and the expansion of operations with new machinery and equipment.”

Beehive, which made its debut in Dubai in 2014, claims it is MENA’s first regulated peer to peer lending platform and one of the region’s leading fintech pioneers. Muneeb Rashid, Mira Packaging Director of Operations, stated:

“The high demand for our products is directly associated with our service and flexibility that we offer to our large portfolio of customers in BahrainSaudi Arabia and the regional neighbouring countries which include international airlines, global HORECA brands and local coffee concepts. The Company will utilize the new round of funding for expanding its output as well as diversifying its product portfolio to suit customer’s needs.”

Craig Moore, Beehive CEO, also commented:

“We’re delighted to have facilitated funding for our first SME in Bahrain, which will be the first of many. Mira Packaging Factory proved their eligibility for peer to peer finance after Beehive’s thorough credit assessment, which determines the company’s ability to repay the loan and provide excellent returns to our global investors. This is great news for both the company and the economy in Bahrain, which relies heavily on SMEs.”

Dalal Buhejji, Senior Manager, Business Development – Financial Services, Bahrain EDB, went on to add:

“This is yet another example of Bahrain’s bold and innovative regulation catalysing growth in the Kingdom. It’s fantastic to see businesses from our fintech and manufacturing sectors now able to drive growth together in this way. I look forward to watching Mira Packaging and Beehive continue to take advantage of Bahrain’s unique, supportive ecosystem as they expand across this region and beyond.”

Peer to Peer Lender Linked Finance Announces “Beyond Brexit” Loan for Irish SMEs

Linked Finance is announcing a new product as the deadline for a Brexit deal nears. The Ireland based peer to peer lending platform has launched new “Beyond Brexit” loans for Irish SMEs.

The new loans are said to provide working capital to Irish businesses preparing for the post-Brexit transition. Businesses may borrow up to €300,000 for an 18 month period. Linked Finance says access to the loan takes less than 24 hours.

Linked Finance points to the Irish government’s “Getting Your Business Brexit Ready” guide that says managing cash flow is a key consideration of any practical preparation for Brexit.

Linked Finance adds that it recently announced a wide range of rate reductions across the platform, with reductions of as much as 0.55% on some 36-month loan categories

Niall Dorrian, CEO of Linked Finance, explained that many of the businesses they work with are putting additional working capital in place now:

“The logic being that it’s easier to access credit today before any Brexit-related challenges have taken their toll on cash flow. With the UK political situation changing day by day Irish businesses will continue to hope for the best, but would be prudent to prepare for the worst. Linked Finance is committed to helping Irish SMEs rise to any challenges that Brexit might bring. These loans and our recent rate reductions are just two of the ways that we will continue to support the great local businesses that form the backbone of our economy as they navigate these uncertain times.”

 Linked Finance is Ireland’s largest P2P lending platform having provided more than €110 million in lending to SMEs across the country.

App based Lending Platform Lenmo Seeks Up to $3 Million on SeedInvest

Lenmo, an alternative lender that is a marketplace for investors to fund loans all on an App, is raising up to $3 million on SeedInvest.

Lenmo is a small-dollar lender that will provide credit when banks say no as it will accept subprime borrowers – ostensibly at a better rate than some other lenders.

For borrowers, you choose the amount and the term and multiple lenders compete for your loan. Investors (lenders) include financial institutions, lending businesses, and individual lenders. While still small, Lenmo reports having originated over $1.2 million in loans to date for 5000+ individuals. By connecting to friends and families via Facebook, a borrower can easily tap into their personal network to borrow the money from known people.

Currently, Lenmo loans are single peer to peer – meaning you cannot invest in fractions of loans. You can choose varying risk/return levels.

Of note, Lenmo says that Lenmo Enterprise, a solution designed to make investing in the small loan market already has 45 enterprise signups with another 75 in the pipeline.

Lenmo is another example of the ongoing disaggregation of the traditional banking market.  By removing the middle man, Lenmo may originate loans in a more streamlined process at a lower rate while investors may directly participate in the asset class.

Lenmo makes its money by charging borrowers a 1% fee on the loan principal or a minimum of $3 regardless of interest rate and payback period.

Lenmo is doing a side-by-side Reg CF-Reg D offering on SeedInvest. The “Series Seed” is at a pre-money valuation of $10 million for preferred equity. So far, $102,501 has been raised under Reg D and $2,501 under Reg CF. The minimum target is a raise of $700,000. A year ago, Lenmo did a Seed round of $430,000 at a valuation of $8 million.

Local Focused P2P Lender Folk2Folk Appoints New Managing Director

Folk2Folk, a local-focused peer to peer lender providing financing to SMEs, has appointed Roy Warren as its new Managing Director. Warren has been filling the role on an interim basis for some time now. Simultaneously, the P2P lender added four new members to its Board of Directors.

Accompanying the announcement is the news that Folk2Folk co-Founder Mark Parnall has decided to step down from the board to focus on his other growth businesses.  Parnall has been a board member since he co-founded the company in 2013 and will remain a major shareholder in the company.

Prior to being selected as MD, Warren was Head of Risk and Loan Portfolio at Folk2Folk. Being in this role for the past four years, Warren is described as the lenders “risk man,” helping to maintain the “company’s enviable track record.”

Warren said they are delighte to be adding the new board members who bring a range of experience in tech and finance:

“I am in no doubt the company will benefit from the perspectives they offer and the enthusiasm they bring. I look forward to leading Folk2Folk onto its next stage of development. I would like to personally thank Mark Parnall for his significant and vital role in bringing FOLK2FOLK from concept, through start-up to becoming ‘The Local Lending Movement’ it is today.”

Folk2Folk is the 3rd largest P2P lender to business in the UK in terms of cumulative lending. Folk2Folk recently surpassed £300 million in cumulative lending across a wide range of business sectors.

The new Folk2Folk Board Members are as follows:

Alex Daly, non-executive director

Alex is a Chief Financial Officer with an extensive range of both accounting, risk and business experience, gained through working at retail and challenger banks, Fintechs and alternative consumer lenders. He brings to the Folk2Folk board a wealth of experience gleaned from working within a diverse range of businesses from Private Equity funded through to Listed and the Public Sector.

Graham Dingle, non-executive director

Graham brings fifty years of small business experience along with specialist knowledge of farming and agricultural businesses, a key sector for Folk2Folk.  In partnership with his two  brothers, Graham runs his family’s arable farm in Cornwall and Dingle Brothers Systems Limited, an engineering business specialising in computer systems for agricultural businesses.

Justin Abbott Chalew, independent non-executive director (pending FCA approval)

Justin is a technology leader with experience across both start-ups, scale-ups and large corporates. He has worked as Chief Technology Officer at several technology businesses and held digital transformation and programme management roles in both the United States and the UK. In addition to IT governance and financial management, he has domain experience in Fintech and in delivering secure and scalable platforms.

Megan McCracken, independent non-executive director (pending FCA approval)

Megan is a strategy and transformation executive with over 20 years of experience across global businesses, including HSBC and Citigroup.  She is also an independent director with a portfolio of financial services and digital boards from FTSE 250 to smaller, high growth businesses.  Megan brings a proven ability to guide boards at the intersection of organisational, operational, digital and regulatory change.

Funding Circle Provides Lessons from “Foreign Frameworks” in Comment Letter Addressing SEC’s Concept Release on Regulatory Harmonization

Funding Circle lobby

Funding Circle (LSE:FCH), a leading peer to peer (marketplace) lending platform serving SMEs, has posted a comment letter regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission (SECs) concept release on regulatory harmonization.

Funding Circle is the largest peer to peer lender in the UK – the country where P2P lending was first launched – having originated over $10 billion in online loans. Funding Circle is also publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange – another first for the UK. Funding Circle also operates in the US, as well as several other European countries.

The comment letter, authored by Ryan Metcalf, Head of Regulatory Affairs in the US, tackled a broad variety of issues where the securities regulation may be improved.

“Funding Circle sees firsthand the difficulties faced by many individuals and small businesses in need of affordable capital and the complexities and costs of misaligned securities regulations burdening platforms’ abilities to help provide a connection between borrowers and investors.”

Funding Circle points to the regulatory approach in the UK that has been widely recognized as allowing Fintech innovation to blossom – to the benefit of all:

“… the UK implemented a regulatory framework that created a large, well-functioning retail market for loan platform products. In fact, we are the largest net small business lender in the UK with 83,000 retail investors having lent £5.4 billion through their platform, earning investors £290 million in interest. Additionally, the European Union (so applicable through the 28 member states of the Union) has implemented rules that sought to achieve the same outcomes for investment-based crowdfunding platforms.”

The SEC’s current disclosure guidelines were largely designed for a time when the internet was not even imagined. Current regulations make it difficult for non-accredited investors to access certain assets such as Funding Circle loans.

Addressing Reg CF [Regulation Crowdfunding] specifically, Funding Circle states:

“… the implementation of the Crowdfunding Exemption failed to fully achieve its objective of allowing businesses to offer and sell securities, particularly debt. We respectfully request the SEC to reconsider its approach to the application of the Crowdfunding Exemption to better enable support for the funding of small businesses whilst maintaining appropriate investor protection.”

Funding Circle would like to see Reg CF updated to be better suited for marketplace lending platforms.

Regarding Reg A+, a crowdfunding exemption that requires extensive disclosure and the filing of an offering circular, Funding Circle sees the cap of $50 million (Tier 2) as too low and the ongoing disclosure as too burdensome (read costly).

As for the definition of an accredited investor, like most all rational observers Funding Circle states that wealth is not a proxy for financial acumen and the current rule should be updated to reflect this fact.

This is a good comment letter providing a unique perspective from an online lender launched in one of the most robust Fintech markets in the world. The Funding Circle comment letter is embedded below.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Funding Circle SEC Concept Relase Comment Letter September 2019 s70819-6171828-192395″]

MatchMove Finalizes Agreement with MoolahSense to Launch Risk-Mitigated “On-Tap” Credit Solution

“Bank-As-A-Service” platform MatchMove has reportedly finalized an agreement with MoolahSense, a licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firm. The deal involves a strategic stake, which will take effect immediately.

CEO of MoolahSense Lawrence Yong noted:

“We are excited to partner with MatchMove to launch a risk-mitigated ‘on-tap’ credit solution for curated digital ecosystems that fulfills the working capital needs of SMEs. We shall be tuning our ‘Lending-in-a-Box’ into MatchMove’s vision of ‘Banking-in-any-App’ to realize the dreams of many SMEs and reward the decisions of lenders.”

As a data-driven P2P lender, MoolahSense mainly focuses on lending to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), and conducts business under a Capital Markets Services (CMS) license, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The acquisition will allow MatchMove to enhance its Spend.Send.Lend™ capability and provide financing services to SMEs within its decentralized lending ecosystem. Meanwhile, MoolahSense will be able to access MatchMove’s integrated regional partner network, in order to work with new market segments and expand its operations to fund established SMEs in Asia.

Founder and Group CEO of MatchMove Shailesh Naik stated:

“This combination makes perfect sense as we see access to funding as a key enabler for many of our growing clients. With this partnership, we will be able to leverage on MoolahSense’s capability in credit origination and scoring to serve our clients better. Furthermore, there is a natural strategic convergence between our two digital platforms to go-to-market together as a combined offering.”

MatchMove will be able to find new issuers and lenders from its existing customer base, which will improve its “banking-as-a-service” platform. 

MoolahSense will be able to grow its loan portfolio by accessing new market segments while also developing new product capabilities.