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Lending Club Buys Springstone Financial

April 17th, 2014 by wiseclerk

Lending Club announced today that it has acquired Springstone Financial for a total consideration of 140 million US$ in cash and stock. Springstone provides financing options for consumers looking to finance private education and elective medical procedures through a network of over 14,000 schools and healthcare providers.

“The acquisition of Springstone is significantly expanding the services we offer to help consumers achieve their goals,” said Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche. “Parents looking to finance their children’s education and patients undergoing elective procedures will now have access to Lending Club loans and benefit from responsible, transparent and affordable financing options.”

Mike Gilroy, CEO of Springstone, said, “Lending Club has established a great reputation as an innovator. We’ve built strong bridges between providers and patients and between educational institutions and parents. We’re excited to become part of the Lending Club platform, which will bring new financing options to our network.”

As part of the financing of this transaction, Lending Club also announced the closing of an equity capital raise. Investors in the $65 million round included funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Wellington Management Company, LLP, BlackRock and Sands Capital. According to Peter Renton the valuation of Lending Club at this round is at 3.76 million US$.

“We believe that Lending Club has an opportunity to transform an important part of the banking system into a transparent online marketplace,” said Henry Ellenbogen, Portfolio Manager at T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. “The Springstone acquisition is another step in that direction, and we are very excited at the prospect of being a long term equity partner of Lending Club.”

Lending Club also raised $50 million in debt financing to fund the acquisition.

(Source: Press release)

Bondora Moves to Fixed Price Bidding Only

April 16th, 2014 by wiseclerk

P2P lending service Bondora informed investors today that it plans changes to the bidding system in May. So far Bondora allows borrower to selected between ‘timed funding’ which results in a reverse auction lowering interest rates if more lenders want to bid on a loan during the auction period than the loan amount needed and ‘quick funding’ where the bidding ends, once the loan is fully filled.

In future Bondora will uniformly use ‘quick funding’ loans with fixed interest rates.

Since there will be no advantage for investors to set interest rates low on their automated investment profiles any more after the change, I expect the short term effect will be that investors raise the interest rate on their profiles to the actual interest rate they want to invest at (Currently it is possible and custom to bid 6% in order to heighten chances that bids participate in quick funding loans, which then might actually close at 28%).

Related article: P2P Lending: How are interest rates set

Ppdai Closes Series B Round

April 10th, 2014 by wiseclerk

Shanghai-based p2p lending service Ppdai.com has completed series B round (rumoured to be at 45M US$). The round was led by Lightspeed China Partners, an early stage investment company. Wealth management company Noah Private Wealth Management and Sequoia Capital also invested.

Ratesetter Will Expand P2P Lending Service to Australia

April 9th, 2014 by wiseclerk

Ratesetter will expand its p2p lending operations to Australia in 2014 and says this will serve as the stepping stone to further launches in Asia. It is also exploring launches in association with financial services partners closer to home in Europe.

Ratesetter has secured investment of $3 million from local and international investors to kick-start its offering from its Sydney offices.

Headed by Daniel Foggo, a former banker with Barclays Capital and NM Rothschild in Sydney and London respectively, the company says it will be the only Australian P2P company offering market-beating savings rates to individuals who lend funds on its platform and accessible loan rates to everyday borrowers who are tired of banks’ hidden fees and profiteering.

Ratesetter will go live in Australia this summer. Ratesetter says, it will be the first P2P lender in Australia to be fully regulated from the outset, allowing all Australians to participate on its  platform, not just professional investors. To make the platform available to retail investors at launch, Ratesetter has been working for a year on licensing.

Ratesetter, launched in October 2010 in the UK was also the first P2P lender to launch a ‘Provision Fund’ – the largest in the UK at 3.8 million GBP – to help protect savers’ funds in the event of a borrower default.  In March 2014, Ratesetter also originated the largest monthly inflows in the UK p2p lending sector. Since October 2010 the total p2p loan volume originated by Ratesetter has been over 208 million GBP.

Rhydian Lewis, founder and CEO of Ratesetter, said: “When looking at international markets in which to expand, Australia was the obvious choice as it bears great similarity to the UK before the advent of p2p lending. Its saving and loans industry is ripe for disruption as banks have been offering below-par deals for too long with little true competition.” Read the rest of this entry »

Lendico Launch in South Africa

April 7th, 2014 by wiseclerk

Today p2p lending service Lendico is launching in South Africa, the first non-European market for Lendico. The start-up is launching through Africa Internet Holdings (AIH) – an e-commerce development platform supported by Rocket Internet, Millicom International and MTN. AIH co-founder Jeremy Hodara said South Africa matches the 3 criteria Lendico looks for in new markets:

  • The country needs good financial infrastructure, with all the necessary components in place
  • There needs to be an expanding online population, with adequate Internet penetration
  • There needs to be a demand for personal loans

(Sources: Lendico, BusinessTech.co.za)

Isepankur Rebrands As Bondora – Raised 1.3M

April 3rd, 2014 by wiseclerk

P2P Lending marketplace Isepankur yesterday rebranded as Bondora. Bondora is active for borrowers in Estonia, Spain, Finland and Slovakia and lenders in 29 countries across Europe (all European Union countries plus Switzerland).

Following a new 1.3M Euro round of financing raised for the company, Bondora welcomes a new board to help the company in delivering an innovative business idea across the borders.

Mark Noetzold (a member of various supervisory boards and a lecturer for risk management in Germany, Switzerland and Austria), João P. S. Monteiro (an international manager responsible for global development at a blue-chip company) and Mati Otsmaa (a C-level management executive with extensive experience in consumer credit lending at American Express, Barclays, Citibank, Chase, Experian and HSBC) join forces to improve, market and raise awareness for the first cross-border peer-lending platform Bondora.

„Direct or p2p lending is the most rapidly developing financial service today and has a huge future potential by offering the best solutions to the borrowers and high returns for the lenders. I believe that Bondora, with its cross-border strategy, strong team and the ability to execute fast, has the potential to change the world of finance to be more transparent and straightforward,” – commented João P. S. Monteiro, board member and one of the angel investors.

According to an article in E24 Postimees the new investors now hold about 19% to 20% of the company shares.

„Over the last 5 years we have brought together over 70,000 customers from 29 countries to borrow and lend on our platform. The newly raised capital will be used to improve, market and raise awareness of our service further. Today we have a product, where a telephone engineer from Estonia could get funds to renovate his flat from a dozen of lenders located in any European country. Not only our borrowers get a chance to have their loans financed, but they get the best available deal on the marketplace. A secretary from Slovakia, for example, ready to pay 28% for a 600 Euro loan to study English, might end up paying only 12% because lenders pile in.  It is a simple and secure application process for the borrowers and a possibility to diversify private investment for the lenders. At the moment 26% of our lenders come from Germany, 11% from the UK and 4% from Switzerland (with the rest being spread across Europe). With the rapid growth of the company in the last year, the old name could no longer accommodate room for our cross-border growth, that is why today we are also launching our new name – Bondora, and our website available in 23 languages,” – commented the CEO of Bondora, Pärtel Tomberg. Read the rest of this entry »

International P2P Lending Services – Loan Volumes March 2014 – Round Figures Crossed

April 1st, 2014 by wiseclerk

March brought growth for the major p2p lending services. Ratesetter managed to pass Zopa and Funding Circle in newly originated loan volume in the UK. I added one new service to the table. Note that I have switched the reporting currency to Euro as all but two services are located in Europe. Several p2p lending services reached major figures for total loan volume funded since inception:

I do monitor development of p2p lending figures for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending services.

Table: P2P Lending Volumes in March 2014. Source: own research
Note that volumes have been converted from local currency to Euro for the sake of comparison. Some figures are estimates/approximations.

Notice to p2p lending services not listed:
If you want to be included in this chart in future, please email the following figures on the first working day of a month: total loan volume originated since inception, loan volume originated in previous month, number of loans originated in previous month, average nominal interest rate of loans originated in previous month.

Rocket Internet Launches Second P2P Lending Service: Zencap

March 30th, 2014 by wiseclerk

Rocket Internet, the venture fund of the Samwer brothers, launches a second p2p lending service (after Lendico in December). Zencap will facilitate loans from 10,000 to 150,000 Euro to companies. To qualifiy the company has to be trading for at least two years, have solid financials and total revenue of more than a 100,000 Euro. Nominal interest rates range from 4 to 14.6%. Zencap charges borrowers 1 to 4.5% origination fees (dependant on loan term; possible are 6 to 60 months). Lenders can start lending with 100 Euro and are charged 1% or all repayments. Zencap expects default rates between 0% and 10% depending on credit grade.

Christian Grobe, founder and CEO of Zencap says (translation from German original): “About 99% of all companies in Germany are SMEs, who together generate yearly revenues of over 2000 billion Euro. SMEs are the backbone of the German economy. Getting loans is a long and bureaucratice process for these companies, often ending in frustration, since 20% of all loan negotiations with German banks fail (source: KfW-Mittelstandspanel). We want to remove these hurdles with Zencap and offer SMEs an easy and unbureaucratic altenative to banks.”

Zencap founders Dr. Christian Grobe und Dr. Matthias Knecht, both previously worked at McKinsey & Company (photo source: Zencap)

P2P Lending Site Isepankur – Review of My Portfolio After Q1 2014

March 28th, 2014 by wiseclerk

It’s been one and a half years now since I started  p2p lending at Isepankur. And since my last report another 4 months have gone by. Since the start have deposited 10,000 Euro (approx. 13,750 US$).  I hold over 650 loan parts – the diversification achieved is very good. Together the loans add up to 12,636 Euro outstanding principal. Loans in the value of 1067 Euro are overdue, meaning they (partly) missed one or two repayments. 490 Euro are in loans that are more than 60 days late. I already received 4,945 Euro in repaid principal back (which I reinvested).

Chart 1: Screenshot of loan status

Right now I have 206 Euro cash in the account which is up from close to zero around the middle of the month. 25 Euro are tied in bids on current loan listings and will originate in the next few days.

Chart 2: Screenshot of account balance

Return on Invest

Currently Isepankur shows my ROI to be over 27.5%. In my own calculations, using XIRR in Excel, I currently get a 25.6% ROI. In the first months there was a considerable gap when comparing these differently calculated ROI figures. As my portfolio ages, the gap is closing. The statistic section tells me, that I am currently the lender with the 15th best ROI (counting all lenders that have invested for at least 12 months and at least 10,000 Euro). Read the rest of this entry »

Lending Club Launches Business Loans

March 21st, 2014 by wiseclerk

A huge step for Lending Club. Yesterday they launched loans to businesses. Lending Club business loans will range from 15,000 US$ to 100,000 US$ initially, with plans to increase to 300,000 US$ in the future. The loans carry fixed interest rates starting at 5.9% with terms of one to five years and no prepayment penalties. While Lending Club already offered loans that were used for “business purposes” in the past, these were actually consumer loans – the borrower was an individual rather than a company. Obviously the application process and the evaluation of creditworthyness needed to be redesigned for this type of loans.

This will have a big impact on the p2p lending market in the US. It vastly increase the potential market size and will enlarge the choice of loans that investors can lend to.

For more detailed coverage see: