Crowdfunding and P2P Lending in Switzerland – Market Overview

Prof. Dr. Andreas Dietrich of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Simon Amrein, Reto Wernli and Dr. Falk Kohlmann have published the study ‘Crowdfunding Monitoring Switzerland 2015‘. It analyses the development of crowdfunding in Switzerland giving special attention to the development of p2p lending.

The Swiss market is growing fast; albeit on low absolute numbers compared to other European countries. The market is in a very early development stage. As the following chart shows the volume is mainly generated by crowdsupporting/crowddonating.

Crowdfunding Market Switzerland 2014
Source: Crowdfunding Monitoring Switzerland 2015 study

The total market for new loans to consumers in Switzerland in 2014 was 3.9 billion CHF. Via p2p lending 3.5 million CHF were originated in 2014, so that equals a market share of only 0.1%. But the p2p lending volume has nearly doubled compared to 2013 (1.8 million CHF). The authors state:

The crowdlending market has experienced the strongest year-on-year growth of all crowdfunding segments. … The number of campaigns rose from 116 to 214, and all of them were successfully funded. The current challenge of crowdlending platforms is not finding funders. On the contrary, it is (more) difficult to get borrowers on the platforms. Crowdlending campaign funders invested an average of CHF 1,100, which is substantially different from the figures in reward-based crowdfunding & crowddonating as well as in crowdinvesting. The average campaign amount was CHF 16,200, which was slightly higher than in the past year (CHF 15,000). The average loan amount in crowdlending is very similar to the average consumer loan as of the end of 2014. The crowdlending market is, however, still niche market.

Crowdfunding Market Switzerland Growth
Source: Crowdfunding Monitoring Switzerland 2015 study

Regulation limits that a private consumer loan cannot be financed by more than 20 different individual lenders.

The authors analysed loan data of the Cashare marketplace. Examining who uses p2p lending as a borrower the study finds:

The average borrower age is 38. One fifth had at least one child under the age of 16 at the time the loan was raised. At 37 percent, married people were proportionally under-represented, although they make up 54 percent of the permanent resident population. 19 Homeowners (19 percent) and women (24 percent) are also under-represented. The distribution of nationalities is slightly more representative of the Swiss population. 71 percent of the borrowers were Swiss, while 29 percent of the borrowers were not in possession of a Swiss passport. The average proportion of the foreign-born resident population in Switzerland was 22 percent between 2008 and 2013.
The age distribution of the borrowers leads to the conclusion that crowdlending is currently still primarily used by the tech-savvy Generation Y. 60 percent of all loans raised since 2008 went to people under the age of 40. Only 4 percent of the borrowers for successful projects were over 60 years of age.

Also the borrowers regional distribution shows that use is much more common in the German speaking areas of Switzerland.

Regional distribution of p2p lending borrowers in Switzerland
Source: Crowdfunding Monitoring Switzerland 2015 study

Continue reading

3 Marketplaces Join Forces to Form Crowdfunding Alliance in Singapore

Today marks a significant chapter in Singapore’s fast-growing crowdfunding industry, as crowdfunding platforms CoAssets, FundedByMe, and New Union announce an alliance that sees the three platforms combining forces to develop the local and regional crowdfunding industry.

singapore-flagAll three platforms – CoAssets, FundedByMe, and New Union today have international reach of investors and campaigns. Together the alliance recorded over S$200 million dollars raised through crowdfunding campaigns in 2014, with growth expected to accelerate over 2015.

Said Getty Goh, founder and CEO of CoAssets, “As an individual company, there is only so much we can do. Hence, I am excited and honored to be a part of this three-way alliance. However, this is just a first step and we hope that more stakeholders will join this alliance so that it can eventually pave the way for Fintech trade association. As Fintech is a burgeoning sector, the best way forward is to come together and engage the authorities collectively. Akin to the Singapore Venture Capitalist and Private Equity Association (SVCA) or Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore (REDAS), having a Fintech association is not only a good way to promote self-governance, it can also bring greater awareness to what this industry is all about.”

“We are excited about this development with likeminded partners in the industry. There’s so much more we can do together, once we focus on developing the market here and globally in 2015. Crowdfunding is definitely on an uptrend –– we experienced over 600% growth in 2014 year-on-year –– and expect that the next wave of growth will exponential especially considering this alliance, coupled with surging Asian demand,” said Daniel Daboczy, founder and CEO of FundedByMe.

“Technology and the world-wide-web have become irreplaceable to our daily life, and every day business — and today, this alliance represents the emerging wave of financial services that meet crucial needs in the business community. Our commitment is to work closely with government agencies and financial institutions to spearhead a progressive and trustworthy crowdfunding environment,” Jeremiah Lee, Founder and Managing Director of New Union.

The three platforms plan to launch their first combined crowdfunding project in Q3 of this year, as well as joint conferences over the months following their alliance announcement. Continue reading

Mintos Announces Buyback Guarantee for Car Loans

Mintos LogoLatvian p2p lending marketplace Mintos today announced a buyback guarantee for all car loans issed by Mogo that are currently on the marketplace or will be listed on the platform until July 31st, 2015. The buyback guarantee applies for the lifetime of these secured car loan. Under the agreement Mintos concluded with Mogo, Mogo will buy back any of those loans that are 60 or more days delinquent.

All secured car loans are originated, pre-funded, and serviced by mogo. It means that similar to real estate backed loans, Mintos puts on the platform already funded loans (and most have had a number of successful payments) and investors can start earning interest from the moment they have invested in a loan. Mogo keeps 5% of each loan on its books.

This construct provides additional security to investors – a bit like the provision funds some UK marketplaces maintain; only that in this case it currently is a limit-time guarantee.

Mintos Buyback

Taaleritehdas becomes an owner of the P2P lending company Fellow Finance

Taaleritehdas invested 2 million EUR in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company Fellow Finance Oy and, at the same time, sold the entire stock of its Financing Company Lainaamo Ltd to Fellow Finance Oy as a share exchange. Lainaamo has a consumer credit portfolio of approximately 20 million EUR  with thousands of consumer customers. After the acquisition, Taaleritehdas owns 38.4% of Fellow Finance Oy. In addition, Taaleritehdas has an option to increase its holding in the company by 7.3%.
Fellow Finance’s founders, Jouni Hintikka and Teemu Nyholm, each own 18.4% of the company. In total, Fellow Finance key persons have a 57.3% holding in the company.

According to its vision, Taaleritehdas aims to develop the Finnish capital market. Taaleritehdas believes that increased direct financing will be one of the most significant changes in the finance industry in the future. The focus in financing will increasingly shift from the bank-centric approach towards direct financing. Another strong megatrend in the financing sector, as seen by Taaleritehdas, is digitalisation. Both Fellow Finance and Lainaamo offer their services completely online. Ownership of Fellow Finance enables Taaleritehdas to offer its customers a new investment form and to utilise digitalisation in its own activities, as well. The merger of Lainaamo and Fellow Finance will not affect the position of borrower
customers or investors. Continue reading

Bitbond Raises 600K Euro

Bitbond LogoBitcoin lending platform Bitbond today announced an angel funding round of 600,000 EUR. The round brings Bitbond’s raised capital to a total of 800,000 EUR.

Led by Bitbond’s earlier seed investor Point Nine Capital, a number of business angels contributed  to the round. Among them were Florian Heinemann, Uwe Horstmann, Christian Vollmann and Felix Jahn. Bitbond will use the additional funds to grow its user base and to increase its activity in emerging markets which are underserved by traditional lenders. The platform went live in July 2013. Since then over 600 loans were originated through the platform.

Founder & CEO of Bitbond Radoslav Albrecht said: “The additional resources will help us to continue realizing our mission which is to make lending and borrowing globally accessible. We are happy to have such experienced investors supporting us on this exciting journey.”

According to the IFC (International Finance Corporation of the World Bank) the global credit gap of microenterprises and small and medium sized businesses is around USD 2 trillion. Bitbond seeks to help solve this problem by creating a global market for small business loans that is accessible to everyone via the internet.

Since its first external funding in August 2014 Bitbond introduced a number of technological advancements. These include exchange rate pegged loans which allow borrowers and lenders to mitigate bitcoin price fluctuations.

CEO Radoslav Albrecht wrote the guest post ‘Bitcoin P2P Lending – a Primer in 8 Steps‘ in Dec. 2014 for P2P-Banking.com.

Editor’s comment: My personal opinion is that cross-border lending based on bitcoin is currently a high risk proposition to investors. While I appreciate some of the technological advantages the platform pursues, I think further development is needed, especially in debt collection processes.

Mintos Starts P2P Lending in Lithuania

MintosLatvia p2p lending marketplace Mintos announced today that it expands and now offers p2p loans – secured by cars as collateral to borrowers in Lithuania. This is the third country Mintos operates in after Latvia and Estonia. Mintos is open to international investors from Europe – the website states 1,200 registered investors from 26 countries.

The car loans in Lithuania are originated in cooperation with Mogo – a partner Mintos is already using in Estonia, where they together funded 250 car loans for a total of 300K EUR.

When investing in secured car loans investors enter in a direct contract with a borrower – similar to real estate backed loans the contract with respective borrower is transferred from Mogo to investor based on assignment. According to assignment agreement, part of the interest that borrowers pay is not assigned to investors and remains with Mogo to compensate it for loan origination and servicing. Continue reading

P2P Lending in India: A Concept Ahead of its Time

This is a guest post by an author working in the financial sector in India.

Consumer Peer to Peer or P2P lending (where consumers lend and borrow from each other with the help of an intermediary) has become an important part of the financial services sector in many countries globally. Companies like Lending Club and Prosper in the US, that only started a few years ago are now worth billions of dollars. Many success stories in the west have been replicated in India, making it a belief amongst many that P2P Lending is no different. However, as proven multiple times before, a credit business isn’t the easiest to clone and depends on multiple factors including the regulatory environment, end-user mindset towards credit and intermediaries such as credit bureaus, verification, collection and recovery agencies.

  1. P2P Lending is not regulated in India

indiaThe Indian Banking Regulator, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not regulated peer to peer lending in India. This essentially means that privileges enjoyed by similar platforms globally, namely, access and reporting back to credit bureaus (like CIBIL in India); are not available to a P2P platform in India. These have important repercussions on the performance of loans originated through these platforms and can lead to suboptimal results. For e.g. if lenders are not able to see credit reports, then they will be in an inferior position compared to banks and other financial institutions to make credit assessments. Similarly, without the loan performance being reported back to the bureau, some borrowers may not feel the pressure to re-pay their lenders. Lastly, borrowers looking to build and improve their credit rating do not benefit, as their loan performance is not reported to the credit bureaus (CIBIL).

  1. Little spread between risk-free rates and borrowing rates from banks and other regulated financial institutions (NBFC’s) provides no real benefit to borrowers

A huge difference between the west and India is the difference between the risk-free rate and the borrowing rate. In the US and UK the difference between the two is as much as 12-15 percentage points. In India, the risk free rate is at over 8% and banks lend money starting at 12%. With lenders looking to make returns between 15-16%, the rate for the borrowers gets as high as 20%+ when the platform fee is also taken into account. This makes it unsuitable for lower risk borrowers who can find cheaper loans from banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFC’s). Continue reading

Interview with Peter Schierenbeck, CMO & co-founder of Lendify

What is Lendify about?

Lendify is the first and leading peer-to-peer lending platform focused on prime borrowers in the unsecured consumer credit space in Sweden. We have handled loan applications for over SEK 350 MM and more than 3,000 lenders and borrowers have signed up since launch in August 2014.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  • High risk-adjusted returns.
  • Access to unsecured personal loans extended to prime borrowers in a very low-default rate market (Sweden) with many years of well documented historical data.
  • A new type of investments that further diversifies a mixed investment portfolio.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  • Personalized interest rate.
  • Transparent (all interests and fees are clearly presented and available to all site visitors)
  • Simple and fast process for applying and monitoring (borrowers can log in and see status of payments etc.)

Peter Schierenbeck, LendifyWhat ROI can investors expect?

It is still early days for P2P lending in Sweden but we expect 7% on average.

Lendify received 2M EUR in funding recently. Who are the backers?

Fredrik Wallenberg, Hans Westin & Sten Schröder where the two latter have a great track record in the Swedish consumer lending space.

Is the technical platform self-developed?

Yes, everything is developed in-house.

What was the greatest challenge so far in the course launching Lendify?

Being the first in a market is great, but it also provides challenges out of a marketing and regulatory perspective. Not many people in Sweden are aware of the concept “peer-to-peer lending”, and we work hard to educate people of the concept. Continue reading

One Year Invested in Zencap

This is a guest post by German investor Martin R.. The article was written in April.

These days, Zencap celebrates its first anniversary. I’ve been involved right from the beginning and invested the full 10k€ you can invest without having a premium account.

Zencap – my characteristics

Zencap offers investment in corporate loans. You invest 100 EUR in one loan. The total loan is usually between some 10,000 EUR and approximately 200,000€. There are different scoring classes essentially determining the interest rates which are usually located between 5% and a little over 10%. The loan term ranges from 3 months up to 5 years, the main focus being 3 years. As the loans are instalment loans, you will usually have half of your investment plus interests available after 18 months. The nominal interest rates are decreased by 1% through fees for the investor. The loan listings are presented with a short description and have differently detailed documents attached. Some projects have personal sureties.

My experiences

are mixed. I’m rather satisfied with a yield of about 5.7% and no payment delays up to now. The payout takes place promptly after the scheduled payment at the 15th of each month. The bidding amounts are straightforwardly drawn through direct debit, however, the period between bidding and drawdown drag on very long from time to time (debiting is just before the first paying out, though). Now and then there are special promotions which increase the yield (see below). Continue reading

Interview with Patrick de Nonneville, COO of Lendix

What is Lendix about?

Lendix is an online marketplace for business loans, enabling investors to lend directly to prime small and medium sized enterprises. We started operating in France, making our first loans in April 2015. We’ve made 1.5M EUR of loans in our first month, and are on track for a similar number in May.We lend from 30,000 EUR to 1,000,000 EUR for 18 to 60 months with rates varying from 4% to 9%.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

We offer access to a largely untapped and high quality market, with low defaults and low prepayments. We have the same information as the banks via our Banque de France database membership. Last but not least, we charge no fees to lenders.

Patrick de NonnevilleWhat are the three main advantages for borrowers?

We’re fast, easy and transparent:

– we make offers in 7 business days and our docs are written in plain French

– we guarantee the funding of all the loans we put on the platform

– we require no personal guarantees from the company directors

What ROI can investors expect?

5.5% to 6%.

How did you start Lendix? Is the company funded with venture capital?

Lendix was founded by Olivier Goy in Q3 2014.

France was one of the first countries to lift the legal uncertainties around crowdlending and we saw an opportunity to plug the funding gap that micro and small businesses suffer from. There is a vast amount of capital available to lend, but small businesses find that dealing with banks has become so painful and distracting that they effectively don’t even start the process. Our aim is to surprise borrowers with how painless it is to get a loan.

The company’s shareholders (apart from its leadership) includes a VC, Partech Ventures. Olivier has a long standing relationship with Partech, having worked there himself, and having had Partech has one of the shareholders of the Private Equity company he founded in 2001.

We also have a bank, an asset manager, a family office and a large corporate amongst our backers.

An important point is that Olivier, myself and the other main shareholders of Lendix have skin in the game: we have committed money to our institutional vehicle and lend to every company that comes on the platform, under the same conditions as all the other lenders. Continue reading