Fellow Finance Expands to Poland

P2P lending marketplace Fellow Finance is now open for borrowers in Poland. Polish customers can now apply for peer-to-peer loans with maturity from 1 to 3 years up to 12 000 PLN. For Fellow Finance investors this gives an opportunity to diversify their investments geographically and in two currencies (EUR and PLN) with single consolidated user interface and reporting in investor’s own preferred currency. The ability to operate in multiple currencies also enables Fellow Finance to scale its platform to new geographies swiftly in the future.

‘Poland is a huge market in Europe with 38 million people. The Polish economy is one of the fastest growing in Europe. Consumer and consumption behavior are changing with the expanding economy. Mobile penetration and online lending have seen a fast and continuous growth in the last 4 years. Launching operations in Poland makes Fellow Finance a genuine international platform where investors can easily do direct investments in consumer loans across geographies and in multiple currencies. …’ says Jouni Hintikka, CEO of Fellow Finance. Continue reading

Mintos Raises 2M from Skillion Ventures

Mintos LogoLatvian p2p lending marketplace Mintos has raised 2M EUR from VC Skillion Ventures in Riga. The p2p lending service was launched a year ago and lists loans from several loan originators. The loan types include mortgage loans, secured car loans, business loans, personal loans and invoices finance. The majority of the retail investors resides in Latvia, Germany and UK.The investors financed a cumulative loan volume of over 16M EUR since launch.

The loans are currently to borrowers in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia. Mintos CEO Martins Sulte plans to add loans in the markets of the Czech Republic and Poland next. Continue reading

New Twino CEO has Big Expansion Plans

Twino LogoOn October 1st Jevgenijs Kazanins became new CEO of Latvian p2p lending marketplace Twino. He previously worked as CMO at Estonian p2p lending marketplace Bondora. Twino was launched in June and is part of the Finabay group which operates since 2009. So far all loans offered on the p2p lending marketplace are from Latvia, whereas the Finabay group is active in a broader set of markets. Twino is open to international investors – German retail investors are the largest foreign investor base.

In a call with P2P-Banking.com the new CEO outlined the expansion plans. Twino will add loans from new markets, starting with polish loans shortly and possibly adding loans from countries like Russia, Denmark or Georgia at a later stage. There will be no currency risk for investors as it will be covered by Twino. Twino will apply its buyback guarantee to all loans – by which Twino covers overdue principal and interest for investors once a loan is 60 days overdue (though due to extensions this might take 8 month). The interest rate offered to investors for p2p loans in the new markets will be in line with the current offering: up to 14.9%. The loan terms will likely longer and Twino will move away from the current very short term loans many of which I deem essentially payday loans. He said: ‘we are working on introduction of the loans from other markets, where Finabay has lending operations, such as Poland, Russia, Georgia and Denmark. The reason for the inclusion of other countries is that the demand from investors has already surpassed the volumes we can originate in Latvia. We aim to offer similar rates to the Latvia-originated loans and all loans will also come with the buyback guarantee

Jevgenijs Kazanins, TwinoSince the mother company Finabay is already originating these loans, it will not be a challenge to build loan volume. Kazanins aims to originate 5 million Euro loan volume per month. As the loans already exist and the new aspect consists only of refinancing through p2p investors, Kazanins is convinced of the good quality of the loans: ‘We estimate that 15-20% of [polish] loan volume will be bought back through the BuyBack Guarantee program (defaulted loans and loans with more than 6 extensions‘.

Twino also works to add statistics to the site. He stated: ‘Disclosing information about financial health of Finabay is highly important given the fact that all loans offered on the platform come with the buyback guarantee …

Loan extensions on Twino frequently prompt questions by investors. Kazanins has described in detail how loan extensions on Twino work here. Continue reading

Lendico Announces Large Influx of Institutional Capital – Repositions in some Markets

Lendico logoGerman p2p lending service Lendico announced yesterday that an unnamed international hedge fund and 2 german banks will invest over 100 million Euro in loans on the Lendico marketplaces. The management sees that as a mark of confidence. Lendico is committed to increase activities in its growing core markets and plans to expand the product into SME loans. Continue reading

P2P Lending in Poland and a Portrait of Kokos.pl

This is a guest post by Krystyna Mitręga-Niestrój, University of Economics in Katowice, Poland

P2P lending develops quickly in the world in recent years. The platform Kokos.pl was the beginner at social lending in Poland in February 2008. The following portals began to operate shortly thereafter: Finansowo.pl, Monetto.pl (both in March 2008, however Monetto is not operating any more) and Smava.pl (equivalent to German Smava.de platform). During the first four years of the Polish p2p lending market the value of loans was estimated at PLN 130 million (approx. USD 43 million). It consisted only a small number comparing to the value of consumer loans granted by banks – more than PLN 127 billion (approx. USD 42 billion), as of February 2012. Almost half of this amount (PLN 61 million, approx. USD 20 million) was borrowed through the platform Kokos.pl, which so far has more than 180 thousand users. After five years (situation at the beginning of 2013) from launching the first p2p platform approx. half a million the Polish residents borrowed approx. PLN 250 million (USD 58.5 million) (5 lat pożyczek społecznościowych, 2013). The owners of the p2p platforms earn money mainly on fees charged for transactions. It should be noted, that the information about the p2p lending market in Poland is limited and current, comprehensive data are lacking.

The most important players on the Polish social lending market are: Kokos.pl (with almost 80% share in invested funds through p2p lending platforms), Finansowo, Sekrata, Pożycz, SzybkoiPewnie, Bilonko, Zakra (Zestaw Narzędzi Pożyczkodawcy, 2013). The situation on p2p lending market in Poland is dynamic, however there is more positive tendencies associated with entering of the new players on the market, than the bankruptcies of the p2p platforms. The two examples of the latter are the collapse of Monetto.pl and Ducatto.pl. The Polish peer-to-peer lending market seems to be interesting for foreign p2p platforms (for instance the entrance of Swedish TrustBuddy in 2013).
Taking under consideration the information from the largest p2p platform Kokos.pl (the data include the 5 years period, from the launching of the platform) we can state that the statistical investor and borrower came from Masovian Voivodeship (is the largest, the most populous and the wealthiest voivodeship in Poland), are on average 34 and 33 years old. The statistical borrower borrows on average PLN 2,026 (USD 1.500) for 11 instalments. The average salary is equal to PLN 2,723 (approx. USD 2000).

At the beginning when first p2p lending platforms have launched a great part of Polish society was skeptical about such form of investing and borrowing. The threat of fraud and bankruptcies of p2p platforms hampered the development. However, thanks to changes and refining methods of verification the p2p platforms have became safer. The popularity of social lending is growing steadily in Poland. This trend is, among others, influenced by more attractive offer and promotions of p2p lending platforms. Continue reading

P2P Lending Service Lendico Launches in Poland

Today Lendico launched its p2p lending service in Poland. Poland is the third market Lendico serves, after Germany and Spain. Loan amounts can be between 1,000 and 50,000 PLN (approx 16,400 US$). Loan terms are from 1 to 5 years and interest rates range from 5.82% to 14.99%. Currently there are 8 open loan listings. Lendico maintains an office in Warsaw. There are already other p2p lending service operating in Poland (e.g. Kokos and Finansowo – which in 2010 merged with Smava Poland).

From the polish press release:

Na polskim rynku finansowym pojawił się nowy gracz: Lendico. To nowoczesna platforma pożyczek społecznościowych, która w bezpieczny sposób łączy pożyczkobiorców z osobami zainteresowanymi korzystną lokatą własnego kapitału. Dzięki temu pozwala uzyskiwać pożyczki na korzystnych warunkach oraz daje perspektywy inwestycji o wysokiej stopie zwrotu. W ten sposób Lendico oferuje produkt niedostępny dla klientów tradycyjnych banków.


Lendico Poland screenshot taken today

International P2P Lending Services – Loan Volumes February 2014

Even though February was a short month, several p2p lending services topped their January loan volume. Even more impressive is the continued year on year growth. 3 more services were added to the table. 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 February 2014. Source: own research
Note that volumes have been converted from local currency to US$ 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.

P2P Lending Sites in Europe

Visualizations are great to show data that would otherwise just be a long list. I decided to create a map of the p2p lending landscape in Europe. It shows active and discontinued p2p lending services in Europe (including p2p microfinance). Not listed are sites that are in pre-launch stage. All of these marketplaces have been featured earlier in the P2P-Banking.com blog. If you want more information about any of them just enter the name in the search box on the top right of this blog.

Notice to other websites: You are free to copy and use this map, provided you agree not to alter or resize the image and you will set a link to this article.

Notice to p2p lending sites: If you want to be included in a future version of this map, contact me to learn how.

Kokos Issues Prepaid Card, Adds SMS Loans

Polish P2P lending market Kokos.pl announced today a new product – SMS loans coupled with prepaid MasterCard PayPass card. The product is targeted at borrowers who do not want to set up regular listing, but need quick “liquidity injection”.

The procedure of applying for SMS loan looks as follows:

  • Borrower receives prepaid card by post,
  • Enters the card’s account number and his verified cell phone number in his profile,
  • Whenever the user wants to borrow money, he sends a text message with the required amount and keyword (“pozycz” – borrow) to number 7550,
  • Kokos.pl sets up an 48 hours long auction on behalf of the borrower,
  • When the auction is fully funded, the borrower’s prepaid card is topped up immediately and he gets SMS notification.

The terms of SMS loan contracts are predefined. The amount is 500, 1000, 2000 or 3000 PLN, interest rate is locked at 20% p.a. (interest rate cap enforced by Polish anti-usury law) and the duration of loan is limited to 12 months.

The prepaid MasterCard  is issued by Bank BZ WBK  (owned in 70% by Allied Irish Bank). It is equipped with PayPass technology enabling contactless transactions at the point of sale.