Will Funding Circle Expand Into Europe?

Note: The following is a synopsis from an Funding Circle investor event in London yesterday. I did not attend, therefore it is based on notes that attending investors have published.* I selected only some aspects from these notes, that I found interesting, so the following probably omits many topics from the meeting and is by no means complete.

Funding Circle confirmed that it has been investing own money (approx. 760K GBP) in loans on the platform. So far none of these loans have been sold on the secondary market.
Property loans were a new area for Funding Circle. To get it started Funding Circle used cash backs to incentivise investors. So far institutional investors have not invested into the property loans but this is likely to change soon.

Funding Circle sees retail and institutional investors as equally important for their lender mix in the future. Cashbacks are expected to be reduced in future as they were more important when new markets were introduced than now.

Funding Circle is working on improvements on the website and in communication to better meet the expectations of investors. The risk model is performing increasingly well over time. They also capture and monitor data about borrowers that they reject, watching for CCJs and other credit events.  This has enabled them to develop a more complete model, and ultimately enabled them to launch the E risk band.  E borrowers are people that they would previously have had to reject, but now they understand them well enough to feel they can accurately model the default risk.
Personal Guarantees are factored in to the risk banding process, and also considered in the manual underwriting stage; they do make an assessment of the “value” of the PG, but it’s aggregated amongst lots of other stats to produce an overall ‘score’.

In collections Funding Circle has  reduced their late rate (percentage of loans making late repayments) from 1.4% to 0.7% since they brought the function in house.
The recovery rate is currently at 20p/£1, but this is skewed by the vast volume of loans being made; Funding Circle expect this would be at c. 43p/£1 if the loan book was frozen.

Funding Circle produced a tool, for MPs, prior to the 2015 election, to show what businesses in what constituencies were borrowing what, from whom (and presumably, by extension, risk bandings etc).  This tool will be made available to investors via the Funding Circle website soon.

Regarding UK taxation:

  • Funding Circle does not plan to offer a SIPP as it is too compley
  • It will be possible on all platforms to offset bad debt against interest income (legislation to come, but will apply backdated from April 2015)
  • current legislation requires p2p lending marketplaces to pay net interest from April 2017

Funding Circle US is growing fast. Funding Circle is looking at expanding into Europe, possibly Germany, France, Spain, Italy.

*I used notes published online by lenders ‘arbster‘ and ‘registerme‘. If I summarized some of their notes wrong it is entirely my fault.

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