Lativan p2p lending marketplace Mintos just launched a cashback campaign running for the remainder of December. Investors investing in new loans with a term of at least 24 months on the primary market will receive a cashback of 2% to 5% depending on term length. The cashback will be credited within 6 days says Mintos.
This is a big bonus that goes on top of the 12 to 14% interest rate that these longer term loans at Mintos typically carry.
Important: To be eligable an investor needs to enroll once for the campaign by clicking on the promotion banner inside the Mintos dashboard.
New investors can even get an additional 1% cashback on all investments made within the first 90 days of registration (credited monthly) by registering via this link,
Most loans on Mintos are in EUR currency, but other currencies are available, too. Only recently Mintos started listing loans in GBP currency too.
“Investing long-term has many benefits. Loans with a maturity of two years and more on average have higher interest rates. As the maturity of these loans is longer, these higher rates can be locked-in for longer as well, thus avoiding cash drag effect. Also, investing in long-term loans allows for a better diversification, because this way investors can access types of loans and borrowers that have a different profile than the average short-term loan takers. We hope that in combination with our cashback campaign, all of these benefits will help our investors reach their investment goals in a more efficient and rewarding way,” says Martins Sulte, CEO and co-founder of Mintos.
Peer-to-peer lending platform Fellow Finance is now open for borrowers in Germany. Wirecard Bank supports the Finnish FinTech company Fellow Finance to enter and provide a digital infrastructure for the German financial market. Wirecard Bank will place their German full banking license at the Fellow Finance’s disposal and in addition enabling a completely digital credit process.
Under German regulation (KWG) only banks are all allowed to make loans, meaning all p2p lending platforms need to partner with a transaction bank.
It is not a full p2p lending offering as investors cannot invest into the German loans on the platform. And Fellow Finance states in their TOC that they do not advise borrowers regarding the loans. So it looks to be an attempt to capitalize on the reach of the brand. The website for the German market is running on the national domain Fellowfinance.de. Update: While the German website explicitly states that retail investors cannot invest, the wording might be misleading and actually might mean only that investors need to go through the Finnish site in order to invest. On the Finnish site the ability to filter for German consumer loans and to set up allocators (autoinvest) for German loans is present.
Jouni Hintikka, CEO at Fellow Finance, says: “We are looking forward to working with advanced Wirecard Bank as a co-operation partner in the future. We are proud of the entry into the German market after having already proven our business model in Finland and Poland. This is again one step of making Fellow Finance the biggest consumer and business lending platform in Europe and proves the scalability and flexibility of our platform.”
Thorsten Holten, Executive Vice President Sales Financial Institution and FinTech Europe, adds: “Gaining Fellow Finance as a customer means that we can expand on our collaboration in the area of alternative lending with the aid of an international partner. With our expertise in the areas of banking and regulations, we help FinTech companies such as Fellow Finance to enter the market in the best way possible as well as to quickly and easily internationalise their business.”
In future, Wirecard Bank will support Fellow Finance in the scoring of potential borrowers and carrying out payment transactions. This means that end consumers in Germany will be able to quickly apply and raise a loan in competitive interest rate.
The German market is very competitive and so far p2p lending marketplaces have found out it is not easy to compete with the banks. In Germany Auxmoney is the largest p2p lending marketplace offering consumer loans.
After months and years of announcements and waiting Funding Circle Germany yesterday published loan book performance figures. Data reported is on all loans since launch on March 30th, 2014 (at that time Zencap) and as of June 30th, 2017. In total there were 920 loans.
Total loan origination volume 66,560,800 EUR 100%
Repaid loan volume 26,859,284 EUR 40.35%
Loan volume in default (more than 90 days overdue): 3,988,632 EUR 5.99%
Outstanding principal: 35,712,885 EUR 53.65%
Total interest paid to investors: 4,578,552 EUR
The outstanding principal of 35,712,885 EUR (100%) is further categorized:
Current: 33,293,583 EUR 93.23%
Loans that are less than 30 days overdue: 1,664,005 EUR 4,66%
Loans that are 30 to 60 days overdue: 421,902 EUR 1.18%
Loans that are 60 to 90 days overdue: 333,394 EUR 0.93%
Average weighted interest rate: 8.41%
I would have linked to the source here, but Funding Circle pulled the figures within hours after publication and the page now returns a 404 error (I did save a screen shot before they were pulled). I reached out via email to Funding Circle asking for the reasons, but have not received a reply up to the point of publication of this article. Update: I received a reply from Funding Circle stating that the figures were not correct and did not match Funding Circle’s global reporting format. An example given was that payments made by defaulted loans were omitted. Funding Circle strives to publish the corrected figures asap. 2nd update July 13th: Funding Circle has now published updated figures in changes format. They are online here.
Phrasing it differently one could say that 9.6% (6,4M/66,6) of all issued loans are currently overdue or in default.
In my view the figures give a very bleak – but correct picture of the state of Funding Circle Germany’s loan book. Overdue and default figures are high. With nearly 6% of the loan amount in default and more than another 6% of the remaining loans overdue, there is a very high probability that many investors will incur (after tax) losses. Usually German investors cannot offset default losses against interest earned.
I invested into 27 loans with 100 EUR each (the minimum bid). I stopped investing already in February 2015, after only 10 month, when it became clear to me that Funding Circle Germany had higher overdue figures than expected. However as there is no secondary market at Funding Circle Germany I was stuck with the loans until maturity.
Of my 27 loans the status today is:
– 22 repaid
– 4 overdue (2 of them for 256 days !)
– 1 default (in collection)
I already received back 2,303 EUR of the principal, so there is only about 15% of my investment amount still outstanding. I might get away with a return around zero, as my defaults + overdues are still lower than the interest paid, but it will be close as I have to pay taxes on the full interest earned regardless of defaults. My dashboard still claims 4.12% yield for my portfolio, which does not reflect reality as I see it. The only chance for that to happen would be full recovery of defaults and overdues, which is an unlikely scenario.
My own portfolio at Funding Circle Germany
Investor sentiment towards Funding Circle Germany seems to have turned mostly negative to sarcastic in the past two years if you look at the massive critic on the Funding Circle forum at P2P-Kredite.com. Funding Circle Germany no longer publishes statistics regularly on new monthly loan volumes.
On the majority of p2p lending marketplaces that accept non-resident international investors, the necessary process to comply with ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) rules involves multiple manual steps both on the side of the investor and on the side of the marketplace. After filling in details in forms the investor typically needs to submit scans (or photos) of an ID or a passport. As an investor I balk at the very few marketplaces that ask me to submit these via unsecured email. The better ones offer an upload inside the SSL secured website after login. The British marketplace typically also require a recent utility bill to confirm address.
In continental Europe a few marketplaces are doing video ident. Recently when I registered at Paskoluklubas, aside from entering details in forms I needed to schedule a Skype video call in which I answered several questions and had to show my ID live. While it was straightforward, it is not more time efficient (both for investor and for marketplace). And I was lost for words for a split second when asked for my zodiac. How many non-native-english speakers can answer that question without hesitating for the right word (luckily mine is easy to translate). So there may be a higher drop off in conversion than in the document upload version.
I learned from Paskolulubas that they used video ident not to optimize the process but rather to fulfill Lithuanian regulation requirements: ‘In the end of last year in Lithuania … [a law was passed] which legalized digital identification …. There are just two legal methods to identify clients through digital technologies. The first one is to use special programs, applications or other measures to ensure that the photos execution process is continuous and that the photos transfer in non-real time would be impossible. The second one is video identification when [the] company directly could record customer and his ID document. We chose … [the latter] method because of the following reasons: a. easier control of quality with in house team and b. faster start’.
So Paskolulubas uses inhouse staff to conduct the video ident process.
In Germany video ident is also an allowed method of identification. And it slowly replaces the traditional Postident process, a longtime German proprietary solution, since it avoids media discontinuity. But usually the video ident process, while integrated in the website is outsourced to a specialized service provider.
Another example of outsoucing is the process Lenndy uses. When registering, all an investor is asked by Lenndy is his email address, nothing else. Then the investor is required to link an Paysera account with at least level 3. Either an existing one or a newly setup one. Paysera is a E-money institution with over 5 million customers. Lendy then imports the customer data, which have been verified by Paysera with the consent of the the customer. While this solution is elegant for Lenndy, Paysera receives mixed reviews by several German investors in p2p lending. But as the search for ‘Paysera’ in the last link shows, actually several p2p lending platforms use Paysera processes to some degree.
All of the above still require mainly manual labor for checking, even if some of the work is outsourced.
Automating KYC for international investors
Last week British Relendex moved from a manual document upload process to an automated process for investors of 7 countries; Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland. Relendex uses the Call Validate solution and checks (in case of Germany) first , middle, last name, gender, phone, address, city and postal code with the data coming from three different data sources and which Relendex says has high match accuracy. Relendex’s criteria was that the data available should be of equal quality and accuracy to that of the UK database.
A Relendex representative told P2P-Banking: ‘With the new process, international lenders from the nine countries could see their account be approved in a matter of minutes. Where previous manual checking could take a couple of days, the automated KYC process is much more efficient.’
Of course there are other solutions. I reached out to other companies for comment. But those who have automated are tight-lipped about details citing proprietary technology and competitive advantages.
Marketplaces that also use automation are welcome to comment and add to this story.
For investors, that considered using the Lendy platform, but have not yet signed up, now may be a very good time to do so, as Lendy is offering 50 GBP cashback to investors that invest at least 1,000 GBP on the condition that this amount stays invested for at least 3 month. Lendy lists bidge loans secured by commercial property. The interest rates are typically in the range of 7% to 12% and the loan duration is typically 3 to 12 months. Currently a lot of loans are offered on Lendy’s secondary market, which will allow easy diversification into several loans upon signup.
UK app Pariti has integrated loan offers by p2p lending marketplace Zopa into its app allowing users to check whether they could get a better rate for their debt. User can apply for a debt consolidation loan directly from the app. Pariti is using Zopa’s API to access data for the offers.
The Pariti app, which claims 70,000 users, connects to a user’s existing bank accounts, analyses their spending history, and helps them set a target for improvement.
The Zopa integration enables Pariti users to discover if they could be paying less for their debt without affecting their credit score, and to apply directly for a consolidation loan through the Pariti app.
“UK consumers are getting ripped off by credit card companies”, Pariti founder Matt Ford comments. “Introductory offers, confusing fees, and unsuitable products have meant that people are paying far too much to borrow, and are getting stuck in high-cost debt. The product integration with Zopa allows us to proactively help reduce their cost of borrowing and pay off debt faster.”.
Zopa’s CEO, Jaidev Janardana, says: “The API is already being used in online retail, and the implementation of our Pariti partnership marks its first use in a fully integrated, in-app application process. He added: “Our own research shows that many consumers could save money by swapping out expensive credit card debt for a lower-priced Zopa loan, and by working with Pariti we are able to offer this service to even more consumers.”
Just before the weekend Bondora sent me an email with a personalized investment overview video (click here to see mine; I was not able to embed it directly here in the blog). The video page encourages sharing via social media (Google, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter), so obviously an aim is to aid in investor marketing. In future I might need to spend less effort on my personal portfolio reviews and post the video instead (just kidding). The highlighted return figure is higher than my own calculations, but I did achieve a high return on Bondora over the past years.
Have you seen other attempts on viral marketing via investors by p2p lending marketplaces? Let me know in the comments, please.
In October 2012 I started to invest into p2p lending at Bondora. I periodically blog about my experiences – you can read my update from Dec. 2015 here. Over the total time I did deposit 14,000 Euro and withdrew 13,380 Euro. So as you see I cashed out an amount almost equal to the amounts I deposited. The good news is that I still own 705 loan parts with an outstanding principal of 10,362 Euro at an average interest rate of 23.74%. Of these 6,355 Euro are in current loans, 1,004 Euro in overdue loans and 3,003 Euro in 60+ days overdue loans. The reason that I still have such a large loan book despite cashing out nearly as much as I paid in, is that I reinvested nearly all interest and principal repayments from 2012 till 2015.
Bondora shows a net return of 24.6% for my portfolio. In my own calculations, using XIRR in Excel, assuming that 30% of my 60+days overdue and 15% of my overdue loans will not be recovered, my ROI calculations result in 17.0% return.
Let’s look how my remaining portfolio is distributed by several criteria
Chart 1: My portfolio by country
Chart 2: My portfolio by rating
Chart 3: My portfolio by loan purpose
A lot has changed in the past four months. With the introduction of new regulation in Estonia, Bondora now prefunds all loans and also keeps a stake in the loans (‘skin in the game‘). Manual bidding on loans is not as straightforward as previously because now investors can make bids, which are not binding until allocation happens. This leads to situations were say 155% of the loan amount has been bid for, but the allocation has not happened yet, because some of the bidding investors have not enough cash in their account to match their bids and those bids that are sufficiently funded don’t add up to 100%. Furthermore Bondora gives bid preference to bids with larger amounts. If at allocation time bids with enough cash add up to more than 100%, then the bids for higher amounts will succeed, while the smaller amount bids will be rejected.
Currently there is an increase of promotions by p2p lending marketplaces in order to acquire and activate retail investors. Cashback offers are more frequent and Funding Circle is giving away iPads to investors that will invest at least 20,000 GBP during the Funding Circle spring promotion. Investors welcome these added benefits, but for marketplaces it is a fine line to walk. They want to grow originations, but risk that investors will expect getting extras and might hold back further investments until the next offer is made.
I have written about the partnership between Google and Lending Club earlier. The image below shows an actual advertising message Google is sending to its Adwords customers. Note that a special loan is offered, not a standard Lending Club loan. This partnership is a great match for both Google and Lending Club. Google can enable its customers to get access to the funds they need to grow their business and potentially spend more on advertising services supplied by Google. Lending Club can target selected businesses, which were prescreened based on the data Google has via the Adwords customer relationship.