German Varengold Bank Provides Credit Line to Estateguru

Estonian property p2p lending marketplace Estateguru announced that it has secured its first institutional investor.

In March 2018, Estateguru signed the firm’s first institutional credit line to be invested in loans originated in the Baltic market with Germany based Varengold Bank AG.

Varengold Bank AG is a German private bank, headquartered in Hamburg. Founded in 1995 as an asset management boutique seeking to offer individual and high-performing financial products for private and institutional clients. In 2013, Varengold was granted a commercial banking license when it transformed into to fully fledged commercial bank.

Estateguru CEO and co-founder Marek Pärtel comments: “Establishing the EstateGuru – Varengold cooperation is a proof of having found a mutually beneficial cooperation model between a traditional financial institution and a fintech company. This is a clear sign that building a diversified portfolio of property backed loans is a very appealing instrument for institutional investors. Our Pan-European retail investor base is still the main source of capital. …”

Estateguru COO Mihkel Stamm adds: “Establishing a cooperation with Varengold Bank is an unprecedented assurance of the quality of EstateGuru’s business processes. The due diligence process was thorough and lengthy, during which Varengold’s representatives were convinced of EstateGuru’s product, procedures and the people behind the business.“

Since the establishment in 2014 Estateguru’s investor base of over 11 000 investors have funded in excess of 50 million EUR of secured property loans in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Spain. With the recent developments, including entering 2 new markets in 2018 Q1, establishing an institutional credit line and an ongoing equity round, the firm is setting goals for the next European markets, to establish its Pan-European reach in coming years.

 

Auswide Bank Takes Over Controlling Majority of P2P Lending Service MoneyPlace in Australia

Auswide Bank Ltd (ASX:ABA) is increasing its equity stake in peer-to-peer lender MoneyPlace Holdings Pty Ltd (MoneyPlace). Auswide Bank will have a controlling interest of at least 51% in MoneyPlace with the prospect of increasing that interest up to 75% dependent on the final take up of other MoneyPlace shareholders in a capital raising initiative being undertaken by MoneyPlace.
MoneyPlace launched in October 2015 after receiving its retail and wholesale Australian Financial Services licence and provides loans of 5000 to 35,000 AUD through its peer-to-peer lending platform. Auswide Bank acquired a 19.3% equity stake in MoneyPlace in January 2016 while also committing funding to the Melbourne – based P2P lender’s consumer lending program.
Managing Director, Martin Barrett said Auswide Bank has been impressed with the platform, skills, capability and performance of MoneyPlace over the last 12 months, “Our funding has now exceeded 8 million AUD over the last 7 months and momentum continues to build. Loan quality has also been performing above expectations and we remain optimistic regarding future growth opportunities for the MoneyPlace and Auswide Bank partnership.”

Banque Postale Invests in Wesharebonds – Takes 10% Stake

banque-postale-wesharebondsFrench Banque Postale makes its first investment into a fintech and takes a 10% stake in Wesharebonds. Wesharebonds was launched in June 2016 after one year work to obtain approval by regulator AMF. The company previously raised 3.8M EUR from 50 business angels (0.6M for its own funding and 3.2M as supply to co-invest into the offerings on the marketplace). Wesharebonds allows indiviudals and companies to invest into bonds (and equity crowdfunding) to SMEs. The valuation was not disclosed.

The parties announced that the capital will be used to expand the product offering.

Cyril Tramon, WeShareBonds CEO expressed that they wanted a partner who shared their vision and could support development.

Banque Postale is a subsidary of La Poste Groupe, which claims ana ctive customer base of 10.8 million.

wesharebonds
Wesharebonds team (Source: Wesharebonds)

Discussion Paper on P2P Lending Published by Deutsche Bundesbank

The central bank of Germany, Deutsche Bundesbank, has published a discussion paper on the role of p2p lending in the consumer credit market written by Calebe de Roure, Loriana Pelizzon and Paolo Tasca. The study analyses data of German p2p lending marketplace Auxmoney.

Research Question

In recent years, we have begun to observe the growth of the internet economy, which has progressively led to “crowd-based” platforms and the direct matching of lenders and borrowers. Via peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms the decision process of loan origination is given into the hands of private lenders and borrowers. This paper investigates how the P2P lending market fits into the credit market and specifically aims to answer the following questions: Why do retail consumers look for P2P financial intermediation? Are the interest rates charged by P2P lenders in Germany higher than those of banks? Are P2P loans more risky than bank loans? Are internet-based peer-to-peer loans substitutes for or complementary to bank loans?

Contribution and Results

The paper shows that loans channelled via P2P platforms involve higher interest rates than loans channelled via the traditional banking sector. They are also riskier than those of banks. However, when adjusted for risk, the interest rates are comparable. Moreover, analysis of the different segments of the bank credit market and P2P lending shows that, after having controlled for interest rate and risk differences, the bank lending volumes are negatively correlated with the P2P lending volumes. Our finding suggests that high-risk borrowers substitute bank loans for P2P loans since banks are unwilling or unable to supply this slice of the market. Continue reading

Lendico and PostFinance Launch Joint Venture in Switzerland

PostFinance one of the largest five retail banking institutions in Switzerland will partner with Lendico to launch joint venture Lendico Schweiz, which will facilitate loans to SMEs in Switzerland.

From the last quarter of 2016 onwards, the company will facilitate crowdfunding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Switzerland. It is entering the market in close collaboration with PostFinance, a subsidiary of postal carrier Schweizerische Post.

Together the partners would like to establish a new form of SME financing in Switzerland. The aim of the joint venture is to provide the numerous Swiss SMEs with a modern alternative to traditional bank financing. The two partners are contributing their complementary expertise in customer contact and the entire lending and repayment process to the joint venture.

Sources say PostFinance was barred by regulation to directly lend to SMEs and had to find a third party partner to enter this market.

‘With 110 years of experience in Swiss banking services and around three million customers, we can think of no better partner than PostFinance for our entry into the Swiss market. As part of the continued expansion of an international credit marketplace, this joint venture represents a significant step in our business development,’ says Dr Dominik Steinkühler, co-founder and managing director of Lendico.

Hansruedi Köng, CEO of PostFinance, is delighted to be able to join forces with Lendico, a partner which has established itself and enjoyed success internationally in a rapidly expanding industry. ‘Our vision for this cooperation is to take crowdlending in Switzerland from niche status to the mass market. The combination of Lendico’s innovative capacity and our structures in Switzerland offers the best conditions for Lendico Schweiz AG to become a market leader in the future.’

Commerzbank will Launch P2P Lending Platform Main Funders Next Week

At a press conference this morning in Frankfurt, Michael Kotzbauer of Germany’s second largest bank Commerzbank and Birgit Storz of Main Incubator announced that the new platform Main Funders will launch next week. Main Funders is part of a broader digitalisation strategy of Commerzbank and the first project Commerzbank and Main Incubator built together. Main Incubator previously invested in several Fintech startups.

The aim of the new platform is to bring together SMEs seeking loans in the range of 200K to 10M Euro for up to 5 years and professional investors (institutional and large companies). Both will be already customers of Commerzbank and Commerzbank will make use of its regional sales force to bring borrowers onto the marketplace.

Kotzbauer explains strateg of Commerzbank with context Main FundersBorrowers will list their project n the platform, visible only to logged in investors, which in can browse the listings and select those that match their interests. Main Funders will assign credit grades to the loan requests and set the interest rate, taking into account that all loans will be unsecured. Since borrowers already have a credit history with Commerzbank, Storz says that the process, including the handling of the contracts, will take only a short time frame.

Main funders charges borrowers 0.45% of the loan amount multiplied with the duration and  investors 0.2%.

Unlike on other platforms investors won’t have to ‘park’ cash to be able to invest but rather will be able to pay for funded loans after all contracts have been signed, an advantage to avoid cash drag.

Once the loan is fully funded, the loan will be serviced by a third company (not Commerzbank or Main Funders).

Main Funders says it is uniquely positioned compared to other p2p lending marketplaces in that it is able to facilitate very large loans and benefits from the relationship and trust Commerbank already has to target customers.

With Main Funders Commerzbank aimes to:

  • increase customer satisfaction
  • strengthen its competitive position
  • react to rgulatory requirements
  • create a basis that will allow it to build further innovative loan products upon

Storz declined to give a figure on the expected loan volume in the first year, saying it is important to be able to react and adapt quickly in such an innovative product offering.

Some questions in the press conference targeted whether Commerzbank is cannibalizing the own products and if there is no conflict of interest in the decision of whether to finance a loan itself or put it on the platform.

Kotzbauer said that Commerzbank is reacting to the wish of some of their customer to diversify financing options. The decision of whether to finance the loan request themselves or put it on the platform is made after consulting with the borrower on his financing needs and wishes and not discriminating by credit grades or other parameters.

Main FundersCommerzbank is one of the first large banks in the world to have developed its own platform (together with its incubator). Other banks have taken the route to acquire lending startups (e.g. Barclay Africa Rainfin, Westpac with SocietyOne, or Banca Sella at Smava and Prestiamoci). Several banks are investing into consumer and SME loans on p2p lending marketplaces, especially in the US and the UK.

The initiative of Commerzbank is likely going to give a boost to awareness and credibility of p2p lending in Germany, even though it remains close to the conventional process with the restriction to existing customers and institutional investors. Continue reading