Boober Failure Hurts Lenders

As reported earlier Dutch site Boober.nl failed. Richard van den Toorn, speaking for the association of lenders PIVN, estimates that about 1,200 lenders are affected. While part of the total loan volume of 1.65 million Euro had been repayed over the loan term before the failure, overall borrower’s willingness to pay dwindled after the failure. Still PIVN hopes to recover 50-80% of the outstanding amounts on behalf of the lenders.

(Source: ANP via Nu.nl)

Dutch P2P Lending Site Boober Fails

In the Netherlands p2p lending service Boober apparently has ceased operations. The website Boober.nl has been inaccessible for days and no one was available for comment as the phone went unanswered.

There are reports by lenders, who complain that loans are not serviced as usual. Even one borrower is seeking help, because he cannot get the monthly payment through to Boober.

As of the moment it was not possible to determine how outstanding loans will be dealt with.

Demand at Boober NL slows

Demand at Boober.nl is slowing. When I checked today only two loan listings were open. The following curve showing unique loan requests definitly shapes in the wrong direction. Boober lenders discus this development in this forum thread.


(Source Booberwatch.nl)

Since the launch 15 months ago, about 2.4 million Euro (about 3.8M US$) loan volume has been funded through Boober.

German Smava.de has funded about the same volume (2.3 million Euro) but after a slower start 14 months ago, lately the volume growth accelerated moderately.

Smava loan volume
(Smava loan volume, Source: Smava loan stats at Wiseclerk.com).

On Smava as well as on Boober average borrower interest rates have risen considerably since the start. This reduces the attractiveness for borrowers.

Boober director Guus Drijver leaves company

Guus Drijver, director of Dutch p2p lending service Boober.nl, will leave the company on April 1st. The new director Ilse Smulders cited different opinions on how to further develop the company as cause for the departure.
According to unconfirmed blog sources, Boober failed to reach the forecast numbers in 2007.

Unrelated: Recently Boober searched to fill the position 'Financial Manager'.

First anniversary of Boober

A year ago Boober.nl launched as first peer to peer lending service in the Netherlands. While Boober faced some hardship (especially on regulation issues) the first year of Boober can be called a success for the company. So far Boober has funded over 2 million Euro in loans in the Netherlands. Compare this to the 1 million Euro Smava.de has loaned in the much larger German market in the last 10 months.

But not all lenders are satisfied with the results. The PIVN an association of lenders, on Jan. 14th called for an investment stop. The main cause are fee changes. Richard van den Toorn, Secretary of PIVN, told P2P-Banking.com:

It's not going very well with Boober, although they claim otherwise. The
PIVN (association of investors) has indeed given an advice not to invest
in new loans until some of her demands have been met. Reason for giving
such an advice is that Boober changed their payment-policy for the
investors radically, without consulting the PIVN first. It's so much the
height of their fee …, but that they are making sure the
benefits are going to Boober first, leaving the investors [lenders] with the risk of
remaining payments from the borrower. Continue reading

First law amendment in reaction to peer to peer lending?

The Netherlands will possibly be the first country where a law will be changed in reaction to peer to peer lending. Peer to peer lending in all countries is regulated by national laws but so far these did apply to all financial institutions and did not have specific provisions for peer to peer lending.

Dutch treasury secretary Bos says he sees the need to amend existing laws. In the Netherlands there have been parliament debates and regulation hassles triggered by the launch of p2p lending service Boober.nl in February 2007.

(Sources: 1, 2)

Recent peer-to-peer lending developments in the Netherlands

Dutch Boober this week resumed full operations overcoming an imposed stop on lending. Lenders however now are facing even more restrictions. After a maximum amount of 39000 Euro was introduced for lenders earlier, a new rule now allows lenders to close no more than 100 loans. Since the minimum bid is only 5 Euro in the worst case that could mean, that a lender has to stop after lending out 500 Euro (100×5). Apparently this development means that the top lenders, responsible for 30% of Boober's total loan volume, are banned from lending more money. While lenders critizise this new development as overregulated forced by dutch regulator AFM, there is not much they can do about it. Theoretically each individual lender could apply for a license, but in practise license fees over 1000 Euro prohibit this move.

Frooble

After a failed launch in May p2p lending service Frooble.nl now wants to lauch with a new concept. Borrowers can seek short term loans of 1 to 3 month duration for amounts between 50 and 500 Euro. Apparently these parameters have been selected to avoid falling under the regulation of the AFM. It remains to be seen if Frooble can thrive with this business model.

Regulator forces Dutch p2p lending site boober to stop lending

Dutch p2p lending site Boober.nl is in big trouble. A court in Rotterdam ruled that Boober needs a license, with the judge supporting the position of the regulating authority AFM. After Boober published its interpretation what this ruling means, the AFM clarified its position in a press release.

Under pressure Boober finally posted a statement on its homepage saying that while the site remains open and existing loans will continue to be serviced, Boober stops any lender bidding. Statement:

Beste Boober Gebruiker

In tegenstelling tot wat dinsdag en woensdag is gecommuniceerd heeft Boober gisteravond na overleg met de Autoriteit Financiële Markten besloten om de krediet-bemiddelingsactiviteiten voorlopig te staken. Dit wordt geëffectueerd door uitleners voorlopig niet de mogelijkheid te geven op leningen te bieden . De site blijft gewoon beschikbaar en het besluit heeft geen enkele consequentie voor lopende leningen.

Boober betreurt de ongelukkige wijze waarop zij met de markt heeft gecommuniceerd en verwacht begin volgende week meer duidelijkheid te kunnen verschaffen.

Boober's service was controversial in the Netherlands from the start. It was even subject of discussion of the Dutch national parliament.

An update on what will happen next is expected early next week.

Richard van den Toorn, publisher of the great site Booberwatch.nl has supplied P2P-Banking.com with this chronology of events: Continue reading