Lenders Can Use New Sellout Function to Exit Loans Early at Ratesetter

Ratesetter yesterday introduced a new sellout function that allows lenders to exit their contracts early.

How does it work?
Lenders request the amount they wish to have returned to their Ratesetter Holding Account. Ratesetter works out whether this is possible and calculates the cost of doing so. The Lender confirms their wish to go ahead and then Ratesetter processes all the necessary assignments. The Borrower will remain entirely unaffected by this.

What are the costs involved in exiting early?
Ratesetter charges a fee made up of three elements:
•    The exiting Lender’s interest is reduced to the level they would have received based on the length of time they have ended up lending for. This is based on the Market Rate and products available on the day they originally lent. So, for example, if the lender had lent into the 5 Year Income market nine months ago and choose to exit now, the lender would only receive the interest the lender would have got from lending in the Monthly Access market for that period of time; if the lender had lent 13 months ago the lender would only receive what the lender would have got from lending in the 1 Year Bond market; if the lender had lent 37 months ago, the lender would only receive what the lender would have got from lending in the 3 Year Income market. With regard to an early exit from the Monthly Access market, the cost is that the lender forgoes all the interest for that month. The purpose of this charge is to ensure there is no incentive to lend for five years if the intention is only to lend for two years;
•    A fixed charge for administering the exit which is 0.25% of the oustanding contract amount (currently waived for existing Lenders for a period of one month)
•    An “Assignment Fee” to ensure that if the interest rate in the relevant Ratesetter market has gone up the exiting Lender can still exit. This will calculate and deduct from the exiting Lender the amount required to be added to the interest rate to ensure the incoming Lender gets what they expect.  In circumstances where interest rates are the same or lower there will be no Assignment Fee.

Can the lender choose which individual contracts I sell?
No, the contracts will be automatically selected, starting with the most recent contracts.

Where does the incoming Lender come from?
From the same market as the exiting Lender.

Are there any circumstance when the lender would be unable to exit early?
It is Ratesetter’s  intention that the lender will be able to exit all contracts at any time. However, it may not always be possible to do so:
•    If there are insufficient funds in the relevant market. This will be determined by a “buffer” of available funds (of which the amount in each market will be periodically reviewed) designed to keep the smooth running of the Ratesetter markets.
•    If an individual contract is less than £10, the current minimum reinvesment size.

Offering a secondary market (regardless in which form) is becoming a basic functionality that lenders expect as a core feature from a p2p lending service. The 3 major British services Zopa, Ratesetter, Fundingcircle as well as American Lending Club and Prosper now offer the ability to sell loans. In other countries regulation makes the setup of a secondary market difficult.

RateSetter Finishes Successful First Year

In England p2p lending service RateSetter celebrated it’s first year in business anniversary a few days ago. The loan volume matched is close to 9 million GBP, spread out over 2.400 loans.RateSetter has currently about 65.000 members.
RateSetter has a rather unique business model in the p2p lending landscape which builds on anonymously matching demand and supply for two loan “products”: 36-month loans and rolling loans (the total loan volume is spread nearly 50:50 on these products).

RateSetter says that due to the provisions fund mechanism “every single RateSetter lender has received every single penny of capital and interest that they expected.“. The fund is an instrument set up by RateSetter to “reduce the risk for lenders“. Borrowers pay an amount upfront into the Provision Fund based on their creditworthiness.  Yesterday RateSetter announced that on Sep. 3oth the team managing the Fund decided not to distribute any money from the Fund back to the lenders, which is possible if the team considers the Fund to be excessivly capitalised.

Borrower representative APRs ranged from 7.6% to 11.6%. 79% of borrowers are homeowners. The two purposes car loans and home improvement loans were given for more than 50% of the loans. In the last six month, interest rates for 36 months loans on RateSetter have been falling, whereas the rates for the rolling loans remained mostly at the same level.

RateSetter is a founding member of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (see: Peer-to-Peer Finance Association Founded by British P2P Lending Services‘).

(Source: RateSetter)

P2P Lending Site Ratesetter Raises another 600k

UK p2p lending service Ratesetter has raised another 600,000 GBP from undisclosed existing and new investors. The total equity funding of the company now is 1.5 million GBP. The additional funding will be used for marketing purposes.

RateSetter co-founder and CEO Rhydian Lewis said: “We’re thrilled that RateSetter has earned the confidence of some well-respected investors. The response to RateSetter has been very positive and has exceeded our expectations. Our users enjoy the benefits of high returns on their savings and low cost, flexible borrowing.”

P2P-Banking.com wrote an review on Ratesetter when they launched in October 2010 (RateSetter brings rolling monthly loans to p2p lending). Since then the company grew considerably reaching 2 million GBP lent by lenders in the first two month.

If you are a Ratesetter lender or borrower please do share your experiences and opinions. Write a review on Wiseclerk’s Ratesetter forum. Thank you.

RateSetter Brings Rolling Monthly Loans to P2P Lending

British P2P lending site Ratesetter.com launched recently. Ratesetter uses market approach dominant in the UK (rather then individual listing).

A novel approach is the “Rolling Monthly Loan” Ratesetter introduces:

One of the two types of loan RateSetter offers. For a borrower, this is a bit like borrowing with a credit card. At the end of the month, they pay the interest and a minimum repayment amount. The balance of the loan is then rolled into a new contract (with a new lender). Lenders only lend their money for one month at a time. They lend their money again at the end of the month, but to a new borrower with a new contract.

This is an interesting concept. For lenders it solves the problem with other p2p lending markets (unless they have a secondary market) that they cannot cash early. For borrowers this comes with mixed blessings. While the rolling monthly loan comes with lower rates than a credit card, the rate will change each month (for better or worse).

I do wonder what happens should the lender demand dry out? How will Ratesetter refinance the Rolling Monthly Loans then?

Provision Fund

Ratesetter builds a fund as partial shield against bad debt:

Money invested in shares and corporate bonds isn’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Money lent with RateSetter isn’t either, but we’ve set up a Provision Fund to reduce the risks to lenders. Borrowers pay an amount each month into the Provision Fund based on their creditworthiness. The fund is managed by RateSetter so a lender can be compensated if their borrower doesn’t pay their loan on time. All payments from the Provision Fund to the lender are entirely discretionary – we can’t guarantee to compensate lenders from the fund and it isn’t an insurance product. If RateSetter builds up a surplus in the Provision Fund (if we’ve been overly conservative) RateSetter pays bonuses to its lenders (this is paid annually based on how much money they’ve lent over the year).

The height of the payment into this fund (called credit rate) is dependent on the credit score of the borrower. The website quotes a 1% credit rate as example. The Provision Fund by Ratesetter is the second construct to diminish risks from defaults to lenders after the Anleger-Pool concept by Smava (see articles on Anleger-Pool).

I see two downsides to the Provision Fund concept:

  1. It is (currently) not tranparent. The market view section gives no information how much money is present in the fund
  2. Should defaults rise above an expected limit the fund will be empty. While lenders with loans that defaulted first will be protected in full, the ones after could be left empty-handed. However Ratesetter could react to this scenario by raising the credit rates on the monthly rolling loans

The market view shows, that Ratesetter matched funds currently at about 6.3% APR for the rolling monthly and at 8.6% for the 36 month loans.

Ratesetter charges borrowers a 115 GBP upfront fee (for the 36 months loans); 5 GBP per month for the monthly loans and lenders 10% of the interest they earn.

The company was founded by Rhydian Lewis (CEO) and Peter Behrens (COO).