Hola from Spain

Comunitae is currently showing how the P2P lending model works to the Spanish community. In July, the first 10 loans were granted, among them very different loan purposes such as office refurbishment or wedding expenses. There have been also many cancelled loans mainly due to insufficient lenders or discrepancies in information. The total volume lent in July was 58,500 EUR (approx. 84,000 US$) at an average rate of 10.36%. It seems Comunitae is starting to work with cautious steps.

Currently there are 36 accepted auctions asking for a loan, only one of them is completed, in which there are 61 bids for a 4,000 EUR loan at a 13% maximum rate. . In July there has been 50 working auctions for loans as average, 645 people willing to lend money and 780 firm petitions for a loan, 5,033 users have been registered so far. The cautious approach Comunitae is taking, led to rejection of 70% of the borrowers asking for a loan, looking for a default rate of 1%.

Although Comunitae recommends interest rates by ranking borrowers from A to C and maturity with clear rules, lenders decide within a range established by the borrower which is normally higher than recommended by the company. That could show a scarcity of lenders. It seems that this is not a concern to the company – they ask for demanding and selective lenders. Trust is the root of the model and they also developed a groups section where everyone can create or join a group. However one of the groups is sending messages to almost all borrowers to join which could be a spam issue to be dealed by Comunitae or a bad practice to be felt by users and the group to be generally rejected. It seems the group creator wants to advertise his own blog.

Comunitae’s Community Manager Millán Berzosa is working hard  to show how the model works with a high response from online media as well as Spanish traditional media with interviews, reports or news on a even weekly basis. Coverage is reported on the corporate blog.

Jesús Martin Calvo writes as a guest author for P2P-Banking.com covering p2p lending developments in Spain. He just finished his studies in Law and Business.

Caja Navarra Introduces P2P Lending Service CAN

Spanish regional bank Caja Navarra is the first bank to offer it’s own customers a p2p lending service. Caja Navarra announced the p2p lending microsite. Caja Navarra markets this new peer to peer lending service as one investment option in a letter to its 400,000 customers.

The service allows any customer to place a loan request which can then be fulfilled by a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. Caja Navarra says the borrower can benefit by receiving a lower interest rate than in a traditional bank loan. There are currently 3 loan requests listed (if I understand the site right). Continue reading

News from Comunitae

Spanish p2p lending service Comunitae.com has now been one months in beta phase.

So far 900 borrrowers have submitted loan applications and 260 lenders have communicated their intention to provide funding for the total of 110,000 EUR (approx. 80,000 US$). One factor named for the success of the beta phase is the high media attention. In recent weeks Comunitae was covered on CNN, Radio Nacional de España, Intereconomía, Onda Madrid Radio Canal Nou, 7RM, Media Capital, Europa Press, El Pais, El Mundo, Expansión, Liberty Digital, El Economista, Cincodías ABC, My Portfolio Investment, Capital, Politics economic reason, which, AVUI, Invertia, Soitu as well as over 50 blogs.

(Source: Comunitae newsletter)

Comunitae gets 2 million Euro funding

Comunitae gets 2 million Euro funding from Entrinnova to establish itself as a p2p lending service in Spain.

Comunitae will allow loans between 3,000 and 15,000 Euro for loan terms of 1 to 3 years. The amount that lenders can lend will be up to 50,000 Euro (minimum 50 Euro). Only residents of Spain will be able to use the platform.

Founded by José Miguel Rotaeche and Arturo Cervera, both ex-bankers at BBVA, Comunitae aims to launch in mid 2009. The name is derived from “Comuni” for a group of persons and the spanish abbreviation “TAE” for interest rates.

(via Loogic.com)

The spanish p2p lending market

So far there are no p2p lending services active in Spain. Manuel Ángel-Méndezwrote a comprehensive article on the situation in Spain for El País. Some of the key facts from this article:

  • Giles Andrews, of Zopa, confirms: "We have had conversation with several companies in Spain"
  • Pol Navarro, director of innovation at Banc Sabadell,thinks that p2p lending will not be a short term threat to banks. "it is to early to tell if p2p lending will be a successul business model in Spain"
  • Banking organisations expect, that p2p lending will profit from the introduction of a personal identification number (digital DNI) which will be introduced within the next 18 months. Fernando Alfaro of Bankinter sees to chances for p2p lending services: low costs of entrance (IT costs) and millions of immigants in need of loans, that do not have a credit history


Partizipa uses crowdfunding to fund companies

Spanish startup Partizipa.com does p2c lending instead of p2p lending. Individual investors can lend money together to fund a company. Currently a solar power plant in Andalucia is listed for funding. The amount to be raised is 285,000 Euro. Minimum individual investment is 5,000 Euro. The project advertises 13.85% ROI.

Earlier investors bought land in Bulgaria through Partizipa.

I did a short interview with Agustín Cárdenas, one of the founders of Partizipa:

P2P-Banking.com: Can you please describe Partizipa?

Agustín Cárdenas: Currently, we are offering P2C (person to company) lending, making it possible to invest small sums of money in big businesses. At the moment we are still developing the frame-work for P2P lending, and we hope we will be able to offer it sometime later this year. As of now, we cannot provide any further details. Our main aim is to build a community in which any given member presents a new idea for a business to the others for it to be enriched, completed and financed. If the business is successful, then every investor will share the profits according to his/her investment.

P2P-Banking.com: Who can invest? Only residents of Spain, or anybody?

Agustín Cárdenas: The only prerequisite to become a member of the community is to have a bank account in Spain under his/her name.

P2P-Banking.com: Does Partizipa administer and transfer the funds, or does it just
make contact between investor and business opportunity and both handle
the contract and the payment themselves?

Agustín Cárdenas: If the business is created by us, then it is us who manage the entire process up until the moment of completion and the sharing of profits. In any other case, even though we supervise all the process, we only put in contact the business originator and the investors.

P2P-Banking.com: When did you start the company?

Agustín Cárdenas: We are an extraordinarily young company. We have been operating only since September 2007. So far, our registered users have financed projects valued at 2.3 million Euro.