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NEO Finance Peer-To-Peer Lending Platform

The largest peer-to-peer lending platform in Lithuania is NEO Finance. Established in 2015, the platform has consistently increased its granted loans and currently has over 7,800 active investors. As a loan originator, NEO Finance is not a marketplace like Fast Invest, Mintos, or PeerBerry. NEO Finance users have more control of the platform, and there’s more insight into the identities of borrowers. This allows lenders to be more specific on whom to lend.

How it Works

You can apply for a loan on the NEO Finance platform which then does a credit risk evaluation, sets interest rates and searches for lenders to fund the loan. Investing in consumer loans is as little as €10. The average loan amount on the platform is €2,700 and the average loan term is 49 months.

Having an unlimited e-money institution license allows NEO Finance to operate anywhere in the EU. The platform is similar to a banking system where user accounts have their own International Bank Account Number (IBAN) number. Instead of sending money to NEO Finance, you send to a Lithuanian bank account under your user name. This setup gives your investment an extra safety feature.

Regulation and Licenses

Apart from its rapid financial progress, NEO Finance is also at the forefront when it comes to regulation. Other NEO Finance credentials include:

  • Supervised by the Bank of Lithuania
  • The Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license from the Bank of Lithuania
  • Is in the public list of consumer credit providers
  • Is in the public list of P2P lending platform operators

NEO Finance Investment Opportunities

NEO Finance provides consumer loans of up to €15,000. Interest rates are based on the level of investor demand and risk factor. Smaller loans have less stringent payment conditions with lower default rates. Both the loans and borrowers are categorized into three types: A, B, and C. Category C borrowers have higher interest rates as they’re riskier. The interest rate and risk factor are lower for Category A borrowers. The investor can also view different data fields concerning borrowing including assets owned, income, previous debts repaid, other liabilities, and credit score.

Buyback Guarantee

The platform offers a buyback guarantee on their loans, though it’s different from other platforms. The buyback guarantee covers 50 to 80 percent of the face value in case of loan default. But this depends on the credit score of the borrower.

Provision Fund

Same as buyback guarantee, provision fund fully covers you in case the borrower defaults on their loan. But its use is not mandatory. The Provision Fund is akin to having insurance, whereby NEO Finance buys back defaulted loans using their assets as collateral for the repurchased loans

Is NEO Finance Safe?

Authorisation and licenses from several authorities including the EMI license make NEO Finance safe. Furthermore, outstanding loans and the default rate is low, and the company has the potential to recover money from defaulters.

The NEO Finance platform ticks the correct buttons for a robust P2P lending platform. A look at the company’s annual reports offers encouraging signs to potential investors. Though yet to be profitable, NEO Finance has more cash and equivalents than what is necessary for provisions. If you’re looking for a secure platform with a high return for investors, then you should consider NEO Finance.

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Review Of EstateGuru Crowdfunding Platform

EstateGuru is a peer-to-peer lending platform based in Estonia that offers investors the opportunity to invest in real estate properties. Established in 2014, EstateGuru has already funded over 680 loans worth over €130 million. With a good lending track record, EstateGuru investors have achieved average returns of over 10% to date. The rapid growth has seen the company become one of the largest P2P investment platforms’ in Continental Europe.

How it Works

For starters, you need to be over 18 years old and have an account within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Note that investments in EstateGuru are only available in Euros hence the need to have a Euro account. If you reside outside Europe, you can open a borderless Tranferwise account and get a bank account in Euros.

There’re are two options when it comes to investing in EstateGuru real estate loans, Manual Invest or Auto Invest. Auto Invest is ideal for investors who use P2P lending as a passive form of investing. You can only invest in loans secured by a mortgage or by a personal guarantee from the borrower. To create an auto-invest profile, you’ll need a minimum of €50 in your account. You can set up your investment amount in a loan term interval, a single loan and the types of loans.

As there is no secondary market in EstateGuru, you can exit your investment when the loan-term ends or when the borrower pays off the loan.

Is Your Money Safe?

The real estate that the properties are tied to backs up all EstateGuru loans. In case the borrower defaults and is unable to repay loans, the property is liquidated and the remaining loans are repaid with the money received from the sale proceeds. In a good economy, such property loans investments are considered safe. Unlike other platforms such as Mintos, there’s no secondary market for loans. This means your money is locked in for the duration of your loan investment.

EstateGuru offers four main types of loans backed by property. They include:

  • Bridge Loan – Backed by the property, a bridge loan is a type of short-term loan. It takes 5 to 14 days to issue such loans, and they’re more expensive than traditional mortgages. Companies tend to choose a bridge loan when in need of quick cash. The repayment period of most bridge loans is between 1 to 18 months, and there’re no repayments until the end of the loan term.
  • Business Loan – EstateGuru business loans are for small businesses that need to increase their operating capital. The real estate property on the platform is the security and the interest rate is paid back on a monthly schedule.
  • Development Loan – Any loan used to develop a real estate property is a development loan. The repayment period ranges from 3 to 4 months.
  • Refinancing Loan – A refinancing loan is a loan made to pay off another loan. You can do this either to secure a better loan deal with lower payments, a lower interest rate, and a shorter loan term or to pay off a loan that is due at a specific date.

Combined with the low default rate, EstateGuru always has available loans to invest in. This means your money will not sit idle in the account due to lack of loans on the platform.

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Mintos Marketplace Review

Mintos is a Latvian P2P marketplace for investors that links different lending companies with investors and borrowers. According to AltFi Data, it currently leads the continental Europe marketplace with a 38% market share. Launched in 2015, the platform serves over 60 loan originators and more than 146,000 investors from 70 countries. Mintos offers an accessible and transparent option to the traditional banking system. In 2017, Mintos reached profitability with EUR 2.1 million in revenue and EUR 196,000 as net profit.

How it Works

Both retail and institutional investors can invest in fractions of loans from across various loan types and continents. Mintos connects loan originators to the marketplace and offers instant access to investors looking to buy loans

Opportunities for investment include personal unsecured loans, mortgage loans, invoices, secured car loans, and small business loans. Many of the marketplace loans are secured. This means the borrower has to attach an asset with their loan application. In case the borrower defaults, the loan originator can engage to sell the asset and redistribute the money to investors. This lowers any potential loss in case of a default.

Buyback Guarantee

Mintos buyback guarantee is usually with secured loans. This is a promise from the loan originator that they will intervene and refund you back the invested principal plus interest earned. This is inclusive of the 60 overdue days a borrower fails to make repayments. Though this method is not risk-free, it transfers the risk from the borrower to the loan originator.

Campaign Rewards

Mintos introduced campaign rewards in 2018. This allows you to get cashback when you invest in loans from a certain loan originator. In some cases, the loans may even be repurchased if the loan agreements change. In such a scenario, you’ll receive your invested principal plus earned interest which you can withdraw or invest in new cashback loans.

Mintos Auto-Invest

Auto-invest is a Minto tool that automatically completes your investment of choice strategy. Once you choose your investment criteria, Auto-invest will invest in suitable loans on your behalf. Auto-invest is accessible anytime and you can follow your portfolio activity in real-time. The tool is efficient as it saves time spent on investment matters. You can even access newly placed loans in the system before manually-made investments.

Auto-invest has three investment strategies

  • Primary market with a 14% interest rate and buyback guarantee within any duration.
  • Primary market which features a buyback guarantee, 13% interest rate, and a 12 months duration.
  • Secondary market which features loans with buyback guarantee, 14% interest rate and a 60 months duration.

As a new originator, you need to choose and fine-tune your strategy when there’re new campaigns or when interest rates change. Failure to adapt may lead to cash drag when no loans fit your benchmark. If you set your benchmark low, you can even miss on higher-interest loans.

The main advantage of Mintos is the variety of options to diversify your investments. But you must exercise caution as it could also be another fraud. This is partly due to the many loan originators and options making it difficult for new investors to choose the best investments. Despite some doubts, the generous buyback campaigns offer Mintos a trusted P2P platform with a long working history and various diversification options.

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What is Peer-to-Peer Network

The history of P2P and its eventual mainstream acceptance is thanks to Napster. In 1999, the file-sharing application made it possible to store music or film files across multiple computers. The peer-to-peer architecture allowed millions of internet users to connect, and form groups. Users could then perform as user-created virtual supercomputers, file systems, and search engines,

What is Peer-to-Peer Network?

The idea of a P2P network is to create equal peer nodes that together serve as both “clients” and “servers” to other nodes on the network. Network participants then record and interchange information. The network model is different from the traditional client-server model where the exchange of information is to and from a central server. No central storage point eliminates the need for a dominant authority. This means no single individual can use the network to own or control it. If users secure it, they become the true owners of their data.

Peer-to-Peer Services

Some P2P services don’t involve a buy and sell transaction. However, they connect individuals to collaborate on joint projects, communicate and share information without intermediation.

When a third party is not involved in a transaction, there is an increased risk the provider may not deliver, the service may be of lower quality or the buyer may default. To mitigate such risks, transaction costs and prices are lower. This is done by creating businesses that facilitate P2P transactions.

Today, online merchants provide the lion’s share of P2P services. Popular examples include:

  • AirBnB – property owners can lease all or a section of their property to short-term tenants.
  • Open-source software – the software code can be modified or viewed by anyone.
  • Uber – riders and car owners have a shared platform that offers a uniform service for taxi rides.
  • Etsy – producers of homespun goods and other crafts can sell their goods directly to the public.
  • BitTorrent – the anonymous file-sharing platform allows users to meet and swap media and software files.
  • eBay – interested buyers can access a private marketplace with different private vendors.
  • Spotify – you can stream real-time audio content on-demand using P2P networking.

Peer to Peer Trading in Blockchain

Blockchain can reduce the inefficiencies in share settlement as peer confirmation settle shares. There’s no need for auditors to verify trades, a custodian to confirm the number of shares held or a clearinghouse. Eliminating the middleman from the back office means lower record-keeping costs, as well as lower trading costs on the platform.

Unlike the current settlement of three working days, peer confirmation of trades allows for almost instantaneous settlements. For this to happen, blockchain requires participants to already have the money and shares to exchange. Shares would be a more liquid investment and the higher liquidity will translate into more investment into your shares.

The evolution of the P2P network and its central role has seen it cut inefficiencies within blockchain technology. Blockchain has made the domineering third party irrelevant as users can deal with each other across a secure decentralized network. Although each peer participating in the network is open to viewing, blockchain conceals participants’ data through cryptography.

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Assetz Capital P2P Lender

As the traditional banks continue to be less supportive in providing finance to many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), there’s increasing interest in peer-to-peer lenders willing to bridge the gap. Assetz Capital is one such P2P lender that we’ll review in this article.

Who is Assetz Capital?

Assetz Capital is the leading property-secured business P2P lender in the UK and Europe. They offer secured business loans to small and medium SMEs and are the second biggest general business P2P lender, behind Funding Circle. They offer loans to property developers and SMEs in the UK, funded by individuals and several institutional investors and companies.

Investment Accounts

Assetz Capital has a minimum investment amount of £1 and is open to international investors. However, you need a UK bank account and if you don’t have one, you can open it at Transferwise. There are no fees for investors and all Assetz Capital investment accounts are protected by a provision fund except the MLIA.

30 Days Access Account

For the most part, this account is hands off. You can deposit a small amount which should be credited in your account in less than two hours. The new 1% cashback offer on Assetz Capital 90-Day Access Account replaced the initial customer promotion. Investors who took advantage of this promotion will still receive their cashback payment.

Quick Access Account

The quick access account offers a 3.7% target rate, designed to provide immediate access to cash for investors in normal market conditions. There’s over £19 million invested in this account.

Other account types include the Green Energy Income Account (GEIA) with a 7% target rate, the Great British Business Account (GBBA) with a 7% target rate, and the Manual Loan Investment Account (MLIA) with 5.5% to 18% gross rate.

The Access Accounts are popular as over half of the investors utilise them and they’re approaching £170 million in investments. The lender has processed over £1 billion of withdrawals to-date from the Access Accounts.

Despite the underlying loans within the Access Accounts being between one month and five years in duration, the high investment flow into the accounts has allowed users to withdraw funds on time consistently. But supply and demand can vary while exit times are not guaranteed.

Whom Does Assetz Capital Lend To?

The lender comprises two divisions: Assetz SME Capital and Assetz Development Capital.

Assetz SME Capital provides secured loans to SMEs that have been trading for more than two years.

Assetz Development Capital provides secured lending to established property developers who have been trading for more than two years. Additionally, they offer “lend to let” secure loans to overseas clients wishing to invest in the buy to let property sector in the UK.

How Can You Use the Loan?

For Assetz SME Capital, loans are available to assist in business projects and future growth. For Assetz Development Capital, the preference is to lend for prime property purchases in prime locations. In the case for “lend to let” scheme, funds are availed towards buying quality buy to let properties.

With a loss rate of 0.46%, Assetz Capital ticks the correct boxes for a safe investment in the peer-to-peer lending for first-time investors. However, some Assetz Capital reviews online are discussing how the platform is confusing and frustrating, with some investors unhappy with the returns and manual investment process involved in some of the products.