2014 starts with a bang. January industry news
Christmas may have meant December was a quieter month in the media than usual, but that didn’t stop the industry from coming back with a bang in 2014. January has been jam-packed full of peer-to-peer lending news, from political speeches to property to being featured on the Martin Lewis Money Show. Here’s a few highlights…
We kicked off the month with news that our investors have now lent over £200 million to businesses since we launched three and a half years ago. Although it’s still fairly small compared to the banks, we’re growing at a rate of knots – with £130 million of this lent in 2013 alone. The news was also covered by Credit Today and Bridging & Commercial.
Following Ed Miliband’s speech on the economy, where he said he plans to enhance competition in the banking sector by looking at creating two new banks, the Observer ran an editorial that us peer-to-peer lenders would tend to agree with. They argue that things have already moved far past the need for more bank branches. Our collective technology has already disrupted the wider financial services industry to the point of no return, much like in the music and travel sectors. James Meekings, one of our co-founders was also on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme to talk about the transformation that we’re seeing.
In a similar vein, the BBC warns big banks to beware of the “innovative technology challengers” who are “coming to eat your lunch.” That was the key message which emerged from FinTech City London, a series of events for financial services technology professionals, where our CEO and co-founder, Samir Desai, did a sterling job at highlighting just how much the wider financial services landscape is changing.
Another theme this month, and something we’ve already touched on in previous media blogs, is how the industry is going mainstream. As we move from disrupting to changing an industry, working with traditional players will become increasingly important. This Sunday Times piece reports that the government is drawing up a plan to help alternative lenders compete with banks, and the Mail Online takes a look at how bank partnerships will increase borrowing opportunities for businesses. The Financial Times also take a look at the need for non-bank financing to go mainstream in order to prosper.
At the time of writing, there was still two weeks left to view the peer-to-peer lending feature on Martin Lewis’ money show. He explains the basics of peer-to-peer lending from an investor perspective and compares our technology to an “online financial matchmaking” service, and asks viewers if they’re “ready for a new financial partner”.
Our consumer lending friends at Zopa also raised £15 million to “expand their business and bolster efforts to familiarise people with ‘P2P’”. The fundraising comes as valuations for the most active peer-to-peer lending sites have been rising amid growing interest in the sector. The Evening Standard also covered the news.
Property finance also made the headlines this month as we begin to increase the number of property loans we offer to both borrowers and investors. This is all part of our ongoing commitment to help millions of small businesses access finance. The Guardian and Mortgage Introducer also covered the news. And ourselves and Lendinvest made the front page of the Financial Times with news of the world’s largest peer-to-peer loan.
And finally (phew!) we just had to include this recent profile of Samir in the Evening Standard. Happy reading!