We’re fully authorised! May industry news

Funding Circle wins approval from regulator in peer-to-peer boost

This month we’re very pleased to announce that Funding Circle has received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. Now that we’ve received authorisation, we look forward to being able to offer you industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA which we plan to launch later this tax year. Read the full story on our blog and press release. More coverage in Business Insider and City AM. Also, congratulations  to Zopa who recently received authorisation as well!

Financial technology is proving less of a battleground than feared

Ten years ago, financial technology began to positively disrupt the way customers use and access financial services. Ever since, we’ve seen an influx of tech companies blossom across the country, offering consumers better service, innovative products and more investment choices –  straight from their smartphones. Business owners also benefit from the ability to obtain fast, transparent finance to help grow their business from an array of investors willing to lend and support them.    

Change your finances with the best money apps

Speaking of financial control at your fingertips, this article looks at a variety of different apps to help make your money work harder. Advances in the FinTech sector have resulted in new products that can assist you in a number of ways, such as keeping track of your spending or monitoring your stocks and shares investments. To learn more about how to manage your finances, check out a recent blog post by Simon Read, a personal finance journalist, that looks at rising inflation and what it means for your money.

Fears grow for business funding after EU turns off tap

In other news, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Funding Circle have been sharing ideas as to how the UK can ensure small businesses retain access to capital after we leave the EU. With over five million small businesses in the UK, it’s economically vital that the necessary support is in place to fuel their ability to thrive. The EU has provided billions in funding to businesses in the UK over the years, so this piece suggests that the British Business Bank could step in and fill the gap in post-Brexit Britain based on recommendations made by us and the FSB.

Entrepreneurs three times more likely to vote Tory than Labour

And finally, we wanted to make the voices of British businesses heard, so we asked thousands of business owners for their thoughts on the year ahead. In the space of four days, more than 2,300 small business owners told us about their investment intentions, turnover expectations and also their views on the upcoming general election. What we discovered is that small businesses are resilient and are continuing to go for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Read the full results on our blog.

Funding Circle receives full FCA authorisation

We’re pleased to announce that Funding Circle has today received full authorisation from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As a founding member of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association we have always actively campaigned for the industry to be regulated.

Today’s news comes as Funding Circle becomes the largest peer-to-peer or direct lending platform in the UK by cumulative amount lent, with investors having lent more than £2.3 billion to over 24,000 businesses, supporting the creation of an estimated 60,000 jobs in the process. With more than 60,000 investors now regularly lending through Funding Circle, we are on track to becoming a mainstream investment choice for investors up and down the country.

Managing supply and demand on the platform

Now that we have received authorisation, we are looking forward to being able to offer you industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA, subject to obtaining ISA manager status from HMRC. Since 2010, investors lending through Funding Circle have earned an average of 6.5% per year and £116 million of interest after fees and bad debt. Please remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

To continue to offer these returns it is important that we are able to continue to match your funds to creditworthy businesses looking for finance. Small business lending can be seasonal, with demand from borrowers changing throughout the year. Given we expect the Funding Circle ISA to be popular, we plan to launch it later this tax year to suit demand from both investors and borrowers. This will allow us to manage liquidity on the platform and help investors to earn attractive, stable returns.

We will provide you with a further update in due course.

If you have any questions on today’s announcement or on the Funding Circle ISA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Fintech can power a prosperous future. April industry news.

Our FinTech industry can power a prosperous future

Last month, the Government hosted the first ever International Fintech Conference, bringing investors from all over the world to learn about how innovation in the UK is changing the way customers access and use financial services. Ahead of the event, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond discussed how the industry is providing consumers with better services and more choice, and lowering costs for businesses. The UK remains the best place to start and grow a FinTech firm anywhere in the world, and the Chancellor called out Funding Circle and Transferwise as two ‘hugely successful British firms’.  

Funding Circle’s Desai: use P2P for monetary stimulus

Speaking alongside the Chancellor and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, Funding Circle’s CEO Samir Desai talked about the benefits of starting a FinTech company in the UK and went on to suggest that the Bank of England could use platforms as a way of directly stimulating the real economy. Small businesses account for half of the UK’s GDP and have been responsible for a large chunk of post-financial crisis job creation. They are the engine-room of the British economy, which is why your continued support is so vital.

How FinTech is revolutionising personal banking

Innovation has completely transformed the way we manage our money. From tapping your card to buy your morning coffee, to using your smartphone to apply for business finance, we’re seeing the impact of FinTech everywhere. These products have been hugely beneficial allowing people to connect directly, democratising finance and putting control back into the hands of the customer. This article takes a look at current accounts and how we’ve begun to see companies step in to drive this exciting change.

“Your money isn’t really safe in the bank” – so this is where to put it instead

In terms of your personal investment options, there are lots of different ways to help you build a diversified, fruitful portfolio. Here, the Mirror examines various options to help you beat the interest rate slump, such as putting your money in stocks and shares or lending directly to creditworthy businesses. As with any investment, the key to managing risk is diversification. In the case of direct lending this means spreading your money across hundreds of loans. Remember, when you lend, your capital is at risk.

Peer-to-peer lending bosses split on whether to become a bank

And finally, at another industry conference, AltFi Europe, Samir outlined the reasons why Funding Circle has no plans to become a bank. He cites business’ desire to move away from banks to enjoy the fast, flexible finance that platforms are able to provide, and investor satisfaction with the attractive and stable returns they’re able to earn by lending directly. To date, your lending has helped 23,000 business owners across the country to access finance, including multi-Grand Slam and gold medal winning paralympian, Peter Norfolk. Read more about how your investment helped him hire more staff on our latest blog.

Property development lending – important update

Funding Circle’s long term goal is to become the first choice for small businesses here in the UK and across the world. By attracting thousands more businesses to the platform, we can offer you many more lending opportunities, allowing you to continue to earn an attractive, stable return. To meet this goal, we have taken the decision to focus on our core small business lending product in the UK and our other markets and will scale down new property development lending, expecting to stop all lending by mid-2018.

We are proud of the lending we have facilitated to small developers since 2014. The borrowers you have lent to have built thousands of homes and credit performance has been strong; loans have generated a 7% annual return* (as of 10th April 2017) and you have earned more than £22m in interest.

By focusing on our core product you will be able to help thousands more small businesses to access finance and grow. Over the last year you have lent record-breaking amounts, with approximately £280m lent to small business borrowers in the first three months of 2017. We expect this trend to continue.

It’s important to note that this decision is not related to credit performance of property development loans, which have outperformed expectations over the last three years and we expect this to remain the case.

We will continue to work on your behalf to service all existing property development loans. There will still be opportunities for you to lend to experienced property professionals over the next 12 months.

If you have any questions on today’s news, please get in touch at contactus@fundingcircle.com.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Returns shown may change over time as some businesses may not be able to fully repay their loans.

Read between the lines: What does the Budget mean for you?

Over the next few months we will be bringing you a regular column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. Simon has written extensively on personal finance issues for a number of national UK newspapers. Previously he was personal finance editor at The Independent, and is currently an expert on BBC1’s Right on the Money show.

Each month Simon will cut through the jargon to help you understand what is happening in the wider financial world. This month, we caught up with him to get his reaction to last week’s Spring Budget and what it means for you.

 

We’ll be hearing regularly from Simon over the next few months, so watch this space!

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice

British business booming after Brexit. February industry news.

Brexit Terrified This CEO. Then Business Jumped 50%

Last month, Bloomberg featured Funding Circle in a deep dive analysis of investor and borrower reaction to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Over the course of the last six months we’ve seen small businesses adapt and continue to invest. This has been made possible by your lending, with more than £500 million lent in the second half of 2016 alone. Supporting these businesses, who make up 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment, is crucial to the success of the UK economy.

Leading marketplace lender Funding Circle tops £2bn mark

Another exciting milestone as investors hit £2 billion lent to UK small businesses through Funding Circle since 2010. That means you have supported more than 22,000 small businesses with the funding they need to grow, helping to create more than 50,000 new jobs! We are seeing huge demand for fast, fair, flexible finance from businesses, which means many more lending opportunities on the platform. Watch this video to find out about the importance of diversification, where you lend small amounts to hundreds of businesses in order to manage risk.

Alternative finance in the UK ticks over £10bn mark

The wider crowdfunding sector also celebrated a major milestone this month having facilitated investment worth £10 billion, which is more than double the cumulative total during the same period in 2015. The rapid increase in consumers and businesses turning to alternatives for funding is testament to the customer experience that platforms have on offer. Hundreds of thousands of investors and borrowers alike have now benefited from a new and innovative way of taking out a loan or earning a return.

MarketInvoice and Funding Circle represent P2P on fintech delivery panel

February also saw the launch of one of the Government’s initiatives to help maintain the UK’s position as a global Financial Technology hub during Brexit negotiations. The FinTech Delivery Panel, which was set up by the Treasury and TechCityUK, is made up of senior figures from some of Britain’s most innovative companies and will help steer policy in such a way that ensures the UK’s thriving FinTech sector continues to be the best in the world.

European fintech deals hit 5-year high in 2016

European FinTech companies defied the global trend of a reduction in investment in 2016, with the number of deals increasing by 11 percent in Europe compared to a 1 percent drop globally. In total, innovative FinTech businesses attracted more than $1.2 billion of investment. 2017 is already looking like a good year for the industry with Funding Circle kicking off the fundraising with our £82 million raise in January – enabling further investment into our technology platform to create an ever better experience for our customers!

How your savings will be affected by the Bank of England’s interest rate freeze

And finally, as the high street banks continue to offer poor returns amidst the Bank of England’s decision to freeze rates at 0.25%, this Daily Mirror articles explores the many other options available as a means of making your spare cash work harder for you. By turning to investments such as peer-to-peer lending, you could earn attractive returns by lending to small businesses – but remember, this is an investment not a savings product so your capital is at risk.

Are you interested in lending to businesses through Funding Circle?

Lend alongside 58,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 20,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with seasonal cash flow, refurbishment, asset finance and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

 

We’re celebrating £2 billion lent to UK businesses

It’s been six and a half years since Funding Circle was launched with a big idea, to revolutionise the way small businesses access finance. This week we’re proud to announce that we’re celebrating £2 billion in lending to small UK businesses.

£2 billion lent to UK businesses including Celia's

The numbers behind £2 billion

21,000 businesses have benefited from Funding Circle finance since 2010, and an estimated 40,000 jobs have been created as a result of this. Job creation makes a real difference to the economy, showing the direct impact Funding Circle investors are having on the UK. A total of £107.5 million* has also been earned in interest by 58,000 investors, after fees and bad debt.

What it really means

Reaching £2 billion is more than just a milestone. It means investors can get a good return on their money — whether they’re saving for retirement, a new house or for a rainy day.

And it means more business owners can go on to do extraordinary things; like Celia pictured above, who used her loan to open an award-winning cafe in Somerset. Find out what other extraordinary things our borrowers have achieved after accessing finance in this short video. 

 

If you’re interested in lending to companies like Celia’s, you can earn a current estimated return of 7%* per year^. Join the 58,000 people who are already lending.

If you’re looking for business finance, our fast, hassle-free loans can be with you in just one week. You can check your eligibility in 30 seconds. 

Your actual return may be higher or lower as your capital is at risk when lending to businesses.

*Correct as of 16 February 2017

^Correct as of 23 February 2017

2017: what a start! January industry news.

 

Funding Circle secures additional financing from UK government

What an exciting start to the year we’ve had! The first piece of news came just days after we’d celebrated the dawn of a new year when Funding Circle announced a £40 million extension to the British Business Bank’s lending through the platform, which has already earned the institution more than £5 million in interest. Since UK Government-owned institutions first started lending in 2013, more than 10,000 UK small businesses have benefited from their funding, which now totals £100 million. The extension of this partnership will help thousands more small businesses access the finance they need to flourish.

U.K. Online Lender Bucks Brexit With $100 Million Funding Round

Soon after, Funding Circle announced an £82 million capital raise, with participation from  existing investors including Accel Partners and Index Ventures. This brought the total amount of equity raised to £300 million and means that Funding Circle is now one of the best capitalised businesses in the industry. The extra funding will enable the business to continue investing in its technology – enabling the continuous evolution of a best in class user experience.

Beware digital revolution, says Carney

Elsewhere, the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney took to the stage at a G20 conference in Germany to discuss the future of Fintech and the impact it could have on traditional financial services. Carney announced that “…this wave of innovation promises a FinTech revolution that will democratise financial services. Consumers will get more choice, better-targeted services and keener pricing.” The Governor also offered a cautious suggestion that regulators should pay close attention to the sector’s evolution.

Small businesses ready to seize new growth opportunities in 2017

In a survey conducted by insurance firm Zurich, small business owners showed their excitement for the new year ahead by raising their growth expectations. Confidence is also up, marking a change in mood among small businesses since the EU referendum last June.

Debrett’s 500 list:  Entrepreneurs

Funding Circle Co-Founder and UK Managing Director James Meekings featured in this year’s Debrett 500 List under the ‘Entrepreneur’ category. James was recognised for his efforts in innovation alongside fellow Fintech founders from Zopa, TransferWise, Crowdcube and WorldRemit. Each individual on the list has founded, or led, a business that has contributed to the bettering of people’s lives in some way through their company.

Survival guide to personal loans

Moving into the world of personal finance, The Independent put together a ‘survival guide to personal loans’. The article gives readers a whistle-stop tour of everything you need to know when considering taking out loan. It then dives into the options, which includes peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa and challenger bank Ikano.

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa passes £2 billion loans milestone

Finally, Zopa were also mentioned in the news after passing the milestone of investors lending £2 billion to UK consumers, with Funding Circle very close behind! This was made up of 300,000 loans to 246,000 individuals. Within the announcement, Zopa also shared information on the what most of their customers use the loan for, with 34% purchasing a car, 31% consolidating debt and 20% using the funds for home improvements.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 20,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with seasonal cash flow, refurbishment, asset finance and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

News

Small businesses ready to seize new growth opportunities in 2017

Small business growth

After saying goodbye to an unpredictable 2016, small business owners across the country are stepping up their growth plans for the new year. According to a poll by insurance firm Zurich, the average business looking to get a loan plans to borrow up to 22% more compared to a year ago.

This is partly thanks to the continued growth of consumer spending in Q4 of 2016, and with the predicted downturn after the Brexit vote yet to materialise, around 36% of businesses are planning to borrow in 2017.

Rise in confidence

The rosier than expected outlook has led to a sharp rise in confidence among small business owners. In the Q4 Small Business Index (compiled by the Federation of Small Businesses) the confidence measure rose from -2.9 in Q3 to +8.5 in Q4 – returning almost to the pre-referendum level at the start of 2016 (+8.6) – meaning more small businesses feel confident than those that don’t.

Changes in the currency markets are having a more mixed impact on UK companies. While exchange rate and import cost rises are problematic for many, small exporters are benefiting from the weak pound and becoming more competitive overseas. A net balance of 18% of small businesses now expect to see export growth over the next three months.

With the uncertainty around Brexit negotiations set to continue over the next two years, the role of small businesses in the UK economy will be vitally important. Policy makers are being encouraged to support the sector, and the recent announcement that the British Business Bank will be lending an additional £40 million to small businesses through Funding Circle will be fantastic news for owners looking to borrow.

While numerous challenges remain, we’re excited to see small business owners feeling positive about the year ahead, and look forward to helping them capitalise on the new opportunities it brings.

If you’re hoping to expand your business this year or would like extra finance to help with working capital, you can check your eligibility for a loan at fundingcircle.com/businesses.

Funding Circle raises further £80 million in equity funding

We’re excited to announce that we have raised a further £80 million in equity capital, which will allow us to continue to invest in building a technology platform that delivers the best customer experience to investors and borrowers across the world.

This investment was led by Accel, alongside existing Funding Circle investors including Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Index Ventures and Temasek. It follows a ~£100 million investment in 2015, and means that Funding Circle is now the best capitalised small business direct lending platform in the world.

You can read the full press release in our media centre. We’re also delighted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was able to provide a statement on today’s news:

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “Funding Circle has become a real success story for British Fintech and news that it has attracted £80 million of investment is further evidence of the growing importance of this industry. This is another vote of confidence in a UK firm that plays an important role in our economy – helping businesses to grow and create jobs.”

This new investment follows a successful 2016 for investors lending through Funding Circle. Over the past 12 months, investors have lent over £1.1 billion globally to small businesses globally, with approximately £400 million lent in the last three months alone, a record-breaking amount for any small business direct lending platform. The last quarter also saw Funding Circle UK reach profitability. By lending directly to small businesses looking for finance, you are helping to create jobs and lead the way in building a better financial world.

We’re expecting 2017 to be another year of growth, and we will continue to invest in providing retail investors like you with an even better lending experience. You can expect to see some exciting improvements over the next 12 months, so watch this space!

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

British Business Bank lends further £40m to small businesses

The government-owned British Business Bank will today begin lending a further £40 million directly to small businesses through the Funding Circle platform. This follows an initial £40 million investment by the British Business Bank in 2014, and a £20 million investment made by the UK government in 2013 through the Business Finance Partnership.

The British Business Bank aims to support economic growth by increasing choice of finance for small and medium sized businesses. Over 10,000 businesses have benefited from the combined £60 million in lending to date, supporting the creation of an estimated 30,000 jobs*. Since March 2013 over £5 million in interest, after fees and bad debt, has been earned on behalf of the UK taxpayer.

Before we launched in 2010, small businesses were reliant on a small number of high street banks for finance. Over the past six years, a diverse range of investors have for the first time been able to lend directly to these businesses.

The British Business Bank is lending alongside 55,000 people, local councils, financial institutions and the European Investment Bank. To date, you have lent over £1.7 billion to more than 18,000 UK small businesses, providing a £2.7 billion boost to the UK economy.* This new commitment is recognition of the success of the programme to date, and the role investors lending through Funding Circle are playing in supporting the backbone of the British economy.

How will the British Business Bank lend on the platform?

The British Business Bank will continue to lend directly through the partial loan marketplace to UK businesses that meet their lending criteria. The bank will lend on the same terms as other investors in the loan.

Over the past few months you have lent to a record-breaking number of small businesses, with over £300 million lent in the last quarter of 2016. We expect 2017 to be another year of growth, with significantly more lending opportunities for investors than in previous years. To help meet this demand, the British Business Bank will increase the proportion they lend to each eligible business from 10% to 20% ‒ similar to when the UK government first began lending through Funding Circle through the Business Finance Partnership. This will allow more loans to be listed to the partial loan marketplace, resulting in a wider range of businesses for you to lend to and to diversify across.

The proportion the British Business Bank lends on each eligible loan may change in future, however it will not exceed 20% of any one loan. You can read more about the British Business Bank’s involvement in our FAQs.

If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

* Source: ‘Small Business, Big Impact’ research, Cebr, 2016

Highlights from 2016

As the new year approaches, we wanted to take a moment to share with you some of our highlights from an incredible 2016.

Together, you have now helped over 24,000 businesses access nearly £2.4 billion across the UK, US, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. In the UK alone, you have lent £725 million to over 8,000 businesses in 2016.

We have connected with our colleagues from across the US and Europe to bring you this short video. You’ll be able to hear from members of the team, their personal highlights and some of the borrowers you may have lent to.

 

From everyone at Funding Circle, we would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and thank you for helping to build a better financial world.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Collaboration for innovation – November industry news

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NatWest strikes deals to pass on unwanted business

November saw the national roll out of Funding Circle’s referral partnership with NatWest, which means hundreds more small businesses will be able to access finance, giving you even more lending opportunities. By working together in the best interest of customers, we can help businesses receive fast, flexible finance which in turn helps the economy to grow.

EIGHT years to buy a turkey – how to fight back against the banks stuffing savers

How long would it take you to save up for a turkey using only the interest earned on £1,000 in a high street bank account? Ahead of Christmas, research found it could take up to eight years following the Bank of England’s reduction in the base rate earlier this year. Whilst lending through platforms like Funding Circle is an investment, not a savings product, this piece explores a range of other ways to help you make your money work harder. Remember, capital is at risk and your investment can go down as well as up.

Rates are at record lows, but these deals offer the chance to bag up to £1million

Despite the current low interest rate environment, this Mail on Sunday piece highlights a range of bonds and other financial products that offer monthly prizes to some lucky customers. You can also check out a number of other ways to make the most of your money including helping the younger generation onto the property ladder and investments like peer-to-peer lending.

P2P lender Zopa applies for UK banking licence

Big news from fellow consumer peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa this month, as they announced they have applied for a banking licence in order to be able to offer borrowers a wider range of products. Whilst we have no plans to do the same, the process which could take anywhere between 18 and 24 months, is certainly one to watch.

London holds EU startup top spot

Britain’s FinTech sector featured on the front page of City AM after innovation foundation Nesta and the European Digital Forum’s city index confirmed that London still ranks as the best city in the European Union for digital entrepreneurs! Britain has held on to this high accolade thanks to good access to finance, an entrepreneurial culture and a highly skilled workforce. Chris Haley of Nesta references Funding Circle and Deliveroo as examples of great digital businesses that started in the UK.

Europe’s start-up backer — Neil Rimer, founder, Index Ventures

And finally, renowned venture capitalist and Funding Circle board member, Neil Rimer, featured in the FT this month. Neil is an expert in startups with a passion for tech and the interview dives into his journey to the top. We learn more about his views on finding and supporting some of the world’s best new businesses. Funding Circle’s co-founder and CEO Samir Desai said of Neil: “in the early days he was a mentor, but he has become a strategic soundboard for new ideas.”

News

FCA publishes interim feedback following post-implementation review

In July, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched their post-implementation review of the crowdfunding industry, which is how lending platforms like Funding Circle are regulated. Following this, the FCA have today published their interim feedback on how the review is progressing. You can find out more by reading this statement from the FCA.

We welcome the FCA’s review and fully support the focus on investor protection and disclosure. At Funding Circle, we publish performance data on every single loan. You can download this and look at other marketplace data on our statistics page.

We will continue to work closely with the FCA over the next year as they complete their review. We will be able to launch the Funding Circle ISA once we have received full authorisation from the FCA, and we will let you know when we have an update from the regulator on this.

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

News

A year of growth for online lending. October industry news

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Combining the best of both worlds

Last month our team was the lead sponsor at LendIt, the largest conference dedicated to connecting the global online lending community. The conference, which took place over two days in London, had more than 900 attendees from across the world. Samir Desai, Funding Circle CEO and co-founder, delivered the keynote speech where he discussed the importance of being good at both the ‘fin’ and the ‘tech’. Watch the video to learn about the three ‘mega-trends’ that make online lending an unstoppable force and read this piece to hear why Samir believes our sector is about to enter a ‘golden age’.

City grandee backtracks over peer-to-peer lending

The seminal moment of the conference came when Lord Turner spoke about online lending and whether it poses systemic risk to our economy. As an individual who once viewed the industry with uncertainty, Lord Turner said he now better understands the level of credit assessment platforms undertake. He went onto say that the fast-growing sector may come to form a stable and secure part of the financial ecosystem – and could even make a future credit crunch less likely. Watch his speech here and read more in Bloomberg, Daily Telegraph, Business Insider, AltFi and the Times.

Brexit confronts U.K.’s online lenders with biggest test yet

Following the EU referendum result, Bloomberg took a look at how online lending platforms have responded. Even before the referendum, we were carrying out further stress tests on our loanbook to show what could happen to investor returns during an economic downturn. The results predict that in a deeper and longer-lasting recession than 2008, investor returns are likely to remain attractive. Although as always, capital is at risk. Read the full results on our blog.

Entrepreneurs urge government to consider access to tech talent after Brexit

Being able to attract the best talent is crucial if we want to ensure the UK maintains its status as the leading global FinTech hub. Last month, Britain’s leading technology companies wrote to the government urging them to find solutions to the digital industry’s need for international talent, particularly developers. Read more in City AM.

If it’s good enough for Neil Woodford… peer-to-peer trusts can yield up to 10% – but are they worth the risk?

Another way for investors to diversify their online lending portfolio is to look at the various investment trusts that are now in this space. These funds allow investors to diversify either across regions or platforms. Learn more about the opportunities and risks involved with these investments in This is Money. Remember, when you lend, your capital is at risk.

How treating our pets like people created a market for dog hotels and ‘clean eating’ kibble

Thousands of businesses have benefited from online lending across the country, such as Funding Circle borrower, Suffolk Canine Creche. This luxurious doggy daycare has lush overnight hotel suites, an on-site grooming spa, training lessons and even a swimming pool! The friendly staff guarantee that your pup will have a fun and enjoyable stay in their care. Candy, founder, was able to move to a bigger premises to keep up with the high demand after borrowing £100,000 from you and other investors. Read the full success story on our blog.

Can YOU solve the puzzle?

And finally, are you up for a challenge? We recently released an tricky brain teaser puzzle called Brandscape. The aim of the game is to uncover 60 globally recognised brands and companies with cryptic clues. If you answer all 60 correctly, you become a #BrandscapeMaster and have your name added to the Brandscape Hall of Fame. Think you have what it takes? Find out here!

News

Changes to Funding Circle’s UK rates

At Funding Circle, our aim is for investors to be able to earn attractive returns that reflect the level of risk involved when lending to businesses. As part of this commitment, we regularly review our rates, taking a number of factors into account including macroeconomic trends, expected bad debt rates and wider competition in the market.

Over the last six years you have helped over 17,000 small businesses access finance. This has provided us with more credit performance data, allowing us to make even more accurate pricing decisions.

Following our recent review, we wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to the fixed interest rates on the Funding Circle marketplace.

The new rates will not affect any loan parts you currently hold, and will not apply to property loans, which are priced individually. Taking into account the rate changes across all risk bands, and the proportion of loans we expect to list in each risk band, we expect the estimated return for investors with a diversified portfolio, after fees and bad debt, to be approximately 7.0%.

As an example, If we applied these new rates to the last 100 loans accepted on the marketplace (as of 19th October 2016), we estimate that the annual return for those loans after fees and bad debt, but before tax, would be 7.0%.*

What are the new rates?

From 7th November 2016, we will begin to list small business loans in the UK at the gross interest rates below. These rates are shown before fees and bad debts.

new_rate_table_20161027

As some borrowers will have begun their application before the new rates are introduced, you may see loans listed at different rates for the same risk band and term length for up to 15 days from 7th November.

There will be no change to our estimated bad debt rates due to this change. You can see our estimated bad debt rates by risk band on our statistics page, and remember that by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

If you use Autobid to lend to businesses, there is nothing you need to do as Autobid will continue to place bids on new loans at the new rates. The interest rates you currently have saved in your Autobid settings will still apply for buying loan parts on the secondary market. If you want to update your settings in order to buy loan parts on the secondary market at different rates, you can update them by logging into your account and navigating to Autobid.

How have the rates changed?

We are lowering rates for A+, A and B risk bands and increasing them for C (except for loans with a 6 month term, which are being lowered), D and E bands. You can see how the new rates compare to our current rates in the table below.

new_rate_table-changes-05

Why are the rates changing?

The new rates ensure we can continue to compete in an increasingly competitive market for lower-risk borrowers.

In addition, increasing the rates for some of our higher-risk bands will increase the loss coverage on those risk bands. The loss coverage is the number of times the estimated bad debt for that risk band would need to increase by, before it begins to affect the initial amount invested by investors. Loss coverage is important to consider when thinking about what might happen in an economic downturn.

The loss coverage for loans across all risk bands under the new rates will be 4.0x. Our latest stress tests estimate that in a downturn similar to the one experienced in 2008, bad debt for small business loans could increase by 2.0x. You can read more on how investor returns could be affected in an economic downturn here.

What does this mean for overall returns?

We anticipate that returns after fees and bad debt, but before tax, for investors with a well-diversified portfolio will not be significantly impacted by the new rates. There will be no change to our estimated bad debt rates due to this change. Looking at the proportion of loans we expect to list in each risk band after the new rates are introduced, we estimate that the annual return for investors across these loans, after fees and bad debt, will be approximately 7.0%.

This is similar to the estimated annual return for loans originated on the Funding Circle marketplace since 2014, seen in the table below.**

origination-date

Since the Bank of England’s decision to cut the base rate in August, we have seen a general trend of falling interest rates across the wider market. The 7% estimated return is market leading when compared to other major peer-to-peer lending platforms. Past performance is not a guide to future performance, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

This blog was updated with further information on 31/10/2016 at 18:00. Please note these rates only apply to the UK marketplace.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*This estimated return is an estimate of the annual return after fees and bad debts that investors could earn. It is calculated by taking the gross interest rate less fees and estimated bad debts that will occur in the future for each of the last 100 loans accepted on the marketplace (as of 19th October 2016). The average return is compounded and before tax. You can see the full calculation for the current estimated return, which looks at the last 100 loans accepted on the marketplace, here.

**Data correct as of 1st October 2016. You can see the full calculations for past performance by loan origination year here.

£2.7 billion boost to the UK economy. August industry news

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How small firms are increasingly turning away from traditional lenders for funding

Last month, research published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) revealed that since Funding Circle launched six years ago, you and other investors have helped to create jobs, build homes and support regions that have faced economic hardship in the wake of the last financial crisis. To date, your committed support has helped to boost the UK economy by an estimated £2.7 billion, helping to create an estimated 40,000 new jobs across the country. Learn more about the positive impact you’re having on our blog.

Small housebuilders are the answer to the housing crisis. Here’s how we can help them

Just as small businesses are critical to the success of the British economy, so too are small housebuilders. Large housebuilders on their own are unable to keep up with the rising shortfall of dwellings across the country. In order to fill this gap, it’s crucial that small developers have adequate access to finance, yet they continue to struggle to access funding through traditional channels. Direct lending platforms are helping to alleviate this problem by matching these developers directly with investors. Research shows that to date, investors at Funding Circle have helped to build over 2,200 homes across the UK, proving the huge potential for platforms to facilitate lending to the residential construction sector.  Similar themes were also covered in Guardian.

Dinosaur banks have some fleet-footed rivals

The financial world has no doubt changed over the past decade; high street banks are unable to help the vast number of businesses in need of finance, opening the door to a proliferation of innovative technology start-ups. By cutting out the traditional middle man and linking supply directly with demand, direct lending platforms have allowed investors to earn positive returns, whilst creating thousands of new jobs across the country. This journalist has lent through the major platforms for a number of years and discusses his experience in detail. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Cash, peer-to-peer, shares and bonds

Following the Bank of England’s recent decision to lower the base rate, this piece looks at some of the savings and investment options available to those who are looking to make their money work harder. As always, a diversified portfolio is the recommended approach in this Telegraph piece. To learn more about what diversification means for you at Funding Circle, take a look at our blog or read more about this topic in The Times.

14 cool apps to help you budget, save money, and invest

And finally, Business Insider has rounded up some of the best apps and services available right now that can help you do everything from sending money around the world, to applying for a mortgage online. At Funding Circle, we are very pleased to announce this month that the new and refreshed iPad app is available to download for free from the App Store! The app allows you to keep track of your account more easily and find information quickly with our simplified navigation tool. More details on in this post.

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Your lending has boosted the UK economy by £2.7 billion

Since Funding Circle launched six years ago, investors including individuals, the government-backed British Business Bank, and a range of financial institutions have helped more than 15,000 UK small businesses access finance. Your lending has helped to create jobs, build homes and support regions that have faced economic hardship in the wake of the last financial crisis.

This was the conclusion of independent research published today by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The report reveals that your lending has supported the creation of 40,000 new jobs, whilst boosting the UK economy by an estimated £2.7 billion since 2010.

You can download the full report here, view our infographic, and read more about the key findings below.

Small business, big impact

Since 2010, your lending has supported the creation of approximately 40,000 jobs across the country. Not only do the businesses you lend to benefit, but companies along those businesses’ supply chains do too. The jobs you help to create also increase spending power in that area, making a further contribution to the economy. CEBR estimates that the total economic activity generated by investors lending through Funding Circle has added £2.7 billion to the UK economy1 over the past six years.

Over three fifths (61%) of borrowers surveyed as part of the report saw their revenue increase as a result of taking a loan with Funding Circle, while nearly half (47%) reported a rise in profits.

Why do borrowers choose Funding Circle?

The report finds that loans facilitated by direct lending platforms like Funding Circle now make up 6% of all new small business loans granted by platforms and the main high street banks.2

Creditworthy businesses are attracted to Funding Circle by the speed and simplicity of the application process. Nearly three quarters (72%) of borrowers found the experience of obtaining a loan with Funding Circle faster than other providers they considered. This helps to explain why 77% initially shopped around for finance, but 94% would come back to Funding Circle first in future.

eirgraph1

 

Your lending is also helping a fifth more creditworthy businesses to access finance than before, where they have previously been underserved by traditional sources of finance. 21% of businesses surveyed believe they wouldn’t have been able to access finance without Funding Circle. CEBR considers this to be due to restrictions in the wider lending environment, with many banks having exposure limits on the amount they can lend to a particular region or sector for example. These businesses are creditworthy – Funding Circle has a robust assessment process which uses a balanced set of risk tools to create a full picture of the borrower’s financial health. You can read more about how we assess loans here.

Supporting businesses in the North

Funding Circle loans are also popular among businesses in parts of the UK that have faced greater economic challenges, such as the North. The North East has the country’s second lowest Gross Value Added, which is a an indicator of economic performance and measures the value of goods and services produced in an area.

Partially due to this economic underperformance, businesses in the North East make up just 3% of all businesses in the country. However, 10% of your lending goes to businesses in the North East helping to balance economic growth across the country.

Unleashing the potential of small housebuilders

CEBR estimates that the UK currently faces a cumulative shortfall of 264,000 homes, with large developers unable to bridge this gap on their own.

eirgraph2

Small developers, like those you lend to through Funding Circle, have continued to struggle to access finance through traditional channels since 2008. Since extending the loans we offer to include property finance, we have been able to better-serve these small developers. CEBR estimates that since 2014, your lending has helped to build approximately 2,200 homes across the country, providing a potential solution to the UK housing crisis.

Conclusion

The research published today by the CEBR highlights the role Funding Circle investors have played in supporting economic growth in the UK. Small business isn’t small – it accounts for half of the UK’s GDP3 and 60% of private sector employment4. Their success, and your lending, is vital to our economy.

We hope you found this piece useful, and if you have any questions please join the conversation over on our forum or get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

1 The CEBR estimates that the direct, indirect and induced GVA impact of Funding Circle loans is £2.7 billion. GVA, or gross value added, measures the economic contribution made by a particular economic unit such as a region, business or industry. It is used as one of the factors when calculating gross domestic product (GDP) and is a measure of the relative economic importance of a business.

2 Direct loans accounted for 6% of all new loans granted by the main high street banks and direct lending platforms to small and medium sized businesses in the last quarter of 2015 – up from 3% for the same period in 2014 – according to data from the British Bankers Association and the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association.

3 Source: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06078/SN06078.pdf

4 Source: http://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics

 

Small business, Big impact: an infographic

Independent research published today by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) revealed that since Funding Circle launched six years ago, investors including individuals, the government-backed British Business Bank, and a range of financial institutions have helped to create jobs, build homes and support regions that have faced economic hardship in the wake of the last financial crisis.

You can download the full report here and read more about the key findings below.

small_business__big_impact_infographic

Do you want to grow your business? More than 15,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance through Funding Circle for a range of requirements. You can apply online in less than 10 minutes and check your eligibility in just 30 seconds.

Are you interested in lending to businesses through Funding Circle? Create an account online and start lending the same day. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

The Funding Circle team

The power of the people. July industry news

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Funding Circle Hires Former Chief of Nomura Holdings Inc

Last month we announced we will soon be welcoming Jeremy Bennett to the Funding Circle team as Global Chief Financial Officer. Former CEO of Nomura Holdings European division, Jeremy brings over three decades of experience within financial services. During the financial crisis, he was responsible for designing the £800 billion Asset Protection Scheme that provided insurance to all UK banks in 2008. Samir Desai says, “Jeremy has significant experience in building large scale financial services businesses and will play an integral role as we continue our evolution.” Press release on our blog.

Peer-to-peer lending: Everything you need to know about the leading websites

10 years ago, peer-to-peer, or marketplace lending was launched in the UK, bringing the power of people to the financial sector, which in turn has helped many small businesses and the UK economy to grow. Since then, it’s really taken off, opening up new opportunities for investors and borrowers. From reasons to use marketplace lending, to the rates and risks involved, the Telegraph looks at the top platforms in the space and highlights what each of them can offer investors.

Before you make a date, do some background checks

As part of the regulator’s ongoing work to ensure investors are properly protected when lending to small businesses through platforms like Funding Circle, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently reviewing the existing regulations. The review was promised in 2014 to ensure the regulations kept up with innovation and developments in our dynamic sector and we will be submitting our response in September. For more information, have a look at our blog and a statement from the FCA.

Where to put £1,000 in a world of negative interest rates

Not only is it important for the FCA to understand the sector, but it’s essential for investors to familiarise themselves with the different forms of investment options available. Whether that’s investing in shares and funds or putting your money into property loans, there are many potential ways to earn attractive returns through peer-to-peer lending. But remember, these are investments, which means your capital is at risk.

Peer-to-peer property lenders promise to transform your fortunes – but is it worth putting your capital at risk?

According to figures from the P2PFA, the size of the peer-to-peer property sector has nearly doubled over the past year, making a huge difference to the number of new homes being built in the UK. Large house builders alone have been unable to keep up with rising demand, meaning that smaller builders play a crucial role in meeting this supply gap. At Funding Circle, investors are helping to alleviate the housing crisis by supporting these small developers, who have now built hundreds of homes across the country.

How marketplace lending is seducing the financial adviser

And finally, City AM discusses how marketplace lending is finally enticing the financial adviser community by offering them a powerful tool to help them diversify their client portfolios. Increasing track records at more established platforms are helping them to become more comfortable with this way of investing, allowing them to help more of their clients to earn attractive returns. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

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