The Funding Circle ISA is on its way!

We’re excited to announce that from Thursday 30th November we will start rolling out the ISA account to all current investors. This means soon you will be able to earn attractive, stable returns tax-free.

How will the ISA account work?

The Funding Circle ISA will work just like your existing Funding Circle account, while also providing you with:

  • A boost to your earning power – the interest you earn with an ISA is tax-free. As an example, if a higher rate taxpayer lends £20,000 through the Funding Circle ISA and earns a one-year return of 7.5* after fees and bad debt, their post-tax earnings after one year could increase from £900 to £1,500.
  • Flexibility the ISA account is a flexi-ISA. This means you can withdraw any available funds without affecting your annual £20,000 ISA subscription limit, providing you transfer them back in by the end of the tax year.

     

  • A simple investment experiencecreating an ISA account takes just a few minutes, and can be opened from your existing Funding Circle account using the same login details. Once opened, choose one of our two lending options and start lending.

     

  • An easy way to build a well-diversified portfoliowe recommend lending £2,000 or more, so you can spread your funds across at least 100 businesses for a more stable return. If you would like to start with less, we are introducing an initial minimum card transfer of £1,000 when opening an ISA account or a new Classic account.   

     

  • No fees to access your money – as with your existing Funding Circle account there are no fees for selling your loans

     

As part of this process we’re also renaming existing Funding Circle accounts as the Classic account. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk, while tax rules and relief can change depending on your personal circumstances.

Providing every investor with the best possible lending experience

Based on the conversations we have had with investors, we expect the ISA to be popular. To manage this interest in the fairest way, and to ensure there are enough lending opportunities on the platform for all investors to continue earning attractive, stable returns, we will be opening up the ISA Account to all current investors (those who created an account before 23rd November) in the following order:

  • Investors who are actively lending (have lent to a business since 1st May 2017)
  • Investors not actively lending but who have previously transferred in funds
  • Investors who have not previously transferred in funds
  • New investors and those who have opened a Classic account after 23rd November 2017

We will open the ISA to each group of investors in the order their account was created. We will keep you updated on our progress over the next few months.

We’ll email you when your ISA is ready to be opened

Once you’ve received your email confirming you can now open your ISA, you’ll be able to login to your account through our website and create an ISA account in a few easy steps, subject to eligibility criteria:

To help manage demand, initially you won’t be able to transfer any existing ISA subscriptions you hold to your ISA account. You will be able to transfer your Funding Circle ISA to another ISA provider, although it’s important to remember that loan parts that can’t be sold won’t be transferred and will no longer be eligible for tax-free interest.

Once all current investors have had an opportunity to create an account, we will launch the ISA to new investors. Following this, we will start to rollout the ability for you to transfer in existing ISA subscriptions.

Although you can manage both an ISA account and a Classic account using the same login, it’s important to remember they are separate accounts that will lend to a separate portfolio of loans.

Transferring loan parts from your Classic account to your ISA account

Due to regulatory restrictions, you are unable to transfer loan parts directly from your Classic account to your ISA account. However you can sell your loans quickly and easily to other investors, providing they aren’t late or experiencing any credit issues, before withdrawing your funds to a UK bank account and then transferring them to your ISA.

We’re pleased to be able to provide you for the first time with attractive, stable returns tax-free. You can find out more about the ISA account, and register your interest if you are not currently lending through Funding Circle, here. More information can also be found in our FAQs. If you have any questions please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*The projected return is an estimate of the annual return, after fees and bad debts, that a diversified investor could earn by lending through the Balanced lending option as of 23rd November, 2017. You can see how the return is calculated here. Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Earning for your retirement. October industry news

Peer to peer: Can you really get returns of 10%? – Moneywise

In a world of stagnant interest rates, peer-to-peer or direct lending platforms are offering people the opportunity to lend directly to borrowers so they can benefit from more of the return. By using a platform as a middleman, investors can enjoy more attractive returns, and businesses typically benefit from lower rates. In this piece, Moneywise interviewed a handful of investors to discuss their experiences across various platforms. Funding Circle investor Alison said, “…even if bad debts increased I still think I’d be earning more than going somewhere on the high street. I feel very comfortable with the risk I’m taking.” As you know, when you lend your capital it at risk.

6 steps you can take in your 20s to help you retire before 60 – Forbes

Retirement might not be on your mind just yet, but it’s never too early to start planning to ensure that you’re in the best financial position possible when the time comes. There are many different ways to start preparing yourself – big and small – depending on what you want to achieve, such as keeping better track of your spending or investing your spare cash. Simon Read, a personal finance expert, took an in-depth look into the topic and outlined some tips and tricks to take into consideration. Have a read on our blog.

How to start a business for next to nothing: Seven steps to getting your idea off the ground – Daily Mail

We all know that getting your business off the ground can be difficult, which is why the satisfaction and reward you feel once it begins to grow is that much sweeter. From managing growing pains and finding the right office space, to knowing when it’s the right time to take out a loan, every business owner is bound to face some hurdles along the way. In this article, learn how to tackle these challenges head-on and get back to doing what you do best: running your thriving business.  

This £4 billion problem stunting small business growth – City AM

When an exciting opportunity presents itself that has the potential to take your business to its next stage of growth, being able to get the right financial support is crucial. Every year, tens of thousands of small businesses struggle to access finance from the banks, according to figures from the British Business Bank. The rise of alternative funding sources, such as direct lending platforms, have given business owners much more choice and control over their development. With access to fast, fair and personalised finance that takes just days, more and more businesses are able to go even further.

London’s most influential entrepreneurs 2017 – Evening Standard

And finally, we’re pleased to see our co-founder Samir listed as one of London’s most influential entrepreneurs in 2017, alongside many other bright and motivated individuals. It remains evident that despite the backdrop of uncertainty caused by Brexit, London continues to be an attractive place to start and grow a business. In a recent case study, we spoke to Tom and Sian, founders of Bobbin Bikes, to learn about how their London-based bicycle business is on the road to success.

News

Read between the lines: How can rising interest rates affect your finances?

We regularly bring you a column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. In his last piece, Simon provided some pointers on planning for retirement.

The much-anticipated interest rate rise finally hit at the beginning of November. It was interesting for two main reasons.

First is the fact that it was the first rise in the Base Rate for 10 years. Do you recall what it climbed to then, back in July 2007? The base rate actually went up 0.25% to 5.75%. That seems incredible now, when we’ve experienced almost a decade of record low interest rates.

In fact it’s only been for 18 months that the rate has been at its all-time record low of 0.25%. This month’s rate increase saw it climbing back to 0.5%, where most savers and borrowers have experienced it since the Bank of England lowered it to that level to March 2009.

But the second interesting thing about the rate rise is what it tells you about your money. If you haven’t already got the message that it should be a wake-up call for you to check your finances, then now is the time to get your house in order.

It’s extremely likely that the rate increase is just the first of many over the next 12 months or so. The Bank of England will need to act again to protect Sterling ahead of Brexit and to counter rising inflation. So you should be acting to protect your interests, with interest being at the forefront of your mind.

Think about your savings. While a rise should mean better interest offered at banks and building societies, rates are still likely to remain paltry on deposit accounts. That means thinking carefully about where to stash your nest egg and making the most of alternative options such as peer-to-peer lending or, if you’re prepared for greater risk, stock market-linked investments.

What about your mortgage? If you’ve got a fixed rate loan then you won’t notice the effect of any interest rate rise until the end of your deal. But with further increases ahead, by the time you arrange a new deal, charges may be much higher.

For that reason it’s worth looking at switching sooner.

However you need to check if there are any early repayment penalties on your existing deal and do your sums carefully to ensure that switching will actually be worthwhile in the long-term, especially after taking into account any new charges you may incur.

If you have a variable rate mortgage or tracker then you will be hit by the rate rise much sooner.

By how much? The Nationwide building society reckons a 0.25% rate rise would increase monthly payments by £15 to £665 for the average variable mortgage, or an extra £180 a year. Depending on the size of your mortgage, the rate increase could cost you much more.

However much it is, it’s worth checking out fixed mortgage deals to work out if it’s worth changing. If you have a low variable rate, then you should probably stick with that for the moment. If you’re paying 3% or more, however, then you would be better off finding a lower fixed rate.

And in the months ahead keep an eye on rates.

Some lenders priced in the rate rise to their mortgage rates some weeks ahead. If you see a trend for fixed rates to start to rise, that may be the time to act, before the best low deals disappear altogether.

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 adviser or seek independent specialist advice

FinTech is reaching new heights. September industry news

Business voice has to get better at getting its views across – Financial Times

As the discussions around Brexit continue, an underlying question that remains is how the outcome will affect the growth of British businesses. Whether that’s access to capital or access to talent, we want to ensure that businesses are able to reach their full potential after we leave the European Union. In this piece, our co-founder Samir Desai gives his views, alongside other industry leaders, on how we can achieve the best result for the sector and the importance of making the voice of business heard.

Britain’s leading FinTech firms are banding together to work out a Brexit strategy – Business Insider

With the aim of producing an ambitious post-Brexit vision for the UK’s financial technology (FinTech) sector, leading companies have formed an industry body (the FinTech Delivery Panel) to work with the government. Today, countless firms haven shaken up our financial world, making it possible for individuals to have control of their finances straight from their fingertips. We want to ensure that this continues once we leave the EU and that London remains an attractive place to grow a FinTech business.

Adopting FinTech is saving UK businesses £4.6bn – CityAM

A recent survey conducted by invoice finance platform, MarketInvoice, revealed that nearly two-thirds of UK businesses are adopting FinTech and making savings as a result. Not only is FinTech helping many of these companies drive their user experience and service forward, but they’re also benefiting from the choice available when looking for finance. Christine, founder of KiTE, SURF & SUP CO and windsurfing world-champion, is a great example of a flourishing business who is reaching new heights thanks to online lending.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? – the Telegraph

Investors are also seeing more choice when it comes to investment options. Over the past year, the number of Isas available has grown to include various different types that can help make your money work harder. From the Help-to-Buy Isa to the Innovative Finance Isa, you can now choose one to suit your unique preferences. At Funding Circle, we’re looking forward to being able to offer you tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA which we plan to launch this tax year. But remember, when you lend to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions – Business Insider

And finally, last year you and other investors lent over £1 billion to 10,000 small businesses across the world, creating an estimated 25,000 new jobs. From helping Jim’s outdoor education company go for growth, to supporting David’s IT business’ expansion plans, your continued investments are allowing booming businesses like these go even further. In this article, Samir discusses the positive growth of Funding Circle over the years and our plans to help thousands more investors and businesses across the world. Read more in the Times.

News

A not so quiet summer. August industry news

Aegon eyes £160m deal for small businesses – the Times

Last month we were pleased to announce a strategic long-term partnership with Aegon to support the growth of UK small businesses. In the first 12 months of a four years program, the initial £160 million investment will help around 2,600 businesses, creating up to 6,400 new jobs. Stephen Barclay, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said, “This partnership with one of the UK’s largest FinTech firms is further proof that the UK remains the global leader in FinTech.” Read more in CityAm. Also, tune in on Bloomberg (skip to 34:00) to hear our CEO and co-founder Samir discuss the news and his vision for the future of small business lending.

London Craft Brewer Rides Out Brexit With Hoppy Ales and Hope – Bloomberg

By the Horns Brewery is an excellent example of a thriving business that has gone for growth thanks to accessing finance through online lending. The trendy brewery’s loan was funded by the European Investment Fund through our platform, which allowed the team to invest in a new bottling line. Samir recently met with the business owner, Alex Bull, who took him on a tour of his site and discussed how Brexit is affecting his business. With the pound at record lows, British goods are cheaper to export overseas. Read the full story in Bloomberg and learn about the importance of retaining access to capital post Brexit.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths – CityAM

As online lending continues to develop, a range of recurring questions have arisen such as: ‘will platforms suffer in an economic downturn?’ and ‘what will happen when interest rates rise?’. Various platforms have conducted stress tests to reveal what could happen to investor returns in times of economic stress, including us. Our 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 more about the potential future growth of the industry in Forbes.

Funding Circle is kicking off a marketing bonanza with a Great British Bake Off TV ad – Business Insider

Shortly after the exciting introduction of our fresh new look, we launched a TV advertising campaign that celebrates those who are Made to do More. Premiered during the Great British Bake Off last week, our TV ads will allow us to reach a wider audience and help bring more amazing businesses to the platform that need your continued support. You can see both adverts on our blog. Feel free to like, share and help us spread the word, so we can continue to help businesses and investors across the UK go further.

Funding Circle simplifies its investment protocol – Business Insider

And finally, as we announced on 21 August, we will launch a significantly improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools on 18 September, and the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to will be withdrawn. This change comes with the aim of creating a level playing field for all investors and making lending simpler, better and fairer for all. We appreciate that this is a significant change so if you have any questions or concerns, please provide us with your thoughts here. For more information, check out our blog or read more in AltFi.

News

Watch our new TV adverts

To bring the Funding Circle mission to a wider audience, we have launched a new TV advertising campaign that celebrates those who are made to do more.

Premiered during the Great British Bake Off yesterday on Channel 4, our first TV ad features Victoria, our made to do more drummer. She’ll be joined on the airways in a few days time by Sebastian, who’s showing how you can go even further in skipping.

You can see both adverts below. Please like, share, and help us spread the word, so we can keep helping businesses and investors across the UK achieve even more.


News

We’re launching an exciting new lending experience

Since we launched Funding Circle in 2010, our aim has been to enable investors to earn attractive, stable returns by lending directly to small businesses.

Recently, we have been reviewing how lending through Funding Circle works, with the aim of making lending simpler, better and fairer for all investors. After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to make some improvements to your lending experience.

On 18th September, we will launch a significantly improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, and the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn.

How will the new lending experience work?

Investors will be able to choose one of two new lending options based on their personal preference. Both options will be available as a Funding Circle ISA, which we intend to launch later this tax year.

  • Balanced: you will automatically lend to the full range of creditworthy businesses (A+ to E), aiming to achieve an attractive, stable return. This will allow you to build a balanced portfolio similar to the makeup of small businesses in the UK today. The projected return is estimated to be 7.5% per year after fees and bad debt.
  • Conservative: you will focus on lending to businesses that have been assessed as lower risk (initially A+/A) but with a lower projected return. The projected return is estimated to be 4.8% per year after fees and bad debt.

Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk. You can read more about the improvements we are making, and what they mean for you, on our announcement page.

As part of the improvements we are making we are also updating the interest rates at which you lend to businesses. The projected return of both lending options have taken these changes into account. We’ll be introducing these new rates on 30th August, and you can read more about them here.

As part of this change we will also be updating our Terms and Conditions. You can view a summary of the main changes here.

We always want to hear your thoughts, so please fill out the feedback form on our announcement page if you would like to give us your feedback.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Update to Funding Circle rates

At Funding Circle, our aim is to allow you to earn an attractive, stable return by lending directly to a diversified portfolio of creditworthy businesses. To help you achieve this, we regularly update and improve our assessment processes. This also includes regularly reviewing the interest rates at which you lend to businesses.

Following our recent review, we wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to the interest rates on our platform and our assessment process.

What are the new rates?

From Wednesday 30th August, 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 debt. The projected annual return for the overall Funding Circle loanbook, after fees and bad debt, will be 6.7%*.

We made an important announcement today about some improvements we are making to how lending through Funding Circle will work from the 18th September, including introducing two new lending options. Taking into account these changes, the projected annual return for these lending options, after fees and bad debt, is estimated to be:

  • Balanced – 7.5%
  • Conservative – 4.8%

Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.


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 up until 5th October.

How have the rates changed?

You can see how the new rates compare to our current rates in the table below:

Why are the rates changing?

When reviewing rates we take a number of factors into account, including macroeconomic trends, the expected mix of risk bands of borrowers, expected bad debt rates and wider competition in the market, which continues to be increasingly competitive for lower risk businesses. The new rates will allow you to continue to lend to established, creditworthy small businesses while earning an attractive, stable return.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

Over the past seven years, 64,000 investors have lent £2.5 billion to more than 25,000 UK businesses. This has provided us with significant amounts of performance data to help improve our statistical credit models and means we can provide even more accurate pricing decisions to borrowers. With these improvements to our credit models, you can expect to see an adjustment in the mix of risk bands of borrowers in the coming months. This adjustment means the new expected bad debt rate for the overall Funding Circle loanbook will be 2.3% annually.

The improvements also mean we can make updates to our policy criteria. Our policy criteria give direction to business owners and help filter out businesses that have a low likelihood of being approved, so our credit assessment team only spend time on the right type of applications. Our latest policy criteria are:

  • A minimum of two years trading history
  • At least 1 year of filed or formally prepared accounts
  • No County Court Judgments (CCJs) registered in the last 12 months, with no outstanding CCJs larger than £1000

Do you need to do anything?

The new rates will not affect any loan parts you currently hold, and will not apply to property development loans, which are priced individually.  

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 until 18th September, when the new lending options will be introduced.

As a reminder, these new rates will go live on Wednesday 30th August. If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*The projected return is an estimate of the annual return, after fees and bad debts, that a diversified investor could earn. It is calculated by taking the distribution of loans, across both risk band and loan term, that we expect to be funded on the marketplace.

The return is then calculated by taking the gross interest rate of these loans, then deducting the fees and estimated bad debts that will occur in the future. The average return is weighted by loan amount, compounded and before tax. See the full calculation here.

Update to our Terms and Conditions

At Funding Circle, we want all investors to have a simpler, better and fairer lending experience. To help achieve this, on 18th September we will be making a number of important improvements to how lending through Funding Circle will work. You can read more about these improvements here.

We will also be updating both our Investor and Borrower Terms and Conditions (collectively “Terms”) on 18th September, along with our Privacy Policy. We will also be making some small, related changes to the Loan Conditions. In addition, we’ve created a new Website Terms of Use.

What you need to do

The changes will go into effect for all existing investors and borrowers on 18th September 2017, and will apply to all new lending from that date.

If you are an existing investor, the next time you login to your Funding Circle account you will be prompted to read more about the changes we are making, and we’ll ask you to agree to the new Terms. Also, if you are an investor that currently chooses the individual businesses that you lend to, you will be asked to choose your new preferred lending option.

If you’re an existing borrower, it’s important that you read the new Terms because they will apply to you; however you won’t need to do anything else.

What is changing?

We’re making the following changes to our Investor and Borrower Terms:

We’re making them simpler and easier to understand

  • We’re restructuring the order, layout and sections of the Terms to make them easier to read.
  • We’re simplifying the language used to describe:
    • The process of becoming an investor or borrower.
    • How lending will work through the platform.
    • How you engage with the platform and with us.
    • The services we provide to you.
    • The security provisions for secured loans and our collections and recoveries processes.
  • To make the Terms shorter and clearer:
    • We are moving the definitions to a separate glossary to make them easier to find.
    • We’re removing some of the descriptions of how the platform works, for example how to transfer money into your account. You’ll still be able to find these in the Investor Guide and FAQs from 18th September.

We’re reflecting the new investor lending experience

  • The description of how your funds will be matched to businesses is being updated.
  • The section on how to sell your loan parts will be changing to reflect the improvements we have made, and that it will be a fully automated process.
  • From today we have become the first major lending platform to charge no fees for selling your loans, so we have removed references to sale fees from the Terms.

Your rights and our obligations

  • We are clarifying the process you can follow to cancel your Funding Circle account.
  • We’re simplifying the termination rights that apply in relation to your Funding Circle account.
  • We’re clarifying why we may make future changes to the Terms, and the way in which we’ll communicate them to you.

Changes to our Loan Conditions

  • We’re updating the terminology in the Loan Conditions to reflect the new lending experience and mirror the language of the new Terms (for example, we are removing words like “bids” and “listing”).
  • We’ve simplified the language by adding new definitions (for example, “Event of Default”, “Loan Completion Date” and “Total Amount Payable”)
  • We’re amending the section that describes the legal mechanism through which a loan part is transferred from one investor to another when loan parts are sold and bought.
  • We’ve included new circumstances where a borrower may be defaulted, for example where they are abusive to Funding Circle employees.
  • We’re rewording the fees section so it’s easier to understand.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

  • We’re simplifying the policy to make it easier to read and navigate.
  • We’re making some minor changes to our Privacy Policy so that it aligns with our Cookies Policy.
  • We’re making it easier for you to contact us to discuss your privacy rights.

New Website Terms of Use

  • We’ve created Website Terms of Use, which apply to everyone who uses our website even if you are not an investor or borrower.
  • The Website Terms of Use are designed as a set of rules and guidelines that govern your use of the website.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Welcome to our fresh new look

Today we’re really pleased to announce that Funding Circle has a new look.

In just seven years, 32,000 small businesses have financed their growth and 69,000 investors have supported their future through our platform – which is something we’re very proud of. However, the opportunity to keep progressing is huge, and there is so much more that we can do to help thousands more customers turn their dreams into reality.

The heart of our new brand

There’s a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. We share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. We call this Made to do More.

Made to do More is an articulation of the approach we’ve always had at Funding Circle. We want to celebrate the people who’ve turned their passions into livelihoods, supporting their families and local communities. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, pushing the economy forward.

Our aim is to become the first choice for small businesses and investors globally – helping you to create more jobs and earn more for your future. We’ve come a long way together, but our journey has only just begun and we’re really excited to see what the future will bring.

News

UK small businesses continue going for growth. July industry news

Just Eat puts loans on takeaway menu – The Times

We’re incredibly pleased to announce that we’ve joined forces with another leading UK tech firm, Just Eat, to help fuel the growth of their 30,000 takeaway restaurants. Petra, a trendy Turkish restaurant in North London, was one of the first businesses to benefit from the unique partnership. In need of financial support to progress with an expansion opportunity, owner Yilmaz Guney, was able to move forward in just a matter of days thanks to you and other investors. “Our business is booming.” said Yilmaz. Read more in City AM.

Funding Circle CEO Says Business Boomed After Brexit – Bloomberg

Small businesses like Petra are the driving force behind much needed job creation in the UK, which in turn fuels productivity and the economy. With small businesses accounting for 60% of private sector employment, it’s heartening to see their confidence hasn’t waned since the EU referendum last year with thousands of businesses still looking to invest and grow. Check out our CEO and co-founder Samir on Bloomberg where he talks about how business is thriving.

Fintech lingo explained – Reuters

Ever have trouble deciphering all of that FinTech lingo? As the sector continues to grow and develop, we’re seeing the use of new buzzwords increase at the same speed. This helpful article in Reuters decodes and explains the lingo and terminology that FinTech companies and the wider ecosystem are increasingly using. From cryptocurrency and bitcoin, to insurtech and open banking, this piece is sure to make you an expert on all things FinTech.

Revisiting the first business to borrow through Funding Circle – Blog

And lastly, in 2010 John Henry, founder of Sustainable Direction, an environmental consultancy, was the first business to come to Funding Circle for finance. Six years later, he came back to us and borrowed a further £54,000 to hire two new members of staff and develop the business’s resources. John Henry said, “We found it even easier this time…and it happened so fast, within a day or two the funds were in our account.” Read his full success story on our blog.

News

Smile, direct lending comes of age. June industry news

Peer-to-peer comes of age as alternative asset class for investors – Financial Times

It’s been more than a decade since the first peer-to-peer lending company launched in the UK, opening up a new and innovative asset class to investors for the first time. Since then, we’ve seen the adoption of the industry increase at an encouraging rate. Not only are businesses benefitting from the financial support they need, but ordinary people are investing directly into the UK economy, fueling prosperous growth and job creation across the country.

Beat inflation and boost your savings – The Times

As the 100th month of low interest rates begins, investors are continually looking for better places to put their money. Getting your cash to work harder for you can be a challenge, so you might find this article in The Times useful as it lists a number of options to consider, such as investing in stocks & shares and lending to small businesses. A separate piece in the Telegraph looks at a selection of popular easy-access savings account available for your shorter-term investments. But remember, when you lend to businesses your capital is at risk.

Smile, banking is being forced out into the great wide open – The Times

Thousands of businesses have benefitted from the adoption of FinTech across the country, such as Funding Circle borrower, South East Timber & Damp, run by husband-and-wife team Annabelle and Dean Webster. In need of fast financial support, the couple approached their bank first but soon realised the process could take months. After doing some research online, they discovered direct lending and just 10 days later, they secured a cash injection for their business – all thanks to your lending.

On what kind of business growth should we focus our energies? – Daily Telegraph

In the UK, the resilience of the economy is dependent on the stability of our small businesses – who make up 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment. Nesta research shows that it is small and medium-sized enterprises, not larger firms, that are supporting greater job creation in Britain. This piece highlights the importance of balancing the financial support given to high-growth startups that are boosting innovation, with the support small firms and sole traders need as they continue to be the backbone of our economy.

One Year Later: Voices from Brexit’s Front Lines – Bloomberg

And finally, it’s been one year since the UK voted to leave the European Union so Bloomberg is following four CEOs over a two-year period to canvass their ongoing opinions on Brexit. An interesting comment from James Meekings, our co-founder, focuses on the need for the British Business Bank to increase the availability of funding in post-Brexit Britain. The EU has injected billions of pounds into British small businesses over the years, so it’s important that the UK Government introduces the necessary measures to prevent any potential shortfall. More on the topic in the Express.

We’re fully authorised! May industry news

Funding Circle wins approval from regulator in peer-to-peer boost – Financial Times

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 – Economist

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 – The Times

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 – The Times

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 – The Times

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.

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