A year of landmarks in P2P business lending by Andy Davis

by Heather Dandridge  22-Dec-2016 at 17:01

A year of landmarks in P2P business lending by Andy Davis

Business lending through the new breed of online alternative finance providers variously known as peer-to-peer or marketplace lenders has continued to grow strongly during 2016 and several of the leading platforms have passed notable milestones.

Among the major providers of term loans, Funding Circle has seen particularly strong growth. On December 29, 2015, Funding Circle announced that total lending since it was set up had reached £1bn, with £500m of that lent during 2015. By early December 2016, the total had jumped again to £1.74bn of total lent to more than 9,000 companies, suggesting year-on-year growth of around 50% in loan origination.

The current year is clearly finishing strongly. In November, Funding Circle became the first UK P2P platform to facilitate more than £100m of loans in a month, as well as breaking its daily record with £9.3m drawn down on November 29.

The company specialises in unsecured lending against cash flow to small businesses for terms of between six months and five years. The average loan is around £70,000 and is typically used to fund working capital. As well as making unsecured loans to smaller companies, Funding Circle also makes larger loans to small housebuilders and property developers that have found it harder to raise conventional bank finance in recent years.

And at another of the leading P2P companies, MarketInvoice, another landmark has just been reached. The platform, which lends against individual invoices at a discount, recently announced that it had financed invoices with a face value of £1bn since it was set up in spring 2011. The alternative finance movement is edging into the mainstream.
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