ThinCats has forged a partnership with a West Midlands-focused co-operative business loan fund.
BCRS Business Loans – the partner of choice – will now begin distributing funds to SMEs throughout the Midlands via the ThinCats platform. BCRS was established in 2002 with the aim of providing credit to local SMEs that had been turned down for funding by the banks. ThinCats, which to date has lent just shy of a £93m to UK small businesses, provides BCRS with a more efficient medium for fund allocation – and should help to bolster the company’s lending volumes. BCRS’ cumulative funding figure for West-Midlands based businesses currently stands at £21.5m.
“We are delighted to be helping BCRS invest in businesses across the Midlands, they have a great tradition of helping companies grow who perhaps, like many, have been crippled by poor bank lending and a stifled economy. BCRS’ investment is recognition that ThinCats have extensive reach into the SME funding pool and can help investors reach it. Peer to peer lending is revolutionising the landscape for SME’s as well as investors who have been downtrodden by nearly a decade of low interest rates.”
This is exactly the kind of arrangement that ThinCats has been looking for. The peer-to-business lender recently reported that a swell of borrower demand (so great that it exceeded the platform’s funding capacity) had created an especially benign set of conditions for its investors. Interest rates had been driven upwards as a result of competition amongst borrowers. Whilst high yields have a certain appeal, the platform clearly needed to secure an injection of liquidity in order to ensure that a high percentage of loan issues were successfully financed.
BCRS will now give the platform a lending boost, but we strongly suspect that ThinCats will be on the hunt to establish further arrangements of this kind. Indeed, at the start of 2014 Mr. Caley openly lobbied for third party institutional investment via AltFi News.
Paul Kalinauckas, BCRS Chief Executive, weighed in:
“Investing through ThinCats means that we can reach so many more businesses, 2014 was a great year but to grow we needed a trusted partner to extend our reach.
“The values that ThinCats uphold are very similar to our own and their reach is extensive. We are driven to help SME’s get the funding they need to prosper by assessing them on merit not through complex and unforgiving credit algorithms.”
The similarities alluded to by Mr. Kalinauckas relate to ThinCats' uniquely formed due diligence process – whereby local sponsors work closely with prospective borrowers in order create and review their loan applications based on merit. In the wake of the BCRS initiative, ThinCats will doubtless be hoping to have to broaden its network of sponsors in order to keep up with demand.
AltFi is returning to Amsterdam for its second annual Summit in the city. The inaugural event last year was a roaring success, with key figures from across Continental Europe's alternative finance and digital banking sectors highlighted. These included Jeroen Broekema, managing director of Funding Circle Netherlands, and Mieke van Engelen, head of innovative partnerships at ABN AMRO's standalone lending platform, New10.