Saving Stream is transitioning into a true peer-to-peer model.
Saving Stream is a secured lending platform that has to date lent just over £60m to UK SMEs. The platform used to secure all loans against luxury assets, such as yachts, but these days it is much more focused on property. All Saving Stream loans carry a maximum LTV of 70%.
The process of investment is also changing, according to a "General Update" that has been circulated by the platform. Until now, Saving Stream’s investors lent money to a separate company called Lendy Ltd., which then lent that money out to the platform’s borrowers. This certainly represents a form of alternative finance, but it is not technically “peer-to-peer”. Neither in our eyes, nor (we suspect) in the eyes of the regulator.
The problem with this structure was that, as a lender, your exposure was to Lendy Ltd. One bad loan could, in theory, have caused Lendy Ltd. to enter into financial difficulty. The new peer-to-peer structure seeks to eradicate this risk. Saving Stream’s investors now lend to borrowers via Lendy Ltd. and a “nominee company” by the name of Saving Stream Security Holding Ltd. This nominee structure holds security on behalf of the platform’s lenders, and generally manages investment on behalf of those lenders such that the borrowers only have to deal with a single entity, rather than hundreds or thousands of individuals.
The platform’s provision fund – which launched in January – will be maintained, offering coverage of at least 2% of the platform’s loan book. The old structure meant that Lendy Ltd. was responsible for absorbing any losses. That burden of responsibility now passes to the lenders, as they now have direct exposure to the platform’s borrowers. But the platform’s security and provision fund will continue to provide coverage to those lenders, who collectively have not sustained a single loss by investing through Saving Stream thus far – despite the fact the platform has suffered a default.
The manner in which Saving Stream investors are paid interest on a defaulted loan will also change. In the past, Lendy Ltd. continued to pay interest at the normal rate of 1% per month if a loan entered into default. Going forwards, lenders’ will continue to accrue interest in theory, but the amount that is ultimately paid out will depend upon how much money the platform is able to recover from the defaulted loan.
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.