German bank Commerzbank is close to launching its own marketplace lending platform by the name of “Main Funders”. The platform is due to arrive within the first half of 2016, according to P2P-banking.com. The new player is said to have been developed together with Main Incubator, the FinTech incubator of Commerzbank. A trademark for “Main Funders” was registered last January. Claus Lehmann – founder of P2P-Banking.com – told us he was informed by people familiar with the matter, but declined to share further information.
It appears to be unclear whether the new platform will be a fully-fledged marketplace or a business initiation facilitator. Some hints are contained within the bank’s 2015 annual report, where the term ‘peer-to-peer-lending-platform’ is used to describe the new service.
As highlighted in a recent Euroview, banks alone may originate loans in Germany. Marketplace lending platforms must therefore forge partnerships with a transaction bank, which originates the loan and then sells the proceeds onto investors. This model – widely known as the “exportation model” – was described for us by Renaud Laplanche (CEO of Lending Club) in a recent interview.
Since the inception of the German P2P space, just a handful of small, specialized banks have been involved in these kinds of transactions. If the rumours around “Main Funders” turn out to be true, Commerzbank would be the first large German bank to operate in the space and to run its own platform.