Peer-to-peer lender Folk2Folk adds to regional branch network, eyes significant lending milestone.
Folk2Folk, the only peer-to-peer lender to have paired an online platform with a branch network, has opened a new branch in Gloucestershire. With plans to launch no less than seven new branches across the UK in 2017, the secured business lender is targeting £1bn of cumulative lending by 2020. The company’s next branch will open in Harrogate in January of next year.
Folk2Folk has to date originated a little over £120m in loans, with around £42m lent out in 2016 alone, according to the Liberum AltFi Volume Index UK. That amounts to over 4,000 loans to local business owners. If the platform can keep pace with its impressive growth targets, it’s on course to become a top three business lender in terms of new loans for SMEs by 2020.
“We’re delighted to be opening new branches across the UK as part of our national expansion,” said Jane Dumeresque, CEO of Folk2Folk. “At Folk2Folk we think nationally but act locally in helping our local business owners and investors. Our mission is to help local businesses grow by accessing the right finance they need.”
Folk2Folk’s branch network approach, which began in Cornwall, allows potential investors and borrowers on the platform a physical port-of-call where they can discuss queries relating to the platform with a Folk2Folk branch manager face-to-face. In addition to the branch network, the company is also building up a professional services network of regional lawyers, accountants and bankers. This network is a key source of deal-flow for the platform.
All Folk2Folk loans are secured against either property or land, and the minimum investment amount for lenders is £25k – quite high, by wider peer-to-peer lending standards. The company caters to a wide range of local business types, including those in agriculture and farming, manufacturing, food and drink, hospitality, property development and renewables.
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.