The revamped Italian peer-to-peer consumer lending platform Prestiamoci is now open for business.
Prestiamoci closed down operations towards the end of 2013, but with a fresh management team and new website in place, the platform is now up and running again. Prestiamoci’s focus is on personal lending for such purposes as purchasing an apartment, car, organizing a marriage or paying for educational fees. The platform boasts upwards of 450 active lenders and has currently extended 360 loans to borrowers – which equates to €1.7 million lent.
There is no FCA-like regulatory body in Italy – instead Prestiamoci is authorized by the Bank of Italy. The team has added a wealth of experience since shutting down late last year in order to ensure that the loans on offer via the platform are of the highest quality. The platform aims to provide its investors with greater than 6% per annum in interest.
Prestiamoci has but one serious competitor within the Italian p2p space – fellow consumer lending platform Smartika. Smartika has originated slightly over €14 million in total loans. The US and UK markets are the two most developed peer-to-peer arenas – and each features two leading consumer lending platforms – Lending Club and Prosper in the States, Zopa and RateSetter in the UK. Will Prestiamoci and Smartika lead the way within the nascent Italian market?
Why did Prestiamoci close initially?
The company was not performing and for this reason was not able to raise a new capital round that was fundamental to keeping the operation alive.
What are you doing differently this time round?
A new strong management team with different expertise covering in particular: Risk management (core business is the ability to create a performing loans portfolio), scalable digital operation (IT and process) and marketing and sale competence. Additionally there is a new really nice and powerful shareholder base.
What excites you about the peer-to-peer lending opportunity in Italy?
It's a huge market where existing operators are not innovative. There is no one with a real online offer. And usually in Italy, a lot of people are excluded from Credit (more than 50% of households due to low usury rate) and that banks and consumer credit specialists typically do not link rates to credit risk : every customer for a same purpose and duration loan get the same rate (or close to the same rate) and if the customer is risky he is just not given the loan.