Peer-to-peer lending is beginning to take hold in India.
The majority of Indian operators - like Micrograam - have up to now been focused on leveraging a crowd of high net worth investors in order to fund individuals at the lower end of the income spectrum. There hasn't been much in the way of showcasing more financially appealing deals to a broader range of retail investors. But now a number of nascent Indian platforms are beginning to pick up traction with retail investors. Faircent has been around for about 3 months, and i-lend launched last year. Both platforms are attempting to position themselves as the Zopas and RateSetters of the Indian P2P space – champions of the retail customer.
Rajat Gandhi, Co-Founder of Faircent, explained the proposition:
"Banks don't give a fair rate of interest. That whole system is opaque. Our platform allows you to bid for a rate, and is very transparent. We are the eBay for loans."
In terms of registrations, Faircent has 225 lenders and 800 borrowers on board – and has seen Rs 15 lakh of funding driven through the platform since its inception. I-lend – which as explained is considerably longer in the tooth – has 1,975 borrowers and 800 lenders signed up, with Rs 12 lakh worth of loans funded. Both platforms remain very pretty fledgling, and as such only accept borrowers from particular localities (Faircent from Dehli, i-lend from Hyderabad).
On a practical level, i-lend deals can’t exceed Rs 2 lakh and Faircent loans are capped at Rs 5 lakh. In a familiar set of processes for UK observers, the platforms do the due diligence on borrowers and then make the relevant details (including Cibil scores) available to lenders – Funding Circle-style.
Add India to your list of budding peer-to-peer markets to keep an eye on.