The major UK platforms are increasingly looking outwards in an effort to scale. Seedrs recently announced a trailblazing move to the US, joining the UK’s leading peer-to-business lender Funding Circle in straddling the Atlantic. But RateSetter now becomes the first UK platform to take on the relatively uncharted waters of Australia. David Foggo, CEO of RateSetter Australia commented:
“After an extended period of laying the groundwork and meeting regulatory requirements, we are delighted to announce that RateSetter has become the first and only P2P lender licensed to offer loans to everyday Australians.
“Our aim is to redefine Australia’s $100 billion consumer finance sector by offering everyday Australians a better way to save and borrow. We want to empower savvy investors and borrowers by putting them in control of their finances through a simple, fair and flexible P2P platform.”
The impending recommendations of something called “the Murray inquiry” could make the arrival of RateSetter all the more timely. The Murray inquiry is a near-complete exploration of the banking system in Australia – one that will likely result in more restrictions being placed upon the banks, forcing them to hold more capital and scale down certain types of lending. This may have the effect of pushing borrowers and lenders alike towards the nascent peer-to-peer lending sector.
“Having witnessed the growth of the sector within the UK market, we were keen to explore opportunities to take this to other markets. Australia was an obvious choice with an attractive economy populated by investors keen for better returns on their cash, and a significant number of responsible borrowers. What’s more, the financial system was ripe for disruption – for too long banks have been offering below-par savings and loan deals in the absence of real competition.”
Investors in RateSetter Australia will be able to lend as little as $10, for terms ranging from 1 month to 5 years. The platform allows lenders and borrowers to set the interest rate, according the relative supply and demand and dependent on creditworthiness.
David Foggo explained:
“Australia is ready for the P2P alternative. RateSetter is part of a new wave of modern businesses that are harnessing technology to pass on efficiency savings to consumers. P2P lending is starting to redefine banking on a global scale and we believe Australians will embrace it, especially after they experience our model.”
Australia is currently an underserviced market – with only a few platforms operating and pretty low volumes. SocietyOne is Australia’s largest P2P lender at present, but the platform is a fraction of the size of RateSetter’s UK mothership. RateSetter will bring with it a wealth of practical experience from one of the world’s most sophisticated peer-to-peer consumer lending markets – and that should prove invaluable in terms of quickly establishing itself as a force down under.