As Claus Lehmann at P2P-Banking.com points out, this is a somewhat befuddling move. Lendico had until recently specialised in making consumer loans to borrowers in 6 different countries, spread across 2 continents. The platform shares a bond with sister company Zencap – both were initially spun out by the prolific incubation machine Rocket Internet. We recently profiled both Lendico and Zencap. The latter is a pan-European P2P loans marketplace for SMEs, active in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. It seems rather odd, therefore, that Lendico would look to move into the small business space, effectively encroaching upon its sibling's territory.
Lendico has been going through a period of sweeping change. We recently reported that the platform has secured an investment of over €100 million from a number of institutional investors, including two German banks. Owing to a shortage in high quality loan applications in Spain, Poland and South Africa, Lendico will no longer offer private investment opportunities within those locations. The platform’s offices in each country have been closed down. Loans originated in these countries will still be made available to institutions, which have a better understanding of and appetite for the associated risks.
Alongside a broad shift towards institutional funding sources, the platform will also be ramping up activity in Germany, where its 20,000 private investors will continue to have access to investment opportunities. Self-employed professionals were already able to apply for loans of up to €50,000 via the Lendico network. Now the platform will make loans to SMEs of up to €150,000 in size.