Cornish peer-to-peer lending outfit becomes biggest of the fully authorised bunch as FCA ramps up permissions process.
Folk2Folk, the peer-to-peer lender that’s famous for using branches, has received full authorisation from the FCA. The Cornish platform can now seek ISA manager status from HMRC, paving the way for the launch of an Innovative Finance ISA product.
Folk2Folk becomes the latest in a string of at times surprising authorisations, which includes such platforms as Lending Works, Crowdstacker, Crowd2Fund, and Peer Funding. But Folk2Folk is by some way the largest in terms of cumulative lending, with over £125m lent to businesses to date.
The UK’s very largest platforms – such as Zopa, Funding Circle, and RateSetter – continue to wait for the regulatory green light. Each of these platforms has originated a cumulative total of between £1.5bn and £2bn in loans, according to AltFi Data.
But crucially the FCA now appears to be ramping up the pace of its until now somewhat laborious authorisation process. Only yesterday we received word that new P2P bridging and buy-to-let specialist LandLordInvest had been granted full authorisation. Meanwhile, with P2PFA member Lending Works getting authorised in October, and today's addition of Folk2Folk to the authorised roster, it would appear that the larger platforms are gradually squeezing through. Could the “big three” be next?
“This decision is significant as it makes us eligible to offer our IFISA before the end of this tax year,” said Jane Dumeresque (pictured above), CEO of Folk2Folk. “I think it speaks volumes about Folk2Folk as a business having gained its full FCA authorisation ahead of many of the industry’s leading and larger platforms. We believe this will act as a positive sign to investors as well as business professionals that are looking to partner with a trusted and fully authorised platform like Folk2Folk.”
Folk2Folk is unique among peer-to-peer lenders in that it will not expand to a new region without also opening up a local bank-like branch there. Initially based out of Cornwall, the platform has its eyes on a UK-wide expansion, with the aim of hitting £1bn in lending by 2020. IFISA capability should prove significant in reaching that goal.
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