Folk2Folk, the only peer-to-peer lender in the UK to have paired an online marketplace with a network of regional branches, has joined the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association. With Folk2Folk now in the fold, the association has nine member platforms to its name, including the “big three” (Funding Circle,Zopa and RateSetter).
Folk2Folk began as a somewhat quirky peer-to-peer offering with a branch or two in the South West of England. But the platform has been scaling its regional branch model rapidly of late, and is targeting £1bn in cumulative lending by 2020. The firm has lent around £134m to small businesses to date, according to AltFi Data, with all of its loans secured against property.
“We believe that diversity of business models within the P2P sector is a benefit for both UK businesses and consumers,” said Folk2Folk’s chief executive Jane Dumeresque. “We look forward to working closely with the P2PFA and the other members in taking the P2P industry from being an alternative form of finance to the go-to form of finance for SMEs and consumers.”
The membership of the P2PFA has done some chopping and changing over the years. Former members Wellesley & Co. and Madiston LendLoanInvest are members no more. It has been suggested that the group is a bit of a closed shop, with a number of middle-sized peer-to-peer platforms having spoken of their struggles to sign up.
P2PFA Chair Christine Farnish said that Folk2Folk had made “a big contribution to the evolution and development of peer-to-peer lending,” while adding that the firm’s perspective would “complement” the work of the association.