Funding Circle, the world’s largest online marketplace for small business loans, has now lent more than £2bn to small businesses in the UK. The firm is only the second marketplace lender in the UK to have accomplished the feat, with consumer lender Zopa hitting the milestone in late January.
Funding Circle has racked up a number of lending volume records over the past few months, after overcoming a brief period of uncertainty in the third quarter of last year, stemming largely from the Brexit vote. After lending just £60m in August, Funding Circle set a monthly origination record in October,with £95m lent. The firm then lent more than £100m in November (becoming the first UK peer-to-peer lender to do so), and has lent around £100m in both December and January too.
As can be seen from the chart below, Funding Circle is now hot on the heels of Zopa for the title of largest marketplace lender in the UK by cumulative lending volume. It’s a title that Zopa alone has held since birthing the industry in 2005. Funding Circle didn’t launch until 2010.
Brexit was a source of some concern for Funding Circle. Founder James Meekings (pictured above) openly lobbied for the support of the British Business Bank after a planned multi-billion pound funding deal with the European Investment Bank was left in jeopardy. The platform’s investors then called for planned stress tests to be brought forward, as a show of post-referendum resiliency.
Some wondered whether Funding Circle and others like it were in for a period of prolonged difficulty after the Brexit vote, but this latest landmark might well be enough to put that notion to bed.