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Surviving coronavirus will bring “huge confidence” to P2P asset class, says RateSetter chief

Investors are increasingly concerned about borrower wellbeing.

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Rhydian Lewis/RateSetter.

RateSetter CEO Rhydian Lewis believes coronavirus could herald the emergence of “huge confidence” in alternative lending platforms, as long as the industry gets through the next few months.

“Surviving this cycle of total economic turmoil will bring huge confidence to this asset class, I’m sure of that,” Lewis told listeners at Innovate Finance’s webinar Profit or Purpose in FinTech as part of UK Fintech Week 2020.

The CEO argued that since the crisis started “fintech is looking more resilient and maybe more adaptable, it’s built solutions over the last ten years that are crying out to be leveraged right now.”

“It’s possible that this crisis will show that platform lending is extremely fit for purpose.”

Lewis also pointed to the more aligned interests of lending platform investors who “are happy to take risk in return for a return, and that’s a great match for lending in this environment.”

In recent weeks several alternative lenders and platforms have been added to the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), including Funding Circle and ThinCats.

Funding Circle’s UK managing director Lisa Jacobs, who also spoke on the webinar, said the platform’s CBILS lending offering will “launch imminently”.

Read more:Thincats and Paragon Bank in new wave of lenders added to coronavirus loans panel

Meanwhile, Lewis also noted a change in focus for many of his investor-lenders over the past few weeks.

“A lot of our investors have gone from completely focused on the return they’re getting, to asking the investor services team how we’re looking after the borrowers. It’s really striking,” he said. 

Last week RateSetter published figures showing that a basket of investments made on its platform would have outperformed many traditional ‘safe’ assets like FTSE 100 tracker funds or emerging markets indices.

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