January 2016 marks the company’s second birthday. In its short life, Lending Works, which prides itself on being the first lender of its kind to provide insurance against borrower risks, has reached the milestone for almost £20m of loans. That’s a fourfold growth on the £5m worth of loans it had generated in a year of operation. For 2015, £5m was lent in the first half of the year, which almost doubled for the second half – this is spread across over 3,000 active loans. Real Business spoke with Lending Works FD Matt Powell back in February 2015 and he explained why he left established firm EY for a startup. “We operate at the prime end with a small proportion of lends, because it’s people’s savings that are at risk. We look at the way eBay has changed retail and Airbnb has connected people over accommodation – they’ve limited the middleman. Just look at TransferWise,” he said. “We set Lending Works up to give people a fair deal. A bank pays a low return and makes a high return, whereas we connect the two for people. Our morals are based on that, so it would be strange to then sell our business to the bank. The potential is so vast that we didn’t set up to sell, but because wanted to do something rewarding and challenging.” The firm is powering £150,000 of loans each day, a figure set to climb to £250,000 by December 2016. A partnership with lending company P2P Global Investments was struck in 2015, but there are 1,200 lenders signed up to Lending Works, which means three-quarters of consumers are responsible for the loans.
The startup expects that P2P will only continue to grow as the launch of the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in April 2016 will enable tax-free returns on lending.
Nick Harding, founding CEO of Lending Works, said: “It is immensely rewarding to reflect on the tremendous strides we’ve made as a company in such a short period. To go from startup to the UK’s number three 3 P2P lender, lending over £150,000 a day and approaching £20m in loans exceeds even our wildest expectations when we launched. “But it is the arrival of IFISA which excites us most. We believe we have got to where we are by putting the customer first, and that will never change, regardless of how quickly we grow. “We’re an ambitious platform, and IFISA, along with numerous exciting partnerships and initiatives, mean that we’re expecting to write more than £50m in loans over the next year, taking our total to £70m.” By Zen TerrelongeImage: Shutterstock
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