Peer lending and Crowdfunding praised by Bank of England’s Andy Haldane

the Bank of England

Perhaps an industry knows it is on to something when someone who confesses to being “congenitally pessimistic about most things in life” admits to being really optimistic about its future… Certainly, the latest comments from Andy Haldane, director of financial stability at the Bank of England will be music to the ears of peer to peer lenders in the UK.

Speaking to the Independent in an interview published today, Andy Haldane told Margareta Pagano of his bright hopes for the future of crowd lending:

“It’s a time of opportunity knocking for finance.  Hopefully, the growth of peer-to-peer lenders, such as Zopa, Funding Circle and Thin Cats, and those involved in crowd-funding, such as Crowdcube, will help solve the problems we have in the UK with lending for SMEs.”

Haldane went on to explain how he thinks online technology has “the potential to transform finance and fill the gap left behind by the big high street banks which have little appetite for taking on risk in lending to SMEs.”

You can read the full article “Bank supremo: Peer-to-peer lending is a good reason to be cheerful” in the Independent, or start peer to peer lending yourself by registering as a lender at FundingKnight and taking part in one of our live peer to peer loan auctions.

 

Photo

P2P to be regulated. Next stop, a change to the regulations on the treatment of peer to peer losses.

letter for MPs

Last week’s news that peer to peer lending is about to be regulated by the FCA was met with pretty unanimous support from the industry, with both borrowers and lenders and the peer to peer lending platform owners themselves all agreeing that regulating peer to business lending is likely to boost rather than stifle peer to peer finance in the UK.

So that’s one battle won – or at least the first round, no doubt there is a whole host of further debate to come regarding exactly what shape the new regulation takes…

In the meantime, however, there’s an existing regulation that peer to peer lenders want changed – and that’s the treatment of losses.

Whereas banks and other financial institutions are able to off-set bad debt against interest earner, peer to peer lenders are not under current HMRC rules.

This is not only unfair but fundamentally compounds the impact of any peer to peer losses.   P2Pmoney.co.uk has helpfully crafted a suggested letter that anyone who agrees that the current state of affairs is wrong can cut and paste and send on to their local MP.

You can find the letter here on the www.p2pmoney.co.uk website.

Peer to peer lending: An industry that wants to be regulated

the houses of parliament

 

Peer to peer funding is currently an un-regulated activity in the UK.  Today, FundingKnight CEO Graeme Marshall explains why people to business lenders like FundingKnight would welcome regulation.

 

In an age where the country has gone regulation-mad, it is unusual to find an industry crying out to be regulated. When this happens, the government should pay close attention, as the industry is usually right.

The founders of the UK’s largest P2P lenders joined forces to call for their sector to be regulated last autumn in response to “fears that “shoddy operators” could put consumers’ money at risk.  The founders have also established a self regulatory body that they hope will act as a ‘blueprint’ for regulators.”

By establishing the Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) as a self- regulating body to set standards for the industry, the leading firms engaged in P2P and P2B lending have made just the right early move. The Rules and Guidelines for their members both set standards for consumer protection and form a clear pathway to appropriate regulation for the industry.

Alongside setting rules to regulate themselves, the P2PFA has rightly called upon the government to introduce regulation to oversee Internet- based matched lending – the process in which many lenders ‘club together’ to jointly fund a loan to a borrower.

Although matched funding does not in itself require much capital, as the firms don’t actually do the lending themselves, the principles behind holding client money and assets, selling practices,  clear explanation of services and costs etc are otherwise no different from mainstream lending.

Effective regulation will reduce the risk that poor practice by marginal operators will bring financial harm to lenders and tarnish the reputation and growth of this exciting and much needed sector of the lending market.

Indeed, Giles Andrew, the founder of Zopa, has been lobbying the FSA and the Government for greater regulation for some time now.  He is also pushing for ISA status for peer to peer lending and hopes that the P2PFA will “provide impetus for regulators:

We want to provide comfort to consumers that the businesses conform to some public operating standards and provide a useful blueprint to shove in front of would be regulators.”

Back in 2004, I found myself in a similar position in equity release, when the government decided to regulate the main product (lifetime mortgages) but not the alternative product –  Home Reversions. At the time I was on the board of Safe Home Income Plans, the industry body for equity release, and chaired their home reversion product board. SHIP decided to campaign for regulation and, following a formal consultation we were successful in bringing the matter to the House of Commons for debate. MPs quite appropriately questioned the point of adding yet more legislation to the statute book. The response that “the industry had themselves asked for it” carried the day. Home Reversions have consequently been regulated since 2007.

We at FundingKnight wish the P2PFA every success in calling for appropriate regulations over arranging and marketing P2P lending.  We intend to be active in supporting their aims – and, in particular, campaigning for regulation.

Photo credit used under Creative Commons Licence


//

//