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Lending Works’ history in P2P

Lending Works is exiting the peer-to-peer lending industry after nearly eight years.

The P2P consumer lending platform, which has lent out £240.3m to date, will no longer accept new money from retail investors, and those who have already invested money in loans will continue to receive repayments until their balance is repaid in full.

Lending Works has cited market dynamics, the pandemic and declining retail interest and will now focus on institutional lines of financing and embedded finance.

Here, Peer2Peer Finance News summarizes key milestones and events from its history.

2014

Lending Works was founded in January 2014 by CEO Nick Harding and a team of experts from the banking, accountancy and finance sectors, after completing a pre-launch £3.5m round of financing from venture capital and angel investors.

The platform was the first with an insurance element. It was launched with the Lending Works Shield, which includes a reserve fund, borrower default insurance, and fraud and cybercrime insurance. In September 2014, the P2P lender joined the industry association, the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA).

2015

Lending Works had a stellar 2015 announcing in June that it was celebrating a record year after lending more than £10 million to date, more than half of which was mobilized in the first six months.

In addition, the number of new lenders that joined the platform since January was greater than the total number that joined in 2014.

2016

In October 2016, Lending Works became the first major P2P lending platform to receive full approval from the Financial Conduct Authority.

In December, the platform was authorized by HMRC as an ISA manager and plans were laid out to launch an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) the following year.

2017

The launch of IFISA took place in February 2017, when Lending Works became the first P2PFA member to introduce the tax wrapper.

In April, Lending Works reached the funding milestone of £50 million and also said it had reached the 10,000 customer milestone.

2018

2018 was another busy year for Lending Works. The platform reached the milestone of £100 million in loans, doubling year-on-year growth and receiving £2.8 million in private equity funding.

It also partnered with credit reference start-up Credit Kudos to provide its open banking infrastructure.

2019

The platform increased its minimum investment from £10 to £100 to make the level of transactions easier and has updated its two flagship investment products with new features, naming its three-year account the flexible account and the five-year account the growth account.

It also revealed plans to cut interest rates and put more money into its Shield emergency fund to make the platform more resilient.

2020

Lending Works was a founding member of the 36H Group when it started operations in January last year following the dissolution of the P2PFA.

During the pandemic, Lending Works stopped all new private investor filings, all new or existing customer investment and all new loan issuance from April 2020 to January 2021 after extending this 90-day normalization period twice.

In October 2020, the platform entered a period of negative interest rates so it could channel more money into its provisioning fund to absorb the expected higher credit losses.

In July, the P2P lender was acquired by alternative investment manager Intriva Capital and said it plans to double its workforce afterward and target £1 billion in lending.

2021

Lending Works resumed new lending in January this year, but said it would continue with negative interest rates for some time.

In April, the platform said it would continue to push negative interest rates, but at a lower rate, for certain cohorts, while it started paying interest on other loans. In October, the P2P lender revealed that its projected annual losses and returns have remained stable, while negative rates are still required in two of its loan cohorts.

In September, Lending Works hired eight new employees as it looked to grow its loan volumes before announcing its P2P exit on December 15, 2021.

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