Folk2Folk eyes growth overseas
FOLK2FOLK is planning to open 10 UK high-street branches by 2018 and is mulling an overseas expansion over the next 12 months.
The Cornwall-headquartered peer-to-peer business lender, which was founded by solicitors in 2013, sees having a bricks-and-mortar presence as intrinsic to targeting local borrowers and potential investors.
“We’d not necessarily open branches nationwide, we’re choosing select regions in the UK,” said chief executive Jane Dumeresque.
“Our first target is 10 and then maybe another 10.”
In a year’s time, Dumeresque said that as well as aiming to have opened the new branches and being able to offer the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), she would also look at opportunities outside the UK.
She cited the US and Europe as possible targets, but said that the “fragmented” nature of the European market meant that Folk2Folk would need a local partner.
Folk2Folk normally has a £25,000 minimum investment threshold, but is planning to make an exception to comply with the current £15,240 ISA limit once it is approved to offer the IFISA.
Like many of its rivals, Folk2Folk is still awaiting full Financial Conduct Authority authorisation, so that it can apply for ISA manager status from HMRC and offer the tax-free product.
“We sent a note round to our customers and 20 per cent said they’d like to invest in them. It’s clearly a very attractive proposition,” said Dumeresque.