ASSETZ Capital is planning to hire 35 relationship directors and open new branches across the country to support its expansion into small-business lending.
The peer-to-peer platform, which is usually known for its property financing, is aiming to open seven more offices by the end of the next financial year.
“You can’t lend £100,000 to £10m without seeing the borrower,” chief executive Stuart Law told Peer-to-Peer Finance News.
“The branches are mainly for borrowers to be able to come in and speak to a relationship manager face-to-face.”
Law emphasised the importance of relationship managers to the business, both in order to attract borrowers and also to correctly assess the quality of loans.
“We have a lot of former bankers in the business and they’re good on credit,” he said.
“We’ve had relationship managers since we set up in 2013 and now other firms are starting to follow suit.”
RateSetter announced last week that it had employed five business finance relationship managers who would be based around the UK.
Assetz Capital currently employs around 50 staff, 15 of which are relationship directors. Its headquarters are in Stockport and it has offices in London and Edinburgh.
“Ideally we’d like branches across the country,” said Law. “The Midlands and Glasgow are high up on the list.”
Assetz has lent out almost £150m to date, more than 90 per cent of which is funded by retail investors. Lenders can expect returns of around nine or 10 per cent depending on the risk of the debt.