FOLK2FOLK has announced it will open a new branch in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, as part of its national expansion plans.
The peer-to-peer platform, which specialises in secured lending to small- and medium-sized businesses, aims to channel over £20m of funding to about 100 local businesses around Harrogate within the first year.
The lender said it had already established a strong local demand within the region and has set up a legal panel to provide the legal services necessary to complete the loans.
Today’s announcement brings the Cornwall-headquartered firm’s total number of branches to four, following its store launch in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, in October last year.
This in is line with its goal to reach £1bn of lending by 2020, as it plans further branch openings across the country this year.
The move comes at a time when other P2P platforms are looking to upgrade their local presence by setting up local teams and branches – filling the gap that high-street banks’ departure is leaving behind.
Assetz Capital, for example, announced in September that it is planning to hire 35 relationship directors and open new branches across the country to support its expansion into small-business lending.
Our mission is to help local businesses get access to the finance they need to grow by matching them to local investors in a quick, simple and personal process,” said Folk2Folk’s chief executive Jane Dumeresque (pictured).
“We believe it’s always more interesting and reassuring when an investor can see what exciting project their money is supporting. We are determined to bring business finance back to basics by making business loans simple, fair and straightforward.”
Folk2Folk typically offers investors returns ranging between 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent based on the loan-to-value ratio of the property which acts as a security against the loan.
The firm, which recently won ISA manager status by the HMRC, lowered its minimum investment threshold to £15,000 from £25,000 to accommodate the ISA allowance limit.
It is now working on technical details to update its product range and ensure it is in line with the ISA framework, as it aims to unveil its Innovative Finance wrapper by the end of the tax year, a spokesperson said.