RATESETTER’s co-founder and chief operating officer Peter Behrens has joined the directors’ board of guarantor loan provider George Banco.
The specialist lender, which provides finance to borrowers with poor or no credit history by involving a third person who can step in if the former run into repayment issues, is looking to increase its penetration into the broader consumer finance market.
Behrens, who worked at Royal Bank of Scotland before kicking off the alternative finance platform in 2010, will advise the firm on its future growth plans as non-executive director.
“Peter has been instrumental in RateSetter’s growth and knows the consumer finance market inside out,” said the firm’s chief executive Marc Howells. “We’re delighted to bring his expertise and experience to George Banco, where he’ll play an important role in helping our business grow sustainably and deliver responsibly for our customers.”
“George Banco is a strong and growing business and I am looking forward to helping the company realise its ambition of shaking up the market for guarantor lending in the UK and provide a great service for its customers,” said Behrens.
The guarantor loan provider market counts about a dozen companies in the UK, which charge annual percentage rates (APR) of around 40-50 per cent on loans of up to £15,000.
George Banco currently offers guarantor loans of between £1000 and £7500 on a 49.7 per cent APR.
“Guarantor loans are an important part of the financial inclusion agenda and provide an effective, simple way for people to rebuild and rehabilitate their credit history,” said Behrens.
RateSetter is currently in the process of re-arranging its business relationship with other lenders, as requested by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) within its recent enquiry into P2P wholesale lending practices.
The platform has lent a total of £310m to other lenders, of which £102m are currently outstanding.
George Banco has been one of the receivers of RateSetter’s wholesale funding, Peer-to-Peer Finance News understands, which means the two firms may be exploring different routes to extend their lending partnership under a different operational structure, provided it satisfies FCA’s requirements.
RateSetter said it was not in position to comment on the issue.