Peter Renton (pictured), chairman and co-founder of the LendIt Conference, explains why alternative lending is seeking a new identity
The alternative lending industry is at an interesting inflection point right now in Europe. It has moved on from being a nascent industry but I would not yet call it mature. In some ways it is trying to find its new identity as it moves from being a disruptor of banks to an industry where partnerships are the norm.
This past year has seen a blurring of the lines between banks and alternative lenders. The fact that Zopa has applied for a banking license is still being talked about but that is just part of the story. We have neo-bank Revolut teaming up with Lending Works to offer consumer loans; in Germany the leading alternative lender Auxmoney has partnered with the leading digital bank N26; upstart Portuguese digital bank Banco BNI Europa is investing capital on MarketInvoice and the list goes on.
For consumers, small businesses and property developers there is more choice when it comes to obtaining a loan than ever before. The rise of digital banks will create many more opportunities for partnerships in the coming months and years. Let’s face it consumers won’t go out of their way to get a loan from a specific lender, they just want the loan that is the most convenient and the least expensive. In an app-centric world this will mean those alternative lenders with the best strategic partnerships will be positioned for success.
At LendIt Europe this year, we will be delving into this complex relationship between alternative lenders and banks (both digital and traditional). We’ll be at the Intercontinental Hotel at London’s O2 on 9 and 10 October with the most innovative companies in the fintech and lending sector. Our PitchIt competition, taking place on 10 October, will see eight rising stars taking to the stage to compete in front of some of Europe’s biggest VCs. The competition is always a great indicator as to what innovative technology is coming through the ranks, and this year we’ve had over 100 applicants – proving the increasing popularity of startups focusing on fintech.
We’re expecting this year to be one the most progressive yet, as we include innovation in banking along with our always in-depth coverage of the alternative lending sector. Many of the key players in fintech will be presenting such as Renaud Laplanche from Upgrade, Antony Jenkins from 10x Future Technologies (formerly chief executive of Barclays), and Jaidev Janadarna from Zopa – as well as many more. We’ll be drawing on the raft of experience from each of these pioneers to help delegates come to grips with the cutting-edge technology that is being applied today.
On top of that, topics including AI, blockchain, and the changing customer experience are all hot on the agenda this year. We’ll also be turning our heads to the rising sector of regulation technology or regtech as it is becoming known, as well as changes to credit and underwriting. Getting the real-time insight from our speakers – who are managing and developing opportunities in all of these sectors – will be invaluable.
The alternative lending sector has changed dramatically since its inception. As it moves more into the mainstream there will be opportunities for partnerships that would have been unimaginable just a couple of years ago. At LendIt we bring everyone together: traditional banks, digital banks, investors, alternative lenders and other fintech platforms to connect, learn and do business. By working together we will all be more successful.