LENDING at the UK’s largest peer-to-peer finance platforms is fast approaching £9bn.
Data from the industry’s trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), released on Thursday, showed its eight members – Crowdstacker, Folk2Folk, Funding Circle, Landbay, LendingWorks, MarketInvoice, ThinCats and Zopa – reached cumulative lending of £8.96bn at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The figure is up 11.5 per cent on the fourth quarter and 57 per cent higher year on year.
However, the annual comparative is based on total lending when RateSetter and LendInvest were still members in the first quarter of 2017. The members’ collective loanbooks grew by 5.5 per cent year on year when the pair are included.
The data shows Funding Circle remains the largest lender, with a loanbook at £3.4bn at the end of March, but Landbay has seen the biggest growth since the last quarter. Its lending was up 32.5 per cent to £109.4m.
The platforms have a total of 148,222 lenders combined, up 6.7 per cent quarterly. Almost half, 75,615, came from Funding Circle, with another 59,967 at Zopa.
LendingWorks saw the biggest increase in lenders, up 12.3 per cent to 4,228 over the period.
The number of borrowers was also up, rising five per cent across all members to 276,278 over the quarter.
Zopa makes up the bulk of borrowers, at 210,507, but the biggest growth was at Landbay, up 17.4 per cent to 450.
“Levels of lending made possible through P2PFA platforms has continued to grow during the first quarter of 2018 – and this has been particularly pronounced for business loans where more than £660m in new lending has been facilitated in the first three months of 2018,” Robert Pettigrew, director of the P2PFA, said.
“Since the third quarter of 2017, there has been a 35 per cent increase – some £75m – in net lending to businesses by P2PFA platforms, which contrasts with data published by the Bank of England for banks, and highlights the important role played by the P2P lending sector in ensuring that businesses have access to the finance needed to fuel our economy.
“These impressive figures demonstrate, yet again, that the peer-to-peer lending sector continues to secure its position as an attractive proposition for investors and borrowers and consolidates its status as a sustainable component in the wider financial services landscape.”