THE UK’S biggest P2P platforms are helping push lending in the sector beyond £9bn, but where is the actual growth coming from?
Data from the industry’s trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), released last week, 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 2017.
The data shows Funding Circle and Zopa remain the giants of the industry when it comes to cumulative lending, but these two players are not as ahead when it comes to adding new money, lenders and borrowers.
Funding Circle, which has the biggest P2P loanbook in the UK at almost £3.5bn, saw £354.7m of new lending in the first quarter of 2018, up 2.3 per cent on a quarterly basis and eight per cent annually.
Its closest loanbook rival Zopa saw slower growth in new lending, providing £253.4m in the quarter, up 0.3 per cent on the end of last year and 2.8 per cent annually.
But the platforms with smaller loanbooks than the ‘big two’ saw the biggest increases in new lending.
On a quarterly basis, MarketInvoice – which saw its loanbook reach £2bn last month – has seen the biggest improvement in new lending, with growth of 48.9 per cent since the end of 2017 and the first three months of 2018. This represented £244.8m worth of loans.
Folk2Folk has seen the biggest growth compared with the same period last year. The business finance platform’s new lending was up annually by 3,118 per cent at the end of the first quarter of 2018 to £26.8m, pushing its total loanbook to £212m.
However, not all members saw growth in new lending .
Business lender ThinCats was the only one of the P2PFA members to see a drop in new lending, falling 21.4 per cent on a quarterly basis and 28.5 per cent annually to £11m.
Funding Circle and Zopa have the most lenders overall, at 75,615 and 59,967 respectively, but consumer platform LendingWorks actually saw the largest growth over the first three months of the year.
It saw its lender base grow 12.3 per cent to 4,228. This is also up by 76 per cent on the same period last year, the largest growth among P2PFA members.
Meanwhile Zopa has actually seen a drop in the number of lenders compared with the first three months of 2017, down 1.29 per cent to 59,967 at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
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When it comes to the all-important borrowers, Funding Circle and Zopa lead yet again with 50,099 and 210,507 respectively, but that is not where the biggest growth is.
Property P2P platform Landbay saw a 17 per cent boost to 450 borrowers on a quarterly basis, taking its base up by 81 per cent annually.
These figures don’t take account that many lenders or borrowers may be repeat customers as well as platforms outside the P2PFA, but it does confirm other reports that the medium sized lenders are increasingly chasing the bigger players’ tails.