Flender has reported higher inflows from retail investors during the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when many rival peer-to-peer lenders have seen an influx of withdrawals due to macroeconomic uncertainty.
The Irish peer-to-peer business lender has also seen an uplift in applications for loans from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Jamie Heaslip, head of brand at Flender, told Peer2Peer Finance News that the platform has been very busy in the past few weeks, on both the borrower and the lender sides of the business. Many SMEs have been applying for working capital or contingency funds, while retail investment has increased dramatically, he said.
Flender funds many businesses in the under-pressure hospitality sector. Heaslip said that the platform has been monitoring them and giving a three-month payment holiday to businesses that require help with repayments.
“We’re here to help SMEs operate as smoothly as possible during this crisis and ensure they survive this epidemic and come out the other side,” Heaslip said.
“There are certain sectors that are obviously hit harder than others. The one thing we can do is give SMEs certainty over capital and contingency funds.
“We’ve had conversations with different people getting in touch with us, asking if they can put money into our platform. That’s really interesting and good to be able to facilitate that.”
Flender has joined forces with other finance providers including fellow Irish P2P platform Linked Finance, as part of The Independent Finance Providers Ireland (IFPI). The group is lobbying the Irish government to deploy emergency funding through these businesses.
“I think funding should be able to go through both banks and P2P lenders, rather than just banks,” Heaslip said.
“We are looking at the government to use us, we operate a lot faster than banks and can deploy funds quicker.
“We’re all coming together as a collective to argue this because we’re stronger together than as individuals.
“It’s about what role you can play that can have the biggest effect on SMEs.”