JustUs has started listing new loans again and accepting investments, after pausing in March due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Lee Birkett, founder of the peer-to-peer lender, said he is “cautiously optimistic”, as there has been a very good response from borrowers and stable activity among investors.
Read more: JustUs goes live on the Moneybrain app
“We’re over the moon to be back to business,” he said.
“We’re cautiously optimistic because the lending landscape will be somewhat barren.
“And we must give the government credit for incentives, such as the stamp duty cut and Help to Buy extension, and other stimulants to the economy and housing which is the engine room of our economy and gives us confidence as a property-focused platform.
“For me now’s a good time to reopen with children going back to school as this is an attempt at restoring an element of normality, although I have a horrible feeling pubs and restaurants will have to shut to keep schools open.”
Birkett said that the platform is onboarding new lenders, but it is certainly not close to pre Covid-19 levels.
“There’s no growth in investor activity,” he said.
“I think normal investor activity will return probably in the second quarter of 2021.
“I think everyone’s expecting a second wave to come around Christmas time and after Winter, and then in Spring hopefully everything will back to normal.
“There’s an element of people going back to business, everyone has to put food on the table and we’re in the new phase of normality.”
Birkett said that after JustUs went live to lend to borrowers deemed as ‘key workers’ in mid-May, demand was fairly low as expected and the platform completed about half a dozen of these loans.
“We had 100 times more businesses wanting money than key workers,” he said.
Birkett predicted a rise in defaults across the sector, but said that JustUs will be fine because the platform underwrites its loans properly, has a strong recovery process and 95 per cent of its lending is secured.
“Those platforms that don’t have security behind them are disappearing,” he said.