Two thirds of the borrowers accessing Funding Circle loans via the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) are new to the platform, its UK managing director has revealed.
Lisa Jacobs (pictured) also said that the peer-to-peer lending platform has already lent more than £800m to UK businesses under CBILS.
At the start of the year, Jacobs said that “it was a bit of a rollercoaster”, but Funding Circle has gone on to become the fifth largest CBILS lender, largely thanks to a raft of new borrowers.
“We’ve had about two thirds of businesses over this period who are new to Funding Circle, and a lot of them have actually been new to online lending overall,” she said at the LendIt Fintech Europe 2020 virtual conference.
“Some of the feedback that we’re getting from some of those businesses is that they’ve started an application elsewhere – they may have started an application with a bank and they’ve not heard back so they’ve looked at alternatives.”
Jacobs also refused to rule out a return to retail investing next year. The platform paused retail lending in March 2020 to focus on delivering government-backed loan schemes.
“We do believe in smaller investors being able to access the same attractive returns that institutions can,” Jacobs said.
“As we start to think about next year, we’ll make sure that we’re thinking about what the retail proposition might look like then.”
Jacobs admitted that a lot of Funding Circle’s retail investors have been disappointed that they were unable to continue to lend, but she added that they have been “very understanding” overall.