Mark Standley, national commercial director at Assetz Capital, reveals the success of its coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, and the platform’s plans to scale up in the months ahead…
Assetz Capital’s borrowers are already starting to pay back their coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) loans, with over £11m already repaid just one year after the loans were taken out.
This early repayment is a ringing endorsement of the peer-to-peer lending platform’s credit checking process, says Mark Standley, national commercial director at Assetz Capital. “The thing to bear in mind is we apply the same level of due diligence in terms of borrowers that we are working with, and the nature of the proposal,” Standley explains.
“The government guarantee schemes did provide a comfort to the unknowns of the pandemic, but everything that was known, we were able to review with the same level of detail and care that we would have normally. As it turns out, the property market has held strong, and actually, things are looking robust.”
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Assetz Capital was in a position where it was able to adapt to market demand, and to deliver loans quickly to pre-approved borrowers. When the platform was authorised to deliver CBILS loans in August 2020, it was able to get much-needed funds to businesses quickly and effectively with new systems and processes put in place in a matter of weeks.
“We are a dynamic business and were ready to make adjustments in terms of scale and volume to effectively manage the level of demand that we experienced,” Standley says. “In terms of the origination pace, we leaned quite heavily on our established network. The brokers we work with are very experienced in their own right, and they provided a pre-filter on lending opportunities to help us manage high levels of demand with efficiency.”
Standley confirms that Assetz has delivered approximately £370m of loan facilities via CBILS, and the platform has been authorised to deliver the recovery loan scheme, in parallel to retail funded loans also now being originated again.
In the meantime, the platform is scaling up and looking at new market segments in response to borrower demand. Standley is currently hiring a number of relationship directors across the UK, who will play a key role in the company’s in-person service delivery and due diligence checks.
Bridge lending is a new area of focus for Assetz, and the company is working on some modified work practices which will allow it to handle volume in a better way. The platform is also changing its pricing to make it more competitive with challenger bank products.
But for Standley, the priority is maintaining the platform’s high standards of professional service with strong credit checking processes, and reviving the retail arm of the business. “The retail platform is incredibly important us,” he says. “It is something we see in our ongoing future. We are currently originating volumes of loans which will work for the retail platform.
“You should see those coming through fairly soon. It might be a trickle initially, but we expect to see it grow and grow. This is the message that’s core to our business – fairer growth together.
“It’s about making sure that all stakeholders are regarded in equal measure. Institutional and retail.”