Peer-to-peer lending is overtaking traditional banks in terms of customer service levels and speed of loan approvals, says Mike Moroney, chief operating officer at JustUs.
And he would know. Before joining the P2P platform, he spent nine years as regional manager of Santander’s retail mortgage division.
Moroney has witnessed first hand the widening gulf between P2P lending and bank lending. “Rapid lending decisions is a notable difference between P2P and the retail banking market,” he says.
“Everything that we did in retail was driven by score cards, computers, and credit searches, but P2P has always been far more personal.
“In P2P you look at personal circumstances – you look towards the future, not just to the past. I think that was the most refreshing change I noticed in P2P lending, coming into it from a retail banking background.”
Read more: What does the future hold for P2P lending?
After leaving the world of high street banking, Moroney describes P2P lending as “a breath of fresh air”. “We spoke to people that have become disillusioned with banks and the interest rates that are available, they’re looking for alternatives,” he says.
“And I think the disruptive market that P2P is presenting is a really strong alternative for the general public and what they can do with their money.”
Moroney joined JustUs as chief operating officer in June 2017, and will shortly be appointed to the JustUs board. Since then, he has been impressed by the hands-on, consumer-first approach of P2P. “The retail banking market has gone through its own transition and become far less personal,” says Moroney. “There is a definite move away from face-to-face and a focus on online.
“Consumer service standards are something the retail banking industry is fighting hard against. At the end of the day, retail lending is driven by numbers.
“In comparison, P2P lenders are very, very good at customer service.
“We can get a real feel for someone’s affordability once we have the data provided by bank statements through open banking – we can see what the salaries actually look like, we can see where we can support the borrower.”
Ultimately, it is P2P’s speed and efficiency that makes it so attractive to borrowers and lenders alike, says Moroney. Borrowers can get a lending decision within a day, rather than the weeks-long wait required when dealing with banks. Meanwhile lenders can get inflation-beating returns by investing in these loans, while banks are still offering consumer savings rates of little more than one per cent.
Most importantly, Moroney believes that it is the human element that truly elevates P2P beyond what the banks can offer. “You are dealing with a human being and they are looking at each individual case and judging it on its unique merits,” says Moroney.
“The future is bright for P2P and it would be really good if we could take a lot of people on this journey with us.”