Plend is looking to lend about £14m this year after seeing good demand from lenders and borrowers since its launch earlier this month.
In May, the consumer peer-to-peer lending platform secured Financial Conduct Authority approval to start deploying loans, and opened for borrower registrations soon after.
A select group of retail lenders, a mixture of friends and family and high-net-worth individuals have already signed up off the platform while new investors can contact Plend to register.
Co-founder and chief executive Rob Pasco told Peer2Peer Finance News that the platform has seen good demand from borrowers and lenders so far. He said the team is testing its open-banking powered underwriting model that focuses on affordability and income stability rather than credit history, before opening up to more investors.
He added that the team has just hired staff for underwriting and customer operations and will seek to scale the team over the next six to 12 months.
“The core target for us is testing the Plend score, the open banking engine, with enough data and loans to enable us to scale next year,” Pasco said.
“The end of 2022 is vital for us to test and get model right. The lending targets this year is around 2,500 loans worth around £14m in loanbook size.
“We’re putting as much effort as possible into technology and open banking. The open banking credit model is well tested, it has been used for 10,000 applications to date across our partners and we’re really excited to use it for our own loans
“We’re in the testing phase and have had a lot of applications on both the borrower and lender side. It’s intense how much demand there is out there, we haven’t marketed, we just announced we launched.
“With the energy crisis and inflation and pressure on household bills, the need for affordable loans is even greater than when we started planning to launch two years ago.
“We’ve had tons of lenders sign up for early access. We don’t have any shortage of capital. There are not many investment opportunities out there, a lot of valuations are under seriously pressure. It’s difficult to find a stable fixed interest rate return in this high inflation environment.”
Currently, Plend is only offering unsecured personal loans from £1,000 to £10,000 at a rate of 10 to 25 per cent APR, with the average closer to 14 per cent, and terms from one to five years.
Pasco said about 60 per cent of applications have been for debt consolidation, and the rest for a myriad of reasons, such as holidays, weddings and funerals.