Edinburgh peer-to-peer LendingCrowd hits record

Stuart Lunn

Edinburgh-based LendingCrowd said on Thursday it delivered a record £13.9 million of lending in the first half of 2018 compared with £4.9 million for the same period last year.

The peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to SMEs across Britain said it increased its proportion of loans to Scotland-based businesses helped by its £2.75 million partnership deal with Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm, the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB).

One in four loan deals are now being agreed with Scottish businesses.

Activity during the second quarter also reached an all-time high for the P2P platform with lending of £8.8 million marking a 225% increase on the £2.7 million delivered in Q2 2017.

Compared with a year earlier, total lending in Scotland trebled to £3.9 million for the six months to the end of June.

To match continued strong demand for business loans, LendingCrowd has grown its investor base.

The company’s Innovative Finance ISA, which enables investors to generate tax-free returns by investing in a diverse portfolio of business loans, was one of the first on the market and has made a significant contribution to its retail investor inflows.

LendingCrowd CEO and co-founder Stuart Lunn said: “We’re extremely pleased with the progress made during the first half, with 150 SMEs thinking outside the bank by choosing us as their funding partner.

“We’re also encouraged by the traction we’re gaining in the Scottish marketplace and we’re confident that, with greater awareness and engagement from the adviser community, we’re in a strong position to significantly ramp up our Scottish presence in the next 18 months.”

Access to debt finance in the Scottish market has been enhanced by the LendingCrowd’s partnership with the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), launched in 2016.

To date, more than 75 Scottish companies have received funding as a result of this project.

Lunn said: “The deal with SIB was groundbreaking and only possible as a result of innovative, forward-thinking by SIB in their aim to assist Scottish SMEs that have been starved of growth capital by traditional lenders.”