Crowdlending beyond COVID-19

 

As Covid-19 dominates the agenda all over Europe and in most of the rest of the world, this newsletter will not only examine the effect of the pandemic on crowdlending in the here and now, but also take a peek beyond the lockdown to gain a preliminary assessment of its ultimate impact on our investments.

Loan origination in April falls to a factor of previous levels

When the Covid-19 lockdowns began, the most interesting question for us was whether borrowers and loan originators would flood the market with loan requests to create as much liquidity as possible, or whether the overwhelming uncertainty engendered by the pandemic would lead to market stagnation.

That issue was decided in less than a month, as illustrated by the chart below:

Figure 1 Mintos loan origination per month in EUR until 10 April 2020

In February 2020, Mintos had a total loan origination of EUR 317 million, which declined to EUR 158 million in March, with the fall mainly taking place in the second half of the month. In April, until mid-month, loan origination has so far not exceeded EUR 18 million, which is just over 5% of February’s loan origination.

At the same time, investor demand has also fallen dramatically, and many private investors who had been using crowdlending as a substitute for having money in the bank have withdrawn from the market. (As we have often mentioned in newsletters, investing in crowdlending is not an alternative to a bank deposit, but rather a long-term investment possibility.)

These two factors have created a market situation in which nominal interest rates are rising in the primary market while loans are being sold with discounts in the secondary market, circumstances that are contributing to improving the overall return for our investors.

3-6 month impact on our crowdlending portfolio

Going forward, we will continue to follow our due diligence procedures on loan originators and our conservative approach, which is to get as much collateral and buy-back guarantees as possible; so far, this has helped us to achieve positive returns in a very difficult environment.

Moreover, we are continually following the behaviour of loan originators in different markets, checking, for example, on whether they continue to transfer money to our account in a timely fashion as well as monitor the interest rates they offer.

However, our strategy remains quite simple: we will invest only in loans with collateral such as cars and property from loan originators that we consider to be solid and reliable in terms of payment regularity.

This approach has proven to be effective since the inception of our fund in March 2017. We are confident that this is also the right approach going into and exiting from the imminent Covid-19 recession.

A unique investment opportunity

In combination, lack of loan demand and many investors selling at a discount provide us with an excellent investment opportunity. We are currently reinvesting at nominal interest rates that are 3-5%-points higher than just three months ago. With higher interest rates, and thereby higher monthly income, it will be easier to absorb potential losses that will undoubtably arise in the inevitable post-pandemic recession.

In more practical terms, we are buying car loans with buy-back guarantees or property loans with higher nominal interest rates than previously, as well as car loans sold at a discount in the secondary market.

 

You can invest in crowdlending with Quantrom P2P Lending DAC by subscribing to our profit participation note on our website: Quantrom.com or Quantrom.dk (Danish version) where more information for investors is also available.

About the Author

Gustav Jensen

Gustav is the managing director of Quantrom Limited and is living in near Brussels.

Economist from University of Copenhagen mainly working in finance and banking.