First Buy2LetCars loans complete

October 5th, 2015

The very first individuals who lent through Buy2LetCars have received their final repayment on their loans.  These individuals will have received 33% interest over 3 years.  New lenders can achieve an amazing 14.65% AER over 3 years.  The P2P money website has an exclusive £50 cashback offer for new lenders who sign-up and lend through Buy2LetCars, as if further motivation was required!

Here is the full press release by Buy2LetCars:

It gives us great pleasure and immense pride, to announce that Buy2LetCars have delivered exactly what we set out to do in the Summer of 2012.

We are delighted to be fully engaged in completing the final lump sum payments to the funders who initially backed our business by entrusting us with their hard earned money to start the ball rolling in funding cars.

From now on we will be drawing cheques every month in favour of our investors as we repay them the promised final payment.

Rumman Sohail, our very first client who, having attended one of our presentations looked us in the eye and simply asked, 'If I give you my money, are you going to do what you have just shown me?' The answer was YES! He went on to inform us that this was money he was saving up for his kids' schooling. Mr Sohail works in the banking world in Canary Wharf, the business idea made sense and he backed us, the underdogs at the time. It was such a joy to hand over his final payment and say thank you for believing in us when there was no evidence for you to use as a reference point. We are immensely grateful for that leap of faith.

Scott Martin handing over the final payment to Rumman Sohail

Business owner Nadeem Shokat started with 1 car funded in the summer of 2012. He has now funded additional cars through Buy2LetCars and has received his payments on time every month including his final lump sum payment. Mr Shokat is an entrepreneur supplying very fine doors to high net worth clients through his business. He has recommended friends and family to fund vehicles with Buy2LetCars.

Nadeem being presented with his final payment outside his business in Buckhurst Hill

The past three years has been a roller coaster ride of late nights, hard work, persistence and dogged determination in delivering on what we promised. Thankfully, while we had 'doubting Thomases' in abundance a few people looked us in the eye and gave us a chance to achieve what we set out to do. Thank you, to those clients in 2012 who decided to look at the plan, ask questions and once they were satisfied with the answers, gave us a chance when there was no reference point and the idea was very much then just a concept.

The business was started in a serviced office in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, London. We (Reg & Scott) occupied this address for a few months and our mentor challenged us to move the business to a spare room in my house in Mitcham in October 2012 to save costs. We did this reluctantly kicking and screaming all the way home!

Founders Scott and Reg outside of the Mitcham "Office"

There we built the business, one phone call at a time, one home or office visit at a time and within a few months business was growing and we needed to have a proper office where interested parties on both the funding side and leasing side can pay a visit.

The team swelled from a two-man team to a total of five in 2013, working from the office in West Wickham. Amidst all the negative forum chatter from idle hands who had never dealt with Buy2LetCars and several other obstacles we persevered and a lot more people believed and loved what we were doing, from them getting a fantastic inflation-beating return to approving of the leasing solution we provide to the wider public who are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous dealers and loan shark car finance companies.

Here we formed direct manufacturing relationships with:

Hyundai, Nissan, Vauxhall, Toyota and Mercedes Benz. It was also from here that we formed a very lucrative relationship with Uber (the taxi app firm owned by Google and Goldman Sachs). Today we are the number one supplier of Toyota Prius' to Uber, thanks to our funders who have taken keen interest in funding these Prius'.

High Street Presence in West Wickham Kent.

In January 2015 we moved to our bespoke head office on a beautiful landscaped farm in Godstone Surrey. Staff levels have now grown to 25 during in the first half of 2015.

The Uber relationship has been so lucrative that we have been able to triple our lease income in the first 6 months of 2015, and grows each day as new cars are leased. As this relationship has grown stronger we have now secured a 1.5 acre site in Kent that holds 250 cars, this has enabled us to offer same day service, from application to delivery all within 12 hours! I think you would agree with me this is exemplary for a new car delivery.

Wheels4sure distribution centre in Erith, Kent.

We are also proud of the many accolades, awards and recognition that has been showered on us by doing the right thing.

So regarded by Toyota, as CEO of the business I have just returned from the Frankfurt Motor Show where I was personally invited by them to be their guest and attend the launch of the new Toyota Prius.

Our thanks and gratitude go out to all our clients both on the funding side with Buy2LetCars and the leasing side with Wheels4sure. We are proud to say that since inception our leasing arm has been averaging 96-99% client recommendation, the highest in the industry! Thanks to the funders for providing the cash needed to lease out those cars to the public.

It is with great pride that we are able to say that Buy2LetCars is no longer considered a concept, the business is real and final lump sum payments are being made this month and every following month as we have now firmly entered the three year repayment cycle in full swing.

We are proud to say our funder default rate is 0% and will remain so and our lease portfolio on 1000 cars is performing at 96% timely payments and up to date accounts.

It has been a wonderful walk down memory lane bringing you this update on our journey. The question I would ask you today as you read this, did any of your investments perform at 33% return over the term since 2012? If the answer is no and you want your money to grow at this rate, please contact us today and fund from £14,000 to £25,000 per unit to get your cash motoring at inflation beating returns today!

Is it not time you got your money working harder?

As with all other peer-to-peer companies, lending on Buy2LetCars is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and capital is at risk.


September 24th, 2015

Unbolted is a new peer-to-peer company that lends against assets.  That is not too different than a large number of peer-to-peer companies, but Unbolted is slightly different.  There are two types of loans, one secured against assets (in a similar way to Saving Stream and Funding Secure), but the second - which is unique with the peer-to-peer sector - is loans secured against gold and precious metals.  As well as security of the asset, Unbolted operate a provision fund for all non-gold and previous metals.

The current lending rates are 10.69% AER (10.5% gross) for standard assets and 8.08% AER (8.0% gross) for gold and precious metals for 6 month loans.

Here is a recent press release which explains Unbolted in more details:

Unbolted lends against assets.  These are items that either individuals or small businesses hold that have a resale value.  Everyone is familiar with a mortgage against their property and today, more and more people are realising that other items in their possession also have a value that can be borrowed against.

As long as the potential borrower is a UK resident and has an asset with a resale value, the Unbolted P2P site is open for them. Their credit rating is irrelevant as we lend against the asset.  The advantage for the borrower is the most they can lose (if they fail to pay back the loan) is the asset that they have provided to Unbolted.

The advantage for the lender is that every loan is backed by actual collateral.  That means the lender does not have to depend on Unbolted to assess the credit worthiness of the individual.  If you are a potential lender, the only requirement is again to be a UK resident.

Smart investors know the importance of a diversified portfolio.  Unbolted’s Autolend is our solution to the diversification of risk for the lender.  Of course, Self Selected lending is also available if they want to bid on specific loans.

Therefore, determining the value of the asset to be collateralised is of primary importance.  At Unbolted, we work with carefully selected experts to determine if a “secondary” market exists for an asset.  The best place to determine the value of an item is through an auction process.  As a result, we partner with firms who create or manage an auction process as they have experts who help determine the listing price in the auction.  We use their mid-­range estimate to determine the value of the asset in question.

Unbolted normally lends up to 70% of the mid-­range estimate, and we lend 80% against the actual carat of gold items. We feel this is wise for the borrower and prudent for the lender.

Unbolted uses a simple loan structure and all loans mature in six months unless advised otherwise. All loans are made with standard non-­commercial credit agreements.

We designate loans as Gold Loans or Non-­Gold Loans prior to committing funds, and all lenders of Gold-­Loans become automatic beneficiaries of the Gold Trust (the objective being to ensure that no lender loses money due to a fall in gold prices).

All Non-­Gold loans are protected by the Provision Trust.  Unbolted transfers 1% of the principal of every loan made, out of its Unbolted own fees to the Provision Trust.

All loans are secured against assets that are held in our possession (or in the possession of one of our authorised partners).  As a lender, we will enforce the security and sell it in the event of default.  However, we are in the business of lending and do not make a profit on the sale of any asset, and any surplus is returned to the borrower.

In the unlikely event that a borrower fails to pay back their loan, the lender does not necessarily incur a loss.  The item, which is under the control of Unbolted for the duration of the loan, is then put up for auction and after the item is sold, the funds received (less the charges for selling it by the third party) are used to pay off the outstanding principal and interest.

Unbolted does not accept any fees until the loan principal has been recovered.  We only receive our full fees if the lender receives their full interest and until then, we share in the losses.

The Unbolted P2P platform also guarantees the borrower that his or her loan will be fulfilled.

Unbolted is not dependent on its lenders to determine whether or not it will lend to a borrower.

Unbolted offers some of the best P2P lending rates available anywhere.  Currently, Unbolted is offering lenders 10.5% per annum on non-­gold loans and 8% per annum on loans against gold.

At Unbolted, we think that the risk profile for our lenders is significantly less than compared with other peer-­to-­peer platforms.  If you are a serious investor and believe in diversification, you should consider Unbolted as part of your portfolio of P2P investments.

As with all other peer-to-peer companies, lending on Unbolted is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and capital is at risk.

Funding Circle changes anger some lenders

September 8th, 2015
Funding Circle

Funding Circle's recent announcement has certainly angered some lenders.  A poll we put together on the P2P Independent Forum suggested around 85% of lenders voted that they did not welcome this change.

So what are Funding Circle are going to do?  It has been stated that Funding Circle will remove the auction element, so all loans will become fixed rate, as existing property loans.  Funding Circle will decide the rate, rather than the outcome of the auction.  This has been done so that borrowers know up-front what the interest rate will be, and it will allow Funding Circle to compete with other financial institutions.

Why are some lenders apposed to this change?  With any peer-to-peer auction they will be some lenders that get a higher than average lending rate, and some that will get a lower than average rate, depending on the rate that they bid.  The fixed rates that Funding Circle are proposing are slightly less than the average lending rates over the last few months for the majority of the risk bands.  Some lenders like the ability to perform their own due diligence and bid at a rate that they decide, rather than being told what rate to bid at.

There are a number of peer-to-peer companies that only offer fixed rate loans, so why the fuss?  The answer is most aptly given by a comment on the Funding Circle Forum:

If I want ONLY fixed rates I can easily get 12 pc secured fixed rates without fees on Saving Stream

Some people don't like change.  Some lenders will have made the conscious choice to go to Funding Circle because they offer auctions.

There have been three peer-to-peer companies that have significantly changed their lending model.  The most successful of these is Zopa, which has modified its lending model several times, with the most recent change to replace their previous market model with Safeguard loans.  Unfortunately the other two peer-to-peer companies that significantly changed their lending models are no longer trading anymore.  It could be argued that both companies had flawed business models from the start, which is certainly true of Quakle, but the other company did have a viable lending model at launch.  This company was YES-secure.

What happened to YES-secure?  In April 2012 YES-secure, who had just rebranded themselves as Encash, announced that they were reducing lending rates, effectively capping them at rates below which lenders had lent out previously.  This caused some concern to lenders who stated that they would no longer offer funds at the rates proposed.  The same month loans went unfunded and there was no response from the company to lender's concerns.  Lending virtually ceased after the cap was introduced and the company finally closed in 2014.

Funding Circle aren't YES-secure as they have been infinitely more successful, but we would ask that they pay attention to some of the comments from lenders who are their customers.

Full story »

Funding Circle change lending model

September 2nd, 2015
Funding Circle

Funding Circle, the leading peer-to-business provider in the UK, have announced that it is moving away from the current auction model for unsecured loans.  This will be replaced with a market with fixed rates per risk band per lending term, and lenders will have to choice whether to lend at the prescribed rate or not.  This would operate similar to the fixed rate lending on Funding Circle's secure loans.

Speaking to the P2P money website yesterday, David de Koning - Head of Communications at Funding Circle - explained that Funding Circle are competing with other financial institutions which can specify the interest rate early on, but the current auction system can only provide an interest rate after the auction has finished.  This means that lenders funds can be tied up during the period of an auction, only for a business to reject the rate after the auction has closed.

While virtually all of Funding Circle's previous loans have been funded, the variable has been the interest rate.  The new variable will be if the loan is funded by lenders at the rate specified.  RateSetter remain the only one of the big three UK peer-to-peer companies that allow lenders to set the lending rate.

Below is the statement from Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle:

Since we first launched Funding Circle our goal has been to enable investors to earn attractive, stable returns and to help small businesses access finance quickly at a fair, transparent price.

Recently, we have been reviewing in detail how Funding Circle operates, with a view to providing an improved service for both investors and borrowers. We have found that the current auction model has significant drawbacks, which we believe can be improved to give investors and borrowers a better experience, and ensure the long term sustainability of the marketplace.

After careful consideration we have taken the decision to move to fixed interest rates for all loans within the next month. I appreciate this is a big change, which is why I wanted to write to you today.

What’s the challenge with the auction model?

The auction model has existed since Funding Circle first launched in 2010 - enabling investors to choose the interest rate they wish to earn and the amount of money they wish to lend.

Whilst I know many investors have enjoyed the auction model, there are a number of disadvantages with it:

  • Auctions tie-up investors’ funds: auctions typically last 7 or 14 days. During this time your money is not earning any interest and your bid may be knocked out by a lower rate. This means that investors may bid multiple times during an auction, with no guarantee their bid will be successful.
  • Confusing and complex to understand: many investors tell us they want a simple, easy way to lend their money. Auctions can be confusing and unattractive, especially for new investors.
  • Unattractive to borrowers: many business owners are put off by the lack of certainty around the cost of their loan.

How do fixed interest rate loans work?

Fixed interest rate loans are where Funding Circle sets the rate based on the risk of the loan and all investors achieve the same interest rate. We already operate fixed interest rates for property and asset finance loans.

The interest rate is based according to the risk of the loan, rather than the availability of investor funds. The rate is set before a business is listed and it is published on the marketplace for all investors to see. Rates will be set according to the risk band and the length of the business loan.

By setting the interest rate before a loan is listed on the marketplace, there is no need for the traditional auction. Loans will fund and be accepted by businesses more quickly, meaning your money is working harder for you.

Benefits of fixed interest rate loans

  • Simpler and easier to understand: if you like a business you can bid knowing your offer rate cannot be knocked out by other investors.
  • Your money works harder for you: by giving borrowers certainty of rate we expect businesses to accept their loans faster than they currently do, meaning your money is used more efficiently.
  • More businesses to lend to: certainty of cost means more businesses will apply to Funding Circle, creating more lending opportunities for you.

How will this change affect me?

We believe this move is in the best long-term interest for the Funding Circle marketplace. For the majority of investors, fixed interest rate loans will deliver a better service and higher returns. From our analysis, if the new fixed interest rates had been introduced at the start of last year, 71% of investors would be earning a higher expected return. To help plan for the launch of fixed interest rates, we are releasing the new rates to all investors today. these are attached below.

We have taken this decision in the interests of the majority of our investors and the feedback we have received has been positive. 90% of you have previously told us that you would increase or maintain your investment through Funding Circle if more fixed interest rate loans were introduced.

We recognise, however, there are a group of investors who actively use the auction model to earn above average returns, and who will be unhappy with this news and whose overall return is likely to drop as a result. We hope those affected will still consider that they can earn an attractive return at Funding Circle and continue to lend through the platform.

How can I provide feedback?

This is a significant change to how Funding Circle operates. We want to be open with all investors and provide the opportunity to ask questions before we make this change.

Below are details about how you can be involved in the process:

  • Investor evening: this will be held on 17 September and primarily focused on questions about fixed interest rate loans.
  • Webinars: we will be hosting regular webinars to answer your questions. We will provide further information about these on the blog, forum and in your weekly email newsletter.
  • Written feedback: investors can provide written feedback, found at our fixed interest rate webpage at

If you would like to join any part of this process, please email us at [email protected].

This is a big, but necessary, move to continue to build Funding Circle into a successful, mainstream business. I hope this letter provides you with further information behind this important change and we look forward to answering any questions you have.

Yours sincerely

Samir Desai

CEO and co-founder, Funding Circle

Funding Circle will be having another investor evening on the 17th September which will be focused on these changes, so lenders can quiz the company in detail.

Saving Stream offers "prefunding"

August 20th, 2015
Saving Stream

Saving Stream have launched auto-lending which they are referring to as "prefunding".

Here is the email which has been sent to all lenders:

We have a situation (a nice one we think) where demand is simply outstripping supply. There are a number of potential resolutions to this - control supply or the demand. We could either strip our margin by offering cheaper rates in the market or strip the rate that we pay to our investors. Neither of which are appealing.

If we strip our margin, this leaves the platform at risk in terms of covering any shortfalls and short of operating capital. However, by lowering our rates and increasing the number of loans we would maintain our strong operating capital, but risk/reward per loan needs to be considered from a strategic point of view. The other potential option that has been discussed is dropping the rates from 1% per month to our SS investors. We simply don't think this is plausible at the moment and we are trying to increase the number of SS investors significantly in order to scale the business so don’t expect that for the foreseeable.

We have a pipeline of over £7m at the moment, with more each day coming through. We are only advertising to a select few brokers and are only accessing a small slice of the potential market. We would also rather not do any loans, than do bad loans as we have said repeatedly.

So, how do we make everyone as happy as possible whilst maintaining as close to the KISS principle as we have tried to do so far?

Our solution for now is the pre-funding option which can be found under your 'Account' settings.

The Pre-funding Option


We want to give as many people the chance to invest as possible so we will provide an option to buy in before the loan goes live up to a self-determined limit. We want the smaller investors to be guaranteed a position in every loan, and the deeper pocketed investors will also participate at the same amount as everyone else. If there is spare capacity, the larger investors will pick this up subject to their pre-set investment levels.

This will also help us know how much is potentially available to lend out. This has been a continual problem that we just don’t know the exact appetite for our loan products and thus limits the number of loans that we can make.

How pre-funding will work?

1) Set your limit to invest in each new loan.
2) When a new loan becomes available, you will be guaranteed at least a portion of your investment amount if not all, depending on the loan size.
3) You will be notified of your participation and are expected to follow up with a bank transfer, much in the same way as normal.
4) You can sell your loan if you want.

Potentially complicated numbers stuff coming up…

For example  - you set your limit to £1k. There are 400 people who have the same limit and 40 with a limit of £10k. A loan of £1m is launched. All 440 people will get £1k (£400k total) and the 40 people with higher limits will get an additional £9k each in the surplus thus they get £10k in total. The remaining availability will go to the market and can be bought by whoever wants it.

It will become complicated when the loan is less than the amount in the Pre-Fund pot i.e £500k loan, 400 people with £1k, and 40 with £10k. Again, all 440 people will get £1k leaving £60k to divide by the 40 which is an additional £1.5k each, giving a total investment of £2.5k for those investors who set their limit higher.

Those investors with higher limits might be disappointed that they didn't get their full allocation, but they should be happy that they have participated in an equitable distribution model which should assist with the growth and opportunities available. The next loan might be able to take all of their demand plus more.

You won’t be able to review the loan parts or valuation beforehand (yet) but the secondary market is incredibly liquid and we are confident of the ability to sell your position if required.

Saving Stream prefunding

We hope this new equitable distribution model will allow all our investors a fair chance at participating in new loans.

Thank you for investing in Saving Stream.

Kind regards,

The Saving Stream Team