IsePankur, the Estonian peer-to-peer lending site, has now opened their platform so that anyone in the EU, can invest in Estonian private loans.
“We have worked for nearly two years to establish a legal and operational framework that allows anyone across the world to invest on isePankur," said Pärtel Tomberg CEO of isePankur. "This international diversification is unique to us compared to other peer-to-peer lending services as it allows investors to benefit from the different interest rates across the Eurozone. Additionally this will be the first time that private investors can invest directly in Estonia without committing large amounts of money”.
The last time we wrote about isePankur, they whitelabeled their platform for other entrepreneurs to use. Currently they've got whitelabeled services up and running in South Africa, for instance, but through their talks they've become more convinced there is the need for a Pan European or even global solution for lending.
isePankur CEO Pärtel Tomberg tells us that while they've established a strong footing in Estonia's consumer loans sector, for growth they're exploring possible niches, such as business loans or a hybrid, that would make sense for each region. Rather than spreading out under different branding, Tomberg believes they will have the highest competitive advantage if they have a single product under one brand name to ensure a universal customer service.
But as it is, the peer lending site runs through background check on each applicant, including income & employment verification, credit check, cash-flow analysis. This cuts down on the number of bad debts, and on top of that if the loan is overdue for more than 60 days, isePankur takes the applicant to court on its own expense. The debt collection process can also be monitored by investors.
The average loan size through isePankur is €567, and the purpose is pretty varied. Redecorating, loan consolidation, and Transportation are the big categories, as well as the "Other" category that makes up 29% of all loans issued.
I'm about to throw a lot of numbers at you, which you can see presented better for yourself on their statistics page. But hopefully you'll find it as interesting as I do.
To date 2 573 loans have been issued with the average loan size of €567. Making up those loans, 896 Estonian investors have issued a total of €1 459 774.5 through 86 194 individual investments - making the average investment around €33.
The minimum investment amount is €5, which means you don't necessarily have to risk a lot by investing. But there are potential gains - over the past two years, the average annual return on investment has been 18.07%... not including bad debts. The expected annual net return on investment is 15.25%, which isn't bad. Unsecured commercial loans in Estonia run 37% p.a., meaning that investors and borrowers stand to gain through peer-to-peer lending.
I was suspicious if social lending would ever take off, but over the past three years isePankur seems to have become a success story. In 2011, isePankur itself saw a 56% profit margin with a net income of €118,804.