Since opening our doors back in 2014, we’ve always prided ourselves on living and breathing two key principles at Lending Works: innovation, and putting the customer first in everything we do.
Lending Works turns four!
It all started one rainy Sunday morning in a small Farringdon office back in January 2014. After nearly 18 months of blood, sweat and tears on the part of our CEO and CFO, the Lending Works dream became a reality. A back-of-the-envelope idea had evolved, and now officially launched as a living, breathing company.
At that time, the concept of peer-to-peer lending in the UK was still very much in its infancy. Yet the 48 months since have seen it gather momentum at breakneck speed, and one of the driving forces of the sector’s march towards the financial services mainstream in this country has been its third-biggest consumer lending platform.
Reflecting on Lending Works’ journey
As we (briefly) stop to celebrate our fourth birthday this week, we also look back with pride on what we’ve achieved. However, while unrelenting progress is a common denominator across each of Lending Works’ four years, it is interesting to note the distinctions between them.
The first year was one where we successfully established our brand. Preaching fairness to the customer was hardly novel within UK finance services. But consistently delivering it certainly was, and by focusing on customer service, and ensuring that each transaction, user journey, or even phonecall was handled with the best interests of lenders and borrowers at heart, our brand credibility quickly began to flourish.
Such solid foundations paved the way for a very successful second year in 2015, as Lending Works enjoyed threefold growth, facilitating over £15 million in loans over the 12-month period. It was also our first dalliance with the Moneywise Customer Service Awards – the Oscars of UK personal finance, and ones which saw us confirmed as the runner up in the ‘Most Trusted Personal Loan Provider’ category.
Our third year saw us shift the focus slightly away from the numbers, as we looked to strengthen our team, bringing in industry experts in compliance and data science. The former helped to ensure that we became the first P2PFA member to be fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, while the latter – among many other things - enabled us to optimise customer journeys. This was further augmented by the launch of our new-look website in late 2016; one which our users still benefit from today.
Then came 2017: a year which many businesses around Britain were affected by economic uncertainty, and may well have been happy to see the back of. However, for Lending Works, it was one which was unequivocally a success. Writing nearly £50 million in loans. Unveiling cutting-edge new partnerships. Unlocking new channels of loan origination. Launching our new ISA (again, the first P2PFA member to do so). Innovative new technologies to expedite and further secure the loan application process. Numerous milestones and awards.
Our fourth year had it all, and a whole lot more.
A look to the future, and a tribute to our customers
Yet while we are proud of all that we’ve achieved, we’re even more excited about what the future holds – both for the year ahead and beyond.
Our ever-expanding team of experts keep their eyes on many moving targets each day. In 2017, we placed a lot of emphasis on attracting creditworthy borrowers to our platform and ensuring that they benefited from a genuinely efficient, world-class customer journey. Such is the interconnectedness of the peer-to-peer lending ecosystem that, what’s good for borrowers, is good for lenders too. By bringing in streams of prime loan applicants, lender queues got shorter, and the upward pressure was put on returns – this at a time when savings rates, by comparison, remained utterly derisory.
Yet 2018 will see us put some serious elbow grease into ensuring that our lenders – both existing and prospective - enjoy the best possible experience when using the Lending Works platform. We have a number of exciting projects in this respect lined up for the year ahead; ones which we will unveil in due course. This focus, coupled with many other initiatives across the business, leave us brimming with confidence that 2018 will be the best yet.
Beyond that, we’ll be looking to fulfil our wider ambitions as a company. Our impressive figures to date (over £85 million has now been lent between a total of nearly 20,000 satisfied customers) provide a tremendous launchpad upon which to grow our platform, and we expect these numbers to swell exponentially in the years to come.
But the pursuit of aggressive growth within a blossoming industry will never be at the expense of the values and practices which have allowed us to get to this point. After all, without our customers, there would be no Lending Works. So, as we celebrate birthday number four, we’d like to extend a big thank you to all our borrowers and lenders, and also to once again reaffirm our most sincere promise: we will always put you, the customer, first.
Our website offers information about saving, investing, tax and other financial matters, but not personal advice. If you're not sure whether peer-to-peer lending is right for you, please seek independent financial advice, and if you decide to invest with Lending Works, please read our Key Lender Information PDF first.
With the retail sector enduring its fair share of challenges, companies are looking at new ways to attract customers, and drive conversion. In an overcrowded, dog-eat-dog marketplace, with behemoths such as Amazon flexing their muscle, it’s easier said than done.
On 4 June 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released its new regulatory framework for peer-to-peer lending (P2P); a Policy Statement known as PS19/14. As you might imagine, it's a document which, following a three-month consultation, is a hefty read of no fewer than 102 pages.
For all the resilience the UK economy has shown, there is no doubt that this year's ISA season is set against a backdrop of uncertainty. Whatever the pros and cons, Brexit, and a lack of clarity on what our future economic relationship with the EU will look like, has left us at a crossroads.
In a difficult climate, customer acquisition and lead generation present stern challenges for UK retailers, and a great deal of marketing spend invariably gets directed towards getting feet through the door.
Over the last decade, there can be little dispute that the reputation of mainstream banks – and particularly the so-called ‘Big Four’ (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS) – is at its lowest ebb.
The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The regulatory framework has been designed to protect customers and promote effective competition.
In recent years, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the UK budget deficit beat expectations each month. Indeed, as recently as January, there was actually a surplus (ie: the level of tax revenue received by the Exchequer exceeded the total spent by the Government on everyday costs such as welfare and public services) – the largest on record for the month of January.
The financial crisis is a bitter memory of what can go wrong when regulators lose control of markets. It seems hard to fathom now, but a little over a decade ago, buyers could acquire mortgages to the tune of 125 per cent of the home’s value (the Northern Rock Together mortgage being one of the most infamous), with only the most lax affordability checks standing in their way.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis back in 2008/09, the Bank of England (BoE) had considerable headroom in terms of monetary policy, and - rightly - it made full use of it.