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|Industry||Financial technology, Peer-to-peer lending|
|Headquarters||Launceston, Cornwall, UK|
|Giles Cross, CEO Tim Sawyer, Executive Chairman|
Commercial and industrial loan
FOLK2FOLK is a peer-to-peer business lender (P2P) specialising in secured lending for rural businesses and SMEs. It matches businesses looking for finance with local Lenders who receive a fixed interest rate of 6.5% p.a secured against UK property. Lenders receive the same interest rate that the Borrower pays, with FOLK2FOLK making its profit from an arrangement fee and annual renewal fee charged to Borrowers.
Formed in 2013, FOLK2FOLK exists to help create and sustain financially and socially successful local communities, empowering local businesses requiring debt finance by matching them directly with investors through its Peer-to-Peer lending platform. FOLK2FOLK enables Lenders to participate in supporting local UK businesses to grow and thrive driving positive impacts in local communities, creating job opportunities and contributing to the UK economy.
The company's Chief Executive Officer is Giles Cross who was appointed to lead the business in January 2018 after joining as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017. FOLK2FOLK's chairman is Tim Sawyer, Chief Investment Officer of Innovate UK former CEO of Start Up UK. Sawyer took over as executive chairman in September 2017 after then Chief Executive Officer, Jane Dumeresque appointed in 2015, departed the company over differences about growth strategies.
FOLK2FOLK borrowers come from diverse industries including renewable energy, property development, agriculture, hospitality, leisure and tourism facilities and land and property acquisition.
After its first year in business (April 2014), FOLK2FOLK had secured £22m in loans.
By March 2015, FOLK2FOLK had introduced almost £50m of funding to borrowers predominantly in Cornwall and Devon.
By November 2015, it had introduced over £75 million of funding from its lenders.
In June 2016 the company had passed the £100m milestone of loans funded.
In August 2016, it had secured £107m worth of loans.
By August 2017 it had secured £176m in loans.
By October 2018 it had secured £250m in loans.
In August 2015, the firm introduced funding to kick start a mixed-use development project that will help facilitate infrastructure for Cornwall's 6,000-seat sports stadium.
In January, 2016, the company announced the creation of a ‘legal panel’ to support its national roll-out strategy. This national network of local law firms carries out the legal work necessary to complete loans in their locality and provides FOLK2FOLK with local knowledge as part of the security process.
In February 2016, it looked to place shares in the value of £3.5m. The offer consisted of £1.5m in new shares and £2m in shares offered by the founders.
According to Altfi Data: “FOLK2FOLK has seen year-on-year growth of 433% from August 2015 which compares favorably to the 60% growth of UK P2P (peer-to-peer) business lenders over the same time frame.”
In August 2016, FOLK2FOLK moved into their new national headquarters at Number One, Launceston.
In August 2016, FOLK2FOLK pledge support to the Save the High Street campaign.
In January 2018, FOLK2FOLK launched The Local Lending Movement and FOLKONOMICS.
In 2015, FOLK2FOLK was named Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses by news site, AltFi. An independent panel of industry experts and SMEs at the AltFi Awards 2015 said FOLK2FOLK had “excellent fundamentals, strong values, good customer engagement and clear transparency of fees”. The judges of also highlighted that FOLK2FOLK's high street offices, which provide an opportunity for face-to-face meetings, was a “key advantage” for its customers, adding: “this kind of access cannot be underestimated or undervalued”.
In 2017 FOLK2FOLK was named Small Business of the Year by Western Morning News in its Business Awards
In 2018 FOLK2FOLK was announced 'Alternative Finance Provider of the Year' at the Dealmakers awards
How it Works
FOLK2FOLK introduces people with at least £20,000 to invest to businesses looking for finance of at least £50,000. The company requires loans to be secured by land or property owned by the borrower but not the borrower’s home. Lenders are high net worth individuals often located in the same county as the borrower.
It aims to enable businesses to access finance in weeks not months.
This model of allowing people in business to access interest-only funds (and an opportunity for people to lend within their local area) is said to have helped mobilise money in the countryside and re-energized many small businesses that would have otherwise lacked the necessary investment to develop.
According to one lender, it’s a “virtually guaranteed, very low risk lending proposition with a superb rate of return which can’t be beaten by any deposit account”. For borrowers, the interest rates will be the same or slightly higher than from a bank, but, according to one borrower, the speed, flexibility and interest-only repayment make up for it.
FOLK2FOLK promotes itself as a hyper-local lender based on “traditional values” and a simple, “back-to-basics” way of funding local people and businesses. The company has supported local businesses and injected millions of pounds through investments. FOLK2FOLK reports that approximately 75% of investors are repeat lenders.
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