Lending isn’t a new concept. The practice of lending within local communities has endured centuries because it rests on trust and a shared belief in the strength of common bonds.

The practice of credit being given and credit being received is an age old tradition and ranges from bartering and the exchange of goods through to the more formal arrangement of private mortgages. 

Private mortgages used to play an important role in the local exchange of money.  People with money lent to others in their local community who needed it and the local solicitor would document it, and generally administer the arrangement. Solicitors ensured a fair deal and got reputations for being honest brokers to this arrangement.

Keeping it in the community

Like many law firms, Launceston-based Parnalls Solicitors were involved in introducing private mortgages within their local community, maintaining a Private Mortgage Book in excess of £10 million. Typically customers were local wealthy farmers and landowners lending money to aspiring farmers with the intention of keeping the money within the community rather than through a mainstream bank. As an adjunct to that business, Parnalls had developed a leading Building Society agency with the Bradford & Bingley Building Society which became the longest serving Bradford & Bingley agency lasting until it was absorbed by Santander, who decided to close their agencies in 2012. 

Modern take on Private Mortgages

In 2012 when people were still feeling the aftershocks of the credit crunch, interest rates for savers were at rock bottom and small businesses were finding it hard to access funds, Mark Parnall and Louis Mathers, partners of Parnalls solicitors, spotted an opportunity to return to the principles of local lending within the community.

Dissatisfaction fueled demand for a simpler, traditional lending between borrowers and lenders.  Mark and Louis could see that people wanted a solution built around Borrower and Lender needs, rather than one that dictated to them.  And so Folk2Folk was conceived.  Born out of community need and formed from the original spirit of private mortgages.


1647First record of a private mortgage involving legal practice that later became Parnalls
1959Bradford & Bingley Agency set up by Parnalls (Bradford & Bingley was later bought by Santander)
Mid 2012Concept of Folk2Folk formed by the majority shareholders of Parnalls Solicitors
Nov 2012Santander closed agency
Feb 2013Folk2Folk was launched from the old agency premises
Chairman appointed (Tim Sawyer)
Apr 2014Folk2Folk obtained interim P2P licence
Nov 2014Opened four Folk2Folk agencies
Mar 2015CEO appointed (Jane Dumeresque)
Nov 2015Won AltFi award for Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses
Jan 2016Launched national Legal Panel
Apr 2016Achieved £100 million milestone
Aug 2016Opened new national headquarters in Cornwall
Nov 2016Opened new branch in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire


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Customer Stories

  • Richard's Story - Borrower

    "Sharp & Tappin is a precision engineering company and has been going for 11 years. The business has two parts: one is onboard cameras for ships and the other is composite blade saws...
  • Jim’s Story - Lender

    "I started my working life as a pilot in the Royal Air Force and after a 10 year commission I went to work in a building society which had a business arrangement with Parnalls solicitors who...
  • Pam's Story - Borrower

    "In 2009, I, together with my husband Robert and daughter Robyn, bought a pub which I had previously owned with my husband and sister in law and brother in law and sold in 2001. Since then it...
  • Nick's Story - Borrower

    Originally I was a farmer, but after Foot and Mouth affected us we had to diversify and Folk2Folk have enabled me to do this.  

    I have borrowed money through Folk2Folk since they began and...
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