FOLK2FOLK has said that it intends to work more with brokers as it looks to continue its local lending push.
The comment comes after FOLK2FOLK revealed that it had surpassed £250m in lending to small businesses across a variety of sectors – including agriculture, alternative energy, leisure and tourism, hospitality and property development – to grow, diversify or refinance. Speaking to Bridging & Commercial, Giles Cross, CEO at the Cornwall-based P2P lender (pictured above), explained the company’s upcoming plans and how it intended to maintain its focus on lending to local companies.“Our model has been based on working with solicitors to source lending projects, but the market has matured and we have woken up to the broker market.
“We like to form partnerships with those deep rooted within the local community to ensure we find the right projects to fund.
“Previously, small, local businesses would go to their bank manager whenever they needed finance, but brokers have become the new bank managers.
“We are, therefore, looking to build relationships with good local brokers as we see that as essential for our plans, but we also want to continue to attract borrowers from previous channels through solicitors and word of mouth.
“All are really important, and we don’t want to rely on one source of business.”
Giles added that after its strong expansion with the creation of branches and entering into new lending areas, such as Yorkshire, he has spent a lot of time working on the best way to continue its growth.
“I want us to expand from Cornwall and have a staggered growth.
“We hope to build our position in neighbouring counties, such as Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire, before we go further in the UK.
“Building that base with local businesses and forming local partnerships is key and will leave us in a better position to grow.
“We also want to tidy up our products and improve those not just for our borrowers, but for our lenders as well.”
Finally, Giles looked at how FOLKONOMICS was key to its business plans and how he wanted to continue to support the UK’s rural community.
“We are targeting the rural areas, which are under-served by the traditional lenders.
“The UK is a nation of entrepreneurs and local businesses.
“Our aim is to get local people investing and using local businesses, which will create amenities and jobs for the local communities.
“This model will enable these communities to thrive at a time when a lot of focus is on the major cities.”
Article written by Tom Belger. Image and article first appeared in Bridging & Commercial on October 16th 2018.