Multi-award-winning Cornish peer-to-peer lending company FOLK2FOLK has been announced as Alternative Finance Provider of the Year 2018 at the recent Insider South West Dealmakers Awards, held in Bristol. The independent panel of judges agreed unanimously on FOLK2FOLK as the stand-out winner amongst stiff and worthy competition, having arranged £78m of lending across 228 loans in the South West during the preceding 12 months.
This award completes a hugely successful 6 months for the Launceston based company, a period which has seen them recognised as, not only Western Morning News Small Business of the Year at the end of 2017, but also as Best UK Multi-Channel business at the national Small Awards in May.
Giles Cross (CEO: FOLK2FOLK) was asked at the event “What’s happening at FOLK2FOLK? You seem to suddenly be winning lots of awards. What’s the secret?”. His answer was as follows:
“We do seem to be doing well at the moment and it’s a ride that we’re certainly enjoying; but I don’t think that there’s any great secret behind it. Any success we’re having is, I believe, based on two simple things: Firstly, I hope we work really hard for our customers, delivering a great return for our Lenders, many of whom are retired and are using the 6.5% p.a. interest rate to bolster their income and lifestyle and for our Borrowers, providing simple, access to the funding they need to grow, develop, diversify and meet their business goals. We always talk about the value of fair exchange. I think we deliver that and the outcomes we’re creating are sometimes life changing. Secondly, I think our message is a strong one. That by working collaboratively with our Lenders, our Borrowers, our banking, legal and accountancy partners, indeed all rural stakeholders, we’re building a national Local Lending Movement that’s helping to create financially and socially successful rural communities across the country. It’s something real and tangible that people can believe in and support; and it’s making a real, on-the-ground difference.
We’re enjoying our journey and it’s nice to be increasingly recognised outside of Cornwall; but we never forget our roots or where we came from. We’re a Cornish business, we’re based in Cornwall, we employ Cornish people and the foundations of our business sit in the county. Any and every success we enjoy is owed to those factors and, of course, to the support of our customers and shareholders.”
FOLK2FOLK was founded in 2013 and is the brainchild of Cornish solicitors Mark Parnall and Louis Mathers. The platform seeks to introduce local, rural businesses looking to borrow money to further their business ambitions to individual investors – “Lenders” who are seeking a higher rate of interest on their capital. So far, FOLK2FOLK has arranged lending in excess of £230m to UK businesses, helping businesses such as farms, hotels, golf clubs, restaurants and food and drink producers fund a wide range of projects from property development to diversification into leisure, tourism and alternative energy, improvements in automation succession planning; and with all lending secured against land and property, the company can still report zero losses to Lenders*.
*Zero losses refers to the past and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.