Proplend is an online marketplace for secured commercial lending and mortgages, where all the loans are supported by a registered legal first charge on a UK income producing commercial property.
Proplend was founded in 2014 in response to the fallout of the 2008 banking crisis. On one hand bank interest rates fell to and have remained at historic lows depriving cash rich individuals and institutions of much needed low risk income. On the other hand banks who had previously been very active in property lending had either disappeared or pulled out of the market.
The sector of the market worst hit was sub £5m commercial lending where there is a staggering £50 billion of existing debt that requires to be refinanced over the next 3-5 years. This is currently being serviced by around a dozen active lenders only.
Proplend makes it possible for interest rates being offered by borrowers to be earned directly by investors (‘Lenders’), circumventing the traditional banking system and creating a new asset class – ‘Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending’. This was the first time that private individuals and institutions had been offered direct access to commercial real estate lending opportunities. Creditworthy borrowers gained access to funding that may not otherwise have been available, Proplend Lenders getting the opportunity to earn risk-adjusted monthly income.
To date, Proplend’s platform has facilitated over £20m of peer to peer loans and in February 2017, received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Proplend was subsequently granted ISA Manager status by HMRC and soon made its loan investments available to existing customers through the Proplend Innovative Finance ISA. Tax-free fixed income will be available to all through the IFISA in the coming weeks.