Investing is always associated with risk. There are no 100% safe investments. An investor always looks to balance the acceptable level of risk with potential reward. Some are willing to bet on EUR/GBP exchange rate fluctuations in the face of Brexit with 20x leverage on some retail Forex platform, while others are so risk-averse that they choose to lend to Germany, while Germany 2-year bonds are still providing negative returns of -0.6%.
The rule of thumb has not changed, though – the higher the risk, the higher the expected return. However, the returns, in case of lending would be hypothetical as riskier investments will have a higher probability of default, thus bringing the overall net return down. While Germany has its risk rating at AAA (default risk too small to understand – 0.00003% in one-year period or 0.00550% in 10-year period) or has its creditworthiness even as high as 100 out of 100 (the latest rating by Trading Economics), we expect that any amount lent to Germany will be returned as promised – no real risk for an investor.
A more riskier option is investing on Peer-2-Peer or Peer-2-Business platforms with considerably higher returns. P2P or P2B solutions offer a possibility for an investor to directly lend to an individual or business that needs funding. Such solutions offer returns somewhere in the range from 5% on Funding Circle (Conservative lending option) and Debitum Network 7.3% to around 12% on Mintos (average historical return). Then, there are platforms like Bondora that offer an average interest rate of 32.5%, while the average net return is only 10.1% with 1 out of 5 investors losing money. The latter illustrates the point of a need for safer investments perfectly; as potential returns increase, so does the risk of losing one’s investment.
Safety is one of the key values at Debitum Network. When we started creating our platform, safety of investors’ funds was at the heart of it. Therefore, we chose to concentrate on loans to businesses, which have a much higher chance of repaying the loan rather lending to individuals. That allows Debitum Network to offer investment in business loans with average annual interest of 7-8%.
Let’s compare other details than interest rate for an average business loan currently available on the solutions mentioned earlier – Funding Circle, Mintos, and our own Debitum Network:
Businesses will hardly ever borrow at high interest rates that some of the Peer-2-Peer lending platforms offer. Nor will they offer extra guarantees and take risks ruining their businesses borrowing at 15-20% annually. Thus, platforms charging over 10% interest on loans will be much riskier for investors and likely attract more private individuals than businesses to borrow from. Debitum Network aims to satisfy business needs to borrow at affordable rates, as well as investors’ needs to have their invested capital safe. Which brings us to our initial position of lending exclusively to companies and at reasonable interest rates of 7-8%.
In addition to what has been said, here are a few principles, which we believe makes lending to businesses on our platform safer:
Professional risk assessors
Third party services such as risk assessment single us out from other P2B platforms out there. Local professional service providers know local business specifics and therefore are better able to evaluate companies applying for a loan with much better precision than any generic risk scoring algorithm done by a single loan originator or platform itself. For Lithuanian market, Debitum Network uses Scorify, whose credit score rating system GoScore has been used to issue over 380’000 ratings. It ensures higher professional standard and more precise credit score available for a user to make a better informed investment decision.
Borrowers on our platform are well established SMEs and only loans handpicked by experienced loan originators such as Debifo and scored above the minimal needed credit score by independent risk assessors are placed on our platform. So far, the companies that borrow on Debitum Network platform have been in business for 9 years on average and they have borrowed and repaid the loans before. Longevity surely means better safety! Most current available assets are invoice financing loans with final payers of these invoices are mostly large companies with average revenue of 700 million EUR. They have been in business for decades and are considered key players in the economic areas of wholesale, manufacturing, logistics, and services. As the companies that actually ensure money inflow to pay back the loan are handpicked and truly strong in their respective sector and region, the risk for a loan not to be repaid and investor losing the money is reduced.
Each available loan on our platform is backed by an asset as a collateral – be it assets receivable (approved invoice for goods or services sold), variable asset (trucks, equipment and other) or fixed asset (real estate property). Often, there are also additional guarantees from company’s shareholders or another partner company’s guarantee. Moreover, our loan originators (brokers) have started offering a “buy back” of a loan being late more than 90 days. However, to make sure they can execute such an offer – we request them to put funds aside in a reserve fund as well as provide certain financial covenants towards Debitum Network.
For many investors returns of 7-8% per annum sound really great and this is exactly what Debitum Network provides. Of course, there are ways to try earning more; however, one should always remember that in the world of investment, any type of return is associated with a certain level of risk.
As described, we, at Debitum Network work hard to ensure additional safeguards for your investment, so you can lend to businesses and earn returns with fewer worries. We believe that a loan with independent and professional 3rd party credit score and at least a few levels of payback safeguards (collateral from the business, it’s related entities and a broker that is sourcing the loan) is worth funding. Would you agree?
Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.