Andris Rozenbahs, COO of Viventor

Oskar:  Who are the founders of Viventor and what are their professional backgrounds? 

Andris: I am one of the co-founders of Viventor. I have been working in the fields of non-bank lending and real estate underwriting for more than 10 years now, so it would be safe to say I have quite a bit of experience in the areas Viventor is operating within. Along with my business partners, we have always believed the financing model used by majority of the banks is too old and inefficient, so we have relentlessly challenged the old model, and are set to keeping our approach that way.

Oskar:  Please share the history of how Viventor was launched as a P2P lending platform.

For almost four years already, a part of our group has been working in Spanish non-bank lending market, offering a wide range of products. During this time, a very strong basis for loan origination has been established, and the group was looking for potential ways of taking the lending volumes, as well as operations to the next level. Cooperating with an existing peer-to-peer platform or founding our own marketplace were always amongst the most feasible options, and the decision was made in favor of the latter. 

Oskar: What distinguishes your platform from other P2P lending platforms?

The investment opportunities we offer are of the highest quality. All of the loans are secured against real estate mortgages, carrying minimal levels of risk. The average LTV (loan-to-value) is below 30%, making these types of deals a very safe bet. Besides, all the loans come with Buyback Guarantee – if repayments are delayed by 60 days, the loan originator will buy back the delinquent investments.

We don’t advocate fairytale returns. The average return is 6.82% per annum fixed. However, if you compare it to the rates offered on bank deposits, peer-to-peer lending returns in such mature markets as USA and the UK, and keep in mind that our loans are secured – it is a rather good deal, isn’t it? Besides, it is fixed return which means steady interest all the way through the loan term, not declining payments.

We want to provide access to quality investment opportunities to investors from all over Europe. Currently, the platform is available in four languages and more than 30 countries, and this is just the beginning. 

Oskar: Who are your typical borrowers?

Viventor does not originate loans itself. If we speak about the loan originators currently offering their loans on the platform, then those are mostly issued for the purpose of business expansion taking real estate as collateral. As the loan originators‘ experience shows, a fair share of the borrowers use their loans as bridging finance, and refinance to other creditors after a couple of years, when they are able to meet more strict requirements, and thus pay lower interest rate on their debt.

A number of new products are in our pipeline as well, with borrowers of completely different type.

Oskar: Who are your typical investors?

At the moment, our typical investors can be split into three groups:

  • First, those are investors seeking for safe and sound investment opportunities that are very reliable in terms of sticking to schedule and generating stable monthly cash flow.
  • Second, those are investors diversifying their investments between various platforms. If we compare to other alternatives on the market, such as investing in short-term payday loans, the loans listed on Viventor are much less volatile.
  • Third, those are investors testing Viventor out, and then committing more considerable amounts later on.

Although we are a relatively new platform, there are several institutional investors showing interest in investing through Viventor already, which is also a good sign of our offer reliability.

Oskar:What is the typical investment amount?

The minimum amount to open an account is 50 EUR, and we have quite a few investors that have invested such amount. However, there are also investors committing much larger amounts, the average amount being around few thousand.

If we speak about investment per loan, then it is obviously much smaller, since investors are diversifying their portfolios, which we always encourage to do. We also have AutoInvest tool in place for this purpose so that our custom-built system helps investors diversify their investments within the platform.

Oskar:What is the typical loan size?

Currently, the loan sizes vary between EUR 5’000 and EUR 300’000, the average loan being slightly above EUR 60’000. All the loans are 100% pre-funded, and loan originators keep 5% stake at the very least in every single deal. Thus, investors are only investing into already screened and verified borrowers. 

Oskar: What is your underwriting criteria? Who performs your underwriting?

Loan originators perform the underwriting themselves. In the case of loans currently listed on Viventor, the underwriting is rather strict. Every single borrower’s liquidity and ability to repay the loan is carefully evaluated. Reputable appraisers conduct valuations of all the underlying properties, you can see the appraisers name and website beside every loan offered. Location is another criteria – only properties allocated in certain regions are accepted. And, as already mentioned, LTV is another significant criterion – none of the loans listed have the LTV ratio higher than 50%.

Oskar: What is the main revenue stream for the Viventor marketplace?

Currently, we are not charging any commissions from investors, which is a common practice for new platforms. Of course, this might change some time in the future, but certainly not in the nearest future.

We are also planning to launch new products and onboard new loan originators that would generate revenue for Viventor.

Oskar: When will the secondary market be introduced?

Secondary Market is coming very soon. It is one of our priorities and we work hard to launch it during January.

Oskar: Do you plan further expansion into other countries?

Regarding investor side – currently, our focus is to serve an increasing amount of investors in the Europe.

If we look at the loan originator side – we are certainly looking to onboard various new products from a number of new markets.

Stay tuned! We have quite a few things planned for 2016 and beyond! 

Oskar: Where do you see the future of P2P-Lending in Europe?

Development of the legal framework and regulation in most European countries is a crucial thing. If we look at the pace the peer-to-peer lending is developing – it is not a question of „if“, but „when“ for sure.

Another thing is the interest rates coming down eventually. Of course, there are attractive (and risky) offers for investors from payday lenders, but high double-digit interest is not sustainable in my opinion. If we turn to offer payday loans to investors on Viventor, we will make sure they come from reputable lender who has long-term experience in lending, otherwise there is just too much risk for investors.

Last but not least, certain measures for ensuring transparency have to be taken. While some platforms are very good at this already, in some other cases the information available for investors is very limited.

Oskar: Thanks a lot!