Stephen Findlay

Exclusive: BondMason to increase bridging funding appetite

Peer-to-peer (P2P) service provider BondMason aims to expand its lending through bridging lenders in 2017, with over half of investment expected to be through non-P2P platforms.

The news follows a surge in demand for bridging finance in the final quarter of 2016, with the total lending figure for the year standing at £2.83bn.

BondMason enables retail and institutional investors to invest sums from £1,000 across a minimum of 50 loans through a panel of lenders it has approved after conducting detailed due diligence.

The data-driven service has reviewed 80 P2P platforms to date and is currently working with 21 of them.

However, throughout 2016, BondMason widened its relationships beyond P2P lending platforms and increasingly worked with specialist lenders – including those in the bridging market – and it doesn’t expect this to stop.

“Specialist finance lenders typically have been in operation for a number of years and can demonstrate the required credit experience as well as good relationships with brokers and their existing client base – making them well placed for approval on to our panel of lenders,” said Stephen Findlay, CEO of BondMason.

“Investors like the secure nature of asset-backed and property lending that specialist lenders and bridging finance providers typically offer.

“Also, for the clients of BondMason they like to be able to access (through BondMason) returns from lending opportunities that they can't readily access themselves.”

Stephen added that while the bridging market has seen more competition from P2P lenders, it was mostly “around the edges”.

“Some of these newer operators are well placed for the long term, but a good many are also likely to exit over the next three to five years as the P2P lending market continues to mature and see its flight-to-quality.

“We expect the non-bank funded bridging finance market to be very healthy for lenders – mainstream banks are unlikely to increase activity here, and the development market is likely to remain strong as investors continue to search for returns, despite changes in taxation and legislation.

“We are keen advocates of bridging finance lending and are keen to support the existing lenders in the marketplace by providing capital for their opportunities.”

BondMason currently attracts 460 investors who are all able to view brief information on the loans they have invested in.

Investments are diversified over peer-to-peer and specialist loans.

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