Brian Bartaby, CEO at Proplend, a UK-based peer to peer (P2P) lender, has stated that he’s “cautiously optimistic” about how the platform will perform in 2021 after almost managing to reach profitability this year despite COVID-19 related challenges.
Bartaby added that Proplend, which mainly focuses on commercial properties, has managed to make 100% (or all) of its lender interest payments in full in 2020 and also improved its balance sheet, despite the socio-economic uncertainty created by the pandemic.
Bartaby’s comments have come as Proplend’s annual financial results reveal that the peer to peer platform’s total losses fell to £238,800 last year from £585,242 back in 2018.
As first reported by Peer2Peer Finance News, Bartaby said Proplend would be competing against fewer banking lenders and might be able to branch into a negative interest rate environment.
He confirmed that Proplend would keep lending where the company sees value for its lender base. He added that its their money (not theirs) and they’re “always conscious of that.” Bartaby also revealed that Proplend may introduce some other products early next year.
He also mentioned that even though the platform has physically lent less, the bottom line kept improving. He claims that Proplend narrowly missed reaching profitability in 2020.
Although the platform kept lending the whole way through this year, their concentration or focus turned to maintaining and managing their current loanbook, Bartaby said. Because of this, 100% of lender interest payments “were made in full in 2020,” Bartaby claims. He also noted that “this was combined with careful cost management.” He pointed out that they’re “a small but highly efficient team; we manage similar loan volumes with about a third of the staff numbers to our closest competitor.”
He claims that Proplend has used this time period to carefully assess all their key processes and workflows in order to see how they can streamline their operations and offerings for borrowers and lenders.
Bartaby believes that commercial property will be able to survive the Coronavirus crisis and is now hoping that the vaccine will be introduced across the UK during the first quarter of 2021. This might help bring things back to normal, Bartaby noted.
He also thinks the media has “done a great job of writing off commercial property,” but the sector has survived “previous evolutions, and it will again.”
He also pointed out that properties that are not residential, are commercial. They also cover a “wide range of asset types,” Bartaby added. He confirmed that some of these assets have struggled this year and “will do beyond and some which have outperformed.”