Monday 18 January 2021 12:28 pm

Covid loan schemes help Funding Circle boost income

Lending platform Funding Circle saw total income rise in the second half of the year helped by record loans under management. 

Total income rose 26 per cent to £121m helped by a strong performance by its UK operations, which grew 60 per cent to £94m. 

Loans under management in the UK were up 27 per cent year with the group hitting a record of £4.2bn. 

Shares in the alternative lender are trading up more than three per cent. 

“As a result of Covid, we are seeing an acceleration in the shift towards online in small business lending,” chief executive and founder Samir Desai said.  “As the largest online SME loans platform we used our advanced technology to reach record levels of lending in 2020 and we are well placed to capture this enlarged opportunity going forward.” 

Funding Circle was the first alternative lender to receive accreditation for the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) last April. 

Under the scheme the government underwrites 80 per cent of the value of the loan, with loans of up to £5m available to businesses with revenue below £45m. The scheme is due to come to an end at the end of March. 

Funding Circle represents a 25 per cent share of the number of CBILS loans approved but it indicated today it would move back to its “core lending product”, which matches business borrowers with lenders online, once it ends. 

In the US it was a different story; total income was down 17 per cent with loans under management falling 14 per cent due to uncertainty over whether there’d be further PPP lending. 

The lending platform said it achieved positive Ebitda in the second half of the year and expects to stay profitable.