Flender review: invest in Irish SMEs

Flender is a p2p lending platform that offers loans for Irish small and medium enterprises. Since they started in 2015, they’ve raised more than 22 million EUR in loans and generated for their 5000+ investors an average return of 9.9%.

Flender is one of the few p2p lending platforms I know about from Ireland, and it’s the one I like the most. For me, it’s been a great way to move part of my p2p portfolio away from the Baltics platforms.

Platform highlights

  • Launched: 2015
  • Headquarters: Ireland
  • Loan types: Business loans
  • Loan terms: 6 months to 5 years
  • Loans funded: 22 million EUR
  • Loan size: 15,000 to 300,000 EUR
  • Investors: 5300
  • Loans from: Ireland
  • Interest rates: 6% to 16%
  • Fees: no fees
  • Minimum investment: 50 EUR
  • Currency: EUR
  • Secondary market: no
  • Auto-invest: yes
  • Buyback guarantee: no
  • Accepted investor countries: any countries (even US)
  • Bonus: 5% bonus on all investments made in the first 30 days

Investing in Flender loans

You’ll need to put at least 50 EUR in any project you invest in. There is no upper limit on how much you can invest in a loan.

Each loan is rated with a credit ranking from A+ to V. Flender analyses the borrowers’ creditworthiness in-house and also uses the credit information obtained from Credit Safe and Stubbs Gazette.

flender interest rates based on credit rating and loan term

Why invest in Flender

Flender loans don’t come with a buyback guarantee, but the default rate so far is only 1.1%. With a bit of diversification, spreading my funds into multiple loans, the investments here are pretty safe.

I can use the auto-invest tool, weirdly named AutoFlend, and let my portfolio run on autopilot. I only need to set up the credit ratings I’m interested in, the loan terms and the maximum amount to invest.

There are no fees for investing on the platform. This should be the norm on all p2p lending platforms, but you do find every once in a while the odd one that asks for a small percentage before they let you give them your money.

Flender doesn’t tax your income so you can handle your tax returns by yourself in your home country.

Why not invest in Flender

Loan security is not very clear, and Flender’s debt recovery procedures are not very transparent. While the default rates are very low, I’d still like to know more about their procedures when things go bad.

There’s no secondary market, so it’s impossible to withdraw from your investments before the loan matures.

The returns are decent, at around 10%, but they’re smaller than what the Baltics platforms are offering. This is not really a deal-breaker, and I’m happy to invest in Flender based on its flawless track record.

I also find confusing and a bit misleading their advertised interest rates. At least they could do is to change the naming into lender return or something similar.

You can only withdraw money from your account once a month (in any day of the month). I think they do this in order to minimize the fees they pay to the payment processor. It’s still a bit odd.

Who can join Flender

Flender is open to investors from all over the world. You’ll need an ID and proof of address to pass the verification process, and the process is very smooth.

My portfolio

my flender portfolio

I’ve had my Flender account for more than a year, but only in April 2019 I’ve decided to give it a try and invest 50 EUR into a single loan. Since then, I’ve added almost every month some funds to my account and left the auto-invest tool to find A-rated loans to invest in.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, 2 of my invested loans suffered payment delays, but I’m confident Flender is taking care of it.

Summary on Flender

Flender is a mature crowdlending platform offering decent returns for its investors. The low default rates suffered so far makes up a bit for the lack of buyback guarantee.

It does lack a secondary market or a way to exit my investment early, but I do plan to invest long-term, so it doesn’t really bother me yet.

I don’t like their misleading “interest rate” concept. Their advertised interest rate is more of an expected annual return, in lack of a better term.

All things considered, it’s a good platform for diversifying my portfolio.

If you wish to join Flender, you can use my referral link and receive a 5% bonus for any investments you make in the first 30 days.

If you found Flender interesting, you might want to also check EstateGuru, a p2p property lending platform I really like.