This is going to be a long one. Since I didn’t write almost anything here in September, lots of thoughts piled up. So, grab a coffee (or a beer) and enjoy.
I’ve managed this month to build myself a small website that lets me upload exported transactions and loan data from the platforms I’m invested in and spit out things like annual returns, monthly earnings and average interest rates. It’s still in rough form, but at least it lets me automate my monthly ordeal of checking out how my investments are doing. I’ll make it public once it’s in a better form, so keep an eye on this website.
These are the main things that happened with my portfolio in September:
- I’ve sold a bunch of loans on Mintos secondary market and earned some record profits here
- now my Mintos account has some 1500 EUR waiting to be invested in loans that have higher interest rates than the current 11% ones
- I’ve added some 1200 EUR in my TFG Crowd, Monethera and Wisefund accounts
- I’ve finally decided to reduce the number of platforms I’m invested in. Swaper, Robocash, doFinance, viaInvest will be gone from my portfolio soon. Assetz Capital is next on the list
- my September earnings amounted to 264 EUR, which can cover for the rent of a small studio apartment in Cluj (if I ever needed to rely on my p2p investments earnings for survival)
Detailed view of my p2p investments
My p2p lending portfolio
||Interest Rate/Annual return
||13.23% / 14.02%
||13.34% / 12.21%
||11.33% / 10.61%
||16.78% / 15.73%
||13.52% / 13.23%
||13.83% / 9.18%
||13.16% / 8.18%
||16.72% / 18.02%
||14.82% / -3.4%
||19.12% / 20.59
||16.42% / 16.12%
||12.51% / 11.7%
||9.65% / 7.5%
||18.3% / 21.12%
||19.12% / 18.31%
||10.03% / 8.9%
||8.6% / 2.1%
||12% / 11.1%
||5.88% / 6.31%
||14.5% / 10.45%
||11% / 11.57%
||13% / 12.95%
||11% / 7.9%
||11% / 8.11%
||12% / 11.62%
||13.88% / 12.38%
Legend: the numbers in parentheses are changes since last month (e.g. 264 EUR new earnings).
I received a couple of weeks ago an email from Fast Invest thanking me for investing the most amount with them compared to other p2p platforms. Apparently, they follow my blog.
My annual return on Fast Invest so far is 14.02%. Of all the platforms focused on p2p consumer loans I’ve invested in, Fast Invest is the best performing.
There are some things I’d like to see change with Fast Invest. Especially regarding their business model. Disclosing their financials would only build investors trust and boost their business. Showing stats on how many investors loans were repurchased through the buyback guarantee would strengthen investors confidence in their buyback guarantee. Even more, disclosing where the funds that cover the buyback guarantee come from, and how large is the fund, would do wonders.
The data offered to investors doesn’t show closed loans. I currently am invested in 476 ongoing loans. Looking through my transaction data, I see that I was historically invested in 586 loans. Those extra 110 loans either reached maturity or were bought back through the buyback guarantee. I have no way of knowing how many of them defaulted, and that would be a useful thing to know.
I have no doubt that p2p lending is a profitable business. Just judging by the myriad of p2p platforms springing up each year, all trying to “fill a gap in the market”. A simple search on Google for “p2p lending software solutions” gives me the link of tens of companies selling ready-made fully customizable p2p lending platforms. You’d need to contract a consultant to help you with the regulations, maybe a copywriter to write some unique text on your ready-made platform, and you’re ready to go. Just go out, find businesses that look for funding (they’re everywhere) and promote your new platform to potential investors.
Given the low entry barrier in the p2p lending sector, I believe existing platforms need to continuously innovate to keep up with the game. Investors loyalty is passing. If more transparency is what investors ask, platforms that want to survive will need to offer it.
While I’d like Fast Invest to be more transparent on their business model, I’m willing to wait. Things don’t happen from one day to the next. And it’s a calculated risk. Interest rates way north of 50% per year are the norm for non-banking consumer lending. Most people do pay their loans back, even if they took them for unbelievable things like a vacation. So, I’m sure there’s enough money to be made to cover for the investors’ 12-13% offered on Fast Invest. And, while there are other p2p consumer lending marketplaces offering similar interest rates with a buyback guarantee, Fast Invest is the only one covering for the buyback guarantee by itself, instead of delegating this to the loan originators.
September has been a record month for me on Mintos. I’ve earned 70 EUR on my investments, raising my annual return from 11.5% to 12.2%. I’ve managed to increase my earnings by selling some of my loans in my portfolio on the secondary market at a premium.
This earning bonanza might be short-lived, as around 1500 EUR are now sitting idle in my account. The loans available for investment this month offer only an 11% interest rate at the most. While this helped me sell some of my 14-15% loans easier, it also prevents me from reinvesting the capital into new loans.
I still have 2500 EUR invested in loans with an average interest rate of over 13%, so I’m not doing too bad. If interest rates won’t raise in October, I’ll just move my available funds on a different platform and wait for better days.
Mintos says the loan originators decreased the interest rates because demand is much larger than supply. And it might be true. The number of investors increased to almost 200.000 and in the 9 months in 2019 Mintos funded twice the amount of loans it funded last year. Even with the low-interest rates, it still managed to fund loans worth over 250 million EUR.
I suspect Invest & Access is the reason loans were funded in September even with the low-interest rates. While 10-11% is significantly lower than the interest rates offered a few months ago, it still offers a good return on investment. While Invest & Access might offer a buffer for disgruntled investors, this situation might turn against Mintos very soon.
It could be that Mintos offered loans with 14-16% in the past few months just to attract new investors and funds. While they couldn’t sustain the offer long-term, it was a good publicity stunt. However, once you’re used to something good, it becomes the norm and you think you deserve it. You can’t cut the interest rates to 10-11% and expect investors to be happy.
Already, the loans funded in September are 13% lower than the ones funded in August. And August is a slow month for any business. It will be interesting to see how many investors withdraw their capital in October and decide to invest it somewhere else.
My EstateGuru portfolio is performing well. All 18 projects I’m invested in are up to date, although 3 of them are almost every month behind with their payments for a few days.
The annual return on my investments is 10.61%, not bad. It’s already been a year since I started investing here, and I’ll slowly increase my portfolio size here in the next few months.
What I’m waiting from EstateGuru now is the release of the secondary market. They’re saying they’re releasing it to all investors in October, after being for 2 months in beta testing. It will be interesting to see how liquid the secondary market will be. There are over 30.000 investors on the platform, more than double than the number they had a year ago. And loans worth of more than 60 million EUR should be available on the platform for trading on the secondary market.
Since I wrote about transparency regarding Fast Invest, EstateGuru is a good example of how transparent a p2p lending platform should be.
They have a nice statistics page showing information about their loans, how many are defaulted and how much collateral they have. Their annual reports page show their financials, even if they’re not that great. And they’re also fully transparent about their business model and how they make money, publishing their prices list. They also publish regular updates about their business on their blog.
This is what it means to be transparent with your investors, and the results are visible. Even without a buyback guarantee and with lower interest rates compared to other platforms, EstateGuru still managed to double the funds invested and the number of investors compared to last year.
I’ve added 300 EUR more to my portfolio on TFG Crowd and invested it in some of the 17% interest rate projects. Since TFG Crowd announced this month that interest rate will also be paid while the projects are in the funding phase, I’m not worried that 2 of the projects I’ve invested in are still waiting for investors to put their money in.
My annual return is only 15.73% but this is because most of the loans I’ve invested in are just starting now to pay interest. I expect my next month return to be much higher, given the average interest rate on my investments is 16.78%.
TFG Crowd is not a very popular platform yet. They only launched last year and 2 months ago they had around 1000 investors on the platform. However, their parent company has been on the market since 2015. They look safe enough and the projects look interesting enough to invest a part of my portfolio here.
If you want to learn more about my reasons to invest here, you can read my review on TFG Crowd.
It’s been an interesting month on Grupeer. They’ve added 2 new loan originators and announced that in the future they’ll also have loans without a buyback guarantee, but maybe with higher interest rates. I assume it’s hard to find loan originators that want and afford to offer a buyback guarantee, and this is the only way Grupeer can expand faster.
My annual return on Grupeer is 13.23%. Part of my 136 EUR in earnings also includes 40 EUR in referral income, but I’m not counting that when computing my annual return. If I counted referral bonus as earnings, my annual return would be close to 20%, a lot higher than I can regularly get on my 13.5% interest rate loans.
Viventor worries me a bit. The average interest rate of my investments is close to 14%, yet my annual return is only 9.18%.
I’ve initially left my auto-invest portfolio to invest in all loan originators, and around 400 EUR of my portfolio is invested in Atlantis Financiers loans. Besides the huge imbalance in my portfolio diversity, Atlantis Financiers also offers a buyback guarantee after 90 days. Half of their loans I’ve invested in are 60+ days late, and the other half is 30+ days late. In 2 months, I should be able to get rid of all Atlantis Financiers loans and never touch them again.
Even with this setback, my Viventor dashboard is very optimist and shows me a 15.23% return on my investments. I’ll believe this when I see it.
Crowdestate says my expected return should be 13.10%. Yet my actual return is just 8.18%, one of the lowest returns in my portfolio.
The low return is caused mainly because 3 of the companies I’ve invested in have problems making their payments due to unforeseen market events or whatever other reasons.
I’m not worried yet, as Crowdestate provides at least monthly updates on the project status and payments schedule. I’m interested in how they handle the situation, what happens in case one of the borrowers defaults and how transparent Crowdestate will be in this situation. Depending on the outcome, I’ll decide if I invest more funds or not here.
Envestio had an interesting month. After a dry spell of almost half a year, they’ve added this month 7 new projects (or more). I wasn’t ready to add new funds, but I managed to reinvest around 400 EUR from projects that just reached maturity this month.
With an annual return of 18%, Envestio is in the top 3 performing platforms in my portfolio. If they keep adding new projects the next month, I’ll add some more funds here.
My monthly earnings on Neo Finance started to get better since I stopped investing with the provision fund. About a 3rd of my investments are put in loans without a provision fund now. All of them have an A rating, and their average interest rate is 12.56%.
While I like the idea of a provision fund, I don’t like that the costs for it on Neo Finance are so large. The provision fund is so large right now that even Neo Finance decided 2 months ago that they’ll use part of it to invest in new loans. Since they didn’t also decide to share their profits with the investors using the provision fund, I decided not to use it anymore. I can handle the 3-4% default rate expected on A-rated loans, especially since they let me sell any defaulted loans back to them for about 80% of the invested principal.
My total return on Neo Finance is still negative, even though in September I’ve earned about 13 EUR for my investments. If I try to compute my annual return, I get a negative return of -3.4%, even though Neo Finance says I should expect it to be 11.74%. I’ll wait and see.
My annual return on Monethera is 20.59%. It looks a bit unreal and it will be short-lived. Half of my earnings come from the 0.5% cashback on all investments and the 5 EUR welcome bonus.
The average interest rate of my investments is 19.12%, so the actual annual return shouldn’t be far from the one this month.
I’ve added this month 400 EUR more to my portfolio and I might be adding some more in October as well.
I haven’t invested any new funds on Crowdestor in September, as most of my available funds went to Monethera and Wisefund. However, Crowdestor published some interesting projects this month, one of them being a mobile game. The project offered an 18% interest rate, plus an extra 14% bonus if they were profitable. I wasn’t brave enough to put my money into something this risky, so I let it pass.
The buyback fund reached 143.000 EUR this month. However, the loans currently funded amount to around 15 million EUR, 100 times more than the buyback fund. If a loan defaults, the buyback fund would be used to compensate investors according to the “Distribution Rules of Buyback Guarantee Fund”. They’re not detailed anywhere, so I sent Crowdestor a question about it.
I can’t really complain about Crowdestor though, as so far a few of the loans I’ve invested in matured and my investment was repaid in time. Also, all interest payments come with no delays, and my annual return so far has been 16.12%.
PeerBerry, Robocash, ViaInvest, doFinance, Swaper
I kept withdrawing funds from these platforms as I don’t really feel comfortable investing in payday loans, even if the returns are decent.
Robocash and ViaInvest seem to be the hardest to leave. They have a buyback guarantee after 60 days, so I hope by the end of October I’ll be able to withdraw all my funds form this platform.
Swaper was the easiest to leave. It took 10 minutes to sell all my investments on the secondary market, and my funds were in my bank account the next day. I would only go back to Swaper if I had 5000 EUR to invest and receive a 14% interest rate on my investments.
I still have a 50 EUR portfolio on doFinance that matures in November, so I’ll have to stay here until then. doFinance has an interesting offer this month, adding a 1.5% cashback to its auto-invest portfolio. If you’re a VIP investor, you’d get a 13.5% return on your investments with the offer.
At 7.5%, my annual returns on Flender are one of the lowest in my portfolio. In time, it should get closer to 9-10%. There are a few reasons why my returns here are so low. One is that I slowly drip funds into my account, and it takes time until they get reinvested and produce interest. Another is that I didn’t take advantage of their 5% bonus on investments made in the first 30 days after registration. I created my account months before I started investing with them, so I received 0 bonus.
I’m mainly investing here because of their low default rates (0.2%) and because I need to diversify at least some of my portfolio into platforms outside of the Baltics.
After testing the waters for a few months, I’ve added 500 EUR more into my Wisefund portfolio. My annual return here is 21.12%, the highest in my portfolio. Although part of it includes my signup bonus and the 0.5% cashback on all investments I make in the first 9 months. However, since the average interest rate of my investments is a bit over 18%, my actual return should be close to 20% even after 1 year.
You can read more about Wisefund here.
Kuetzal keeps adding projects with good returns on their platform. However, even with my annual return of over 18%, I didn’t invest any new funds here.
I’m waiting for Kuetzal to get a bit better before I put more money into it.
For example, I can’t see my history of deposits and withdrawals. When I want to make a withdrawal, I need to type in a bank account. I haven’t tested it yet, but I’m curious if I can type in somebody else’s bank account and it would still make the withdrawal. If so, that is a big security breach.
Their stats page is missing, and on my dashboard, I don’t see my next scheduled interest payments. Instead, I see all of the payments since the beginning of time, and I need to go from page to page until I find the current month.
Small things like this make me hate a bit Kuetzal, and I hope they’ll get better.
There’s also the problem of interest payments. They always come on time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday and banks don’t work, the payments arrive in my account. The same thing happens with other p2p business lending platforms from the Baltics: Envestio, Monethera, Wisefund. I assume some of the payments come from the platform’s funds, but they’re not transparent about this at all.
I’ve added some more funds on Debitum Network this month, and my portfolio increased to 300 EUR. It’s still small, and I’ll continue to add small amounts over the next few months.
The return of my investments is not that great, only at 8.9%. Even so, I like the details they add on each investment regarding credit risk, financials and guarantees.
Abundance Investment is part of my “save the planet” fund. Instead of donating money to environmental organizations like Greenpeace (which I don’t like because of the misinformation they spread), I’ve decided to put a small part of my funds in low return (and potentially high risk) investments that better the environment.
The projects I’ve invested in only pay dividends every six months, and this month I’ve received my first 2 EUR in dividends on one of my investments.
I think I’ll withdraw my funds from Assetz Capital next month. I’m still to receive some bonus for my investments at the beginning of October, and after that, I’ll be out.
I like how the platform works and how they handle communication with investors. For example, I received a notification telling me one of the borrowers is having problems with their business and they’d like to get a 6 months extension on their loan. And I was asked to vote if I agree with that or if I want Assetz Capital to start collection procedures.
I believe Assetz Capital is the safest platform in my portfolio (besides Neo Finance combined with the provision fund). However, I’m not ready yet to settle for 6% returns from p2p lending, so I’ll take a break from it.
Bulkestate has been a disappointment for me this month. I’ve added a few weeks back 100 EUR more on the platform and waited for it to be picked up by auto-invest. Since then, only one small project was available, and my funds weren’t picked up by auto-invest.
I’ll keep the funds there for a few more days, but if they don’t get invested, I think I’ll just forget about Bulkestate, even though I really like the platform.
Bondster is still a bit of unknown to me.
On one hand, it has a constant 13% interest rate loans available on the platform. The platform is also a good alternative to the Baltics platforms I’m invested in.
On the other hand, I really don’t like the design of the website, and I don’t know yet too much about them.
So, I’m stuck with 50 EUR in loans that range from 1 month to 1 year, and I’m not sure if I should invest more or just forget about it.
Still deciding if I should invest more or just end the experiment with Investly. Invoice financing looks interesting to me and it’s a business model I want to explore more.
On the other hand, my returns so far are not too great, although this should change if I invest in more invoices with a wider range of interest rates.
Some other things (non-p2p)
It’s been more than a month since I got back to work and I’m still not used to it. While I did feel the need for some work activity (weird, right?), I kind of resent going to work every day and having a regular schedule. It seems that having a 6 months vacation can seriously affect your work even after it’s finished.
So, not knowing how to fix this, I decided I should change jobs. Same domain, different role, different people, different projects. Maybe it’ll be more interesting. And the pay is 20% higher, so I’ll be able to get back on track faster after my 6 months spending spree with no income.
This leads me to some serious questions about myself. I’m not interested in FIRE (especially in the retire early part) but I would like to have a big enough safety cushion that would allow me to daydream until I find out what I want to do. I’m still very far from financial independence, but it’s a goal I’ll try to reach, through both active and passive income.
I like what I’m doing at work. The things I do are mentally challenging and I have enough freedom to pursue whatever solution, as long as it solves a problem. And still, I struggle with going back into the day to day routine. I assume it’s just post-vacation depression (if such a thing exists) and it will pass at some point. But what do you do in the meantime? How do you cope with lack of motivation at work?
See you next month.