Lendermarket : the platform
of the Creditstar group
Lendermarket is one of those P2P lending platforms created by international groups of loan originators willing to leave Mintos. The goal being to have their own marketplace and run their business independently.
Thus, the Creditstar Group created the Lendermarket platform in 2019, which offers investments in loans taken out in continental Europe with returns of up to 16%.
So, it was time to analyze this P2P lending platform in more detail in order to get to know it better and decide its future within my asset portfolio..
Table of content
What is Lendermarket ?
The company Lendermarket Limited
The company “Lendermarket Limited” was founded in May 2019 in Dublin, Ireland under the registration number IE585178. Legally, the company had existed since June 2016 under the name Heimondo Limited, from which Lendermarket was created.
The platform was founded by Aaro Sosaar, CEO of the Creditstar Group, which has been operating in the consumer lending business since 2006. His goal was to be able to offer a P2P marketplace to the different subsidiaries of his group as an alternative to Mintos.
Although Lendermarket is under Irish jurisdiction, the operational teams are located in Tallinn, Estonia (Lendermarket Group OÜ n°14478863). This is understandable as it facilitates interactions with Creditstar, which is also headquartered in Tallinn.
The Lendermarket team has been recognized as the “Fastest Growing P2P Marketplace” (in the consumer lending sector) by Global Brands Magazine.
Creditstar was a finalist in the Branding Tech Awards for “Best Use of IT for Lending”.
The founder: Aaro Sosaar
The founder of Lendermarket is Estonian Aaro Sosaar who studied international banking and finance at the London Cass Business School in the UK.
After working in his chosen field in London, he quickly returned to Estonia and established “Creditstar Estonia AS” in May 2006.
Aaro Sosaar owns the Lendermarket P2P lending platform through his Estonian holding company “SA Financial Investments OÜ” which also owns the Creditstar Group.
As a result, Lendermarket is not a subsidiary of Creditstar, both companies are simply owned by the same shareholder.
The management team
Carles Federico studied Business Administration and International Business in Austria and Finland. He has experience in managing sales, customer support and marketing teams. He spent 5 years with Skype and 6 years as Country Manager (Spain) for Creditstar group.
Before taking over Lendermarket, Carles worked during 2,5 years for Coolbet as Head of Business Development.
Melita Raulinaityte studied International Relations at the University of Sheffield and International Public Policy at University College London.
Melita then spent her entire career in marketing with banking and financial services companies in the United Kingdom. After returning to Lithuania, she joined Lendermarket in 2021.
Some statistics for 2023
Here are some statistics for the current year :
- Total amount of funds invested : €296M
- Total amount paid to investors : €10.5M
- Number of investors : ~ 12,000
- Average portfolio per investor : €6,100
We can see that Lendermarket has now taken off to exceed an average monthly level of €10M of loans funded.
The funds invested by active investors on the platform are now over €100M per year.
This is, in my opinion, a sure sign of credibility for Lendermarket and another step towards a good level of liquidity of its market.
These figures seem impressive given the relative youth of Lendermarket. But they can be explained very well if you take into account that Lendermarket is backed by a strong international group like Creditstar.
How does Lendermarket work ?
Lendermarket is a marketplace
Like Swaper, the P2P lending platform Lendermarket is a virtual marketplace that offers individuals and companies the opportunity to invest alongside consumer loan originators in exchange for a predetermined return.
The loan originators originally listed on Lendermarket belong to the international Creditstar Group. The group’s subsidiaries grant loans to individuals who, in return, pay interest. Some of these loans are then listed on Lendermarket.
Lendermarket allows them to list these loans on its marketplace at rates that are attractive to us as investors. The listed rate is lower than the rate at which the loan was granted.
In this way, the Creditstar subsidiary still receives a portion of the interest without having to use all its capital, which it can then deploy to other borrowers.
On their side, the investors mobilize their capital and receive a return on investment between 10% and 16% on Lendermarket. Generally, investors are individuals (like you and me) but it is also possible to invest with a company located in Europe.
In short, Lendermarket is the marketplace where the demand for financing from Creditstar loan originators and the supply of capital from investors meet.
Lendermarket guarantees the information about the loans and the correctness of the transactions that take place, for which it receives a share of the interest generated.
The Creditstar Group
It was in 2006 in Estonia, “The most digital country in the world” according to several newspapers, that the Creditstar Group was born, founded by Aaro Sosaar with the creation of the Estonian entity “Creditstar Estonia AS ” in 2006.
Since then, Creditstar has grown rapidly and now has more than 140 employees in Europe.
In addition, the group is gradually separating its lending activities between the Creditstar brand on the one hand and Monefit on the other, which are different financial products.
All these activities have been reorganized under the entity “Creditstar International AS” (established in 2010), itself a wholly owned subsidiary of “Creditstar Group AS” (2009). And Aaro Sosaar being well advised, the whole group is owned via the holding company “SA Financial Investments OÜ” (2014).
In total, 7 of these subsidiaries offer the opportunity to invest alongside them on Lendermarket. The policy of the Creditstar Group is to keep 5% of skin in the game for each loan.
The profit generated is divided between the Creditstar Group’s credit company, the investors and the Lendermarket platform according to a relatively standard economic model in the P2P lending sector.
We notice that only the United Kingdom is not represented on Lendermarket. This seems logical considering that the United Kingdom is no longer part of Europe and that it responds to different regulatory logic.
Let us also add that a new Estonian loan company has appeared on the fringe of Creditstar : Credory. This relatively new company offers a level of skin in the game higher than 10%.
Chronology of an investment
On Lendermarket, the minimum amount to invest in a loan is €10, so you can easily diversify your assets even with a small starting capital.
Currently, the range of interest rates offered on the platform goes from 10% to 16% depending on the country and the duration of the loans. Hence, returns are well above the European average.
Unlike other platforms, (see my review of PeerBerry), Lendermarket does not offer a subsidized rate above a certain level of capital. But the platform doesn’t really need it given the relatively high returns offered.
My start on the platform is quite recent since I opened my account in December 2021. But given its very solid fundamentals (see my ranking), I intend to gradually consolidate my investments.
The loan terms offered on Lendermarket are extremely varied. It is possible to invest for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 6 months … up to 7 years !
But whatever the duration, the instalments are systematically 30 days, which is appreciated. Each month, the borrower repays a portion of the principal and pays interest according to a specific schedule for each loan.
If the borrower is late in repaying, then additional interest is paid to the investors.
And in the event that the delay exceeds 60 days, it triggers the loan’s buyback guarantee. Investors receive not only the principal and interest due on the maturity date but also the overdue interest.
Overall, Lendermarket‘s operation is relatively standard, but it also provides a very good predictability of repayments thanks to the payment schedule.
Investing on Lendermarket
Who can invest on Lendermarket ?
To be an investor on Lendermarket, you simply need to be at least 18 years old and have a bank account within the European Economic Area that accepts SEPA payments.
Lendermarket does not impose any conditions on your physical and tax residence.
For example, a Canadian who lives and works in Laos can become an investor on Lendermarket as long as he/she has a bank account within the EEA.
Note that a company can also register on Lendermarket as long as it can prove its legal existence (registration documents, etc.) and that it has a bank account in the EEA or in Switzerland.
The simple possession of a European bank account is sufficient for Lendermarket to comply with European legislation on the fight against money laundering.
From the point of view of the nationalities of the investors, there are very few surprises since we find the leading countries in P2P lending (with a small surprise from Eastern Europe) :
- 🇪🇸 Spain
- 🇩🇪 Germany
- 🇧🇬 Bulgaria
- 🇵🇹 Portugal
- 🇮🇹 Italy
What can you invest in on Lendermarket ?
Whatever the financial product offered to the borrower by Creditstar, Lendermarket does not make any distinction. Also, the platform does not indicate the reason for which a loan was contracted (consumption, real estate, car loan, etc.).
And this is a very good thing !
I don’t care why Mr. X took out a loan for a MULTIPLA car that he will use in his business.
Thanks to Lendermarket, I am making funds available to a solid financial partner, the Creditstar Group, whose role is to analyze the files of the various borrowers. Creditstar knows how to do this very well thanks to its experienced teams.
Indirectly, I have an idea of the type of loans I invest in. The 30, 60 and 90 day loans are most likely consumer loans while the 3 year and longer loans are financing equipment – a car or even real estate for the even longer loans.
But as an investor, I position myself above all as a partner of the 7 subsidiaries of the Creditstar Group and their two main financial products : standard installment loan and revolving credit.
I will therefore tend to be more interested in the proposed returns and the geographical location of the loan, which is one of the strengths of Lendermarket due to its great diversity.
Where can you invest with Lendermarket ?
Lendermarket has one particularity, which I think is a strength, and that is that all of its loans are mainly located in Northern Europe.
As a result, the loans offered for investment are based entirely on the European economic area. It is very appreciable for an investor to be able to invest at attractive rates in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia or the Czech Republic.
In total, the Creditstar Group has over 1 million active users of its financial products.
The fact that some countries like Denmark or Poland have their own currency is not a problem at all. The European economic stability combined with the guarantee of the Creditstar Group confirm this.
And in any case, all transactions on Lendermarket are exclusively in euros.
Other companies on Lendermarket
Credory was founded by real estate and banking specialists to offer Estonian-based SMEs real estate loans secured by a first mortgage. Loans range from €25,000 to €500,000 (with an average of €100,000). The average term of their portfolio is 15 months.
QuickCheck is a Nigerian FinTech company founded in 2017 to offer loans to individuals and micro-businesses via a mobile app. It currently offers loans with terms of between 30 and 360 days and an average value of NGN 30,000 to NGN 1,000,000 ($70 to $2,400).
CrediFace Perú SAC is a Peruvian FinTech founded in 2016 that finances consumer loans to individuals between USD 300 and USD 5,000 on average with terms of up to 24 months. It owns the CrediFace and ValeCash brands in Peru and CrediOne in Mexico.
Dineo was founded in Spain in 2014 to provide financial solutions via 75 physical outlets (Cash Converters stores) but also online on its platform. These involve consumer loans to individuals of between 50 and 600 euros for terms of up to 90 days.
Creating an account on Lendermarket is a very simple process that takes less than 3 minutes. All you need is an ID and a valid email, as well as your smartphone for identity verification.
After the usual email confirmation, you simply enter your personal details. Then you start the identity verification process thanks to your smartphone and your ID card. The validation is done in less than 30 minutes (during office hours).
We can see that we are asked for our nationality, our address and our country of residence for tax purposes.
But what Lendermarket is most interested in is that we are either a European citizen or a tax resident in Europe.
In any case, our bank account must be located within the European Economic Area. Moreover, (Transfer)Wise accounts are accepted as long as they are in euros.
How do you invest on Lendermarket ?
Unlike other platforms (read my review of Robocash), it is possible to invest manually on Lendermarket. You just have to go to “loan listings” and select your investment criteria. I counted three of them :
- the interest rate
- the duration of the loan
- the country to invest in
Then, just click on “Invest” and enter the amount you want to invest. The investor is simply limited by the funds available in his account and by the amount of the loan proposed for investment.
For my part, I always aim for automated income generation. So, even if I start on a platform with manual investment, I quickly switch to automatic.
The creation of an automated investment portfolio on Lendermarket is relatively standard. For each platform, you need to specify the following :
- portfolio size
- minimum amount per loan
- maximum amount per loan
- desired interest rate
- duration of the investments
- country of investment
Once we have invested our funds, Lendermarket makes available the loan contract and the buyback guarantee agreement for each loan. These documents define the legal conditions of our different investments.
Is it safe to invest on Lendermarket ?
This is a question that every investor must answer for themselves after performing a certain amount of due diligence. Any investment, whatever it may be, always involves a certain level of risk.
Here, I am simply providing a brief analysis of some of the key facts about Lendermarket. It is after reading these elements that I decided individually to invest on this P2P lending platform at the end of 2021.
The guarantee of the Creditstar Group
The Lendermarket platform and the Creditstar Group are owned by one and the same person : Aaro Sosaar. It is therefore in his interest as group boss to establish synergies between these two entities in the long term.
Thus, Creditstar places its loans exclusively on Lendermarket which, for the moment, only offers loans from the group.
Creditstar’s figures show a good progression in recent years. While the group made a very nice net profit of €2.8M in 2018, this almost doubled in 2019 to €5.3M and then €5.5M in 2020, despite Covid and €5.8M in 2021.
I also appreciate the fact that the Creditstar Group now mandates the firm KPMG to conduct the annual audit of its accounts.
Lendermarket’s strength is also the buyback guarantee on 100% of the loans listed. In addition to this, the group guarantees all 7 subsidiaries offering their loans on Lendermarket.
It’s no wonder that Lendermarket is so highly rated for loan security in my P2P lending ranking.
It is very nice to be able to count on both the buyback obligation of the loan originator and the group guarantee offered by Creditstar.
100% European loans
Of all the platforms I invest in, Lendermarket is the only one to offer 100% of its loans in Europe. In this, the platform really stands out since all the loans offered are located in a stable and economically homogeneous geographical area.
As on Swaper, you can find loans from Poland and Spain (Read my Swaper review). But you can also invest in several northern European countries where presumably no major revolution is expected : Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Estonia.
This intra-European diversity is accompanied by a nice variety of rates (between 10% and 16%) and durations (from 30 days to 7 years).
Enough to satisfy the vast majority of investors !
Lendermarket is not regulated
Like the majority of P2P lending platforms, Lendermarket is not regulated since Ireland does not impose any regulation on the sector. But, in any case, this is a point that today is far from my attention for several reasons.
First of all, regulated platforms like Mintos or Viainvest are guaranteed to be non-fraudulent. But I already knew that. Another point is that the Latvian FCMC regulation guarantees investors’ funds in their investments accounts as long as they are NOT invested. So this regulatory set-up is not very attractive…
Secondly, the Creditstar group is European and has therefore chosen the best possible legal configuration for Lendermarket. And nothing prevents Aaro Sosaar from repatriating Lendermarket to Estonia in the future if it offers a better environment for investors.
Today, the Irish legislation is the most suitable for Lendermarket activities.
Finally, regardless of the subsidiary, all of them are licensed in the country where they operate. This is a guarantee of professionalism and shows the group’s determination to carry out their projects within a regulated framework.
Lendermarket is not (yet) profitable
Lendermarket is a relatively young platform that is part of an existing international group. This is not an easy thing to do and requires significant set-up and operating costs.
In fact, currently, the turnover is not sufficient to cover the operating expenses, as shown in Lendermarket’s 2019-2020 annual report. But there is no doubt that, given the rise in volumes financed on the platform in 2021, this will quickly increase.
This is the point I intend to pay attention to in 2022 but I have few fears given the financial strength of the Creditstar Group.
My opinion on Lendermarket
Lendermarket has quickly become known in the P2P lending landscape, especially because it is the official platform of the Creditstar Group. That’s why investors quickly trusted it.
But attracting investors is one thing, keeping them is another. Lendermarket has shown many strong points that lead me to give it a strategic place in my portfolio.
Indeed, they have undeniable assets for an investor like me who wants to generate passive income in a simple and efficient way. And if some points of improvement remain, no doubt that the platform will quickly remedy them.
Loans for all tastes
I particularly appreciate the diversity of investments offered on the Lendermarket platform.
Geographically, I can find Spanish and Polish loans, which Swaper has made a specialty of. But I can also invest in loans from Northern Europe, a region I never see on other platforms.
In terms of duration, I can position myself on 30-day loans as well as on investments that will generate income over several years. And the offer on Lendermarket is vast enough to find investments of 1 or 2 years.
Combining diversity of investments and security of the loan originators was a key element in my choice to invest on Lendermarket.
A refined interface
We can see that real work has been done upstream to offer a really pleasant and fluid user experience to Lendermarket investors.
The dashboard (simpler than the one offered by Robocash) offers the right level of information to follow our investments in good conditions. We don’t get lost in the useless data detail that other platforms sometimes offer.
The downloadable documents (loan agreement and buyback agreement) are clear and precise.
The FAQ focuses on questions that are relevant for investors beginning on the platform.
I attach particular importance to the ability of P2P lending platforms to manage themselves. My goal is to limit the time spent on my platforms as much as possible. Time is the rarest and most precious resource I have.
From this point of view, Lendermarket does not require any human intervention (unlike Peerberry) once the investment portfolios are set up.
It’s even nicer because there are no cash-drags to complain about. On Lendermarket, I always find investments to invest in. This is due to the large volumes provided by the 7 Creditstar subsidiaries.
But it is also because the platform is young and still unknown to investors, so I take advantage of it !
Create a secondary market
This is THE feature I’m waiting for in 2023 : the possibility to resell on a market between investors in case I need liquidity.
Indeed, today it is difficult to commit to loans of more than 5 years despite their attractive rate of 16%. The presence of a secondary market would allow me to invest in long-term loans with an exit door.
Offer a statistics page
For the moment, Lendermarket limits itself to publishing monthly statistics on its blog. But it is customary for platforms to produce a complete page dedicated to the platform’s statistics.
Indeed, platforms usually have a public page that traces their activities in statistical form since their inception. One can thus observe, measure and appreciate the evolution of the volumes of loans funded, the interests paid and the number of investors each day.
Lendermarket would be well advised to offer such a page as an additional channel of communication with its investors.
Alternatives to Lendermarket ?
And with its platform model backed by a large international group, Lendermarket is very close to the Robocash model, which is a mode of operation that I particularly appreciate.
However, if an investor is tempted by foreign currency loans, it is more likely to be Iuvo that he will have to turn to.
But in any case, diversification between platforms is one of the foundations of a good P2P lending investment policy.
When I put Lendermarket through the mill of my 50 criteria, I was very (pleasantly) surprised to see that the platform was directly positioned at the top of the ranking.
Quite surprising for such a young platform !
This can be explained by very good fundamentals : the solidity of a marketplace that offers secure loans with high returns.
Reason why Lendermarket has continued to grow strongly despite the health crisis. Amazing !
This strength comes from the fact that Lendermarket is part of a solid international group whose turnover is growing year after year. Creditstar continuously feeds Lendermarket with new investment opportunities.
In fact, Lendermarket satisfies both investors looking for a high return on investment and those who wish to invest in a secure way in Europe.
Nevertheless, not everything is perfect as I am waiting to see if Lendermarket will soon reach profitability, a central criterion for its future development.
Also, good P2P lending platforms are constantly developing new features for investors.
I would like to see Lendermarket do the same with the development of a secondary market.
In the meantime, I’m going to increase my investments on this platform with a more than promising future. Because of its returns and the geographical diversification it brings, I intend to give it a central place in my portfolio of P2P lending assets.
I hope this in-depth analysis of this platform has helped you in your approach to P2P lending.
Its purpose is to provide a factual analysis of Lendermarket and to share my point of view as an investor (and absolutely not as a financial advisor).
I remain receptive to any additional information that I may have missed.
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