HarMoney launches with $100m to lend

Neil Roberts, chief executive of HarMoney.
Neil Roberts, chief executive of HarMoney.

HarMoney, New Zealand's only licensed peer-to-peer lender, said it has commitments for $100 million mainly from four investors it plans to lend to consumers with a sliding scale of interest based on their credit risk.

HarMoney, whose online platform went live four weeks ago and officially launched today, matches investors with borrowers of up to $35,000 with interest rates ranging from 9.99 per cent to as high as 39.99 per cent depending on their assessed risk profile. Investors may get a 12 per cent risk adjusted return on loans that are broken up into $25 "fractionalised notes" which attract interest.

"We've had millions of dollars of borrower demand and we've had hundreds of retail investors sign up and put money in the platform, which is very encouraging," chief executive Neil Roberts told BusinessDesk.

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Earlier this week, Heartland New Zealand chief executive Jeff Greenslade said the Christchurch-based bank had invested a "meaningful amount" into the peer-to-peer lender's pool of funds, without disclosing the dollar figure. Heartland also has a 10 per cent stake in HarMoney. Roberts declined to identify the other three investors.

The platform makes its money by clipping the ticket on both sides. HarMoney charges an originating loan fee from borrowers, which is calculated at between 2 per cent to 6 per cent of their loan, depending on the borrower's credit rating, starting at a minimum fee of $300. Borrowers also face dishonour and late payment fees.

Investors are charged a 1.25 per cent service fee on the principal payment and interest collected on each $25 note.

"With automated processes and no branch network to maintain, peer-to-peer lenders can pass savings on and still maintain a healthy operating margin," Roberts said.

HarMoney was the first platform operator to receive a peer-to-peer licence under the new Financial Markets Conduct Act, which came into effect on April 1, providing legislation for a regime to match lenders with borrowers, with a $2 million cap on the amount allowed to be borrowed a year.

- BusinessDesk

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