Finance Exchange / Private Equity Loan and Investment / Microcredit

Maik Sammer

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In Germany, such online credit platforms are operated by the companies Auxmoney, Fixura and Smava. Loan seekers can apply for payment to investors who are willing to pay. Depending on their credit rating, they then receive so-called creditscoring, which makes it easier for lenders and investors to assess the solvency of the terminal customer. This has the advantage that on the one hand, the borrower gets a loan on favorable terms, without having to pay a bank commission, and on the other hand investors get a reasonable return on their risk taken.

“The reason for the strong growth of online lending platforms is the still persistent Lehman bankruptcy and the continuing euro and banking crisis that has shaken the confidence in traditional banks,” says Simon Sandvik, CEO of the Finnish firm Fixura. The company relies on cross-border cooperation in its business model. That is, Fixura is looking for German investors to finance solid Finnish borrowers. In addition to the return opportunities, which are between six and 14 percent, Fixura focuses on security. An automated dunning process and the early initiation of a debt collection process should minimize the probability of default of a loan. Here, Fixura makes use of the many years of experience of an external service provider.

Smava, the top dog on the German market, has meanwhile abandoned the original idea of ​​lending privately only privately. It now also offers bank loans that can compare loan seekers on the website. As a result, the company has become a benchmark for credit, with the investment opportunity and social aspect being lost.

On the other hand, Auxmoney and Fixura all rely on P2P loans. “At Auxmoney, every loan seeker can present their credit project on our Internet platform to investors, who then finance the projects that they like,” says Philipp Kriependorf, Managing Director at Auxmoney. In his experience, investors often invest when borrowers tell moving life stories, provide factual background or simply present particularly interesting loan projects. “When deciding whether someone gets granted credit, the Schufa value plays a subordinate role,” says Kriependorf. Only those who have hard negative characteristics, for whom a lending is not possible.
Four providers advertise to participants

The services are called Smava, Elolly, SOS Money or Aux Money and all promise to bring together private lenders and loan seekers. “Private lending” is the name of the model in German and already has established role models in England, the USA or the Netherlands.
Only provider Smava with hand and foot looked at the services and found big differences. A service with hand and foot is currently only the platform Smava. The system offers protection to private investors in the event that a borrower suddenly stops paying. If so, the lender is financially supported by other lenders. But for this system to work, many people have to join as lenders. Pay for the services of Smava alone the borrowers. If there is actually a lending, a fee of one percent of the loan amount granted is due. If nobody wants to give money, the loan seeker does not have to pay anything.
The advance payment services are doubtful

The two providers Elolly and Aux Money work quite differently. They merely promise to bring together lenders and seekers in advance and want to have nothing to do with their lending business or even a hedging of the risks. It is already unclear here whether the services actually actively seek the brokerage of credit partners or not just the advance payment. Before the first service of this kind, the Dusseldorf platform Elolly, Finanztest already warned in March. More than a pure mediation wants to provide information SOS Money. So far, this can not be understood on the homepage. It is still under construction according to operator information.
Information in detail

This Private Private Loan test provides information on the following details:

Smava Security: That’s how lenders are protected at Smava

When private individuals lend money to strangers, security is the name of the game. In addition to checking on credit-seekers, Smava offers more collateral systems to potential lenders. But they only work when really many people join Smava.
Loan seekers are being examined.


Zeichenbeschränkung: 5000
According to Smava, the identity of the participants is determined by means of the so-called post-identification procedure. Salary statements and recurrent debt inquiries are used to determine their budgetary situation and whether credit seekers could actually repay the loan they wanted. Finally, Smava asks the Schufa, whether the potential customer in financial matters is unblemished. Loan seekers are scrutinized just as thoroughly as when borrowing directly through a bank.
Nothing works without the bank
In fact, the actual loan transaction always runs through a bank even with smava transactions. Lenders and borrowers do not do business directly with Smava. The business partners always include the BIW Bank. If a loan seeker has found enough lenders for his project, he gets the desired sum from the bank – and not from the lenders directly – as a loan. He then pays monthly installments and interest to the bank. In turn, lenders enter into a contract with the bank to purchase these loan receivables. In practice, this only means that you get from the bank the back-flowing monthly installments and the interest spread over 36 months – if the borrower pays.
Defaulting debtors are reminded.If the borrower is in arrears with his installments, Smava reminds the defaulting payer to claim self-employment. If nothing happens after multiple reminders, the bank may sell the loan receivable to a collection agency. The money will benefit the lender. How much such bad loans bring to the collection agency in the sale, says Smava not. Surely, the proceeds will usually be well below the loan amount. The risk of a partial loss is borne by the lender.
Lenders support each other

Therefore, another important security system is important: If a single loan fails, other lenders have to bear the losses. Anyone who joins Smava as a lender must therefore expect that even then, he will not make his hoped-for interest if the borrower always pays on time. From his returning money, he has to give something in an emergency, so that no one stands with a big loss in the rain. In principle, this is a reasonable system. Obviously, it only makes sense if a lot of lenders are active at Smava. If there are only a few, even a single failed loan tears the few other lenders properly into the loss zone.
The risk is borne by the lender, not the bank

The fact that lenders and borrowers always stand for BIW Bank has advantages. This is the only way that lenders can make money available multiple times without the threat of legal harassment. In addition, the money that lenders deposit into an account with BIW Bank is secured through the Deposit Guarantee Fund against bank failure. However, this security only exists as long as no loan project has been established with the help of the money. If this is the case, the security fund will not help in case of bank failure. But lenders would not be without rights: they could turn in the case of bankruptcy with their repayment and interest claims directly to the borrower and ask him for the payment.

Smava conclusion: a fair system not without risk

The Smava system notes that the initiators have given much thought to security. However, Smava can not provide complete protection against losses to the lenders.
Not everyone gets credit

The rules of the credit platform Smava are well thought out. Loan seekers are reviewed for solvency. This protects creditors from over-indebtedness and of course the lenders profit from it. As a result of the audit by BIW Bank, they have the assurance that the borrowers are, at least in principle, able to repay the money. Whether they actually do that, Smava can not guarantee.
Risk of loss especially in the start phase

The platform provides a system that distributes the risk of default to many lenders. If many people join Smava, it is likely to protect lenders from heavy losses. In the current starting phase, the risk of loss is high. Pleasant for borrowers: You can repay the money ahead of time at any time. The disadvantage for the lenders: In such a case, you lose part of their interest income.
Moderate fees for borrowers

The pricing policy is fair. Lenders pay nothing and borrowers pay one percent of the loan amount. And only if they actually get money. The money that lenders have to pay into their account with the BIW Bank is secured through the Deposit Guarantee Fund from the consequences of bank failure. But if a loan project has come about with the help of the money, the deposit guarantee fund will not help anymore.

Tip: If you want to participate in Smava, you should inform yourself before participating in the pages of Smava and take into account as a lender, especially in the early days there is an increased risk of loss. It makes sense, therefore, to participate initially only with small amounts. The minimum for the loan amount, however, is already 500 euros, according to the smava conditions. Other providers: Competition offers only narrow program

The platform Elolly was indeed the first in the German market. But here as well as the provider Aux Money, there are open questions.
Elolly with unclear terms and conditions

The Elolly platform is the pioneer of online personal loan brokerage in Germany. It was first online and promises to bring together private lenders and borrowers. But the service is questionable. All participants pay 9.50 Euro in advance and then have to hope that Elolly actually bring together private business partners. There is no guarantee for that. On the homepage, Elolly “guarantees” that loan seekers will get in touch with a lender if their profile is “not too strange”. What does not mean “not too strange” in detail, Elolly has not specified further to inquiries from
Questionable offer.

Anyone who engages in the business of Elolly will, according to the terms and conditions, enter into a contract with a private person named “D.Morina”. According to the imprint, the operator of the site is a company called BDH Teledat Gesellschaft für Telefonmarketing mbH. A transparent corporate presentation looks different. A reference to the right of withdrawal, the online companies have to grant their customers is missing completely. The magazine Finanztest already warned against the offer at the end of March. Elolly then changed its terms and conditions in part. Nevertheless, the offer remains questionable.
Aux Money almost identical to Elolly

A similar platform as Elolly operates the American company XACT media, Inc .. Also here 9.50 Euro are due and also here it is completely unclear whether the service really brings together loan partners. Striking is: The terms and conditions are largely identical to those of Elolly. That makes the service just as questionable.
SOS Money with non-functioning offer

The fourth provider is the English company SOS Orangeblue Services Limited with the pages However, nothing works here. The provider has announced, however, that the site should go into operation in April.

Source: Financial test