Peer-to-peer lending, also known as Private Lending, involves matching up investors, who are willing to lend, with borrowers – either private individuals or small businesses. We are sharing this article with you to raise awareness that peer to peer lending is a private arrangement and comes bearing significant risks; attractive as a solution but be cautious and understand exactly what you are signing up to.
By cutting out the middleman and not having the overheads of traditional banks, peer-to-peer lending may offer more favourable rates, or help borrowers who have struggled to get a personal loan elsewhere.
What are the risks as an investor?
By being connected directly to someone who wants to borrow, the most immediate risk to your money is if a borrower fails to repay what you’ve lent them (known as ‘defaulting’).
Your money is also not protected by the Depositors Compensation Scheme which guarantees your savings with Jersey banks up to the value of £50,000.
What are the risks as a borrower?
- Loans are usually granted on an interest-only basis (meaning you repay no capital) and for a short duration, typically 1 to 3 years.
- You would normally still need to have a deposit, or a stake in whatever property you’re putting up as the asset (sometimes called the security).
- At the end of the term, the loan is either paid off by some means, such as replacing with a conventional bank mortgage or selling the property, or in some cases the loan can be renewed for a further period. Take care, if you have struggled to obtain a traditional mortgage and your financial situation has not improved you have no guarantee of obtaining a traditional mortgage at the end of the term to enable you to continue to live in the property. What will you do if the value of the property goes down?
- Interest rates can vary, depending on the lender and their appetite or consideration of the risks involved.
- While the rate of return may be favourable to the investor/lender, the interest rate for the borrower can be higher than high street lending and much higher arrangement and early redemption penalties.
- Borrowers may intend for the loan to be a short term, interim solution before moving to mainstream mortgage lending but if they are still in the same circumstances at the end, the loan can be rolled over (and over) which just continues the difficulty.
- We strongly recommend that you ask any lender about the Jersey Code of Consumer Lending; this is a voluntary or ‘self-regulatory’ code, which sets standards of good lending practice. These standards seek to ensure that Jersey consumers are treated fairly and that the opportunities for taking on excessive financial commitments are reduced. The Consumer Council is working hard with industry, Jersey Financial Services Commission, Citizens Advice, Trading Standards and the Financial Services Unit, Chief Minister’s Department to update the Code and to raise awareness of its importance as it provides various safeguards for consumers. The Financial Ombudsman will take codes of practice into account when determining a complaint. The Code exists even whilst it is being updated, it can be found at this link gov.je/tradingstandards/consumerlending and remains fully relevant.
- The Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman (CIFO) is an independent organisation that resolves complaints about financial services with powers to investigate complaints and award compensation. If you take a loan from an individual, rather than a lending business, you may not be able to complain about them to CIFO. Contact details ci-fo.org and 01534-748610.
What advice do we have for consumers?
Ask yourself why it is important for you to take on additional risk with peer-to-peer lending?
Will your financial situation improve with hard work over time so you can access the traditional mortgage market?
Do you have other housing options? Possibly rental
Our advice is to get professional, qualified and independent legal and financial advice before making any decisions. Don’t let the excitement of a new home cloud your judgement on such a large long term financial commitment. This may be the largest financial decision you ever make – don’t let it be the worst!
Make sure you have a professional valuation on the property you are thinking of buying. Consider if your property will be adequately insured – life insurance, critical illness, building and contents?
Terry Vaughan, Director, Head of Risk and Compliance at The Mortgage Shop and Henley Financial highlighted that “If you’re a borrower, your lawyers need to make sure the person granting the loan has the authority and legal right to do so. Your professional adviser will also check on source of funds for the loan being proposed. You also need to ensure the terms are suitable for you. You need to be aware of the repayment schedule and be sure that it is within your budget”
Do you feel under pressure and tempted to spend money that you cannot afford at Christmas? To help you stay within your budget, the Consumer Council has put together a food and present planner.
If you use this or any planner, you are less likely to exceed your budget, and your money should go further.
Can’t print it? We can pop a copy in the post to you. Please call on 611161 or email us at email@example.com
Islands Pricewatch, Insurance Tax and 16 lunchtime talks to choose from…
We collected 103 prices across 9 items. Jersey was the most expensive for 8 out of the 9 items; and also cheapest for 5 out of the 9 items (notably three of these were at Rosedale Stores Gorey; whilst limited stocks last).
Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is a UK tax applied to general insurance premiums. There are two rates. Standard at 9.5% and a higher rate of 20% for travel insurance, mechanical / electrical appliances insurance and some vehicle insurance.
16 lunchtime talks to choose from…
We are pleased to offer the following ‘free’ lunchtime talks. The talks all run between 13:10 – 13:50. These sessions will be informative yet informal – you are welcome to bring your lunch.
Going on Holiday? Its easy to forget to arrange the travel insurance in the excitement of planning your break.
Top Tips for Travel Insurance:
- Make sure that the medical cover is adequate – to help pay medical bills £2 million medical cover is advised by Which for just Europe and £5 million for worldwide.
- Cover your gadgets – you may need to extend your home insurance to cover as single items on your travel policy may only be covered for £250.
- Missed flights and missed connections (make sure that this includes the Channel Islands)
- Check the cancellation provisions – how much are you covered for in the event of the holiday being cancelled by unexpected events e.g. illness.
- A good travel insurance policy should provide cover for Illness, injury or death while you are away; Repatriation (getting you back home
- Check that the policy covers
We were delighted to host a great lunchtime seminar all about Wills. The talk had even the hardiest of listener contemplating how soon they would get cracking with making their will. It became quickly evident in our discussions that there would be many complications, family disputes and emotional roller-coaster rides following your passing for your family should you not have taken time to make a Will.
The talk went into details about a variety of areas including:
Pensions Update and Top Tips
In the recent UK Budget, George Osborne proposed a significant shake-up of UK pension arrangements, which if introduced, will allow individuals to extract all their pension savings in a lump sum at the point of retirement, subject to their marginal rate of income tax in that year.
Those who require the security of a guaranteed income will still be able to achieve this by purchasing an annuity. If an individual does not want to purchase an annuity, or cash-in their entire pension fund, they can remain invested and access their pension fund over time.Read More
The death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time for every family. People are left at their most vulnerable and so trying to fathom what needs to be done to arrange the funeral, the range of choices and cost involved can be
Three key messages emerged from our survey:
- We must all take personal responsibility for
our financial health;
- We must all research our facts and ask questions to help us make informed decisions and to better understand the bigger picture of what financial health entails – over the short, medium and long term;
- Most importantly we must NEVER put our head in the sand – financial difficulties escalate not diminish!
Knowing where and how you spend money can help you save. This can help you pay for unexpected bills and plan for occasions like holidays and Christmas.
During Spring of 2014 the Consumer Council and Community Savings, ran a survey to ‘check Islanders’ financial health’ to see what problems people were facing when trying to manage their money, particularly as a result of the recession, and how our two organisations might best help with any issues raised.
The survey indicates that regardless of our age 74% of us budget on a monthly basis with only a few of us budgeting fortnightly or less.
The Humble Baked Bean…4000 miles and counting!
Everyone recognises the Heinz baked bean. But, what most consumers don’t recognise is the rather extensive journey our beloved beans undergo in order to reach our households in the Channel Islands.
We can purchase a can (415g) of Heinz baked beans for an average of 72p in the shops across Jersey. To some, this still remains a price subject to of the now constant criticism ‘well you wouldn’t pay that in England.
The fact of the matter is our little bean has a great distance to travel in order to satisfy consumers in both the UK and the Channel Islands. Along this estimated journey of over 4,000 miles and counting, the commodity is subject to numerous taxations, dues and other cost-incurring procedures which impact on its final price.Read More