Investors on the Assetz Capital peer-to-peer lending platform have voted to provide forbearance to borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and extend their loans for an additional three months where needed.
The vote was open to all platform investors, gained a total of 4,658 votes, and saw only 1.7% of investors, or 9% of those who voted, refuse to support providing help to borrowers.
Stuart Law, CEO at Assetz Capital, said: “We are satisfied by the result of this lender vote. We want to do the right thing in this difficult time and provide businesses support, but we also asked our lenders if they agreed with us – and they did.
“We want to find ways to help borrowers manage and survive this difficult situation – and this allows us to provide forbearance and loan extensions in some cases although it doesn’t affect any presently defaulted loans that will continue on their current plan.
“Our borrowers are the beating heart of the British economy. They are retailers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, care homes, hotels and wholesalers – as well as many small regional housebuilders helping to solve the housing crisis.
“We estimate they employ directly or indirectly up to 100,000 staff. That is a huge number of people who will be impacted by our decisions, and it grows significantly when we take into account their families too.
“These businesses also contribute significant sums to the GDP calculations.
“Most of these businesses, just like their counterparts across the globe, have seen a substantial or total loss of income.
“Most are unable to work with staff sent home. Many are not yet certain how and when they can repay their loans again in a timely manner as we all await the government’s decision on how we can emerge from the lockdown of both people and businesses.
“It’s in our lenders’ interests to do everything that we can to support borrowers through this period.
“Borrowers will still eventually have to pay their interest for the three month extensions, but they will not need to send us money at this time. It will accrue on loans for eventual repayment later.
“This is how other lenders are operating under government guidance and instruction.”
Assetz Captial expects to continue to pay full or close to full interest rates over the coming months, due to its holding of substantial borrower cash retention sums.
Law added: “We take property security on every loan, which often exceeds the value of the total lent by a typical 50% safety factor – this gives our investors great comfort versus unsecured lending.
“However, that security may be compromised by a business failure, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the market for sale of any property security.
“This will not be a good time to make recoveries from the loan security pledged, and it’s why we’re also seeing the wider banking industry agree to forbearance for borrowers in these challenging times.
“This is one part of our much wider short-term plan that we are executing to protect investors and borrowers during these unprecedented times. We’ll have much more to announce in the coming weeks.”