Ireland’s largest peer to peer (P2P) lending platform, Linked Finance, has announced a series of measures to support companies affected by the pandemic.
The company indicated a general two-month payment delay to all loans granted to the hospitality industry, without the need to submit any forms. This includes bars, restaurants, hotels and pubs. Linked Finance thinks this will allow companies to assess the impact and to plan a recovery once the COVID-19 crisis eases.
Regarding borrowers in other industries concerned, Linked Finance has offered a delay of up to three months in the repayment period of existing loans. What is more, the platform has launched an innovative new loan facility with a deferred repayment. The 15-month loan allows businesses to borrow up to €100,000, with repayments due in 12 monthly instalments after the first three months, during which no interest or capital repayment will be paid. This should allow SMEs to get the finance they need with immediate effect, without starting repayments for three months. Therefore, this new loan plan is aimed at businesses who need working capital at a time of reduced cashflow.
Linked Finance said this lending process, launched 24th March, has attracted strong levels of interest from businesses attracted by the quick and easy lending process. The first loan was offered on Monday to a business services firm and was funded in one second with the support of its large base of investors who are keen to back Irish SMEs at this time.
Applying for the new loan is the same process for Linked Finance’s usual loans. Businesses fill in an online form and provide some simple financial documents – two years of full accounts, six months bank statements and a tax clearance cert. There are no assets secured against the loan so also no legal hurdles or fees involved, and early repayment can be made without penalty.
Niall Dorrian, chief executive of Linked Finance said, “We have been actively engaging with our borrowers who have been hard hit by the need to close stores, reduce opening hours or who are experiencing disrupted supply chains”. “Many have seen their takings dry up overnight. Irish SMEs are the lifeblood of the Irish economy and we want to support them through this unprecedented crisis. We have been overwhelmed with the support we are getting from our base of lenders for the proactive measures. They are ordinary individuals and often business owners themselves; they really understand what our borrowers are going through”.
In addition, Dorrian added “we are actively engaging with the government to ensure that the alternative lending sector is part of the wider solution for SMEs during this uncertain time.”
Since its launch in 2013, Linked Finance has provided loans totalling over €130m, for over 2,500 local businesses in every county of the country.