Default risk : what if the borrower doesn’t pay ?

The #1 risk when investing in loans

A borrower who doesn’t reimburse the loans is obviously the greatest risk when investing in P2P loans or through real-estate or business crowdfunding. In this article, we’ll examine the possible outcomes, based on real-life situations.

Loans covered by a buyback guarantee

Most P2P lending platforms offer loans covered by a buyback guarantee [?]. If the investor is late, the investor is reimbursed the principal and accrued interests after a given delay (30 or 60 days).

This delay varies from one platform to another; here are the buyback trigger delays and coverage for several platforms, as of August 2019.

The following platforms guarantee both capital and accrued interest :

PlatformBuyback delaySource

60 days

Mintos FAQ


30 days

Swaper FAQ


30 days

Robocash FAQ


30 days or 60 days

Bondster FAQ


60 days or 90 days

Robocash FAQ


60 days

E-mail from PeerBerry’s support

Several platforms offer a more restrictive buyback guarantee which covers only the principal.

PlatformBuyback delaySource

30 or 60 days

Iuvo FAQ


60 days

Ekassa FAQ

Unfortunately, even if the loan is secured by a buyback guarantee, it’s possible for the investor to take a loss…

Partially secured loans : Omaraha’s warranty fund

Omaraha guarantees that if the borrower defaults, at least 60% of the remaining principal will be reimbursed to the investor. The exact percent depends on the current level of the warranty fund. As I’m updating this article in April 2020, the amount available in the warranty fund has climbed to € 243,912; one year ago, it was only € 46,000.

This fund is paid for by borrowers, as Omaraha collects 3% from loan amount. This will work as long as there will be new borrowers, and if the default rate stays stable.

Overall I was compensated 70% of the total defaulted loans amount.

Happy endings : EstateGuru’s recovered loans

EstateGuru‘s loans aren’t covered by a buyback guarantee. In spite of the rigorous project selection, the borrower may fail to make a repayment. It happened for the project named Toome avenue development.

The borrower was supposed to repay the principal on November, 3rd 2017 but didn’t. One month later, on November 14th, 2017, EstateGuru started the process of selling the collateral. And one week later, on November 21st, 2017, the loan was repaid to investors, including interest, overdue charge and indemnity.

EstateGuru featured a short blog post on the collateral’s sale.

Many more defaulted loans were resolved throughout 2019. In early 2020, there were 17 of them; their average performance reached 11.7%. The length of the recovery process was very variable, and could reach one year. The worst performance for a recovered loan was 4%, which means that in spite of the defaults, no EstateGuru investor has lost money.

These happy endings are of course not guaranteed; however they show that a borrower’s default doesn’t always lead to a loss for investors, even if the loan didn’t come with a buyback guarantee.

Delays and uncertainty : CrowdEstate’s Kevade 9

In the case of this CrowdEstate project, the borrower didn’t even make its first interest payment (!) on March 20, 2017. Unfortunately for the investors, the enforcement proceedings seem to take forever.

While the project’s page featured many updates, they may have left many investors frustrated; indeed, the proceedings are still ongoing, and currently the investors are kind of left in the dark regarding the future of their investment.

Announcements regarding CrowdEstate's "Kevade-9" project
Announcements regarding CrowdEstate's "Kevade-9" project

In late November 2019, the borrower was finally declared bankrupt, which meant that CrowdEstate could finally start to sell the mortgage used as a collateral !

The long way to profits : Bondora’s recovery process

Month after month, I’m reporting decreasing returns from my Bondora portfolio. The main culprit is a high default rate, coupled with a low recovery rate. However, my earliest defaulted loans started to yield some money from the recovery process, as they finally moved to the bailiff stage. It overall took more than 6 months after the default occurred !

Diversity is king

In conclusion, I’ll stress once again the importance of diversifying your portfolio at every possible level :

  • Invest through several platforms
  • Spread your portfolio through many loans, using the smallest loan size allowed
  • Also spread your portfolio through several originators

More details about diversification and my own investing guidelines can be found out in my article regarding common investing mistakes;

2 thoughts on “Default risk : what if the borrower doesn’t pay ?”

  1. Hi, regarding Mintos, it is important to know that though the principal is covered, not all loan originators pay interest on delayed payments or similar, here’s a message from Mintos about that:
    “Some loan originators pay Interest income on delayed payments, some pay Penalty income. As well you need to take into account the grace period, each loan originator has defined its own grace period.
    Please find all information here –

    That is important since sometimes the amount of delayed payments can be significant, hindering the overall return rate.


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