Flender review : crowdlending for Irish SMEs

Flender review : crowdlending for Irish SMEs

Flender’s overview

Flender is specialized in loans for Irish businesses. They’re usually rather long-term (1 to 3 years), and annual yields are between 8% and 12.9% (even 15.9% for speculative loans). No buyback guarantee is provided.

My opinion on Flender

Flender is a great way to finance businesses in Ireland. The returns are competitive and in spite of minor usability troubles, the website is easy to use.

Detailed ratings

Interest rates

The interest rates are lower than for speculative loans in the Baltic countries, through Envestio, Kuetzal or Crowdestor; they will appeal to more conservative investors.

Loans liquidity

The loans amount is rather small (usually €30 000 €50 000) but there are many of them.

Reporting

The reporting is rather complete.

Buyback guarantee

Flender doesn’t offer a buyback guarantee

Website ergonomics

In spite of being slightly counter-intuitive when it comes to navigating, the website is overall pleasant to use.

Flender’s pros & cons

Pros

  • Great interest rates for Irish loans
  • Very low default rate

Cons

  • No secondary market
  • No buyback guarantee
  • Website’s navigation could be improved

Loans characteristics

Loans duration

1 month to 1 year

More than 1 year

Loans kind

Business

Minimal investment

€50

Buyback guarantee

NO buyback guarantee

Currencies

Euro

Loans overview

Flender allows investor to finance businesses through Euro loans. The interest rates usually vary between 8% and 12.9%; the most speculative loans even yield 15.9% annually, which is close to what one can get from CrowdEstate‘s business loans. Most loans have a duration of 3 years; the minimal duration is 6 months.

All borrowers are assigned a rating, from A (less risky) to D (more risky); in addition, the V rating will denote speculative loans.

The loans are granted to small and medium Irish businesses. They belong to many different domains, including :

  • hair salon
  • car sales
  • accounting
  • paint manufacturer
  • fish & chips restaurant
  • ice-cream maker
  • transportation company
Part of Flender’s loans list

Loans usually sell out in a few days; there are seldom more than 2 or 3 active opportunities at the same time.

The minimal investment amount is €50, similar to Crowdestor; that’s lower than CrowdEstate (100€) but obviously higher than Envestio‘s €1 minimum !

All loans yield interests monthly.

Buyback guarantee

Loans at Flender don’t come with a buyback guarantee. However, the platform has very low default rates; as of May 2019, it stands at 0.2%.

Platform’s features

Secondary market

NO secondary market

Auto-invest

Auto-invest available

Secondary market

Regrettably, Flender doesn’t provide a secondary market. It means that investors will be stuck with their investment for a long period of time.

Manual investing

While I recommend setting up auto-invest in order to spend less time managing your loans portfolio, it’s possible to invest manually at Flender. There’s always a limited number of loans to invest in, making it rather comfortable to invest manually.

The loans descriptions are really complete and interesting to read.

Loan description

The only criticism I’d have towards the manual investing process is the choice of a slider to select the investment amount; it’s hard to use, and the amount granularity is weird as the amounts increases by either €10, €20 or €30. It would be much easier to type the desired amount !

Manual investing at Flender

On the other hand, I really appreciate that before confirming the investment, investors are reminded of the essential characteristics of the loan, as well as the total expected interests.

When investing manually, it’s possible to invest directly using a credit cart without funding your account first.

Auto-invest feature

Flender‘s auto-invest (called AutoFlend) is easy to setup. For each duration interval, it’s possible to select the loans grades to invest in, as well as the maximal investment amount.

One annoying aspect is that while investors can select the ratings of the loans they want to invest in, they don’t get to specify the interest rates. Some back-and-forth between the auto-invest screen and loans list is necessary in order to find that information.

Flender’s auto-invest screen

Website’s ease of use

Languages

English

Funding methods

Available languages & translation quality

Flender‘s website is only available in English.

Registration process

Registering an account at Flender is quick and easy. For KYC purposes, it’s necessary to upload a copy of an identification document. Mine was validated in one business day.

Account funding

It’s possible to fund your account either by credit card, or via SEPA transfer. I only used the SEPA transfer options; in addition to inputting your unique reference (which is conveniently displayed in the dashboard), it’s necessary to record your IBAN – presumably to help route the funds properly, should you forget to use the reference –

Website’s design and ergonomics

I find the navigation system a bit confusing, with the “dashboard” button being replaced by notifications while on the dashboard. More generally, the main menu changes depending on the current location of the website, which is annoying. Also, one of the menu contains a sub-menu, but there’s a lot of space left on the screen; why require an extra click ? Finally, while on the dashboard, some features such as transactions reports can be accessed both via the top menu, or via buttons. All this gives a feeling of inconsistency, and makes navigation less intuitive than most competitors.

I had another slight criticism regarding the dashboard’s readability, but this was addressed by a website’s upgrade. Apparently other investors complained about this; it’s great to see that Flender listens to feedback from their users !.

Apart from these two aspects, the site looks good and is easy to use.

Documentation

Flender‘s FAQ could be more complete; for example it doesn’t mention the absence of a buyback guarantee or of a secondary market.

Reporting​

Reporting is rather complete. I appreciate the opportunity to export reports as PDF or CSV. Another useful feature is the repayment reports, which is a complete schedule of the next payments

Actual performance of my Flender portfolio

I just started investing so it’s too early to compute a XIRR. I’ll be able to do so in June or July.

Flender’s main competitors

Nearly all other platforms featuring business loans are located in Baltic countries, and fund local businesses (although Kuetzal funded at least one company in the UK); some investors will probably feel more at ease lending through an Irish company.

Overall, Flender’s loan are more conservative (with the exception of V-rated loans, currently yielding 15.9%); given Flender’s low default rate, I consider that this platform is an excellent choice for investors who want low-risk investments.

Flender’s facts and figures

Location

Dublin, Ireland

Founded in

2014

Number of investors

6 665

Loans amount financed

€ 9 190 000

Historical return

10.4%

As of May 2019

Who can invest

Almost anyone can become a lender on Flender. To become a lender you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be over 18 and a have valid passport or driving licence
  • You must have a valid bank account available
Flender FAQ

Disclosure

Please note that this review may contain affiliate links. It means that I will earn a commission if you decide to invest after clicking through the link – at no additional cost to you, of course -. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the commissions I make if you decide to invest through my links.

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