Part of Flender's loans list

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 vary 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. Unfortunately, the current loans volume is too low to have a really diversified portfolio, or invest large sums.

Detailed ratings

Performance

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); moreover, in Spring 2019, there are rather few 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

  • Although the financed businesses are located outside Baltic countries, interest rates are interesting
  • Very low default rate

Cons

  • No secondary market
  • No buyback guarantee
  • Website’s navigation could be improved
  • Small volume of loans

Loans characteristics

Loans duration

Medium-term : one month to one year

Long-term : more than one year

Loans kinds

Business

Minimal investment

€ 50

Buyback guarantee

Buyback guarantee NOT AVAILABLE

Currencies

EUR – Euro

Overview of Flender’s loans

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
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.

Loans volume

Most loans have smaller amounts than on competing platforms; they’re seldom above € 50,000. While after my initial review the loans volume was satisfying, it has decreased a lot and now there are very few new investment opportunities. As I’m updating this review in late October 20119, this decreased loans volume may be related to the uncertainty about the Brexit. We’ll see in November if the loans volume picks up again !

Buyback guarantee

Loans at Flender don’t come with a buyback guarantee. However, the platform has very low default rate; as of August 2019, it stands at 0.3%.

Platform’s features

Early exit

Early exit NOT AVAILABLE

Investing methods

Auto-invest

Manual investing

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.

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
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

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
Flender's auto-invest screen

Website’s ease of use

Languages

English

Funding methods

Flender’s 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 and funds withdrawal

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.

Available languages & translations quality

Flender‘s website is only available in English.

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

Documentation

Flender‘s FAQ could be more complete, as it conveniently forgets to mention the platform’s missing features. For, example it doesn’t mention the absence of a buyback guarantee or of a secondary market.

Support

There’s a live chat box available during business hours; it’s also possible get in touch by e-mail or phone.

Communication from the platform​

Flender sends a monthly account summary, as well as notification when new investment opportunities are available.

Actual performance of my Flender portfolio

7,85%

At the end of November 2019, the XIRR for my Flender portfolio was 7,85%.

My Flender portfolio is quite recent, and I still have some idle funds as I want to spread them between several projects; as a result, my current performance is currently much below the theoretical one.

Don't hesitate to read my most recent crowdlending portfolio review for detailed platforms performance comparison as well as historical performance.

Portfolio creation date

I created my Flender portfolio in May 2019.

Flender's main competitors

For a detailed comparison of the different real-estate and business crowdlending platforms, check out this article.

Flender's facts & figures

Location

Dublin, Ireland

Founded in

2014

Number of investors

4,386

Loans amount financed

€ 13,579,999

As of August 2019

Who can invest at Flender

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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