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.
Flender’s pros & cons
- Although the financed businesses are located outside Baltic countries, interest rates are interesting
- Very low default rate
- No secondary market
- No buyback guarantee
- Website’s navigation could be improved
- Small volume of loans
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
- paint manufacturer
- fish & chips restaurant
- ice-cream maker
- transportation company
Loans usually sell out in a few days; there are seldom more than 2 or 3 active opportunities at the same time.
All loans yield interests monthly.
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 !
Loans at Flender don’t come with a buyback guarantee. However, the platform has very low default rate; as of January 2020, it stands at 0.8%.
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 at Flender
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 !
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.
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.
Website’s ease of use
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
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.
Available languages & translations quality
Flender‘s website is only available in English.
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
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.
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
At the end of December 2019, the XIRR for my Flender portfolio was 8,16%.
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
Number of investors
Loans amount financed
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
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.