My opinion on PeerBerry
Thanks to the large selection of reliable loan originators A loan originator is the firm that originally provides the loan to the borrower. They usually lend a small percent of the amount using their own funds, while the remaining is put on sale on loans marketplaces. The part of the loan kept by the originator is called called skin in the game; it’s typically 5%-10% of the loan amount, and is supposed to encourage originators to provide quality loans., overall ease of use and good returns, PeerBerry is an excellent alternative – or complement – to Mintos.
The performance of my PeerBerry portfolio is slightly lower to for most most competitors.
There’s a large amount of loans, and until now I never witnessed a large cash drag.
The statistics are basic but overall sufficient.
Transparency & reliability
I appreciate the recent improvements in terms of transparency.
Thanks to the user-interface redesign, the ergonomics of PeerBerry’s website is now on par with most competitors.
PeerBerry's pros & cons
- Extremely regular performance
- Great diversification thanks to the many loans originators
- Many loan originators belong to the profitable Aventus Group, which makes them rather reliable
- Improved interface
Short-term : less than one month
Medium-term : one month to one year
Long-term : more than one year
Buyback guarantee available
EUR – Euro
Overview of PeerBerry's loans
PeerBerry offers only loans in Euro. They all yield interests monthly.
As of August 2021, nearly all available loans are short-term loans, whose durations are below one month. In addition, there are around a one hundred long-term loans, as well as a few real-estate loans from Lithome or SI Baltic.
Interest rates used to be in the 11% – 13% range. However, they have slightly decreased and now stand between 9% and 11%. This is due to two factors. First, most originators on the platform drastically reduced their loans volume by focusing only on low-risk borrowers. Moreover, at the same time PeerBerry’s investors base grew thanks to their great crisis management. In consequence, the loans demand now greatly overcomes the supply.
Currently, most borrowers are located in Kazakhstan or Ukraine. Other countries include Russia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Vietnam and Republic of Moldavia.
Finally, the minimal investment is €10, which is the standard amount for P2P loans.
PeerBerry's Customer Loyalty Program
Investors with a large portfolio will be rewarded by a greater interest rate after 3 months on the platform. The bonus starts at an additional 0.5% for portfolios larger than €10,000, and can be as high as 1% for €40,000 portfolios.
Compared to Swaper‘s Loyalty Bonus, PeerBerry‘s offer is less generous, as it requires a larger portfolio and the final interest rate is lower. Indeed, Swaper’s interest rates are bumped by 2% for portfolios larger than €5,000.
For a long time, I didn’t notice any actual cash drag at PeerBerry, which was a great advantage over competitors Swaper and Robocash. However, during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, the loans supply took a large hit. Indeed, the loans volume was divided by two compared to January 2020 !
Moreover, the success of the platform among investors caused the demand for loans to overcome supply in August 2020. Fortunately, this cash drag didn’t last; actually, PeerBerry’s current outstanding portfolio stands at a all-time-high !
Even better, the volume of loans with the highest interest rate (around 11%) is large enough for all investors to invest.
The buyback guarantee covers both capital and accrued interests. It triggers after a 60 days delay.
Platform’s transparency and reliability
Thanks to their great management of the Covid-19 crisis, PeerBerry is considered as a very reliable platform. Moreover, the fact that most loan originators on the platform are subsidiaries of the large, profitable Aventus Group is a very positive aspect.
PeerBerry’s background and team
PeerBerry has its offices in Vilnius, Lithuania but is registered in Riga, Latvia. It was originally launched by Aventus Group in order to funds its loans portfolio. This is quite similar to Robocash or Swaper.
However, since January 2018, it’s owned by two private individuals. Another change is that it started to provide loans from other originators. In this regard, it’s now a loans marketplace comparable to Mintos or Viventor.
PeerBerry’s website lists 10 employees, and provides links to their LinkedIn profiles. Current CEO Arunas Lekavicius has a long experience in lending and banking.
To date, the total volume invested on the platform is close to €600,000,000. It’s a respectable figure, which has doubled in a small time. However, it’s nearly twenty times smaller than at Mintos ! The number of investors is slightly above 40000.
The platform published its 2020 annual report in summer 2021. Unlike the one provided by Mintos or EstateGuru, it didn’t get audited. It shows a small profit of €142,000. That’s a 50% decreased compared to the previous year.
Like most competitors, PeerBerry displays many details about the borrower and loan purpose. However, while having information about the borrower is crucial for business and real-estate loans, it doesn’t matter much for P2P loans.
Loan originators reliability
There are currently more than twenty loan originators at PeerBerry – this figure actually decreased in 2020 -. The largest share of loans on the platform (around 80%) come from originators which are subsidiaries of Aventus Group. Another 15% are issued by subsidiaries of Gofingo, while the remaining 5% mostly come from LitHome, an issuer of real-estate loans. Finally, another real-estate development group called SI Baltic started provided loans in August 2020.
I used to dislike the lack of information provided about the loan originators, as well as the poor readability of the data. Fortunately, the related screens have been totally re-designed. They now contain a lot of useful data for each loan originator :
- A short description of the company
- Country of operation
- Creation date, number of employees
- Portfolio size
- Loan kind and average interest rate
Links to the annual financial reports are also provided. Many of them underwent an audited and got translated to English.
PeerBerry also published several blog posts about Aventus Group and Gofingo. In September 2020, an interview of Aventus Group’s CEO revealed that in spite of the Covid-19, the group’s loans volume increased by 66% in the first half of 2020 compared to one year ago !.
One drawback of the platform is the lack of rating for originators, so it’s hard to evaluate their reliability. However, financial reports are available for most of them. In addition, a great source of independent ratings is Explore P2P’s ratings for PeerBerry’s loan originators. Although most originators initially received low ratings, many of them are now between 55 and 65 out of 100. While ratings on loans marketplaces such as Mintos which vary greatly from one originator to another, they tend to be more uniform here thanks to the group guarantees provided by both Aventus and GoFingo.
New loan originators are regularly added to the platform. For example, in February 2021, Cash Xwas introduced. This lender from Sri-Lanka is part of Aventus group.
Reporting & statistics availability
PeerBerry provides statistics about the platform’s loan book. It’s possible to visualize it by loan type, loan originator. More importantly, we can see that as of August 2021, around 83% of the loans on the platform are current. It’s an excellent figure, and it didn’t even decrease much during the Covid-19 outbreak in Spring 2020.
The same kind of figures are available on the dashboard, based on each investor’s portfolio. Roughly 90 of my loans are current.
Several Mintos originators are suspended or defaulted, causing losses for investors. By contrast, PeerBerry investors didn’t have to suffer any loss. Indeed, unlike its competitors, this platform seems to be much more cautious about which loan originators are accepted on the platform. It’s also helped by the rather conservative politics of Aventus Group, which focuses on trustworthy borrowers instead of providing loans with a high interest rate but a large default risk.
Impact of Covid-19 outbreak on PeerBerry
As mentioned previously, the Covid-19 epidemics has lead to decreased interest rates on the platform.
Another consequence was a better communication from the platform, mostly regarding their originators. For example, the platform published an interview with the CEO of Aventus Group.
As many investors were concerned about the safety of their investments, both Aventus Group and Gofingo decided to provide a group guarantee for all the related originators. This is a very positive outcome, which will also make it easier to invest. Indeed, before this decision was taken, only a handful of originators were regarded as reliable as most of them are often rather small and don’t have much track record.
Overall, investors seem greatly satisfied by the way PeerBerry handled the crisis. According to a quality survey conducted by the platform, “95% of investors have assessed (our) performance during the crisis as perfect”. While marketing claims always should be taken with a pinch of salt, this reflects the opinion of most investors on Telegram or Facebook.
Early exit NOT AVAILABLE
Although investing automatically is much more convenient, it’s possible to invest manually at PeerBerry. The loans list can be filtered using a variety of criteria :
- interest rate
- remaining loan term
- investment amount
- loan originator
- loan type
- presence of a group guarantee
I used to have several critics in term of ergonomics. Fortunately, the screen has been re-designed and is now much more user-friendly.
For example, the originators are grouped based on their parent company. It’s thus possible to select all loan originators which belong to Aventus Group with a single mouse click.
Moreover, it’s also possible to invest directly from the loans list, without opening the detailed loan screen. Validating the assignment agreement is done directly via a popup window, which is much more convenient.
Similarly, PeerBerry‘s auto-invest screen has undergone a great redesign. The loans originators list is now entirely visible, instead of being a drop-down box. Thanks to this new layout, additional data regarding each originator is now displayed.
I also appreciate that the number of loans matching the filters is displayed. This allows to quickly tighten or loosen the criteria depending on the results !
In addition, this screen also displays a graphical overview of the interest rates and durations for matching loans.
One potential improvement would be to group the originators by parent company. This feature is available on the loans list, but for some reason wasn’t included on the auto-invest screen.
PeerBerry's investment plans
In February 2021, PeerBerry unveiled a new feature : investment plans. They’re roughly similar to Mintos‘ former strategies; that is, pre-configured auto-invest where investors only have to select the amount to invest.
Currently, three plans are available :
- Short-term – less than one month, interest rate of 9% or more –
- Long-term – up to five years, interest rates above 10% -. Before selecting this plan, don’t forget that due to the lack of a secondary market you won’t be unable to resell your loans early !
- Real-estate : up to one year, at least 9% interest rates
I used to think that Mintos strategies were a bad idea, as they offered very little control in terms of diversification. As a result, investors using them ended up with loans from low-quality loan originators in their portfolio. However, thanks to the relative homogeneity of PeerBerry’s loan originators, this is much less of a concern. Still, I recommend investors to spend some time configuring a custom auto-invest to their liking.
It provides an overview of the loans portfolio, showing the loans statuses and diversification. It also allows to invest manually.
I find it much more convenient to check my peer-to-peer accounts using my laptop rather than an app. However, most investors who actively use the app seem very satisfied. As it’s a recent development, there will obviously be bugs and missing features, but there are fixed quickly.
There’s currently no secondary market; according to the FAQ, it’s a planned feature for long-term loans.
Website’s ease of use
English, German, Spanish
Available languages & translations quality
PeerBerry’s website is available in English and German as well as Spanish. Overall the English translation is good, although some sentences could be rephrased.
PeerBerry's registration process
Registering a PeerBerry account is quick and easy. Since summer 2020, all investors must now complete a KYC (Know Your Customer) procedure. Like many competitors, the platform uses Veriff, which provides a quick and streamlined identity verification process.
For some reason, I was recently requested to verify my phone number. It may be due to the release of the app, as both website and app now allow to login using a phone number.
Account funding and funds withdrawal
The only way to add funds to your investor’s account is via a SEPA transfer. Uploading a copy of your ID is necessary in order to withdraw funds.
Website’s design and ergonomics
While PeerBerry’s website won’t win design awards, it’s very easy to use.
The usual array of reporting screens is available at PeerBerry : account balance, transactions list, investments list.
The layout of the transactions list could be slightly improved : indeed, the top of the screen displays the transactions filters, the account summary… but it’s necessary to scroll down to see the transactions themselves.
On the dashboard, investors will be able to see their portfolio’s net annual return; however, this is the value for the expected XIRR, not the current one !
Overall, the documentation could be improved. For example, the FAQ doesn’t mention the buyback guarantee. It would also benefit from a re-ordering; indeed, it currently starts with mentioning the Loyalty program, but it would be more logical to start with the registration process. The How it works page is quite succinct.
Communication & support
PeerBerry communicates regularly through their blog. In addition, Rita (who’s the platform’s Head of Marketing and Communications) is very active on several Facebook groups related to P2P investments as well as on PeerBerry’s unofficial Telegram group, which I think is a great move. In addition to answering questions, she provides some information not available on the platform’s blog. Among these is a very handy monthly overview of interest rates changes.
This allows investors to make change to their auto-invest settings.
When it comes to e-mail communication, I welcome the opportunity to configure the frequency of the account overview e-mail; it can also be disabled. Similarly, it’s possible to opt-out of the monthly newsletter.
Official PeerBerry pages on social networks
It’s possible to reach PeerBerry by live chat during business hours. The platform’s website also includes their phone number, and an e-mail address.
I got in touch with the support twice as I had questions about the buyback guarantee. The delay to reply was a bit long (usually 2 business days), but the answer was precise.
Actual performance of my PeerBerry portfolio
At the end of August 2021, the XIRR for my PeerBerry portfolio was 11,48%.
The performance of my PeerBerry portfolio fluctuates slightly, depending on the offered interest rates. Overall, I consider that it's a great result when taking the platform's reliability into account !
Don't hesitate to read my most recent crowdlending portfolio review for detailed platforms performance comparison as well as historical performance.
For a detailed comparison of the different p2p-lending marketplaces, check out this article.
Portfolio creation date
I created my PeerBerry portfolio in January 2019
PeerBerry's facts & figures
Number of investors
Loans amount financed
As of September 2021
Who can invest at PeerBerry
In order to start the investing on P2P the user must be at least 18 years old. We are very welcome the international investors and the place of residence does not play the significant role of becoming our investor.
Although PeerBerry is a smaller marketplace than Mintos, it has several advantages over its largest competitor. The reliability of the loan originators - especially subsidiaries of Aventus Group - first comes to mind. The auto-invest feature is also much easier to configure.
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.