RateSetter lends £250m to UK businesses

By Luke OMahony

RateSetter investors have now supported businesses across the UK with more than £250m of loans, financing enterprises ranging from a pizza restaurant in Bristol to a car manufacturer in Norfolk.

Our first business loans were to sole traders such as plumbers or carpenters, but as RateSetter has grown, we’ve brought on board experts in SME lending and attracted investment from the Government-backed British Business Bank, which is lending £10m to SMEs via RateSetter.

Our SME lending team now includes Paul Marston as Head of Commercial Finance Divisions and Brian Cartwright as Head of Business Finance, both of whom previously held senior SME lending positions at major UK high street banks. They work alongside a team of risk specialists which includes our new Chief Risk Officer Cyrille Sallé de Chou, who joins RateSetter from Lloyds, and Nigel Wilkinson, Head of Commercial Credit, who was previously at HSBC.

In addition to this, we’ve also built up a team of regional Relationship Managers spanning the whole of the UK to make RateSetter significantly more accessible for SMEs and their advisors. Crucially, it allows us to visit even more businesses in person, ensuring we can get a thorough understanding of our borrowers.

RateSetter specialises in business loans of between £25,000 and £1m, with terms of three months to five years. All loan purposes are considered, and RateSetter provides a lending decision within two days in principle – with funds typically available within ten days.

For example, Art Projects for Schools, a Whitstable-based business which prints children’s artwork onto Christmas cards, secured a £300,000 loan to fund expected growth of the business towards the end of 2015.

Dan Dickey, the business’s co-founder, commented:

“What I’m increasingly finding is that banks can’t or won’t help local businesses. They’re run centrally, and it’s a struggle to get them to take an interest in a local business, let alone actually write a loan. RateSetter, by contrast, were more like an old-school financial institution – I spoke to someone very quickly on the phone, and shortly after, they came down to visit the business in person.”

Peter Behrens, Chief Commercial Officer and co-founder at RateSetter, commented:

“Creditworthy SMEs have been seriously let down by banks who have retreated from lending for many years, and marketplace lenders such as RateSetter are stepping in to fill that gap, supporting businesses across the UK as they invest, become more productive and grow.”

“It’s a win-win: businesses get the finance they need, quickly and efficiently, and investors get access to diversified loans and the returns that come with them.”