Investment banks eye P2P lending sector

Two of the world's largest investment banks are reportedly looking at moving into the peer-to-peer lending sector.

Société Générale and Goldman Sachs are among several banks discussing a plan to back Aztec Money, an emerging peer-to-peer financing platform that has created an online marketplace where people can bid for company invoices, according to the Financial Times which cited three people familiar with the subject.

The FT report said it “…underlined how even established financial institutions are racing to embrace technology to disrupt traditional finance.”

Aztec Money has listed the FT story on its site, but declined to comment to Leasing Life. Goldman Sachs declined to comment but a person close to the bank said it was a “long way” from committing any investment.

SocGen declined to comment.

Earlier this month Lending Club, the peer-to-peer lender, partnered with Google to offer low interest loans to the search engine company’s partners.

Google’s partners will have access to two-year loans of up to $600,000 (€512,003) to invest in growth programs through the peer-to-peer platform, without paying fees. The pilot partnership allows Google to then purchase the loans.

Last week the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said it will formally refer small businesses it cannot help to peer-to-peer options for alternative sources of finance, referring businesses to peer-to-peer lenders Funding Circle and Assetz Capital, where ‘the online marketplace is better placed to help’.

And in September last year, GE Capital said in an interview with Leasing Life that it was monitoring the P2P model.

“Some of the P2P platforms are offering asset finance, which is creating an online channel for customers to tap into that’s more transparent and, in some cases, quicker than established bank or leasing company providers,” said GE Capital chief commercial officer, Maurice Benisty.

“We’re watching these new entrants with interest and developing our own innovative processes and systems to compete in an increasingly digital environment,” he said.