31st Jul, 2018

Transparency Matters

Peer-to business lending started out with the ambition to be better than the banks, by being more open and transparent, more ethical, more dynamic and better for businesses and lenders alike. Since the early days of the industry, we’ve seen platforms come and go and there have been many changes to the way in which platforms operate.

Many platforms started off as marketplace lenders, arguably the most transparent of the P2P models, but over time many platforms have changed their models, today few platforms still offer real marketplace lending, and even fewer offer the level of transparency on which the industry built its foundations.

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25th Jul, 2018

Towards Financial Wellness

A recent PWC report defines Financial Wellness like this:

“Being financially ‘well’ not only means being able to meet current financial needs such as paying bills or holding sufficient insurance protection, but also being confident that you can realise your longer term goals such as buying a home or enjoying a financially secure retirement. Achieving financial wellness requires both an understanding of your current financial position and a plan for short-term (e.g. money put aside for possible unemployment), medium-term (e.g. buying a home) and long-term (e.g. retirement or nursing care) needs. The plan should be able to adjust as your situation changes to stay on track. Cutting across all of this is a clear sense of your financial priorities and what you should expect from financial services providers – what good looks like.”

Here at rebuildingsociety we intend to bring financial wellness into the vocabulary of our lenders and borrowers, creating win win situations for both parties, and enabling borrowers to achieve their commercial and financial goals.

If you’re a company looking to borrow money, talk to us, find out how it all works, ask us the questions.

If you’re a potential lender, talk to us. Find out how it all works. Ask us the questions.

Here to listen. Contact us:)

 


17th Jul, 2018

Boxing Clever with Richard Britton of Hull Boxes and Packaging

Richard Britton of Hull Boxes and Packaging in dialogue with journalist and business consultant Bird Lovegod

Richard, it’s always interesting how people start out, how did you get into the packaging business… and why packaging? Am I right in thinking this was previously your fathers company?

Obviously growing up in the packaging industry, as my father had a company, I always found it interesting and I enjoyed working in his company during the school holidays during the early 1980s. When I was 17 I headed down to London and worked for a company called Ridley Quiney & Co Ltd. This is where I started my real education in the packaging industry; buying packaging products from around the world and selling to packaging companies within the UK and Irish markets. I learnt about all aspects of polythene, s/a tape, papers and many other commodity packaging materials. In the late 1989 I returned to Hull and took up a position in my father’s company where I set out to expand the industrial packaging base of the business.

What’s the trends in your sector at the moment, I imagine people are trying to move away from plastics, is that happening?

There is always new trends and ideas coming and going in the packaging industry. Our sector is quite lively at present and will remain so for the foreseeable future. We hear lots of negatives in the media about plastics but there will always be a need for plastics in the packaging industry, this wont change (just yet!). However there are certain sectors where corrugated can be used to replace polythene especially in the secondary packaging this is where the growth can be achieved well into the long term.

You’ve been running the company since 2013, what’s been happening in the last five years, what changes are you seeing? Is the sector growing?

In the past 5 years we have seen remarkable growth due to customer service and trust we will deliver on time as required. All our customers are treated on a one to one basis and know there orders are valued however big or small they may be. We have invested very heavily into the short run large format case market where there are far fewer manufactures and greater returns in margin.

What do you think the future of packaging has in store for us all? Is there any big changes in the pipeline or business as usual?

I believe we will just continue to grow as there is a will within our management to think outside the box to achieve efficient packaging solutions for our customers individual needs.

Thanks Richard, it’s always interesting to get a little insight into companies and the people behind them. Wishing you well for the next 5 years, and long after that. 

 


13th Jul, 2018

Interview with Jeremiah, from Riad Importers

Jeremiah, you started your business in University, right? You must have put in a lot of effort and hours? 

Yes, very true. I had some understanding of the industry from my experience my father gave me by taking me along to the market with him in my earlier years. At university I established the company and in my final year and began contacting new suppliers around the world for the wide range of products needed. This is where a lot of hours had to be put in. It was almost like fishing with a very low conversion rate due to being a fresh new company with no recorded trading history. I would have to contact hundreds of suppliers before I met my first supplier to send me products. He was from Spain and took a risk with me as at that time I couldn’t get credit insurance of course. He still sends me Citrus products to this day!

At university I knew I had a great opportunity to start a business that has a massive potential profit gain. I didn’t mind sacrificing some of my social life in my final year to get the ball running once I had graduated. I knew it would take some time but the experience and backing of my father gave me confidence. Also my degree gave me confidence as I knew I could fall back on it if things didn’t quite work out.

Despite being on course for an economics degree at a UK top 5 university, I had always enjoyed the experience I had in this business. To be quite honest, it didn’t really seem that hard. To me what seemed more important in this industry was your inter-personal skills and work ethic which I didn’t lack. Not only that, but trading fruit and veg is like any commodity being traded such as stocks and shares. I’ve applied a lot of the knowledge I gained in my Macro Economics module of International Trade, too.

 Is this a follow on from your fathers business? What did, or does, he do?  

Good question. My father has been in this industry since 1987. Started by owning and running his own stand at New Covent Garden called ‘Egyptian Fruit’. He established himself as one of the main importers of Egyptian products which we now see commonly in supermarkets such as citrus, grapes, spring onion, etc.

New Spitalfields Market opened in 1992 and was where the focus of this industry shifted to. Everyone wanted a stand in this market, competition was fierce and unfortunately the waiting list was years long. Therefore my father left being a trader (stand owner) at New Covent Garden Market and opted to be a supplier to the traders at New Spitalfields Market. He would import products from the Middle East and Europe such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, and supply the traders in Spitalfields who have their own stand. He became one of the top suppliers (based on volume) for over 15 years.

Currently my father advises me on big decisions where experience is invaluable. I ultimately decide the goals and objectives of the company, and he gives his advice based on experience. He also goes to the market several times a week to oversee operations. Of course he also put me in touch with several of his old suppliers which I owe him for as we trade well.

An example of his advice would be: I decided I wanted to differentiate and start my own brand of product to build brand reputation and capture more of the margin. I made a list of all the potential products. After discussing with my father, he advised that the first product to try should be low risk (low cost, high margin, low-perishability, and surprisingly – high barrier to entry so others couldn’t easily copy). This ended up being the fresh yams from Nigeria which is an amazing line of business for me and any teething problems didn’t result in losses.

What do you see yourself doing in ten or twenty years? 

I aim to establish this business in different parts of the supply chain. Fruit and vegetable wholesale continues to grow in line with population growth and a shift in the mentality of food consumerism towards more healthy products (i.e fruit and veg). Just see how much much more popular being vegetarian and/or vegan has become as a result of this.

I actually have certain goals I would like to achieve in this business in the next 10 years:

– Have a stand in every major wholesale fruit and veg market in the UK (such as Western International in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, etc) to repeat out success in New Spitalfields Market and increase out output in the UK.

– Increase my own branding to cover a wide range of South Asian, Middle Eastern and African produce such as hot pepper, chilli, etc. Plans can be put into place with suppliers once I solidify my position in the market by purchasing a stand

– Lease land in Morocco or Egypt to produce products for export to the UK

– Expand distribution business to become the preferred fruit and vegetable distributor in London. Aim to have 50 vans that leave each morning for deliveries across London.

– Supply retail (supermarkets)

– Expand and establish local wholesale ‘Cash and Carrys’ around London (North, South, West, East)

– Establish a higher-end service of fruit supply to corporate clients (within next 2 years)

Currently, I’m the youngest trader in the market. I noticed that the vast majority of business owners have been there for donkeys years and continued to do the same thing again and again. That’s what inspired me to be different and start my own line of products like yams and peanuts Vs using the same agents as everyone else.

What does your business mean to you, today?”  

It’s honestly hard to explain how much we’ve actually achieved in our short existence. From formation to purchasing a stand in less than 5 years is unheard of. There are around 75 traders in the market, which account for over half a billion in revenue each year. The application process to become a tenant of City of London in Spitalfields Market is very long are gruelling. Besides a strict financial appraisal of the company and its ability to pay its obligations every month, you also have to be a company of good reputation as one of the stages in the application process is to be accepted by the market’s Tenant’s Association. They wouldn’t give approval to a company that they think could go bust or doesn’t have the necessary experience to survive. Everything achieved up until now will feel like only step 1 in our journey by cementing our position in the UK wholesale industry. We were lucky to find a stand willing to sell due to ill health of the owner after having 3 generations of their family in Spitalfields. It’s an incredible opportunity that we want to grab!

I have a 2:1 in Economics from Durham in my back pocket that I don’t think twice about which says a lot about what this business means to me. I know how much there is to gain and how much we will continue to grow which is why my focus has been on this company from the start. I look forward to purchasing this lease and taking the next steps in our journey.

Thank you Jeremiah, you clearly have a great head for business and a work ethic to match. All the very best my friend. Interviewer Bird Lovegod, co-founder of The Fintech Times, Journalist, Business Consultant.

 

You can find the RIAD Importers loan profile here


11th Jul, 2018

Loan Profile – Key Risks

Lending to businesses requires you to carry out some due diligence before lending. As a platform we provide you with a significant amount of information on the borrowing business to help you make a lending decision. Whilst we provide a lot of information, we understand that sometimes lenders could do with a bit more of a hand in understanding the information presented. Understanding this, we’ve designed our loan profiles in a way that will help better understand the risks involved.

Each loan listed, has an Overview Page that provides key high level information on the business. This Overview page divided into four key sections, ‘About the Business’, ‘About the Loan’, About the Risks’ and ‘About the Security’.

The ‘About the Loan‘ section gives you key information about the loan they propose to borrow, such as the total loan amount (including our fee), the loan term and the interest rate at which the loan will be repaid.

The ‘About the Business‘ section provides you with the identifiable information of the borrowing business, such as the full company name, registration number and location. You can use this information to run your own checks and investigation.

The ‘About the Risk‘ section provides you with pointers as to some of the potential risks specifically associated with this loan rather than lending in general. This section is divided up into ‘Risk Rating’ and Risk Indicators’.

We assign a risk rating to each business listed, but more than that we also show you the performance of the associated risk ratings on our loan book. By hovering over the risk rating you will be presented with the historic performance of other loans funded on the platform of the same rating. The historic performance will show the default rate as well as the bad debt rate of all loans of the same rating. Why is this historic information important? As a lender, you need to make a decision on when to lend and which businesses you want to lend to. In order to make a more informed decision, you need to understand that regardless of the business or the rating assigned to it, there is a chance that the loan will fail. The Default and Bad debt rate indicate the past performance of similar loans, which you can take into account when lending.

About the risk - Default

Whilst the ‘Risk Rating’ assigned to the loan is the rating our credit risk team has assigned to the particular loan, the risk rating bands can be broad, so it’s important to understand the risks particularly relevant to the business listed, the ‘Key Risk indicators’ are designed to do just that. This section will highlight some of the key risks that we may have identified during our initial underwriting and screening process.

You can view a general description about each of the indicators by hovering over the indicator with your mouse. These indicators are made visible to help you in your lending decision by a) making you aware of risks you may have missed b) allowing you to investigate further and ask relevant questions. The key risks displayed are not necessarily the only risks associated with the business, simply those that we have identified.

Key Risk - Indicators - Hover

The ‘About Security‘ section clearly sets out for lenders the security offered in support of the loan. This section shows what type of security has been offered as well as important information about the security such as the equity in a particular asset.

 

What should you do with the information?

Where key risks have been highlighted on a loan, this does not necessarily mean that you should not lend to the business, all lending carries risk.

You should use this information to help further your own analysis of the business, use it to ask your own questions of the business or use it to rule out the business as a loan for you. All loans that are listed on the platform have been through an initial assessment by ourselves and have met our standard lending criteria and have been deemed good enough to list on the platform for your further consideration. We provide lenders with a variety of lending opportunities to suite the breadth of different lenders on the platform, a loan listed on the marketplace is not an indication of a ‘safe loan’, it represents an opportunity for you to consider.

 


06th Jul, 2018

Giddy Kids North – A caring and ethical community boosting business

Our business, Giddy Kids North, is a family run, state of the art play centre in Lancashire designed with both the child and the adult in mind. It is a play centre like no other, with next generation play equipment installed! It is crammed with fun, educational activities, which will nurture children in a safe and friendly environment. We are really proud to offer an outside area with play equipment for those lovely summer days too – something that not many other centres can say.

We aim to use our skills to provide a high quality experience for children, parents, grandparents and carers. The building has been specifically designed to maximise views across the open countryside in West Lancashire and gain maximum natural light.

We offer complimentary Wi-Fi for guests and a fully equipped kitchen produces locally sourced foods for both the children’s parties and light lunches and refreshments. We have a barista coffee machine and use a coffee company based in a nearby village. Each week we have a variety of homemade cakes and soups available to purchase and are proud of the variety of food we offer.

We hold a variety of midweek activities and classes such as arts and crafts, Baby Ballet, drama, and many more activities for children.

The aim is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all children, including some of those who require a little extra assistance. We are working closely with local schools who provide education for these children, and they are wanting to include a day visit once a week into their syllabus, allowing the children to come and explore the centre, using the equipment and benefiting from the sensory experience, all without being frightened or intimidated by the loud environment that sometimes comes along with play centres.

We are also looking to benefit the community by working alongside the council and social services, to give looked after children a wonderful experience, come and play and be children once again.  Along with this, we will also be looking to provide a service where contact can be made with children & their parents with whom they don’t currently live with, when it needs to be structured to allow for the safe development of the children.  This is something that is very close to our hearts, as having parents who have fostered children for the last 10 years, it is such a wonderful feeling to help them overcome the heartache and pain they’ve already experienced at such a young age, and to watch them play and be children once again, even if only for a short time, is enough to drive us forwards in continuing to pursue our dream of being able to give back to the community.

 


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