Wow, this year sure hasn’t been boring. I don’t think anyone could have foreseen everything that happened already, all within such a short time-frame.

With the virus currently spreading all over the world, I hope you’re all safe and healthy, washing your hands on a regular basis and that your personal lives aren’t too negatively affected by everything that’s going on.

That being said, welcome to my P2P lending income update for February 2020! Apart from my monthly income, deposits and withdrawals for each P2P lending platform, this update also includes some changes I’m making to my portfolio.

Virus and Recession Fears

What a crazy year this has been already. After January’s shocking events regarding Envestio for many P2P investors including myself, the world is currently in crisis mode, trying to deal with the spread of the virus.

That uncertainty has understandably led to a steep correction of stock & ETF prices, with many investors fearing this will lead to the next recession. For a bit of context, my Vanguard FTSE All-World ETF is currently down about 20% from its record high on February 19th.

In the midst of all of this, we shouldn’t forget that recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle. If you’re a young investor like myself with a long time horizon, a stock market crash is one of the best things that can happen to you to accumulate wealth long-term. After all, it means you’re getting a substantial discount on stocks/ETFs you buy during this period. I personally see it as a valuable experience, after all stock prices don’t only go up, and this is where the equity risk-premium is ultimately earned.

Of course it always feels like this time is different and that the world is ending, especially if you read news headlines all day. After all, we’re dealing with a new virus and we can’t predict exactly when the situation is going to normalize.

Nonetheless, I’m positive that we’ll get through this, as the world has made it through worse periods in the past. Until then, please take care of yourself, prioritize your health above everything else and stay safe out there.

Getting back to investing, in this particular situation I’m grateful to have what I consider a relatively diversified portfolio. Let’s take a look at how my peer to peer lending platforms performed last month.

P2P Lending Income – February 2020 Overview

Platform Income IRR Invested Value
Iuvo Group 33,59€ 14,08% 2.850€ 3.497€
Mintos 91,42€ 12,73% 8.505€ 9.391€
Mintos I&A 7,06€ 10,10% 1.000€ 1.072€
Bondora G&G 15,87€ 6,64% 2.900€ 3.066€
Grupeer 33,31€ 13,98% 2.825€ 3.186€
Crowdestor 47,41€ 12,21% 5.700€ 6.013€
Swaper 18,85€ 11,92% 1.500€ 1.570€
Viainvest 11,63€ 9,89% 1.500€ 1.556€
Lendermarket 33,65€ 13,90% 3.000€ 3.088€
EvoEstate 3,16€ 13,47% 630€ 633€
Monethera 16,43€ 22,22% 1.028€ 1.151€
Wisefund* 0* -11,41%* 60€* 0 (-166€)*
Envestio** 0** -74,08%** 2.807€** 0 (-3.792€?)**
Total 312,38€ -0,30% 34.305€ 34.223€

*My Wisefund buyback request was filled on February 11th, but I paid ~17% (166€) in early-exit fees.
**After what happened, we’ll have to wait and see if/when we get some of the funds back from Envestio. For now, I’m writing off the entire amount.

  • Income from P2P Lending (Feb. 2020): 312,38€ (-40,1€)
  • Total Earned: 3.875,17€
  • Total Lost: 82,64€ (after Envestio, Wisefund)
  • Internal Rate of Return: -0,30%
  • Start: 01.09.2018

Things are starting to look a bit better compared to the first month of the year. However, I wasn’t able to bring my total earnings back to a positive number just yet, since I paid early-exit fees for leaving Wisefund. More on that later.

I’m currently at 21% (-2,5%) of my goal, 1.500€ monthly passive income from investments.

Iuvo Group

Note: Oct/18 shows the 90€ refer-a-friend bonus
  • Income (Feb. 2020): 33,59€ (+0,83€)
  • IRR: 14,08%
  • Invested since: 05.10.2018

My income from Iuvo Group grew slightly last month. All in all, I’m a happy investor, as the platform’s Auto Invest takes care of everything for me.

Mintos

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 91,42€ (+20,9€)
  • IRR: 12,73%
  • Invested since: 27.09.2018

My Mintos income increased substantially in February, since many loans, especially from South-East Asia, are now offered with higher interest rates compared to a couple of months ago.

As a result, I added 1.000€ to my account on February 17th.

Mintos Invest & Access

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 7,06€ (-1,28€)
  • IRR: 10,10%
  • Invested since: 12.06.2019

The interest payments I received on Invest & Access dropped further in February, the exact opposite of what happened on my main Mintos account.

On March 1st, a whopping 37,79% of my funds on Invest & Access were unavailable for cash out, as they were either late or in grace period. That’s a much higher percentage of late loans than the market average.

If quick access to your invested amount is a priority for you, you should take a look at the next platform in my portfolio.

Bondora Go & Grow

Note: I invested an extra 7.000€ for less than a month on Go & Grow during Sep/18
  • Income (Feb. 2020): 15,87€ (+2,93€)
  • IRR (incl. withdrawals): 6,64%
  • Invested since: 01.09.2018

My income from Go & Grow increased further in February.

Bondora Go & Grow remains the best platform for short-term investments in P2P lending in my opinion. I can withdraw the full amount of my deposit, including the daily interest I earned at any time (-1€ flat withdrawal fee).

Due to the extra flexibility, I’m ok with the interest rate being slightly lower at 6,75% per year.

I can withdraw 3.064,81€ right away

Grupeer

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 33,31€ (-1,85€)
  • IRR: 13,98%
  • Invested since: 02.10.2018

Grupeer added two-factor authentication and portfolio statistics to its platform recently and my investments have been running smoothly. So far so good, but…

Bernhard’s Grupeer visit in Riga & Minsk

As I announced in my last monthly update, my friend Bernhard Hummel recently visited Grupeer in Riga and even got to see one of Primo Invest’s large development projects personally in Minsk. He filmed everything and I’m very grateful for all the time & money that he put into his trip.

Here are the first four videos of his trip, the others should follow soon:

Here is what I can tell you so far: While he enjoyed interacting with Alla and her coworkers in Grupeer’s office, he wasn’t too happy about her answers in the interview. After watching it, neither was I to be honest.

Here are some of the parts of the first interview that stood out to me:

  • Alla Kisika is the owner & operational manager of Grupeer, but her brother Andrey Kisik is the actual CEO of the company and is responsible for the strategic decisions in the company. I find it strange that we’ve never seen him in interviews or office tours.
  • 13:43 – Bernhard asked Alla who covers the buyback guarantee in case of default when the loan originator differs from the deal partner. He mentioned loans by Ibancar as an example, with Finsputnik Platforma as loan originator. She responded that Ibancar is responsible for the buyback (already), contrary to what Grupeer recently published on its Blog, where they mentioned that the buyback guarantee is covered by Finsputnik Platforma.
  • 18:53 – Alla owns Finsputnik Platforma. She already disclosed Grupeer’s affiliation with Finsputnik and Primo Invest in our interview last year, but it’s still not clear on the website.
  • 21:30 – Who is the owner of Primo Invest? She responded that 50% of the company is owned by her, while the other 50% is owned by ‘Harijs’, who deals with development projects, for example in Belarus and Norway. However, when checking Primo Invest SIA on the Latvian company registry, there is no mention of anyone named ‘Harijs’. Instead, half of the company is owned by Agnese Egle (who seems to be his wife?).
  • 30:14 According to Alla, Grupeer also has an office and a team working in Ireland, which Bernhard could also visit. I find that a bit hard to believe, since the address (The Black Church St. Mary’s Place, Dublin, D07P4AX) is clearly the address of an Irish company formation service.

To me, especially the first interview showed too much confusion regarding important processes within Grupeer. Who else if not the COO, are we supposed to ask to get the correct answers (using the buyback guarantee as an example)?

Why is Agnese Egle registered as co-owner of Primo Invest and not Harijs, who seems to actually be leading the development projects?

And lastly, why not simply admit that Grupeer’s legal address was changed to Ireland for regulatory reasons? In itself, I think Grupeer openly communicating that wouldn’t be an issue for investors. But pretending like there is an active Grupeer office working there (I’d be happy to be proven wrong!) and saying that Bernhard could come by for a visit, is a bit much for me.

I decided to start moving Grupeer funds to other platforms

While I like the team and Alla has been nothing but kind to me personally, I decided to stop my Auto Invest on March 9th after seeing the interviews and talking to Bernhard, who did the same.

Neither of us feels like the platform or Alla have bad intentions, so we’re not running for the exit. However, we’ll slowly be withdrawing money as interest and principal payments arrive.

In my opinion the platform needs to be managed better and more professionally. The answers are too often unclear, sometimes even different depending on the interview and there needs to be more transparency. Until that changes, I’ve decided that the platform doesn’t fit my personal risk tolerance any more.

I know a lot of people like Grupeer, so your own opinion may differ – and that’s perfectly fine.

Crowdestor

Paid interest: Interest payments I received on a monthly basis; Accrued interest: Includes outstanding interest that I should receive at a later date
  • Income (Feb. 2020): 47,41€ (-25€)
  • IRR: 12,21%
  • Invested since: 03.04.2019

My earnings from Crowdestor decreased last month. Many of my loans don’t pay interest on a monthly basis, which is why the cashflow isn’t as regular as on other platforms.

Nonetheless, I’m confident that sooner or later, my internal rate of return is going to catch up with the average interest rate of the loans I’m invested in.

I added 300€ to my Crowdestor account on February 10th, which I invested into the Consumer Loan Portfolio Acquisition (II) loan, paying 24% interest per year.

Crowdestor is the only business loan platform I trust at the moment.

That of course doesn’t mean that the individual loans themselves don’t carry risks, especially when they come with high interest rates, like the loan I just mentioned.

Swaper

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 18,85€ (+0,11€)
  • IRR: 11,92%
  • Invested since: 02.10.2019

My IRR for Swaper is getting closer to the interest rate of my loans on the platform, which I’m happy to see. I had no cash drag in February and was fully invested most of the time.

Viainvest

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 11,63€ (-5,15€)
  • IRR: 9,89%
  • Invested since: 11.10.2019

My income from Viainvest decreased in February compared to the month before. As far as I can remember, I wasn’t fully invested in the beginning of the month, plus February was a bit shorter, so that may have been the reason. Either way, I’m expecting to receive higher interest payments in March.

Viainvest looks less exciting at first glance, but I’m very happy with my experience so far on the platform and will increase my deposit here over the coming months.

The platform also recently announced on its blog that it is working on getting an international brokerage firm (IBF) license, which I believe to be a good thing for us investors. Hopefully the interest rates won’t decrease as a result.

Lendermarket

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 33,65€ (-10,31€)
  • IRR: 13,90%
  • Invested since: 21.11.2019

After my earnings saw a big boost thanks to the 1% cashback I received on Lendermarket after exactly 60 days back in January, I’m very happy with the amount of interest I earned on the platform over the course of February.

EvoEstate

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 3,16€
  • IRR: 13,47%
  • Invested since: 03.02.2020

I added EvoEstate to my portfolio on February 3rd, to diversify my P2P investments a bit more into real-estate projects.

I like the idea of having one platform act as a ‘filtered’ aggregator for real-estate projects in the P2P sector, instead of registering for each platform individually. As well as EvoEstate’s transparency, their feedback on specific loans and the skin-in-the-game approach.

Over the course of February, I deposited 630€. I invested my money into these two projects in Spain:

Both projects have a loan duration of 12 months, so I likely won’t have interest payments to report until then.

The 3,16€ I earned so far came from the 0,5% cashback I received on my investments.

  • You can get the same 0,5% Cashback on all of your investments for the first 6 months on EvoEstate via this link
  • Or a 15€ Bonus after your first investment on EvoEstate when using this link. The choice is yours!

Monethera

First off, for a bit more context, here is why I decided to leave Monethera and Wisefund on January 15th, 2020.

  • Income (Feb. 2020): 16,43€
  • Invested since: 16.08.2019

Monethera was one of the reasons why I waited a bit with this monthly update, as I wanted to report on new developments.

The platform announced some banking issues in February, which seem to have been fixed, as payments started being processed again.

I was relieved when my withdrawal request for 201,28€, which I placed on February 15th, arrived on my Revolut bank account yesterday. Many other investors also reported that they received their withdrawals.

The interest payments also only started being added to the accounts a couple of days ago instead of the 1st of the month, and I’m still waiting for a couple of loan repayments. When that money arrives, I will be withdrawing it as well.

It seems like Monethera’s Facebook page is the best place to receive up-to-date information about the platform right now.

Wisefund

Once again, here is why I also decided to leave Wisefund on January 15th.

  • Invested since: 21.08.2019
  • Fully exited: 11.02.2020
  • Total P/L (after Buyback): 59,73€ Loss

In early February, Wisefund reached out to me regarding my early-exit request. They asked me if I wanted to wait for the secondary market or if I still preferred the option of them buying back my loans at their respective discounts (-15-20% usually). I chose the buyback option.

On February 11th, the buyback was confirmed and after withdrawing the money, it was back on my bank account the same day. That means I’ve now officially withdrawn everything from Wisefund.

I paid 166,07€ (~17%) in early-exit fees. If I look at the interest I earned since August and just calculate deposits minus withdrawals, I lost a total of 59,73€. I can live with that.

That’s it!

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my latest monthly update. Please take care and look after yourself and your loved ones during these times of uncertainty all over the world. This too shall pass!

How do you feel about my decision regarding Grupeer? What impression did you get when watching Bernhard’s videos?

You might find this useful:

Video of the article

24 Comments

  1. I can just repeat what I commented under Bernhard’s video. I really appreciate people like Bernhard who invest their money and time into meeting these companies and sharing what they learned with us. He definitely didn’t shy away from asking hard questions. I wasn’t invested in Grupeer but I had the same feeling after watching the interview as you did. They seem to be nice people, nice company but I just can’t wrap my head around why they give these confusing statements. Thank you also for sharing your honest opinion on this subject and for being so positive and caring about everyone’s wellbeing in this situation with the Coronavirus. I really enjoy reading your content.

    • thank you Sophia! 🙂 I agree, I’ll ask Bernhard if there’s some way to support him, to make sure at least a small part of his expenses from the trip are covered. It’s pretty clear he wasn’t there to simply promote the platform and I appreciate his honesty.

  2. Thank you Angelo for your review !

    1- about Grupeer, I didn’t see the interview yet. But you are not the first one being doubtfull about them. FYI, I saw a very interesting post with a very detailed risk-analysis of several P2P platforms. Only 2 of them got decent scores (Mintos). But indeed Grupeer is one of the worst ones…
    Here is the link : https://kristapsmors.substack.com/p/p2p-platform-ratings-march-2020
    Note that Iuvo is not getting a good score neither. But as you know, of course these comparisons have to be taken with caution.

    2- LenderMarket : happy to see it goes well. I made a new deposit.

    Take care and Regards,
    Centrino

    • My pleasure Centrino! I saw his post and I appreciate the time Kristaps put into the chart, but I don’t agree with some ratings and with how he distributed points. Especially relating to Iuvo, which is one of the few regulated platforms, with financial statements for each LO and where each LO has a much higher skin-in-the-game of 30%, compared to other platforms with 5% for example. Also his Crowdestor critique was a bit harsh in my opinion. But he seems to be pessimistic towards P2P lending as a whole and it’s his chart, so he’s free to rate however he wants.

      In the end, I believe everyone has their own bias with factors that matter more/less to them, just like if you were choosing specific stocks to invest in.

      Take care of yourself as well and thanks for stopping by again!
      Cheers,
      Angelo

  3. About Mintos – Income (Feb. 2020): 91,42€ (+20,9€) : how much are purely interests; and how many bonuses ?
    Thanks ! 🙂

  4. Alway good to see your point of view on things Angelo, keep it up.
    I agree with you on the ratings of Kristap and the method he uses looks more like guessing / not well enough research to be honest. Some points he makes are ofc good but that can be seen from most investors that have been in the game for a while.

    I believe things will change in the future to be more transparent for those platforms who will survive in the long run. And ofc, it’s not the last platform that crashed with Envestio, more will come like any other sector.

    Let’s just hope they get control over the virus spreading now soon ( most likely not before the summer though) And that people affected by this horrible thing get the help and support they need.

    • yes, everyone working together (staying at home the next few weeks or helping whatever way possible) to stop the spread of the virus is the Nr. 1 priority right now. The scary part for me is the part I can’t control (eg. my parents/grandmother potentially getting infected). So please take good care of yourself and your loves ones right now and stay safe.

  5. Yes that interview Bernhard did is a PR nightmare for Grupeer I think. I will not put in more money at this time. Had higher thoughts about Grupeer before this.

    Nice to see that you started investing at EvoEstate. I really like their platform and concept.

    • Same here, especially during these times we need clear communication, hard data (financial statements) and to feel confident in the management – right now, Grupeer doesn’t check those boxes for me. It sucks because I like the team and had high hopes for them last year, but they haven’t been able to deliver on their promises in my view.

      Yes, I’m very impressed by what EvoEstate has been able to do so far! They’ll also undoubtedly suffer from the current crisis, as I can’t see anyone building/buying/selling real-estate at the moment. But I’m looking forward to new projects once things normalize.

  6. Hi there!,

    Really enjoy your blog, and it has encouraged me to take lending as a investment strategy as well. I have a few questions, I agree recessions are a natural part of the economic cycles… now, considering these platforms (despite how fancy and nice they seem) are very new and high risk, have you considered lowering your positions on them? I’m asking because I started investing 3 months ago and now this hits the fan, makes me wonder where all these platforms will be in 6 months when all the lenders just give up on repaying their loans.

    For example:

    – For some odd reason, Bondora doesn’t allow me to make any withdrawals.
    – For some odd reason, Finbee doesn’t answer any of my emails to support (since a few weeks ago). I just placed a withdrawal for all my balance on this platform, I’m kind of loosing trust on it by now.

    I’m afraid many of these platforms won’t make through 2020, of course this is part of the game right.

    • thank you Juan!
      Here is what I can tell you from my own perspective – just like I shared why I currently have less trust in Grupeer, because of the lack of transparency and financial numbers to base my decisions on, I’m trying to make sure that most of my money in P2P lending is allocated to what I consider to be more financially stable loan originators and platforms (if the platform itself also gives out the loans).
      While I’m preparing a post on the topic, here is what I can tell you so far (please remember, all of this is my personal opinion and not financial advice):

      – I’m not withdrawing money from P2P lending, I appreciate that there is little correlation with stocks
      – I do think that financially weaker loan originators that haven’t reached profitability yet could get into trouble if there are more defaults
      – As a result, I changed my AutoInvest settings on Mintos to only buy buyback loans from loan originators with an A-B rating. The ratings on ExploreP2P could also be useful to decide.
      – Bondora has been through the last financial crisis already, I’m confident they’re prepared
      – Because of its profitability and track record, I’m also confident in Creditstar (Lendermarket), the VIA SMS Group (Viainvest) and the MFG Group, which owns Iuvo Group and several loan originators (EasyCredit, iCredit and Viva Credit) on the platform. I wish I had some hard numbers on Swaper (Wandoo Finance Group), to make an educated guess on the platform. Until then, I’ll keep the size of my investment the same.
      – I think loans on EvoEstate will do relatively well too because they’re backed by real-estate, even though housing prices are definitely decreasing right now
      – I’m curious to see how business loans will perform on Crowdestor, this is the part I’m a bit more worried about, as many businesses have no other option than to close at the moment. Many could re-finance their loans though, so we’ll see.
      – Either way, I think we shouldn’t forget that every economic crisis comes with opportunities. While you will have more defaults because of people loosing their jobs, you’ll also have more people asking for loans, who didn’t need loans before (potentially even higher quality borrowers than before).

      About your withdrawal issues – the Bondora support can be a bit slow, but in the end everyone so far always received their money.

  7. Thank you Angelo.
    Interesting to see there are 2 visions.

    Here a comment with an opposite vision, on https://explorep2p.com/coronavirus/#comment-19867 :

    *****
    Considering the sharp decline in money-flow to P2P, example Mintos (see statistics), Currently million+ of loans are for sale, +10% and above discounts are common. LOs already are not paying our money back (never ending pending payments). It looks to me like the ship is sinking
    *****
    So, I really don’t know if it is time to pause my auto-invests, or keep investing … 🙂

    Centrino

    • Hi Centrino, you’ll always have people talking down anything saying that the end is near (P2P, stocks, Gold, Bitcoin, real-estate…), to me the ‘sinking-ship’ analogy is ridiculous. We’re in a global economic crisis because of the virus, something that we haven’t had to deal with before. So I think the quality/profitability of the loan originator and their experience in risk-scoring borrowers will matter more than before – but this will also come with opportunities, with more people asking for loans. Of course platforms, loan originators etc. have to adapt their strategies (eg. in how many loans they give to borrowers) in the short-term when there is less cash-flow coming in from investors. Check my response to Juan (above) for my thoughts/strategy.

      Btw, I have 221€ in pending payments on a 9.931€ investment on Mintos right now. I don’t understand why I should freak out about a couple of days of delay, considering the current situation. That doesn’t mean the money is gone…

      Just my two cents, in the end it’s your money so go whichever route makes you sleep best! 🙂

      • Thank you Angelo. FYI I read all your comments, lol.
        I have more or less the same strategy as you : be more careful about platforms and originators health.
        We’ll see what the future brings…

        But first of all, stay you and your family safe ! That’s what matters for the moment.

        Talk to you soon 🙂

        • You’re right, thank you Centrino! 🙂 Please take good care of yourself and your loved ones as well and stay safe.

  8. Hi Angelo & Readers,

    What do you guys think of the secondary market in mintos right now? Many shorter term loans with discounts around 7% which translate into YTM of 500%+

    I was thinking of getting my money out for a few months, but this is making me rethink my actions.
    The whole when there is blood on the streets is when you go in, is a hard thing to balance.

    What are your opinions?

  9. Juan José Pavlik Salles Reply

    You were right! All green with Bondora now, they answered my email and validated my ID.

    Now, there’s something going on with all the platforms I’m using. All of them have been extremely generous these last few days with a lot of new promotions and increases. Have you noticed that as well? I guess they are just trying to bring calm to the investors and prevent them from running away with their money.

  10. Manfred Bortenschlager Reply

    Hi Angelo,

    does EvoEstate pay out interest monthly or only once at the end of the loan period?

    Thanks,
    Manfred

  11. It depends on the project. You can find monthly, quarterly, semiannually, yearly, all as lump sum at the end.

  12. Hi Angelo did you get any money out of Grupeer, before it was to late? and are you joining the lawyers for law action (through Telegram).

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