Blend Network Review
Upcoming UK Real Estate Lending Network
BLEND Network is a peer-to-peer property lending platform that connect lenders directly with borrowers who are all UK-based experienced property developers. All loans are secured against first-charge on the property and personal guarantee from the borrower. Lenders on BLEND’s loan based crowdfunding platform have the possibility of lending money to property secured loans from a minimum of £1,000 and, consequently, buy shares of loans with interest up to 15% p.a.
|Company:||BLEND Loan Network Limited|
|Business:||Real estate lending|
|Operating in:||United Kingdom|
|Investors:||Worldwide ex. USA, Canada & Blacklisted countries|
Office location in London
Table of Contents
BLEND Network Pros & Cons
Characteristics of Investment
8% – 15%
2 – 36 months
Asset as Collateral ⇙
Minimum Investment ⇙
Direct Investment Structure ✔
Loans on BLEND
There are two main loan types on BLEND’s platform, these are:
- Loans to small developers
- Conversion projects
Loans to small developers:
These loans target developers with a successful track record within the area they operate. Normally, the development consists of between 6 and 8 residential properties which will all be mid-market considering their individual cost and quality. The interest rates for these loan types will typically lie between 10 % and 12 %.
Conversion projects are another common loan type on BLEND’s peer-to-peer marketplace. Conversion projects are, as the name implies, projects aiming at converting or changing the purpose of a property to cover something else, once it has been acquired. It can be, for instance, the conversion of office buildings into flats or restaurants into medical offices. The interest rate for this loan type is the same as for loans to small developers: 10-12 %.
Buyback Guarantee on BLEND
Investing money always comes with a certain element of risk. As a way of minimising this element of risk, most P2P platforms offer some sort of Buyback Guarantee, thus guaranteeing that the investor will receive his/her money in case of a loan default.
BLEND does not offer Buyback Guarantee on loans.
However, BLEND intends to mitigate the risk by assuring that all borrowers have an asset as collateral which will be explained in further detail below, under the section “Assets as collateral”.
What Happens if BLEND Closes or Goes Bankrupt?
P2P lending comes with two different investment structure types, those being the direct investment structure and indirect investment structure, respectively.
With the direct investment structure, lenders buy claim against the borrowers directly. With the indirect investment, on the other hand, loans are issued to loan originators by platforms, and by investing in these loans lenders obtain exposure.
The investment structure on BLEND’s peer-to-peer platform is direct, which means that lenders are lending out money directly to borrowers.
In case of bankruptcy or insolvency, this means that lenders on BLEND hold claims against the borrowers directly and not the platform. That said, the Financial Conduct Authority, by which the P2P lending industry has been regulated since 2014, requires BLEND to ensure lenders that existing loan repayments still will be collected and distributed to lender in case that BLEND goes out of business. A way of doing this has, in the case of BLEND, been to enter into an agreement with a third party named Resolution Compliance Limited. The agreement states that Resolution Compliance Ltd. will take over the administration of all outstanding loan contracts if BLEND should cease trading.
Assets as Collateral
All loans on BLEND’s marketplace are secured against first charge on the property – some loans even come with personal guarantees. These assets as collateral will be repossessed by BLEND in the event of default, and the repossessed security will be liquidated in the open market on behalf of the lenders.
Creating a platform that is easy to use for both lenders and borrowers has been highly prioritized by BLEND, and it is obvious to anyone who visits BLEND’s website that the platform has been designed with simplicity in mind – the platform is intuitive and very user friendly.
After having registered as a user (see how in the section “Registration Process on BLEND” below), you can immediately start browsing through available loans on the platform.
If you wish to narrow down the selection of loans shown to you in the overview, you can make use of the filtering options at the top of the page. Here, you can choose only to see specific sectors that you might consider investing in. You can also choose only to see loans that are currently live on the platform by ticking off the box “Live Loans” under the section “Status” (see screenshot below).
From the list of currently available loans on the marketplace, you can quickly get an overview of:
- How much funding is needed for the individual loans
- How much is the interest rate
- What is the loan term in months
When you have found a loan that seems like an interesting investment, you can click on the yellow button with the text “Details” (see screenshot to your right hand side) which will present you with – as the button text kindly reveals – all necessary details for that specific loan.
Automatic investing is on BLEND referred to as AutoLend and it is a feature that allows lenders to automatically invest in loans based on a range of criteria that lenders select themselves. This means that BLEND will automatically invest in the next available loan that matches your selected criteria and only with the amount of money that you have decided in advance.
On the positive side, the AutoLend feature allows you to spread your money across multiple loans. On the negative side, you have less control with what specific loans you end up investing in.
Please note that the AutoLend feature will switch off in case you don’t have sufficient funds (£2,000) on your account.
If a lender desires to liquidate a loan, he/she has the opportunity to sell the given loan to other users on the platform. The lender can choose either to sell all of his/her stakes in a given loan or only divest from a smaller part of the stakes.
Resellings and buy-ups of loans take place on BLEND’s Secondary Market, which is a marketplace for existing loans – not new loans.
Users on BLEND that are interested in buying loans from the secondary market can easily browse through the marketplace for existing loans by applying a specific set of filters (see the screenshot below.) For instance, interested buyers can choose only to see loans that are being sold at premium or discount, which will be explained below the screenshot.
When selling a loan back to the market, lenders can choose to sell it back in the following three ways:
- At a 2% premium
- At a par
- At a 1% discount
At a 2% premium:
The lender sells a £1,000 loan at a 2% premium and receives £1,000 + £20 = £1,020 from the buyer.
At a par:
The lender sells a £1,000 loan at par and receives £1,000 from the buyer.
At a 1% discount:
The lender sells a £1,000 loan at a 1% discount and receives £1,000 – £10 = £990 from the buyer.
Please note that reselling a loan on the secondary market comes with a fee of 0.06% (this percentage includes VAT) of the outstanding capital that is being sold on the platform.
The three examples presented above have not been extracted the secondary market fee of, in those specific examples, £6.
Please also note, that loans offered on the secondary market can only be accessed 24 hours after they have been listed in order give all lenders a fair chance to review the loan and all the associated information and additional details, before they decide whether they are interested in buying the given loan or not. Loan information includes details such as:
- Interest rate
- Loan amount
- Remaining loan term
Registration Process on BLEND
The registration process on BLEND is very simple and similar to the registration process on most other peer-to-peer platforms. You simply type in your first name, your last name, and your email. Herefter you have to choose a password containing a minimum of 8 characters, where one of the characters has to be a capital letter and at least one other has to be a number.
Before clicking on the button with the text “Register”, you have to choose whether you are registering as a lender or as borrower.
In order to accept your registration, BLEND will have to run a KYC (Know Your Customer) and an AML (Anti Money Laundering) check. When these checks have been run and cleared, your account will get activated.
The activation of a new account might take between one and two normal business days.
Deposit & Withdrawal Process
As soon as you have registered your account, and you have passed the KYC and AML checks (explained in the paragraph above), you get access to the section “My Dashboard”. From “My Dashboard”, you can go to “Manage my account”. Here, you can perform deposits as well as withdrawals.
In order to realise a deposit, go to the “Deposit” tab on the left side and enter the amount of money you would like to transfer to your account. When you do this, you will receive the specific bank details from BLEND containing the unique transaction reference.
After having received your unique transaction reference, you can go to your personal bank account and transfer money using the provided details by BLEND.
As a rule of thumb, a deposit that has been realised in the morning will be available in your account by the end of the day, whilst deposits that have been realised in the evenings will become available on lenders’ accounts around midday the following day.
If you wish to withdraw money from your account, you simply click on the tab named “Withdraw” and follow the instructions presented to you by BLEND. The minimum amount that you can withdraw is £0.10.
Reporting on BLEND
As is the case with most peer-to-peer platforms, reporting is available on BLEND in the section “My Dashboard”. Here, lenders can get an overview of all their investment activities. Among other things, you can see the following:
- How big your current deposit is ( “available to lend”)
- How big of a return on invested loans you have received (“total interest received to date”)
- How many loans you are currently investing in (“live loans”)
It is each lender’s own responsibility to declare any money earned through BLEND to HMRC. Lenders can download an individual tax statement at any time from the lender dashboard (“Manage my account” -> “Tax Document”). Interest payments from loans made through BLEND are paid gross and no tax is withheld by us. If you are unsure of your tax position you should take independent professional advice.
BLEND FAQ: “Who is responsible for taxes?”
BLEND offers a rather comprehensive FAQ which contains five sections, each one covering a specific topic:
- General FAQ
- FAQ for lenders
- Secondary Market
- FAQ for borrowers
If you cannot find an answer to your questions in any of the FAQ sections, you can contact BLEND’s customer support either by calling them on +44(0)20 3409 3300 or by completing their contact formula as illustrated in the screenshot below.
Who can borrow on Blend Network?
Blend offers bridging and development finance. Our typical loan size is between £150,000 and £3,000,000. Borrowers must be based in the UK and provide sufficient collateral to secure the loan.
BLEND FAQ: “Who can apply for a BLEND loan?”
Is BLEND Network Regulated?
The BLEND Network platform is an appointed representative of Resolution Compliance Ltd which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 574048. Blend is not covered by the Financial Compensation Scheme(FSCS).
BLEND Network Statistics
|Total investments:||£12.9 million|
|Average return p.a.:||10.73%|
|Total capital loss to date:||£0|
|Total number of loans:||42|
Please note that this overview may contain affiliate links. It means that a commission is earned if you decide to invest after using the link – of course without additional costs to you. The information on this site does not constitute investment advice and is solely to give you a simple and easy overview of the platform. Always conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.