DoFinance Review

March 14th, 2021
7 minutes read
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Microloans from Indonesia from a troubled but, hopefully, well-recovered provider

FAST FACTS

Launch Date2017
Total Investment Volume€3.8m+
Average annual interest7-11%
Minimum Investment€10
Investment FeesNone
Who’s eligible to investEEA residents
Investment TypeShort-term consumer loans
Secondary MarketComing soon
Auto Invest FunctionYes
Investor ProtectionBuyback guarantee, security fund
CurrenciesEUR
Website LanguageEnglish, Latvian

PROS & CONS

Pros

  • Exposure to a booming market
  • Instant buyback guarantee and a security fund
  • A revamped and improved business model

Cons

  • Questionable financial health and pandemic hurdles
  • Transparency could be improved
  • Limited diversification options

Pros Explained

  • Currently, the platform is listing loans from Indonesia. Access to emerging, especially South-East Asian, markets can be a brilliant diversification tactic, given that the large majority of loans available for EU/EEA citizens originate from the European developed markets. Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation, the tenth-largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, and one of the fastest-growing markets globally. It’s not a bad idea to put some of your money there.
  • Investor protection stands on an above-average level (at least on paper). An instant buyback guarantee covers all available loans. An additional DoFinance Security Fund has been recently applied for investments in the DoFinance Secure programme – the platform puts aside 5% of all investment volume and vows to accumulate the “emergency fund” until it covers at least 50% of total active investments.
  • Following the troublesome pandemic months, the platform has taken steps to improve the efficiency and security of its operations. The company has reformed its due diligence and debt collection processes, introduced the additional security layer – the Security Fund – to improve the cash cushion, announced the introduction of the secondary market to improve liquidity, revised its investment programmes, and made progress in the licensing procedure from Financial and Capital Markets Commission of Latvia. You can read more about the changes here and here.
Overview of the DoFinance loan marketplace

Cons Explained

  • DoFinance went through a hard time in mid-2020 when the COVID-induced crisis hit the P2P lending industry. Their loan originators suspended the buyback guarantee around March, and the platform stopped accepting new clients and investments in May. This could have caused an unpleasant surprise for investors who put their money in the “most trustable P2P lending platform in Europe” as DoFinance (used to) brand themselves. But their problems didn’t come from nowhere – the company’s finances have been unimpressive, to say the least, even before the pandemic hit. They have been profitable – in 2019, they made just over €475,000 profit up from €145,000 in 2018. But at the same time, their cash reserves declined from a mere €7,294 in 2018 to a frightening €1,407 in 2019.
  • DoFinance seems to have dealt with the gravest threats and fully resumed its operations in November 2020 with a much-changed business model. What seems to be lacking in this welcomed restructuring is better communication. It’s a bit of a puzzle figuring out some of the basic rules such as the current buyback process and cash-out options, not to mention trying to understand why certain decisions have been made or what exactly happened, for example, with the company’s other branches?
  • DoFinance’s “About Us” page still states that the company has “successfully expanded to Poland, Georgia and Indonesia”, while the mother company – Alfa Finance – says they are “currently issuing loans in Poland and Indonesia”. Yet, one of their blogposts informs that “the loan issuing in Poland will not be resumed in the nearest time […] and only debt collection activities are being performed.” Anyway, the key takeaway is you can only invest in Indonesian microloans at the moment, which constitutes a very narrow specialization – hopefully, the platform will look for further diversification options in the future.
Image of the world map showing loan originators on DoFinance by country

Who is behind DoFinance?

DoFinance is a subsidiary of a lending group – Alfa Finance. After withdrawing from Georgia and downscaling operations in Poland, Alfa Finance operates only one loan originator – Kredit Cepat, which lends money online to borrowers from Indonesia. Since 2015, the group has issued over €62 million worth of loans to almost 900,000 clients. Curiously, only a small fraction of all loans have been funded via DoFinance.

The team has solid management experience, although finance is not the primary expertise field for the company leaders – they come from manufacturing and trade (Jānis Kuļikovskis) and real estate backgrounds (Viesturs Kuļikovskis).

What does DoFinance offer?

An average loan amount is €350, and the average maturity – 29 days. DoFinance also provides some stats on the borrowers: we know that they are predominantly young – almost three-quarters are below 40 and male (although the sex ratio is quite balanced – 52 to 48%).

The auto-invest programmes are at the core of DoFinance’s model – there used to be six options available (with 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12% return), but this has been, quite reasonably, limited to three. Other than the promised interest rates, there are no massive differences between them – the main one being the availability of the security fund for the safest 7% portfolio.

Overview of the statistics on DoFinance

How much can you earn?

Interest rates vary depending on the investment programme you chose (7, 9 or 11%). The interest rate for manual investments is 9%. What’s odd is that all options include the same set of loans, so there seems to be no good reason to invest manually or choose the 9% programme – the logical choice would be to go either for the high-yield (11%) or extra-secured (7%) programme instead. Indeed, when I enquired about this peculiarity, DoFinance’s COO confirmed that the 11% programme has been most popular among investors and suggested that the programmes will likely be “adjusted in the near future” to better address investors’ needs.

Who is DoFinance best for?

Exposure to booming and underbanked South-East Asian economies is always a tempting diversification opportunity for any P2P lending portfolio. Hopefully, DoFinance will straighten all its issues out and, with improved loan security and liquidity as well as the group’s resilience, become a viable option to diversify standard European portfolios geographically.

How to invest on DoFinance

Register and confirm your identity, add funds to your account and you’re ready to start investing – auto-invest programmes are highly recommended in this case!

Summary

DoFinance is definitely to be watched. They should soon release the 2020 financial results and, hopefully, clarify their current offer and strategy. Receiving the licence from Latvian authorities is another signal to look for (expected in the first half of 2021). Once regulated and fully restructured, DoFinance can potentially be a strong element, especially regarding geographic diversification, of P2P lending wallets. At the moment, caution is highly recommended, though – there are just too many red flags and question marks regarding not only DoFinance’s key products but their overall business performance, or even survival.

Methodology

At P2PMarketData we are dedicated to providing unbiased reviews of peer-to-peer lending, real estate crowdfunding and crypto lending platforms. Among other, in our mission to bring more transparency to the market we closely monitor and track over 70 platforms funding volumes.

When reviewing an alternative investment platform, we consider a variety of factors such as:

  • Number of investors
  • Minimum investment requirement
  • Historical annual returns
  • Diversification opportunities
  • Reinvestment opportunities
  • Educational and informational offerings
  • Platform fees
  • Total capital invested
  • Features (such as secondary market and automatic investing)
  • General transparency (the difficulty of finding who the owners are, how they make money on the platform (fees), terms & conditions and more)
  • Management team

We also look into the company’s online reputation (for example customer reviews, news, complaints, average monthly searches and social media).