A fast-growing loan originator marketplace with a short but excellent track record
PeerBerry is a big-time disruptor. Launched just a few years ago, the platform has seen impressive growth in the number of investors, loan volumes and profits. It might soon join the very top of the largest European P2P lending sites. Should you tap into the PeerBerry rush too?
|Total Investment Volume||€492m+|
|Average annual interest||10.5%|
|Who’s eligible to invest||All adults|
|Investment Type||Marketplace Lending|
|Auto Invest Function||Yes|
|Investor Protection||Collateral, buyback & group|
|Website Language||English, German, Spanish|
PROS & CONS
- In just four years, PeerBerry has become the third-largest loan aggregator website in our database and the ninth-largest P2P lending platform overall. Between 2018 and 2019, both PeerBerry’s loan portfolio and their profit increased threefold, and the number of investors grew four times. It slowed down a bit in 2020 and didn’t make it among our top ten fastest-growing platforms of 2020, but that’s just natural – as the platform grows a lot in total volume, it’s harder to make giant percentage leaps. Besides the impressive growth, PeerBerry also keeps the performance at its highest, making high profits and shielding investors from any capital loss so far. It is also one of the few platforms that have come through the COVID crisis smoothly, not reporting any issues and continuing to honour buybacks and service withdrawal as usual.
- All loans are secured with a buyback guarantee. This means that the loan originator is obliged to repurchase a loan if the borrower delays the payments by more than 60 days. You also get the accrued interest on the delayed loan back, which is great as you’re still earning interest even though the borrower is late with the payments – and that is not an option on many platforms. In case a loan originator fails to hold the buyback guarantee, an additional group guarantee kicks in and the principal plus interest will be covered by the lender’s parent company. On top of this, some loans are further backed by collateral such as a vehicle (leasing loans) or mortgage (real estate loans).
- Given the relatively high-level security measures compared to most P2P lending marketplaces, the historical returns have been more than decent. They have somewhat decreased over the last year or so, as has been the case for many platforms, but the average ROI still stands above 10%. This is only slightly lower than popular Mintos and just about the same as Twino.
- Short loan durations (usually 30 days or less) mean that you need to re-invest your money constantly. With a high demand for investment – and the demand is high – you’ll quite often be at risk of cash drag, that is your money might be lying idle, not making any profit as there are too few loans to invest in.
- Short-term loans are not all that bad – they make your portfolio more liquid. If you stick to those, you won’t need a secondary market as you can just wait up to a month for the loans to mature and cash out. But if you want to diversify and invest in longer-term deals (shielding a bit from cash drag, for example), or if some of your loans get delayed, you might need to stay patient to withdraw all your funds. That’s why some sort of an early exit option is always a desirable feature.
- There isn’t much diversification possible when it comes to loan originators – over 80% of all loans come from one consortium – the Aventus Group, which set up PeerBerry in the first place. Other options come from Gofingo (around 10%), Lithome, and SIBgroup (just below 5% each). It seems though that PeerBerry has been improving the range of its offering, inviting more loan originators, expanding to new markets (nine countries are covered for now), and introducing new investment types such as collateralised car and real estate loans.
Who is behind PeerBerry?
PeerBerry might be one of the few platforms where the acting CEO is not simultaneously the founder – Arunas Lekavicius took over the management of the platform in January 2019. He has decent experience in managerial positions in financial corporations though. The rest of the rather small team of just 10 employees consists of financial, marketing, legal, technical and customer care specialists.
The lack of a CEO-founder persona is likely down to the fact that PeerBerry has been launched by the already established Aventus Group. Aventus Group has operated since 2009 and has expanded to 11 countries and attracted over 5 million customers. Both the Group and PeerBerry are profitable. It should be noted that, although they are in the process of obtaining a license, PeerBerry is not yet regulated at the time of writing.
What does PeerBerry offer?
You can invest in short- and long-term personal loans, car (leasing) loans and real estate loans, although, as mentioned already, the large majority (roughly three quarters) of the deals are short-term. Geographically, PeerBerry focuses on Eastern Europe and Asia – countries covered by loan originators include Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Czechia, and Lithuania.
How much can you earn?
Interest rates vary between 9% to 12% for most loans while the average return stands exactly in the middle of this range – at 10.5%. There have been no defaults so far, and guarantees have been honoured even throughout the COVID crisis, unlike on many other platforms.
You can earn an extra 0.5% on all investments made within the first three months after registration, using this link. PeerBerry also gives away bonuses for high-volume investors – you can make an additional 0.5% (Silver account, from €10,000), 0.75% (Gold, from €25,000) or 1% (Platinum, from €40,000) on top of your regular returns.
Who is PeerBerry best for?
PeerBerry, in my view, is a great option for beginners as well as one-platform investors who like to keep it simple and don’t want to get involved in too many options. But it might also deserve a spot in a more complex portfolio as an asset with relatively high liquidity, a good level of protection and yet more than decent returns.
How to invest on PeerBerry
Complete a short registration form, verify your identity, and activate your account by depositing initial funds. You can then start picking loans manually, although the auto-invest option is highly recommended in this case – just set up your criteria and let the platform pick suitable deals for you.
PeerBerry is a very promising player in the European P2P marketplace lending scene. It still needs time to catch up with other giants such as Mintos and prove that they can sustain the so far good performance over a longer period. Finally receiving the license would be warmly welcomed too. Otherwise, PeerBerry offers competitive returns and, arguably, provides more investor protection as well as having a greater degree of oversight and control over its loan originators, which cannot be said about Mintos.
P2P Market Data are dedicated to providing unbiased reviews of P2P Lending platforms and other alternative investment platforms. We are on a monthly basis collecting funding amounts from over 90 different platforms for The Monthly Funding Report.
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