Bondster was established in 2017 and has been growing steadily since then.
The P2P platform is also expanding and developing new P2P loan types, such as crypto-backed loans.
We wanted to get real insights from this growing platform and interviewed Richard Kouba, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Bondster.
Find out, which existing news and facts Reza is learning during this interview with Richard.
Profile of Richard Kouba, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Bondster
In April 2021, Richard assumed the post as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer (CSMO) at Bondster.
He is in charge of marketing, sales and acquisition of new providers.
His goal is to strengthen the acquisition of Czech and foreign investors and to expand abroad.
Richard has extensive work experience, especially in the field of sales, marketing and people management.
For many years, he has held managerial positions in the financial sector, such as in Erste Group, GE Money Bank and Ferratum Group.
Q1: What are the hottest news from Bondster?
Richard: We have recently launched crypto-backed loans and the long-awaited secondary market.
Also, for our investors, we prepared investments in second-ranked loans backed by real estate in cooperation with the company ACEMA.
Thanks to the high value of the pledged property, the collateral is sufficient, and the loan provider, Czech company ACEMA, rates these loans as low-risk.
The total LTV (the ratio between the amount of the loan and the value of the mortgaged property) for currently offered loans ranges from 57-72%. With the combination of loan repayments and rapidly rising real estate prices on the domestic market, investment risk decreases over time.
By investing in these loans secured by real estate, you get an annual return of 10-11%, which makes them one of the best offers on the market.
You can read more about this new type of loan, and also about the crypto-backed loans, on our website.
Q2: Do you plan to become a regulated marketplace?
Richard: After we analyzed the upcoming EU regulations, we see that the current setup of the regulation does not apply to Bondster’s business model.
Anyway, the coming regulation is certainly good for the P2P market as it will clean it from not trustworthy and unfair platforms. The regulation is more about lending-based crowdfunding, which Bondster does not provide.
In any case, Bondster should and will have to be a part of the regulated market, again for the trust of our investors.
Therefore, even if Bondster won't be legally obliged to follow the regulation, we will still fulfill all the requirements.
Q3: What did Bondster learn from the corona crisis?
Richard: That transparency is the key to build trust with investors.
Also, it is crucial to inform investors about everything that is going on with the platform and keep them updated about the situation with loan originators.
Very important is not only the loan portfolio and financial health of loan originators, but also legal and political stability in loan originators’ headquarters.
This is closely connected with enforceability of law in the particular country.
Q4: How safe is the buyback guarantee on Bondster?
Richard: Firstly, a buyback guarantee is a guarantee offered by a particular loan originator. It means that your investments will be repurchased by the loan originator if the borrower doesn’t repay the loan.
The terms of the buyback guarantee are dependent on which loan originator the particular loan is from. Usually, it takes 30 or 60 days as well as a 7-day protection period, which is applied due to the payment handover process.
You can see the loans that include a buyback guarantee with the “buyback” icon in the Investment Offer list.
To make sure that the loan originator will keep the guarantee, we put on the platform only reliable loan originator. We also do quarterly checks of the financial health of all loan originators.
Q5: Do you plan to add new loan originators to the platform?
Richard: Yes, of course, we are always striving to provide our clients with wider options for diversification.
We have added in last months Ibancar from Spain, NuNu from Iceland, QuickCheck from Nigeria, Euro Lombardi from Belarus, Estonian company Allende and Smart Advance from South Africa, and we are planning to continuously add more.
However, in Bondster we believe that quality is more than quantity, therefore our onboarding process of new loan originators is much longer than what it is at other platforms.
The due diligence process could last up to one year. We simply need to be sure, and after the COVID-19 pandemic more than ever, that the particular loan originator is reliable, stable and transparent.
Q6: How do you see the future for P2P Lending in Europe?
Richard: Expectations are that the P2P market will continue to grow by 40% per year, and after COVID-19, will be perceived as equal opportunity to bonds or shares.
Important is stability for the whole P2P sector, which can build the trust of investors.
More people from different countries will discover P2P lending as a quick and easy way to earn additional income and protect their savings against increasing inflation.
Q7: What are your long-term plans for the future, and how do investors benefit?
Richard: Our expansion plans are ready, and we start to focus more on German and Austrian markets, where we go first to the urban areas.
After that, we would like to cover the whole DACH region and expand to some other Southern European countries.
Also, we plan to redesign our website, and we believe that this will bring investors a unique user experience in terms of speed, easy orientation, availability of information, etc.
For investors, we will offer new products and a wide range of loan originators who passed through our Due Diligence process.
From the IT perspective, we will complete API connection soon with loan originators and work on online payments.
We believe that Bondster has the capability to offer one of the highest earnings within P2P platforms and at low risk in the long run.
Q8: Crypto-backed loans sound like the new hottest kid on the block. What are your concrete plans?
Richard: Let me tell you first more about crypto-backed loans.
The advantage of such an investment is that it is hedged against bitcoin price fluctuations and investors get a stable return from it every month.
This way, they achieve an annual return of 10-11% with the duration of the investment being 1–12 months. Thanks to this, investors can quickly appreciate their savings and then reinvest them.
Moreover, investors are protected in the event the value of bitcoin on world markets falls sharply. In such a case, borrowers have to make up the difference, otherwise, they lose their bitcoins.
Should such a situation nevertheless arise, the loan originator, which is the Czech company Acema, immediately sells the collateral on the exchange and pays investors out.
Here lies one of the advantages of cryptocurrencies - bitcoin, unlike other types of collateral (e.g. real estate), can be immediately and easily converted into money.
Loans secured by bitcoins are also subject to the buyback guarantee, which is applied in the event the borrower ceases to repay the loan. In such a case, the originator pays the investors the entire amount invested, including the interest earned.
In this interview, Richard gave some fascinating insights into Bondster and their plans for the future.
And even if Bondster won't be legally obliged to follow the regulation, the platform will still fulfill all the requirements of the new regulation.
If you are interested to learn more about Bondster, have a look at our Bondster review here on Enqome.
Bondster in a nutshell
Bondster (BONDSTER Marketplace s.r.o.) was founded in 2017 in the Czech Republic by the private equity firm CEP Invest.
Bondster has more than 13,500 registered investors and a brokered loan volume of approximately €80 million.
The platform currently has an average yield of about 14% p.a., offering loans from a variety of countries such as Belarus, Bulgaria, Colombia, Estonia, Island, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain and the Czech Republic.
Investors can invest in consumer loans, real estate loans, business loans, crypto-backed loans and other types of loans from as little as 5 euros.