A popular website centered on the UK economy, FinancialReproter.com, posted the results of a poll that sheds light on a phenomenon that could open doors for individuals and businesses shopping for low interest rate secured loans. The poll, which tallied the responses of over 1,000 financial advisors, showed that 70 percent of participants would be interested in a model that allowed them to create their own loan products. Such an innovation would have implications for anyone searching for the cheapest secured loans.
The poll asked: "As the loan markets improves, if there was an 'out of the box' model to help you set up your own loan/debt solutions business with direct agencies and full support, would that be of interest?" Over half of the advisors answered positively, at 52 percent. A third of participants--29 percent--answered "no," and 18 percent were unsure.
Steve Walker, director of Promise Solutions, has stated that such an out-of-the-box solution could confer serious benefits to the loan market and that he felt it was possible due to the technological systems available today. He went on to say, "The key seems to be giving brokers the systems, control and additional income they need to be effective whilst ensuring the lenders have the comfort they want." According to Walker, Promise Solutions has begun looking into the possibility of creating such a system with its partners.
Potential Game Changer
Many mortgage companies and banks have tightened their eligibility requirements for secured loans considerably since the collapse of the housing market in 2007. Despite overall improvement in the economy, the personal loan sector is recovering relatively slowly. The result is that while demand for loans from the public is increasing, on the whole, banks continue to wait for more favorable lending conditions. Consequently, the self-employed and those with weaker applications continue to struggle to secure loans even if they have valuable collateral to put up.
This could change if a turnkey financial services solution became available to sophisticated investors. If financial advisors could start their own businesses specialising in small secured loans, banks would be forced back into the arena or else risk losing their grip on an eager customer base.
Banks have already seen losses due to the emergence of online peer-to-peer lending schemes over the last few years. These platforms allow independent investors to offer loans directly to customers, completely bypassing bank involvement. To make matters worse for financial institutions, these individual investors can often afford to offer customers lower interest rates as they have lower overhead. In fact, the peer-to-peer platform itself covers the costs of collecting payments and virtually everything else. Typically, an investor's only cost is a one-off fee or a commission per loan. If the peer-to-peer platform is auction-based, the investor may face stiffer fees, but ultimately, this is a pittance compared to the operating costs of even a small bank.
On top of that, If a simple-to-deploy solution hits the market that would allow financial advisors to get in on the action, banks may sit up and take notice rather than fight a battle on two fronts. All of this is wonderful news for you if you're looking for the cheapest secured loans. Intense competition between lenders means lower interest rates overall, especially if financial advisors want to offer financial services to clients directly. Such a model is untested, and these entrepreneurs will have to overcome a certain amount of market hesitation before they can expect to turn a profit.
On another front, the proposed model could provide a viable alternative to payday loans, which have received widespread criticism. Although these loans generate lots of tax revenue, there is concern that they are easily available to persons who are unable to repay them. This is primarily because payday loan companies target individuals that earn less than £25,000 a year and then tack on exorbitant interest rates. Customers can easily find themselves falling behind, with no clear path to paying their debt.
This perfect storm of financial product diversification could result in a price war between the traditional banks and the more exotic services. Peer-to-peer loan auction site ThinCats, for instance, has already loaned over £25 million to businesses across the aisles, all the while keeping that money out of the hands of hungry banks. At the end of the day, anything that gives consumers more choice will ultimately result in lower prices as competition winnows profit margins.