Friday, 25 February 2011

Anyone For 8% Market Share?

Barclays' withdrawal from the asset-based small business lending market is a real shot in the arm for peer-to-peer finance.

The head of the Barclays Business unit is quoted as saying, “It’s the leasing and hire purchase side [where] we found our proposition was not that compelling, comprehensive and competitive. Our market share was small, about 8pc.”

Those are my gob-smacked italics.

According to the same article, the Finance and Leasing Association "said asset finance represents the majority of debt-financed business, and that its members provided £1.7bn of funding to support business investment in December, 5pc higher than the same month in 2009."

Barclays says it can target this £21bn market segment with unsecured loans. But of course it's talking through its hat. The Basel III head-wind blows strongest in the unsecured lending space. So even if Barclays can magic the £1.7bn asset-based portfolio into unsecured loans, it doesn't seem a great alternative use of capital.

But it's an interesting strategy if you're lending some of your own cash on a peer-to-peer platform, instead of leaving it in a savings account.

Barclays stands to lose out on both fronts.

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