What we learn from Aforti Finance case

During the last two weeks, Aforti’s issue has been the main news in the European P2P market. A loan originator operating since 2009 stopped repaying the investment platforms the money they’ve been receiving from the borrowers – yes, even the current loans. Here’s what we learn from Aforti Finance case about the so-called guarantees and how each P2P investment platform dealt with the issue.

Aforti on Viventor

On August 6 Viventor showed a popup on the website, that the repayments were on hold from Aforti finance and Aforti Factor due to the loan originator delaying the repayments to Viventor.

Aforti payments on hold - Viventor

On the 8th of August, Viventor published the same on their blog: Repayments on hold of loan originators Aforti Factor and Aforti Finance. Of course, they also informed us that to protect the investor interests they conduct and update due diligence of the loan originators. Though, for some reason, they still have not updated Afrti’s financial statements on their website. Yes, I know we can find it ourselves anyway, but still.

Since then there has not been any update on their blog, social media, or newsletter.

Aforti and Mintos

In March 2019 Mintos downgraded Aforti’s rating to C+.

On the 7th of August Mintos published a blog post: Automatic repayments and buybacks of Aforti Finance loans suspended on Mintos. In the name of investor protection, they suspended the trade of these loans on the primary and secondary markets. Though the investors who had already purchased the loans were stripped off of the opportunity to sell those, resulting in them getting stuck with these assets.

On August 14, Mintos published that Aforti Finance resumes transferring borrower repayments. So we shall see if the problem will be solved, but for now, the investors received no repayments.

Aforti and Debitum Network

Also on the 8th of August, Debitum Network also published their update regarding Aforti Finance. Apparently, they removed all assets of the loan originator from the platform on 25th of July. They came to the decision as a result of their 1st and 2nd quarter follow-up, they put the effort into protecting the funds of the investors and their own image before the problem escalated. Though they onboarded Aforti in April 2019, so didn’t they check Aforti’s first-quarter results before that?

All of them also reminded us about the risks with the investments after the articles.

What we learn from Aforti’s problem

Buyback is not a guarantee

First of all, once again, we learned that the buyback “guarantee” is good as long as the company who provides it is dong well. Otherwise, it can be just words. So, for example, the loan originators that have C rating on Mintos and are generally not in the best shape may fold once and in reality, there is no actual guarantee with your loans – as is with any other type of investment. So I would prefer if they removed this word and just called it Buyback. Also, if they added “no guarantee” part in their risk statements. I think it would be more honest and “transparent”.

Not all investors’ interests are a priority

Secondly, investor interest can be less than the first thing on the priority list of the P2P investment platforms. Even though they say otherwise the facts just don’t match. Viventor had not even updated Aforti’s financial statements in the loan originators page since 2016-17. Neither Mintos, nor Viventor sold all loans back to the lending company when they saw that there were issues, they waited and finally suspended the repayments to the investors. It may have been because the enders are not obliged to repurchase the loans though.

It seems like Mintos did update the financial statements in June and on their website you can see the financials of 2017 and 2018.

Aforti Finance Financials on Mintos

In addition to that, Mintos stopped the trade of the Aforti loans on the secondary market “to protect investors”, of course. I agree with removing these loans from the primary market, which apparently they did in January-19. But why from the secondary market? People should be able to expose themselves to the risk if they want to and others should be able to sell the loans. It is possible on Viventor, though you get a popup with the information about the problem, which, in my opinion, is a better solution.

Buyback is not the lenders’ obligation

Additionally, for how long should, the lenders have the right on the buyback but not the obligation? They should have the obligation to buy back the claims in different circumstances. For example, if Mintos demands it, or if investors demand it. We can return different products in the shops, why shouldn’t we have the opportunity to return these loans to the sellers? At the end of the day, the services that these platforms are offering legally do not fall into the investment category. That’s why a lot of them have no licenses. So if it is a sale of a “product” – a loan, why shouldn’t we be able to return those to the lenders? We are stuck with these loans unless we sell it to some other investor. I do understand that if the lender is bankrupt, it would not work, just like the Buyback that they offer, but still.

The biggest may not mean the best

Mintos informed the investors about the downgrade of Aforti, and removed the loans from the primary market. But, as far as I’m concerned, this time, Debitum network dealt with the situation in a way that reflected investors’ interests the most.

Conclusion

There are no guarantees, even if the P2P investment platforms like to use that word. If something goes wrong, the marketplaces may not be fast enough to react, and you may not receive the repayments on time, even if a loan is current.

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