The new breed of online lenders targeting individuals and small businesses know their licence to operate depends on being trustworthy providers, and are worried the slightest breach by any of their rivals will bring down the entire fledgling industry.
Just as pay-day lenders have become synonymous with consumer exploitation, small-business lenders, “interest-free” financiers and peer-to-peer lenders worry they will be the next sectors to fall foul of the same reputation. All are calling for tougher rules and scrutiny by regulators. In the meantime, several are organising industry groups to set ethical guidelines.
Perhaps the hottest, and most lawless, sector now is the small-business space.
MoneyMe是一家新创立的发薪日在线借贷平台，其创立对Cash Converters和Money3造成了直接的冲击。MoneyMe主管Clayton Howes戏称中小企业的现金贷款“只在发薪日营业”。近期有关“小额贷款”的限制已经被发薪日借贷商以“长期大额度贷款”巧妙地规避。对此，Clayton Howes说，真正的贷款界大鳄已然将目标转向个体户。
Clayton Howes, the chief of MoneyMe, a new online pay-day lender challenging the likes of Cash Converters and Money3, ironically calls the SME cash-flow lenders “pay-day for business”. Just as recent bans on “small-amount loans” have been sidestepped by pay-day lenders with longer-term loans for larger amounts, he claimed the real loan sharks have switched to business loans to sole traders.
MoneyMe lends at rates of 12 to 24 per cent over four week periods, which equates to annualised rates of 180 per cent.
“There is zero regulation there,” he said. “They are charging [huge] interest rates and the poor small-business operator doesn’t have another avenue. It is exploiting the sole trader and the risk is an unknown quantum.”
Numerous new SME lenders say they lend responsibly, but voice similar concerns. Their sector has seen a sudden influx of lenders typically offering unsecured loans to companies with turnover below $100,000. Interest rates start at credit card rates of about 15-20 per cent but go much higher. The main problem, however, appears to be a lack of standards that all must comply with.
Capify的执行总监John de Bree表示：“企业借贷并没有很多专门的规则限制。”Capify是最早一批的企业级借贷商，于2002年在美国成立，主要为企业提供现金贷款和直接商业信贷。
“There is not much regulation of business lending,” said John de Bree, managing director of Capify, one of the oldest of the business lenders. It started in the United States in 2002. It offers merchant cash advances and straight business loans.
Other new small-business lenders have privately pointed the finger at Capify, which was known as Ausvance in Australia until July, as well as its chief competitor Prospa Advance (now just Prospa), arguing their model results in effective annual interest rates well above 30 per cent.
Mr de Bree wants regulation because he has seen competitors lending far more to risky borrowers than Capify thinks is safe. “For the consumer there is ACCC, APRA, ASIC. On our side of the fence we have a flood of new entrants – where’s the regulation, where’s the tried and tested credit model?,” he said.
de Bree 先生认为，行业内起码应该有“不允许重复贷款”的原则。也就是说，如果一个贷款人已经从一家平台获得了贷款，那么他不应该再获得任何其他贷款。
Mr de Bree said there needs to be at least a “no-stacking” rule imposed by the industry itself. This means that if a borrower already has a loan, they cannot get another.
澳大利亚新兴P2P借贷公司CEO Stuart Stoyan对于刚上市的P2P公司DirectMoney也表现出相同的担忧。DirectMoney在七月13号上市之前曾声称要成为澳洲P2P领域内首家上市公司。
Stuart Stoyan, the chief of new Australian peer-to-peer lender MoneyPlace, has similar worries about recently listed online lender DirectMoney, which claimed it would be the first Australian P2P lender to float before its listing on July 13.