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A GROUP OF seasoned financial industry executives has joined forces in a bid to shake up the way money is lent and borrowed in Barbados.
Carilend Ltd officially launched its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website last week, introducing a process that matches lenders (who can lend from $2 500 up in $25 increments) directly with borrowers (who can borrow from $2 500 to $50 000 in $25 increments, subject to credit referencing and scoring).
Those involved are chief executive officer, co-founder and director Mark Young, who is a former managing director, wealth management at CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank; non-executive director and co-founder, Byren Innes, managing director of Jennings Consulting Limited; his wife Ingrid Innes, Carliend co-founder and strategic adviser, who recently resigned from the helm of Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited; and non-executive director and co-founder Mark Linehan, a former Digicel Barbados CEO and now managing director of Williams Offices (Caribbean) Limited.
Carilend officials said theirs was the first P2P lending site in the Caribbean “aiming to bring together borrowers and lenders to give a better deal and a better experience to both”.
“We match borrowers who need a loan with investors who want to be lenders. By cutting out the middleman, we cut out the costs and pass on these savings in the form of better rates to both borrowers and lenders,” they said.
“Our model is based on the UK [P2P] lending industry that has been operating successfully since 2005. This model brings the best technology, the best operating standards and the best customer experience from the UK to the Caribbean.”
The company added that while they were launching here they planned to “bring this approach to the wider Caribbean as soon as possible”.
“When we looked around the Caribbean at investing and borrowing money, we wanted to bring great options, fantastic customer experiences and very efficient processes for everyone.
“Whether consumers are investing their money to see it grow or are at a point where they need to borrow in order to achieve their goals and dreams, Caribbean consumers deserve great service, individual pricing and more choice,” they explained.
While their lending website has been launched, and is inviting interested lenders to register, management said: “At this time, prospective borrowers can register but not apply for loans. We will commence loan applications as soon as sufficient new lenders have registered and invested.”
In terms of interest rates, Carilend said for borrowers “the interest rate you will pay on your loan will be set based on your individual credit score and how long you want to pay back your loan. The more creditworthy you are, the lower the rate”.
Interest rates received by lenders “depends on the loan requests available and what lending preferences you select”.
Carilend has also established a reserve fund to “compensate lenders if there are late or missed repayments, arrears or even defaults by borrowers”.
“The ultimate objective of the reserve fund is to ensure that lenders receive all the principal and interest repayments that they are expecting.
“This ensures that lenders view this site as a safe place for their savings. This directly benefits borrowers as there will be more lenders, and hence more lenders’ money available for borrowers,” company officials explained.
“The reserve fund is built up from contributions made by every borrower at the time they take their loan. If a borrower defaults, the Fund will usually repay the lenders but reserves the right not to. If the claim is paid, you will be repaid.”