Žltý melón is a 'pure' P2P platform with big plans. We speak with Jos Henson
Let’s get this out of the way – what on earth is a Žltý melón? That’s Slovakian for a cantaloupe or rockmelon. It’s also the name of one of the oldest European P2P platforms operating on Continental Europe. Žltý melón (pronounced Zh-l-tee melon) is based in Bratislava and has been operating since 2012. That makes it fairly ancient in the P2P space. Žltý melón is still small, but has been showing steady growth and is expected to break into profit soon, a good achievement for such as small platform.
One other interesting thing about Zlty melon is that it is partly owned by the EU, which means that there is a good chance that you are actually a (very small) shareholder in the business.
As could be expected, it has taken Zlty melon a few years to develop and improve their lending scorecard. In the last two years, default rates have continued to fall, and the platform has built up a solid track record.
One of the things that we like about Zlty melon is that a wide range of interest rates are available (typically between 8 – 25%). Returns after defaults for the higher risk grades have been impressive over the last 2 years. For investors looking for a extra yield (over 10%), and are willing to take a little more risk, Žltý melón could be worth looking into.
Zlty Melon also offers investors secured loans. Their ‘Cash-free’ housing loans help young homebuyers in Slovakia fund the deposit towards their homes. The loans come with 2nd charge security against the property. Rates are lower than for the unsecured products and they best suit investors looking to invest long term and would like to help young people onto the housing ladder at the same time.
We think investors should always review and analyse as much data as possible before investing their funds. Žltý melón actually provides some of the best data surrounding default rates and net investor returns that we have seen in any platform. Partly that’s likely to be because they have been operating longer than most other platforms, but there is also clearly an open and transparent approach that is refreshing to see.
We also think the auction format for loans, and the large amount of information available, makes Žltý melón very attractive to the many investors out there who view P2P investing as a hobby, where finding a trading strategy and doing analysis can help to generate higher returns.
To visit Žltý melón click here. Note – Žltý melón are currently offering a 1% sign up bonus to Explore P2P readers, further details are provided below.
Tell us about your current investor base – how many investors do you have and where are they based?
Who are the key people in the management team and what are their backgrounds?
You’ve been operating since 2012. That makes you almost ancient in European P2P terms! What have you learned along the way?
Bondora is obviously a firm that was an early pioneer in the cross-border EU P2P lending market and did a lot to ‘pave the way’ for firms like Žltý melón and who we have learned from when developing our own business model. However, there are two key things I would mention. Firstly, our loan underwriting processes and target customer demographic are significantly different than Bondora’s, both in terms of the loans they made in Slovakia and also their overall loan portfolio, which is the biggest reason why our default rates are so much lower than theirs. Secondly, while we believe cross-border P2P lending in the EU is definitely the future and are confident about our ability to expand into other CEE countries, the reason we believe we will be successful is because we understand those markets and their similarities with the Slovak market where we have developed our business model and lending processes over the past 5 years. The example of Bondora in Slovakia really highlights the challenges P2P lending platforms face when entering a market outside of their own country.
How easy is it for investors outside Slovakia to fund their Zlty Melon account and make withdrawals? How many of your investors are foreign?
Zlty melon are offering our readers a special offer to open a new account. Investors will receive a 1% bonus on all funds invested within 180 days of opening an account. To qualify, visit Zlty melon using the special link (it is not available directly on their site).
Note: This bonus will not be added to any promotional offers that investors may earn. Zlty melon currently offers bonuses on its 2nd lien mortgage products of between 0.25% to 2% (called ‘Cashfree Hypo’ and ‘Cashfree Housing’). For full details please contact Zlty melon or refer to the terms and conditions listed on their site.