Mintos – CEO Martins Sulte tells us what’s next for Europe’s number 1 site

2017 was a big year for Mintos. Huge growth has made them by far the largest P2P platform in Continental Europe. We asked CEO Martins Sulte to tell us where the business is heading

2017 was a break-out year for Mintos. It grew by 340% to become the dominant P2P platform in Europe. Mintos now has 48,000 investors who have acquired €360 million of loans over the last 12 months. 

We think there are three key reasons for this success. Firstly, Mintos is a multi-lender platform, which allows investors to diversify their investments across more than 30 lenders and multiple loan types. This is more attractive for investors than platforms offering loans from a single lender. Secondly, the Mintos website has excellent functionality and reliability. Customer service is also strong and multi-lingual. Finally, investors in Europe have large sums available to invest in P2P loans, yet fewer options than other markets such as the UK up to now.  

2017 was not a perfect year for Mintos. We have previously covered some of the events that concerned investors, such as lender Eurocent running into financial difficulties shortly after joining the platform, and Hipocredit using fine print to buy back loans that investors wanted to keep.

We have been pleased to see the numbers of lenders on the Mintos platform continue to grow and provide investors with additional choice and variety. We have some concerns however, that some of lending businesses may be a little young and small to be given access to Mintos.

Our Mintos lender ratings have been designed to allow investors to compare the financial profile of each lender and reduce the risk of their portfolio composition. While Mintos claims to have performed full diligence on each lender, we still think it pays to be selective on which loans to include in a Mintos portfolio.  

We asked some Mintos investors what questions they would like to ask Martins Sulte, CEO of Mintos. We thank him for addressing many of these questions, which we publish below.

Interview with Martins Sulte​, CEO of Mintos

Martins, Mintos seems to be growing quickly and performing well. Is Mintos now operating at a profit?

Currently, our focus at Mintos is growth. We are investing in the development of our product and staffing. Our revenue is growing in line with the growth in activity on the marketplace and we already see good unit economics at this early stage of the company’s development.
We will publish audited results for 2017 as soon as they become available.

Do you expect more lenders to join Mintos? What does the pipeline look like? Will more Western European lenders join in the future?

Geographic expansion is one of our top priorities on Mintos. We plan to expand into new countries and continents – which is exciting for our investors. The priority markets include Africa and Latin America, as well as UK and Russia. In addition, we are planning to expand
the network of loan originators we have in the countries already represented on Mintos.
How do you plan to develop the functionality of the platform? What are your developers working on?
We are constantly working on platform improvements and new features on Mintos. We have a long list with plenty of changes which we will be implementing this year. Currently, our developers are working on an overview dashboard in the “My Investments” section and
improving tax statements for investors. Auto Invest for the secondary market is also one of the top things from our pipeline we plan
to deliver in the near future. Features added to the marketplace recently include a diversification option across loan originators in the Auto Invest portfolio, which allows our investors to diversify across loan originators more easily. In addition, investors can now see which type of loan structure is used for each loan immediately. This feature displays whether a loan has the direct or indirect structure on the primary and secondary market, allowing our investors to make an informed investment decision.
What lessons have been learned from the issues that developed at Eurocent so quickly after joining the platform?
We have added additional checks for outstanding liabilities of loan originators after the events with Eurocent. Details on our due diligence process can be found on our website under investor protection.
What analysis and procedures does Mintos take before accepting a lender onto the platform?
Before joining Mintos, each loan originator is carefully assessed by our risk team. This includes a due diligence procedure for each prospective loan originator. We conduct a thorough analysis of financial statements, management quality, underwriting policy, credit
scoring, loan portfolio performance, and data accuracy. During this process, we look not only at the formal policies but also at their implementation, making sure that it lives up to our rigorous standards. Once a loan originator has joined the marketplace we continue monitoring them for risks on an ongoing basis.
There is a big variation in the quality of financial information provided by your lenders. Are you taking any steps to improve the quality and frequency of the information they provide?
We ask all of the loan originators on Mintos to provide us with regular financial information. Although we prefer to have full financial statements from each loan originator, it is up to the individual company how they provide this information to investors on Mintos. All loan originators on Mintos update their financials annually, with many also publishing quarterly data. However, the end of the financial year differs depending on the loan originator and their speed at generating the report.
How did you feel about Hipocredit selectively buying back some of their mortgages from your investors (at par)? It angered a lot of people. How big is the risk that more lenders will do this?
We understand that our investors were not pleased with Hipocredit repurchasing some of its loans. Nevertheless, Hipocredit’s actions were within its right. We did our best to share the feedback from our investors and voice their dissatisfaction with the company. In response, when Hipocredit next repurchased loans it also bought back some of the defaulted loans. Mintos offers flexible funding for the loan originators connected to the marketplace, however, we are not their only source of funding. The situation with Hipocredit occurred because the loan originator attracted funding from an alternative source. It is purely a business decision from the loan originator on which funding sources to use and when.
How do you see Mintos developing over the next few years? What is likely to change?
We plan to further expand the range of investment opportunities to investors by adding new loan originators with different loan types from various geographies, including new continents. Over the next few years, we will continue to grow and expand the Mintos marketplace. Our goal is to provide a free movement of capital that works for the benefit of investors and borrowers. We anticipate the size of our company, the number of loans and loan originators on our marketplace will grow significantly over the next few years, offering our investors unparalleled diversification opportunities.
Thanks for your time Martins

If you are not already a Mintos investor, you can benefit from a special offer available through Explore P2P. Simply visit Mintos with this special link and register. You will automatically receive a 1% bonus on all funds deposited and invested within 90 days of joining. Full terms and conditions are available on the Mintos site. 

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