Last updated - 5 September 2022
Mintos lenders can default or close down - choosing the best lenders is important
In 2017, Mintos lender Eurocent failed, and defaulted on its Mintos ‘buyback guarantee’ commitments. Since then there have been defaults and issues with several other lenders. Over the last 5 years we have been providing the scores and data on this page – our Mintos lender ratings. Our goal is to provide investors with key information on each lender, and a rating score to help highlight those that are lowest and highest risk.
To begin with, below we discuss some recent events:
Mintos finally launches its Notes program. Forced to close secondary market
After several delays Mintos has announced that it has launched its notes program. The notes program is designed to replace the current arrangement where it sells participations in loans, and is linked to its move to become a licenced investment platform. Initially there will be 3 companies issuing notes – CashCredit, Eleving and Sun Finance Latvia. While Mintos is highlighting some benefits to investors from notes relating to protections and transparency, there seem to be several downsides. One topic that has understandably upset many investors is the imposition of withholding taxes on interest earnings for the first time. We plan to write a post that discusses this in more detail shortly. Another huge downside relates to the secondary market – Mintos is being forced to close the secondary market in claims by 30 June. While a secondary market in notes will be possible, cutting off the liquidity options for over €670 million of claims that are currently outstanding is a huge negative. We hope Mintos makes investors more aware of the situation as this detail appears to have been lost in their communications.
Check out our new post that discusses the implications for investors of the new Mintos notes scheme – the key benefits, and 4 important downsides to be aware of.
No major recent updates from Mintos relating to the Ukraine / Russia war impacts
Check out our post that discusses the Russia/Ukraine situation in more detail, and the likely impact on investors across various P2P sites including Mintos. Click the button to view the post.
In March Mintos suspended all Russia and Ukraine originated loans from its primary market. The affected lending companies are Creditter, Dozarplati, EcoFinance, Kviku, Lime, Mikro Kapital, Mokka and SOS Credit. The loans remain active and available to buy or sell on the secondary market. Discounts of up to 42% are currently being offered on Russian originated loans on the secondary market.
On 7th March the Mintos CFO hosted a call to discuss the situation. Key information provided included:
- It is now virtually impossible for Russian lending companies to make payments in Euros to Mintos. As a result the amount of ‘pending payments’ will grow significantly
- Around 15% of outstanding loans are to Russian lenders (although some investors reported being allocated over 50% to Russian loans by the automated investment tool). 0.4% of loans are to Ukraine lenders
- 60-70% of the currency risk was hedged by lenders, but it’s difficult to know how effective the hedges will be due to the sanctions
- Collection rates so far in Russia are good, although this may change because new payment holiday rules have been introduced
There have been no material changes to the situation since the above update was given – it appears unlikely that there will be any ability for Russian lenders to send payments internationally for the foreseeable future due to sanctions. Of course the situation with Ukrainian lenders is even more problematic. Any future recoveries at all should be considered an unexpected bonus as things currently stand.
Mintos in negotiations with Wowwo over a debt restructuring
Mintos has announced that it is in negotiations over the recovery of Mintos investor funds from Wowwo. Wowwo is a Turkish motor finance company. It appears to have been caught out by the recent 35% fall in the value of the Turkish Lira versus the Euro. The company seems not to have hedged this FX risk at all. There was always likely to be some volatility in this exchange rate and it seems surprising that Mintos allowed the company to run this risk, and indirectly give their investors this exposure. The company has offered to pass on the repayments of its borrowers in Lira. Effectively this means that they wanted to keep all the upside of running this unhedged FX risk, and pass on all the subsequent losses to Mintos investors. We can understand why Mintos declined this proposal.
So what happens next? Mintos is following fairly standard practice. They have declared an ‘event of default’ which is the first step in undertaking litigation against a borrower. At the same time it seems to be working on negotiating a solution outside of a court process. That makes sense, particularly as Wowwo seems to be a fairly good business that has been profitable in the past. Mintos has proposed a solution involving no ‘haircuts’ for investors – this would however likely result in payments being made over several years, and with no interest. Whatever solution is arrived at, the FX risk will also need to be addressed. If there is a further currency depreciation, the company will not be able to make the future payments it promises to make. A restructuring should also consider the possibility of a rebound in the currency, which could allow Wowwo to repay investors faster.
Key financial information of each Mintos lender
The table below captures the key financial information for each lender. This can be useful to quickly lookup the profile of each lender, and compare the strengths and weaknesses of each one.
All Figures in EUR million (profits annualised where appropriate):
Note: S = Suspended D= Defaulted W = Solvent windown
Our Mintos lender ratings
Our Mintos lender ratings are based on 5 characteristics – profitability, capitalisation, size, track record and the quality of their reporting. We have allocated marks out of 20 for each metric, giving a total score out of 100. Mintos have recently changed their ratings system, which is now a number from 0-10. A W/D indicates that Mintos has withdrawn their rating.
Consider country risk too
Mintos offers loans from many different countries around the world, and some countries are more risky than others. To help investors assess the risk level of each country, we have published a country risk ratings page. This takes into account factors such as currency risks, sovereign risk and the local business environment. We think it is worth considering these risks when building a portfolio allocation, in addition to the LO ratings above.
Key updates: August & September 2022
Key updates: June & July 2022
Key updates: May 2022
Key updates: April 2022
because a guarantee from a company is not as strong as a direct claim. Originally we understood that ‘Financiera Contigo’ was a sister company or subsidiary, but the Mintos team kindly reached out to us to explain that it is just a brand used by CEGE itself. Based on our review of the latest audited financials for CEGE, and their track record, we have assigned a score of 63 to Financiera Contigo / CEGE.
Key updates: March 2022
Key updates: February 2022
Key updates: January 2022
Key updates: December 2021
So what is the outlook for Wowwo and its lenders? Wowwo provided an FX exposure analysis in its 2020 annual report. It showed that a 50% currency depreciation against the Euro would generate losses of TKL 43m – or about 40% of its capital. A bad situation but likely survivable. The bigger question is what the new economic situation means for the company and its borrowers. Can people repay their loans?
That’s still a bit too early to say. Real GDP is forecast to still be positive in 2022 – around 3.5-4%. High inflation and currency deflation will however cause problems for some borrowers. The good news is that Wowwo’s loans are secured on hard assets (cars) which should reduce the risk of the company suffering high losses. The main risks are further depreciation of the Lira, and the inability of Wowwo to find alternative local sources of funding.
provided to investors, with a profit of €6.6m prior to FX movements. However we then saw that KPMG had issued a qualified audit opinion. The reason for this is that the company had revalued upwards the value of intangible assets in both 2019 and 2020. KPMG notes that this is not permitted under the accounting standards. It seems very strange to us that the company preferred to issue numbers that KPMG would not sign off on, rather than publishing conforming results.
The impact of these intangible asset revaluations is quite material. The revaluations resulted in Creditstar’s reported profits being 120% higher in 2020 and 71% in 2019. As these revaluations do not comply with accounting standards we have made some adjustments to the figures provided in the tables above. We have adjusted the profits shown for 2020 and 2019, and have also adjusted the reported shareholders equity balance. We have reassesed all the scores for Creditstar based on the new
information available. In particular, we reduced the scores for profitability, capitalisation and track record. Our new score is down 4 to 61. The company seems to be performing well during 2021. The strong profits seem to have been generated from business operations rather than ‘revaluations’. If it wants to further recover investor confidence, it should also think about upgrading its finance team too.
Key updates: November 2021
Key updates: September/October 2021
Key updates: August 2021
EstateGuru is an excellent site that offers loans secured on real estate. Rates are high - around 11%. Currently mainly focused on the Baltic region of Europe but with plans to expand into other countries.
Robocash is an international lending group that offers loans via its own P2P site. We like Robocash because the lending group is extremely profitable, and the site offers high returns (9-14.5%)
Bulkestate is a small but growing site focused on loans secured on real estate. It offers loans secured by real estate. Their rates are the highest in Europe for secured loans currently (11-14%)
October is focused on lending to small businesses in France, Spain and Italy. Rates are often a little lower than the other sites we list here, but some investors will like October due to the countries it operates in.
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