Spring heralds change and at FOLK2FOLK we have undergone our own metamorphosis, entering 2021 with a renewed energy and focus. The 2020 pandemic created a national pause, and we took the opportunity to reflect on our achievements and reposition for the future.
2020 was a surprising year of success for us. We achieved profitability for the first time; became accredited by the British Business Bank to deliver CBILS; our core business boomed resulting in our biggest month ever contributing to our cumulative lending total of £400m; and we experienced headline grabbing liquidity in our secondary market. But most importantly, we continued to help business owners and investors throughout the pandemic, and our customers remained loyal. Reinvestment levels among our investors remained high, above c.80%, and several institutions joined our community of investors.
We looked with fresh eyes at what we do and why we do it
And we took stock of how our business had advanced:
- We evolved from a pure Peer to Peer (P2P) platform that accepts only retail investment, to become a Marketplace lender (MPL) which is a platform that accepts both retail and institutional investment.
- We expanded our offering nationally, offering support to SMEs across regional Britain, having achieved success in the South West.
- We are here to help business owners from all sectors, not just farmers, though our origins are rural.
- We conceived new partnerships, new ways to help, and new products rolling out later in 2021.
- We’ve increased our minimum loan amount to £100,000 to reflect demand.
- We streamlined internal processes to bring significant efficiencies and improvements to our speed and service.
We considered our ambitions
Lockdown gave us a moment of clarity. We could see changing customer expectations. Consumers and investors alike are increasingly seeking out financial services they can trust, with whom they have rapport, where interests are aligned.
For us, it was vitally important that during the pandemic we did not lose sight of the essential value of the ‘human factor’ in all our interactions with stakeholders. What people will remember, is those financial services who stayed fair; those who provided good service; those who didn’t fail to support their customers; and those who were honest and human in their communications. And it is that ‘human element’ of our brand that really shone through during the past year.
And then we refreshed our purpose, vision and mission
As a result of our reflection we rearticulated our reasons for being. Not wholesale change, just an adjustment to better reflect why we’re here and what we aspire to.
- Our purpose is to ‘Create prosperity for Britain’s regions’.
An inequality of opportunity for prosperity exists across our country and, without being in any way political, we want to play our part in democratising finance and redressing that imbalance.
- Our mission is to ‘Be Britain’s most trusted marketplace platform’
We believe in the ability and responsibility of the financial services sector to be a driving force for good in society, delivering positive outcomes for both customers and the wider community.
- Our vision is to ‘Put humanity back into finance’
We’re about people; it’s in our name, and it’s how we believe finance should be. But sadly, financial services has become data driven, digitised, abstract, and ultimately disconnected from humanity. Our customers, borrowers and investors alike, can see and feel that we genuinely have their interests at heart; they know we want to see them succeed, grow and prosper.
We are energised and optimistic for this year and those to come. We firmly believe that enabling the flow of money to and within Britain’s regional economies, will play a critical role in our country’s post-covid and post-Brexit success.
Read more about our purpose.
Read about the happy by-product of our lending: FOLKONOMICS™