Invitee Post from Diversified Bull on DoFinance visit

Dear Readers, I am honored to present you the first guest post on my blog, by a frequent reader, who visited DoFinance and might start his own project one day. Everything below is from the feather of diversified bull, and he has a special offer for you at the end of the post. Enjoy.

This is a review of DoFinance that I visited at the end of May 2019. I have been an active p2p investor for the past 8 years and this review is based on my experience of the platform: I currently have €35k invested with them and discussed with the management team when I visited their Riga office.

I would like to start by thanking p2phero: I discovered early a few platforms thanks to his valuable posts and his opinion is always relevant. We exchange on investment ideas from time to time and he kindly offered me to post on his blog the feedback of my visits to a few Latvian platforms earlier this year. I will start today with DoFinance, which have just answered my follow-up questions after my visit in May.

DoFinance has been at the top of what I would call my “third tier” platform list for a while. Third tier in terms of size,  less than 5,000 investors, and transparency, no financial statement and limited statistics.

However, we know that diversity is essential in the p2p landscape and it is always worth identifying a promising loan provider. The interview that the two DoFinance co-founders gave a while ago to the well-known blogger Lars Wrobbel aroused my interest. I decided to investigate further and, although the financials of Alfa Finance, the group behind the platform, are not public, the resumes of the founders can be found on LinkedIn and give some insight. Two brothers Janis and Viesturs Kulikovski funded the group together with Ingars Zagorskis. Viesturs Kulikovski spent 8 years at Swedbank Latvia where he was a member of their management board before his departure in 2001. He also has extensive experience in real estate investment. We can expect he has gone through some market downturns in his career and is more risk-aware than some 25-years old startupper sometimes running these companies nowadays. His brother Janis has an international business background, including running operations in Indonesia, which gives some credibility to their loan origination business in the country. They claim on their site nearly 700,000 registered customers in total as of May 2019 and 182 employees worldwide. This should give some depth to their loan offering and I was curious to learn more about them.

They were very quick to respond to my request for an appointment and I could meet them in person two weeks later. Their office is situated in a charming district of Riga, next to parks and museums, in a typical historic building of the city. Luckily, it was just one block away from the apartment I was staying in. When I arrived, I was greeted by the platform lead Henrijs Jansons who showed me their premises and then introduced me to Viesturs and Janis. We had a one-hour meeting and they openly answered all my questions. They gave me the impression of trying to grow their business in a controlled manner. They have a complete vision of the process: from the loan origination to the issuance and the distribution on the platform and up to the recovery of delinquent loans. Development in Indonesia seems to be an important step for them with hundreds of thousands of customers and a large locally based team in charge of the origination and the debt collection processes.

I provide here a summary of the main topics we discussed during the meeting, my questions and their answers that they fine-tuned in the follow up emails we exchanged:

The site provides not much recent information about Alfa Finance Group, statistics are from 2016 – 2017 in the About Us section. In the blog you recently mentioned an NPL rate of 6.18% but with little information about what it means, the perimeter and the cohort of loans measured. Would it be possible to provide more up to date and detailed information of the loan performances by region. Also any financial statement of Alfa Finance or its subsidiaries would be useful to assess the buyback guarantee (BBG).

DoF: We get this question quite often. We plan to publish shareholder report once every 6 months. And also we have renewed our website with the latest statistics and some other information.

Autoinvest does not reinvest interests which creates a cash drag if funds are not withdrawn or reinvested immediately. Investing the paid interests requires a manual intervention, do you think you can provide a simple solution to this in the future?

DoF: Yes, we are currently developing updated auto-autoinvest functionality with possibility to choose if funds are reinvested, collected to investors DoFinance profile or withdrawn to bank account (there will be minimal automatic payment limit of 25 Eur).

The Indonesian p2p market is still at an early stage of development. According to their financial authority OJK, non-performing loans and defaults in Indonesia’s P2P industry were 6.3 per cent of all loans in February, up from 2.4 per cent a year earlier. Are you facing the same deterioration in your portfolio?

DoF: Fortunately, we have quite the opposite case – the NPL’s have decreased since December and we see positive trend. We have managed this by integrating with automatic ID and docs verification + introduction of employer calls (that is a common practice in the banking sector in Indonesia) to verify the customer. Such verification later helps to collect overdue loans as well.

In addition to the specific nature of the Indonesian p2p market, we have to remember that loans are originally denominated in INR (Rupiah) while us, end investors, receive euros. In the extreme scenario of a depreciation of let’s say 30% of the Rupiah, are the positions hedged or are you confident the originator will be able to absorb the losses?

DoF: We use the services of remittance companies (Ebury.co.uk and Monex.com) to reduce currency risk. Additionally, this year there was an election of president and parliament (they held them at the same time for cost efficiency) and same president and leading parties won, thus the country should remain stable and no controversial laws or regulations are expected to be passed.

Are there some situations (like the one described above) where the Indonesian loans would suffer a loss and the BBG fail, while the Polish loans would continue to be protected? Are they both guaranteed under the same umbrella or are they independently protected i.e. can Credo data Indonesia default on the BBG while it is still maintained for Polish loans?


DoF: Since our group is only in 30 day loans and all Risk department is centralized here in HQ, we can monitor and adjust risks, scoring cards etc monthly and do not suffer unforeseen increase in NPL. Moreover, at the moment ~80% is shareholder capital and only 20% are available for investment in platform. Additionally, all our loan originators are licensed and closing one would not affect the other.

From left to right: Ieva, Project Coordinator, Henrijs, Platform Lead and Janis, Co-funder.

In summary, DoFinance is, in my opinion, a solid choice in the p2p space and should be on the list of any investor looking for diversification across multiple platforms and originators: from invoice financing to personal loans in Poland or Indonesia. The team is competent and committed to the long-term development of the platform.

Then, they clearly have room for improvement as far as transparency and disclosure are concerned. At this stage of their development though, I don’t have an issue with it, especially after meeting them. I invest mainly into their indonesian loans offering the highest rates. I am not yet convinced by the lower yielding alternatives but it is always nice to have the choice. I personally intend to grow my investments with them.If you are interested in investing with DoFinance, this is a good time to do so as they are just starting a new 1% cashback offer from 08/07 to 31/07/2019. This will apply to all your investments in the 9% and 11% programs for a term of 6 months or more. In addition, I can sponsor you for a VIP account and you will get an extra 1% yield on some of the auto-invest strategies. To enjoy the VIP status, follow the usual registration process with DoFinance and also submit your email to http://copula.atspace.eu/dofinance/. After a few days, you will receive confirmation that your DoFinance account has been upgraded.

New cashback offers and investment opportunities

Due to the cash drag situation at some platforms I have shown you some possibilities to invest your funds.  Of course real estate platforms are a good choice as well.  Let me give you an overview of current opportunities and new cashback offers.

Up to 90 Euro cashback at Iuvo Group

Beginning of this year I have let my investments run out at Iuvo Group as my results were not really convincing (relative to other opportunities at that time). Some weeks ago I rejoined them as I received a cashback offer for old investors to rejoin.  Since then my yield is (per XIRR) about 10 percent, on the other hand the platform shows me 11. This is a far better result than last time. This time I did not invest in overdue loans, which seems to be the more fruitful strategy, but it could be just luck. My number of loans and my investment horizon are to small to draw a relevant conclusion. Now there is a cashback scheme for new investors if you invest at least 1000 EUR (or an equivalent in Bulgarian Currency), and get 30 Euro. If you top up your investments by at least 1500 Euro during your first 2 months on the platform (total 2500 EUR) you get additional 60 Euro as a bonus. Necessary steps to be eligible:

1. Get in touch with me via contact form, that I can send you an invitation
2. Register with the same email at Iuvo
3. Transfer and invest at least EUR 1’000.-.
4. You get your cashback credited within 2 business days

Still 1% Cashback at DoFinance

Still 1 percent cashback (with this link only) for new investors for their deposits within the thirst 30 days. I don’t know how long this offer will stay valid, it could be cancelled anyday. Look at DoFinance’s functionality..

Grupeer opened up for new originators

Grupeer started a new product some weeks ago with Russian shortterm loans of 2 to 3 months with a buyback protected yield of 15 percent.  This week there were no loans of this kind added to the platform. I believe they would like to see first a redemption of the first loans, which are due end of October. In the meantime they added more loan originators to the platform with some nice loans yielding 14 percent for up to 12 months. There is always something to invest at Grupeer.

Bulkestate with a new project and one in the pipe

Now the newest Bulkestate Project is online: Hotel appartements in Bulgaria which will be sold with a profit. The duration is 8 months and the yield is set at 13.8% which I consider attractive given the shorter then usual duration and low LTV of 35 percent. In some weeks we should see another (development) project in Riga with a nice yield. Check out Bulkestate  and open a free account. This makes sure that you get news of the platforms newest projects.

Bulkestate Hotel Complex

Just an info to the functionality. You can’t hold funds in your Bulkestate account at the moment. You place your bid and then get an email with payment instructions based on which you can make your transfer and pay for your bid. A little bit unconfortable I know, but a solution is in the making. So Investing should get easier down the road, but as always, these solutions take time to be developped and appear on the platform. It is never easy when money is involved as regulatory requirements have to be met for our own safety.

 

Housers offers 50 euro Cashback until October 31st

Invest 50 Euro and get additional 50 Euro to invest. Nice deal, isn’t it. Valid through October. Just use this link to register and you are entitled to receive your cashback once you made your first investment. Please note: when you

Housers Hostel

make your investment they ask you for a promotion code, this has nothing to do with the cashback offer. It is a special promo for investors to receive more interest when they invest more then amount X, as stated in the project description. You can leave this empty. At the moment there is such an offer, check out the image.

Flender offers 10 percent cashback in October

You just have to register through this link and invest 2500 Euro during october and you get at least 250 Euro cashback. Your bid date counts, it does not matter if the funding period goes into November. If you bid by end of October, you will be granted your bonus, even if the project would not complete funding at all.

DoFinance news: Cashback and loyalty scheme

Some time ago I already introduced DoFinance to you (need to check it out due the buyback functionality). Since then some weeks have passed and the platform has worked intensively behind the scenes. Now is the time to share some news with you.

Cashback for new investors

If you sign up through a DoFinance link (this one brings you directly to registration) on this blog you automatically get 1 percent cashback for your average invested deposits during the first 30 days after registration (minimal investment amount is EUR 100). So you’ll get 1 additional euro for every hundred you are investing, with 1k invested this makes 10 bucks which you can invest in fish & chips plus a pint 😉 Or do whatever you like. Important: Cashback will only be applied if you use one of my links. If you decide to start with 25k you get better interest rates as a surplus (see next paragraph).

 

 

Loyalty scheme for existing investors and new ones (14% interest)

Also there is reason for joy for existing investors (applies also to new investors) as well: DoFinance starts its loyalty scheme. There are two ways to get accepted: 1) You invest at least 25k (which is too much for must of us, including me) or 2) you help to improve the platform with your suggestions, hints on errors and sharing of new ideas for them. I cannot quantify how much you need to deliver to get accepted to the scheme. This is decided only by DoFinance.

VIP’s questions and problems will be handled with priority, but they promised to me to handle everyone else’s querries in an adequate amount of time as well 😉

What else?

You see, DoFinance really wants to move something. The next steps comprehend the addition of further currencies, improve the transparency by sharing more information on the borrowers. Additionally the investment process shall be leaner and easier by the addition of new filters. And of course your ideas will be implented if they are backed by others. To some part we as investors are able to influence the platform’s future path, at least partially.Use this link for registration to get 1% cashback.

In case of any questions, please post them here.

DoFinance – buyback with a different approach

Again there is a brand new p2p platform. With DoFinance another baltic loan originator (Alfa Finance Group, incorporated in 2015) launches a platform to collect funds for their operations. This is comparable to Swaper or Viainvest from the setup (all loan originators with own platforms). Buyback is provided for all loans (although a particular kind, I’ll give more details later).
Alfa Finance funded its first loan during February 2016 according to their stats and has multipled since then (see chart below). If you check out the about us page you get a better picture who their borrowers are.

 

Buyback with a particular solution

As announced above, now we are heading towards the buyback mechanism, which is probably unique (or odd ;)). You can choose between loans with interest rates set at 6, 8 and 12 percent. Where are the differences? This is explained quite quick: Die minimum duration is 1 month for 6% loans, 2 months for 8ers and six for 12 percenters. The maximum duration is capped at 60 months for all loans. All loans are bullet and therefor now cash flow occurs before maturity (but interest is compounded, but I don’t know at which periodicity). There is no secondary market, but an early termination of the loan is possible. Sounds nice, doesn’t it ? Yes, BUT with the early termination you completely relinquish the interest (depending on the loan). The 6% loans can be called with a 14 day waiting period, but you get the complete interest for your holding period. With the 8% loans you can choose if you want your money after 14 days without any interest, or wait 28 days to get the repayment plus all accrued interest. The 12% loans can be terminated within 28 days, but you forgo all accrued interest…. Tom y knowledge there is any other p2p platform which operates this way.

General impression / risk

At the end of the day the platform looks nice and modest. The autoinvest facility does not work properly at the moment, so you need to go at least semi-manual. You set investment period and interest rate plus your amount and hit invest and all is invested, see screenshot. The site loads quickly. As always when I buyback is involved it is only as good as the party (and their financial capability) which guarantees the buyback. As of now, I don’t know how financial stable DoFinance or their mother company are, but I will try to find it out.

Conclusion

I believe DoFinance can be used as alternative addition to the p2p portfolio. One just need to be sure, that it is possible you must forgo your interest, if you need your money back quickly. It should be clear, that no one should invest money into p2p which is needed back in a short time. There are always risks within this asset class.

Maybe some of my readers have experience regarding DoFinance? Please share your opinion with us!