We continue to update this post with new developments as they happen to keep you as informed as possible. As the lockdown measures are easing, some businesses are beginning to open again, though it’s not exactly “as you were”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers across England will be allowed to reopen from 4 July. Hairdressers in Scotland can reopen from 15 July, but no date has been confirmed yet for those in Wales.
“Non-essential” shops in England were allowed to resume trading on 15 June and Wales followed suit on 22 June. In Scotland, shops were allowed to reopen from 29 June, providing they have outdoor entrances and exits – those in shopping centres are expected to reopen from 13 July.
You may remember from our previous updates that we took some steps to give lenders the opportunity to have a pause and evaluate their approach to lending on our platform. We want to highlight changes made to auto-investment on Growth and Income accounts and Autobid in Self Select accounts and make you aware of how you can easily reset these.
In March, we deactivated the auto-investment feature in Growth and Income accounts, which automatically uses repayments to purchase additional loan parts. We did this to provide a timely opportunity for lenders to consider how they want to manage their money on our platform.
With auto-investment switched off, Growth and Income account holders will see cash building up in their accounts. Our loan market is open and lenders can enable the auto-investment feature again. If lenders are happy for our platform to resume purchasing loan parts on their behalf as before, they can reactivate this feature quickly and easily by:
- Logging in to their LendingCrowd dashboard
- Choosing the account they want to change
- Selecting ‘Manage account’, then ‘Manage your repayments’
- Choosing Growth Mode or Income Mode to reactivate auto-investment
Lenders will need to enable this themselves but we are here if you need help.
For the same reasons, we also switched off the Autobid feature in Self Select accounts. To restart this feature, and continue with Autobid as before, lenders can change their settings simply by:
- Logging in to their LendingCrowd dashboard
- Choosing the Self Select account they want to change
- Selecting ‘Manage account’, then ‘Configure Autobid’
As expected, opportunities to lend responsibly to new borrowers have reduced significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is driven by the launch of government-backed initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. We have also tightened our credit policy around sectors that were especially affected by the impact of Covid-19. We continue to monitor this situation closely.
Support and information
As a reminder, to help our community of borrowers emerge from this pandemic in as strong a financial position as possible, we offered repayment holidays for existing borrowers who applied and met our criteria. This enabled those eligible borrowers to have some breathing space and focus on the wellbeing of their business during these exceptional times. All requests were assessed on a case-by-case basis by our expert Credit Team and we did not charge borrowers any fees for this. We have also waived our fees for changing repayment dates to help borrowers better plan their cashflow requirements.
The first group of borrowers to benefit from a repayment holiday have resumed their monthly loan repayments. We are in dialogue with those due to restart their repayments over the coming weeks. On behalf of all our borrowers, we want to thank all our lenders for the support they have shown for our small business community.
Lenders can check their LendingCrowd account at any time to see the status of individual loans.
As a responsible lender, we have developed guides and information to help businesses benefit from the wide range of support measures available from local and national government. These guides, which we update as more information becomes available, are tailored for SMEs in England, Wales and Scotland and we thought you might be interested to read more about the support we are giving. You can download these from this blog post.
Once again, thank you to all our lenders for their continued support during these exceptional times. Take care and stay safe.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 564 1600.