The Warsaw Voice » Business » Monthly - December 13, 2015
Business & Economic
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Lending Minus the Bank
Jevgenijs Kazanins, CEO of Latvia-based online finance and peer-to-peer lending platform Twino, talks to the Voice.

Twino is a newcomer to the peer-to-peer lending market, but the company that owns it has six years of experience in the lending sector. Please tell us some more about that.

Twino is a marketplace for unsecured consumer loans from Poland, Denmark and Georgia. The platform was launched in early 2015. However, Twino is owned and operated by FinaBay, an international financial services company, which has been successfully lending its own money since 2009, has a staff of 230 people in six countries and has originated over 150 million euros in issued loans.

All loans listed on the Twino platform are originated and serviced by FinaBay’s lending companies and this synergy allows us to provide investors with premium returns of up to 14.9 percent annually as well as protecting investors’ money from currency and default risk through the BuyBack Guarantee program. Twino is an investment platform that combines the traditional activity of FinaBay with modern and innovative solutions and is an additional business development tool for our company.

Why Poland, Georgia and Denmark?
We target countries on whose markets we operate. The peer-to-peer lending model, whereby borrowers turn to platforms like Twino instead of a bank when they need a loan, gives investors an opportunity to earn premium returns, which they cannot earn by keeping their money in the bank. Traditionally, lending has been carried out by banks, which would offer low interest on deposits, lend at a considerably higher rate to consumers, and keep the difference as their profits. Using Twino, investors can bypass the bank and lend directly to borrowers, thus earning up to 14.9 percent interest per annum.

Twino is now a fast growing marketplace for investing in personal consumer loans in Europe.

Twino was launched just over four months ago. It immediately won over investors thanks to its competitive returns, FinaBay’s extensive experience and the BuyBack Guarantee program whereby Twino buys back loans from investors in case the borrower defaults. Over 1,000 investors from 26 countries have already invested with Twino and financed close to 2 million euros in loans. This is unprecedented growth for a new platform and one that testifies to a strong level of confidence among investors.

Is your online finance and lending platform accessible without any unnecessary formalities?
Twino is the first company in the European lending marketplace to offer investors the BuyBack guarantee program. In case a borrower stops repaying his or her loans, Twino will buy such a loan from the investor, compensating for both the invested principal and the interest. Most platforms leave the borrower default risk with investors. Thus, investors need to develop complex investment strategies to manage this risk and avoid losing money. With Twino, we take responsibility for managing the risk of borrower default. As a strong financial group, we have more resources and expertise in managing such a risk than most individual investors. This is why we made the strategic decision to provide our BuyBack Guarantee on every loan offered to investors on the Twino platform.

Can you give us some more details about how Twino works?
In order to start investing with Twino, investors need to open an account, complete the identification process and transfer funds to their virtual Twino account. Once the funds reach the Twino platform investors can invest manually by selecting loans that match their criteria or set up an automated tool that would invest in every loan that is in line with investor requirements.

Twino is open to investors from all European countries and provides a simple and intuitive interface for investing. The platform also provides phone and email support to ensure that new investors learn how to invest quickly.

What makes the platform special?
First of all, Twino offers loans from Poland, Georgia and Denmark—markets where peer-to-peer lending hasn’t taken off yet. Secondly, given the synergy with the FinaBay group, the platform can ensure a considerable supply of investment opportunities ranging in duration and returns. Twino compensates investors for currency rate fluctuations and buys back defaulted loans through the BuyBack Guarantee program. Finally, investors can earn up to 14.9 percent per annum, which is one of the most competitive offerings on the market.

The platform is already available to investors from Poland and we expect a strong interest in our offering, given the premium returns Twino provides.