Harmoney Records $1b in Loan Volume as Kiwis Turn to Fintech Data Shows the Platform is Helping Borrowers Get Ahead

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Australasia’s fastest-growing lending marketplace has marked a significant milestone, reaching $1 billion in loan volume. This is the latest in the company’s string of firsts for fintech in the region and signifies a shift in consumer behaviour as Kiwis turn to fintech options to access finance.

Harmoney was founded with the objective of giving Kiwis more financial freedom – and, four years after it became the first recipient of a peer-to-peer lending licence in New Zealand, the platform and the customers using it have made impressive mutual progress, and has data to illustrate how the platform is helping borrowers get ahead by consolidating debt and reducing their individual interest rates.

Harmoney’s loan book primarily consists of borrowers in the 30-49 age bracket, with an average age of 45; the book is skewed towards home owners (45% of borrowers) and skilled workers, chiefly office workers (37%) and other professionals. More than 52,000 loans to more than 31,000 borrowers have been serviced via the Harmoney marketplace across New Zealand and Australia.

The evidence in Harmoney’s latest data, mined over the past 12 months, is especially striking in a lending environment that has become punitive to many borrowers – despite a record low OCR, interest rates for store cards, credit cards and car loans have all risen since 2013.

Since launching a feature in February 2018 to learn more about the objectives for debt consolidation among borrowers using the platform, Harmoney has identified the top three objectives as:

  • Combining payments (77% of borrowers named this as most important)
  • Paying less on a monthly basis (14%)
  • Paying less total interest (9%)

Harmoney joint CEO Neil Roberts says, “Since last February, 235 borrowers have told us that paying less total interest was their primary objective for a debt consolidation loan. This group of borrowers has received loans which will save them a total of $1 million in interest over the life of the loan compared to what they would have been paying before they consolidated their debt into a single loan with Harmoney.

“Obviously, paying less interest leaves more money available to pay off the principal faster – so these borrowers can see a big difference in their financial position in just a few months. Often people struggle with high-interest consumer debt for a long time and it can feel like a trap, so it’s a real turn-around for them.”

Borrowers primarily access loans via Harmoney for debt consolidation (35.2% of all loans) and home improvements (13.6%). On behalf of a number of borrowers who have taken out loans for debt consolidation purposes, Harmoney has distributed more than $182 million directly to third-party creditors such as banks. Other loan reasons include business cash flow, to clear an overdraft, education expenses, medical expenses, and funeral expenses.

Two customers who approached Harmoney for debt consolidation support are Guy and Henderika Galvin, who returned from Australia to New Zealand to adopt their baby girl in 2016. With Henderika caring for Immanuela full-time, dropping to one income meant the Galvins needed financial support to pay off some debt in Australia and continue to pay the mortgage on their Queensland property. They approached the major banks, which declined to help them. Then a friend recommended Harmoney.

They filled out the application form and, Guy says, “It happened so fast it was fantastic. We were approved and then it only took about three days for the loan to be funded. We consolidated our debt in a personal loan to pay off the Australian debt, and then the major bank we had an existing loan with agreed – because of the Harmoney loan – to knock $7,000 off the debt we owed them, so we could use the rest of the money to pay down other stuff. We were able to pay off two significant debts we had been struggling with for a while, which freed us up completely. It was a big relief. All we have to concentrate on now is paying Harmoney back.”

Another feature, which the company calls ‘laddering up’, was introduced by Harmoney in late 2016 to give borrowers the opportunity to get a lower interest rate. Since it launched, between 200 and 300 borrowers each month have been able to use the feature to get a better rate.

Mr Roberts says, “This data is based on customers going from loan 1 (their origination loan) to loan 2 (their first rewrite loan), which accounts for the majority of rewrites. Effectively, the laddering up feature operates as both incentive and reward – borrowers who meet all their repayment obligations for loan 1 may be eligible for a lower interest rate for loan 2.

“To us, this data demonstrates that when borrowers are given the right tools and opportunities they can make big strides towards financial freedom and empowerment even in a short time. Harmoney is proud to be helping Kiwis get ahead.”

About Harmoney

Harmoney is the leading marketplace lender in Australasia. It was the first company to receive a P2P lending licence from the Financial Markets Authority and is the largest provider in the New Zealand market. Harmoney Australia is ASIC licensed and regulated.  

In just four years of operation, Harmoney has:

  • In FY15-18, generated 1296% revenue growth, 141% CAGR and $26m revenue, 77 employees;
  • Raised $32 million in capital and invested substantially in its marketplace infrastructure;
  • Assessed more than $4 billion in loan applications;
  • Facilitated more than $1 billion
  • Paid more than $100 million in interest to Lenders;
  • Processed more than 42 million fractionalised repayments to investors;
  • Has been awarded the Canstar 5-award Outstanding Value (A1 – A5) two years in a row;
  • Created highly-skilled and highly-paid roles for 110 FTEs in Auckland, Sydney, and Suva;
  • Was a finalist 2017 NZ Hi-Tech Awards.

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