VIA SMS Group has been operating since 2009 and operates in 5 countries (Latvia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain) and it has issued more than 1 million loans. Through their platform, you can now participate in their business.
InvestItIn.com appreciates the detail which VIAINVEST has answered our questions. We are sure that this in-depth interview will help you learn more about p2p investments and the specificities of VIAINVEST platform.
Can you tell me more about the VIAINVEST management team?
VIAINVEST is a part of VIA SMS Group – alternative financial services provider operating across Europe for more than 7 years. VIAINVEST management team consists of highly valued professionals coming from various industries. To build products of outstanding quality, the company ensures that key specialists as risk management, marketing, IT and legal teams are in-house employees. VIAINVEST team is led by the company CEO Mr Eduards Lapkovskis who is also a founder of VIA SMS Group and has previously gained his experience in corporate finance and banking.
How are interest rates set on the platform?
Currently VIAINVEST offers to invest in short-term consumer loans originated by VIA SMS Group daughter companies in Czech Republic and Spain. The interest rates are set accordingly to 12% and 11,2% annually. Interest rates are calculated after deep risk and business prospect analysis taking into account guarantees provided to investors and overall situation in P2P lending industry. The main priority of VIAINVEST is investors’ experience, so all guarantees and investment security is taken very seriously in every aspect of the business.
What is the minimum investment amount in each loan?
One of VIAINVEST goals was to make P2P lending available for each person who is interested in finding smart ways how to manage personal finances. For that reason minimum amount of the investment is EUR 10 – investors do not need to deposit large amount of funds as they should if choosing traditional bank investment products. We do not specify maximum amount of investment in one loan, but educate society on what benefits brings diversified investment portfolio.
How are the loans sourced, directly or through third parties? Do you plan to change this in the future?
As mentioned before, all loans listed on VIAINVEST are originated by VIA SMS Group – currently these are consumer lending companies operating in Czech Republic and Spain, but it is also planned to add Latvian, Polish and Swedish lenders shortly. At least on the first period of operations VIAINVEST do not plan to list loans issued by other loan originators that are not related to VIA SMS Group on the platform.
How does VIAINVEST minimise defaults?
VIA SMS Group has developed complex, IT based risk evaluation system that is applied to all lending operations any of daughter companies (consumer lenders) perform. In this case also customer risk evaluation criteria developed by governments (e.g. as it is in Latvia) is very helpful to minimize risks that can arise from individuals’ ability to return borrowed funds.
Is your platform open to non-European residents?
We welcome each investor that has an active bank account in European Union by what the investor (individual or legal entity) can be identified.
What can investors expect from VIAINVEST in 2017?
VIAINVEST is continuously working on improving investors’ experience and platform usability, so several new platform features will be launched very soon. Also, the company is planning to expand its portfolio by listing loans originated in Latvia, Poland and Sweden. As VIA SMS Group is offering various consumer lending products, VIAINVEST may also offer their clients also to invest in installment loans.
Are the funds of the firm and the funds of the investors ring-fenced, i.e. are they held in the same bank accounts?
Invested funds are definitely kept in separate bank accounts created for this specific purpose.
The strength of the Buyback guarantee depends on the financial strength of the company. This strength is accumulated over a number of profitable years. The good years should build the foundation for the difficult ones. Financial profits, can used to either: expand the business, used as dividends or used as potential collateral for the buy back guarantee.
What is the direction of the board of directors on this matter: How do they plan to achieve a balance between retaining profits from year to year, expand the business and withdraw dividends? How do you ensure that the company has enough financial strength to honour the buyback guarantee?
As VIA SMS Group has been operating for more than 7 years and gained stable position in consumer lending market. By now the company has developed broad and diversified product portfolio (e.g. short-term consumer loans, instalment loans, payment card with credit line, savings products, etc.), so investors can be sure that the company has stable cashflow ensured by other operations and the company is in no way dependent on VIAINVEST operations. VIA SMS Group has issued its bonds in 2014 as well as published independently prepared financial reports. These reports are publicly available on Nasdaq Riga homepage, where investors can closely monitor the performance of the company and evaluate their investment opportunities.
In your opinion, why do traditional banks skip the opportunity of a 12% interest on such loans?
Because of the boom of fintech, traditional banking products has become inflexible and not that easy reachable as alternative financial services. It may be just a matter of time when banks will come to a conclusion that the only way how to survive the fintech era is to completely change their services.
How is VIAINVEST different from other p2p platforms?
The biggest difference is that unlike other P2P platforms, each and every loan listed on VIAINVEST is secured with a Buyback Guarantee. VIAINVEST main concern is investing experience where investment security plays one of the main roles. Also, VIAINVEST has some innovative platform features coming up soon, so follow our social media newsfeed!
Are there any other points that you would like to add?
As alternative financial services most likely are the nearest future, VIAINVEST is also trying to educate society on how such tools can help them to make wise financial decisions. This is the reason why VIAINVEST is built as easy to understand P2P lending platform that is available for even most inexperienced
Visit Via invest p2p platform to discover more about their investment offer.