New Zealand's Heartland Bank invests in P2P lending platform

New Zealand's Heartland Bank invests in P2P lending platform

New Zealand's Heartland Bank has bought a 10% stake in local online peer-to-peer lending platform HarMoney. Financial terms were not disclosed.

HarMoney received a license from New Zealand's Financial Markets Authority in July, making it the country's first P2P lender. Although already live, it officially launches later this year.

Heartland is giving the new venture a boost by not only investing in it but providing a funding line to enable lending to borrowers who use the platform.

The bank says the move is part of a strategy to move into niche markets through specialist offerings which are different to traditional banks.

P2P lending initially presented itself as an alternative to traditional banking but there have recently been signs of the two sides cosying up.

Westpac's new venture capital fund recently took a A$5 million stake in Australian platform SocietyOne, while Barclays Africa has acquired a 49% stake in South African marketplace RainFin.

Meanwhile, in the UK Santander has started referring some small business customers looking for a loan to peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle. Under pressure from government, other banks are set to follow suit.

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