Latvia: a fast-growing alternative finance industry

12.06.2018

mintosblog

On Mintos, you can now invest in loans issued in 23 countries on five continents around the world. This means you have the opportunity to effectively diversify your investment portfolio and increase your chances of success. However, it can also be daunting to have so many options to choose from and know which investment geographies are right for you. To help you make a more informed decision, we present the second article of our country overview series on Mintos, taking a look at Latvia. You can read the first article in this series, which focused on Poland, here.

Why Latvia?

Latvia is a Baltic country and a member state of the European Union (EU). The country joined the EU in May 2004 and subsequently joined the Eurozone on January 1, 2014, replacing its local currency Latvian lats (LVL) for the Euro (EUR). In 2016, Latvia became a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

After the global financial crisis in 2008, strict fiscal discipline saw Latvia’s economy back on track between 2011 and 2013. In 2014, the national credit rating reached a stable A and unemployment decreased to a single digit.

Latvia has shown relatively consistent growth, the Annual GDP Growth Rate in Latvia averaged 4.19 percent from 1996 until 2018.

According to the European Commission, enduringly strong private consumption and robust investment spending will keep GDP growth at 3.3% in both 2018 and 2019.

European Commission economic forecasts for Latvia

Source: European Commission

Alternative finance market in Latvia

Although the alternative finance market in Latvia didn’t kick-off until 2008, the country has definitely made up for lost time. In 2016, according to the Overview of the activities of the non-bank consumer credit market in 2017, the Latvian market grew by EUR 84.52 million or 16.01%.

The peer-to-peer market is also growing rapidly in Latvia. Industry data from the Alternative Financial Services Association of Latvia shows that in 2017, EUR 486 million was invested through Latvian peer-to-peer lending platforms, an increase of EUR 288 million from the previous year. Since 2015 more than EUR 909 million has been invested in peer-to-peer platforms and in the first quarter of 2018, EUR 201 million was invested.

For non-bank lenders, as of June 30, 2017, the total net loan portfolio was more than EUR 612 million.

Why invest in loans listed in Euro?

On Mintos, you can invest in loans listed in 11 different currencies. Out of these currencies, the most loans are listed in EUR. The EUR can offer investors stability as the EUR is the second most traded currency in the world on the foreign exchange markets, following the United States Dollar (USD). Because the EUR is an established and widely traded currency, it is less prone to high levels of volatility than smaller currencies.

In addition, the EUR has had a strong last 12 months as the currency strengthened by 17.2% and as of March 2018, the currency has risen by 2.7%. FX strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ben Randol, suggests that while political and economic factors could see the currency lose ground in the short-term,  the currency will recover steadily before the end of 2018, reaching 1.20 against the USD in December 2018.

Based on this forecast, investing in loans listed in the EUR should mean you will receive consistent returns at a stable value.

Loans from Latvia on Mintos

Latvia is one of the biggest markets on Mintos. When it comes to investors, Latvia is the third largest country. More than 5 000 investors on Mintos are based in Latvia and they have invested more than EUR 76.6 million on the marketplace. Latvia has the second most loan originators offering investment opportunities from the country on the marketplace. To date more than EUR 421.5 million has been invested in loans issued from Latvia on the marketplace. In fact, Latvia was the first country to be added on the marketplace as Hipocredit was the first loan originator to launch on the marketplace.

Amount of loans funded through Mintos, EUR million (by loan originator)

At Mintos, it is our priority to launch the best loan originators from Latvia.

The Latvian market on Mintos is comprised of seven active loan originators:

– Agricultural lender AgroCredit;

– Leading consumer lender ExpressCredit Group, with operations under Banknote and VIZIA brands;

– One of the largest short-term consumer lenders Bino.lv;

– Business loan provider Capitalia;

– Mortgage lender Hipocredit;

– Largest regional non-bank lease and car loan provider Mogo.

Year of establishment

Latvia has a lot to offer investors on Mintos in terms of variety, in fact, there are loans available in all eight loans types on the marketplace – the only country to offer such a diverse range of investment opportunities.

Before a loan originator launches on the marketplace, we perform a thorough due diligence. During this procedure, we perform a thorough analysis on the quality of the loans from the loan originator to ensure they are good performing loans. In addition, we check the financial statements, management quality, underwriting policy, credit scoring and data accuracy to confirm that the loans will continue to perform well and that the company can continue to service them.  

The loan originators from Latvia on Mintos have either demonstrated sustainable profitability, capital or operations, or are currently in the growth phase of their business.

 

Once a loan originator has launched on Mintos we continue to monitor them regularly to ensure their financial situation does not deteriorate and are still able to meet their obligations to investors on Mintos.

In Summary

The Latvian market offers many investment opportunities on Mintos, ranging from different loan types to numerous loan originators – and due to the rapid growth of the alternative finance market in the country, these opportunities will grow. You can explore all of the loans Latvia has to offer on our Primary market.

Stay tuned for our next country overview which will take a look at Georgia!

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