Exclusive: Most alternative lenders in Europe increased staff numbers during the pandemic, but UK lenders were most cautious 

By Aisling Finn on Monday 12 October 2020

Alternative Lending

AltFi’s Alternative Lending State of the Market Report 2020 revealed more than half of the alternative lenders in Europe are planning to increase their headcounts over the next year. 

Exclusive: Most alternative lenders in Europe increased staff numbers during the pandemic, but UK lenders were most cautious 
Image source: Adeolu Eletu/Unsplash

Throughout the pandemic, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of European lenders have increased their headcounts, compared to just 58 per cent of UK lenders hiring new employees, according to exclusive data from AltFi’s Alternative Lending State of the Market Report 2020. 

Over several weeks, AltFi compiled survey responses from the top 44 alternative lenders across the continent to get a sense of their attitudes to the current state of the market. 

The data, which was collected throughout the summer, also shows that only just over a third (34 per cent) have had to make redundancies, with the remaining 66 per cent being able to keep all staff on board. 

Similarly, over half of the alternative lenders surveyed (53 per cent) said they were planning on increasing their headcount over the next 12 months, 41 per cent planned to keep staff numbers the same and just six per cent plan on making redundancies in the next year. 

Unsurprisingly, three quarters (75 per cent) of lenders surveyed felt that their lending had been adversely impacted by coronavirus in some way.  

Of the respondents who felt no change owing to the pandemic, the majority (55 per cent) hail from the UK, 36 per cent operated only in Europe and the remaining nine per cent operated in both markets. 

Despite this, lenders across the board appear to be cautiously optimistic about the future, with 84  per cent expecting their lending originations to increase over the next 12 months, while just nine per cent felt it would remain the same and seven per cent felt originations would decrease.  

In the same vein, nearly two-thirds of lenders surveyed (64 per cent) think their ability to find attractive borrowers will increase over the next 12 months, with 36 per cent believing that it will remain at the same level or decrease. 

Alternative lenders across the board were divided about loan defaults, 50 per cent of lenders felt lending defaults in 2020 would increase, while 10 per cent thought they would fall and the remaining 40 per cent said they would stay the same.  

So, despite the coronavirus-related economic turmoil, lenders appear to be hesitantly optimistic about the future.

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