It has been 1 year since I started investing at Mintos. Time is going so fast, it is hard to keep track of everything that is going on.
Throughout 2017, we saw plenty of loans with interest rates between 13% and 15%. In July 2018, you’ll only see Mogo and GetBucks offering loans of 13% or above at the time of writing. But the problem is you won’t actually get paid too when the loans are in ‘Grace’ status or when they are bought back after 60 days. So the actual returns are more likely to be closer to 11% before tax in the best scenario.
The interest rates offered on loans are also directly infuenced by possible cashback campaigns that are going on, so if you’re not participating in a cashback campaign, it may actually be smarter to simply invest in short-term loans at Mintos. Right now I’m seeing plenty of short-term loans available with an interest rate of 10.5%. These are all from loan originators that still pay interest when the loans are bought back after 60 days of being late. The strategy behind this is that I am hoping that interest rates will increase after the diversification cashback campaign, because now all loans are being invested in anyways, so why offer high interest rates? Basically it is simple economics, which can be terribly annoying. To some degree, this makes mintos also feel slightly volatile in terms of returns.
If you’re interested returns, you could still expose to currencies like the Georgian Lari or Russian Rouble and enjoy 17% or 18%. But make sure you buy at the right time.
Loan originators look for alternative funding
Mogo will start issuing bonds (XS1831877755) on July 11, 2018. They have a nice interest rate of 9.5%, which is a lot for bonds. Now these are taxed at 10% in Belgium, bringing the net return somewhat at the same level as if you were to invest in actual loans of which the interest rates are taxed at 30%. So if this works out for you, I would suggest diversify investing in their bonds and their loans.
There is some controversy about this in the community, as investors think that Mogo is planning to move away from peer to peer lending and switch to bonds instead. Which makes total sense from their perspective. Their previous bond was issued at a 10% interest rate, so I don’t see returns dropping below 9.5-10% any time soon if this trend continues. Depending on your taxation laws, the Mogo Bonds could make an interesting asset to your portfolio.
We’ve seen cashback campaigns from December 2017 till June 2018. It was all fun while it lasted. GetBucks, Lendo and Mogo were the only loan originator that gave cashback in long-term loans. Mintos pays the cashback after 6 working days of investing. What I really liked about the cashback campaigns is that they were not taxed in Belgium, so I went on a rampage and invested half my portfolio in Mogo. It allowed me to quickly earn a lot of money. With Mogo issuing bonds right now, I am lucky that most of the loans are being bought back already.
The parent company of GetBucks isn’t doing so well financially. However, SimplyWallSt expects it may turn profit soon. What’s also troubling is that they have a new CEO since April. Their loan portfolio is performing relatively well with only 7% defaults according to their numbers. If everything goes well in the next few months or years, their stock (FRA:MBC) might be a good deal at this moment if you like to speculate. If they do manage to turn profit by the end of the year, the value of their stock could double.
My current strategies
With interest rates continuously lowering for the Euro, offerings in Georgian Lari still remained at a stable 17-18%. It still remains to be seen if the EUR/GEL pair remains stable at 2.86. I expect the Georgian Lari to appreciate further throughout 2018 and 2019. With returns already being 50% higher on average than the Euro, this is a must have in your portfolio.
This has also brought me to buying Russian Roubles, however, this currency has been depreciating in the past decade, it also offers returns of 17-18%. In the meantime, I am exposing 10% of my portfolio to Georgian Lari, 5% to Russian Rouble and roughly 85% in Euro.
Mintos appears to be an overall stable platform with no cash drag. They introduce new features every now and then and listen to the community. Their support team is very approachable and present in forums or social media communities. I plan on keep using them at least for another year and will re-evaluate them again in 2019. The only thing I hate right now is the presence of bots on the market and the sudden decline in interest rates offered for all the loans. All things considered, Mintos is probably the leading peer to peer lending platform in the world right now.