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Kuflink Review

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This page was last updated on 7 October, 2020

Here's the Kuflink review, written by one of our specialists. You can find more reviews in our comparison tables.

Kuflink Logo, used in 4thWay's Kuflink review4thWay's Kuflink Review

A profitable property lending record since 2011 and highly satisfactory lending results.

Kuflink Review: their best-rated product

Proplend: Exceptional 3 PLUS Rating for Tranche A, 0-50% LTV Loans Against Property Receiving Rent

Kuflink Auto-Invest 5 Year Account/Auto-Invest 5 Year IFISA received an Exceptional 3/3 4thWay PLUS Rating

This account has been paying 7.00% interest.

Read about the 4thWay PLUS Ratings, compare more peer-to-peer lending accounts or visit Kuflink*.

Kuflink* does loans to property owners requiring short-term (bridging) loans secured against their properties, including some development lending.

Established in 2016, Kuflink lenders have lent £91 million. Kuflink has a prior business operating since 2011 that has been successfully lending in the same kinds of loans.

Kuflink's loans fit in an interesting space for bridging and development in terms of the risks. It has a good record showing a fairly low proportion of loans that go bad and excellent recovery of bad debt.

Just a very small proportion of loans have had to write-off some debt. Kuflink takes the first loss of at least 5% on every loan in its manual lending account, called Select Invest. In its Auto-Invest accounts, its first strategy when a loan is going wrong is to look to take over the loan by moving lenders onto a new loan.

The combined result of these three facts is that lenders have still had zero losses, even after Kuflink has built a pretty reasonable history of loans.

Kuflink* has two key requirements of its loans and borrowers and these are typical of this kind of lending.

Firstly, the maximum that a borrower is allowed to borrow is 75% of the property's valuation. Very sensibly – even necessarily – Kuflink sometimes requires the borrower to secure the loan against a second property if it is coming close to this maximum. And Kuflink limits the maximum to 65% if it doesn't know the area well. Combined, these standards are good for these kinds of loans, and we have seen sufficient results to show that Kuflink's RICS surveyors are valuing properties sensibly.

Secondly, the borrower needs a clear exit strategy – a clear way to repay the entire loan at the end. This is a standard, essential requirement that we'd expect to see. With these types of loans, it's typical for a good proportion of them to require official extensions. Even taking this into account, 4thWay analysis shows full repayments are coming at least as rapidly as we'd expect; indeed extended loans have a superb repayment history.

If loans pay regular interest, the ability to meet those interest payments is also important to Kuflink. So far, the data shows that these loans are also doing well, although, for this sub-segment of Kuflink's loans, a little more history is needed before we can do any sensible, risk-based calculations.

Although a third of Kuflink's loans are junior loans, the results of these have been exceptional, demonstrating that Kuflink thinks carefully before agreeing loans where Kuflink lenders are not first in the queue to recover their money if a loan turns bad.

While Kuflink does allow some first-time developers to borrow smaller amounts, the quality of all its loans that have elements of refurbishment, conversion or development are in line with the rest of its loans, with the results of these loans even being a tick better. Developers can usually borrow up to 70% of the starting property valuation and further borrowing as development progresses may not exceed 70% of the expected sale price of the property. These are very sensible standards.

The family business Kuflink* demonstrably has a decade's experience with these loans.

It seems very likely that Kuflink has sufficient experience to conduct the key lending operations of its business. While we have not been able to pin down and independently verify individuals with large amounts of prior experience, Kuflink itself has a profitable record in lending since 2011, it has a large pool of people with different experiences in bridging, development and property surveying, and highly satisfactory results in its P2P loan book, both in loan performance and recovering any bad debts.

The data it provides is very comprehensive, suggesting an interest in numbers that, while not essential for all kinds of bridging lending, does correlate with the lower-risk end. Even so, I believe Kuflink could improve its results further by making more ratios and hard lines central to its underwriting policy, as well as more emphasis on quantitative factors.

Kuflink is not what we at 4thWay between ourselves call a “swinger”, which means a P2P lending platform that is willing to approve loans without solid property valuations, in return for higher interest rates or smaller loan amounts compared to the estimated valuation of the property. Kuflink's data and its explanation of its processes show that it prefers tighter standards.

Although Kuflink has some surveying experience, it always requires an independent valuation of property security.

Kuflink has explained that it's important for it that a borrower can meet regular interest payments, if they have been agreed for the loan. (Most loans don't have regular interest. The loan and all the interest is repaid at the end.)

Kuflink could probably lower the chances of loans falling late a little bit further if it was stricter about the borrower having experience, although this might also be at the cost of less lending and lower interest rates. Borrower experience is not as crucial when Kuflink's other core standards are high.

Critically for these kinds of loans, Kuflink* reacts fast when they fall late, initiating formal recovery proceedings 30 days after a loan goes late and attempting – frequently with success – to recover the debt within about another 30 days.

Kuflink's credit committee – which makes the final decision on whether to approve or reject a loan – has three independent directors.

Outstanding bad debts have risen above 5% during COVID-19 for the first time, but a good chunk of this is likely to be recovered as legal action is taken. Kuflink has enough history to show convincingly that almost all its loans recover in full if they turn bad.

Losses do sometimes occur though of around 20%-30% of the amount lent on some bad debts. Don't let that figure scare you. Firstly, it's a rare event. Secondly, Kuflink has so far taken the full hit on those bad debts, and it still expects more of those bad debts to be recovered. Thirdly, even if individual lenders had taken the full cost of that bad debt, the overall lending results would still have been good.

If we look at just at the older, maturer loans, we can better see what the results are likely to be after recent, outstanding loans are repaid and all recovery action has been completed. Looking at those loans, with full diversification, the bad debt versus the total lent has been around 2%. This is low and, again, so far covered fully by Kuflink.

With Kuflink's eyes largely focused on the property security and not as much on the borrower, this explains the fact that some loans have turned bad – albeit temporarily – in its first four years. Yet its standards (and safeguards) are high enough that no lender losses have occurred, which puts these loans in an interesting space compared to most. Most bridging, in our experience, is either super safe with just about zero loans even temporarily suffering bad debts, or they have high bad debts. Here, we have low numbers of loans turning bad, combined with excellent recovery.

Kuflink's lending rates of 5%-7%, depending on the lending account you use, are very satisfactory. I would feel especially comfortable with lenders choosing the higher-rate accounts and committing to lend for several years. That means lending longer and earning higher interest rates, but with the same underlying risk in the loans, so the overall risk of losses goes down further.

Our international banking standard stress tests of Kuflink's loan book, using a much stricter version of the Basel standards than global banks are required to use, indicates that Kuflink* lenders should still make money overall when lending through a one-in-100-year recession and property crash similar to the 2008 crisis. This gives lenders an excellent margin of safety.

Kuflink recently closed the gaps in the information it provides 4thWay, now filling in all the blanks and providing detailed loan data and access to key people. It has also improved its website statistics for the public. Its marketing language on its website has also improved since 4thWay last checked. The level of information now provided is complete and highly reassuring.

From what we can see using Kuflink's published accounts, its own financial performance as a group of businesses since 2011 has been highly profitable, which is still a rarity in this industry. The P2P lending arm itself has already been profitable a couple of times in its history, but while it pushes for rapid growth it usually makes a loss.

All Kuflink's public accounts are currently late and it explains they are under audit, so this is one thing about Kuflink to watch. Kuflink tells us that its P2P arm made a profit of half a million pounds in its latest financial year.

Is kuflink a good investment?

I like the spot where Kuflink is. It's not the high-risk bridging and development lending that involves huge numbers of problem loans that you hope will be offset by high interest rates. And it's not the absolute safest of its kind, which can often pay unappealing interest rates. It's slightly above that level of risk, but with good interest rates.

The Kuflink minimum investment is £100. You need to take the time to spread your money around, potentially by dripping your money into an auto-lend account over six to 12 months or by lending manually.

With auto-lend accounts, Kuflink* attempts to spread your money across at least five loans and you're likely to quickly end up with more loans than that. However, if you're unable to spread across dozens of loans after trying for a while, ensure that you cap the total amount you lend through Kuflink and lend even more elsewhere.

Kuflink's auto-lend accounts are available as IFISAs.

Can I sell Kuflink loans to exit early?

You can sell loans early for a 0.25% fee in Kuflink's manual lending account, called Select-Invest. With its auto-lend accounts lasting one, three or five years, you wait till the end.

What more do I need to know?

You earn interest from the time you pledge your money. So, if it takes a while for a loan to be fully funded, this doesn't prevent you earning interest in the meantime.

Visit Kuflink*.

Kuflink is running a generous cashback offer of up to £4,000. Read more in P2P Lending And IFISA Cashback Deals Available Now.

Independent opinion: the opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not held by 4thWay. 4thWay is not regulated by the ESMA or the FCA, and does not provide personalised advice. The material is for general information and education purposes only and not intended to incite you to lend.

All the specialists and researchers who conduct research and write articles for 4thWay are subject to 4thWay's Editorial Code of Practice. For more, please see 4thWay's terms and conditions.

The 4thWay® PLUS Ratings are calculations developed by professional risk modellers (someone who models risks for the banks), experienced investors and a debt specialist from one of the major consultancy firms. They measure the interest you earn against the risk of suffering losses from borrowers being unable to repay their loans in scenarios up to a serious recession and a major property crash. They assume you spread your money across hundreds or thousands of loans, and continue lending until all your loans are repaid. They assume you lend across 6-12 rated P2P lending accounts or IFISAs, and measure your overall performance across all of them, not against individual performances.

The 4thWay PLUS Ratings are calculated using objective criteria that can be measured and improved on over time, although no rating system is perfect. Read more about the 4thWay® PLUS Ratings.

*Commission and impartial research: our service is free to you. We already show dozens of P2P lending companies in our accurate comparison tables and we keep adding more as soon as they provide us with enough details. We receive compensation from Kuflink and other P2P lending companies not mentioned above when you click through from our website and open accounts with them. We vigorously ensure that this doesn't affect our editorial independence. Read How we earn money fairly with your help.

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Why are Wellesley’s interest rates different?

Wellesley’s P2P lending rates appear higher on its own website than on 4thWay®.

This is because we calculate Wellesley’s interest rates the same way most other P2P lending websites do. We do this so that you can compare the rates more easily and so that they show a more accurate picture of what you’ll earn.

Important information before you visit Wellesley & Co.

Wellesley & Co. is primarily a P2P lending website.

But, when you visit the Wellesley website, you’ll see that it also offers “bonds”. Unlike its P2P lending service, its bonds don’t allow you to lend directly to 100+ borrowers.

Instead, you lend to Wellesley and it lends to other borrowers.

We have not risk-rated either of those bonds, but we expect that their structure makes them more risky, particularly because you’re lending to just one borrower.

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Why are Wellesley’s interest rates different?

Wellesley’s P2P lending rates appear higher on its own website than on 4thWay®.

This is because we calculate Wellesley’s interest rates the same way most other P2P lending websites do. We do this so that you can compare the rates more easily and so that they show a more accurate picture of what you’ll earn.

Important information before you visit Wellesley & Co.

Wellesley & Co. is primarily a P2P lending website.

But, when you visit the Wellesley website, you’ll see that it also offers two “bonds”, one of which is available as an ISA.

Unlike its P2P lending service, neither of these bonds allows you to lend directly to 100+ borrowers.

Instead, you lend to Wellesley and it lends to other borrowers.

We have not risk-rated either of those bonds, but we expect that their structure makes them more risky, particularly because you’re lending to just one borrower.

Got it

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Why are Wellesley’s interest rates different?

Wellesley’s P2P lending rates appear higher on its own website than on 4thWay®.

This is because we calculate Wellesley’s interest rates the same way most other P2P lending websites do. We do this so that you can compare the rates more easily and so that they show a more accurate picture of what you’ll earn.

Important information before you visit Wellesley & Co.

Wellesley & Co. is primarily a P2P lending website.

But, when you visit the Wellesley website, you’ll see that it also offers two “bonds”, one of which is available as an ISA.

Unlike its P2P lending service, neither of these bonds allows you to lend directly to 100+ borrowers.

Instead, you lend to Wellesley and it lends to other borrowers.

We have not risk-rated either of those bonds, but we expect that their structure makes them more risky, particularly because you’re lending to just one borrower.

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Why are Orchard’s interest rates different?

Orchard’s lending rates appear higher on its own website than on 4thWay®.

This is because we calculate Orchard’s interest rates the same way most other P2P lending websites do. We do this so that you can compare the rates more easily and so that they show a more accurate picture of what you’ll earn.

Got it

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Why are Wellesley’s interest rates different?

Wellesley’s P2P lending rates appear higher on its own website than on 4thWay®.

This is because we calculate Wellesley’s interest rates the same way most other P2P lending websites do. We do this so that you can compare the rates more easily and so that they show a more accurate picture of what you’ll earn.

Important information before you visit Wellesley & Co.

Wellesley & Co. is primarily a P2P lending website.

But, when you visit the Wellesley website, you’ll see that it also offers “bonds”. Unlike its P2P lending service, its bonds don’t allow you to lend directly to 100+ borrowers.

Instead, you lend to Wellesley and it lends to other borrowers.

We have not risk-rated either of those bonds, but we expect that their structure makes them more risky, particularly because you’re lending to just one borrower.

Got it

×
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