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Though Metro Bank has initiated talks to acquire RateSetter, the price that it is ready to pay is unclear and there is no guarantee that the talks will be successful.
Metro Bank, a London-based retail and commercial bank, has started taking steps to acquire another London-based firm that works in the field of peer-to-peer lending called RateSetter. The bank has begun exclusive talks for the acquisition and discussions are at an early stage.
The bank said it might acquire the moneylender as the latter was considering liquidating owing to a coronavirus-related financial constraint.
Metro Bank came into existence in 2010 during the global financial crisis to rival Barclays and RBS, already established banks in the country. However, in 2019, Metro Bank suffered severally a damaging accounting scandal making the firm lose its chairman and CEO alongside 90 percent of its market value.
The scandal further this year made the bank cut its growth plan after it has had to replace its management after several years.
Will Metro Bank Manage to Buy RateSetter?
Reportedly, it is highly likely that Metro Bank’s takeover of RateSetter would be unsuccessful. Moreover, analysts and shareholders are surprised about the move. Many have been anticipating that the bank’s priority would be to improve how it would execute its primary strategy under its new Chief Executive officer Dan Frumkin.
The peer-to-peer lender, on the other hand, also launched in 2010. It is chaired by the outgoing chairman of British insurance giant Prudential Paul Manduca.
Peer-to-peer lending in Britain has been gaining traction since 2005. Firms into peer-to-peer lending network lenders alongside borrowers through online platforms. Since 2005, these firms have managed $6.8 million last year according to 4th way data, a research firm.
Ratesetter operates such that they offer depositors reasonable interest rates unlike ordinary savings account and use such funds as loan for small businesses. According to the firm, investors have staked $2.9 billion through their platform.
Recent Economic Issues for RateSetter
However, many peer-to-peer lending firms have struggled to survive, with two of such firms recently collapsing. Their collapse led to the Financial Conduct Authority to bring in tighter regulation.
RateSetter, when it was at its peak, had around $1.1 billion of lending on its balance sheet; however, the firm has not been able to make so much owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to analysts’ and shareholders’ belief, an anonymous source mentioned that if negotiations between both firms progress satisfactorily, by July, a deal would be struck.