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LendMe to the rescue after bank said “you’re too old”

3 March 2016 | Hannah Parr

Angela Stevens is 76 years old and a founding member of her bank. She has the badge to prove it and every year the bank sends her a letter of thanks.

But when she and husband Richard applied for a loan to buy a house in Waimate, the retired couple were denied because of their age.

“I get a letter every year from the bank, telling me how valuable I am, and then they turned around and told me they wouldn’t lend me any money because I was too old,” explains Angela, a retired sheep and cattle farmer.

The couple wanted to move from the West Coast to Waimate to be closer to family.

“We had a property on the coast that we thought we had sold. And then it turned to custard and the sale fell through, which left us in the position where we couldn’t finalise the purchase of the property [near Waimate],” says Angela.

After being denied by their bank, the couple approached Hokitika mortgage broker Tony Copping late last year.

Tony told them about new peer to peer lender, ‘LendMe’, and put them in contact with Bill Calder, LendMe’s Senior Manager of Credit Risk.

LendMe’s online platform matches ‘borrowers’ wanting to borrow money with ‘lenders’ willing to lend it. Borrowers can apply for loans between $25,000 and $2 million, and lenders may fund loans in full or in increments of $1,000. LendMe’s key point of difference compared to other peer to peer lenders is that all loans are secured against borrowers’ assets, most commonly first mortgages over property.

Angela and Richard made a loan application through LendMe to refinance some vendor finance of $91,000 that was left in when they bought their Waimate property.

Despite knowing little about peer to peer lending, Angela says Bill was very approachable and explained the process clearly.

“They were really good. We were the guinea pigs, we were only the second people that they’d ever lent to so it was all a learning curve, but Bill walked me through everything that I needed to do,” says Angela.

The day Bill turned up on Angela’s doorstep for a cuppa really meant a lot to Angela.

“One day, after we’d been dealing with Bill for a little while, he suddenly turned up here and he and his wife came and visited us, which I thought was really nice.

They were in Dunedin for a concert. I was very impressed,” says Angela.

LendMe also went the extra mile when they picked up on an issue with the water rights to their property. Having been subdivided from a neighbouring farm, their home had yet to be given a separate water line. The issue was promptly sorted and they soon had their own water line.

LendMe CEO Marcus Morrisson says the extra care and attention the couple received from LendMe reflects the way the company views all its customers. “This was simply us taking a genuine duty of care in facilitating the lending.”

Angela and Richard are now settled in their cosy, two bedroom, straw-bale house in Waihao Downs. With eight acres of land, the couple enjoys tending to the many fruit trees and breeds Dexter Cattle on the property.

“We might not be here if it wasn’t for LendMe. We are very lucky,” says Angela.