Egyptian-born Nadeem Siam is the brainchild of alternative lender, Fund Ourselves. Formally known as Welendus, the UK fintech company offers a peer-to-peer platform where borrowers can get affordable loans and investors can earn rates of up to 15%.
The entrepreneur formerly worked for NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), designing computer systems for space satellites. Siam took one leap from outer space and took a giant leap into the competitive and often heavily criticised industry of short-term lending.
For years, the market had been dominated by high-cost lenders such as Wonga and QuickQuid. However, ongoing compensation claims have recently seen these two companies go into administration and Siam is looking to serve the 3 million Britons who are looking for loans of £50 to £500 – something he calls ‘the lost Wonga generation.’
“If you look at rail fares and energy costs, everything is going up in price, but salaries are not increasing at all,” says Siam. “So the demand for short-term credit will increase, but we need to deliver it in a better way. Otherwise, people will get into other problems if they can’t get access to the cash they need.”
“The premise behind Fund Ourselves is to be as low-cost and flexible for borrowers as possible, with no penalising structure.”
“Borrowers can’t get a loan without passing fraud, credit, and affordability checks. If they think they are going to struggle to pay the loan in time, they can notify Fund Ourselves using their online account and switch the loan to a longer-term plan – making the payment more manageable, without leaving a black mark against the borrower’s credit rating.”
From an investor’s perspective, you have the opportunity to earn 5% to 15% interest when lending money to other borrowers on the portal. Your potential earnings are based on the level of risk you take, with poor credit customers offering the highest returns. The FCSC does not cover you, but Fund Ourselves offer their scheme and have a local customer service team to help recover any losses.
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Since the company rebranded, Siam and his team are in the process of scaling up the business. The company has recently moved to new offices in Waterloo, central London, and has a customer service team in Woking, Surrey. For more information, visit fundourselves.com.