Mintos interest rates drop

Funnily enough, the drama of interest rates dropping has happened many many times. For example with Twino this was an issue multiple times – they dropped interest rates and investors walked, then they increased the rates again but didn’t increase it to previous levels, so after a bit of turbulence, the rates ended up being slightly lower, the business was happy that the price of money supply was lower and the investors felt like their complaints were listened to (were they?)

With Mintos, we’re currently going through the interest drop turbulence again (second if not third time? maybe even fourth?). Once again though there is a big amount of investors who are surprised at *how* on earth the interest rates can be dropped, and threatening to walk.

Of course some investors will walk (if they have better options to invest), a very large amount will however be willing to invest at lower rates (as you can see from current statistics that is the case with Mintos).

The answer to the question of how the rates can be dropped is easy – supply and demand – there is a lot of money and not that many loans, meaning even lower rate loans get picked up.

This means that even if the money supply dries up a bit and originators increase the interest rates a bit, then they’ll likely never be as high as they used to be before.

Those who have been investing with Mintos for a while remember that at the start it was easy to have *only* 14% loans in your portfolio, the move to 12% loans has been gradual, and 11% loans have been tested for a while now (in mogo’s case).

Currently the primary market is at about 10-11% (and secondary market is cleared of 12%+ loans) and while the loans are moving slowly, then they are moving – the mogo buybacks have left investors with a lot of cash and the refer-a-friend campaign combined with the activate-automatic-strategy cashback campaign seem to be helping the cash flow.

So as is, investors have three options:

  1. Transfer money out and invest somewhere else (where?)
  2. Yield and invest the money into lower rate loans (to prevent cash drag)
  3. Wait and hope the interest rates bounce back (which they definitely might)

I’m currently a mix of 2-3. I am reinvesting some of the money, mostly picking up discount loans on the secondary market, and some 11,5-12% loans if I seem them on the primary market. I have been lucky though and not had that many mogo loans bought back so far, so I might have enough money locked in until the interest rates bounce back (I might have just jinxed myself and be hit with the next round of buybacks).

All in all – not much new, interest rates get tested all the time in P2P investing, been a while since it has happened on Mintos though but this is something that’s been talked about a long time – there is a serious push for interest rates to be lower (money supply from investors, longer histories for originators), and every now and then something like this is to be expected.

Mintos portfolio 2,5 years

Since Mintos has once again opened up their refer-a-friend and more people are looking for info on Mintos experiences, then I thought I’d do an update on my Mintos portfolio. For the first two years Mintos was mostly a small part of my P2P investments. Solid, but there were other alternatives I preferred (Omaraha at the time).

As time went on, Omaraha became less attractive due to lower returns and Mintos much more interesting due to cashback being offered. Since I sold my rental apartment and needed an option to invest the money short term, then for the last 6 months Mintos has been the biggest part of my portfolio.

This is the chart of my interest returns across two years – you can clearly see the *bump* from when I added in the money from the sales of the apartment and when I started to trade more actively on the secondary market (cashback being offered also offered bigger volumes for the secondary market).


This as stated is interest returns – interest + late fees. This chart does not show cashback returns, which aren’t really repeatable at this point – since no campaigns are running, but cashback has effectively helped this year’s Mintos returns hover at about a 20% return. Cashback rewards + secondary market profits together are almost as big combined as all of my interest returns.

Overall, I’d say Mintos has definitely surprised me in a positive way when it comes to their growth rate and the pace at which they add loan originators. While I can’t keep my portfolio at this level for much longer since I need to cash out from some investments, but I feel comfortable having a significant amount of money invested with them.

Overall the only small issues I have with them are 1) it’s still somewhat slow to deposit money (some hassle with them switching providers as well), 2) maybe sometimes slow on updates (such as Eurocent case) and 3) somewhat difficult to assess originators for an investor (I only invest in a handful of the 40) and 4) at times customer service struggles with more complex questions. Most of these are fixable issues though.

Other than that, they’re more transparent than most P2P portals, sharing relevant info (yearly report) which should interest all investors, and as they are profitable I feel that a lot of risks are mitigated by that. No big issues so far over the 2,5 years I’ve invested with them.



Portfolio update june 2018

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a portfolio update and a lot has changed, so I thought I’d share! Definitely some huge changes within the last year in terms of asset classes and I’ve had to make many changes to be more liquid to be ready to finance my new home (which will hopefully be finished in October).

Real estate is now pretty much gone from my portfolio. If you remember, I owned a small 12m2 dorm room style apartment in Northern Tallinn, which offered reasonable returns, but was also the most illiquid investment in my portfolio. Due to ridiculous price growth and lack of time and enthusiasm to manage the property, I sold it at the start of the year, cashing out a solid 20%+ yearly return, so overall not bad. Any exposure I have towards real estate now is real estate fund stocks and crowdfunding projects.

The rest of my portfolio is currently divided up between the stock market and P2P investments, with stock market investments totalling 25% of my investments and P2P investments 74%. The missing 1% is random trivia not worth mentioning here.

Stock investments are mostly single stocks from the baltic stock market, a total of 83.5% of stock investments or a total of 21% of portfolio, and some index fund investments, which total 16.5% or a total of a bit over 4% of total portfolio.

From the Baltic market positions which are bigger (more than 5% of total portfolio) are TKM (Tallinna Kaubamaja) and SAB (Šiauliu bankas), some smaller positions are in LHV (LHV bank), Tallink and the just-IPO’d Tallinna Sadam and a few tiny positions of SAF, TEL, APG, Merko, Eften. This is the lazy money I keep in my portfolio, mostly to buy and keep forever.

For index positions, these are currently much smaller than usually since I’m waiting for my home purchase to be finalised to finally start building an international portfolio, so it’s half invested into the third pension pillar (LHV Indeks pluss) and the rest is in a convenience index investing product that I’ve left ticking for tax reasons, kasvukonto (has a bit of EXSA, VAL, SPYW).

Social lending and crowdfunding are currently the core of my portfolio due to their high liquidity and current high returns. After years of testing through many different sites, I’ve kept only three among my investments, maybe will add a fourth when more finances free up or these shrink up (as Omaraha is currently).

Biggest portion of P2P investments are via Mintos, which is currently a whopping 40% of my portfolio, mostly due to the cashback and super fast secondary market. This is where my new home’s furniture money is currently earning interest.

Second biggest position, which has however been shrinking is Omaraha. Due to lower loan volumes and drops in interest rates, the effective returns are way below what they were even last year, and I’ve been slowly transferring money out to stop if from just sitting there. Will see how it goes. Currently at 24.5% of portfolio and slowly decreasing.

Last position is my higher risk part of the portfolio, investments into real estate developments mostly, which is Crowdestate. This houses a bit less than 10% of my total portfolio, however growth isn’t particularly fast since there aren’t too many projects. This is about the level I intend to keep this investment at.

There you go, current overview! At the end of the year I will have to liquidate some investments due to high expenses associated with hope purchasing, but hopefully once I sell the current home I’ll be able to patch up the damage and have a chance to add some new assets.


Omaraha loan volumes and interest rates

For a significant amount of time Omaraha was one of the P2P lending sites that offered highest returns. This was largely due to the way their auction system worked – investor could essentially bid how much money they were willing to invest into a loan and at which rate. The system started filling the loans from bottom up (lowest to highest rate) and then the person taking out the loan got an average rate based off those.

This meant that if you kept an eye on how the loans got financed you could get into loans at ridiculously high interest rates while the borrower could still get a reasonable total rate. Best example of this is probably in the 7- and 10-year loans which have been removed by now, where investors were rather shy to commit, meaning you could get into loans at the max rate allowed – 60% gross (48%net for investor). This was also possible for 5-yr loans.


All good things must come to an end though, and the 7-yr and 10-yr loans were removed (largely due to the total rates failing to comply with the legal max interest rate limits) and the cap for max interest rates was also brought down, so you could no longer make autobidders with such insane rates. Good for the borrowers, sad for the investors.

Current situation

Somewhat as a result of those changes the average interest rates started to come down. A section of borrowers disappeared from site (those who got higher rate loans, but were no longer able to), and since the site itself had become much more popular among investors and the total available cash number kept increasing (up to 1mil at times), which started to push down the average rates.

As a result the drop has actually been rather immense. Another contributor has probably been the fact that Omaraha has elected to be less of a black box – before you had to take the time to figure out the interest rates yourself, now, however they show you the maximum rates that offer a chance to get into loans. Today’s stats:


As it stands, since the buyback rate offered (used to be at 80% for a long time) has started to slide back closer to 60%, then clearly the squeeze is two-fold both less security in buyback and lower interest rates. Since they’re also reduced the max amount per loan that an investor can contribute, this makes previous strategies much harder to use as well (it’s no longer as efficient to “ladder” interest rates for separate autobidders).

As a result Omaraha has dropped to somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to returns with one significant downside – lack of a secondary market, which means making an exit is much more difficult than on some other sites. As a result, for the first time in two years I’ve actually taken out some money since it started to build up too much.


Mintos cashback vol 3

Well, 2018 has started well – by mid-march I will have achieved the cashflow returns that took me all of 2017 to reach. Goes to show that sometimes having a bit of luck and cash at the correct time happens completely accidentally.

My biggest portfolio move this year was selling the small 12m2 rental apartment I had in Tallinn. While it was offering good rental returns, then in the long run it wasn’t in a very good house and 16m2 apartments have slowly started to gain popularity. Also, the prices of 12m2 apartments have reached ridiculous heights and since I needed to cash out something from my portfolio since I bought a new home which is being built, and I have to have cash available for various expenses in late autumn.

This deal however ended up being surprisingly well timed because I was able to drop most of the money from the sale into Mintos’s cashback program, which over the course of the last month has created some nice returns

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 10.49.40

Of course the campaign has been very popular – there are days when there are no 60+mo loans and days when even the supply for 48mo+ loans has run out, but checking every now and then allows you to pick between countries and loan lengths to boost your portfolio. Since I’ve been investing mostly into Mogo loans anyway then I didn’t really feel much increased risk from temporarily increasing my exposure to them.

While this is a short term boost to investments (since when the cashback ends I will slowly have to start withdrawing money from the repayments), then it’s safe to say that Mintos has helped me boost my returns for the year significantly. Those who still have some cash laying around, then the campaign lasts for another 10 days (until March 16).