Borro, an online pawnbroker for wealthy people looking for extra cash flow, lent out £51 million in 2015, using fine art, luxury cards, and fine wines as collateral.
Borro made a loss of £2.7 million in 2015, according to a release from the company, better than the £9.8 million loss it made in 2014.
Borro says it’s on track to make a small profit this year.
Revenues grew by 16% to £10.6 million and Borro made an operating profit of £1 million, up from a £7 million operating loss in 2014.
The company says it has already surpassed 2015’s lending total and is on track to lend £75 million this year.
Borro is an online pawnbroker pitched at luxury clients. 75% of its loans are secured by fine art, antiques, fine wines and classic cars, according to the company. The average loan size on luxury assets is £55,000 and for property — a new lending product it added last year — it averaged £1 million loans. Its minimum loan is £5,000.
One notable deal Borro made last year was a £30,000 loan against a 1954 Jaguar XK-120SE Roadster, pictured above. In another instance, Borro lent £555,000 to a European art collector, secured against two rings. One featured a single large emerald, the other a ruby with diamond shoulders.
Who uses these loans? Imagine you’re a minor English aristocrat who’s inherited an estate but doesn’t have much cash in the bank. You get stung by a surprisingly large heating bill for keeping the whole place warm and don’t have the cash to hand. Why not pawn one of the paintings that’s been hanging in the house for years?
Paul Aitken, founder and CEO of Borro, says in an emailed statement: “2015 was a pivotal year for Borro. Our terrific team has perfected the model allowing us to dramatically improve our financials. Larger loans from valued partners such as auction houses, brokers, and private banks are growing our top and bottom lines.
“We have demonstrated that our business is fundamentally profitable. This has put us in a position where we are confident that we will secure significantly lower loan funding costs, which will have an immediate and positive impact on the business in 2017.”
Borro operates across the UK and US and has offices in London, New York, and Los Angeles.
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