German economist and politician Jörg Asmussen has joined the board of London-headquartered peer-to-peer small business lender Funding Circle as a non-executive director.
Asmussen is a big name when it comes to European economics and politics. He was on the European Central Bank (ECB) executive board from 2012 to 2013, during which time the Financial Times dubbed him: “One of the most influential members of the European Central Bank’s governing council.”
Prior to that role, Asmussen was State Secretary at the German Ministry of Finance, serving under Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble during the crunch period of 2008 to 2012. He led German’s crisis management team after the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy and was a key negotiator in the European sovereign debt crisis.
More recently, Asmussen served as State Secretary for the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs from 2014 to 2015.
Asmussen is quoted in the release on Wednesday as saying:
I am pleased to join Funding Circle’s Board. The company operates at the frontier of innovation in financial services, providing business loans to small businesses in a transparent, simple and efficient manner, thereby helping to finance growth and create jobs – and providing a financially sound alternative for investors.
I am impressed by the high professionalism of the management team of Funding Circle and the soundness of the company’s operations throughout the whole value chain.
Asmussen’s appointment comes after Funding Circle acquired Germany’s Zencap last October, giving it an immediate footprint in Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.
UK-headquartered Funding Circle lets ordinary savers and finance institutions lend directly to small businesses via its online platform, sidestepping banks. The company has lent over $2 billion since 2010 and raised over $270 million from investors.
CEO and co-founder Samir Desai says in Wednesday’s release:
Our vision at Funding Circle is to build the global exchange where small businesses access the finance they need directly from a diverse group of investors. The last 12 months have seen a number of successes for our business, including growth into continental Europe. I am delighted Jörg is joining our team to share with us his experience and expertise and join us on this exciting journey.