Monestro Review 2023: Estonian P2P Lending Underdog?

The Estonia-based P2P platform Monestro flies under the radar of most investors. However, the platform has a somewhat longer history (active since 2016) and an interesting past. After the change of ownership in August 2019, the platform has been operating again since May 2021.

To see how much substance there is behind Monestro, I visited the team during my stay in Tallinn, in September 2022. You can find my conclusions and my verdict inside this Monestro review.

All the information that are covered in this Monestro review are based on my own research. Please make sure to do your own due diligence before investing on this or any other platform. More information can be found in the Disclaimer.

Further analyses of other platforms can be found on my P2P Platform Review page.


Monestro Overview

Before we get started, here is a quick summary with the most important information about Monestro.

Founded / Started:April 2014
Legal Name:Monestro P2P OÜ (LINK)
Headquarter:Tallinn, Estonia
Regulated:No
CEO:Olga Jakson (December 2022)
Community Voting:2,77 out of 5 | See Voting
Assets Under Management:Not Disclosed
Number of Investors:2.000+ (May 2024)
Expected Return:Up to 12%
Primary Loan Type:Consumer Loans
Collateral:Buyback Guarantee
Bonus:No Bonus

About Monestro

monestro-review-logo

Monestro is an Estonian-based P2P platform founded in April 2014. After receiving its licence as a loan intermediary from the FSA (Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority) in 2016, the platform was active until 2019.

After the two founders lost interest in Monestro, there was a change of ownership happening in August 2019. PlusPlus Capital, a company specialising in receivables management, took over the Monestro P2P platform.

After restructuring the portfolio and refocusing the business model away from a mono-lender and towards a P2P marketplace, Monestro has been back in the market since May 2021. Despite some turbulences, investors have not suffered any capital losses to date.

Monestro promotes interest rates of up to 12% on its website. The lenders on the platform come exclusively from the European Economic Area. The platform has not yet publicly communicated official figures on the assets-under-management or the performance of the loan portfolio.

Ownership

Who owns Monestro? Monestro was acquired by PlusPlus Capital in August 2019. The company owns 100% of the shares in the P2P platform.

Monestro-Review-P2P-PlusPlus-Capital-Ownership

PlusPlus Capital is a Baltic receivables management company with offices in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. The company was founded in 2010 and has since bought over 100,000 receivables with a nominal value of over EUR 274 million.

In simple terms, PlusPlus Capital is a kind of debt collection agency that buys portfolios of receivables and then settles them. The focus is on receivables from private individuals only. This is not the worst prerequisite should Monestro later have to deal with poor lenders, where they need to take carry over the collection of outstanding debts themselves.

Monestro-Review-Profitability

Financially, PlusPlus Capital is in an extremely solid position. In the last years, the company has always been able to achieve a profit in the mid-seven-figure range. The annual reports have been audited by KPMG and carried out according to IFRS standards. The numbers have therefore a certain credibility.

Monestro Management

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Olga Jakson has been CEO of the Monestro P2P platform since December 2022.

Born in Estonia, she originally studied Business Management at Tallinn University of Technology. In the course of her professional career, she was also employed as a business development manager at the Crowdestate P2P platform. Before taking on the CEO role at Monestro, she was previously a lender relations manager.

Currently, 16 employees work at Monestro. Most of them work at the company’s headquarters in Tallinn (Estonia), the rest at a branch office in Riga (Latvia). According to my information, there is no operational support from PlusPlus Capital.


Business Model & Finances

Throughout the process of due diligence, investors should also have a look at the business model of a P2P platform as well as the overall financial situation. How does the company earn money? Does the platform operate profitably? And how well is the company positioned financially? In the following paragraphs of this Monestro review, you can follow-up on those questions.

Monetization

How does Monestro earn money? Monestro generates its income primarily through a brokerage fee, which is charged to the lenders on the marketplace. The percentage is in a range between 3% and 7% of the financed loan volume.

Unlike other marketplaces, the percentage does not depend on the amount of the financed loan volume, but on the lender’s risk rating. The lower the risk considered by Monestro, the cheaper loans can be financed.

Profitability

Monestro is currently not profitable. According to the current cost and revenue structure, the platform would have to have an outstanding loan portfolio of EUR 15 million to EUR 20 million. In September 2022, the portfolio under management was EUR 500,000. More recent figures are not shared publicly by the platform.

Monestro plans to break even in 2024, which seems to be an ambitious goal given the current development.


Sign Up and Bonus

To invest on Monestro, investors must meet four requirements:

  • A minimum age of 18 years
  • A residence in the European Economic Area or Switzerland
  • A personal bank account in the European Economic Area or Switzerland
  • Successful verification of identity by the Monestro team

Also legal entities have the opportunity to register with Monestro. These must also have a bank account in the EEA or Switzerland.

Monestro Bonus for New Investors

Currently Monestro does not offer a bonus for the registration of new investors. If you still want to register on the platform, you can use this link. This way I receive a small commission that helps me to continue this project.


Investing on Monestro

How does Monestro work and what should investors know and consider when investing on the plaform? In the following sections of my Monestro review you will find all the necessary information that you need.

monestro-review-2023-p2p

Loan Offering

Monestro works exclusively with lenders from the European Economic Area (EEA). Currently, investors can invest in loans from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland.

The lenders on Monestro only offer financing in short-term and unsecured consumer loans.

The average loan term is about four months.

The average loans size is EUR 300 (range between EUR 80 and EUR 6,000).

Costs and Fees

There are no fees or hidden costs for private investors on Monestro. Neither for deposits or withdrawals, nor for the functionalities when investing on the platform.

Expected Return on Monestro

According to the information on the website, you can achieve a return of up to 12% on the platform.

Buyback Guarantee

Also Monestro applies the classic buyback guarantee on its platform. As soon as a loan is more than 60 days in delay, the lenders are obliged to repurchase the loan. In addition to the outstanding repayment, the accrued interest is also refunded.

“To protect investors from borrower defaults, all lending companies on the Monestro Marketplace offer a Buyback Obligation. The Buyback Obligation means that if the loan is delayed by more than 60 days, the Loan Originator will repurchase the investment for the principal’s nominal value and accrued interest.”

Monestro Auto Invest

Monestro Auto Invest is structured similarly to other P2P platforms. It is very clearly laid out and contains the most important settings for filtering your investments and having money invested automatically.

Monestro-Review-Auto-Invest

The options to select include the minimum and maximum amount per loan, the interest rate, the loan term and the lenders.

Monestro Forum

If you have questions about Monestro, other platforms or different p2p-related topics, you can join the re:think P2P Community on Facebook and engage in discussions with 1,000+ other private retail investors.

Alternatively, you can also find the latest news and updates on my Telegram channel.


Monestro Taxes

Generally, interest income generated by loan financing is considered investment income and must be declared as such in the tax return.

Monestro does not withhold any taxes at the moment.

For the tax declaration, investors will find the tab “Account Statement” in the main menu, where a tax report for the respective year can be downloaded. This information can then be sent to the relevant tax office as part of a tax return.


Monestro Risks

Investors should look very carefully at the potential risk factors when evaluating a P2P platform. What is it that investors need to be aware of when it comes to Monestro? Where are the underlying risks and how are they assessed?

Safety FeatureMonestro
Regulated:No
Segregation of Funds:No (All Accounts at SEB)
Profitability:No (But Shareholder is profitable)
Capital Losses:No
Informationen on Quality of Loan Portfolio:No

Risk Assessment Loan Originators

During my Monestro visit in Tallinn, we talked at length about lender risk management. Here are some specific requirements Monestro has for its lenders:

  • Track record of at least two years
  • Activity in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Compliance with AML regulations (including beneficiary shareholder)
  • Exclusively private consumer loans
  • Positive equity capital
  • Loan portfolio EUR 500,000+

Meeting the lender team in person is a requirement, as is checking which methodology that is used to set up the credit guidelines and comply with them on a daily basis. The rejection rate of new lender enquiries is about 66%. The average skin-in-the-game rate is 15%.

Voluntary Reserve

In order to make investing on Monestro more secure, a voluntary reserve has been introduced in addition to the buyback guarantee. This is intended to absorb possible defaults by lenders. Currently, between 0.35% and 0.55% of outstanding receivables go into this reserve.

“We make monthly contributions to the reserve from our own funds. The amount of contributions is determined by us depending on the risk assessment. Typically, the monthly contribution to the reserve is 0.35% – 0.55% of the outstanding principal amounts of all claims. In the event that any Loan Originator does not comply with its Buyback obligation, the Voluntary Reserve is used to acquire the Claims from the Investors and make other pay-outs to investors.”

With a current portfolio of half a million euros, the reserve corresponds to a value of EUR 2,750. Accordingly, the reserve is more to be understood as a kind of goodwill. Should a lender default, it is rather a drop in the ocean.


Pros & Cons

In this section I have listed the biggest advantages and disadvantages of Monestro.

Advantages

  • Shareholder: The PlusPlus Credit Group is a financially strong company and owner of Monestro.
  • No Losses: Despite an eventful past, investors on Monestro have not yet suffered any capital losses. 
  • Liquidity: On Monestro it is possible to invest in short-term assets and hence have a high level of liquidity.

Disadvantages

  • Track Record: After celebrating the relaunch in May 2021, the platform needs to prove its existence on the market.
  • Transparency: The platform does not publicly share the performance of the loan portfolio or any other statistics.
  • Segregation of Funds: Monestro works with SEB Bank for segregation of funds. Obtaining an EMI licence, either directly or in collaboration with a payment service provider, would increase the safety of the capital from misuse.
  • Profitability: Monestro is not yet a profitable P2P platform. 

Monestro Alternatives

Since its relaunch in May 2021, Monestro has been operating as a P2P marketplace. Therefore, the business model can best be compared with platforms such as Mintos, Income Marketplace or PeerBerry.

You can find other Viainvest alternatives on the P2P Platform Comparison page.


Summary Monestro Review 2024

Monestro has had an eventful past. The fact that despite its relatively small size, Monestro is still in the market and has not yet generated any losses for its investors, is a remarkable achievement.

Thanks to the new shareholder, the platform has also a good foundation to build up and develop the platform in the future. 

On the other hand, the low level of transparency seems problematic. More data and information on the assets under management, the performance of the loan portfolio or the financial KPIs of the lenders would lead to much more trust among investors.

If Monestro intends to be in the market for a longer period of time, actions need to follow.

Until then, I will watch Monestro from the sidelines and prefer to invest on other P2P platforms.


FAQ Monestro Review

✅ What is Monestro?

Monestro is an Estonian-based P2P platform, founded in April 2014, on which investors can inves in short-term consumer loans, earning a return of up to 13%.

✅ Who owns Monestro?

Monestro was acquired by PlusPlus Capital in August 2019. The company owns 100% of the shares in the P2P platform.

✅ How does Monestro earn money?

Monestro generates its income primarily through a brokerage fee, which is charged to the lenders on the marketplace. The percentage lies in a range between 3% and 7% of the financed loan volume.

✅ Is there a buyback guarantee?

Also Monestro applies the classic buyback guarantee. As soon as a loan is more than 60 days in delay, the lenders are obliged to repurchase the loan. In addition to the outstanding repayment, the accrued interest is also refunded.

Hi, ich bin Denny! Seit Januar 2019 schreibe ich auf diesem Blog über meine Erfahrungen beim Investieren in P2P Kredite. Meine Analysen sollen Privatanlegern dabei helfen reflektierte und gut informierte Anlageentscheidungen treffen zu können. Dafür schaue ich mir die Risikoprofile der einzelnen P2P Plattformen an, hinterfrage deren Entwicklungen, teile meine persönlichen Einschätzungen und beobachte übergeordnete Trends aus der Welt des Crowdlendings.    
Mein Bestseller "Geldanlage P2P Kredite" gilt in Fachkreisen als das beste deutschsprachige Finanzbuch zum gleichnamigen Thema. Zudem versammeln sich in der P2P Kredite Community auf Facebook tausende von Privatanlegern, die sich regelmäßig über die Anlageklasse P2P Kredite austauschen. 

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