The first Swiss bank is now opening a marketplace for crowdlending in collaboration with Swisscom

Zurich, 23 July 2015

With its crowdfunding marketplace the Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB) has become the first Swiss bank to offer crowdlending for companies. The move makes it possible for companies to tap a financing option that is fast gaining traction worldwide. The basis for the marketplace is the crowdfunding platform from Swisscom, which has now been expanded in close consultation between BLKB and Swisscom.

Crowdlending is extremely popular around the world as an alternative form of financing: Each year in Europe, some 265 million euros are lent in private loans and already some 93 million euros for business loans have been lent on the crowdlending principle – without the involvement of a bank. According to the Crowdfunding Monitor of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the volume of crowd-funded loans in Switzerland has gone from 1.8 million in 2013 to 3.5 million Swiss francs in 2014.

Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB) is now the first Swiss bank to enter the crowdlending business. The bank has joined forces with Swisscom to add crowdlending to its range of services with the crowdfunding marketplace. Companies that have been in business for at least three years can now advertise projects with amounts from a minimum of 20,000 to a maximum of 100,000 Swiss francs on Beat Oberlin, the CEO of BLKB, on the opening of the marketplace for crowdlending: “Now it's up to companies to take advantage of this alternative form of financing and win over the crowd for their projects. We look forward to a lot of interesting projects from the region and around Switzerland.”

The creditors receive interest on their financing contribution. This interest rate is determined by means of an auction procedure between the creditor and the borrower. After a period of 1-3 months, the bidders with the lowest interest rates are selected, with the number of supporters limited to 20. BLKB assumes a mediator role between the borrower and the creditor. If the mediation is successful and a deal emerges, it charges the borrower 3 percent of the loan amount. The bank defines the requirements that both parties are obliged to fulfil and publish on the platform. The move draws on the bank's many years of experience in the lending business, one of the bank core competences.

BLKB drives innovation

BLKB launched its crowdfunding marketplace in December 2014 based on the crowdsupporting model. In the concept, initiators seek financial support for their projects. They in turn offer supporters – much like in a sponsorship – non-cash compensation closely associated with the project. Since the marketplace was launched, some 30 projects have been presented, of which 20 have been successfully financed. In recognition of the fundamental changes to the banking sector that digitalisation brings, BLKB is driving innovation. Swisscom is supporting the bank in its efforts as an innovation partner with ICT expertise, the industry insights of the banking think-tank e-foresight and as an outsourcing partner for IT and back-office services. 

Crowdfunding marketplace as a service

Since September 2014, Swisscom has been offering companies a crowdfunding platform as a software as a service product. Using the cloud-based service, companies and charitable organisations can quickly and professionally publish a crowdfunding marketplace in their own name without the need for IT investments. Swisscom supplies the infrastructure and software, but does not appear as the marketplace operator (white-label service). Swisscom offers companies a quick and simple introduction to a new business model that is growing in significance and which will strengthen the innovative drive of Switzerland.


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