Westpac takes first P2P stake

Lender's venture capital fund snaps up $5m equity stake in Sydney's SocietyOne.

Westpac Banking Corporation's new venture capital fund Reinventure Group has taken an equity stake in peer-to-peer lender ­SocietyOne, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, the lender has invested $5 million in the Sydney-based peer-to-peer lender - the first of its kind in Australia - who modest loan book has enjoyed rapid expansion lately.

Peer-to-peer lenders match borrowers and investors through web-based technology, and can subsequently offer both more competitive interest rates than banks.

The AFR reports Westpac's investment in SocietyOne represents the lender's first equity stake in a peer-to-peer lender anywhere in the world.