How Leno makes lending possible?
You can read the full article in Capital.
There are not many Bulgarian companies that have managed to attract direct investment from Japan. One of them is Leno JSC - a fully regulated financial institution with offices in Sofia and Plovdiv, which lends throughout the country.
Founded in 2013, Leno provides mortgage-backed loans to people and businesses. At the end of 2020, the company's assets exceeded BGN 51 million and loan receivables - BGN 36.5 million.
Leno makes lending possible thanks to its team of over 30 professionals. More than half of them work in the brand new office in the tilted Ellipse Center on Tsarigradsko Shose. At the beginning of 2021, the company welcomed a strong new addition to its team - the former Deputy Governor of the BNB, Prof. Dr. Emilia Milanova, became a Board Member of Leno JSC.
Indeed, it may not sound typical that a Bulgarian financial institution has shareholders from a traditionally conservative market. But when you have a clear business plan and specific goals, nothing is impossible.
The management of Leno JSC met its Japanese partners during a round for institutional investors in London. Initially, they promised to support the idea of creating a regulated non-bank lender in Bulgaria in the form of debt. Over the years, they also acquired direct ownership in Leno JSC. In the last deal from March 2020, one of the Japanese investors bought the newly issued 48.5 thousand shares at a valuation of over BGN 84 million. With profound entrepreneurial experience behind them, all three investors are active in Leno's business development and often visit Bulgaria. And what are their main tips? "Focus on the customers that banks tend to ignore."
Mortgage and business loans
Leno lends to both individuals and corporate clients. The company is one of the few non-bank lenders in Bulgaria that lends from €4,000 up to €2,500,000. "We don't provide payday loans and always require collateral," said Nikolay Poppalov, chairman of Leno's board of directors. "We make it as easy as possible for our clients and have created a very flexible process. They can receive the requested amount within a day, and the payment of the first installment can be postponed by up to six months."
Leno's latest loan product is for corporate clients, who can receive up to EUR 2.5 million. The interest rate is among the most competitive in the industry of non-bank loans and starts from 6.96%.
Leno in 2021
"Our goal for 2021 is to double our loan portfolio," says Nikolai Poppalov. The company will introduce several new products that will further position Leno as a suitable bank alternative.
Leno gives back
At the beginning of March 2021, Leno launched a campaign, "Pay on time, donate on time", with which the company donates 10% of the interest on each installment paid on time. The client can choose between the causes of several different organizations.