Funding Circle is getting closer to closing a major deal for its SME Income Fund, the U.K. alternative lending company said late last week.
According to reports on Friday (March 18), the Funding Circle SME Income Fund is in the later stages of discussions with the European Investment Bank for financing, and while the company was mum on the details, it did say it plans to finalize the plans by the middle of this year.
Funding Circle was first rumored last July to be planning a float of its SME fund, which would mark the first time an alternative lender did such a thing. The firm said it looked to raise more than $200 million from the initiative.
The company had already secured multimillion dollar deals with investors, including a $420 million deal with Victory Park Capital in the U.S. and a $150 million fund by DST Global and other backers.
Just before the start of the new year, the company announced that it had reached a new milestone in small business lending, having hit the £1 billion mark ($1.45 billion) since its launch in 2010.
“Over the last five years, the Funding Circle marketplace model has proved to be a more efficient way for businesses to access the finance they need to grow and expand,” the company’s U.K. managing director and cofounder, James Meekings, said to Financial Times last December.
According to recent reports, the financing project with the European Investment Bank could hit Funding Circle’s total return target of 8–9 percent a year, as established in its prospectus.