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Funding Circle names new CEO as it swings to profit

By Reuters

By Lawrence White

LONDON – The head of online lending platform Funding Circle’s British business will succeed Samir Desai as chief executive, the company said on Thursday as it reported a swing to profit in the first half of the year.

Lisa Jacobs will take the helm on Jan. 1, when Desai becomes a non-executive director, the company said.

Funding Circle posted a first-half operating profit of 35.5 million pounds ($48.9 million), against a 113.5 million pound loss in the same period last year.

The company said loans under management grew 33% to a record 4.9 billion pounds, helped by increased automation of its loan application process.

Funding Circle, which Desai founded in 2010, achieved early success as one of the first peer-to-peer lending platforms connecting retail and institutional investors with small business borrowers.

It has fared less well in recent years, however, and its shares plunged on their stock market debut in September 2018.

The company added on Thursday that its first-half performance was better than expected and it is unlikely to be replicated in the second half.

($1 = 0.7267 pounds)