Oakbrook Finance: Appro Loans and Likely Loans
History and Ownership
Nottingham’s Oakbrook Finance Ltd was established in late 2011. They are backed by the private equity investment group Blenheim Chalcot. Oakbrook specialises in bad credit personal loans through a central brand that has recently been joined by a secondary site (acts as a gateway only). The owner got the ball got rolling in summer 2013 with GuarantorUs. This dino-inspired guarantor loan project was notable against the competition for competitive interest at 45% APR. This brand didn’t stick around though, soon making way for Likely Loans in 2014. As well as the rebrand they opted to remove the need for a guarantor. Poor credit was still the target though.
Appro is the latest project that was unveiled in 2016. This trading name was only brought to our attention when checking up on Oakbrook’s FCA page. After then running a search we spotted an advert for the company. Very few people will be aware of this supporting site. This isn’t the case for Likely’s that has enjoyed impressive recent growth. Investment in TV advertising has really helped to put the company on the map and they now have more than 100,000 customers, with a noted growth rate of 4000 monthly. Oakbrook’s immediate plan will be to compete with the likes of AvantCredit, Everyday Loans and On Stride Financial.
Info: Appro Loans
www.approloans.com (Alexa UK Rank: No Ranking)
The Appro loan site is currently used as a gateway. The service is provided and serviced by the central company, but this structure may change in time. Should you proceed to enter a quote then they’ll redirect this lead to a subdomain of Likely’s site and the login button also redirects. It would make sense for the pair to become independent where varied features could be rolled out. As an update, they have changed the interest, lowering this to 19.9% APR. The 1 year charge is £101.96 per £1000 and so you’ll need a good score. This is variable to 39.8%. They now also use Appro Platinum for the logo.
Info: Likely Loans
www.likelyloans.com (Alexa UK Rank: #34,700)
Over £206 million has been lent across the 100,000+ user base. The borrowing sums were £1000 to £5000, but they now start from £500. A neat touch is that any amount to the £1 can be typed in on the main application form. The selection of repayment options offered is 12 to 60 months (2 years max when borrowing below £1000). Applicants with poor credit scores are considered. They require some past borrowing activity on a record with no bankruptcy in the past 12 months. No further info is presented, but CCJs and defaults should be fine so long as there is a wage coming in that can meet the proposed repayments with ease.
High acceptance rates are met with reasonable charges here at Likely Loans. When opting to borrow £1000 over a year the headed price is £278. Their pricing is however variable and so you could be pushed as high as 99.9% APR. An instant decision is highlighted although at the same time they note that all applications go through an overnight check. This may relate to the common brand search query of “Approved Subject to Final Checks”. Any qualified funds are sent the next working day. They do close down across weekends with the Monday and Friday hours being (8am-8pm). There is now a Likely Loans login facility. This can only be used by those funded after the 27th January 2016.
Reviews: Feefo, Review Centre, Reviews and Trustpilot
Likely uses the Feefo platform to collect customer feedback. Their current score hit is 98% from more than 7000 reviews. A sizeable count has been received in the past year and so it is clear that they are growing quickly. The only other site with a page was Trustpilot where 81% was scored although this was from a small pool of just several reviews. It was common to see praise on the ease and speed between application and payout. There was also appreciation for the reasonable pricing. Obviously, Appro’s task is to redirect leads on to the main site and so there will be no feedback collected there.
AvantCredit and On Stride are similar web-only firms that have good tech, offer low pricing and have the means to compete for market share. AvantCredit is the cheapest solution of the bunch. They only provide rates once the application has been entered, but their APR range extends to 49.8% and so they should cost around £236 per £1000 per year. There is only a small group of lenders that offer deals in this ballpark. The established payday and instalment firms usually charge much more. MyJar for instance would ask for £804.52 per £1000 whilst Pounds to Pocket would charge £907.40 (or £899.45 with a promo code applied).
The Plus Points
This company has several qualities of note, but a standout feature would be the low pricing provided in spite of poor credit still getting the green light. It is good to see that the costs are in the same ballpark as those charged by guarantor lenders. It is always important to see proof that a service is functioning well and you can see that this is the case here as proven at Feefo. This is the ideal review platform since all transactions of course have to be validated. AvantCredit and On Stride will prove tricky competitors moving forward, but we predict higher approval rates and greater market traction here.
Last Updated: February 14th, 2018.