Zopa re-opens to new investors
ZOPA has started accepting new money from retail investors again, after putting a cap on investments earlier in the month due to an imbalance between lenders and borrowers.
The UK’s oldest and largest peer-to-peer finance platform now says on its website: “we are accepting new money transfers.”
A company spokesperson told Peer-to-Peer Finance News that Zopa is able to accept up to £4.2m in new money from both existing investors and new investors.
However, the website said on Friday afternoon that the current platform limit for all new money transfers is £3.7m.
The spokesperson explained that this is live information based on what customers had invested since the limit was lifted earlier in the day, indicating that a flurry of new money had already been transferred on to the site.
The spokesperson added that the decreased limit should not be a cause for concern unless it fell far lower, for example to £50,000.
Zopa stopped accepting new money from customers on 2 December, although existing investments through the site were unaffected. A spokesperson said it was simply due to a “seasonal slump” due to a fall in demand for loans that should correct itself in the New Year.
However, some industry commentators have said that the incident is a sign of a wider challenge for the sector in attracting new borrowers, suggesting that platforms may have hit a ceiling in terms of loan origination volumes.
This year has seen record growth for the industry, with nine of the UK’s largest platforms lending a record-breaking £278m in October, according to a new P2P index from crowdfunding aggregator OFF3R.
Historically-low interest rates have driven hordes of investors hungry for yield to P2P platforms, while a growing number of lenders have intensified competition for new borrowers.
Last month, Zopa announced that it is launching a digital bank to sit alongside its P2P business. It said it had applied for a banking licence and expected to gain approval within 15 to 24 months.