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Peer2Peer Finance News | July 24, 2019

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Zopa becomes first UK P2P lender to hit £2bn milestone

Zopa becomes first UK P2P lender to hit £2bn milestone
Suzie Neuwirth

ZOPA has become the first UK peer-to-peer finance platform to have lent out a landmark £2bn, originating more than 300,000 loans.

The UK’s oldest and largest P2P lender announced on Monday that it had reached the record milestone, having matched 246,000 borrowers with more than 75,000 investors since its launch in 2005.

The company, which specialises in unsecured consumer loans, has returned over £129m in interest since its inception.

Zopa has seen rapid growth over the last year, with customers borrowing more than £703m. Last November, it announced plans to launch a digital bank, which will operate alongside its P2P operations.

“We’re excited to be the first UK P2P lender to pass the £2bn milestone,” said Jaidev Janardana, Zopa’s chief executive.

“Over the last 12 years, we’re proud to say we’ve helped over a third of a million people get better interest rates for both borrowing and lending.

“The £2bn milestone demonstrates how far we have come, but our journey is only just getting started. Our decision to launch a next generation bank reflects our mission to create better options for consumers and to shape the future of finance.”

Read more: Zopa 2.0: the UK’s oldest P2P platform gets a re-brand          

34 per cent of Zopa’s £2bn-worth of loans has been used to purchase cars, while 31 per cent has been used for debt consolidation. 20 per cent was borrowed for home improvements and two per cent was used to fund weddings.

Zopa said its typical borrowers tend to be police, nurses, teachers, bank employees and project managers, with an average income of £30,000.

The lender’s impressive growth has not come without challenges. Last December, the platform had to stop accepting new money transfers temporarily, as it had an influx of investors but not enough borrowers. A spokesperson said it was simply due to a “seasonal slump” due to a fall in demand for loans in the lead-up to Christmas.

Read more: Zopa re-opens to new investors

However, some industry commentators have suggested 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.

And earlier this month, Zopa cut interest rates for lenders across all its accounts, citing increased competition in the personal loans market.

Read more: Zopa plans more securitisations