‘Big three’ peer-to-peer platform Zopa has told borrowers if they have any trouble making repayments, they can ask for a payment freeze.
The platform asked borrowers who are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on their Zopa loan to get in touch.
“We know this can be stressful, particularly with everything else going on – rest assured our specially trained repayments team are ready to help,” Zopa said in a statement.
“They deal with sensitive issues every day and work with each customer on a case-by-case basis to find the best possible solution.
“There are several options to get you back on track, for example, we can freeze or reduce your repayments for a while, to give you some breathing space until your income returns to normal.
“Whichever option is right for you, we’ll do all we can to make the process as stress-free as possible and we’ll always let you know what’s happening so you can feel in control.
“The important first step is to get in touch with us if you think you won’t be able to make your repayment.”
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Zopa also reassured investors the volatility seen across the stock market recently is not something it expects to see replicated to the same extent in its investment performance.
Zopa’s rate of return can vary based on the macroeconomic environment, but these changes have historically been a lot less volatile than the stock market because its rates of return are not directly bound to market sentiment.
The platform said it offers investors a portfolio of personal loans over fixed terms and this point of difference is how it has been able to deliver positive returns through both downturns and upturns.
“As a responsible lender, we constantly monitor external factors for any impact on our customers’ ability to repay their loans,” the platform said.
“In recent months, we had already been through two rounds of targeted tightening on who we lend to. We have since made additional changes to our credit policy to further protect you.
“We will continue to monitor key indicators closely and are set up to react quickly and make changes to our lending approach as and when we need to.
“We have a proud track record of providing stable, inflation-beating returns and have weathered changes in the market, regulatory environment and consumer behaviours. We will apply this knowledge to what is a fast-changing situation.”
Zopa added that its services are still up and running and borrowers can still access their loans as usual.
The platform said its customer service team is available to help but warned that phonelines are busier than usual, so anyone who’d rather not wait on hold can contact the team through live chat in the Zopa app or through the support page.
“In our 15 years we’ve seen a lot, including the 2007/8 recession,” the platform added.
“While this is an unexpected situation for everyone, we believe we have the experience, the tech and the people to adapt quickly and make the changes we need to continue to serve our customers through this uncertain period.”