If you’re not a borrower at Zopa, there is a little feature that may have escaped your notice. We think it’s great, and what some of our members do with it is even better.
We let our borrowers leave a message for their lenders as part of their borrowing application. We thought people might like to say a little bit about what they were going to use the loan for, say ‘hello’ or just - ‘thanks.’ It turns out that a really surprising number of borrowers have used it, to leave all sorts of messages.
I thought I’d share a few of the most inspiring, touching and just downright lovely ones with a wider audience - thank you to these members for letting me do this. No need for more from me, I’ll let them speak for themselves:
“Hello. I am really looking forward to using the money to help others. I am expanding my business to include career services and coaching so that I can guide people more effectively through their chosen field of work. Can’t wait !!”
“I need the loan to consolidate debts. I bought a former home with a partner, who moved out. I took over the whole of the mortgage until the place could be sold and this (because it was a mortgage designed for two but paid for by one!) led to some debt (all of which will be covered by the loan). My ex partner has no claims on me now, of course - and my mortgage on my new flat is entirely manageable (as would be the repayments on the loan). I’m far from extravagent - I just picked the wrong person to buy a first home with!”
“I plan to consolidate existing debt so that I’m in a better position to start a business with my wife, so we can have more time together and build a better life.”
“I have 2 personal loans at present, one with a balance of about £15k that was taken out for my car - that will remain in place. The second is for £4k which was for a new kitchen - I had no plans to change this as it was at a very good rate. However, it is with Cahoot and the rate is going to jump from 5.8 to 8.5 as it apparently was a “promotional rate” - an outrageous leap which I find offensive. The second element for the loan is to repay my overdraft - this has risen to £2k as I bought my brother a holiday that he desperately needed after a hideous break -up from his wife - he went to visit my other brother in Singapore with his kids. He is a farmer, with little money and I think he needed the break.I have been fully employed for over 20 years, have never defaulted on a payment although I may have been late in sending the odd credit card payment.If you decide to lend me the money, you will be doing me a favour and giving a poke in the eye to Cahoot.”
And a final word from berlioz….
“Thanks for supporting the other side of a cool system.”
We’re going to develop this feature over the coming weeks to see what our members use it for - and hence this is also a request for some impromptu market research. Would you be interested in talking to other Zopa members? Would you like to talk to anyone, or just people that you’ve transacted with? How much privacy / anonymity would you need? Is the whole thing a waste of time, effort and caffeine?
Please give us your opinions (as provocative as you like) in the comments, or you can always mail me directly if you’d rather do that.