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Happy 10th birthday Zopa – A decade of P2P lending

This week is a pretty important milestone here at Zopa as we celebrate 10 years of lending and it is even more special because we happened to invent it. Meaning, Zopa is the world’s first and oldest peer-to-peer lending platform having launched on March 8th 2005.

It is amazing to think that an idea born in a barn in Buckinghamshire a decade ago, has since spawned a global industry worth more than $10 billion worldwide, with over £2.4 billion of that money being matched in the UK alone.

We have now passed the £750 million lent and are now focused on hitting the big £1bn milestone later this year. It is fair to say that Zopa was perhaps a bit ahead of its time as the industry is only now on the verge of becoming a mainstream activity.

To put that into perspective, it took us nine years to lend £500m and we expect to lend £550m this year alone. It goes to show that P2P lending is growing very quickly indeed.

In ten years of lending our 58,000 lenders have helped over 108,000 people get a loan and improve their lifestyle. We have delivered an average return of 5.6% after fees and bad debts for ou lenders even through the credit crisis. That’s over £46m in interest with almost a third of that interest coming in 2014.

We’re even bigger than Oxford and would sell-out Wembley Stadium 1.6 times.

Other achievements in that time include being named best customer service in financial services two years in a row for 2014 and 2015 by Moneyfacts and winning best loan provider by Moneywise for the past five years in a row. Something we are very proud of, as customer service sits at the heart of our values and mission.

Giles our CEO and co-founder, said: “We created Zopa because we saw the potential to bring people together over the internet without having to go through a bank. This has prompted a revolution in the financial sector worldwide. We are very proud to have pioneered a new way to do finance by allowing people to achieve their life goals through lending or getting a loan at a great rate. I see Zopa becoming the norm in the same way EBay has. Peer-to-Peer lending is certainly here to stay!”

We know that without our customers willing to try something new and different we wouldn’t be the company we are today, so a big thank you goes to all our borrowers and lenders.

Here are few fun facts about Zopa and how we have performed over the past ten years:

Zopa launched before…

  • Twitter

  • iPhones or iPads existed

  • Usain Bolt won any Olympic medals

  • Barack Obama was elected President

  • One Direction launched their first single

As an investment, Zopa has provided an overall 70% return over the past 10 years based relending funds from the very beginning. This means that Zopa has outperformed the housing market which provided a 23% return based on the Nationwide housing index in comparison.

We look forward to seeing some of you at our 10th birthday party and many more of you in the future.