The period since 2012 has undoubtedly been the most exciting and successful in Zopa’s history – not to mention that of the wider peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry. Customer numbers have shot up and lending volumes have soared, while new products have been launched and the concept of alternative finance has established itself firmly in the mainstream.
We’ve taken a look back at the most significant milestones that have been reached in the past four years.
- Safeguard launched
In May 2013, Zopa launched its Safeguard fund to offer lenders additional protection against bad debts. For loans covered by Safeguard, money lost as a result of borrower defaults can usually be reclaimed. At present, the fund has almost £13 million, which is around 20% more than Zopa expects to have to cover. Find out more about Safeguard.
- FCA regulation of P2P sector
In April 2014, P2P lending started to be officially regulated by City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This move – which had long been supported by Zopa – offered extra protection both to borrowers and lenders and, crucially, was an important step to developing consumer confidence in P2P as a whole.
- Institutional lending commences
Also in 2014, Zopa started working with institutional lenders to meet surging demand from borrowers. This meant that large financial companies were able to lend some of their own funds through the Zopa platform.
- Zopa celebrates its 10th birthday
In March 2015, Zopa celebrated 10 years since being set up as the UK’s first P2P lender. Co-founder Giles Andrews said that the company’s most significant achievement in its first decade was the way it was able to weather the storm of the credit crunch and financial crisis that hit soon after it started. This was largely due to Zopa’s risk-management techniques and safety-first approach to lending.
Were you at our 10th birthday party? If not, you can see what happened in this video.
- Zopa lends its billionth pound
In August 2015, Zopa announced that it had lent its billionth pound, just over a decade after it started lending. In doing so, the company helped almost 150,000 borrowers and more than 60,000 lenders get more competitive rates. By this point, the UK P2P lending sector as a whole had advanced more than £3 billion. The news was widely covered in the press and you can read what founder Giles said about the milestone here.
And 2015 was a record-breaking year in other ways: in July, Zopa became the first platform to lend over £50 million in a month, while more than £58 million was advanced in September. Over the whole year, £530 million was lent through Zopa.
- The launch of our three new lender products
In March 2016 we launched our three new lender products – Zopa Access, Zopa Classic and Zopa Plus. This gave our lenders more choice in how they lent their money. You can read more about the new products here.
- P2P ISA introduced
In April 2016, a new type of ISA – the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – was launched by the government. This will finally allow lenders on P2P platforms such as Zopa to shelter their returns from income tax. Zopa will be launching its own version of the IFISA later this year. Find out more.