We had a record year of lending in 2016, and this trend continues into 2017 with two consecutive record months. In February, we lent out more than £81 million: that’s £24 million more than February 2016. We also approved nearly 12,000 borrowers last month: without lowering our strict underwriting standards and responsible lending criteria.
Continuing to grow our loan customer base is a big priority for us. We already offer a best in class, award-winning loan product for UK consumers, but there are more people with different needs we could help. For our investors, this means more credit-worthy people for us to lend their money to.
More approvals, but not more risk
Over the last 12 years, we’ve worked hard to earn the trust of our investors through our prudent approach to risk. Here are some of the ways we’re looking to expand what we can offer loan customers without compromising on our responsible lending standards:
Leveraging our partnership API
Last year, we used our loan application service to form a partnership with UNSHACKLED.com: marking our first steps into retail point of sale financing market. As we grow, we’ll continue to partner with more likeminded companies to offer our award-winning products across different industries and reach more people seeking fair financing options.
Exploring the world of car finance
While many customers already use their Zopa loan to get some new wheels, there’s a lot more we can offer when it comes to car financing. A large proportion of people in the UK buy a car on finance – even though it isn’t always the best value for them. We’re building products, such as our balloon payment offering, that will challenge established practices in this industry, giving consumers a fairer way to finance their cars.
We’re also launching a mobile app for loan customers, to make signing up and managing their loans even easier. And with the introduction of non-annual terms, we can offer more flexible loans to UK customers.
Balancing the marketplace
Increased loan volumes are an excellent endorsement of our borrowing product in an increasingly competitive environment. We are building awareness amongst UK customers with our recent British Bank Awards and our Superbrand status, which are attracting an increasing number of credit-worthy people looking for a loan.
But it’s important to remember we’re a marketplace, and with interest rates at historically low levels for both borrowing and lending we continue to monitor target rates and queues as more and more investors come to us for a better return.
We’re growing quickly in all areas of our business, and new initiatives to help us attract more loan customers will put us in a fantastic position for more record loan volumes in months, and even years, to come.
Andrew Lawson is Chief Product Officer at Zopa