As we welcome in the New Year, we take a look back at our highlights from 2019 that were covered by the press. From announcing our largest fundraise to date, to launching new products, 2019 was another exciting year.
The road to launching our bank
At the beginning of December, we announced that we had raised £140m, signing our largest funding round to date. This was an exciting milestone in our history as it concluded the fundraising phase of our bank mobilisation and it gets us one step closer to launching the bank alongside our peer-to-peer business. Once we have the full banking licence, we can offer our customers a broader set of financial products focussed on making people feel good about money. Our news was covered by the FT, The Times, BBC, Business Insider, The Daily Telegraph and This Is Money.
We received our restricted bank licence in late December 2018, so throughout this year the press have been keen to hear about our ambitions for the bank and the overall business. Our CEO, Jaidev Janardana, told The Times how we’re turning convention on its head by launching the bank and broadening our product offering, he discussed our key differentiators with The Daily Telegraph, and shared his secrets for success with the Evening Standard. At the same time, our Chief Customer Officer, Clare Gambardella chatted about the story of Zopa and our FeelGood money brand with Marketing Week.
Putting our customers first
In addition to working on our bank launch, we also launched a number of new products and a range of innovative new features in 2019 to help people manage their money.
We know that buying a car on finance can be confusing, and in many cases can end up being a poor experience for customers. So, we launched a secured car finance product that takes away the guess work of buying a car on finance as it is straightforward and transparent. Car buyers can apply for finance online ahead of stepping foot into a car showroom, and then Zopa deals with all of the paperwork.
To raise awareness of the simplicity of our car finance offering, we commissioned research and uncovered significant confusion amongst consumers, with the Mail Online, The Daily Mirror, The Times, and The I covering our research. We also used the FCA’s announcement on the sector to pen an opinion piece for City AM focussing on the opportunity fintechs have to redefine the car finance industry.
At Zopa, we show our customers the actual rate – or real rate – they’ll be offered prior to applying for a loan, and we won’t mark their credit file until after they’ve applied for the loan. To coincide with the further rollout of real rates, we commissioned research into the wider loans industry. We uncovered that customers don’t always get the loan rate they expect to receive during the application process, and that some lenders are charging customers double what they advertise. We created a full report to campaign for greater transparency and fairer deals for personal loans customers across the market. A variety of media covered the research including The Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sun and Your Money.
In October, we launched Borrowing Power. An easy to understand, in-app feature that gives users a simple 1-10 rating that helps them to better understand and improve their credit score in order to unlock cheaper loan rates with Zopa. Money Saving Expert, AltFi and ComputerWeekly covered the launch, while our Chief Product Officer, Didier Baclin, spoke to 11:FS. Didier then shared his tips for improving credit scores and how to cut the cost of borrowing with Moneywise.
Growing P2P & closing the year with a third securitisation
This year the P2P industry has seen new regulations from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) come into play. At Zopa, we support the new regulations as in a lot of instances, they simply formalise the best practices we’ve already been following. There were however some areas we’ve had to adapt to fit in with the rules – you can read all about them here.
Throughout the first half of the year, ISA season was in full swing and the press were eagerly exploring different options available in the market. This year The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mirror, The i, City AM, The Sunday Telegraph and MoneyWeek were just some of the titles that included Zopa’s IFISA offering as a viable alternative to stocks and shares.
We rounded off the year by announcing our third securitisation in December. Receiving the first ever AAA rating for P2P loans globally, this securitisation further reflected the strength of our asset class and the market’s confidence in our ability to originate high quality loans. Financial News, Bridging & Commercial and Wealth Adviser covered the news.