We at PSFK have written before about Zopa, the clever UK-based social lending service that enables people to lend and borrow money from each other, completely redefining the traditional banking model. Now, however, the service is about to get even more personal with the launch last night of Zopa Listings.
Currently in Beta, Zopa Listings allows borrowers to make their own specific loan listings, display their own credit information, and invite lenders to bid against their loan requirements. Within this, each Zopa listing can include a very personalised request with photos, and in the near future video, highlighting exactly what the money will be used for. Sections within listing pages include ‘Why I’m borrowing’, ‘Why I’m a safe pair of hands’ and ‘The state of my finances’, and borrowers are rated on a 5-star system displaying their credit score, affordability and stability.
Feel like lending to Drew to help finance his honeymoon to Vietnam or help SailorBoy pay for a car for his partner and new baby? Just ‘bid’ on a listing, showing how much you are prepared to lend and at what rate. These details will also appear on the listing page which , Zopa hopes, will encourage competitive bidding among lenders to offer the best rates.
This open, personalised system is not for the black coats out there, but by turning the premise of established banking on its head and putting the control back in the community, individual social lending can only go from strength to strength. As Giles Andrews, Managing Director of Zopa explained:
“Our launch comes at a time when more and more people feel let down or even failed by their bank and indeed the ‘old system’ as a whole. The results for our borrowers and lenders over the last two and a half years has proven that people are better than banks – that Social Lending can be a better alternative for people seeking to borrow, or to find a more attractive return on money they have saved. Zopa Listings adds new levels of individuality, personal control and choice, extending the appeal of this innovative alternative to the banks even further.”
related PSFK articles: Zopa: Social Lending