Zopa digital bank is launching in 2019. The FCA’s grant of a banking licence means that Zopa becomes the world’s first combined P2P lender & digital bank.
The Zopa digital bank arm is launching FSCS protected savings accounts and credit cards in the New Year. All products including its existing P2P offerings will be brought together in the Zopa app.
“This is a huge milestone for Zopa,” says Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana.
“13 years ago, we built the first-ever P2P lending company giving people access to simpler, better-value loans and investments. Since then, we’ve lent nearly £4bn to consumers in the UK. Being able to show this success has been essential to us getting our bank licence.”
Janardana says the launch of Zopa digital bank makes no change to its P2P products line-up.
He adds: “We aim to continue to grow our P2P business based on the same great P2P products. We’re still the same Zopa, we’ll just have a lot more to offer our customers.”
Zopa digital bank: capital raising hits £60m
In November it raised £60m, its largest funding round to date, to fund the launch of Zopa digital bank.
An earlier funding round this year raised an initial £44m.
Janardana concludes: “Having served half a million customers to date, Zopa is set to redefine the finance industry once again. Our next generation bank will meet a broader set of UK customers’ financial needs.”
Zopa’s risk strategy is based on targeting low-risk UK borrowers. It expects loan loss rates across the UK consumer credit market to rise back towards more normal historical levels.
In fiscal 2017 Zopa posted profits after tax of £1.5m for its P2P business. Revenue increased by 40% year-on-year to £46.5m.
In 2017, Zopa became the first major P2P lender to receive full FCA authorisation. This made possible the launch of Zopa’s Innovative Finance ISA in June this year.
Car loans in changing credit conditions
In 2017, Zopa, which writes prime loans for car purchases, said it was changing its credit risk profile to focus on the most prime lending.
It moved to reduce the amount of lending it does with higher risk, higher return graded loans, in order to protect itself from what it saw as deteriorating credit conditions.