Zopa, the U.K.’s oldest marketplace lender, announced on Monday (Jan. 30) that it has become the first peer-to-peer lending platform to reach a $2.5 billion origination threshold, while also giving investors some insight into its borrowers and its plans for the future. According to Business Insider, the company revealed that it has serviced 300,000 loans, matching 246,000 borrowers with 75,000 investors since 2005.
“Over the last 12 months alone, customers have borrowed more than £703 million in low-interest, unsecured Zopa loans,” said the company in a press release. “This is a result of our total commitment to putting the customer at the heart of everything ... we do: from technology-led product design to award-winning customer services.”
The fact that the number of loans exceeded borrowers suggests that many of Zopa’s users are repeat customers. Not surprising since the company was named “Most Trusted Personal Loans Provider” seven years in a row by Moneywise, “Personal Loan Provider of the Year” four times by Moneyfacts and was MoneySuperMarket’s loan provider of the year in 2016.
The bulk of Zopa’s customers take out a loan for nonessential reasons, such as buying a car or paying for a home renovation. The company’s main types of loans are automobile (34 percent of the total origination value), debt consolidation (31 percent) and home improvement (20 percent). Out of the three, debt consolidation loans are the riskiest, accounting for less than a third of Zopa’s total origination volume. And since the typical Zopa borrower isn’t taking out a loan to get out of debt, and with the average income at $38,000, customers are less inclined to default on a loan.
These figures are likely to reassure investors and attract even more business for the lender. In fact, Zopa has announced plans to launch a bank to extend its range of consumer products.
“The £2 billion milestone demonstrates how far we have come, but our journey is only just getting started,” said Jaidev Janardana, Zopa’s CEO. “Our decision to launch a next-generation bank reflects our mission to create better options for consumers and to shape the future of finance.”