Jaidev Janardana, chief executive officer, Zopa

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Zopa has announced receiving its banking licence to become the world’s first combined peer-to-peer lender & digital bank.

The banking licence has come at an exciting time for Zopa. The company has lent close to £4bn worth of peer-to-peer loans and recently reported raising £60m in November last month, adding to the £44m raised in August earlier this year.

According to Zopa, the company had requested for a banking licence in 2016 and has plans to offer its services within the UK starting from 2019.

Zopa intends to offer FSCS-protected fixed term savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans and P2P investment products along with a money management banking app. The services will be based on Zopa’s own proprietary technology.

Jaidev Janardana, Zopa’s chief executive officer said, “Back in 2005 when we launched the first ever peer-to-peer lending company, we set out to shake up the loans market to make lending and borrowing fairer, simpler and better value.  Since then we have helped hundreds of thousands of customers get the most from their money. But we know that most people don’t trust their banks to act in their best interest and that plays a big role in the stress and negativity that they feel about money. By building a new kind of bank, we can help our customers in a wider variety of ways, offering them a unique mix of peer-to-peer and banking balance.”

Zopa is currently in a period called AWR (authorisation with restrictions) and will be permitted a full licence once it has met all the requirements set by the UK regulators.

by Sumit Vengurlekar