Back in 2005 Zopa quietly launched their P2P lending platform in the UK, the world’s first. It was the start of a lending revolution that has moved on to all corners of the globe. Today, a new chapter begins as the company announced that regulators have approved Zopa’s banking license. With that Zopa achieves another first: becoming the world’s first combined peer to peer lending platform and digital bank.
When Zopa first announced that they were applying for a banking license back in November 2016 some criticized the move. The company was started as an alternative to banks and by becoming a bank some critics thought they were selling out their original vision. But Zopa brushed off the criticism with CEO Jaidev Janardana arguing that most large banks were not giving consumers what they wanted. Zopa had built a culture of customer centricity and they wanted to extend that into a new kind of bank (for more see Jaidev’s keynote at LendIt Europe 2017 as well as his fireside chat interview from this year’s event).
Zopa has officially been granted a banking license with “restricted approval” which means that it can’t launch just yet. They will enter what is called the “mobilization phase”, this is a normal part of the approval process where it needs to “meet conditions set by the regulators, including testing our new products”. Once it satisfies these conditions Zopa will be granted a full banking license.