Zopa’s coming, anyone want to borrow a few bucks?

November 30, 2007

home420rev.gif

Its been months since I last mentioned Zopa, the UK strain of the P2P lending bug which will hopefully wipe-out retail banking and credit cards. So it came as a bit of a shock when I got an email from them yesterday morning loudly proclaiming their imminent launch.

Well, we told you we were coming! At this very minute, we are testing the service and expect to bring it to everybody within a few days.

Thats what they said months ago! Still, as a former Prosper lender (I stopped actively lending back in June), I’m pretty excited to try out Zopa and jump back into the P2P lending space. Zopa promises shorter loan terms, potentially higher returns and lender selected rates (on Prosper rate are set by bid). One line from their email really jumped out at me:

No risk for investors.
Your funds will be federally insured. No more worrying about whether your borrowers will pay your loan back.

No risk and investors should never be used in the same sentence, as it is very rarely true. I’m clearly not the only skeptic out here (and here and here). Why would the federal government insure my private loan to another individual? Makes no sense to me but when it launches, I will be lending… I can spot you $50 for 3 months at 6%, with 200 other strangers. You can use the $10k to fund that new web 2.0 start-up you’ve been dreaming about. You know, that Myspace meets YouTube idea, for English speaking Mexican boys between the ages of 9 and 17, living in the suburbs of Spokane. Its a winner for sure!


Zopa Planning a National Roll-out?

April 19, 2007

header_logo.gifI’ve been a Prosper lender since October of last year and in January I started lending on Kiva as well but my online lending trifecta wont be complete until I can gamble on human hope using Zopa. Zopa is an online market place for lending to other folks much like Prosper in reverse. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the coming of Zopa but despite all the funding noise and media attention they havent made it to the US.

Well that may be about to change. According to an email they sent out this morning they are getting ready to launch, not just in the California as they originally stated, but nationally. With Zopa I’ll be able to loan money for as little as 6 months and further diversity my portfolio of person to person loans. From purely social lending on Kiva to the modestly social lending on Prosper and wholly economic lending on Zopa, I am becoming a banking institution $100 at a time.