ZOPA reaffirmed its leading position in the peer-to-peer consumer space last night as it won the accolade of top consumer lending platform at LendIt’s awards in New York.
The world’s oldest P2P lender fended off competition from US consumer-finance heavyweights such as SoFi and Avant, bagging top scores on loan performance, volume, growth, and product diversity from a panel of 30 industry experts.
LendIt has hosted a major alternative lending conference series since 2013 and this was its inaugural awards ceremony.
“We see this award as an important acknowledgement of our culture of putting customers at the heart of everything we do, and our range of fair, simple and excellent value products,” said Zopa’s chief executive Jaidev Janardana.
“Since founding the peer-to-peer industry in 2005, our customers have borrowed more than £2bn in low-interest, unsecured loans, with over £700m borrowed in the last 12 months alone.”
The new award caps off a bumper month for the platform, which posted record lending figures for February. It originated more than £81m of new loans last month – £24m more than the same month last year.
February’s record lending – the second consecutive record monthly figure – validates the firm’s recent efforts to boost its borrower network and match investor demand.
Forming new partnerships will be a key strategy going forward, according to Zopa’s chief product officer Andrew Lawson.
“Last year, we used our loan application service to form a partnership with Unshackled.com, marking our first steps into retail point of sale financing market,” he said.
“As we grow, we’ll continue to partner with more likeminded companies to offer our award-winning products across different industries and reach more people seeking fair financing options.”
The P2P platform, which has so far focused exclusively on unsecured lending, is also looking to expand its range of loans and maturities. As Peer-to-Peer Finance News previously reported, this may include a move into the secured auto finance space.
“While many customers already use their Zopa loan to get some new wheels, there’s a lot more we can offer when it comes to car financing,” said Lawson.
“A large proportion of people in the UK buy a car on finance – even though it isn’t always the best value for them.
“We’re building products, such as our balloon payment offering, that will challenge established practices in this industry, giving consumers a fairer way to finance their cars.”
“And with the introduction of non-annual terms, we can offer more flexible loans to UK customers.
The firm is also launching a new a mobile app for loan customers, to make signing up and managing their loans even easier.