UK challenger bank Metro Bank is to lend funds to consumers via the online marketplace operated by P2P pioneer Zopa. Metro Bank, the first high street bank in more than 100 years, has already begun offering loans to Zopa’s consumer borrowers in an explicit recognition of P2P lending as a new asset class.
While other UK banks have begun to refer some of their customers to alternative finance intermediaries such as Funding Circle and Assetz Capital, the deal between Zopa and Metro Bank is the first of its kind in the UK.
The two firms claims the partnership is a great example of how financial challengers can collaborate to provide additional value to the end-consumer.
Giles Andrews, CEO and co-founder of Zopa, says: “This partnership brings together two key challengers to the traditional financial services landscape and signals our intent to become a mainstream service. This unique partnership is the first of its kind in the retail banking sector and a clear sign that Zopa is a trusted platform not only for consumers but also for institutions to deploy their funds.”
David Mann, head of money at financial comparison site uSwitch, believes the scheme could be good news for consumers and the P2P industry in general.
“This could be a win win – Metro Bank could benefit from the traditionally high returns peer-to-peer lending can offer and there will be more cash in the pot for borrowers,” he says. “Seeing a challenger bank invest may also allay some of the fears people have and be a green light for anyone looking to boost their savings by investing their money into peer-to-peer lending. For despondent savers allowing their money to languish in low earning savings accounts and ISAs, a return of up to 5% with these schemes could be an attractive proposition.