P2P lending site Zopa is set to launch in the US this week, where it will compete with firms like Prosper and CircleLending, recently rebranded as Virgin Money USA.

Zopa's US version will differ from its UK site as investors will have their funds 'federally insured', instead of spreading their risk by loaning small amounts to multiple borrowers. 

This guarantee, the firm hopes, will allow it to attract capital quickly as it is not something competing P2P sites currently offer.

Zopa, which launched two years ago in the UK, says it has around 175,000 users -roughly one third of which are lenders.

It recently received a £6.6m investment from Bessemer Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital and Wellington Partners, and has long been expected to make the move over the Atlantic. 

P2P lending is a growing market Stateside - according to Online Banking Report, Prosper and Lending Club loaned out a combined $100m this year. It predicts the market will be worth $1bn by 2010.

Virgin Money USA differs from other P2P lending sites as it concentrates on enabling loans between family and friends.

Prosper and Lending Club facilitate unsecured loans between strangers.

Related stories:
Internet social lending 'may threaten banks'

Graham Charlton

Published 3 December, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (2)



It will be interesting to see how the lenders react to the interest rate Zopa offers in the US. A ceiling of 5.1% (according to press release) might not attractive - even with the advantage of funds being guaranteed.

Claus Lehmann

over 10 years ago


Mike Smith

I blog for Lending Club, so I would like to clarify a couple of points. While Prosper facilitates loans between people who do not know each other, Lending Club uses connections to link borrowers and lenders. This means that many of the loans made through Lending Club are made to colleagues, fellow alums, and neighbors rather than strangers.

Plus, you can get a much higher rate of return at LC, even if you take
expected losses into account - 12.25% vs 5.1%.

over 10 years ago

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