One to Watch: Zopa to launch Retail Bank
Zopa is probably a name that many of you are familiar with already, but what you might not know is that the peer-to-peer lending firm is finally nearing a launch date for their bank.
The fintech first announced their plans to open a bank over two and a half years ago, and it has been a long road to get to this point – but the finish line is in sight! Zopa have announced plans that their bank is due to launch in the second half of 2019. While they remain a little coy with an official date, hiring is expected to be ongoing now as they scale in preparation for the launch.
Zopa, which launched back in 2005, already offers investments and loans to nearly half a million customers, and they’re not stopping there. Once their bank has launched, further products and services are expected to be developed as they focus on becoming the UK’s one-stop-shop for banking and lending needs. The new bank will sit alongside their existing peer-to-peer lending business, offering a hybrid of digital banking and P2P services. The bank’s initial products will be a fixed-rate savings account, a credit card, and a money management app.
On the back of their latest funding round at the end of 2018, in which Zopa raised £60 million, the firm received a banking license from the FCA, albeit one with restrictions. What does that mean for Zopa? Well, it means that while they have met the requirements for a full license, the regulators have set down some additional requirements that will need to have been met, most notably that Zopa will need to raise extra capital, before receiving the full license. This will, however, allow them to begin the development and marketing of a retail banking product to their UK customers.
Ahead of their launch, Zopa have also seen something of a leadership shake-up with a raft of senior appointments announced and their Board split into three entities. The three Boards now each focus on one speciality: one on peer-to-peer lending, one on the new banking business, and the Group Board, which will oversee all operations. Further team growth and company expansion can be expected as the new leadership team settle into their reshuffled roles and begin to implement fresh growth strategies.
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