I am aware that it has been around for awhile, but like new developments it can take some time for it to catch on. I have just been spending time on Zopa. What struck me first as slightly hippy-ish, appears to have real community support and backing. In what is now approaching its second full year online. Zopa is a bank that is regulated by the Financial Services. It is a bank with a very different structure offering unique services in the market. Members of Zopa can borrow money from other members. You create an online profile which is checked with your real world credit history. Each person that lends or borrows money can choose from a number of options such as insurance in case the person falls sick, or loses his job.
As with most internet companies they run a blog, slightly unsual for a bank but this is no normal bank. On the blog they post job adverts and other related company and office information. The forums seem to be very well attended with people asking a whole range of questions related to the website and product. As one magazine report describe it.
“A new web-based phenomenon could end up giving the big banks a bloody nose as people look for better ways to borrow. The trend is known as social lending and nearly three-quarters of borrowers who responded to a survey by the Social Futures Observatory said they would consider borrowing or lending this way rather than with their high street bank.”
I confess I think this is quite innovative http://uk.zopa.com