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Banking Industry votes Social Lending as the future of finance

4th June 2007 Print
Zopa, the online lending and borrowing marketplace where people cut out the banks, has won The Banker Technology Award for 2007 for the Best Internet Project.

Beating off intense competition, Zopa wowed the judging panel - which included banking luminaries such as the CEOs of Lloyds TSB and HSBC and the Head of Citibank - with its technology and approach to personal lending and borrowing.

The aim of The Banker Technology Awards is to highlight solutions and projects that have made a real difference in the banking industry over the last twelve months – and it’s clear from Zopa’s win that the banking industry is taking notice of Social Lending.

Zopa’s site won because it was innovative in a number of ways. According to The Banker it was able to use technology to deliver a ‘better’ service. The judges particularly liked the fact that with just 25 staff it was able to provide a seamless customer experience. Using a discussion board and a blog it is able to listen and learn from its members, providing an innovative and more efficient marketing model.

“That alone would have warranted the award,” according to Neil Tyler of The Banker, “but what really impressed the judges was Zopa’s switch from ‘non-commercial’ to ‘regulated’ credit agreements in June 2006. By using new technology Zopa was able to deliver an unmatched level of real time service bringing borrowers and lenders together in a very robust risk-management environment.”

James Alexander, UK CEO of Zopa said, “We’re thrilled to win The Banker award. It’s great to see that even the banks can appreciate what Zopa offers its members – a fairer deal when it comes to their money. Social Lending is a financial category of genuine and increasing importance – and it offers people control and transparency that they just can’t get at a bank. It’s also great to see that irony is not dead – an alternative to banks winning The Banker award - fantastic!”

Zopa’s win follows its scoop of a Webby Award for the Best Banking website of 2007, a Red Herring 100 Europe award and recent announcements that the number of UK members has reached 150,000, a new global CEO has been appointed, and that additional investment of $12.9 million has been secured to fund continued development of the UK business and the launch of Zopa in the USA.