Zopa to launch in US and Italy

Lots of news form UK-based peer-to-peer lending startup Zopa, which is prepping its US launch this week. Zopa is also launching officially in Italy this week after a ‘friends and family’ trial. Meanwhile, the new listings service (a sort of 21st Century version of the begging letter, covered here), has produced £250K worth of bids in the first month of operation. Among those looking for loans include an organic wine farm wanting money for a mobile home for volunteers, a father wanting money for his son to buy a fishmonger business and a recent graduate wanting to train as an energy efficiency assessor. Go figure.

Zopa in the US will operate slightly different to previous localities, which they outlined in an email, which TechCrunch US picked up on:

• No risk for investors.
• Funds will be federally insured.
• Pick who you want to help.
• Investors will choose exactly who they want to help.
• Set your rate.
• Investors will choose how much they want to earn, up to a ceiling.
• No waiting.
• Borrowers will get their loans immediately upon approval.
• Lower your monthly payment.
• Borrowers can reduce their loan payments after they’ve borrowed.