Zopa, the UK P2P lending company, closes £60M round on path to launching a bank

Obtaining a banking license and then launching an actual new retail bank requires capital. A lot of capital. Enter Zopa, the U.K. peer-to-peer lending company that wants to become a bank, which today is announcing that it has closed £60 million in further funding. Only £16 million is actually new new money, having already disclosed £44 million in August, so this is effectively an extension of that earlier fund-raise.

The purpose remains the same, however: Zopa says it will use the latest round of investment toward the capital needs for its yet-to-launch “next generation bank.” The company began applying for a bank license with the U.K. regulators in 2016. The new funding also comes off the back of what the fintech claims is its sustainable and profitable peer-to-peer business, having achieved full-year profitability in 2017 for the first time since 2012.

An early mover in the space — launching all the way back in 2005 — Zopa says it has served nearly half a million customers, either through loans or investing in peer-to-peer loans. It has lent more than £3.7 billion in unsecured personal loans to customers in the U.K.

The next phase of Zopa is all about becoming a new digital bank, alongside its peer-to-peer business, in order to be able to offer “a unique and broader set of products to customers.”

“Our bank will allow us to give more people a better experience with their finances by introducing more simple, fair products — like savings accounts and credit cards,” a company spokesperson tells me.

At launch this will include offering FSCS-protected savings accounts, and P2P investments (including IFISAs for investors), and personal loans, car finance and credit cards for people looking to borrow.

“Our money management app will offer our customers a more personalised approach to managing their money,” adds the spokesperson.

Cue Jaidev Janardana, Zopa CEO (pictured above): “This new funding takes us a step closer to realising our vision of being the best place for money in the U.K. Having served half a million customers to date, Zopa is set to redefine the finance industry once again through our next generation bank to meet a broader set of U.K. customers’ financial needs.”