The bank of Italy has authorised Zopa Italy to operate as a payment institute. Zopa now cleared the legal problems it encountered in 2009. Maurizio Sella of Zopa Italy stated that Zopa will resume loan financing after performing some legal steps necessary in connection to being regulated as a payment institute.
Visualizations are great to show data that would otherwise just be a long list. I decided to create a map of the p2p lending landscape in Europe. It shows active and discontinued p2p lending services in Europe (including p2p microfinance). Not listed are sites that are in pre-launch stage. All of these marketplaces have been featured earlier in the P2P-Banking.com blog. If you want more information about any of them just enter the name in the search box on the top right of this blog.
Notice to other websites: You are free to copy and use this map, provided you agree not to alter or resize the image and you will set a link to this article.
Notice to p2p lending sites: If you want to be included in a future version of this map, contact me to learn how.
Are you passionate about p2p lending or p2p microfinance? Would you like to contribute reports, news and experiences related to this topic from your country?
Are you willing to research the details and look beyond the marketing messages of the p2p lending companies?
Become a guest author at the P2P-Banking blog. Your articles will be posted under your name. You will frequently share news, information and latest developments on p2p lending and how the established banking players in your country react on or embrace these trends.
P2P-Banking.com is especially seeking guest authors from Italy, Spain, Poland and Japan, which are fast growing p2p lending markets. But we do welcome writers sharing their knowledge and experience from other countries.
Zopa.it has posted a message on their frontpage that the Bank of Italy has revoked the licence to act as a financial intermediary.
As a result Zopa Italy has currently stopped issuing new loans and accepting new lenders.
EDIT: Speculation – It may have to do with this order of the Bank of Italy, which came into effect on July, 1st limiting the max. allowable interest rates.
UPDATED July 14th – Information provided by Carlo Vitali, Zopa Italy:
I can assure you that the action of Bank of Italy has nothing to do with this order of the Bank of Italy. The document you refer to has quarterly releases and it simply states the average interest rates for various credit products and says that any interest rate higher than 1.5x the average is considered usury (and therefore is illegal).
Zopa has never quoted a single loan even close to usury rate and our average rates are really appreciated by borrowers being in average 9,6 APR against a 15% industry average.
Bank of Italy accuse us of operating banking activity without being a bank while we sustain that we are just intermediating payments between private lenders and borrowers. Accusation is based on the fact that we have a transit lender account, where the money stays for few days, maximum a couple of weeks, before going out in loans. On this account we don’t get any interest and is not part of the assets of Zopa Italia. Nevertheless we had proposed an operative solution to solve the issue and we hope we will get the chance to implement it and reassume the business. I remind you that we got an authorization from Bank of Italy before launching Zopa in Italy.
Thanks to Carlo Vitali, for providing P2P-Banking.com with this information on the status.
As the end of 2008 approaches here is a look back on the highlights of peer to peer lending news in 2008:
- February: Gartner predicts that by 2010 social lending captures 10% market share; p2p lending in Poland takes off; IOUcentral launches in Canada – only to be suspended by regulator a week later
- April: Lendingclub enters quiet period for SEC registration; Cashare launches p2p lending service in Switzerland; Prosper goes national with 36 percent max. interest rate – partnering with WebBank; Zopa UK reshapes markets – concentrates on 36 and 60 months loan terms
- May: MyC4 has new interface and shifts currency risks to lenders
- August: Zopa UK launches young market; Maneo launches p2p lending services in Japan
- September: Kiva repayments are now immediately available for reinvestment; Zopa grows in Italy – has secondary market
- October: Loanio launches in the US; Friendsclear launches in France; Smava raises more venture capital; Zopa US closes; Veecus launces p2p microfinance; Lending club comes out of quiet period and introduces secondary market note trading platform; Prosper enters quiet period for SEC registration; Kiva wins grant; more than 685M US$ p2p lending volume; two funds will invest more than 2M Euro in Africa through MyC4
- November: 50 million US$ Kiva loans reached; Comunitae gets funding; SEC orders Prosper to cease and desist; Loanio suspends operations
- December: Class action lawsuit and other legal troubles challenge Prosper
Zopa.it goes live: 16th January 2008*
Average gross return on money lent-out through Zopa.it: 7.66%
Average annual cost on loans (APR) borrowed through Zopa.it: 9.45%
Registered members of Zopa.it: 23,242
Total loan volume since launch: €2,787,090
Number of loans: 535
Loan volume currently under evaluation process: €336,690
Average loan amount: €5,210
Average loan duration: 31 months
Amount rate late:€6,622.24 (percentage amount late: 1.88%) = 6 loans (this fig. as of end of Aug.)
Demographic characteristics of the Zopa users:
18 – 24 years old: 5%
25 – 34 years old: 32%
35 – 44 years old: 35%
45 – 54 years old: 19%
55 – 64 years old: 7%
65+ years old: 2%
First 3 regions by number of registered members: Lombardia (18%), Lazio(13%), Campania(9%)
The most popular uses for the money borrowed from lenders through Zopa.it:
Home improvement /furniture: 28%
Debt consolidation / pay off loan from relatives: 26%
Car / motor bike: 12%
Unexpected expenses / Repairs: 9%
Family events (wedding, school fees, medical expenses…): 7%
All data as of Sep. 3rd, 2008 (Source: Zopa Italy management, Zopa blog)
*public launch; there was a 2 month period before, that was open by invitation only since Nov. 14th
Rientro Rapido offers the lenders – who have a sudden need of liquidity – the possibility of recovering their funds instantly by transferring loans made to borrowers to other active lenders in the community.
It is the Zopa market who determines the possibility to transfer a loan to other lenders: in order to withdraw money, there has to be in the market at least one offer from a different lender with compatible rating, interest rate and duration.
“We are very proud to be the first Social Lending world-wide to launch a service such as RientroRapido, but we have not done this for the sake of establishing a record – Maurizio Sella, CEO of Zopa Italy, declares – . Since we opened our market, several lenders have asked for a tool that would allow them to withdraw rapidly the cash lent-out through Zopa. And with this new service we fulfill their desire. This is the value of Zopa: we are a community that grows, evolves and improves especially thank to the pro-active participation of its members.”
Lenders who sell their loans through Zopa to other lenders pay 0.8% of the loan value plus 15 Euro commission to Zopa. Only loans that have never been late may be sold.
Since June borrowers can select optional payment protection insurance (Rata Protetta) against unemployment, illness or injury. Zopa states that 57% of borrowers bought the insurance (69% in September). The insurance covers the total amount of the loan.
(Source: Zopa Italy management)
*counted from the public launch on January 16th, 2008, there was a 2 month period before, that was open by invitation only.
In an email newsletter Zopa Italy encouraged its member to spread the word about Zopa to friends and relatives. Zopa says it is for 'a good reason': Zopa Italy pledges to lend $1 on Kiva for each new member that registers at Zopa Italy before January 15th.
Everybody can monitor how much Zopa invested on this lender page at Kiva.
I am sure that Kiva will highly appreciate this promotion, a target audience that is already interested in p2p lending gets introduced to Kiva's concept. But I am not sure if that is a good marketing campaign for Zopa. Should the lenders decide Kiva is an interesting concept they might lend their money at Kiva instead of at Zopa. Maybe Zopa speculates lenders will invest in both. Or Zopa wants the added social angle to increase chances of press coverage.
What do you think? Discuss this at the Zopa forum.
(Source: Email newsletter from Zopa Italy, Dec. 27th)
In Italy peer to peer lending service Boober.it launched yesterday. Boober Italy is a joint venture between Centax and Boober International which operates it's service in the Netherlands since February. Boober Italy charges borrowers 19.95 Euro to obtain their credit grade.
So far I could not check all details. The FAQ still has some bugs – some sections still refer to the situation of lending in the Netherlands ("I don't live in the Netherlands – may I still invest")
The launch is almost simultaneous to the launch of Zopa Italy.