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.
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: â‚¬2,787,090
Number of loans: 535
Loan volume currently under evaluation process: â‚¬336,690
Average loan amount: â‚¬5,210
Average loan duration: 31 months
Amount rate late:â‚¬6,622.24 (percentage amount late: 1.88%) = 6 loans (this fig. as of end of Aug.)
Demographic characteristics of the Zopa users:
Female: Â Â Â 15%
Male:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 85%
18 â€“ 24 years old: Â Â Â Â 5%
25 â€“ 34 years old: Â Â Â 32%
35 â€“ 44 years old: Â Â Â 35%
45 â€“ 54 years old: Â Â Â 19%
55 â€“ 64 years old: Â Â Â Â 7%
65+Â years old:Â Â Â Â 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 expensesâ€¦): 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 -Â 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 compatibleÂ rating, interest rate and duration.
â€œWe 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 â€“ 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.â€
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)