Zopa tweaks borrower fee structure

December 4th, 2011

Zopa has confirmed today that it has tweaked the fee structure it charges borrowers.  Previously Zopa charged all successful borrowers a fixed fee of £130, however it has raised this fee in the B, and C and Y markets to £150 and £200 respectively.  In addition this fee has been increased in the A and A* markets to £160 for loans of £3000 to £3499.  However this fee has been reduced in the A* market to £80 for loans of £7000 to £7499, £20 for loans of £7500 to £12,999 and £30 for loans £13,000 and over.  This is detailed on P2P Money's page on peer-to-peer companies.

Giles Andrews, CEO of Zopa stated on the Zopa forum:

Interesting comments. We are trying to boost borrower volumes while maintaining our average fee. So far we have been more successful at the former than the latter as our average borrower fee has fallen. I don't particularly like charging B,C and Y borrowers more, but 1) we need to in order to run the promotional rates in A*, which have driven higher volumes and 2) it reflects the much higer processing costs we incur in these markets, where we have to process a significant multiple of applications more (so we both buy much more data and spend longer reviewing them) for every successful disbursal, and the time spent underwriting each case is also significantly higher. It certainly doesn't reflect a desire to close these markets. In fact, we haven't seen a reduction in the number of applications in these markets since the change, indicating it makes business sense, even if their proportion has declined. Interestingly both the US P2P players have much larger differentials in fees for their higher risk markets.

Lower fees for larger loans also make sense as the total value of a loan, including the future lender fees associated with it, increases with loan size. The vast bulk of loans over £7k are in the A and A* markets - the distribution is even more skewed than for smaller loans.

Finally, the new fee structure isn't set in stone and we will be tweaking it as we learn, in pursuit of the objectives I set out at the beginning of this post.

I'm slightly puzzled by the increase in the A* market for loans of £3000, but the reduction to £20 for loans of £7500 clearly demonstrate that Zopa are trying to raise the average loan size which would be good news for lenders.  The interest rate for an £8000 loan over 36 months for an A* borrower has decreased to 6.1% APR.

Funding Circle to raise maximum loan to £250k

December 1st, 2011
Funding Circle

It wasn't so long ago that Funding Circle raised the maximum loan from £50,000 to £100,000, and yesterday they announced they will be increasing the maximum loan to £250,000 from January 2012.  This will be tied in with additional security.  Here is the except from the email:

From January 2012, businesses will be able to take out larger loans of up to £250,000. This is great news for our lenders as it will mean many more businesses to choose from and help even more UK businesses to thrive and grow.

As with all businesses who borrow they are carefully vetted by our experienced team, plus we have introduced some additional security with these loans, to further protect your money.

This will allow Funding Circle to compete more with ThinCats who are facilitating loans between £50,000 and £3,000,000 and only offer secured lending.  It is noteworthy that both Funding Circle and ThinCats have experienced quite amazing growth since going live less than 2 years ago.

Earn £25 with Zopa

November 27th, 2011
Zopa

P2P Money can exclusively offer of a £25 Amazon Gift Voucher for anyone taking out their first loan with Zopa, or successfully lending out £2000 over the next year, when they sign-up to Zopa via P2P Money.  Further information and terms and conditions are available on the P2P Money website.

Quakle website to shutdown

November 25th, 2011
Quakle

The Quakle website was offline for a while this month, and it went unnoticed until today when MRC_London posted on the Zopa forum that Quake had posted further information.  As you can see from the information below the website will be offline from the end of this month, so we thought we would repost the information here for future reference.

Dear Quakle Members,

We are sorry to tell you that we are going to close the website by the end of November, after new loan applications were stopped several months ago. This follows last month’s announcement and will also cover a few questions that we have anticipated. The thread remains open for further questions for as long as the website is active.

This decision was made after considering the difficulties to seek expansion funds in a currently crowded market and to find potential buyers with the proper skills and authorisations for a loan book that is fairly small.

In order to make this as less painful as possible, we have spent the past couple of months to set up the tools that would enable the transactions to be processed while the Quakle website is off.

Payments to the lenders’ bank account will be made every first Monday of the month for the money that was collected in the past whole month. We recommend lenders to make sure that their bank account details are up-to-date now because changing your bank account information once the website is closed may result in significant delays in getting your money back.

Late payer accounts will continue to be chased by the debt collection agency - CCSG – and when some money is recovered via the collection accounts, it will be processed in the same way as the other payments.

We managed to secure a server facility that will be used to maintain contact with you via email. The address to be used is the current contact address [removed by P2P Money] and will be open for queries and questions for existing members only. We kindly ask you not to communicate this address to third parties. When requesting details about a particular loan, we ask you to provide the following information :

- your ID number located in ‘My Account’ or your screen name,

- the screen name of the borrower you are talking about or the loan ID,

- the amount of money you have lent in total to this person, i.e. the money owed to you before any repayment from the borrower.

This will also enable us to send details of your loan book every month in your email box. We provide this information so that you are not ‘blind’ and have a good idea of the money that is owed to you, however, the exact amount may be different because of the costs from the debt collectors. Unfortunately, with this system in place, we couldn’t get an easy way to take them into consideration.

I will also personally review the debt collection costs from time to time and make sure they are kept to a minimum.

Kind Regards,Josselin, Quakle Team

This is sad news indeed, but I suspect that while Quakle is the first P2P provider that is closing, it won't be the last.  However on a more positive note the major players are continuing to show a very large year-on-year growth.

Earn £25 with Funding Circle

November 21st, 2011
Funding Circle

There is just under 6 weeks left in order to sign-up with Funding Circle in order to qualify for their £25 gift voucher, if you have lent out £1000 or more by 31st January 2012*.  That is an automatic return of approximately 2.5%, on top of the good rates available over at Funding Circle.  A £25 gift voucher would be a good start to the year.

* Terms and conditions apply.