LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s oldest peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa has been awarded a full banking licence by regulators, becoming the latest online player to expand into traditional banking services in a bid to boost profitability.
The London-based business launched in 2005 and approves around 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) of personal loans a year through its peer-to-peer platform, which brings together individual borrowers and lenders without a bank being involved.
The company has been working towards obtaining a full banking licence for at least three years and was boosted in December by securing a 140 million pound funding round.
A full licence enables a lender to take customer deposits that are guaranteed up to 85,000 pounds under a state-backed protection scheme and to provide a wider range of lending services.
Zopa said it planned to launch a fixed-term savings account before later introducing a credit card.
“Securing our banking licence enables Zopa to play a wider role in the financial lives of our customers, as well as offering much needed choice and competition to the wider market,” Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana said in a statement. ($1 = 0.7988 pounds) (Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Susan Fenton)