Everyone's commenting on Zopa's US launch, so I feel the need to get my two cents in. If you've somehow missed it, just skim the blog headlines:
- RateLadder: Zopa Launches in United States
- WiseClerk: First impressions of the Zopa US site
- PLP: Zopa Promises to be Different
- NetBanker: Zopa Launches U.S. Loan Marketplace Monday Night
- Lazy Man And Money: Zopa Launch Imminent
It's very difficult to see Zopa's US offering as anything beyond a chewing gum, duck tape, and bailing wire operation. On the lender side, Zopa is competing with banks and will not attract big investment money. I think Lazy Man said it best:
So there is the rub. Investing in Zopa is very much like buying a bank CD. The only advantage vs a bank CD that I can see from a lending standpoint is that the lender can lend money to a specific borrower. This may be psychologically nice, but it’s never been the biggest selling point in peer-to-peer lending for me. If I really knew the person I was helping outside of Zopa that would be of value to me. However, helping a strangers is nothing new. Ten years ago when I bought a CD from my credit union, what do you think they did? They used that money to lend out to other people. I don’t see how this that different.
Zopa was supposed to bring some fresh competition to the US market and shake things up a little, but didn't bring much to the table. Lots of sizzle, but where's the steak?