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Changing of the guard: Funding Circle passes Zopa in cumulative lending

Funding Circle is now the UK’s largest marketplace lender by total money lent.

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Funding Circle is now the UK’s largest marketplace lender by total money lent.

Funding Circle, the UK’s original marketplace lender for businesses, is now the UK’s largest marketplace lender by cumulative loan disbursals.

It might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s significant in that Zopa has been perched atop the peer-to-peer lending pile for more than a decade.

The consumer loans-focused Zopa became the world’s first peer-to-peer/marketplace lender when it launched in 2005. Funding Circle arrived on the scene five years later, adapting the concept pioneered by Zopa to facilitate small business lending. It subsequently began lending to property developers, but is currently in the process of winding down that part of the business.

Funding Circle has now lent a cumulative total of £2.289bn, placing them approximately £1m ahead of Zopa’s £2.288bn total. The firm is running at a higher monthly lending rate than Zopa, and remains the only UK-based marketplace lender to have lent more than £100m in a month. Its record of £116m came in March.

But this landmark leapfrogging might still be reversed. Zopa became the first of the UK’s “big three” peer-to-peer/marketplace lenders to be granted full authorisation last week, and will soon be able to launch its Innovative Finance ISA offering. Funding Circle and RateSetter will have to wait for their own authorisations to come through before following suit.

As shown in the volume chart below, Funding Circle and Zopa had been running at a similar monthly rate up until Brexit, but Funding Circle’s volumes have since sky-rocketed, with Zopa continuing to grow its lending at a steady pace. 

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