August 11, 2014 / 12:16 PM / in 3 years

British peer-to-peer lender Zopa hits $1 bln lending mark

LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Zopa has become the first British peer-to-peer lender to top $1 billion of lending, the company said on Monday.

The business, which was founded in 2005 and acts as an online broker between borrowers and individuals willing to offer loans, said it has passed the $1 billion mark after lending 148 million pounds ($248 million) so far this year, up more than 90 percent on the same period of 2013.

Peer-to-peer lenders have become popular among British private investors looking to make more from their money than they could from savings accounts at banks, which are offering lacklustre returns as a result of record-low interest rates. They also attract borrowers by offering lower rates than banks.

“The peer-to-peer industry is growing faster than ever and we’re looking forward to offering new products like ISAs in the near future,” Chief Executive and co-founder Giles Andrews said. ($1 = 0.5959 British Pounds) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by David Goodman)

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