A Camden Zopa? (www.zopa.com)

Recycling the wealth in Camden through localised peer to peer loans

Ak_picture Submitted by Alexander Kenmure
Camden Challenge - Thrive
What can we do to support people on low incomes in Camden to thrive?

Let's face it, for all the talk of inequality it is often economic wealth that divides - the "haves" and the "have-nots". In Camden we have both, but from my experience there aren't natural ways for these two groups to intermingle in a mature self-affirming way. How do you get past entrenching the divide and avoid a potential hand-me-down culture? My (possible) solution - introduce a hyper-local Zopa model (www.zopa.com) that encourages people across Camden to lend to each other and more importantly learn about each other's lives. What I love about Zopa is the connections made between people providing loans with those receiving and how can create a bonding between very disparate people. I wonder if we could establish something in Camden that allowed those with more money who don't just want to donate to be matched with those that need a helping hand who don't just want hand-outs.

This could be a new peer to peer lending service or it could be approaching an established provider to work up a bespoke regional model.

Welcome any thoughts?


  • Ben Matthews
    17 May at 11:45

    I'm trying out Zopa now (from a lending side). Although it's not explicitly part of their messaging, I like the fact that my money is being used to help give someone else a lower rate of borrowing interest (and it helps that I get a better rate of interest too).

    A hyper local version might work to - it would be even better to know that I'm helping people in my local community (which might also have wider benefits in the long run, e.g. less people in debt in the neighbourhood).

    Would it be a negative if you knew there were people out there - just down the road even - making money out of you borrowing their money? Or is that not too different to the 'loan shark' culture out there already?

  • Alexander Kenmure
    17 May at 15:27

    Hi Ben. Thanks for comments! It's an interesting challenge about the borrower dynamics and whether proximity matters. My instinct that it is more important about the branding and marketing in a positive and attractive way. I always come back to Wonga - everyone knows it is awful but some cheeky older people puppets and away they go! Maybe even having a local proximity might encourage better borrowing behaviours knowing that it isn't some faceless (or sinister) "loan shark" provider that you're interacting with?