Zopa enables people to lend and borrow money to and from each other within the Zopa community of over 90,000 members, with the interest made on the amount loaned usually going straight back to the lender. The pilot scheme, launched in association with one of over 280 UK Indian communities across the country, enables each lender to channel 100% of their interest income into community projects identified by jalebi. Zopa’s technology makes the whole process seamless and because there is no bank involved, no additional operational costs are incurred by jalebi.
Projects that will benefit from this first pilot scheme include a community bus project providing transport for the elderly in West Bromwich, and a local five-aside football teams in Leicester that simply needs new football kit.
James Alexander, UK CEO at Zopa said: “Borrowers and lenders now have an added incentive to exchange money through Zopa – real people in real communities will benefit directly from the interest that would have otherwise gone to a bank. We’re delighted that Zopa is being used in this way and happy to see as many people as possible benefit.”
Dil Patel, spokesperson for jalebi, said “Lending between groups of people has been a part of UK Indian communities for centuries and partnering with Zopa has enabled us to take lending to the next level, using technology to empower individuals to use their money for the benefit of the whole community. Everyone benefits and the whole experience is easy, enjoyable and socially rewarding.”
There are around 100 lenders taking part in the pilot scheme and the individuals are comprised from a cross section of the local community, including university graduates and local business people. Lenders are aged between 24 and 45 and have chosen to lend money though Zopa because of the potential for great returns on interest, which they can pay directly to the local programmes. While the initial pilot group has been drawn from the UK Indian community, the jalebi online lending community is open to all who would like to get involved.
Zopa and jalebi are keen to see people around the whole country benefit from the potential of Zopa to transform how people borrow and lend money to each other, whilst fundraising for their local communities at the same time. There are over 1.1 million UK Indians living in the UK today and Asians in the UK account for more than 10% (£100bn) of the country’s economic output (source: Institute of Asian Professionals, September 2005). Zopa and jalebi hope that the pilot scheme rolls out across the whole country through UK Indian communities and beyond, helping local community projects nationwide and change the way people lend and borrow money forever.
Community leaders and individuals that wish to set up a similar scheme in their own local community or join an existing scheme should contact jalebi or Zopa directly via www.zopa.com or www.jalebi.co.uk .