Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Can Credit Unions Keep Up With Social Lending?

I was reading Tim McAlpines blog over at www.cuckoocampaigns.com and his post "dinosaurs didn't have broadband, whats your credit union's excuse?" got me thinking. With all this talk about social lending being the "next big thing", what is your credit unions stand? Are you ready to embrace this new marriage of community and technology, or are you too caught up competing with the Bank of America down the street to see this rising opportunity to reach people on a personal level.

I know I've been talking a lot about Zopa, but I'm really excited to see a change in direction for lending (and of all the social lending companies I've looked at I find them the most attractive). I'm especially excited about the inclusion of credit unions as the main source for fund security. Right now, there are six CU's that Zopa has partnered with. When I first heard that these six credit unions had a field of membership covering all of the United States i was a bit upset...what about the rest of us? So I did a bit more research and found that credit unions that still want to be a part of Zopa can apply to do so. It was at this point that i realized the brilliance of Zopa's business model. It isn't about turning huge profits for Zopa and it's select few credit union backers, its about letting the consumer choose how and where they borrow. So, my advice to you is, don't fight the wave of alternative lenders, join them. I can feel the stampede coming...its your choice to get up to speed, or get trampled by those that are.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Social lending.... lending from people to people....... sounds familiar. I'm not sure where I've heard this before. ;)

Seriously, I've been excited for Zopa to launch in the U.S. ever since I heard Doug True speak about it in Seattle back in May. He swore us to secrecy until it launched; I'm so glad it's out of the bag now. Indeed, now CU's can take part in the next revolution in personal finance. They started the revolution ninety-nine years ago, there's no reason they can't be in the forefront of this one!

Andy said...

Exactly, I see this more as a natural extension of what CU's started. People helping people, but in a way that makes the process much more visible to the general public and I think thats really what people need to see...a visible differentiation between banks and CU's.

Doug True said...

Andy... Enjoyed your post on Zopa. One point of clarification - not all six Zopa launch partners have a national footprint. Here at FORUM we serve primarily central Indiana and we are proud to bring the power of the Zopa community to our existing members and hopefully attract new members to the credit union. Zopa will be adding new credit unions to the fold as the program matures and grows here in the United States. The social help feature in Zopa turns two commodities (the CD and the unsecured loan) in to highly personal solutions.

Andy said...

Thanks Doug, sorry i didn't make that more clear to begin with. Sort of made it sound like we were getting taken over by some uber-cu's!