Once upon a time the New Year honours saw a slew of bankers collecting gongs. These days things are different – in 2016 it is the so-called ‘alternative financiers’ who seem to have been the winners.
Among them is Giles Andrews (now OBE), co-founder and executive chairman of Zopa. The pioneering group has overseen £1.2billion worth of lending to individuals and is a core part of the revolution transforming the way we borrow.
‘It’s a very exciting start to the New Year, he says of his OBE. ‘There’s been quite a lot in the news about the fact no banker won an award in the New Year honours list. It’s because banks don’t treat customers very well. I think anyone who knew anything about the industry knew that was true even before the crisis.’
So it seems banker bashing is still in vogue at Zopa.
‘2015 was a really exciting year for us,’ Andrews continues. ‘We doubled the size of our business and it grew faster than any other mature platform in the UK. And the plan is to do the same again next year.
‘So we’re setting ourselves an ambitious target of doubling ourselves again, which means we will lend over a billion pounds. We’ve lent about £1.2billion in total now, of which £530million or so has been in the last 12 months.’