A survey by the Social Futures Observatory has found that 74% of Britons would consider online social lending, a service where people who wish to borrow money are put in touch with those who wish to lend it, as a serious alternative to their high street bank.
The survey also revealed that only 15% of those questioned believe the main aim of their bank to be providing good financial services to customers.
The report suggests that this mistrust is a contributing factor to the high percentage of UK consumers turning to online methods of borrowing and lending, and, according to The Guardian, this phenomenon could be about to threaten the dominance of the big banks by transforming the way we borrow and save.
The survey’s states: Our findings suggest that social lending schemes are in the process of constructing new ways of using and interacting with financial services, and goes on to describe social lending as a new financial category of genuine importance.
The survey was commissioned and partially funded by Zopa, a UK-based online lending and borrowing exchange. Zopa was created by the founders of the online bank Egg in March 2005 and has since amassed 105,000 members.
The report found that Zopa’s community approach to lending offered, a much deeper appreciation of the individual far beyond the actual transaction and a viable alternative to what it said many saw as the ‘necessary evil’ of traditional banking.
Although the report’s impartiality could be questioned, it does show that social lending is becoming an important new financial service in response to current social trends.