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Two P2P Sharing-Economy Players Team Up—Airbnb and Zopa

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While the concept of P2P lending is creative in and of itself, U.K.-based P2P lending pioneer Zopa is letting its creative roots show. Today the company partnered with Airbnb to help customers pay back their loan.

Here’s how it works, upon logging into their Zopa dashboard, borrowers click a link to sign up to become an Airbnb host. If they earn £500 from Airbnb within six months, they get £50 off their loan. If they earn £1,000 from Airbnb rentals, they get £100 off. U.K. hosts earn an average of £2,000 per year for renting their home for 46 nights, which means borrowers would need to rent out their homes around 18 times over the course of a year to take full advantage of Zopa’s offer.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-10-35-48-amWhile the partnership makes sense for Zopa—it’s a focused way to help borrowers increase their income—it seems unlikely that banks will make the same move. The risk and liability that come with the nature of the P2P sharing economy are native to both Airbnb and Zopa but do not mix well with a highly regulated bank.

Since it was founded in 2005, the company has already helped 54,000 borrowers finance home-improvement projects. The loan-repayment offer is only available to new Airbnb hosts who receive a quote from Zopa from 1 September 2016 to 1 September 2017 and are approved for a loan.

Zopa debuted at FinovateSpring 2008. Since then, the company has weathered the ups and downs of the financial crisis and the P2P lending industry itself. Earlier this year, Zopa revamped its product lineup, debuting Classic, Access, and Plus, which allows institutions to lend to higher-risk borrowers. In May, the company began offering auto loan refinancing, tapping into the used-car-financing market. Most recently, Zopa appointed Ronen Benchtrit as its CTO in an effort to grow its technology strategy.