An Interview with Clare Gambardella, Chief Customer Officer of Zopa

I was very excited to share with you the recent launch of Zopa as the FeelGood Money™  company I shared details on the exciting things Zopa have coming up and that they had been granted their banking licence. Zopa is here to change the way we feel about banking and I can’t wait to see and test the products that Zopa have coming. I will add in the disclaimer here that this is a collaborative post with Zopa.

As part of the launch I welcomed the chance to interview Clare Gambardella, the Chief Customer Officer on my radio show Mrs Mummypenny Talks. You can download and listen to the show here. The interview starts after about 15 minutes of my regular show chatter and be prepared for some brilliant #FeelGood music including Rozalla and Lily Allen: –

And here are some of the highlights from our conversation.

How will the readers/listeners know who Zopa are?

Zopa have been around for 13 years and began as a revolutionary Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending business. People invest and Zopa use that money to gives loans to others who need money, both the investment and loan interest rates are very competitive and fair. They were the first P2P lending business in the world and have grown significantly since then.

Customers loved what Zopa were doing and were asking for more innovative products to help with their progressively complex financial lives. Zopa started to think about getting a banking licence and helping customers in the ways they have been asking.

How are Zopa making things better for the customer?

Zopa is funded on the principles of transparency, fairness and trust and so far, this has been delivered to around 500k customers.

The problem with current times is that people feel anxious about money, Zopa found that half of people say they don’t trust their bank. Most adults worry that they are not making the right financial choices. Zopa believe their products will meet these needs, taking away some of stress of modern financial life. They will be offering products without catches, making the process of managing money easier. They are listening to customers and developing products to help with their concerns.

People do some research and try to make the right choices but often end up with a product that is not quite right or has some small print with catches that could harm them. Zopa want to deliver a fair experience. There are no charges for paying off a loan early. When introduced their credit card they won’t have a confusing 0% introductory period. They will offer a transparent interest rate that can be managed more easily.

A personal question that I ask of every guest on Mrs Mummypenny Talks. What is your biggest money mistake and biggest money success?

Clare’s biggest money mistake comes from a very sensible safe place. Clare was very good with savings and used her ISA allowance every year. But she invested solely in cash rather than in stocks and shares. The growth in cash has been poor in comparison to the stocks and shares and Clare regrets missing out on the gain that she could have made. Claire began working for Zopa in early 2018. At Zopa she has learnt so much more about investment and is looking into ways to better invest her own savings into something that should provide more of a return.

Clare’s biggest money success comes from a basic and simple concept that she learnt from her father. He advised her to save a chunk of money as soon as she was paid. To put that away before spending money on bills or herself each month.

“Pay Yourself First

She started as soon as she started earning and has never stopped.  Such a brilliant money mindset to begin at a young age and once it is established is a behaviour that is very hard to break or change.

The conversation often drifts in my interviews, I love to let them move onto subjects that we might not have planned to talk about, and love sharing anecdotes of my good and bad money behaviour.

We talked about open banking (the new freedom of banking information being shared between companies) and the movement of more knowledge and information into the hands of customers.  Zopa have already launched an app for borrowers and plan to update in the new year each time new products launch.

The app will take a huge powerful step in sharing with customers which of their financial behaviours impacts things like credit scores and how that will impact the products a customer can have.

What is Zopa doing differently to other new challenger banks?

Zopa has 13 years’ worth of data and experience. They operated through the 2008 recession and still delivered returns. They have a great reputation of delivering results.

Customer recommendations are at a super high level. More than 90% of customers would recommend Zopa to their friends, this is very rare for a financial services company.

Technology is key to Zopa, having built their own banking back-end system, thus allowing them to operate in an agile, quick way. This means they can move quickly and respond to customer demands.

These three factors will make Zopa a FeelGood Money™ company that customers will love.

What Products are Coming?

There will be a traditional fixed term saving account with a great interest rate. This was a direct response to feedback from customers who wanted a savings account as well as the investment account that already exists. There is a credit card on the horizon. Zopa want to make it easy for you to feel confident and in control of your money with their credit card.  There are some exciting secret features planned. Stay tuned as I will have all the insider knowledge.

The relaunch of the financial management app will put customers in control of their money and credit score. Currently the app is just for borrowers. In theory all services will come under the app though certain features will be sooner than others. Account aggregation (open banking) and new, improved credit score features are coming soon.

How can the readers find out more?

Go to the website here and follow them on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook for plenty of exciting updates.

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Zopa. They reached out to me to help promote their banking licence news, and new products.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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