Taking the Bank Out of Banking

Middleman-free microlending has long been associated with developing countries. Why not bring the model online elsewhere, circumventing the traditional banking industry? That's the idea behind zopa.com a Web-based lending and borrowing exchange that connects those who want to lend with creditworthy people looking to borrow. Zopa serves as the platform, like eBay. The borrower simply pays a 1% fee to Zopa up front. Members have to be at least 18, have a credit rating and, for now, live in Britain. Zopa plans to open in the U.S. in 2006 and has had offers to take the service into more...

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