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Which P2P lending company really is the biggest?

By Jane Rey on 1st December, 2014 | Read more by this author

We took a look at most of the better-known UK-based P2P lending companies to see which is currently the biggest. The answer is: it depends how you measure it. Many of them claim to be biggest in one way or another.

Size is not everything, as RateSetter points out. However, bigger P2P lending companies can create more “liquid markets”. A liquid market means there are lots of people buying and selling. This means it can make it easier for lenders to exit loans early or to join loans later, since more people are around to trade with.

Let's take a look at the biggest companies, focusing on borrowers and lenders in the UK:

RateSetter, which mostly matches consumer P2P loans, is seeing monthly lending of around £25 million, although it has shorter-term loans, so money is re-lent more frequently. Lenders currently have nearly £260 million on loan through the website, which makes it the largest by that measure, according to RateSetter.

RateSetter's website shows that lending has gone up £300,000 in less than 24 hours during what probably is not a very busy period. It has about 17,000 lenders.

Zopa also calls itself the largest and so it is when measured by the total ever lent through the website, which is £682 million. The consumer loans P2P lending company started in 2005, five years before anyone else.

Zopa does not disclose monthly lending so it is presumably not higher than RateSetter. Zopa has about 50,000 lenders.

Funding Circle has lent a total of £444 million, which has gone up by about £700,000 in less than 24 hours. Since that includes a Sunday evening and Monday morning, it's probably not a busy time for People to lend new money. The company has about 35,000 lenders.

LendInvest is “the world's largest peer-to-peer marketplace for real estate mortgages” at least by total lent. It has completed £166 million-worth of loans to date.

Wellesley & Co. has grown from £7 million total lent in February 2014 to £123 million today. Currently, £111 million is on loan to property borrowers. Wellesley is creating up to £30 million in new loans per month. It has completed the largest loan we know of, for just under £11 million.

ThinCats has matched a total of £85 million of lenders' money  to business borrowers and Assetz Capital, a property P2P lending company, has matched around £50 million.

Perhaps we ought to say 4thWay® is the largest financial news, research and risk-ratings company…with a name beginning with a number.

Sources: RateSetter, Zopa, Funding Circle, LendInvest, Wellesley & Co., ThinCats and Assetz Capital.

*Commission, fees and impartial research: our service is free to you. 4thWay shows dozens of P2P lending accounts in our accurate comparison tables and we add new ones as they make it through our listing process. We receive compensation from Wellesley & Co. and Funding Circle, and other P2P lending companies not mentioned above either when you click through from our website and open accounts with them, or to cover the costs of conducting our calculated stress tests and ratings assessments. We vigorously ensure that this doesn't affect our editorial independence. Read How we earn money fairly with your help.

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