A spokesman said: “We want to serve a whole new group of customers. We serve investors well and we’d like to serve savers as well.”
By applying for a banking licence Zopa says its customers will receive protection through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, it expects this will only apply to banking customers and not to its peer-to-peer customers.
The lender reached profitability in September this year, after four year of being unprofitable and 11 years of being in business. It has helped to arrange loans or more than £1.8bn during that time.
However, a spokesman for Zopa said it expected to make losses during the bank setup.
“We don’t think we will remain profitable as the banking application requires a lot of capital investment, but we have got a very stable business and have proven we are able to attain profitability. Once we have launched we plan to return to profitability very quickly,” the spokesman said.
It expects the licence approval to take up to two years.