Finance

Zopa tells staff to ‘work from wherever’ for the rest of 2021

Fintech lender Zopa has told its employees they can work from “wherever they choose” until the end of this year, as it trials a new hybrid working strategy.

The digital bank said its 450 staff will be allowed to work from any location in their home country for the rest of 2021, with a 90-day allowance to work from abroad. Zopa will also be redeveloping its London office to accommodate both face-to-face and virtual interactions between employees.

Around 80% of Zopa staff have expressed an interest in being able to blend working remotely and in the office, the bank said. The pace of employees returning to the office has been increasing, with 18% more staff choosing to work in the office in May than in the previous month.

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Zopa, which first burst onto the fintech scene among peer-to-peer lenders such as Funding Circle and Ratesetter in 2005, has been on a mission to transform its business in recent years. In the last year, the fintech firm acquired full banking authorisation and launched savings and credit card accounts for consumers.

The pandemic has shown a 100% remote operation “isn’t representative of a sustainable ongoing model for us or our people”, Zopa chief customer officer Clare Gambardella said.

“By testing and learning with our employees throughout 2021, we can understand how a distributed working model functions in the longer term and what the differing preferences are for the people throughout our business,” Gambardella added. “Our goal is to find a model which enables both Zopa’s continued growth and our ability to attract and retain the best talent.”

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Zopa said its customer base increased by 27% during the pandemic, with more than 400,000 current account users on its books. By comparison, Starling Bank has opened more than two million customer accounts, while Monzo has 5.2 million.

Official testing of Zopa’s new hybrid-working strategy will begin on 1 June, with the bank set to review and adapt based on quantitative data and feedback from employees and stakeholders.

It follows in the footsteps of other fintech startups seeking to cater to staff needs as the pandemic eases. Digital banking firm Revolut and payments startup GoCardless have both announced policies that allow staff to work from abroad, while crypto exchange Coinbase shuttered its San Francisco headquarters for good.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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