WeB@ank - the case for peer to peer lending

The 150 or so people attended the Nesta run "WeB@ank" event last night on the subject of peer to peer finance models and businesses were treated to a lively and polarised panel debate involving Giles Andrews (MD, Zopa UK), James Gardner (Bankervision and LloydsTSB) and Umair Haque (Havas Media Lab).

Unfortunately Umair's contribution lacked any real relevance to the discussion and left him appearing as someone wanted to be a deep-thinking academic offering higher plane wisdom and insight, but who actually came across as someone out-of-touch with matters at hand. Of course, he may retort that I was simply not bright enough to understand his mutterings but it was evident I wasn't alone in my thinking speaking to others in the audience later.

Fortunately, James and Giles were excellent sparring partners on opposite sides of the debate. Indeed, it almost had a pantomime feel to it with the traditional banker ["the baddy"] questioning the upstart model ["the goody"] - Giles was even pulling exagerated faces to win over the audience when James was speaking.

Good contributions came from the audience, which further the discussion. Disappointingly, though Nesta's organiser decided to cut the debate short simply to fit into the closing time they had publish which sadly failed to reflect the momentum the evening had built up.

Congratulations to Nesta and Christian Alhert at Open Business for organising the event.

I intend to post separately about the presentations from three firms who were showcased, namely
- Zopa, a loans marketplace
- Kubera Money
- Midpoint

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