Everyone hates banks right? Or is that just me?

At the Social Media Influence conference in London yesterday Anthony Mayfield from iCrossing talked about the merits of social media (no surprise there) but it was the increasing importance of social lending sites that really caught my eye.

Those of you who know these things will already be aware of sites like moneysavingexpert.com and Zopa.com who’ve been sitting quietly in the background, not disrupting the banking status quo for some time. Rather, they’ve been incrementaly changing the way people feel about their finances.

As a site moneysavingexpert is encyclopeadic, sharp and decently organised with a philosophy that’s all about independent financing and reclaiming money. Ads on the site are a mixed bag – half paid, half unpaid. However creator, Martin Lewis, openly declares which companies have put forward money but refuses to be swayed by their investment.

“Loans for people not banks” is Zopa’s moto. The social networking site lets people swap money without interference from financial advisors or bank managers; it’s monitored rather than controlled. For borrowers there’s a low interest rate and for lenders there’s a guaranteed return plus the feeling that your doing something rewarding with your money.

Most interesting of all is that the concept is being experimented with by those folks at Virgin Money who’ve seen the potential for social banking. And who, I expect, are the first of many corporations investigating this particular innovation in social media.

What does the future hold for banking?

We might not have stood in our last bank queue yet but perhaps won’t have to wait long for that day to arrive...


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