Virgin Bank of Canada?

When it rains it pours. First IOU Central opens up as the first social lending platform in Canada, and now Richard Branson has announced, somewhat coyly, that he will be moving his Virgin Money brand into Canada.

All the problems and frustrations that people find in the mobile-phone industry they also find in the banking industry here. The banking industry is ripe for a strong competitor here.

All of this, and CommunityLend is still moving forward to their early 2008 launch. Makes me think that Canada will have a very different financial landscape before 2008 is up. Quite a game changer…

IOU Central is Canada’s first social lending platform.

IOU CentralFor all my interest and excitement about social lending, I have not been able to use a social lending platform because there wasn’t one available in Canada. Then, this morning, I read on NetBanker that IOU Central has launched, making them first out of the gate for Canadians.

I had heard that there was a group in Quebec working on this, but I had assumed my friend Colin Henderson would be first out to market with CommunityLend, which is launching early this year.

I’ll give IOU Central a try and report what I find. As I’ve written before, my main question, one that is about to be answered, is: will Canadians who love to hate their five main national banks engage in social lending, or will we complain but stay put?

Interesting times…