What Led to the Think Finance Bankruptcy?

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list […]

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list of high-flying fintech startups that got crushed due to their inability to navigate lending laws and/or placate their principal backers over their performance.

Introduction

Think Finance was started in 2001 by Mike Stinson in Fort Worth, Texas. Ken Rees replaced Stinson as CEO in 2004. The company raised $60 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and others, and secured a $90 million credit facility from Victory Park Capital Advisors in 2010.

Think Finance is an online provider of software technology, analytics, loan servicing, and marketing services. Working with other companies, the offer and service lines of credit and installment loans over the internet throughout the United States. In 2013, with revenues of over $500 million, Think Finance was ranked #2 on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies. In 2014, the company did a strategic restructuring, resulting in the spinoff of a new independent company called Elevate, which became a five-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies (2010-2015).

Trouble in the “Think Finance” Paradise: Filing for Bankruptcy

Think Finance former CEO Ken Rees is a serial entrepreneur, innovator, and veteran of the financial services industry. In 2001, he founded CashWorks Inc., a non-bank financial technology company in Dallas, served as CEO and president, and, in 2004, sold it to GE. After that, he founded Payday, one of the first online payday lenders. He moved on to head Elevate after the restructuring. Martin Wong, a financial industry veteran, with stints in Citigroup, Western Union, and Cigna, now leads the company.

Privately held Think Finance and five affiliated debtors filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Texas, lead case number 17-33964, on October 23, 2017. The company is represented by Gregory G. Hesse of Hunton & Williams.

According to documents filed with the court, “While Think Finance had intended to leverage its successful track-record and explore opportunities for continued growth and innovation in the fast-moving fintech industry, it has been forced to seek bankruptcy protection because of a liquidity crisis caused by hedge fund Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (‘Victory Park’). Victory Park has caused GPL Servicing, Ltd. (‘GPLS’) – an entity that owes Think Finance and its subsidiaries tens of millions of dollars – to stop paying Think Finance for its services and Victory Park has raided GPLS’s bank accounts. The scheduled payments from GPLS that Victory Park has intercepted represent a major component of Think Finance’s near-term cash flow. Without these funds, Think Finance soon could be forced to cease or substantially curtail its operations.”

Think Finance’s Chapter 11 petition indicates total assets greater than $100 million.

The debtors intend to continue in the possession of their respective properties and the management of their respective businesses as debtors in possession pursuant to sections 1107 and 1108 of the Bankruptcy Code.

What Caused This Meltdown?

Think Finance has been accused of being a predatory lender in multiple federal lawsuits. Along with the Chicago Hedge Fund, Victory Park Capital Advisors, the company was alleged to be running a “rent-a-tribe” scheme under which they were running investors’ money through a web of shell companies to make it look like legally-exempt Native Americans are making short-term, high-interest loans to needy borrowers.

Many lenders have used Native Tribes to dodge the usury law. The law targets the practice of charging excessively high rates on loans by setting caps on the maximum amount of interest that can be levied. But trouble brewed when Victory Park cut off Think Finance’s access to funds. Pennsylvania Attorney General has accused both of being active participants in this scheme.

Both parties are contesting the case on the grounds they do not fall under the scope of a “lender.” Think Finance is portraying itself as a financial technology provider, and Victory Park stated it merely provided money through “commercial transactions” that was used to make the online loans. Bankruptcy should help clear the air on how these transactions were actually structured. But for now, the company’s future looks bleak.

Final Nail? CFPB Sues Think Finance

“We are suing Think Finance for deceiving consumers into repaying loans they did not legally owe,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray. “Think Finance wrongly took money from people’s bank accounts, so we are seeking relief for consumers and a civil money penalty.”

The two main grounds for these accusations against Think Finance are:

  1. Think Finance allegedly conned consumers into making payments for a debt they did not owe – Usury laws void a loan if the rate charged exceeds the interest rate allowed by the state. Think Finance allegedly duped its customers into paying for the debt even though those loan agreements were void under the state’s usury laws. Moreover, ThinkFinance was allegedly unlicensed in some states thus rendering those loans void, as well.
  2. Think Finance allegedly collected loan payments that consumers did not owe – Think Finance, without the knowledge of its customers, allegedly transferred loan installments electronically from customer bank accounts and allegedly sent letters to customers asking for payments that they were not obligated to pay.

Therefore, the CFPB is seeking monetary relief for consumers, civil money penalties, and injunctive relief, including a prohibition on Think Finance’s collecting on void loans.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that Think Finance is in an extreme legal quagmire. In the bigger scheme of things, this situation throws light on the “shortcuts” used by fintech companies to grow their lending books. Think Finance’s bankruptcy feels like a tip of the iceberg. With regulations getting more stringent, more such cases are expected to pop up in the future.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

What Led to the Think Finance Bankruptcy?

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list […]

Think Finance

Post-2008 financial crisis, the alternative lending industry flourished providing access to quick funds to individuals and SMEs left in the lurch by their banks. Behind it’s unprecedented growth was also a weak regulatory framework and a risky business plan that sometimes involved circumventing states’ usury laws. Think Finance is the latest addition to the list of high-flying fintech startups that got crushed due to their inability to navigate lending laws and/or placate their principal backers over their performance.

Introduction

Think Finance was started in 2001 by Ken Rees in Fort Worth, Texas. It raised $60 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and others, and secured a $90 million credit facility from Victory Park Capital Advisors in 2010.

Think Finance is an online provider of software technology, analytics, loan servicing, and marketing services. Working with other companies, the offer and service lines of credit and installment loans over the internet throughout the United States. In 2013, with revenues of over $500 million, Think Finance was ranked #2 on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies. In 2014, the company did a strategic restructuring, resulting in the spinoff of a new independent company called Elevate, which became a five-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies (2010-2015).

Founder and CEO

Think Finance founder and former CEO Ken Rees is a serial entrepreneur, innovator, and veteran of the financial services industry. In 2001, he founded CashWorks Inc., a non-bank financial technology company in Dallas, served as CEO and president, and, in 2014, sold it to GE. After that, he founded Payday, one of the first online payday lenders. He moved on to head Elevate after the restructuring. Martin Wong, a financial industry veteran, with stints in Citigroup, Western Union, and Cigna, now leads the company.

Trouble in the “Think Finance” Paradise: Filing for Bankruptcy

Privately held Think Finance and five affiliated debtors filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Texas, lead case number 17-33964, on October 23, 2017. The company is represented by Gregory G. Hesse of Hunton & Williams.

According to documents filed with the court, “While Think Finance had intended to leverage its successful track-record and explore opportunities for continued growth and innovation in the fast-moving fintech industry, it has been forced to seek bankruptcy protection because of a liquidity crisis caused by hedge fund Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (‘Victory Park’). Victory Park has caused GPL Servicing, Ltd. (‘GPLS’) – an entity that owes Think Finance and its subsidiaries tens of millions of dollars – to stop paying Think Finance for its services and Victory Park has raided GPLS’s bank accounts. The scheduled payments from GPLS that Victory Park has intercepted represent a major component of Think Finance’s near-term cash flow. Without these funds, Think Finance soon could be forced to cease or substantially curtail its operations.”

Think Finance’s Chapter 11 petition indicates total assets greater than $100 million.

The debtors intend to continue in the possession of their respective properties and the management of their respective businesses as debtors in possession pursuant to sections 1107 and 1108 of the Bankruptcy Code.

What Caused This Meltdown?

Think Finance has been accused of being a predatory lender in multiple federal lawsuits. Along with the Chicago Hedge Fund, Victory Park Capital Advisors, the company was alleged to be running a “rent-a-tribe” scheme under which they were running investors’ money through a web of shell companies to make it look like legally-exempt Native Americans are making short-term, high-interest loans to needy borrowers.

Many lenders have used Native Tribes to dodge the usury law. The law targets the practice of charging excessively high rates on loans by setting caps on the maximum amount of interest that can be levied. But trouble brewed when Victory Park cut off Think Finance’s access to funds. Pennsylvania Attorney General has accused both of being active participants in this scheme.

Both parties are contesting the case on the grounds they do not fall under the scope of a “lender.” Think Finance is portraying itself as a financial technology provider, and Victory Park stated it merely provided money through “commercial transactions” that was used to make the online loans. Bankruptcy should help clear the air on how these transactions were actually structured. But for now, the company’s future looks bleak.

Final Nail? CFPB Sues Think Finance

“We are suing Think Finance for deceiving consumers into repaying loans they did not legally owe,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray. “Think Finance wrongly took money from people’s bank accounts, so we are seeking relief for consumers and a civil money penalty.”

The two main grounds for these accusations against Think Finance are:

  1. Think Finance allegedly conned consumers into making payments for a debt they did not owe – Usury laws void a loan if the rate charged exceeds the interest rate allowed by the state. Think Finance allegedly duped its customers into paying for the debt even though those loan agreements were void under the state’s usury laws. Moreover, ThinkFinance was allegedly unlicensed in some states thus rendering those loans void, as well.
  2. Think Finance allegedly collected loan payments that consumers did not owe – Think Finance, without the knowledge of its customers, allegedly transferred loan installments electronically from customer bank accounts and allegedly sent letters to customers asking for payments that they were not obligated to pay.

Therefore, the CFPB is seeking monetary relief for consumers, civil money penalties, and injunctive relief, including a prohibition on Think Finance’s collecting on void loans.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that Think Finance is in an extreme legal quagmire. In the bigger scheme of things, this situation throws light on the “shortcuts” used by fintech companies to grow their lending books. Think Finance’s bankruptcy feels like a tip of the iceberg. With regulations getting more stringent, more such cases are expected to pop up in the future.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Friday December 29 2017, Daily News Digest

china mobile payments

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck adds BlackRock-managed fund to platform. China imposes order on mobile payments. P2P lending demand booms in Australia. Moneybank launches in Vietnam. Today’s main analysis: India’s startup watchlist for 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 3 trends transforming advisor practices. Is P2P lending in India truly disruptive? 7 fintech predictions for 2018. Canadians’ top priority is paying down […]

china mobile payments

News Comments

United States

China

  • China moves to impose order on mobile payments. AT: “There’s no surprise here. China is all about the regulation right now. While regulations will likely slow the growth of mobile payments in China, the sector will still outpace growth in the U.S.”

International

Australia

India

Asia

MENA

Canada

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Adds a BlackRock-Managed Fund to its Platform of Financing Partners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

On December 15, 2017, OnDeck introduced the BlackRock-managed fund as the Class B lender under OnDeck’s existing asset-backed, revolving credit facility with SunTrust Bank. As a result, OnDeck increased the facility’s borrowing capacity to approximately $120 million. SunTrust Bank, the Class A lender under the facility, will act as the administrative agent for both the Class A and Class B lenders.

25 Best Small Business Articles of 2017 (OnDeck), Rated: A

Here are the 25 most read articles from our blog this year. If you missed any of them, now’s your time to catch up.

Which 3 trends are transforming advisor practices? (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

In the face of 2017’s unprecedented opportunities and challenges, advisors have also felt the pressure of three converging forces — and their impact will be heightened in the year ahead.

It starts with the commoditization of financial advice, best exemplified by the growing use of robo advice by both financial advisors and do-it-yourself investors. Second, the downward pressure of fee compression, as consumers demand high-value and low-cost products and services. And third, the continuing consolidation that is reshaping the advisor industry, as firms join forces to achieve greater scale and gain a competitive edge.

In 2018, the impact of commoditization, fee compression and consolidation will lead to a massive shift, shaping the products you use, the portfolios you build, and the very nature of financial advice itself.

CFP Board Revamps Standards, Seeks Comments (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The CFP Board polled around 1,000 CFP professionals on its initial revision proposal and found that 96% agreed that CFPs should be required to put their clients’ best interest first, according to WealthManagement.com.

The CFP Board is seeking comment on its revised code of ethics and standards of conduct, according to a press release from the board.

5 Trends to Watch in Fintech, Wealthtech and Regtech in 2018 (Think Advisor), Rated: B

  1. Regulation is just beginning.
  2. Technology will continue to converge.
  3. Roles will be blurred.
  4. Enterprise companies will get in the game.
  5. Non-industry brands join in the fun.

Here’s What Over 40% of Millennials Plan to Do With Their Tax Refund (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Instead, over 40% of millennials have a sensible plan for a windfall that averaged $2,782 across all Americans getting refunds last year. Of course, not every filer will get that much (some even owe) but the 43% of millennials who get a refund will be using it to pay down bills they accrued over the holidays, according to a survey from tax preparation company Jackson Hewitt.

That’s actually a higher rate of using a tax refund to pay down holiday debt than the 31% of the general population polled who gave the same answer to the question “Do you tend to use your tax refund to pay off holiday debt/bills/credit cards?”

In general, you want to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%. That means you should have more than 70% of your total allotment of credit across all cards available to use.

How Mike Praeger has put AvidXchange — and Charlotte — on fintech map (Biz Journals), Rated: A

When it comes to Charlotte’s business aspirations, homegrown automated payment company AvidXchange hits all the right notes.

SoFi Landing Page (dribbble), Rated: B

China

China moves to impose order on mobile payments boom (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank has tightened rules on mobile payments made by scanning a barcode, imposing restrictions that could slow the explosive growth for Alibaba’s financial services affiliate and that of its main rival, Tencent.

The regulations set daily limits on the amount consumers can spend each day using barcode-based payments. They also forbid “burning money” via subsidies to merchants, which are designed to capture market share from competitors.

China leads the world in mobile payments, most of which are executed by scanning a QR code. While some scans use a specialised point-of-sale (POS) terminal, others occur between mobile phones or when the consumer scans a decal posted near the checkout area.

Source: Financial Times
International

Fintech predictions BI Intelligence got right in 2017 (Business Insider), Rated: A

As 2016 drew to a close, BI Intelligence collated its top five fintech predictions for 2017. As we enter the new year, we’re revisiting them to see how they stood the test of time. Here is what we got right about 2017:

  • Insurtech will continue to ascend.
  • Alternative lending will consolidate around a few big players. Just two of the UK’s largest consumer marketplace lenders, Zopa and RateSetter, 
    Source: Business Insider
    Australia

    Demand for peer-to-peer lending booms (AustralianBroker), Rated: AAA

    Australia’s peer-to-peer lending industry nearly doubled its loan originations this past financial year writing $300m in loans, according to a recent ASIC report.

    More than 18,500 consumers and 201 businesses borrowed $300m in the 2016-17 FY, compared with $156m in 2015-16. More than 7,760 investors provided financing to the platforms.

    The average interest rate charged for these loans was 10.5%. The majority of businesses (77%) were charged an interest rate of between 12-15.99% and the majority of consumers (55%) were charged between 8-11.99%.

    India

    P2P lending in India: Is it truly delivering a disruptive new asset-class? (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

    When we started the P2P business, it was all about reaching out to borrowers who have been untapped by the formal sources of finance. I will get to that in my next point, but during our journey we have realized it was not only about the borrowers, but also about lenders. It was not easy to draw lenders to the model, but once they realized the potential, it was clear to them that P2P was a good alternate source of investment.

    The P2P industry and us included have painstakingly worked to safeguard the lender’s interest, use technology to help lenders take the most informed lending decision and strengthen every process of the P2P value chain. From having bank-grade security to having the best credit verification technologies, P2P in the country has relentlessly worked to make the sector better.

    Borrowers
    When it comes to borrowers, the impact has been more straightforward. P2P has enabled a whole new section of individuals to seek credit. What is interesting is that a large percentage of our loans today, more than 50% is business loans for small and medium businesses.

    Top 7 Fintech Predictions for 2018 (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

    UPI 2.0 – UPI has grown 400X in volume since November last year, proving to be a huge success in terms of consumer adoption. Several entities like banks, fintech players have built their own UPI solutions, contributing to this tremendous growth.

    UPI 2.0 with its two features – biometric authentication and E-mandates aim to transform the way payments are made today.

    E-Mandates – E-Mandates replace the physical mandate system of ECS (Electronic Clearing System), transforming the entire system of direct debit payments. Setting up and managing e-Mandates is fast, convenient and completely digital, reducing the payment processing time by nearly 80%.

    BharatQR – BharatQR can prove to be a boon for offline businesses and small merchants, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities to adopt digital payments easily.

    Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Lending

    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in Payments – The trend to use artificial intelligence and machine learning in payments is fast growing. Some of the application areas of these technologies we can envisage in the near future are chatbots, voice-based payments and advanced fraud detection mechanisms.

    Blockchain – The technology can be used across several areas like digital currency exchange, cross-border payments, money transfers and smart contracts among many others.

    Startup Watchlist: 9 Fintech Startups To Watch Out For In 2018 (Inc42), Rated: AAA

    In India, the need for technological disruption in the banking sector is all the more acute, given that over 19% of the country’s population still remains unbanked.

    Forecasted to cross $2.4 Bn by 2020, as per a report by KPMG India and NASSCOM, India is currently home to more than 500 fintech startups, whose collective aim is to attain financial inclusion.

    The Explosive Growth Of Indian Fintech Sector

    Home to more than 462 Mn Internet users, the number of mobile users in India is expected to reach 1 Bn by the year 2020. In fact, it has the greatest market potential in the entire world, as determined by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in its latest edition of Digital Evolution Index 2017.

    Post the ban on INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes, India witnessed an acute dearth of cash, which in turn caused Internet-enabled cashless transactions to sky-rocket. As reported by Inc42, digital transactions increased 22% almost immediately after the ban came into effect.

    In less than 24 hours after the embargo was announced by PM Narendra Modi-led government, Paytm saw an overwhelming 435% increase in overall traffic. Other digital wallets like PayU India witnessed a staggering 80% jump in transactions, while FreeCharge claimed that the average wallet balance on its platform increased 12 times. MobiKwik meanwhile reported an over 40% increase in app downloads within less than 18 hours of the announcement.

    Faircent

    Till date, lenders on the platform have committed to lend over $4.8 Mn (INR 31 Cr), while borrowers have sought up to $3.5 Mn (INR 23 Cr) in loans. At present, Faircent claims to receive over 225K loan requests per month, with most of them being used for funding businesses, family events, appliance purchases, debt consolidation, among others.

    Kissht

    Conceived in 2015, Mumbai-based Kissht is a fintech startup that provides instant credit to consumers for making purchases at digital points of sale (both offline and online). Through its app, users can buy various items including mobiles, laptops, jewellery, and electronics by opting for flexible EMIs even without a credit card.

    Last month, Kissht raised $10 Mn (INR 67 Cr) in a round led by Chinese investment conglomerate, Fosun International.

    Simpl

    Launched in 2015, Simpl is an online payment instrument that allows customers to make purchases and settle payments online.

    As claimed by the company’s spokesperson, Simpl boasts a customer retention of around 85% overall, which is growing at 50% monthly.

    Here’s how 2017 has been a roller coaster ride for Indian startups (Economic Times), Rated: A

    SoftBank to invest in India through its mega, technology focused $100 billion Vision Fund

    Around 50 employees of Paytm sold shares worth about Rs 100 crore to both internal and external buyers

    Flipkart raises $1.4 billion in funding from Tencent, Ebay and Microsoft

    Paytm raises $1.4 billion from SoftBank; Sees valuation jump to $8 billion

    Snapdeal sells its digital payments platform to Axis Bank, the country’s third-largest private sector lender, for Rs 390 crore.

    SoftBank pumps $2.5 billion into Flipkart, making it the biggest private investment in the country’s consumer technology sector.

    The RBI identifi es peer to peer lending startups under a separate category of non banking fi nance companies and frames rules of operation. Also opens window for applications under NBFC-P2P category

    6 amazing ways personal finance changed in 2017 (Financial Express), Rated: A

    1. Social credit scores
    2. Digital Payments
    3. eKYC and Aadhaar
    4. P2P lending
    5. Algorithmic-driven personal finance management
    6. Bitcoin and Blockchain

    How to get paperless personal loans? (SRJ News), Rated: B

    Among several other activities and banking transactions, personal loans too can be availed online. From applying for a loan to getting it sanctioned, the entire process can be carried out from the comfort of your laptop or desktop. Gone are the days of running around for paperwork and visiting bank branches. The whole process is completely digital;thus, paperless online personal loans are nothing but everyone’s saviour.

    Benefits of online personal loans

    • No physical documents are required
    You just need to upload all the identity proofs along with your bank statement online, to get your loan approved.
    • Quick disbursement route
    If you submit all the required details, along with the application and other statements, your loan can be disbursed as quickly as within 24 hours.
    • A complete online process
    You don’t need to constantly visit banks and wait for days to get your loan approved.
    • No collateral required
    You only need to share your information and documents to get the loan approved, for anonline personal loan these days no security or collateral is required.
    • Flexible tenure options
    You get comfortable EMI option on your loan tenure, starting from 12 to 36 months.

    Asia

    The future of commercial real estate investing: How the investment ecosystem is being disrupted (Moneybank Email), Rated: AAA

    Singapore based consumer finance group Silkway Ventures has expanded its operations to Southeast Asian region by opening a subsidiary in Vietnam. The group announced today that it has launched its online peer-to-peer lending platform Moneybank.vn. Over the next five years the company plans to expand its footprint to other neighboring Asian markets to tap into a potential underbanked consumer base, estimated to be 500 million people.

    Vietnam is the first international foray in the digital consumer lending space for Silkway Ventures. The country has a population of over 90 million people, where demand for consumer finance services is rising rapidly and a large percentage of the population is virtually unbanked. At the same time the rate of Internet and smartphone penetration is already significant. The digital consumer finance model offers greater customer coverage at a significantly lower cost compared to traditional banking channels. The move by Silkway Ventures into the Vietnam consumer finance market offers a welcoming Segway for fintech companies to access the market and drive further development in this sector.

    MENA

    Largest fintech hub to open in Bahrain (Zawya), Rated: A

    A facility opening in Bahrain next February will be the largest dedicated fintech hub in the Middle East and Africa, according to its developer and manager.

    Bahrain FinTech Bay, operated by Singapore-based fintech incubator Fintech Consortium, will be a 10,000 sqft facility which will include a variety of shared infrastructure, such as co-working spaces, the consortium’s Bahrain chairman Missan Al Maskati told the GDN in an exclusive interview.

    Canada

    CIBC poll shows that Canadians’ top financial priority is paying down debt (The Georgia Straight), Rated: AAA

    Once again, a large number of debt-soaked Canadians have told a pollster that they’re going to put repaying creditors at the top of their financial to-do list in the coming year.

    It’s the eighth consecutive year that this has been the Number 1 financial priority of those surveyed for CIBC by the Angus Reid Institute.

    Canada’s household debt to disposable income reached a record of 171.1 percent in the third quarter of this year.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Fintech Leaders and Pundits Predict 2018

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology […]

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology quotient resulting in a level playing field for both. But what does 2018 hold? Nobody knows for sure, but this is what the pundits and industry leaders are expecting.

2018 Predictions for Alternative Lending and Fintech

Renaud Laplanche (former Lending Club CEO and Upgrade co-founder) believes the barren run with regard to lending origination levels will soon be over and the end of 2018 will see it reach the lofty heights of previous years. Consumer loans are one segment where he believes demand will remain high and online lending will accelerate over the next 15 months. Along with this, he predicts the long-awaited secondary market for online loans will develop substantially.

He also believes a host of new tech will deliver a ‘Online Lending 2.0’ ecosystem.  This includes cloud computing, big data, and a blockchain protocol.

The Daily Fintech: 2017 wasn’t a great one for The Daily Fintech in terms of predictions. They got five out of 10 right, but the most noteworthy prediction they got wrong was concerning bitcoin. They predicted the bitcoin price will not go past its all-time peak of $1,242. Well, we can’t really blame them for this one as not many others got this one right.

As for 2018 predictions, most of their predictions revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is understandable considering cryptocoins are the most revolutionary thing right now. Apart from that, one prediction that caught our eye was the acquisition of Lending Club at a bargain price. Just like previous predictions, they have left #10 empty for “big surprise.”

PwC (fintech predictions by Henri Arslanian, the firm’s FinTech and RegTech lead for China and Hong Kong): A couple of noteworthy predictions are mentioned here. First, RegTech – a wave of consolidation ahead? He believes RegTech will help companies deal better with regulatory obligations. In the bigger scheme of things, it will help reduce the cost and risk associated with the sector. He also feels that lack of dominant players in this segment will lead to further consolidation.

Another prediction involves banks embracing fintech – the end of innovation teams? With senior management at banks gaining deep insight about fintech, it is widely expected that banks will ditch innovations teams and deal directly with businesses.

Inc42 believes consumer lending will be a major force in 2018. Predictions were made keeping in mind the Indian market. They believe alternative lending will experience a boom as more startups will crop up to help the underserved and unserved.

They also predict the rise of insurtech. They believe there will be a greater degree of product customization on the back of solid consumer data and analytics. Apart from this, they predict a surge in investments in emerging technologies as government and regulatory bodies also push for fintech.

The Memo asked a panel of 12 financial technology experts how they expect the industry to shape up in 2018. A few of those predictions are listed below, compiled by senior reporter Oliver Smith.

  • Daniel Kjellen (CEO and co-founder of Tink, a finance app that continually analyses customer spending) believes new regulations at the beginning of next year will open up the retail banking market, which will benefit banks as well as customers. He also believes first-mover advantage will be critical. Account aggregation and payment initiation are two innovations banks will target first after striking partnerships with fintech.

“In 2018, we will say goodbye to the service formerly known as banking.”

  • Alastair Lukies CBE (Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Fintech and a Partner at Motive Partners, a financial technology investment fund) thinks regulatory compliance will be the most important thing next year, and that is why he believes large financial institutions will spend big on regulatory compliance as well as on technology that will help them tackle complex regulations. This will in turn help to drive innovation in the RegTech field.

“I think RegTech, using technology to simplify the process of being compliant with regulation, will become very important over the next year.”

  • Anne Boden (CEO and founder of Starling Bank, the upstart UK challenger bank expanding into the rest of Europe beginning with Ireland) believes 2018 will be a big year for artificial intelligence (AI). Right now, banks use AI to improve their own processes and to drive efficiencies. She reckons that 2018 will see them use AI to help customers make better money-related decisions.

“The interaction method, chatbots, and voice will become secondary – building a culture and technology that is centered around helping customers will become the priority.”

  • Lachlan Heussler (managing director of Spotcap Australia and NZ) believes the need for innovation and the advent of PSD2/Open Banking will be the reason the industry witnesses an increase in collaboration across the board. He also believes the demand for top talent will intensify, with bank, fintechs, and large companies all trying to attract the right talent.

A report by McKinsey estimates the total annual external investment in AI was $8B to $12B in 2016, with machine learning attracting nearly 60% of that investment. Therefore, he trusts companies will be motivated to adopt machine learning aggressively for tracking customer behavior, for market analysis, or calculating risk.

  • Charles Clinton (CEO and co-founder of EquityMultiple, a platform built for modern investors that connects accredited individuals with pre-vetted, high-yield commercial real estate investments from top companies) gave his predictions about the real estate crowdfunding industry. He believes “many companies are using pre-JOBS Act regulations and the push to open access to non-accredited investors has been driven almost entirely by Reg A+.” He also believes the industry is entering a combination of growth and maturation phase. There will be a lot of consolidation, and only tried and tested business models will survive.

Conclusion

We will have to wait a year to see how accurate these predictions are. We have tried to provide the best possible outlook on different verticals of fintech industry through these forecasts. One thing for sure is that 2018 will be an interesting year for the fintech and alternative lending.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Fintech Leaders and Pundits Predict 2018

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology […]

fintech predictions 2018

2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology quotient resulting in a level playing field for both. But what does 2018 hold? Nobody knows for sure, but this is what the pundits and industry leaders are expecting.

2018 Predictions for Alternative Lending and Fintech

Renaud Laplanche (former Lending Club CEO and Upgrade co-founder) believes the barren run with regard to lending origination levels will soon be over and the end of 2018 will see it reach the lofty heights of previous years. Consumer loans are one segment where he believes demand will remain high and online lending will accelerate over the next 15 months. Along with this, he predicts the long-awaited secondary market for online loans will develop substantially.

He also believes a host of new tech will deliver a ‘Online Lending 2.0’ ecosystem.  This includes cloud computing, big data, and a blockchain protocol.

The Daily Fintech: 2017 wasn’t a great one for The Daily Fintech in terms of predictions. They got five out of 10 right, but the most noteworthy prediction they got wrong was concerning bitcoin. They predicted the bitcoin price will not go past its all-time peak of $1,242. Well, we can’t really blame them for this one as not many others got this one right.

As for 2018 predictions, most of their predictions revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is understandable considering cryptocoins are the most revolutionary thing right now. Apart from that, one prediction that caught our eye was the acquisition of Lending Club at a bargain price. Just like previous predictions, they have left #10 empty for “big surprise.”

PwC (fintech predictions by Henri Arslanian, the firm’s FinTech and RegTech lead for China and Hong Kong): A couple of noteworthy predictions are mentioned here. First, RegTech – a wave of consolidation ahead? He believes RegTech will help companies deal better with regulatory obligations. In the bigger scheme of things, it will help reduce the cost and risk associated with the sector. He also feels that lack of dominant players in this segment will lead to further consolidation.

Another prediction involves banks embracing fintech – the end of innovation teams? With senior management at banks gaining deep insight about fintech, it is widely expected that banks will ditch innovations teams and deal directly with businesses.

Inc42 believes consumer lending will be a major force in 2018. Predictions were made keeping in mind the Indian market. They believe alternative lending will experience a boom as more startups will crop up to help the underserved and unserved.

They also predict the rise of insurtech. They believe there will be a greater degree of product customization on the back of solid consumer data and analytics. Apart from this, they predict a surge in investments in emerging technologies as government and regulatory bodies also push for fintech.

The Memo asked a panel of 12 financial technology experts how they expect the industry to shape up in 2018. A few of those predictions are listed below, compiled by senior reporter Oliver Smith.

  • Daniel Kjellen (CEO and co-founder of Tink, a finance app that continually analyses customer spending) believes new regulations at the beginning of next year will open up the retail banking market, which will benefit banks as well as customers. He also believes first-mover advantage will be critical. Account aggregation and payment initiation are two innovations banks will target first after striking partnerships with fintech.

“In 2018, we will say goodbye to the service formerly known as banking.”

  • Alastair Lukies CBE (Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Fintech and a Partner at Motive Partners, a financial technology investment fund) thinks regulatory compliance will be the most important thing next year, and that is why he believes large financial institutions will spend big on regulatory compliance as well as on technology that will help them tackle complex regulations. This will in turn help to drive innovation in the RegTech field.

“I think RegTech, using technology to simplify the process of being compliant with regulation, will become very important over the next year.”

  • Anne Boden (CEO and founder of Starling Bank, the upstart UK challenger bank expanding into the rest of Europe beginning with Ireland) believes 2018 will be a big year for artificial intelligence (AI). Right now, banks use AI to improve their own processes and to drive efficiencies. She reckons that 2018 will see them use AI to help customers make better money-related decisions.

“The interaction method, chatbots, and voice will become secondary – building a culture and technology that is centered around helping customers will become the priority.”

  • Lachlan Heussler (managing director of Spotcap Australia and NZ) believes the need for innovation and the advent of PSD2/Open Banking will be the reason the industry witnesses an increase in collaboration across the board. He also believes the demand for top talent will intensify, with bank, fintechs, and large companies all trying to attract the right talent.

A report by McKinsey estimates the total annual external investment in AI was $8B to $12B in 2016, with machine learning attracting nearly 60% of that investment. Therefore, he trusts companies will be motivated to adopt machine learning aggressively for tracking customer behavior, for market analysis, or calculating risk.

  • Charles Clinton (CEO and co-founder of EquityMultiple, a platform built for modern investors that connects accredited individuals with pre-vetted, high-yield commercial real estate investments from top companies) gave his predictions about the real estate crowdfunding industry. He believes “many companies are using pre-JOBS Act regulations and the push to open access to non-accredited investors has been driven almost entirely by Reg A+.” He also believes the industry is entering a combination of growth and maturation phase. There will be a lot of consolidation, and only tried and tested business models will survive.

Conclusion

We will have to wait a year to see how accurate these predictions are. We have tried to provide the best possible outlook on different verticals of fintech industry through these forecasts. One thing for sure is that 2018 will be an interesting year for the fintech and alternative lending.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Thursday December 28 2017, Daily News Digest

china IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: VPC Specialty Lending Drops Prosper Loans.Best Egg to broaden services in 2018.Faircent raises $4M.RoboCash updates loan origination process.Tyro to launch new SME solutions. Today’s main analysis: China leads Asia’s IPO boom. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Lending Club grow by 20% in 2018?Blockchain could transform these major industries.APAC online lending is […]

china IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

  • China leads Asia in IPO boom. AT: Not really news, but it’s interesting to see where Chinese companies are going public. The big winner is the New York Stock Exchange. But Shanghai and NASDAQ are also looking good with Hong Kong hanging in there.”

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Reversal of fortune (Breaking Views), Rated: AAA

Most new entrants have also found it hard to build scale. Lending Club’s top line may grow by 20 percent in 2018, according to Reuters data, but that will take it only to $800 million. Even online student lender Earnest, which largely avoided industry potholes, has struggled. In October it sold itself to old-school servicer Navient for $155 million – less than half its value in a 2015 funding round.

Best Egg Will Broaden to Financing Purchases in 2018 (Banking Innovation), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lender Best Egg will move towards financing consumer purchases, including homes, as it looks to expand in 2018, the company told Bank Innovation.

If I can know my monthly cost for Amazon Prime before I sign a contract, why can’t I know my monthly cost for a car payment before going to the dealership? If I can see movie options before I go to the theater, why can’t I see my financing options before I sign a 5-year loan contract? Being empowered with concrete choices would make both budgeting and buying a car that much easier and help to save hours on the financing process. So, using my personal experiences from childhood to fuel my passion, I co-founded AutoGravity in October of 2015.

Our goal at AutoGravity was to make car financing as easy as watching a movie on Netflix, streaming an album off Spotify or buying a book from Amazon. So, we demystified the process by making it accessible to everyone – empowering them through our app on their smartphone.

Tax cuts, softened regulatory tone likely to help banks in 2018 (Central Penn Business Journal), Rated: A

Financial institutions also could face challenges in the near future as a result of technology-driven competition and long-term impacts from the recently approved tax reforms.

Marsico expects banks to increase automation of certain support-center processes over the next year. Artificial intelligence, for example, could handle some of the work that goes into processing loans, as well as tasks like verifying the authenticity of checks submitted through mobile deposit apps.

One study predicts banks throughout the world will increase their tech budgets by 4.1 percent in 2018.

Consumers still not benefiting from bank overdraft programs (Consumer Affairs), Rated: A

Most consumers still don’t know they are not required to accept their bank’s overdraft protection service, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ latest consumer finance project.

Before the law was changed in 2010, banks automatically enrolled consumers in overdraft protection. If consumers made purchases that overdrew their accounts, the banks covered the expense and then assessed an overdraft fee, which often cost as much as $35.

Since the law changed, consumers must opt-in to this coverage — banks cannot automatically enroll them. Thaddeus King, officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ consumer finance project, says it’s clear consumers don’t understand that overdraft protection is not only costly, but unnecessary.

In September a survey found that an estimated eight million consumers have opted-in, primarily because they thought they had to. Two-thirds of consumers who agreed to pay the overdraft fees were unaware it was optional.

Banks actively headhunting, but they want specific skill (CNBC), Rated: B

The rising influence of digital and banking-specific technology — so-called fintech — is “really changing how banks themselves will organize their own recruitment functions,” O’Sullivan told CNBC.

United Kingdom

VPC Specialty Lending Sells Prosper Marketplace Loans (London South East), Rated: AAA

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC on Wednesday said it sold its Prosper marketplace loans and was able to immediately reinvest substantially all of the proceeds into new investments.

The loans sold represented around 4.1% of VPC’s net asset value as at the end of October, and it expects the hit to net asset value from the sale to be around 0.56%.

China

China bourses behind Asia’s lead in global IPO boom (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Asian companies raised $79.14 billion through initial public offerings as of Dec. 18, up 10% from 2016, data from Dealogic shows. The sum represents 42% of the global tally, which surged 41% on the year to $194.8 billion.

Shanghai, the world’s second largest economy saw a total of 409 companies tapping $31.61 billion from the market, up 30% compared with last year. Of the country’s total funds raised, 56% was from Shanghai, making it Asia’s top IPO destination.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Hong Kong saw total funds raised fall 34% to $14.08 billion this year, despite a 24% jump in volume.

Alibaba-backed online lender Qudian, for instance, saw its New York-listed shares tumble 55% after it debuted in October. Its peer LexinFintech Holdings, backed by JD.com, on Dec. 14 slashed its fundraising target by 76% to $120 million.

European Union

P2P Lender RoboCash Updates on 2017 Progress (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvia-based European peer to peer lender Robo.Cash, a young platform that is less than a year old, has provided an update on loan origination progress.  According to the P2P lender, RoboCash attracted € 2.5 million of investments in pay day lending (PDL) loans in 2017. Robo.Cash launched its platform in Latvia in February 2017.

Robo.cash said the current average sum of investments is € 2.900 per investor with over 1,500 investors from 28 EU-countries have joined Robo.cash in 10 months. The site says investors may be separated as follows:Germany (50,5%), Spain (7,2%), the Czech Republic (6,1%), Austria (4,6%), Latvia (3,9%), Portugal (3,6%), the United Kingdom (3,3%), Netherlands (2,7%), Lithuania (2,3%), Estonia (1,6%).

More retailers’ customers using Klarna’s buy-now, pay-later plan (The Columbus Dispatch), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-commerce company signed 500 online retailers for its new service, which allows consumers to buy products now and pay for them later.

And the company’s North American operations signed on a new CEO, Jim Lofgren, replacing central Ohio native Brian Billingsley, who recently was named chief revenue officer for Dallas-based payment-service company Modo.

“We serve more than 70,000 merchants over 18 markets, and our data in the U.S. market is really very similar to other markets,” Lofgren said recently. “We’re making a very significant impact for our merchants.”

Brussels moves to boost Europe’s fintech sector (Financial Times), Rated: A

The European Commission is to present draft legislation early next year to remove administrative hurdles to the cross-border operation of crowdfunding sites and online peer-to-peer lending services. It says the initiative will ensure that EU companies can grow and compete.

European fintech successes include TransferWise, the Estonian-developed foreign exchange company, and France’s PayPlug, which makes it easier for sole traders to accept credit card payments.

LoanBook Shares Latest Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LoanBook, a Spanish marketplace lending platform, having easily surpassed its initial £650,000 last week is, is heading toward the home stretch having raised over £721,200 for 6.40% equity with the help of more than 253 Crowdcubeinvestors. £340,000 of this investment sum comes from current shareholders, local Business Angels and Family Offices. Funding will be used to continue LoanBook’s platform growth and development.

Crowdfunding saves tumbling down French chateau (The Business Times), Rated: B

It’s a modern story of an ancient fairytale castle: a crowdfunding effort online has raised 1.6 million euros (S$2.55 million) to restore a chateau in western France.

Around 25,000 people from 115 countries have become shareholders in the chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers which has turrets, a moat and an elderly owner who had not maintained it.

International

30 Big Industries Blockchain Could Transform (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

1. BANKING

Swiss bank UBS and UK-based Barclays are both experimenting with blockchain as a way to expedite back office functions and settlement, which some in the banking industry say could cut up to $20B in middleman costs.

2. PAYMENTS AND MONEY TRANSFERS

Abra, another blockchain-enabled mobile wallet and payments startup, was recently integrated into the payments ecosystem of American Express: through a new feature, customers will be able to fund their Abra wallets using an eligible American Express Card.

3. CYBERSECURITY

Other potential applications include using blockchain to provide massive scale data authentication: for example, using its blockchain-enabled KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure), cybersecurity startup Guardtime tags and verifies data transactions for cryptographic assurance of their integrity and authenticity.

11. STOCK TRADING

Partnerships with existing trading networks and exchanges will help blockchain take off in the space. Blockchain startup Chain (which is also mentioned below) is a leader on that front: the company helped orchestrate a live blockchain integration that successfully connected Nasdaq’s stock exchange and Citi’s banking infrastructure.

12. REAL ESTATE

Tech startup Ubitquity offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) blockchain platform for financial, title, and mortgage companies. The company is currently working with Land Records Bureau in Brazil, among other stealth clients, to input property information and record documents through the blockchain.

13. INSURANCE 

LenderBot is a micro-insurance proof of concept for the sharing economy that demonstrates the potential for blockchain applications and services in the industry. LenderBot, which allows people to enroll in customized micro-insurance by chatting through Facebook Messenger, enables blockchain to serve as the third-party in the contract between individuals as they exchange high-value items through the sharing economy.

28. CREDIT HISTORIES

Lenders minimize the risk posed by loans or lines of credit to small businesses by evaluating their histories using business credit reports. These third-party reports — issued companies such as Dun & Bradstreet — are inaccessible to the small business owners (beyond the basic profile information they provide to the credit bureau). This can make business owners feel like credit bureaus have all the power over loan terms, even though the credit bureau may be assessing outdated or inaccurate information to determine their reports.

Lumeno.us is one startup using blockchain technology to make business credit reports more accurate, transparent, and shareable. Lumeno.us normalizes semi-structured financial data using a proprietary application of collaborative tagging and advanced analytics. From there, it provides business owners the tools to share their data in order to get a loan, find trusted partners, or manage a portfolio or network.

30. CROWDFUNDING

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in which companies sell cryptocurrency-backed tokens in their companies in the same manner as a publicly-traded company sells stock, are another example of blockchain-powered crowdfunding — startups such as OpenLedgermake that possible. Individuals may soon invest in real estate using “crypto crowdfunding,” as well: Singapore-based Real Estate Asset Ledger (REAL) intends to use blockchain technology to inject greater liquidity and transparency into real estate investing.

How telepresence can revolutionize financial services industry (Born2Invest), Rated: A

Imagine, you are trying to make an investment somewhere in the World and you want to be face to face with your investment advisor without leaving your own office or room?

What is different about telepresence is that you can be telepresent through someone else instead of being even present through video conferencing or other methods.

I the financial sector, companies are using telepresence to connect their customers with their loan officers, investment advisors, and other employees to discuss all the requirements and provide solutions without actually the presence of the customer as well as the financial organization at the same place.

Australia/New Zealand

Challenger Bank Tyro to Launch New Financial Solutions for SME (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian fintech and challenger bank Tyro is set to launch a new set of financial solutions for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Founded in 2001, Tyro describes itself as Australia’s largest independent EFTPOS provider, focusing on smaller to medium enterprises. The company states it is now has a license from APRA to offer banking products and deposits with its platform are government guaranteed. The company currently has 20,000 customers and has $42.2 billion in transaction.

Online Financing Down Under: A Rapidly Evolving Market (TG Daily), Rated: AAA

The research paints a clear picture of trends currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand, where $348.37 million and $267.77 million respectively has been issued through online financing options (through 2015). These statistics are notable since 2012, with a growth rate of 653% between 2013 – 2015.

Various small business loans lenders currently offer funding to Australian clients from $5,000-$400,000 (depending on the industry lender). Australian small business loans lenders such as prospa, Capify, Sail, and Spotcap dominate the market.

India

Online Peer-To-Peer Lending Startup Faircent Raises $ 4 Million (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Faircent raised $4 million (Rs 25 crore) in early-stage funding led a Belgium-based impact investor Incofin Investment Management, Rajat Gandhi, co-founder of Faircent, told BloombergQuint over the phone.

P2P lending marketplace platform launched (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

Rajiv Ranjan, a former Infoscion along with Ambar Kasliwal, a Mumbai-based Chartered Accountant, has launched a fully-owned P2P lending marketplace platform.

Called PaisaDukan.com, it is a part of BigWin Infotech, a government recognised start-up and it aims to start operations from January 2018, company officials said. The startup is among a few who have applied for an NBFC ((non-banking financial company)-peer-to-peer (P2P) licence after RBI’s revised guidelines.

Fin-tech gains from innovations, digital push (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Private equity and venture capital firms, which sat on huge money piles and waited on the side lines looking for the right opportunities, caught on to the excitement and loosened their purse strings to record a four-fold jump in investments to $1.84 billion in 2017 from $447 million, showed provisional data from VCCEdge, the data and analysis platform of News Corp VCCircle.

While seed and angel investments accounted for 43% of the total number of deals at 32, growth- and late-stage deals, besides private transactions and venture debt accounted for the rest.

Besides, Paytm’s $1.4 billion infusion from Softbank, Policybazaar’s $77-million Series-E round, SME Lending platform Capital Float’s $45 million Series-C funding, MSwipe’s $41 million funding from UC-RNTand Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, and Mobikwik’s $35 million round from Bajaj Finance also made the headlines during the year.

Source: VC Circle

RBL Bank to go stronger on fintech partnerships (Economic Times), Rated: A

While banks are fighting a bitter turf war with fintech startups to retain their share of business, private sector lender RBL Bank has seen value in strategic partnerships. The bank is growing its advances book by almost half annually, driven largely by partnerships with non-banking finance companies (NBFC) and tech startups.

While startups such as MoneyTap, BookMyShow are helping the bank acquire customers for its credit products, even its tie-up with one of the most prominent NBFCs Bajaj FinservBSE -0.14 % is helping the bank get customers who were never eligible for a credit card previously.

Rein in your exuberance as you step into 2018 (Business Standard), Rated: A

Investors need to position their personal finances in a manner that will enable them to gain from developments in the future.  Book profits in the mid- and small-cap space: Mid- and small-cap funds’ strong performance streak continued in 2017 (category average return: 47.19 per cent year-to-date). As valuations of growth stocks shot up, investors turned to value picks. …

Asia

Robo-advisory and its role in capital management (Fintech Innovation), Rated: AAA

Africa

Robots versus financial advisors (Moneyweb), Rated: A

With the advent of robo-advisors, where advice is provided at low- or no cost over the internet, questions are being raised as to the future of qualified financial advisors. Is my job becoming obsolete?

A qualified and trusted advisor is able to spot potentially poor financial decisions and gently advise against this course of action. A robo-advisor could never be such a friend in need.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

8 Key Reasons Small Businesses Are Denied Loans

life insurance sba loans

There’s no doubt about it: growing a small business is no small challenge. No matter how amazing your idea or product, you’re bound to encounter some serious mountains. According to a TD bank 2017 Business Survey, some of the key challenges that small US-based businesses face today are rising interest rates and rising healthcare costs, both […]

life insurance sba loans

There’s no doubt about it: growing a small business is no small challenge. No matter how amazing your idea or product, you’re bound to encounter some serious mountains.

According to a TD bank 2017 Business Survey, some of the key challenges that small US-based businesses face today are rising interest rates and rising healthcare costs, both of which can be at least partly attributed to uncertainty surrounding the state of political leadership.

And these days, more and more small businesses like startups are turning to credit cards and other forms of financing over bank loans than ever before. This is partly because some one in four businesses applying for credit were denied, and the ones who received financing did not get as much as they needed.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

“… although many employer small businesses were profitable and optimistic, a significant majority faced financial challenges, experienced funding gaps and relied on personal finances. These issues were even more pronounced for the smallest firms, which were less likely to receive necessary funding and more likely to rely on personal finances to operate.”

Despite the fact that the vast majority of businesses in the United States are classified as small businesses – that is, they have employee bases of 500 or less – approximately half of all businesses fail in the first 5 years.

Many of these fail due to lack of funds and a lack of finances.

On top of that, even the businesses that succeed don’t even break even for 2 or 3 years, making financing at the outset crucial. The tricky part is that securing financing is also the most difficult part, which is why so many small businesses are denied financing. And owners are understandably frustrated.

Here are a few key reasons why small businesses are often denied funding.

An Uncertain Economic Climate

Uncertainty behind the local and regional economy is a basic stressor and reason behind the struggle many small businesses encounter. This very uncertainty is why so many businesses are likely to seek financing.

Unfortunately, this problem is also a reason why banks are less likely to give loans. When times are tight, lending is too. Banks aren’t inclined to lend when it’s possible the economy will take a dive, tanking many small businesses.

Because of this, many people are turning to personal savings, lines of credit, and even loans from family and friends.

Lack of Collateral

Collateral is some type of asset which secures the loan. This collateral can be some type of equipment, real estate, or anything else a bank could repossess and sell if the business fails to repay the loan.

It’s crucial for small businesses to list collateral on loan applications for the obvious reason of showing that they can pay it back in the case of default. The problem is that most startups don’t have much collateral like vehicles or business equipment. The result is the small business is denied a loan.

Gender and/or Ethnic Bias

Unfortunately, there appears to still be a major gap here, even though lenders are not supposed to be biased in this way. In fact, loan approval rates are much higher for white males than they are for women and minorities.

According to gudcapital.com:

“… small businesses that were more than 50 percent owned by a woman only received 15 percent of all SBA 7(a) loan approvals; American Indian owned businesses received 1 percent; Asian owned businesses received 24 percent; African American owned businesses received 2 percent; Hispanic owned businesses received 6 percent; White owned businesses received 53 percent; and male owned businesses received 70 percent of all SBA 7(a) loan approvals.”

The sexism can be so bad that some female founder resort to extreme measures, like creating an imaginary male founder to dispel the bias.

Bad Credit History

If a business owner has a terrible credit score, there’s a really good chance they’ll be denied funding. No surprise here.

This is why it’s so important that business owners get to know their credit score before they apply for a loan. Additionally, they should focus on building a solid credit score from the get go, even if they think they won’t need a big loan.

Understanding your business credit score makes you more likely to be approved for a loan and more prepared to grow your business.

What many don’t realize is that if you’re a small business owner, you need to have both a strong personal and business credit score to secure a significant amount of financing from major banks. There’s no way around this.

According to nav.com, the ideal credit score is 680 to 720. It also helps if a business owner understands how to demonstrate a solid history of responsible money management.

If you your credit score is low, you’ll need to spend time improving it before applying for a loan.

High Operating Expenses and Slow Growth

If a business can’t adequately demonstrate growth and growth projections, they may have trouble securing adequate financing for further growth—another catch-22 situation.

According to a Small Business American Dream Gap Report, 3 of 10 small businesses face challenges covering operating expenses. This trend is often due to the challenges of incorporating new employees as well as expanding or building inventory. Unfortunately, if they can’t cover their expenses, they’ll have difficulty securing funding

According to Entrepreneur.com, some 26 % of business owners don’t hire or expand because they don’t have the funds to do so. In turn, they resort to personal savings or loans from friends and family, despite the significant risks and high interest rates involved in these actions.

Lack of Cash Flow

In the past year or so, about 45% of businesses sought out financing, namely to cover operating expenses and expansion. This need for funding indicates a severe need for extra cash flow, which can be a huge red flag to banks.

Cash flow is not only one of the main reasons that existing businesses fail, it’s also a top reason why financing applications get denied. The reason behind this is simple: expenses come first before loans. This makes sense if you think about it on a personal financing level as well: you’re going to pay your rent and bills before you pay your loan payments. It’s simply a matter of priority.

Type of Business

According to nav.com, business owners are more likely to be denied financing if they are sole proprietors, brand new businesses, or state-approved businesses. In addition, businesses are liable to be rejected based on the type of industry they’re in.

In this game, size matters, and unfortunately the very nature of most small businesses makes them a bigger risk, especially if they are new. According to the Federal Reserve Website, smaller firms are “notably less successful at obtaining financing at large banks (45% success) than larger firms … (72% success).”

Part of the way a bank assesses a loan application is by assessing the customer base. If they’re looking at an application from a business in an industry that has a stable customer base, they are more likely to approve the application. Showing diversity in your client base is a key way to show secure projections.

Unclear Understanding of the Financing Process or Options

According to nav.com, there are at least 44 of different options for small business financing in the U.S. Depending on your area and/or industry, there may even be specialized grant options that are not widely advertised. Entrepreneur.com reports that some 20% of businesses applying for loans in the past 5 years had experienced multiple rejections and a quarter of these did not have a clear reason for the denial.

Researching and applying for these can be extremely time-consuming, which is why it’s recommended that small businesses ask the local business association for tips pertaining to their specific situation and/or industry.

All this points to a serious lack of understanding and transparency around what makes a business credit worthy. If people simply aren’t aware from the get go, or they’re asking questions but not getting clear answers, there’s obviously a problem.

Conclusion

To better prepare for loan applications, small business entrepreneurs need to have a clear picture of their current status, both in terms of financing and in terms of future projections.

They need to understand the context of securing funding to build accurate projections, and they can then send these projections with the loan applications to hopefully create a positive feedback loop.

But beyond that, small business owners need to thoroughly demonstrate their financial responsibility in order to have the best chance of securing crucial funding.

When you have business self-awareness, you are much more likely to succeed and to get the financing you so desperately need.

This article originally appeared at Life Insurance for SBA Loans.

Author:

Written by Life Insurance for SBA Loans.

Wednesday December 27 2017, Daily News Digest

blockchain artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Impact investment performance. The UK home lending market had a watershed year. Opus, Statista predict digital payments to rise in 2018. Crowd Genie opens up blockchain-based lending to Singapore. Fast Invest offers crypto-enabled loan investments across Europe. Today’s main analysis: Where financial institutions will spend money on fintech in 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

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News Comments

United States

  • Where money will be spent on fintech in 2018. AT: “American Banker predicts where banks and other financial institutions will put their investments in 2018. A good read with some solid predictive analysis, and good reporting. Top of the list: Blockchain & AI. Big surprise: Bank will get more aggressive with student lending and mortgages.”
  • Performance of impact investing. AT: “Regardless of what you call it, impact investing allows investors to grow portfolios while performing a social good, but how do these investments do over time? Not bad.”
  • The future of financing. AT: “Hint: It’s all about digital currency, or is it?”
  • Why people make bad financial decisions.

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United States

Where fintech dollars will go in 2018 (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A study released in December found that 82% of U.S. commercial banks plan to increase fintech investment over the next three years; 86% of bank senior managers surveyed said they intend to boost fintech funding imminently. The research was commissioned by the global fintech provider Fraedom.

Here are the fintech markets likely to get some love in the coming year:

Blockchain

Up till now, many blockchain pilots have been about gaining back-office efficiencies, such as in clearing securities, Canaday noted. She said she expects the use of blockchain to shift to ways to make money.

Artificial intelligence

“There was a study done about last quarter’s conference calls where the count of the number of times companies said ‘artificial intelligence’ in their calls was 800, up 25% quarter over quarter,” Steinberg said. “When you’re competing with 800 companies, it’s probably a difficult experience.”

B-to-B payments

While many fintechs focus on serving consumers, “toward the end of this year we started to see more of a shift in investment toward the B-to-B side,” said Grewal. “There’s big money being thrown into the B-to-B space. We’re seeing a lot of new company formation around the B-to-B payment space in a way we haven’t seen before. That’s one trend we’ll see a lot more of next year.”

Banks could “unlock” $11 billion in new revenue streams from small and midsize businesses by 2020, according to an Accenture report.

Consumer apps

Better experiences from fintech apps like Digit and Acorns are turning financial services firms into “ingredients” rather than “destinations,” according to Schwark Satyavolu, general partner at Trinity Ventures.

Grewal also sees a lot of interest in the cross-border commerce space — consumers from China wanting to make purchases in the U.S. and the U.K. and vice versa.

Banktech

Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been defanged, so to speak, banks can get back into student lending and mortgages without fear of reprisal, he said.

THE PERFORMANCE OF IMPACT INVESTMENTS (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Global Impact Investing Network has offered its own take on a much discussed question: do “impact investing” and its variants under various names – sustainable investing, socially conscious investing, ESG investing, etc. – work? And, if so, how well? It looks at this question in a very granular way, focusing especially on II through private equity and private debt. Given this focus it engages in a meta-study, or literature review.

The GIIN begins with the observation that private equity is the most commonly employed vehicle for impact investing. It is used by more than 75% of the impact investors.

How did they do? That 2015 study made the following points:

  • Since inception the 71 funds have generated aggregate net returns of 5.8% on average, with 4.6% showing up as the median.
  • The fund level internal rate of return can vary a good deal. The top 5% of funds get 22.1% or higher and the bottom 5% lose 15.4% or more.
  • That range itself is “similar to what is seen in conventional investing and illustrates that fund manager selection is key to strong performance.”

The Future of Financing (Avertising Specialty Institute), Rated: A

According to government statistics, 28.8 million small businesses currently operate in the U.S., employing 57 million people. A study by U.S. Bank notes the major reason these businesses fail is due to cash flow problems. Eighty-two percent of those businesses, in fact, are tanking because of lack of cash.

“You have this compression happening across every stage along the way,” Graham says. “For example, 24-hour turn with orders, better systems allowing a distributor to invoice faster, and easier ways to accept payment up front. It’s enabling everything to move faster. The need for financing is not as great as it used to be as a result of the options available now to be able to turn everything faster.”

There’s also big growth in the online lending space, Graham says, allowing for a lot of flexibility and options to get bank-like financing for business needs. But she thinks the next huge financing shift will surround something completely different.

“I think a lot of the real changes are going to happen around digital currency,” she says.

Lending Requirements

“Document requirements won’t change,” Seagraves says. “To get a loan today, you need to have some vehicle to communicate your plan, and that vehicle should include a set of business projections, like an Excel spreadsheet that talks about your financial requirements for the short term and how long it’ll take to become cash flow-positive. Then the lender is going to want to know your financial position as an individual and if any of your assets can be leveraged to secure a loan. These are all very traditional requirements, and I don’t see them changing any time soon.”

Why do people make bad money decisions (IOL.co.za), Rated: B

Eight out of ten American adults feel anxious about the state of affairs of their personal finance.

In addition to this, neural activity associated with “stressful information processing” was 20% higher among people who made their own money decisions compared to someone who received financial advice.

United Kingdom

Watershed year for equity release in the UK home lending market (Propertywire), Rated: AAA

The membership of the Equity Release Council in the UK has increased annually by 23%, rising to 219 from 178 at the same time last year, boosted by new entrants to the market, the latest official figures show.

Lending in the third quarter of 2017 surpassed £800 million for the first time in any single quarter, with the sector also on course to reach a record-breaking £3 billion in lending for the first time in a single year.

China

THE EASIEST WAY TO LOSE YOUR LIFE SAVINGS IN CHINA (SCMP), Rated: AAA

By any measure, 62-year-old Shan Juzhen was an easy mark. After the shortest of conversations with other investors, Shan put more than US$15,000 – or nearly a year of her pension – into a lending club she had never heard of.

She felt it unnecessary to check the qualifications of the lending club, which serves as an alternative for borrowers who cannot get a loan from a big bank. She also did not ask questions about how her money would be lent. The only thing Shan wanted to know was would the platform give her a high return on her investment.

A report published in December by Chaoyang Court in Beijing found that the number of Chinese senior citizens involved with lending-related disputes surged to more than 4,400 in 2016, a nearly sevenfold increase from a year earlier. And among all lending-related disputes the court handled last year, about 45 per cent involved elderly Chinese.

P2P online lending has now reached US$908 billion in transactions, according to Internet Loan House, a website that tracks the industry.

European Union

Joint Discussion Paper on automation in financial advice (EIPOA), Rated: AAA

Given this assessment, the ESAs are of the view that, even though automation in financial advice is not presently observed equally across all financial sectors and/or EU Member States, the phenomenon has the potential to continue to grow. The ESAs will assess the feedback to this Discussion Paper in order to better understand the phenomenon and to decide which, if any,
regulatory and/or supervisory action is required.

In considering the topic of automation in financial advice, the ESAs have observed the following across the banking, securities and insurance and pensions sectors :

  • In the banking sector:

i. Automation specifically in relation to financial advice does not seem to be very widespread. However, human contact is supported more and more by the use of various automated tools. These include comparison websites that can compare products offered by various financial institutions, and websites providing information on specific products and helping consumers to select between products by using simulators and calculators.

ii. New business models that are based in providing advice through automated advisory tools have nonetheless emerged (e.g. automated tools where the consumer fills in all relevant information and receives an advice on which mortgage to get as a result).

  • In the securities sector:

i. Automation in relation to financial advice is a more mature phenomenon, although the provision of advice that is completely automated appears to feature only in a few EU Member States. In this business model, automated tools are used as a type of financial adviser, often referred to as a ‘robo-adviser’: the automated tool asks prospective investors for information about their specific circumstances and, based on the answers provided, an algorithm is used to recommend transactions in financial instruments that match the customer’s profile.

ii. Different automated tools may be used to support different parts of the advice process, for example the collection of information, risk profiling, portfolio analysis, and order processing or trading.

iii. Some advice services are entirely automated, whereas other services foresee human interaction between the consumer and the advice provider at some stage.

iv. In a greater number of European jurisdictions, other automated tools exist that offer various online functionality to consumers. Such offerings include (but are not limited to): the possibility to open and manage online trading accounts that allow the consumer to trade financial instruments on an execution-only basis; automated portfolio management services; and automated tools that compare the prices of transacting in different financial instruments.

Read the full report here.

Fast Invest – Crypto-enabled Loan Investments Across Europe (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms have disrupted American financing. That is old news. What is more interesting is the impact of such platforms in Europe where big banks have long dominated the entire loan-initiation process as well as the investment chain.

European P2P initiatives grew 92% in 2015 to 5.4 billion euros. P2P consumer lending is, so far, the biggest and fastest growing market segment, although far from the only one.

Brexit will mean that British banks will lose what is called “passport rights” that enable them to have access to European markets. And P2P lenders are already jumping into the void this is creating, as well as allowing new kinds of services and income investment opportunities.

Introducing Fast Invest

Fast Invest’s mission is to create a cross-European platform where investors can earn returns for investing in loans. At present, the platform offers an 8-15% return based on past performance for short-term investments of as low as 1 euro, US dollar, pound or Polish zloty after ten months.

Today, before the crowdfunding, the company has 8,500 plus daily customers across Europe, 21 certified lenders, 36 client origin countries and over 50 employees on staff.

Investors will be able to choose between investing in cryptocurrency or a crypto-proved loan investment. This will significantly increase yield over regular bank returns which are about 1.25% API at present. These investments include traditional and alternative investments including issued loans, real estate, private equity and other structured finance products.

Investors can invest as little as 1 euro and get that back within one day with the Fast Invest buyback guarantee.

FIT tokens allow investors to participate in a growing P2P market opportunities across Europe and the US.

Cork investors most likely in Ireland to back local firms (Independent.ie), Rated: B

Cork-based loan investors are the most likely to back local firms, according to data from peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance.

The numbers are based on business loans made over the Linked Finance platform, which matches investors to their choice of borrowers using the so called peer-to-peer lending model that cuts out banks.

Analysis of the investors using the platform found that just over one in three (34pc) of lenders have incomes in excess of €100,000, 39pc own their homes outright and 40pc are homeowners with a mortgage.

International

Fintech Outlook 2018: Digital Payments to Rise (Investing News), Rated: AAA

2017 was a significant year of growth for digital payments, according to an Opus Consulting report, together with the emergence of alternative payments. Peer-to-peer, wallets and mobile payments reached “high adoption levels” in the mainstream, reaching $3.6 trillion in terms of transactions during 2016-2017. According to the report, that amounted to a 20 percent year-on-year growth–a number that will only continue increasing from here.

In terms of global mobile payment revenue, the report states the number is estimated to reach $930 billion in 2018, representing a 19 percent growth from 2017 with China leading the way in the mobile payments market. Global payments revenue as a whole is poised to reach $2.3 trillion, with 43 percent of that representing banking revenues.

Similarly, data from Statista indicates that transaction values are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 41.9 percent over the next five years to 1.32 trillion, while the number of users in the mobile point of service payments will reach 977 million by 2022.

Fintech outlook 2018: Companies to watch

Glance Technologies, whose flagship product is its mobile app, Glance Pay, decided in 2017 that it would create its own cryptocurrency built on the ethereum platform to use smart contracts to provide rewards, which Green says will be purchases in conjunction with its mobile payment app.

Biometrics as the Catalyst: FinTech Pulls Away From Banks (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

The development of biometrics on mobile devices is set to have an outsized impact on mobile wallets and international money transfer. Advances such as fingerprint login, retinal scan, and facial recognition offer a rare opportunity for remittance companies to both combat fraud and improve the user experience.

Mobile wallet transactions alone are expected to reach nearly $1.4 trillionin 2017, growing 32% compared to 2016, and the number of mobile phone users will top 5 billion.

Biometrics improves the user experience by reducing form fields, eliminating the need to upload a picture of a physical ID, and fully automating the know-your-customer (KYC)/anti-fraud process. Moreover, for the first time, digitally funded transfers will offer better KYC and fraud checks than banks or brick-and-mortar competitors.

With hacked or compromised credentials, attackers can wreak havoc by posing as legitimate users and moving or stealing unauthorized funds. Not only is there a risk of theft, but fraudsters also exploit peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer services for money laundering and terrorism financing. Considering the fact that P2P payments are expected to be used by nearly129 million adults in the US by 2021, the threat isn’t going away anytime soon.

The number of people living outside of the country in which they were born has surpassed 244 million, representing a 41% increase between 2000 and 2015. Many of these people come from places where the identity infrastructure is weak and disconnected from developed systems in the US and Europe.

About 93% of consumers would rather use biometrics than passwords.

India

The McKinsey Paper on India (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, McKinsey & Co. published a paper on impact investing in India. The data base for that study consisted of 48 PE and VC transactions, of which 31 targeted the “financial inclusion” sector: that is, enterprises designed to bring banking and bank-like services to the unbanked.

In this case they varied from a loss of 46% to a gain of 153% with a median gross IRR of 10% and a weighted average of 11%.

 

2017: The year of the customer (livemint), Rated: AAA

Investments in the fintech space in India also witnessed frenzied activity this year, with total value of investments jumping by 388% from $383 million in 2016 to $1,868 million in the first three quarters of 2017, according to industry database CB Insights.

With over 1 billion mobile phones, 325 million broadband connections and 306 million new bank accounts, India became a case study in digital financial inclusion, driven by the Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile (JAM), as reported by the communications ministry.

More than 225 alternative lending companies were founded in India in 2017 and the segment was the second most funded in India’s fintech space, as per data from an industry database Tracxn.

According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), eKYC verifications have jumped almost 77% to 84 million in FY18 over FY17, speeding up the on-boarding process and reducing costs significantly.

In 2017, almost 46 strategic partnerships and deals took place between lenders, payments companies and fintech innovators. Some of these were the tie-ups between Paytm and ICICI Bank for short-term interest-free credit lines; Amazon India and Bank of Baroda for unsecured micro loans; Mobikwik and Bajaj FinServ for offering all features and benefits of Bajaj Finserv EMI cards over a digital payments wallet; Fisdom and Lakshmi Vilas Bank for a robo-advisory platform; and between Senseforth and HDFC Bank for chatbots.

Reviewing the 2017 fintech ecosystem and what its startups are looking forward to in 2018 (Plunge Daily), Rated: A

RBI’s recognition of P2P lendingstartups as a new category of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), was celebrated all-round by the sector.

One of the most celebrated advantages of the fintech boom is that of ‘financial inclusion’ and the potential to service the underserved. However, the sector is hoping that the guidelines placed will initiate control and check on the unorganised side of money lending and the digital push will bring about competitive rates and transparency.

Another announcement the RBI made in October was the introduction of guidelines for digital wallet companies. There were mandates on higher capital requirements for license holders of prepaid payment instruments or digital wallets, KYC or know-your-customer norms and the initiation of interoperability of various digital wallets.

Rohit Lohia, CO-Founder and COO of Cointribe believes 2018 will see scaling up of players in the lending space especially in small business lending.

Experts’ views on what changed in the banking and fintech sector in 2017 (livemint), Rated: A

Upasana Taku, co-founder, MobiKwik

The government’s decision to bear the merchant discount rate (MDR) on digital payments of up to Rs2,000 will bring greater level of acceptability for digital payment systems. Digital payments will become a way of life both for consumers and merchants and bring a cultural shift in digital payments.

Renu Satti, MD and CEO, Paytm Payments Bank

India is currently at the center of the banking world, and is set to emerge as a benchmark in digital and financial inclusion.

Living the sharing economy in the cryptocurrency way (YourStory), Rated: A

The global economic meltdown of 2008 was the catalyst to get people to shift gears, and supplement their income by sharing assets that they owned. Added to this, the increasing internet penetration and the evolving economic system helped companies such as Airbnb and Uber popularise the concept of shared economy, and successfully pave the path for other industries.

However, while these platforms helped millions of people find alternative sources of income, they suffered elementary setbacks. To begin with, the companies have significant amount of transactional overhead, be it monetary or operational. Second, international boundaries restrict cross-border economic sharing. Thus, the peer-to-peer markets are unable to foster collaborative ownership which is crucial to enable true sharing of resources.

Blockchain — the key to global sharing

The peer-to-peer network in the sharing economy, allows individuals to organise themselves without the involvement of any third party. As the intermediaries are based on the algorithms, the technology builds trust, making it a versatile technology that can be match specific user requirements.

According to a PwC report, the peer-to-peer-lending global market is pegged to touch $335 billion by 2025. As the sharing economy continues to grow, the idea of private ownership is being replaced by the revival of collaborative and shared consumption and adoption of blockchain can guarantee safe and secure transactions.

Asia

Exclusive Interview with Crowd Genie CEO Akshay Mehra (ChipIn), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie is a peer-to-peer lending platform based in Singapore. It connects small to medium businesses seeking loans with capital via a blockchain-based cryptocurrency system.

Lenders can expect to make at least 14% return with all funds held in escrow. This peer to peer lending activities will be tokenized using smart contracts to enable lending without borders more efficient, cheaper and safer. Ultimately, the team has a vision to build an Asset Trading Exchange on Blockchain that will democratize trading and allow investment in infrastructure, stocks, cryptocurrency, and bonds across Asia, which would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust without Blockchain.

Hi, Akshay. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Crowd Genie?

Crowdfunding is popular in the West, but the idea is relatively new in Singapore and other Asia countries. Observing how lenders getting low returns from the banks because of the overhead costs and how established SMEs unable to receive full funding desired and become under-banked, I would like to match this two parties together to solve the problem and that’s what Crowd Genie has been doing.

Why did you decide to use blockchain in building Crowd Genie?

Although our existing P2P digital loan business is incredibly innovative in the Singapore financial sector, it would have been impossible to scale to enable lending without borders and offer Asia-wide asset trading before blockchain technology was introduced.

To build and scale an asset exchange with pre-blockchain technologies would be prohibitively expensive, and potentially unfeasible due to issues of transparency and trust.

In the whitepaper, you talk about creating “Asian Passport” rights or identities. Tell us how you came up with the idea and how you think you will implement this regionally. Is this based on the idea of European passport banking rights?

To build an end-to-end Asset Exchange, a Digital Passport is essential for us to identify who are the lenders and borrowers, are they associated with negative news, illegal activities or politically exposed. We will continue with our existing due diligence process where we ask for proof of identity and bank statement and check it against a world-wide recognized database. Thereafter we set up a digital passport and store in on blockchain.

Please explain the notion of “fractionalized assets,” and how it is redefining how P2P lending is occurring.

P2P lending is an illiquid investment. Imagine that you have invested in a 12 months tenure loan, but would like to get some money back before it matures, say 2 months later. You can do so by selling it on Crowd Genie Asset Exchange by indicating the fraction of your assets that you would like to sell.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday December 26 2017, Daily News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: 3 Reg CF portals no longer FINRA-approved. Zopa launching a bank. LexinFintech completes $108M IPO. European banks prep for PSD2. Australia releases second MPL survey. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s MPL Loan Performance Monitor. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 2017 was a wild ride for alternative lending. Is Congress expanding credit for the poor or enabling high-interest rates? Megatrends […]

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News Summary

United States

The Wild Ride In Alternative Financing In 2017 (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

But as 2017 pulled into the station, it became clear that a decade-long era in financial services was officially drawing to a close, other than this transitional year between what was and what’s next.

It became clear that Act I of digital era financial services was drawing to a close – and that Act II is getting warmed up backstage.

The CFPB

The CFPB has spent a year generating surprising questions – with even more surprising answers.

Moreover, there was some thought that the federal courts might render much of the discussion moot, by ruling the CFPB’s independent structure rendered it unconstitutional in the CFPB v. PHH case.

That ruling was thrown out by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court of appeals, and a final ruling is still awaited.

The Congressional Review Act (And The Fate Of The Old Rules)

The 20-year-old law, which had only been used once before 2017, has been used 15 times since January of last year to undo Obama-era rules.

The law was effectively used to bounce the CFPB’s arbitration rule from going into effect. That rule would have made it illegal for financial services companies to insert mandatory arbitration clauses into consumer contracts, thus forcing consumers to surrender their right to form class-action lawsuits.

A similar maneuver was attempted to block controversial rules the CFPB passed regarding the regulation of prepaid cards. The House approved the CRA resolution, but the bill was unable to garner majority support in the Senate. That means going forward, prepaid cards that offer overdraft protection will be regulated as though they are credit cards, as opposed to debit cards.

The Future Of Innovation Instead Of Regulation

Affirm, founded by PayPal’s Max Levchin, built a POS financing product dedicated to offering consumers an honest, transparent way to pay for items on installment.

Affirm’s mission to expand consumer access to honest financing will rev into high gear next year, on the heels of a $200 million capital raise on an estimated $1.6 billion valuation, and now with the ability for any consumer to take advantage of its credit option at any merchant.

LendUp wants to calibrate financial services to what it calls “the new average consumer” or the “emerging middle class.”

EVEN’s new partnership with Walmart is a new tool to help smooth the income volatility for its workers by allowing them to be paid in real time for the hours they have already worked, instead of having to wait for the traditional payday.

“This isn’t that people just don’t have the money to pay their bills in general, but that they are forced to make bad decisions because the money they have already earned by working is not available to them at the right time,” EVEN CEO Jon Schlossberg told Karen Webster. “That adds up to a $100 billion industry a year in payday loans and late fees. That’s crazy; we can fix that and we should fix that.”

So EVEN – now with Walmart as a partner – is fixing it, both by giving customers access to their funds early, but also by providing access to financial management software so they can better control their money.

What’s Next

Perhaps in 2018, they will even find ways to write studies that use terms properly and do not directly contradict the research of other regulators.

Millennials, she noted, tend to enter the credit system with a bang once they start having families.

MPL Loan Performance Monitor (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, we introduce our redesigned MPL Loan Performance Monitor where we track the delinquency rates, cumulative losses, and transition matrices on public marketplace lending data that is comprised of loans originated by LendingClub and Prosper.

Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

Is Congress expanding credit for the poor or enabling payday lenders? (Salon), Rated: AAA

Ken Rees has made a fortune selling loans with triple-digit interest rates to borrowers with poor credit history or no credit history.

But in 2008, federal regulators ordered First Delaware to stop working with payday lenders — including ThinkCash — so Rees changed his company’s name to Think Finance and started striking deals with Native American tribes, which, as sovereign entities, are also exempt from state usury laws. Think Finance filed a still-pending lawsuit claiming Think Finance used the tribes as a front to make deceptive loans. Think Finance denies the charges and Rees started a new company, Elevate Credit, which operates from the same building in Fort Worth, Texas. Elevate deals in online installment loans, a cousin to payday loans, and partners with a Kentucky-based bank to offer lines of credit with effective annual interest rates much higher than would otherwise be allowed in some states.

Sponsors say the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act facilitates bank partnerships by ensuring third parties like debt buyers and rapidly growing financial technology firms can buy, and collect on, loans originated by federally regulated banks regardless of state laws governing interest rates. These partnerships can help make credit available to those left out of the traditional banking system, primarily low-income individuals, backers say.

“The bill covers every flavor of online lending,” said Adam Levitin, a consumer law professor at Georgetown University. “Some members of Congress have gotten snookered that they are fostering innovation, but a loan is just a loan whether you do it online or not.”

But now more payday-style lenders are moving online and donning the friendly face of a tech startup. Some, like LendUp, a lender charging more than 200 percent on some loans and counting Google Ventures among its investors, have attracted mainstream support. Like many high-interest online lenders, LendUp says it is “a better alternative to payday loans” because they use alternative data sources to determine interest rates but consumer advocates say the product, a high-interest loan that can quickly lead to a cycle of debt, is essentially the same thing.

Elevate said in an email it is committed to lowering rates further, and said its loan terms are more transparent and it doesn’t charge expensive fees associated with payday lenders.

Elevate’s installment loan called RISE is licensed in 17 states that don’t impose interest-rate caps and charges annual interest rates as high as 299 percent. Elevate says repeat borrowers can eventually qualify for interest rates as low as 36 percent on subsequent loans.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia impose interest-rate caps, most around 36 percent, to protect consumers from high-interest loans.

This article originally appeared on publicintegrity.org.

Three Reg CF Crowdfunding Portals are No Longer FINRA Approved (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ufunding was the first to depart FINRAs list of approved platforms. In hindsight it is a wonder the platform was ever approved. The action by FINRA took place a little over a year ago as “potential for fraud” was evident on Ufunding as was “an almost complete failure to follow disclosure and filing requirements.”

DreamFunded Marketplace has hit the exit. We are not certain exactly why DreamFunded left but, if one speculates, it is most likely due to the fact real estate investing is better suited for Reg A+ and Reg D crowdfunding rules which allow issuers to raise more money.

The other former CF platform is Crowdboarders out of Texas. Crowdboarders appears to have pivoted to more of a promotional platform.

After the tech wake-up call… (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Not long ago, Indiana’s Peoples Bank SB had a business prospect come in who had a loan with Kabbage, the online lender, at 20%. “We reviewed their credit, and we got them into the bank at close to 5%,” says Benjamin Bochnowski, president and CEO at the $914.2 million-assets bank.

With credit that was worthy of a rate like that, the bank asked the customer why it had gone to Kabbage in the first place—and been willing to pay nearly 15 percentage points more for credit. Simple, the new customer responded. Kabbage was easy to use and delivered the proceeds of the loan quickly.

Camilo Concha of LendingUSA (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The founding story of LendingUSA.
  • The different verticals they operate in today.
  • How their point of sale lending process works.
  • The typical terms on these loans.
  • A profile of the typical borrower who uses LendingUSA.
  • How they do marketing outreach to the merchants offering their loans.
  • The different revenue streams they have.
  • The scale that LendingUSA is at today.
  • How their loan performance has been to date.
  • Why LendingUSA is not competing as much on price as other consumer lenders.
  • Their overall approval rate for loan applications.
  • How they approach fraud prevention.
  • Who is providing the capital for these loans.
  • Where they are on the path to profitability.
  • Why the marketplace lending challenges of 2016 did not impact LendingUSA that much.
  • Why their cost of customer acquisition is going down.
  • Their biggest challenge in getting their business to where it is today.
  • Camilo’s long term vision for LendingUSA.

P2Binvestor CEO Krista Morgan on Marketplace Lending: What to Expect in 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2Binvestor CEO Krista Morgan founded P2Binvestor in 2012 with a mission to help growing businesses succeed. Morgan is not only CEO of a fast growing Fintech, she is also the cohost of the podcast “Women Who Startup Radio”, an ardent mentor to other women entrepreneurs who speaks regularly on business finance, fundraising, and scaling a startup.

I recently connected with Morgan via email to learn her 2018 predictions for the Marketplace Lending sector and more specifically, her predictions for P2Binvestor. Her observations follow:

  • More focus will be placed on business models and profitability
  • Platform mergers and shut downs will occur as equity investors remain on the sidelines
  • Capital will start to look for shorter duration assets
  • The conversation about diversity will continue

When asked what PB2i has in store for 2018, Morgan targeted the platform’s growth in four areas:

  • More bank partnerships
  • Tech focused on portfolio monitoring
  • Tighter credit standards

Modo Creates A Payments Data Highway Between The World’s Largest Financial Institutions (Benzinga), Rated: A

Bruce Parker, Modo CEO: Modo creates interoperability in the payments industry by conducting the exchange of data between systems via our translation utility service. Modo allows clients to bring together capabilities from around the payments and commerce industry by directly solving for interoperability between different payment systems.

We’re doing this for some of the biggest names in the payments game: Bank of America Corp BACVeriFone Systems Inc PAY, FIS, Klarna, and Alliance Data Systems CorporationADS, and are proud to say that list is growing.

Who are your customers?

Banks, networks, payments providers and their partners.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman talks Fintech on Capitol Hill with Georgetown’s Chris Brummer (MENAFN), Rated: A

Other topics touched on during the interview with Mr. Brummer included how fintech can and should improve financial inclusion—and the continued need to eradicate banking deserts—as well as the necessity to better coordinate and launch public-private partnerships. Despite PayPal’s notable profile and 210 million users, it operates in a $100 trillion industry with approximately 1% market share—and there are still nearly 2 billion people around the world who live outside financial mainstream.

Getting Smart About Thin File Student Grads and Their Credit Card Worth (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

The CARD Act of 2009 disrupted student credit card marketing with a means test and parental approval for certain types of accounts.  The market, which used capture about 12% of total card consumer spend now only contributes a fraction.

The American Banker covered an interesting story about how BankMobile, a digitial only bank with 800 university partners, is attempting to build a model based on academic history and how they maintained their student bank accounts.

3 Real Estate Investing Trends That Gained Steam in 2017 (Realty Biz), Rated: A

In 2016, the real estate crowdfunding industry produced 3.5 billion dollars in a market that has largely gone unnoticed. It’s anticipated by 2025 that the industry is going to be valued at more than 300 billion. Three trends emerged in 2017 that can help the informed investor understand the best approach to this dynamic and explosive industry.

  1. Investors Move Toward Institutional Capital
  2. Non-Accredited Investors Gain Steam
  3. Consolidation allows for the emergence of new players

Can real estate crowdfunding help the homelessness crisis? (Curbed), Rated: A

In addition to commercial space and two market-rate residential lofts, the two-story Jolene’s complex will also contain an 11-room SRO, or single-room occupancy, a dorm-like living arrangement where each resident gets their own 100-square-foot bedroom and access to shared common space. Six of the room will be given to working homeless Portlanders, as part of a partnership with the Street Roots non-profit, while the other five will be rented out to the general population for $425 a month.

After seeing that 90 percent of the participants in Fair-Haired Dumbbell were from Portland, they experimented with a slightly different form of crowdfunding that allowed anybody in Oregon making $70,000 a year or more to invest $3,000 or more in the project (technically, it’s taking advantage of Rule 504 of Regulation D, qualified by the SEC and the Oregon Secretary of State).

EquityStat Brings Portfolio Management To The Cloud (Benzinga), Rated: A

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Karl Swierenga, founder: EquityStat is an online investment portfolio manager. It allows investors to track and manage their stocks, mutual funds and ETFs, online in the cloud. Many investors own a combination of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs.

Who are your customers?

Our customers are individual investors who own mutual funds, stocks, bonds and ETFs.

FindBob Closes $ 1.26M USD Seed Round (Business Insider), Rated: A

FindBob () announced today that its seed round is closed at over $1.25 million USD. Grinnell Mutual led the investment.

The capital will allow FindBob to grow its sales and marketing teams, expand into additional U.S. markets and execute on its multi-generational product roadmap.

FindBob champions better transition behavior among financial professionals and their firms in order to perpetuate and protect their most precious asset: their book of business. By allowing company principals to take control of their futures on a secure digital channel, FindBob helps them safely discover opportunities to buy, sell, merge, partner or address succession and to be confident in their plan for the business they worked so hard for.

Fintechs that flamed out or faded in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: A

Source: American Banker
Source: American Banker

Fintech Outlook For 2018: US Banks Look To AI (The National Law Review), Rated: B

With 2017 at a close, US banks have set out their 2018 FinTech new year resolutions. According to American Banker, US banks are likely to focus their FinTech investment in 4 major areas in 2018:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Open banking
  • Cybersecurity and biometrics
  • Commercial banking innovation

Anyone invest in p2p lending? (blind), Rated: B

Just found out that I can earn annual returns of 6-12% by investing in p2p lending platforms like lendingclub and prosper. Way more than the measly 1.3% I get from my savings account.

Lendio Announces New Franchise in Rochester, New York (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Lendio, an online lending marketplace for small business loans, announced on Thursday the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Rochester area.

LendingTree,Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE) Files An 8-K Departure of Directors or Certain Officers (Market Exclusive), Rated: B

On December 19, 2017, our Board of Directors and Nikul Patel mutually agreed to change Mr. Patel’s position to Chief Strategy Officer, effective January 1, 2018. He currently serves as Chief Product and Strategy Officer, a position he held since November 2016.

United Kingdom

Zopa to launch a bank (Monzo), Rated: AAA

It’s why we’re applying to launch our own next-generation bank. We’ve listened, and we’re confident that we can deliver the bank that will be the best place for your money.  

Leading comparison websites have removed potentially misleading information from their sites after a Moneywise investigation found peer-to-peer (P2P) investment products included in the same best buy tables as high street savings products.

Moneywise looked at the UK’s leading product comparison websites and found issues with the four sites which offer P2P comparisons – Go Compare, Love Money, Money.co.uk and MoneySuperMarket.

A helping hand for small businesses (Money Week), Rated: A

A decade after the credit crunch, too many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK still feel their potential is being hampered by a lack of access to appropriate financing. The government’s Industrial Strategy report, published at the end of November, identified financing issues as a clear problem for SMEs that are looking to grow; surveys of sentiment continue to reveal frustration.

Research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance shows that two-thirds of SMEs with growth plans for the year ahead fear that their expansion plans could be derailed if they cannot secure appropriate finance. A third of SMEs applying for finance aren’t securing enough funding to underpin their investment plans, according to similar research from Close Brothers Group; a quarter of SMEs think funding is still too dear.

New rules clarify P2P business borrowers are not deposit takers (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

In an announcement titled ‘protecting the future of P2P lending’, the Treasury said that no P2P business borrower needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ – often referred to as a ‘banking licence’ – unless that is their core business.

This clarification will be added to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Carrying on Regulated Activities by Way of Business) Order 2001.

10 business trends to look out for in the coming year (inside.co.uk), Rated: B

“I think we will see a strong increase in the number of Scottish businesses sourcing peer to peer lending, which matches borrowers directly with lenders, in 2018,” Hardie said. “Companies such as the Lending Crowd are currently the business world’s best kept secret, but their ability to deliver speedy transactions with attractive terms are firmly establishing them as strong alternatives to the banks.”

“A European directive being implemented in January 2018 will ban businesses from charging customers extra for making payments using a debit or credit card in the EU,” said Lynne Walker, head of business advisory at Johnston Carmichael.

China

China’s LexinFintech Completes $ 108M Listing As Sixth Chinese Fintech IPO In US (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ:LX), a Chinese online lender previously known as Fenqile backed by investors including Matrix Partners and JD.com Inc., has completed a listing on the NASDAQ to raise US$108 million.

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in US market debut (China Economic Review), Rated: A

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s shares surged in their US market debut on Thursday, as investors brushed aside worries about Beijing’s recent crackdown on China’s booming microlending industry.

LexinFintech’s shares jumped 53% from its IPO price, which valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.5 billion, to reach a high of $14.88.

China IPOs In New York Rebound To 16 In 2017, Online Lender Lexin Aces Nasdaq (Forbes), Rated: A

The 16 Chinese companies in 2017 raised $3.7 billion or about 8 percent of the total $35.6 billion raised by 160 IPOs.

Chinese tech titans Tencent and Alibaba are behind some of this pick-up, as they backed recent new listers including Chinese search engine Sogou, e-book company China Literature, microlender Qudian and logistics company Best.

Squeezing in its IPO before the year, Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings listed on Nasdaq on Dec. 21, raising $120 million and trading upward on its opening day by 19.4 percent.

Fintech Pioneer Sees Money in the Masses (Caixin), Rated: A

China’s booming fintech sector will see growth come from small business loans, wealth management tools for the “affluent masses,” and technology that helps you sift through thousands of insurance products in minutes, according to Tang Ning, founder and CEO of financial conglomerate CreditEase.

As of September, the company’s wealth management business oversaw assets worth $20 billion for nearly 50,000 high net-worth customers in China. It also manages $1 billion through a venture fund, which is among the ten most active venture capital investors in global fintech companies, according to data provider CB Insights.

Caixin: What are the most promising fintech trends over the next decade?

Tang Ning: We see small business lending being a key area of growth. In the past 10 years, creative lending models have done a good job at serving individuals, but there is much more to be done for small businesses.

We also see the emergence of insurance tech.

How are Chinese investors’ needs changing?

We are seeing the Chinese wealth management industry go through profound changes. It is moving from fixed-income investments to equity investment, from short-term speculation to long-term investment, from China-focused investment to global opportunities, from investing into single products, single opportunity to comprehensive risk management and comprehensive asset allocation, from managing this generation’s wealth to thinking about succession planning and inheritance.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull sets terms for $ 9 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company plans to raise $9 million by offering 2 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Golden Bull would command a market value of $64 million.

European Union

Europe’s banks brace for a huge overhaul that throws open the doors to their data (CNBC), Rated: AAA

On January 8, banks operating in the European Union will be forced to open up their customer data to third party firms — that is, when customers give consent.

Banks will be required to build application programming interfaces (APIs) — sets of code that give third parties secure access to their back-end data.

Spain’s BBVA, Denmark’s Saxo Bank, Nordic lender Nordea and Ireland’s Ulster Bank have already published open developer portals ahead of the EU legislation.

HSBC has also made early moves toward meeting the incoming rules. In October, the bank launched a beta version of an app that lets customers see all of their bank accounts — including those from competitors — on one screen.

Several small lenders set up with the aim of competing with larger institutions are hoping to take advantage of the move toward a more open data infrastructure. U.K. firms Starling and Monzo, for instance, are want to make banking more like a “marketplace,” by connecting consumers with a number of products and services — including those from other providers — within their apps.

How PSD2 will make personal lending more competitive (IT ProPortal), Rated: A

Today, banks sell few unsecured personal loans to new customers – of seven of the UKs tier one banks only two offer personal loans to new customers – instead focusing on the needs and data of their own clients. The establishing credit risk and difficulties of pricing accurately has simply made it too complex to be competitive.

Also, although many peer-to-peer lending sites now have better protection for consumers as the industry became regulated by the FCA in April 2014, it can be argued this protection is greater for savers and lenders than it is for those borrowing and that the industry is still high-risk when compared with traditional routes.

This could all be about to change with the introduction of the intertwined The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and open banking regulation.

First, XS2A will significantly improve the customer experience for loan applicants.

Hive Project buzzing after ICO (Bankless Times), Rated: A

After securing $8.95 million (BTC 2,087) from 2,234 participants through an ICO in August, Hive Project has released a demo version of their platform and completed an eight-market deal.

Hive Project uses distributed ledger technology to grant every issued invoice a unique fingerprint.

“In the Russian market alone there are  5.67 million SMEs with a combined turnover of €700 billion,” Mr. Soklic said.

Australia

ASIC releases second marketplace lending survey (Lexology), Rated: AAA

ASIC has released its second survey on the marketplace lending industry, which indicates steady growth in both borrowing and lending activity in the market since the last report.

Key findings from the report are outlined below:

  • there are three new marketplace lending platforms in the industry;
  • with $300 million in loans written to consumers and SMEs, there was a doubling of activity in relation to the number of borrowers and total amount borrowed since 2015-16;
  • the average reported default rate across the respondents was 2.2%;
  • there are an additional 4,187 retail investors since 2016, representing $12 million of extra investment in the industry; and
  • loan origination fees remained the primary source of revenue for marketplace lending providers.

The True Threat to Aussie Banks (Money Morning), Rated: A

The updated code of practice brings a number of changes. Most are simple consumer protections. Making it easier to cancel credit cards online, for example, and preventing banks from soliciting customers for credit limit increases.

India

Digital payments, P2P lending among key mega-trends of the year gone by (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

It was a great year for digitalisation and digital payments in the country.

Besides reducing the merchant discount rate for debit card transactions, the Centre announced a subsidy on transactions up to ₹2,000 via debit cards to expand the digital payment ecosystem.

P2P lending boost

Also, 2017 was a milestone year for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, as the RBI issued some guidelines in October.

Other defining changes

In April 2017, five associate banks of State Bank of India and Bharatiya Mahila Bank were merged into SBI, catapulting the latter into the league of top 50 global banks.

In May, the much talked about NPA ordinance giving greater power to the RBI to handle the bad loan crisis came about.

The other key decision of the RBI this year to improve transparency in the system was the move to make it mandatory for the banks to disclose in their balance sheets the extent of divergences between the gross NPAs in their book and those determined in RBI inspection. Private sector lenders such as Axis Bank, YES Bank and ICICI Bank were found to have under-reported their bad loan assets in recent years, prompting the central bank to take this decision.

How retail lending is set to scale up in 2018 (Financial Express), Rated: A

Major factors like steady decline in lending rates, strong focus and performance on growth and credit metrics in retail lending, investor interest in the segment, P2P regulation formalising the new category, increased focus on digitisation and path-breaking initiatives towards affordable housing are helping set a strong base for retail lending. Some of the big trends I see in the New Year are:

Consumer lending

Contrary to the slowdown in credit offtake by the corporate sector, retail credit segment has registered a strong growth of around 20% this calendar year.

Mobile: India today has more than 300 million smartphone users, removing geographical constraints of access to financial products. New venture investments will drive experiments in alternate lending.

Growth in MSME lending

With around 55 million MSME units employing over 80 million people, this sector contributes about 8% to the national GDP. Around 90% of these units are classified as micro businesses.

Growth in affordable housing segment

With home loan to GDP ratio of just 9%, the Indian housing finance sector remains relatively under-penetrated when compared to its Asian peers like China (20%), Thailand (17%), and Malaysia (34%).

The P2P Lending Segment will Drive the Next Phase of Growth of the Indian Fintech industry (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

With the much-awaited legitimacy, the sector is only at growth radar and trust in the segment is developing at a much faster pace. With more and more people moving towards online payments and transactions, the P2P lending space will witness a remarkable rise in the number of borrowers as well as investors. The growth will not only arrive from the urban India but also from Tier II and Tier III cities, leading the country towards the national goal of financial inclusion.

As predicted by NASSCOM, the Indian fintech space is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2020, 2018 will act as a major contributor towards this direction.

How can P2P lending disrupt MSME sector in India? (MENAFN), Rated: A

There are more than 5 crore MSMEs in India and their contribution to the Indian economy is quite significant. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are creating massive employability i.e. up to 12 crore people which is close to 33% of Indias manufacturing output. But still MSMEs suffer from an incredible capital shortage that amounts to Rs. 32 trillion as per the International Finance Corporation.

Fintech start-ups tap small-town users (Business Standard), Rated: A

Paynear, a start-up, has more users in small towns than in the metros. The Hyderabad-based firm, which provides a platform to traders for accepting digital payments, has seen a surge in growth from small towns. Of its 50,000 merchants, two-thirds are in small towns.

Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week [18-23 Dec] (Inc42), Rated: B

This week 19 Indian startups raised about $41 Mn in funding altogether in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Peel-Works: The consumer focussed SaaS and big data analytics startup raised an undisclosed amount in Series B funding led by Mumbai-based Unilever Ventures and Amazon Internet Services.

Faircent: Gurugram-based P2P lending startup Faircent raised $3.9 Mn (INR 25 Cr) in a Series B round of funding.

Asia

Financial inclusion is in your hands (National Multimedia), Rated: AAA

Aside from offering new innovative financial services to their existing customers, the use of Fintech also allows banks to serve potential |customers – those considered “underbanked” and “unbanked” – who in the past did not have access to financial services due to costs, lack of credit or access. The ability for the banks to serve everyone is known as “financial inclusion.” According to the World Bank, around 2 billion people don’t use |formal financial services and over 50 per cent of adults in the poorest households are unbanked.

A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance in 2016 shows that 56 per cent of Thais received micro finance from special financial institutions and less than 9 per cent from commercial banks. Clearly, most Thais often turn to non-bank providers for small sums of money.

The K Plus Shop is an example of fintech for financial inclusion from KBank. It is a mobile application designed to be a one-stop solution for micro businesses such as small shops and street vendors. The app is a point of sale, sales tracking, sales reports and PR tool combined into one app that anyone can download and use free of charge on any smartphone – iOS or Android. With K Plus Shop, the vendor can receive QR payment from any customer using K Plus, other mobile banking or e-Wallet applications via the standard QR for PromptPay, as well as from WeChat Pay and Alipay.

FintruX partners with blockchain data exchange DataWallet (Cryptoninjas), Rated: A

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor