Monday April 30 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky files for IPO. LendingTree hits $181M consolidated revenues. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Morgan Stanley resecuritization. Zopa says savers are abandoning cash ISA. KBRA assigns first European ratings. Today’s main analysis: FTC vs. LendingClub, dueling unicorns. Today’s thought-provoking articles: JD Supra on LendingClub’s FTC issues. Aussie borrowers should embrace for rate hike. Brazil’s amended payment […]

LendingClub

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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News Summary

United States

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files for IPO (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky Inc., a provider of point-of-sale financing and payments technology, disclosed plans to go public.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, filed preliminary documents Friday for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FTC Sues Lending Club For Deceptive Advertising (JD Supra) Rated: AAA

According to the FTC, this deception is made worse by the fact that Lending Club never adequately discloses the up-front fee to consumers during the entire online application process.  The fee is only mentioned once—inside an explanatory “pop-up bubble” that only appears if the applicant happens to click or tap on a relatively small and inconspicuous icon. Because applicants are not required to click or tap on the icon in order to move forward with their loan application, many applicants never saw the disclosure at all.

LendingTree’s 1Q consolidated revenue grows to record $ 181m (Mortgage Professional American) Rated: AAA

Online loan marketplace operator LendingTree saw its consolidated revenue rise to a record $181m during the first this year – up 37% from the same period in 2017, according to a financial statement released Thursday.

January to March revenue from mortgage products stood at $73.5m, up 17% from the first three months of 2017. In particular, purchase and refinance revenues went up 13% and 18%, respectively. Citing the Mortgage Bankers Association, LendingTree said originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through 2018-SC1 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to one class of notes issued by Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through Trust 2018-SC1 (“MSRP 2018-SC1”). This transaction represents the securitization of the consumer loan asset-backed trust certificates issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2015-1 Trust (“SCLP 2015-1”) and supported by a portfolio of prime unsecured personal loans (“Underlying Loans”) that were originated by SoFi Lending Corp (“SoFi”).

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through 2018-SC1

Class Preliminary Rating Initial Class Principal
B BBB (sf) $36,700,000

 

Diversify Into Real Estate With Your IRA Or 401(k) (Forbes) Rated: A

The IRS does allow 

Navient Reports Greater Earnings and Fewer Student Loan Charge-Offs (Lend EDU) Rated: A

On April 24, Navient stated from its earnings report in the first quarter that it had $500 million of originations in private education refinance loans, a 43 percent fall in private education loan charge-offs and a 32 percent jump in business processing fee revenue year over year, according to a press

Business processing earnings: Earnings were $10 million in the first quarter, compared to $3 million in 2017’s first quarter.

Consumer lending earnings: Earnings were $50 million in the first quarter, up from $38 million in 2017’s first quarter. This jump came from a $7 million increase in net interest income, an $18 million decline in loan losses provision and a $9 million fall in income tax expense.

Federal Education Loans earnings: Earnings were $141 million, up from $129 million in 2017’s first quarter.

Unitus Ventures Marks The First Close Of Its $ 45.2 Mn Fund II With $ 15 Mn (Inc42) Rated: A

Unitus Ventures (formerly known as Unitus Seed Fund), an impact venture fund investing in early-stage startups, has announced to have raised $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) towards the first close of its $45.2 Mn (INR 300 Cr) Unitus Ventures Fund II.

The fund will be utilised for onward investing of $753K – $2.2 Mn (INR 5 Cr -INR 15 Cr) each to 25 to 30 startups specialising in education, healthcare and inclusive fintech.

Yolande Piazza of Citi Fintech (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Citi Fintech and the goal of their group within Citi.
  • How they have created a new and innovative culture within Citi Fintech.
  • Why Citi Fintech released a global open banking API.
  • Citi’s Canvas platform that is their internal sandbox product.
  • How they create these products hand in hand with their customers.
  • Why this is about more than just creating mobile offerings.
  • What Citi’s newly announced national digital bank means for the overall bank.
  • How Citi will help non-bank customers as well as their own customers.

 

Mastercard: Serving The Financial Needs Of The ‘New Middle Class’ (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Whether an applicant has recently immigrated and lacks the background data to be approved, or is recovering from a drastic life event such as a divorce or death of a spouse, demonstrating their creditworthiness is often impossible by traditional means – i.e. the FICO score – leaving as many as 160 million Americans up the creek with no paddle.

Haymond said Mastercard has already put its philosophy into practice by partnering with CreditStacks, a FinTech that focuses on providing credit to new Americans, as well as launching its Inclusive Futures Project in December 2017 to address the needs of gig and on-demand workers.

Mastercard Meets Elevate

Some of the features of the new product will include purchase and fraud alerts, credit score monitoring, a full-service mobile app and on/off functionality for the credit card. Cards will be awarded based on the analysis of data from alternative sources, Haymond said, which can fill in the blanks to evaluate a customer’s creditworthiness when traditional data points are not present or don’t meet requirements.

Millennials now more bullish about finances than baby boomers — study (Spears Magazine) Rated: A

Almost nine in ten (88 per cent) HNW millennials feel more confident about their finances than a year ago- but less than half of baby boomers (47 per cent) shared the same sentiment.

A new study from SunTrust Bank also found that millennials are more confident than their generation X counterparts, of whom 66 per cent are more confident than last year.

Some 16 per cent of those surveyed attributed their increased optimism to ‘having a great investment firm’, while 13 per cent cited increases in income and assets.

Possible Finance launches with small, short-term loans designed for low-income borrowers (Geek Wire) Rated: B

Tony Huang was inspired to create Possible Finance because “it’s so damn expensive to be poor.”

Possible Finance customers can apply for small loans and receive approval quickly using a mobile app. Customers can build credit when they make payments, unlike traditional payday loans, which typically do not report to credit agencies unless a borrower misses payments.

LendingPoint is the fastest-growing company in metro Atlanta (Atlanta Business  Chronicle) Rated: B

Being a successful financial technology (fintech) lender requires focusing more on the lender portion of your business than the fintech portion. That’s the way Tom Burnside, CEO and founder of LendingPoint, runs his company, the number-one overall fastest-growing private company in the metro area.

 

 

United Kingdom

Zopa executive: “Savers are abandoning the cash ISA en masse” (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

SAVERS are “abandoning the cash ISA en masse”, as the personal savings allowance (PSA) makes the tax-free wrappers less relevant for consumers, a Zopa executive has said.

New data from UK Finance showed that investment in cash ISAs fell from £773m in March 2017 to just £332m in March 2018 – a decrease of 42 per cent.

Immigration rules ‘could choke fintech’, says lobby group Innovate Finance (The Times) Rated: A

The prospect of tighter immigration rules after Brexit risks choking off a boom in Britain’s burgeoning fintech industry, according to a new study by lobby group Innovate Finance.

The report says the financial technology sector is on course to top 100,000 employees by 2030, with 30,000 jobs set to be created.

The result would be a shortfall of 3,200 highly skilled workers by 2030, at a cost to the fintech sector of £361m, the report said.

Investment trusts back “substantial opportunity” in alternative lending (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Victory Park Capital Specialty Lending (VPC) and P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) released their annual reports on Friday morning, insisting there were still opportunities for online lending and consumer credit as banks continue to scale back.

VPC reported a NAV return of 3.07 per cent for 2017, up from 0.95 per cent in 2016 but below its eight per cent target.

Similarly, P2PGI posted NAV total returns of 3.03 per cent for 2017, down from 4.1 per cent in 2016 and below its target of six to eight per cent.

Is there still life left in P2P investment trusts? (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But four years on from the launch of P2PGI, the investment trust has admitted in its 2017 annual report that historic performance was ”more volatile than we would like.”

But P2PGI still sits at a discount to NAV of 17.5 per cent and VPC is at 12.5 per cent.

Putting Your Bitcoin Investments to Work (Coinspeaker) Rated: A

One pioneer in the field to consider is Nebeus, a crypto bank that brings together cryptocurrency opportunities and a standard bank service. Its Nebeus trading platform supports peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and a multi-cryptocurrency wallet. The platform enables customers to buy, sell, store, remit, lend and borrow cryptocurrency funds.

Nebeus offers two cards that allow holders to spend their cryptocurrency at their convenience online, offline, or to get cash at ATMs, and the convenience and protection this card offers is hard to beat.

The Nebeus Exo Card lets users top up their card with all major cryptocurrencies and spend that money with over 30 million merchants online. Users can make $1,500 ATM withdrawals per day, worldwide. And they get 3% cashback In NBTK tokens monthly. There is no monthly fee for the card for NBTK holders.

China

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On April 23, China’s leading financial inclusion platform FINUP filed a listing application for the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).

Ant Financial Invests in Bangladesh-based Fintech Startup bKash

On April 26, Bangladesh-based mobile financial service provider bKash and Ant Financial jointly announced a strategic partnership to promote the development of financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked communities in Bangladesh.

NIFA Establishes e-Contract Standards for Online Lending

On April 23, the National Internet Finance Association of China released a draft of standards on “Safety Regulations for Internet Finance Contracts”.

With $ 1.9 Billion Investment, Former Baidu Unit Challenges Fintech Rivals (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Baidu Inc.’s former financial-services unit has attracted a $1.9 billion investment from firms including U.S. private-equity giants TPG and the Carlyle Group, giving it fresh ammunition to compete in China’s increasingly crowded financial-services space.

Chinese VC Firm Sky9 Capital Reaches Final Closing Of $ 200M For New Fund (China Money Network) Rated: B

Sky9 Capital, a venture capital firm founded by a former partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, announced today that it has completed the final closing of a new fund with total commitments of US$200 million.

Sky9 Capital Fund III, L.P. will invest mainly in China-based businesses with a focus on early-stage companies in the Internet, enterprise, and deep technology sectors.

European Union

KBRA Issues First European Ratings (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) is pleased to announce its first published European Structured Finance ratings. KBRA issued its inaugural published European ratings on Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”), a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralized by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”). This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”). The full rating report can be accessed here.

This is KBRA’s first publicly rated European ABS securitisation after being registered as a Credit Rating Agency by ESMA in November 2017.

International

The FTC vs LendingClub, Banking through the Post Office, Dueling Unicorns (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, Amazon reported $3.27 EPS earnings well above the $1.26 estimates. The stock jumped 7% to record highs in reaction to the beat. The news comes just days after Amazon invested $22mm into Capital Float, India’s self-proclaimed largest online lender. We recently discussed Amazon’s path to the banking sector via its reported partnership with JP Morgan.

The lines between tech and banking continue to blur. Square announced the acquisition of Weebly for $365 Mn.

Dueling Unicorns

Source: PeerIQ, Company Websites, Crunchbase

FTC vs LendingClub

On Wednesday, the FTC charged LendingClub with deceiving borrowers.

In response to the lawsuit, LendingClub posted a detailed rebuttal, refuting the FTC’s claim. As seen in the image below from LendingClub’s blog post, the company believes they provide borrowers multiple opportunities to understand the Origination Fees mentioned in the FTC’s lawsuit. LendingClub goes on to refute each claim made by the FTC individually.

Source: LendingClub

In a post on Lend Academy, Peter Renton questions the cause of this lawsuit, and points to the fact that only two of the five FTC Commissioner seats were occupied at the time of the complaint, and one of the two left on Friday. Renton’s understanding is that LendingClub and the FTC were cooperating and this lawsuit “came out of left field.”

Are You Ready To Give Fintech A Try? (Forbes) Rated: A

In just three years, Germany’s 

Blockchain Startup ShareRing is Facilitating the Adoption of Cryptocurrency (Coinspeaker) Rated: A

ShareRing will achieve this by employing a dual-coin mechanism through its own ShareLedger blockchain that will operate with two distinct tokens. The first – ShareToken (SHR) – will be the utility token of ShareRing. SHR will drive the consensus algorithm and act as a tradable coin on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The second currency, SharePay (SHRP) will be pegged to fiat and can be purchased directly from the ShareRing app using a credit card. A user can then use their SHRP to buy sharing services within the ShareRing application. ShareRing foresees a wide range of partners for the platform, sharing not just apartments and cars, but time, labor, as well as peer-to-peer lending and group tours.

FintruX Network (FTX) Will Be Listed In 3 Exchanges in their first week of token unlock (satPRNews) Rated: B

Qryptos exchange was the first exchange to list FintruX (FTX) On April 22, Bancor network quickly followed suit by listing Fintrux on April 24.

Potential investors, who missed their ICO, will now be able to buy the tokens on Qryptos, Bancor Network and HitBTC as well.

Australia

Borrowers should ‘brace’ themselves for rate hikes (The Adviser) Rated: AAA

After online lender ME claimed that it was “forced” to hike interest rates on its owner-occupier and investor loans as a result of increased funding costs, comparison site finder.com.au asked a panel of economists whether they believed other banks would follow.

According to the finder.com.au survey of 17 economists, 78 per cent said that they expected more lenders would raise their rates out of cycle as a result of rising US interest rates.

 

India

Fintech Startup Rubique Raises Fresh Round Of Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Kalaari Capital-backed online lending marketplace Rubique has raised fresh funding led by Japan’s Recruit Group and Russian venture capital management company Emery Capital.

Blacksoil and existing investor Kalaari Capital also participated in the funding round. Apart from this round, the startup is also in the final stages of closing another tranche’ of funding, to be led by a couple of marquee investors

The startup plans to use the funds to hire more data scientists, enhance technology and reach a monthly revenue of $1.8 Mn (INR 12 Cr) by September.

Crowd Genie Opens India Office to Expand Asia-Pacific Asset Exchange (BC Focus) Rated: A

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte. Ltd. is incorporated in Singapore and was granted a “Dealing in Securities” license by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in March 2017. This makes Crowd Genie one of the handful licensed platforms in Singapore.It is a peer-to-peer lending online platform that lets Singapore-based SMEs obtain financing from investors.

Crowd Genie is contemplating to establish a blockchain based Asia-Pacific asset exchange. It recently started an office in Bangalore, India and named Kunwar Singh as its Chief Technology Officer. The company completed its CGCOIN token sale in March this year. It intends to work on the regulatory elements to drive India centric assets onto its exchange.

A primer on crowdfunding (The Hindu BusinessLine) Rated: A

P2P lending is when individuals lend to small businesses/individuals for either a social or a commercial initiative. P2P lending can also be for non-income-generating activities. The consideration here is the interest on the amount lent. The return varies with the risk associated with the business and the individuals running the business — higher the risk, higher the return. Some of the prominent P2P platforms include Milaap, Kiva, Faircent and Cashkumar.

P2P platforms insist on KYC fulfilment for both lenders and borrowers. Diligence exercise is done on borrowers to assess credit-worthiness, genuineness and repayment capability.

Crowdfunding for non-financial consideration is of two types — social lending/donation crowdfunding and reward crowdfunding. Here the return or consideration may or may not be commensurate with the money raised.

 

Latin American

Brazil: Amended payment method regulation (IFLR.com) Rated: A

On March 26 2018, the Brazilian Central Bank enacted amendments to the existing regulation on payment methods, proposing more flexible rules on payment arrangements, payment institutions and on interchange fees charged to issuers of debit cards. The Central Bank expects these changes to foster competition among market players and as a result provide reduced debit card costs for end users.

This new regulation follows an international trend already observed in several developed and developing countries. In the US and Mexico, for instance, maximum limits for interchange fees charged in debit cards transactions led to average cost reductions on such fees of 40% and 50%, respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Mixing Real Estate, Direct Lending, and Crypto Investing

real estate investing

Real estate and lending have always been closely associated. What Aperture, a Los Angeles-based real estate technology and investment company, has done is integrate real estate, lending,and cryptocurrencies to create a new model for funding and investing in real estate. The Aperture Business Model Aperture was formed in the year 2016 by three co-founders: Andrew Jewett, Rudy […]

real estate investing

Real estate and lending have always been closely associated. What Aperture, a Los Angeles-based real estate technology and investment company, has done is integrate real estate, lending,and cryptocurrencies to create a new model for funding and investing in real estate.

The Aperture Business Model

Aperture was formed in the year 2016 by three co-founders: Andrew Jewett, Rudy Cortes, and Matt Miles to monetize the opportunity in real estate through creation of a large national fix and flip investor and lender. The company is focused on two things:

  1. Buying residential properties to renovate and resell (“flips”) and
  2. Making loans to other property investors (“investor loans”).

The company bridges the gap for fix-and-flip investors by offering short-term loans for fix and flip, bridge, rehabilitation, or rental purposes. The main focus are homes that do not qualify for traditional lending. The company provides a quick and convenient way to finance property to borrowers with low interest rates and reasonable up-front fees as compared to its competitors. It also helps home owners to sell their houses at best possible prices. Availability of advanced features like ACH payments, interest-only payments, certainty of close, no minimum credit score requirements and a dedicated team of underwriters are some of the core areas of competencies which differentiates Aperture from its competitors.

As a direct buyer, Aperture looks for affordably priced real estate in need of repairs. The aim is to fix it and resell to end users for profit. The company partners with local contractors to determine the scope of repairs and review the work performed.

The Technology Behind It All

The company has developed its fully integrated proprietary loan origination software (LOS) to handle property management services and reporting. The entire workflow of loans is managed through the software.

Borrowers can apply for property loans through the company’s website, which is interactive and intuitive. They are required to register on the company’s web portal and fill the information in terms of basic borrower data, property facts, and amount of loan requested. The loan process is not completely reliant on technology for the assessment of the proposal. The company will also do a manual review to perform the due diligence on a proposed loan. Aperture strives to close each project loan within a period of five to 10 working days.

The company does not focus on saturated states like California, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. It will instead concentrate on capturing a higher quantum of deals at a higher percentage rates. This reduces its cost of acquisition per client and will also ensure higher margins.

Aperture is one of the only lenders that is also a property investor. This allows the company to provide additional benefits to borrowers by referring profitable deals to them in which the company has skin in the game. The company targets experienced investors, real estate agents, and contractors wishing to build a portfolio of two to 20 investment properties.

Fundraising Through Property Coin

Aperture is actively lending and is targeting to achieve a portfolio of $180 million in the next 12 months. Head of Loan Operations Dan Goldman helped build another originator to $55 million in monthly originations in just 15 months. The company, to date, is self-funded.

Aperture is also looking to raise $50 million through an ICO. Launching a 100% asset backed coin called Property Coin, they provide investors fractional interest in all real estate purchased by Aperture. The company has also filed a Reg D and Reg S for the purpose of fundraising. Half of the profits from the investments and loans will flow to the coin holders. The token is a way to securitize the real estate assets while giving crypto holders an opportunity to diversify into an asset-backed coin.

Trends and Future Goals

According to the founders, availability of financing to property investors has increased in the last three years. The residential investment market was previously dominated by “mom & pop” investors (who usually own less than 10 houses). On the other hand, attractive market returns and higher margins, as compared to traditional lending, are attracting institutional investors to jump into the market. These trends show that the industry is at a pivot point, and Aperture is at the right place and the right time to grab hold of this opportunity.

The company has generated 50 percent unleveraged returns on its investments. That, along with the management’s experience in real estate and loan origination industries, is a big positive. By incorporating the blockchain, the company has created an investment vehicle that will be attractive to multiple sections of the investor base. Property Coin is a safe bet for those taking their first steps into the crypto space. The coin can also be attractive to institutional players looking for a stable crypto asset in their portfolio with strong cash flows and a tangible underlying asset.

The Competition

The company’s biggest competitor is Lending Home founded in 2013. Finance of America is another player in this segment and was formed in 2017 with the merger of B2R Finance and Jordan Capital Finance offering residential rehab fix-and-flip loans, single rental home loans, and blanket loans. It is also a portfolio company of the private equity giant, Blackstone.

Lima One is another strong contender, offering services to residential real estate investors with a funding period of 15 to 45 days. The company was formed in 2010 and has funded over $200 million with more than 720 residential deals up through 2017.

The Aperture Founding Team

All three founders were part of the senior management team at Wedgewood, one of the largest fix-and-flip investors in the US. Jewett and Miles were co-heads of the capital markets division. Both also worked previously at RBS Securities. Cortes was the head of fix-and-flip operations at Wedgewood and has previous experience at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, Inc.

Aperture combines the best of marketplace lending with traditional real estate and asset-backed cryptocurrency to provide opportunities for investors interested in diversification and building a strong real estate portfolio.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Further reading

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Fake paintings; the rule of 72; lobbying; Appalachian prisons; volatility; and much more...