Thursday April 18 2019, Weekly News Digest

digital banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle sets new high on loans under management. SoFi partners with Lemonade, Root. Salary Finance hires SoFi co-founder, raises $32.8M. Dianrong to raise $100M. Klarna may be headed to the stock market. Linked Finance sees record quarter. Today’s main analysis: European online alternative finance grows 36%. (A MUST-READ REPORT […]

The post Thursday April 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

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News Summary

United States

SoFi has announced two new partnerships in the insurance space. The partnerships expand SoFi’s portfolio of offerings to include homeowners’ and renters’ insurance through Lemonade and auto insurance through Root.

LendIt Fintech USA 2019 Slide Presentations Now Live (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

Keynote Presentations

Advancements in Credit, Underwriting and Identity

Small Business Lending Innovation

Niche Lending: Looking for Yield

Are Crypto-Tracking Stocks Viable Alternatives to a Bitcoin ETF? (Finance Magnates), Rated: AAA

As the world continues to wait for the US SEC’s decision on the Bitcoin ETF applications that are still being processed months after a decision was expected, some investors may find themselves seeking alternative methods of entering into the Bitcoin market without actually having to do the dirty deed of investing in Bitcoin itself.

Crypto lending serviceshave recently reported record profits; crypto futures exchanges are also reporting higher-than-ever trading volumes.

Source: @CMEGroup on Twitter

Nearly 1 in 4 Millennial Homebuyers Want to Buy a Home Before They’re Married (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Young adults are getting married later than previous generations. In 1980, the median age for men and women at their first marriage was 24.7 and 22, respectively. In 2018, the ages increased to 29.8 and 27.8, for men and women, respectively.

Millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 37%, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of millennial first-time homebuyers want to own a home before getting married.

On the flip side, this means just over 3 in 4 millennial buyers (76%) want a marriage before a mortgage. Additionally, 27% of millennial buyers are postponing parenthood until they’ve achieved homeownership. Among homebuyers of all ages, nearly 2 in 5 are waiting to get a pet until after purchasing a house.

More than a quarter (26%) of first-time buyers have poor credit.

Just 15% of first-time buyers have a score of 740 or higher. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) aren’t satisfied with their credit score, yet more than a quarter of those who are dissatisfied haven’t taken steps to improve their score. By contrast, more than 70% of repeat homebuyers are satisfied with their credit score.

GROUNDFLOOR Doubles Year Over Year Revenue (PR Newswire), Rated: A

GROUNDFLOOR, an investing and lending platform that allows anyone to invest fractionally in real estate, is today announcing its Q1 results and momentum. Despite the government shutdown of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for 35 days, GROUNDFLOOR still experienced 123% percent non-GAAP Q1 revenue growth compared to the prior year Q1.

Additional Q1 momentum for GROUNDFLOOR includes:

  • Achieving a 166% increase in unit volume for loans closed in Q1 ’19 vs. Q1 ’18
  • More than doubling loan application volume for Q1 ’19 vs. Q1 ’18 (121% increase)
  • Selling more than $14.5M in real estate investments to retail investors on the platform
  • Surpassing more than 60,000 registered users
  • Eclipsing $100MM in loans to real estate developers to-date in more than two dozen states
  • Expanding product offerings, such as new construction loans and a fixed annualized notes product returning 5 percent on a 90-day term
  • Launching a second online public offering to purchase stock in GROUNDFLOOR directly

Real estate startup Reali acquires online lender Lenda, expands into mortgages (Housingwire), Rated: A

Reali announced Wednesday that it acquired Lenda, an online mortgage lender that launched in 2013 and currently operates in 12 states.

And with the acquisition, Reali is launching Reali Loans, a mortgage lending operation of its own.

Avant to pay $ 3.85M to settle allegations of deceiving borrowers (American Banker), Rated: A

The online lender Avant will pay $3.85 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it misled customers who were seeking to repay their loans.

The FTC said Monday that its commissioners approved the settlement by a 5-0 vote.

A Max Levchin-Backed Startup Raises $ 19 Million To Tackle Online Returns (Forbes), Rated: A

A San Francisco-based startup called Returnly is seeking to solve at least a portion of the headache—namely, the payment delay—by issuing instant store credit when you decide you don’t want an item. The company says that by assessing a shopper’s risk, it can offer store credit to 85% of customers on the spot, without first requiring that the item has been received or even put in the mail.

Returnly announced on Wednesday that it has raised $19 million in a Series B funding round, led by venture capital firm Craft Ventures and with participation from Max Levchin, the PayPal cofounder who currently runs Affirm.

Small businesses turning far more often to online lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year 32% of credit-seeking small businesses applied to an online lender, up from 19% in 2016, according to the survey, which was released Tuesday. Over the same period, large banks, small banks and credit unions all saw either steady application rates or a slight decline in interest from those same small businesses, which typically had fewer than 10 employees.

Mastercard Redefines Choice at Checkout with Acquisition of Vyze (Business Wire), Rated: A

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) today announced it has acquired Vyze, a technology platform that delivers more choice – and purchasing power – to people who want their point-of-sale payment options to match the flexibility and convenience of today’s shopping experiences.

Increasingly, consumers are seeking alternative financing options,1 leaving merchants and financial institutions with a need to deliver these services at the point of sale. In the U.S. alone, these solutions represent a more than $1.8 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture.

Earnest Launches Private Student Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Earnest today announced that it’s modernizing student loans with a new in-school student lending offering.

Built based on feedback from students and people with student debt, an Earnest student loan incorporates four unique differentiators:

  • Innovative eligibility check – A quick two-minute eligibility check requires only basic personal information, school details, and an estimated credit score.
  • Cosigner invite – Earnest’s application makes it simple and easy to invite a cosigner to the process.
  • Checkout  Clients can customize their loan according to their individual financial needs with easy-to-understand terms and a clear understanding of their monthly payments after graduation.
  • 9-Month grace period – Earnest found through talking with recent graduates that they wanted the flexibility of a longer grace period after graduation to get settled. Earnest offers a 9-month grace period after graduation compared to the 6-month industry standard.

Banks turn to a former rival to jump-start digital platforms (American Banker), Rated: A

In the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” world of bank-fintech relations these days, TD Bank’s recent agreement with the online lender Avant fits right in.

Avant is expanding its efforts to license technology to traditional banks, and TD Bank in March announced it will use the Chicago company’s technology platform, called Amount, to power the bank’s unsecured loan product, TD Fit Loan. HSBC, Regions Banks and Banco Popular also use Amount.

Digital Lending Companies Considering Stricter Credit Approvals (Investing News), Rated: A

Over the past decade, the digital-lending industry has evolved to become more sophisticated. For example, companies are integrating big data and proprietary algorithms to analyze a borrower’s credit risk score in a matter of seconds, according to Juniper Research.

According to the firm, MPLs are projected to generate US$588 billion in loan origination value annually by 2023. This is estimated to account for 41 percent of SME funding around the world.

The research firm further reports that revenue from MPLs are predicted to grow at a 48 percent CAGR. This brings MPL platform revenue to US$137 billion annually by 2023, a 400 percent return from the estimated US$30 billion in revenue in 2019.

7 Smart Ways To Invest $ 1,000 (Forbes), Rated: A

2. Lend to those in need and earn some interest.

Lending Club is one such peer-to-peer lending service I tried out, and I found it to be very easy to use and reliable (see my 

Nearly 60% Of Millennials Look To Lottery For Retirement, Survey Says (FA-Mag), Rated: A

The odds of winning the $654 million Mega Million prize last year were put at one in 302 million, while the $345 million Powerball offered one chance in 292 million. But those astronomical odds apparently haven’t deterred the many Americans who are banking on using a lottery jackpot for their retirement nest egg.

Thirty-one percent of Americans don’t invest because they think it’s risky, but 39 percent, including 59 percent of millennials, feel it’s reasonable to think of the lottery jackpot as a potential means of retirement, according to the survey.

Miillennial men in particular (66 percent) believe the lottery is a reasonable retirement plan, compared to 58 percent of millennial women. However, if they did win the lottery, more millennial men (61 percent) than women (42 percent ) would save or invest the entire amount.

Direct Lending Investments Had Over 950 Investors (deBanked), Rated: A

Documents filed in a New York Supreme Court case by the receiver managing Direct Lending Investments (DLI), revealed that DLI had more than 950 investors worldwide with collective investments on the books totaling over $780 million.

No-income, no-asset mortgages are back (at one lender, at least) (Housingwire), Rated: A

And now, NINA loans are back, as 360 Mortgage Group announced this week that it is launching a no-income, no-asset mortgage pilot program.

Some online lenders charge 900% interest and ignore Virginia law. So borrowers are suing. (Pilot Online), Rated: A

A loose-knit group of Virginians, stung by triple-digit interest rates on payday and other loans, is trying to do what the General Assembly won’t — make sure all lenders, including online ones, follow Virginia laws.

The latest lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that four web sites — Golden Valley Lending, Silver Cloud Financial, Mountain Summit Financial and Majestic Lake Financial — set up in the name of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe in northern California were actually operated by non-tribal members in a Kansas City suburb, including the son of a payday loan executive convicted of fraud and racketeering.

Lendio Franchise Opens in Phoenix to Expand Access to Capital for Local Businesses (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio has announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in Phoenix. Through the Lendio Franchising program, Sam Foreman will help local businesses apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for area small business owners.

BlueVine Partners with Ocrolus for Faster Processing of Financing Applications (Ocrolus), Rated: B

Ocrolus today announced a partnership with BlueVine. BlueVine leverages Ocrolus technology to accelerate growth and scale operations efficiently, creating a faster and more seamless experience for its customers.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle’s loans under management soar to record highs (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Loans under management grew 44 per cent to £3.4bn compared to £2.3bn in the first quarter of the previous year, and revenue growth soared by 40 per cent.

The firm reported that loan originations were up 23 per cent from £525m in the first quarter of 2018 to £644m between January and March this year.

Salary Finance raises $ 32.8m, hires SoFi co-founder for US push (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Salary Finance, a UK-based startup focused on salary-linked savings and loans for employees, has raised $32.8 million and hired SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin for a US expansion.

Welendus closes funding round as it prepares for India expansion (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer lender focused on short-term loans, has closed its last seed funding round, as it prepares to expand into India.

City watchdog readies new rules for cryptoassets and P2P (FN London), Rated: B

The Financial Conduct Authority is prepping new rules for cryptoassets and peer-to-peer lending, two rapidly growing areas of fintech.

China

China’s P2P lending platform Dianrong raising $ 100m (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong is looking to raise $100 million in fresh funding, according to a Financial Times report, a move that should give it enough buffer to meet China’s strict capital requirement for P2P players.

The GIC-backed firm has not made any official statement about its fundraising plan but analysts said the move is part of the firm’s efforts to meet Beijing’s proposed Rm500 million ($74.5 million) capital requirement for P2P operators nationwide.

National Rules on Online Lending Still Far From Sight (Caixin Global), Rated: A

It will not be soon for China’s commercial banks, consumer finance service firms and other institutions to see a national regulation governing internet-based lending activities, despite recent progress on specific rules for online peer-to-peer lending and microloans, Caixin learned.

Large P2P lenders ordered to ready disclosures for regulators (technode), Rated: A

Large platforms with loan balances of more than RMB 5 billion ($750 million) must register with the information disclosure database by the end of May.

European Union

Tech unicorn Klarna could quickly be prepared to contemplate bourse itemizing (Infosurhoy), Rated: AAA

Swedish tech unicorn Klarna is nearing the point where it could seek a stock market listing, but it’s unlikely to be this year, the CEO and co-founder of the fast-growing online payments services firm said.

Klarna Expands Relationship with Acne Studios (Business Wire), Rated: B

The Stockholm-based fashion house Acne Studios has expanded their existing European partnership with Klarna. Showing at Paris Fashion Week, Acne Studios encompasses women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories and denim, but also moves across the borders of fashion, art and design. With Klarna now available in Acne Studios’ online store, shoppers in the U.S. can choose to checkout with four equal payments – with no interest or fees.

Linked Finance marks record quarter (Tech Central), Rated: AAA

The first quarter of 2019 saw the platform provide more than €11.3 million in loans to Irish SMEs, an increase of 32% over the same period last year.

Since its establishment in 2013, Linked Finance has helped provide more than 2,000 loans and €92 million in funding to businesses across Ireland. Lenders who have supported SMEs through the platform have earned more than €7.1 million in interest and received more than €50.4 million in repaid principal since the business launched in 2013.

Linked Finance issued its largest loans ever in the quarter with a number of €300,000 loans provided. The average loan increased to €70,000.

Total Online Alternative Finance Grows 36% Topping €10 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to CCAF, in 2017 the alternative finance market grew by 36% to € 10.44  billion – dominated by the UK.

Excluding the UK, European online alternative finance industry grew 63% from €2.06 billion to €3.37 billion in 2017.

The top three European markets following the UK, include:

  • France at €661 million
  • Germany at €595 million
  • The Netherlands at €280 million
  • The Nordic countries collectively generated €449 million, making them the third-largest regional market in Europe following France and Germany.
Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read the full report here.

Top 5 Real Estate Stocks To Invest In (Prague Post), Rated: A

But before I share these top real estate crowdfunding companies, I would first want to tell you about the characteristics which a best performing real estate should have. Well, they must have:

  • Pricing power
  • High usage rates
  • Regular dividend
International

Challenger banks overtake traditional banks in customer satisfaction, in 4 charts (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Challenger banks have leapfrogged to the forefront in overall customer satisfaction, according to a new study from FIS.

63 percent of direct bank customers report being “extremely satisfied”, compared to 52 percent of credit union customers and just 19 percent of customers of the top 50 global banks.

73 percent of all consumer interactions with banks in the US are done digitally.

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of younger millennials (between ages of 18 and 26) reported that they have not used any branches at all in the prior month.

Source: Tearsheet
Australia

April holidays to negatively impact 1 in 4 SMEs (My Business), Rated: AAA

According to new research commissioned by SME lender OnDeck, Australia’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are bracing for “a double whammy” of disruption from the back-to-back Easter/Anzac Day public holidays.

Over one in four (27 per cent) of SMEs expect the Easter/Anzac Day period to disrupt normal trading.

LET’S TALK: THE BIG 4 BANKS (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Leo Tyndall, CEO and Founder Marketlend

In the wake of the Royal Commission we’re seeing a tightening of finance for SMEs with even long time customers being turned away for loans. For years, banks have taken too long and required too much, like property collateral, from SMEs. Innovations like marketplace lending are giving SMEs transparent and prompt access to.capital when they need it.

Stephen BarnesPrincipal at Byronvale Advisors Pty Ltd

I would say that the term ‘redundant’ may not be so appropriate but certainly through a number of factors the ‘Big 4’ may be less able to meet the needs or timeliness requirements of small business. A large number of small business owners need to use personal assets, usually the family home, as security for loans.

India

P2P firms seek RBI relaxation on lending limit (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

A little more than a year after the (RBI) came out with guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies to convert into non-banking companies (NBFCs), micro and small enterprises (SME) lending has turned out to be the focus area for these companies.

However, the current regulation does not allow a single lender to lend more than Rs 10 lakh across at a time. This is hampering growth prospects, say P2P players. The association of P2P lenders has sought relaxation in the norm, and requested the to raise the limit to Rs one crore, according to sources in the industry.

Fintech startups spot a lucrative space in ‘open banking’ (Economic Times), Rated: A

Fintech startups have started offering a broader set of banking services beyond payments and lending, pointing to a deep integration with lenders that has the potential to change the way customers access banking products.
Asia

Riding the Korea FinTech Wave (Finextra), Rated: AAA

South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) has identified three sectors — payments, data, and lending — to protect consumers, foster fintech innovation, and ultimately remove uncertainties that may restrict investments into Korea.

Legal Framework Around Marketplace Lending

South Korea is a country that has gone through two economic crises which has made banks extremely conservative especially in terms of lending. As such, 40% of the population cannot receive loans from tier one banks and must resort to secondary markets such as savings banks with extremely high interest rates above 20% and shady underground loan sharks.

Cambodia, Singapore In X-Border FinTech Pact (Cambodia Daily), Rated: A

Deputy Managing Director of MAS Jacqueline Loh said the relationship demonstrates a FinTech that may extend to other countries in the ASEAN region.

MENA

A ROADMAP FOR FINTECH FIRMS ENTERING FAST-GROWING EMERGING MARKETS (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

This paper provides case studies and market analysis from the Arab Middle East and Africa as examples of fast-growing economies, open to best-in-class solutions, with both wealthy and underbanked populations. Key go-to-market findings serve to inform fintech firms, investors and others about participating in the region.

Download the report here.

Canada

TORONTO FINTECH, LENDIFIED, RAISES $ 15 MILLION CAD SERIES A (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Lendified, a Toronto-based FinTech, announced today that it has closed a $15 million CAD Series A funding round, in order to continue its growth within Canada.

The round was co-led by WD Capital Markets and INFOR Financial, and saw funding from CI Financial Corp., Windsor Private Capital, FirePower Capital, and a group of investors including Glenn Murphy, founder of FIS Holdings and former CEO of Gap Inc. and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Latin America

How sky-high interest rates are choking economic growth in Brazil (The Brazilian Report), Rated: AAA


Brazilian Credit Card Interest Rates: Enough to Choke a Horse or Risk Based Pricing? (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Bank accounts for consumers is still relatively low, with only 68%, compared to 79% in China.  Debit cards, however, outpaced credit by 2:1.

While you may see a slight uplift in the U.S. and U.K markets, consider this:

  • Annual consumer rates for credit cards topped 270 percent for unpaid balances.
  • As Brazil suffered its worst economic crisis in history, the banks raised credit card rates to a stunning 500 percent per annum on unpaid bills.
  • With Brazilians relying on credit an paying for everything from everyday goods to luxury items in installments, massive interest rates are being embedded into these payments.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.