Thursday November 16 2017, Daily News Digest

securitization

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus surpasses 2017 goal. LendInvest gets into buy-to-let. Top 3 spots on KPMG Fintech 100 list are all Chinese. Lendix launches SME bridge loans in France, Spain, and Italy. Mauritia issues draft P2P lending rules. Marlette closes fourth securitization in a year. Today’s main analysis: Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitizations. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

securitization

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News Summary

United States

Marcus from Goldman Sachs Surpasses 2017 Goal (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Martin Chavez, chief financial officer for Goldman Sachs, showed in a slideshow at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch event yesterday that Marcus had already surpassed $1.96 billion in originations as of Nov. 9.

What that means is that from Nov. 9 to Nov. 14, over a span of five days, Marcus originated more than $40 million in loans.

Rising challenges unlikely to deter U.S. securitization in 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

As a result, Fitch’s outlook for U.S. structured finance ratings is predominately stable for 2018. That said, given where we are in the credit cycle, Fitch is keeping a close watch on select asset types that could run into some issues over the next 12 months.

Entering 2018, Fitch has either Positive or Stable Outlook on over 90% of its rated securitized bonds.

Perhaps the most notable change that has manifested from risk retention is the shrinking universe of originators bringing new securitizations to market. This is particularly notable in the universe of CMBS originators, which has shrunk from a high of roughly 40 to now less than 20 due to a combination of risk retention and Reg A/B.

Competitive pressures, long in place for subprime autos, are escalating in a marketplace ABS environment that is struggling to find its footing by testing recent underwriting models, asset quality and, in some cases, business models. Delinquencies and chargeoffs of existing assets continue to increase as marginal borrowers increase their leverage. Not likely to help is the drive for growth among large marketplace lenders coupled with rising market pressure from competing banks like Goldman Sachs (Marcus), Discover, and Suntrust. And unless originators tighten their credit policies with discipline, the strain will intensify.

Source: Asset Securitization Report

Online lenders should heed criticism of their effect on borrowers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The consumer lending industry is abuzz about the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s recent report on debt consolidation and online lending. This excellent piece of research concludes that, on average, online installment loan borrowers fall into more debt after taking out a loan, experience hits to their credit score and history as a result, and take out online loans despite having access to traditional banking and credit channels.

The first two conclusions are damning, especially as these loans are often marketed as a way to help consumers consolidate credit card debt and improve their finances. At the end of the day, a lender’s duty is not merely to avoid losses. Any loan must be suitable for the customer — which means it should be made only if the lender believes it is improving the customer’s financial health. A lender not guided by that principle should be prepared for severe criticism as well as elevated losses down the road.

But it would be nonsensical to discredit or ignore the study because it includes online lenders beyond well-known fintech names.

The Best of Both Worlds with Prosper for Borrowers and Lenders (DoughRoller), Rated: AAA

Founded in 2005, and generally recognized as the first peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in the US, Prosper has funded more than $10 billion in loans since.

While borrowers can get personal loans ranging in size between $2,000 and $35,000, investors can put as little as $25 toward funding those loans.

There is one exception, however. You cannot use loan proceeds for post-secondary educational expenses. That’s because some of the rules in federal law aren’t compatible with P2P lending. More specifically, with education loans, the borrower must have at least 30 days to accept or reject a loan offer.

Medical procedures available for financing under the PHL program include:

  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery
  • Fertility and reproductive procedures

All Prosper loans have a term of either three or five years.

The minimum requirements are:

  • A minimum FICO score of 640, based on a TransUnion FICO 08 score
  • Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 50%
  • Stated income greater than $0 (you must have an income)
  • No bankruptcies filed within the previous 12 months
  • Fewer than seven credit bureau inquiries within the last six months
  • A minimum of three open trades reported on your credit report

Interest rates are between a minimum of 3.00% for the best AA rated borrowers to a maximum of 36.00% for the lowest rated HR borrower grades.

Source: DoughRoller

Prosper for Investors

Prosper advertises that the average rate of return by investors on the platform is 7.41% per year.

Loans rated HR have a much higher average return, at 11.73%.

You can open either a General Investment Account or an IRA. Available IRAs include traditional, Roth, SIMPLE, SEP and rollover IRAs (IRA accounts are held with Millennium Trust Company). At this time, Prosper has made only individual accounts available. You cannot hold an account jointly with someone else.

For regular investment accounts, the minimum is $25. For IRA accounts, the minimum is $5,000.

Similar to other P2P platforms, when you invest with Prosper, you don’t actually invest in whole loans. Instead, you invest in small slivers of those loans, referred to as “notes.” The notes are in denominations of $25. This means that you can spread an investment of $1,000 across as many as 40 different loans.

The servicing fee is 1% of the outstanding balance of a loan. That means that if the loan pays 8%, your net return will be 7%.

Source: DoughRoller

Marlette Funding Closes Fourth Personal Loan Securitization Within Past Year (LendEDU), Rated: A

Last week, marketplace lender Marlette Funding announced the closing of its fourth proprietary securitization. The transaction was worth an estimated $312 million, and it is the fourth securitization announcement since August of 2016 from Marlette Funding.

eOriginal Named as One of Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 (eOriginal), Rated: A

eOriginal, Inc., today announced it has been named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list as one of North America’s fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy companies. eOriginal earned the rank of 294 by more than doubling revenues during the evaluation period of FY 2013 through FY 2016.

Betterment, the investing startup with $ 11 billion in assets, is rolling out a new service to make charitable giving easier (Business Insider), Rated: A

Betterment, the New York-based roboadviser, announced Wednesday a charitable giving feature that’ll let users donate shares of their account to partnered charities.

The firm, which manages $11 billion for over 300,000 customers, partnered with 11 charities for Betterment Charitable Giving, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, UNICEF, and World Wildlife Fund, according to a news release. The new feature is set to go live November 28.

Subprime car loans souring faster at nonbank lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Despite signs of trouble in subprime auto lending, U.S. banks and credit unions are well positioned to ride out any market turbulence, a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests.

More than $435 billion in auto loans to borrowers with credit scores below 660 were outstanding during the third quarter of this year, the report found. That total has been climbing steadily since bottoming out at $249 billion in early 2011. Delinquency rates have also been rising as it has become easier to qualify for an auto loan.

Fidelity latest financial firm to facilitate data sharing with fintechs (American Banker), Rated: A

Fidelity Investments is joining the ranks of financial firms sharing customer account data with others through an application programming interface.

The new service, called Fidelity Access, will give third parties access to Fidelity customers’ account data for use in apps and services like tax preparation, budgeting, financial planning, spending analysis and portfolio advice — provided the Fidelity customers give their OK. Customer data to be shared includes Fidelity account balances, securities holdings, and transactions.

These are the most valuable fintech companies in America (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Stripe Inc., whose software is used by businesses to accept and track digital payments, leads the way as the most valuable fintech startup in the U.S., with a $9.2 billion valuation.

And just to be clear, fintech startups are nowhere near close to catching up to the big banks. Wells Fargo & Co. has a market cap of more than $266 billion, and Bank of America Corp. has a market cap of more than $273 billion.

RealtyProfits Offers Accredited Investors an Innovative Platform to Invest in the Real Estate Sector (Digital Journal), Rated: A

RealtyProfits (www.RealtyProfits.com) announces today an exciting and innovative investment opportunity, RealtyProfits IV, with a Preferred Return of 12 percent per annum, available exclusively to accredited high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. The private preferred equity securities, available for purchase at www.RealtyProfits.com, are being offered through WealthForge Securities, LLC, a registered broker/dealer and member of FINRA/SIPC.

The geographically diversified portfolio includes properties in 700 cities coast to coast, with a current estimated value of $1.73 billion and more than $700 million of equity in more than 5,900 portfolio properties. The properties include primarily single-family homes and condominiums ranging in value from $100,000 to more than $2,500,000.

Accredited investors can start investing with as little as $20,000. RealtyProfits IV offers monthly cash distributions. Preferred equity investors receive all distributions made by RealtyProfits IV until fully repaid. The Preferred Return is 12 percent per annum, with initial monthly Base Preferred Return payments at 6 percent per annum anticipated depending on cash flow during each of the first 24 months.

Reality Shares Teams up with Nasdaq to Launch Blockchain Tech Index (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Reality Shares and Nasdaq announce the creation of the Reality Shares Nasdaq Blockchain Economy Index, a smart-beta index that tracks the growth and development of leading global companies creating and implementing blockchain solutions.

An ETF that will track the Index is already in the works, with Reality Shares filing for it on November 2, 2017.

Reality Shares and Nasdaq compiled the index by utilizing internal and external research and their proprietary Blockchain ScoreTM ranking system. The Index is comprised of global companies that seek to capitalize upon transformational blockchain technology that may potentially disrupt the markets in which they operate.

How to Choose Between a Peer-To-Peer Lending or Traditional Loan (Experian), Rated: A

Shopping for a loan at a P2P provider is a two-step process. First, based on a credit score (or credit scores) and your answers to a few basic questions—your full name, address, date of birth and annual income—the lender determines which loan offer(s) to extend to you. (It’s possible at this juncture that the lender will decide not to extend any loan offers; if they do, they’ll explain why.)

Once you choose the loan you want, the lender does a more detailed credit check and may ask you to verify your income and to provide additional background information.  Each P2P site has its own lending criteria, including minimum credit scores, and additional information requirements vary accordingly. Some P2P lenders want information on your educational background; others want work history or details about your financial assets. In most cases, you can submit the necessary documents electronically.

The first step in the P2P loan-approval process gets one or more of your credit scores by a method known as a soft inquiry—the same process you use when you check your own credit scores. Soft inquiries have no impact on your credit scores. However, the hard inquiries traditional lenders make when you apply for a credit cards or bank loans are reported to the national credit bureaus. They appear on your credit reports, and typically cause temporary credit-score drops of several points.

In the second step of P2P loan approval, the lender performs a hard inquiry to confirm your credit score and, likely, to review your full credit report.

Before you apply for a P2P loan

  • Take a look at the fine print on the bottom of each provider’s homepage, to get an overview of the loan amounts they offer and the rates and fees they charge.
  • Make sure the lender operates in your state.
  • Check your FICO Score and review your credit reports for any major negative entries. Accounts in collection, liens and civil judgments are among the items that could torpedo your loan application, even if you meet the credit-score requirements.
  • Determine the amount of money you need and watch out for tempting upsells.
  • Consider using the Experian loan-referral tool to explore offers from multiple P2P lenders (and possibly traditional lenders as well).

Resignation of CFPB head gives Trump opportunity to erase Elizabeth Warren’s legacy (Legal Insurrection), Rated: A

Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced to staff in an email Wednesday his plans to resign. While he’s yet to confirm his plans, there’s speculation Cordray will return home to run for Ohio’s governorship.

Seven Signs That the Bond Bull Market is Over (INTL FCStone), Rated: A

  • The bond bear market is already here: short and medium-term treasuries have lost value in the past 5 years
  • Buybacks have fallen to a five-year low, and big repurchasers have underperformed
  • Oil prices are at a 30-month high, and the futures curve is in backwardation
  • The long and the short ends of the yield curve are moving together again
  • The Chinese trade surplus has shrunk from 10% of GDP to almost zero in the past ten years
  • The U.S. deficit is growing again, an unprecedented phenomenon in times of expansion and peace
  • Small bubbles are popping out: Auckland houses, Ethereum crypto coins, and collectible cars
Source: Global Macro Report, INTL FCStone

Read the full report here.

Spring Framework Creator Launches Atomist for Development Automation With $ 22 Million in Series A Funding (Marketwired), Rated: A

Today on stage at Structure 2017, Atomist is formally launching and unveiling its Development Automation Platform with an Open Source client and API. As part of today’s launch, Atomist is announcing $22 million in Series A funding from Accel and Matrix Partners.

Bestow Gives Texas Residents First Access to On-Demand Life Insurance (PRWeb), Rated: A

Bestow Inc., the company behind a revolutionary new approach to life insurance, today announced the early access roll out of its comprehensive, full-stack, digital life insurance solution in Texas. For the first time Bestow’s solution is available to the public, giving Texas residents primary access to apply for the only on-demand life insurance solution, instantly and without a medical exam.

Leveraging applied intelligence and algorithmic underwriting, Bestow redefines the way consumers research, buy and manage life insurance. Using data to calculate risk, Bestow removes the need for a medical exam and streamlines the entire process into a matter of minutes. The Texas launch gives consumers access to choice term life insurance plans, including a unique two year term policy never before available for life insurance. Additionally, customers can choose between ten or twenty year term life insurance.

The Zebra Raises $ 40 Million, Taps New CEO To Expand Beyond Car Insurance (Forbes), Rated: A

The Zebra, which has always described itself as the Kayak of car insurance, has hired a longtime Kayak executive as its new CEO.

The Austin-based company, which allows drivers to compare prices for car insurance online, said on Tuesday that it has tapped Kayak’s former president Keith Melnick to run the company.

The Zebra also said it has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round, led by Accel Partners. That brings its total funding to $61.5 million.

MarketScout in Dallas Creates $ 25M Insurtech Venture Fund (Insurance Journal), Rated: B

Dallas-based insurance exchange and MGA MarketScout announced it has launched MarketScout InsurTech (MIT), which will make investments in tech-enabled insurance distribution. The initial funding of $25 million will come exclusively from MarketScout Corp., parent of MIT, according to the firm.

House Financial Services Committee Approves Legislation to Help Keep Lending Partnerships Between Banks and Online Lenders (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The House Financial Services Committee has approved HR 3299 or the “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.” The bill “restores consistency” in lending laws across state boundaries. HR 3299 impacts the case of Midland Funding, LLC v. Madden – an ongoing law suit that has the potential to undermine online lenders. Sponsored by Congressman Patrick McHenry, includes an important statement that clarifies allowable interest rates on loans potentially ending the issue associated with the law suit.

How Do You Beat a Robo-Advisor? Trust (Think Advisor), Rated: A

“Technology by itself cannot create trust,” Robert C. Merton, a Nobel laureate in economics now teaching at MIT, recently told ThinkAdvisor. “The successful advisor must have the trust of their clients.”

Given the importance of trust in the advisor-client relationship, Merton recommends financial advisors (the breathing kind) should:

  • Check what they are doing to retain and enhance trust with their clients.
  • Make sure the business model being used supports the creation of trust.
  • Take advantage of technology to improve/enhance what the advisor does.
  • Do not view technology as a “competitor or substitute” for the advisor.
  • Understand and assess the financial technology they employ to certify trusting its use in client solutions.

HFLA launches initiative to help underserved reach financial stability (Cleveland Jewish News), Rated: A

The Hebrew Free Loan Association has launched its Looking to the Future Initiative with support from the St. Luke’s Foundation and the PNC Foundation. The initiative accounts for $73,000.

The initiative enables HFLA to increase its lending of interest-free loans to Cleveland’s underserved neighborhoods and grows the organization by expanding its reach, according to a news release. HFLA received a $63,000 grant from the St. Luke’s Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to launch the effort.

Fundation Purchases Select Assets from Able Lending to Enhance Partnership Strategy (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Fundation Group LLC, a digitally-enabled lender and credit solutions provider, today announced that it has acquired a variety of assets from online small business lender, Able Lending of Austin, Texas.

Former Capital One Executive Troy Jamison Joins Victory Park Capital as Chief Risk Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Victory Park Capital (VPC), an investment firm focused on middle-market debt and equity investments, announced today that Troy Jamison joins as chief risk officer for the firm’s nonbank financial services portfolio. Jamison is based in Chicago and reports directly to CEO and Co-Founder Richard Levy.

CFPB updates website to officially address end of arbitration rule (Housingwire), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally updated its website to acknowledge President Donald Trump revoking the controversial arbitration rule.

blog post from Ballard Spahr previously stressed the importance of the CFPB updating its website to note the rule’s override since the rule was killed nearly two weeks ago.

The webpage for “Arbitration agreements” now has an update on the top that states:

On Nov. 1, 2017, the President signed a joint resolution passed by Congress disapproving the Arbitration Agreements Rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Pursuant to the joint resolution, the Arbitration Agreements Rule has no force or effect. The materials relating to the Arbitration Agreements Rule on the Bureau’s website are for reference only.

HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE PASSES SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT ACT (Coalition for Small Business Growth Email), Rated: B

The 

United Kingdom

LendInvest launches into buy-to-let (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: AAA

LendInvest is launching a range of buy-to-let loans aimed at professional landlords and investors.

Rates start at 3.69 per cent for a two-year fix at 60 per cent LTV.

The firm will offer loans of between £50,000 and £5m, up to a maximum LTV of 80 per cent.

Citigroup joins the AI bandwagon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Citigroup 

Source: Business Insider

SyndicateRoom Alum Squirrel Launches Crowdcube Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has launched an equity crowdfunding round on Crowdcube. This initiative debut comes less than one year after the company completed its SyndicateRoom funding round with £585,000 in funds. Squrriel is now seeking £400,000.

Government unveils financial package to support tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE GOVERNMENT has given a £21m boost to a technology programme that has supported firms such as Zopa and Funding Circle as part of a range of measures to boost the tech sector.

The funding will make Tech City UK and Tech North one national organisation called Tech Nation and help grow government-backed startup support programmes such as Founders Network, Northern Stars, Future Fifty and Upscale.

Cash Converters International Ltd reports security breach and ransom demand (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Payday lending and pawnbroking business Cash Converters International Ltd (ASX:CCV) announced a cybersecurity breach in its UK operations last night.

Sadly, computer system integrity is becoming an increasingly relevant – and often overlooked – concern for investors, with a vast majority of companies relying in one way or another on computer systems.

Valorem Foundation Launches All-New Cryptocurrency Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, a Blockchain startup specializing in stabilized value-based exchange and transactions, has announced the launch of its new cryptocurrency platform. The company has developed a multi-layered platform to disrupt and expand the following services globally: microloans, car loans, student loans, rent payment, P2P networks, buying and selling of goods & services, business investing, real estate crowdfunding, and insurance.

Empowering the world: How you can make money through improving lives (City A.M.), Rated: A

This sea change should explain why investment firm Ethex has managed to scoop up so much support in its short history – raising more than £50m since 2013.

Its business model has a peer-to-peer lending feel – that is, it uses a digital platform to allow retail investors to lend to individuals and entrepreneurs.

But it comes with a twist, because Ethex is a not-for-profit organisation which lets you invest in companies that have a positive impact – socially and environmentally.

If you want to get involved, the platform has a minimum investment of £50, which arguably makes it more accessible to younger generations.

Trussle hires VP engineering from Funding Circle (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Trussle has appointed Matthew Gretton as vice president of engineering from peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle.

China

Alibaba affiliates sweep top 3 spots in global fintech ranking (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Financial technology companies linked to China’s Alibaba Group Holding took over the podium in KPMG’s latest Fintech 100 list, announced on Wednesday.

Ant Financial, which runs Alibaba’s massive Alipay e-payments network, took the No. 1 spot on the list, which was compiled with fintech accelerator H2 Ventures. Online property insurer ZhongAn Insurance and microloan provider Qudian placed second and third; both have received investments from Ant.

See the full list here.

One of China’s hottest companies rebuffs criticism about transparency (CNBC), Rated: A

Despite public criticism about a lack of transparency in some practices, Ant Financial is doing things the right way, a senior executive at the company said Wednesday.

“The demand for these securities is very healthy and continuing to expand,” Douglas Feagin, senior vice president and head of global business at Ant Financial, told CNBC’s “Street Signs.” “That, at the end of the day, is the ultimate barometer of whether you’re giving enough information to investors to invest.”

Ant Financial will use local partners in Southeast Asia: executive from CNBC.

Earnings at Some U.S.-Listed Chinese Microlenders Taper (Caixin), Rated: A

In the three months ending Sept. 30, Yirendai’s net income was down 12% to 303 million yuan ($45.7 million) from 344.3 million yuan a year ago, the company said Wednesday. Another Chinese microlender, China Rapid Finance Ltd., earlier reported a wider net loss of $4.4 million in the third quarter. Although Qudian Inc., a larger player that listed in New York last month, recently posted a four-fold increase in its third-quarter net profit from a year ago, citing better operational efficiency and its growing borrower base.

Cinda International Leads Massive Round In Chinese Fintech Company 9f Group (China Money Network), Rated: A

Beijing-based fintech company 9f Group has raised a massive new funding round from Cinda International Holding Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned China Cinda Asset Management Co., Ltd., Focus Media Information Technology’s Chairman Jiang Nanchun, video game developer Youzu Interactive’s chairman Lin Qi and an unnamed Chinese industry fund.

The company did not disclose financial details except to say that it raised “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” in the latest financing deal, according to a company announcement. It is also unclear how the company is valued in the round, but 9f Group is listed on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$1 billion valuation when it last raised a US$110 million series B round in 2015.

European Union

For Spain’s banks, survival means digital (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Santander’s Openbank has changed a great deal since it was founded as Spain’s first telephone banking service in 1995. Now a fully digital operation, its mobile app allows users to temporarily disarm a lost credit card, as well as to check whether fellow Openbank customers are buying or selling a given stock at any moment. Currently, it has some 1.2m customers in Spain and more than €8bn ($9.3bn) in assets under management.

In recent years, Spain’s two biggest banks — Santander and BBVA — have increased their financial and managerial investment in fintech, digital banking and big data. Like their peers, they are convinced that the days of branch-based lending are drawing to a close.

Spanish banks average about €15m assets under management per employee, says Daragh Quinn, banks analyst at investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. At a digital operator like Openbank, that number is close to €60m.

The digital push is on two fronts: first, a mobile app that allows customers to access almost all of the bank’s products without going into a branch. Second, a venture capital approach whereby banks invest in or partner with fintech start-ups to add products.

Online Lender Lendix Launches Flexible SME Bridge Loans in France, Spain & Italy (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendix, online lender for SMEs in continental Europe, has announced the launch of a new financing product: the Flexible Bridge Loan. This product is designed to will allow a greater number of French, Spanish and Italian SMEs to benefit from the speed of execution of Lendix’s lending platform while leaving them the possibility of setting up an overall refinancing solution with other financial institutions.

The Lendix Flexible Bridge Loan is a 5-year amortizable loan with a standard commitment for the first 9 months and the possibility of early repayment at no cost for the remainder of the loan term, even in the event of refinancing by other financial institutions.

Swedish $ 370 Billion Home-Loan Market Gets New Mortgage Fund (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

As investors wonder whether Sweden’s housing market is headed for a correction, the country’s first mortgage fund is about to enter the $370 billion Swedish home-loan industry.

Stabelo plans to pool capital from Swedish institutional investors in exchange for fixed-income securities. That money will then be lent to home buyers. The fund starts offering its products this week and will work with Avanza Bank AB, Sweden’s largest online lender. Avanza, which owns just below 20 percent of Stabelo, will handle distribution and marketing.

International

Has P2P marketplace lending become B2P? (Cuffelinks), Rated: AAA

Due to this issue, the original incarnation of peer-to-peer lending has not lasted. As the CEO of Zopa, a UK-based P2P lender said,

“As bad debts soared, the approach was abandoned and Zopa was moulded into a ‘big sausage machine’. Its technology now links lenders with a pool of borrowers without any direct contact or the need for investors to make credit decisions.”

Australia’s major peer-to-peer lender is SocietyOne. It currently has $350 million borrowed through its platform, and is growing rapidly. In fact, loan volumes in the first three quarters of this year have totalled $141 million so far, surpassing the $139 million in loans facilitated over the entire course of 2016, as shown below.

Source: Cuffelinks
Australia/New Zealand

Exemption for personalised digital (robo) advice (Scoop), Rated: A

Following the FMA’s release of its second consultation paper on personalised robo-advice (now called digital advice), the leading law firm has published its tips for providers looking to develop digital advice platforms.

Head of Russell McVeagh’s Corporate Advisory group, Dan Jones, says the exemption is a necessary first step in putting the New Zealand financial advice regime on equal footing with overseas regimes, and may provide particular assistance to New Zealanders in KiwiSaver.

India

How P2P lending can be a route to creating financial inclusion (Daily News & Analysis), Rated: A

For years, banks have had a monopoly in lending money to businesses and individuals. However, the 2007-08 financial crisis created a havoc, rapidly-expanding the funding gap. This led to the advent of a niche fintech vertical, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

The geographical reach of a P2P lending platform is far superior, with the major differentiator being its online interface. Such digital financial services play an important role in supporting the objective of financial inclusion. Anybody, from the remotest areas, having access to internet, can be eligible to get/give a loan.

In the age of digitisation where almost everyone has access to internet, such platforms have the potential to change the financial graph of a country.

Are P2P platforms safe for lending and borrowing? (India Times), Rated: B

While banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFC) are the readily available sources for loans, who does the P2P platform cater to? “Unfortunately, banks in India follow mediocre credit assessment policies which are suited only for borrowers who can offer collateral or have an impeccable credit history. In practice, majority of the borrowers lie in between these extremes. Therefore, majority of Indians can borrow on P2P platforms,” says Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder, i2ifunding, an online P2P lending marketplace.

RBI has put a cap on the amount that can be borrowed and lent. The aggregate exposure of a lender or the maximum that one may borrow at any point of time, across all P2Ps, shall be capped at Rs 10 lakh. Even the exposure of a single lender to the same borrower, across all P2Ps, shall not exceed Rs 50,000 and the maturity of the loans shall not exceed 36 months. “More clarity from RBI is expected on how the regulator intends to monitor the compliance of this aspect and how it will fix the responsibility,” says Singh.

Risks for a lender
Since this is an unsecured loan where there is no face-to-face interaction, a P2P lender needs to be aware of the risks involved. Bubna says, “All investments involve risk. However, in comparison to equity or commodity market investments or real estate, P2P lending has lower risk as it is addressed by on-boarding high quality borrowers. Further, lenders are suggested to create a diversified portfolio of loans.”

Asia

Introducing ACE, Crowdo’s New Artificial Intelligence Due Diligence System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding unveiled today its proprietary Artificial Intelligence driven due diligence system, Crowdo ACE, aimed at benefiting both their borrowers and investors. Crowdo ACE takes into account a few thousand unconventional and alternative attributes and represents a new way to perform due diligence versus traditional means used by conventional financial institutions. It has already been applied to process more than 3,000 loans.

In a largely-unbanked Indonesia, Amartha uplifts women micro-entrepreneurs (YourStory), Rated: A

Twenty-six people, four nationalities, 10 days. Travelling across Southeast Asia as a Startup AsiaBerlin Roadshow delegate to explore startup ecosystems was an experience unto itself.

Amartha has so far disbursed over $13 million to 60,000 women micro-entrepreneurs and aims to improve their income, and ultimately quality of life.

Aria: Amartha is an Indonesian financial technology startup that focuses on providing affordable financial access, and mentorship to the unbanked population living below the poverty line. Amartha operates much like a peer-to-peer lending platform, and so far, has disbursed more than $13 million to 60,000 borrowers. The borrowers are mostly women micro-entrepreneurs and Amartha aims to improve their income, and ultimately alleviate their status through financial inclusion.

Aria: When we started operations in April 2016, we disbursed $40,000 a month. By the end of 2016, we were disbursing $800,000. Today, on average, we disburse $2.5 million per month. So far, we have disbursed more than $13 million, across more than 60,000 borrowers. The average ticket size of a loan now is around $300.

We charge a fee based on the profit sharing principle. Of the 22-30 percent annual interest rate paid by borrowers, we collect 11-13 percent for our revenue.

Africa

The Mauritian Financial Services Commission Issues Draft Peer-To-Peer lending Rules (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

Following the announcement of the Government on peer-to-peer lending and funding in the 2017-2018 Budget, the Mauritian Financial Services Commission (“Commission”) has issued draft rules on 10 November 2017 to regulate the peer-to-peer lending sector – as sector which has grown rapidly in other countries.

In the region, Kenya and Africa are leading in the peer-to-peer business lending market. According to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, within Africa, South Africa had the largest number online alternative finance platforms, with $15 million raised in 2015 (The Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, February, 2017).

Borrower and lender – a borrower must be a resident in Mauritius; however, there is no residency requirement for the lender.

Restrictions on amounts  Hence, a lender, who is a legal person, cannot lend more than MUR 500,000 (approx. GBP 11,000) in any 12 months’ period. A lender, who is a natural person, cannot lend an amount in excess of 10 per cent of his income or a maximum of MUR 300,000 (approx. GBP 6,600), whichever is lower, in any 12 months’ period.

Obligations of a P2P operator – the Peer-to-Peer operator must publish the following information on its website:

  • details of how the P2P lending will operate
  • measures to prevent money laundering and combatting terrorist financing
  • security measures to ensure data protection
  • dispute resolution mechanism.
Canada

Borrowell wins Deloitte Fast50 award (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell has won a Companies to Watch award as part of the Deloitte Fast50 program. We are one of only eleven companies across Canada to win that award this year, and the only company from Toronto. Fast50 winners in the category for established companies include well-known names like Shopify, SkipTheDishes, Wave and Influitive. The list was announced an hour ago. 

Russia

Moscow Is On Its Way To Becoming A Smart City And Fintech Powerhouse (Forbes), Rated: A

Its citizens and businesses are also quick to adopt the latest disruptive technologies such as fintech and cryptocurrencies. Moscow has a 35 percent fintech adoption rate, higher than New York’s 33.1 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 7 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors

News Comments Today’s main news: Square plans to apply for an ILC banking license. Laplanche boosts volumes at Upgrade. SoFi CEO pulls out of Goldman fintech conference due to recent sexual harassment allegations. RealtyMogul launches MogulREIT II. Today’s main analysis: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. RateSetter says even a millionaire couldn’t […]

robo-advisors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

MENA

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Square to apply for industrial bank, inflaming ILC debate (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Payment processor Square is seeking an industrial loan company, according to several sources familiar with the matter, further sparking debate over whether fintech companies should be allowed to use the controversial charter.

“ICBA’s feeling about Square applying for an ILC is the same about SoFi,” said Camden Fine, the president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “If these entities want to be banks, they should apply for banking charters and come under full and unified banking supervision.”

Square’s main purpose for the charter will be to extend its small-business lending business, the spokesperson said. Though it also intends to take deposits, which would provide some amount of funding for its on-balance-sheet loans, the lion share of the company’s loans would still be sold off to third parties.

Square also felt the ILC charter was best suited to its structure, as the company owns a point-of-sales hardware appliance business and even a food delivery service called Caviar.

Ousted Lending Club chief boosts volumes at new venture (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the former Lending Club chief ousted over a governance scandal last year, is stepping up lending at his new venture, determined to re-impose himself on the market for refinancing more than $1tn of credit card debt.

Mr Laplanche launched his firm, Upgrade, in April, having raised $60m in Series-A funding from a group of investors including Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and CreditEase, China’s leading online lender. As at Lending Club, he is homing in on consumers struggling with big balances on credit cards — offering to swap a floating rate of, say, 17 per cent for a fixed rate about 5 percentage points less.

While Mr Laplanche declines to say how much business he has done so far, he has begun to boost volumes, responding to steady demand from consumers and also for high-quality assets from half a dozen core institutional investors. That new cadre of investors is unfazed by the scandal which erupted in May 2016, he said.

SoFi CEO Backs Out of Goldman Event Amid Sexual Harassment Probe (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Cagney was supposed to take the stage at the Goldman Sachs FinTech Conference in New York City on Thursday, but he backed out amid a lawsuit and internal investigation at the firm.

Why broker-dealer robo advisors miss the fintech point (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Over the past two years, there’s been a growing trend of broker-dealers announcing prospective launches of their own robo advisor solutions. From LPL developing a platform with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor to Voya planning to launch a robo advisor, and Kestra Financial announcing it is working on a robo platform on the back of its acquisition of H. Beck, there’s been no shortage of announcements.

Launching a robo advisor does hold appeal among broker-dealers. Many of their reps are asking for it, either because it’s an easier way to handle smaller clients, or just to have a robo advisor option for millennial clients. Who wouldn’t want a button for the advisor’s website that young people can click to open up small accounts that will grow with time? And from the broker-dealer’s perspective, ideally, this helps them address the coming generational shift of assets from baby boomers down to millennials.

But for a broker-dealer that in the aggregate is losing 3% to 5% a year in asset outflows a decade from now, it’s a crisis, because a broker-dealer still has a multi-decade open-ended timeframe as an ongoing business entity. This is why we see broker-dealers, as well as RIA custodians, so obsessively beating the drum about advisors needing to focus more on younger clients. It’s not actually because advisors desperately need younger clients for our businesses to survive. It’s because they, the broker-dealers and RIA custodians, need us to get younger clients for them so their businesses survive and so they have younger clients after we’re gone and retired!

And so from the broker-dealer’s perspective, if millennials are pursuing robo advisor solutions, then the broker-dealer wants to roll out a robo advisor to get those younger clients and solve its own long-term generational issue. But here’s the problem with the strategy: robo advisors live and die by their ability to get clients online, and that’s not easy for anyone, especially a large base of independent registered representatives.

DOOMED TO FAIL

Betterment is just over $10 billion in total assets after six years. Wealthfront is just over $7 billion AUM in that same duration. Schwab made news for $15 billion dollars of assets, but has actually noted only a third of that total was new assets. Vanguard is now over $80 billion, but remember they had much of their assets already as well. Vanguard is direct-to-consumer through the Internet already; those in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services were predominantly existing Vanguard investors, simply upsold to human advice. Even Edelman online, which launched in early 2013, has accumulated barely 1,000 clients and just $62M of AUM after four years (and their average robo client is actually a baby boomer anyway.)

Source: Financial-Planning

VALUE IN EFFICIENCY
In other words, the real blocking point of robo advisors is the client acquisition cost — what it takes to market and get a young investor to invest on your platform. As the founding companies learned the hard way, this is not an “If you build it, they will come,” kind of asset-gathering opportunity. Instead, robos at best have been struggling to solve those client acquisition costs in the face of slowing growth rates, and many have been getting outright buried by those costs. That’s why robo advisor growth rates continue to slow down. Most of them have already sold, and most of the ones that are left aren’t even really focusing on a pure robo strategy anymore.

RealtyMogul.com Launches Second Real Estate Investment Trust, MogulREIT II, to Invest in Multifamily Apartment Buildings (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

RealtyMogul.com, the online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced the launch of the company’s second real estate investment trust or “REIT,” MogulREIT II.

MogulREIT II aims to invest in multifamily apartment communities across the United States that have demonstrated consistently high occupancy and income levels across market cycles. MogulREIT II also plans to invest in multifamily properties that offer value add opportunities with appropriate risk-adjusted returns and potential for appreciation objectives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Homeownership Report, the U.S. apartment market has experienced a strong recovery, as evidenced by the steady drop in vacancies and an average annual effective rent growth of 3.9% per year, between 2010 and 2015.

MogulREIT II plans to only consist of properties that satisfy RealtyMogul’s rigorous zero-based underwriting process, which analyzes each potential deal from scratch through a combination of proprietary in-house analytics and underwriting. RealtyMogul also spends over $1 million annually for the use of third-party data and technology to vet each deal. The process is so intensive, fewer than 1% of the requests reviewed by RealtyMogul pass its high underwriting standards. Keep in mind there are risks to investing, including loss of capital, so one should evaluate the full offering materials.

RealtyMogul MogulREIT II Survey Data (RealtyMogul Email), Rated: A

Overview

RealtyMogul recently commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand the reasons people choose to rent over buying a house.

Americans have shifting priorities and owning a home might not be at the top of the list

  • Roughly 7 in 10 Americans (71%) believe the home buying process is overwhelming
  • 70% of Americans believe people these days will need to rent well into their 30’s in order to save enough money to buy a home
  • Over a third of Americans (35%) would prefer renting over owning a home to maintain a flexible lifestyle
  • Roughly a third of Americans (34%) would rather save their money to spend on traveling than to put it towards buying a home
  • A third of Americans (33%) would prefer to rent than own a home if it meant they could still afford small luxuries (e.g. eating out, fancy coffee, avocado toast) in their everyday life

Read the full survey results here.

LendingRobot CEO exits (Geekwire), Rated: A

Emmanuel Marot has left LendingRobot, the peer-to-peer lending company he co-founded in 2013. He served as CEO of the startup for the past four years, navigating LendingRobot through a merger with NSR Invest in August.

Marot isn’t sure what his next career move will be but remains General Manager of Zenvestment.com, according to LinkedIn.

Legislative Update 162 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On September 7, the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit has scheduled a hearing to review “Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime.” The Subcommittee has not released the full agenda, but it is expected that the hearing will focus on several bills affecting consumer credit.
  • Congress continues to consider legislation that would repeal the CFPB’s Arbitration Rule using an expedited legislative process under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval on July 25. The Senate is expected to take up the measure upon their return from the August recess, although there is uncertainty when a vote will take place given other priorities that Congress must pass by September 30, which is the end of the US Fiscal Year.
  • On August 30, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that GAO further evaluate post-breach identity protection products used by government agencies.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the one first issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full report.

StartEngine Files to Raise $ 5 Million Reg A+ Crowdfunding Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

StartEngine, one of the most activea investment crowdfunding platforms in the US, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $5 million in common equity at $5 per share.

The actual listing is not yet live on the StartEngine platform. The filing indicates that up to an additional 100,000 shares may be issued as “bonus shares”. There are no selling shareholders and the entire proceeds will go to the company. According to the filing, the minimum investment is $500.

Web site steered U.S. borrowers into bad, illegal payday loans: CFPB (Reuters), Rated: A

The bureau imposed a $100,000 fine on California company Zero Parallel LLC, which as a “lead aggregator” identifies potential borrowers and then sells their information. The action shows the agency has its eye on the online side of the industry, which crosses state lines and has grown in recent years. Potential borrowers fill out web forms and then are immediately sent to a lender’s site to take out the debt.

According to a CFPB statement, Zero Parallel sold applications to lenders it knew did not follow states’ usury laws, interest-rate restrictions and prohibitions on who can make the loans, and kept borrowers in the dark about risks and costs.

Zero Parallel simply sold leads to the highest bidders, according to the CFPB, and borrowers did not know they were taking out illegal loans.

Zero Parallel will pay the fine without admitting or denying the allegations, the CFPB said. The agency also said it had reached an agreement with Zero Parallel’s owner, Davit Gasparyan, to resolve similar charges filed last year against his previous company, T3Leads, with a $250,000 fine.

FINTECH Gains Traction as Businesses Embrace Alternative Banking and Financial Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) makes payment solutions available to clients around the world, serving the needs of everything from commercial enterprises to government institutions. Its Global Reserve Platform is a web-based banking platform that includes everything domestic, foreign exchange, and international payment service providers need to conduct financial transactions. It handles online banking, compliance, mobile wallets, card management, biometric payments, authentication, merchant payment processing, bill payments and more, while also offering core and traditional banking products. Global Payout’s primary focus in this area is logistics, in addition to small to medium size companies, banking, and travel firms.

The CEO of Able Lending Responds to the Rumors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, the CEO of Able Lending, Will Davis, reached out to me to clear the air. Here is his unedited statement:

We believe this story originated by the fact that we’ve been in active discussions with a number of originators to acquire Able, and there’s a non-zero chance this story was placed in order to throw an interested party off the trail.

This anonymous source doesn’t seem to be anyone close to Able, because Able does not own a portfolio of loans (it originates and distributes loans to direct lenders, who then hold those loans on their balance sheet) and therefore has no portfolio to sell. In any event, we have no plans to go out of business and no plans to declare bankruptcy.

Passive Investments In CRE: Do They Really Exist? (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

The wealth of new crowd-funding opportunities in CRE is just the latest addition to a long line of traditional equity funds, REITs and ETFs already offering investors the chance to invest without the high upfront cost traditionally associated with a direct CRE investment. It sounds easy, right? But how truly “passive” are these opportunities?

The only problem with passive investing in CRE? Pure 100 percent passive investing doesn’t exist.

United Kingdom

RateSetter: Even a millionaire could no longer live off savings interest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ROCK-BOTTOM interest rates are now challenging the convention that someone with £1m in savings could live off the interest, RateSetter claims.

The peer-to-peer platform’s latest savings tracker found on average UK adults think they would need an income of £26,140 per year to live comfortably, but £1m in an average savings account would pay just 0.14 per cent interest, equating to £12,500 each year.

£1m invested in a one-year bank bond with an average rate of 0.79 per cent would earn just £7,900, while the same amount could earn £45,000 in a RateSetter account earning 4.5 per cent interest.

Investors opting to put their £1m into FTSE 100-listed stocks would have earned £80,000 in interest over the 12 months to the end of August, the research found.

Funding Circle reveals new brand positioning and identity with ‘Made to do More’ campaign (The Drum), Rated: A

The challenge was to find an emotional positioning that resonated with Funding Circle customers while instilling trust and confidence as a financial services company. Rooster Punk helped Funding Circle to identify a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. Results revealed they share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. The agency called this ‘Made to do More’.

Rooster Punk’s founder, Paul Cash, commented: “Developing Funding Circle’s new position and identity had to go deeper than a product message around faster business loans. We set out with the ambition that we didn’t just want people to buy from Funding Circle, instead we wanted them to buy into them.

Meet the firm which hopes to solve the late payment problem (City A.M.), Rate: A

This warning comes from Tony Duggan, chief executive of fintech firm Crossflow Payments, a company which acts like a cog between corporations, their suppliers, and funding providers – ensuring that suppliers don’t have to wait for a month or more to get paid.

Duggan’s warning is not just a reference to Brexit, but centres on the introduction of new payment practice laws, which will make it a criminal offence for a corporation not to make public whether it is paying suppliers according to the terms of the contract.

The code looks to stamp out problems with late payments. Ultimately it aims to improve the cashflow of businesses – largely suppliers – by making sure they are paid by their corporate customers on time.

Crossflow is a no frills sort of business; it’s basically a B2B version of peer-to-peer lending, and one that is currently pretty unique in the UK arena.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance marks 1,000th loan (RTE), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has funded its 1,000th loan for a small or medium sized company here.

Figures published by Linked, which facilitates loans from individuals directly to businesses outside the banking system, show €31m has now been borrowed through the platform.

The company, which was launched in 2013, also said that €2.5m in interest has already been repaid to Linked Finance lenders.

Marrying self organising teams and customer obsession – Interview with Andrew Lawson (Customer Think), Rated: A

Highlights from my conversation with Andrew:

  • Capital One was an early pioneer in big data, data driven decision making , customer centricity and human centred product design.
  • Back in 2014, a lot of banks were talking a lot about being customer centric but when you get inside the banks there was little evidence to back that up. [Ed: Have things changed?]
  • Customer obsession is very much behind the growth of peer-to-peer lending.
  • When Andrew joined Zopa in 2014 they were a team of around 50 people lending about £20mill per month.
  • Zopa was founded to “make money simple and fair”.
  • Zopa was awarded Superbrand status in the early part of 2017. The annual Superbrands’ league table is based on independent research to identify the UK’s strongest brands, as voted for by marketing experts and thousands of British consumers.
  • Zopa still thinks of itself as a start-up despite the fact that they have been going for 13 years now.
  • In that time Zopa have never spent any money on growing their brand and have grown organically and via word of month.
  • Zopa has won a bunch of customer service awards that celebrate and recognise their approach.
  • Zopa has recently moved to a system of self-organising teams and that is helping them to achieve more and deliver more on their customer promise.
  • In the first quarter of 2016 they delivered more than they had in the whole of 2015 with the same number of people.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about creating an environment where you find and allow great people to go and solve problems.
  • Andrew’s role is all about ensuring they have the right people in the right tribes solving the right problems. It’s not about him being able to come up with all the answers as that just doesn’t scale.
  • In terms of mistakes, initially they found that their tribes went too tribal and it was difficult seeing what was going on within the tribes. That was a problem particularly given the level of technical and strategic dependencies that exist between tribes.
  • On a day to basis, their teams work in a way that is akin to a modern agile environment and are able to pick the right model (1 week sprints, 2 week sprints, kanban etc) depending on their context and preferences.
  • As is the nature of agile working, they are constantly tweaking and looking for ways to improve.
  • Other challenges they have faced include the management of people from different backgrounds, skillsets and with different experiences.
  • Given that they are now 250 people in London, the next big challenge for them will be how do they move this system into a remote context.
  • The heart of their success has been in creating those relationships where there weren’t relationships before i.e. between business people and tech people. It’s easy when you sit next to them or are in the same office but more difficult when you are in different locations, time zones or even speaking different languages.
  • They embraced a lot of Spotify’s approach as there are lots of things written about them and by them on how they organise themselves (videos, talks, blog posts, slide shows etc). Google ‘Spotify and Tribes’ to find more.
  • Don’t make assumptions around customers needs. Go and ask then as you will almost certainly be wrong.


UK fintech investment rises in H1 (Finextra), Rated: A

More than a billion dollars was invested in British Fintech companies in the first half of this year, over a third more than the same period in 2016, according to trade body Innovate Finance.

Fintech employs over 60,000 people in the UK and contributes $9bn (c.£7bn) to the economy.

Two peer-to-peer lending platforms also received significant rounds of investment. London-based FundingCircle a marketplace which allows investors to lend directly to SMEs raised another £80m in equity funding. Venture capital group Accel led the funding round alongside investors such as Temasek from Singapore. The business lent £1.1bn in 2016. In June Zopa another peer-to-peer lender raised £32m from Indian investor Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone. The business plans to use the funding for the ambitious roll out of its own retail bank.

China

After regulators ban on coin fundraising, over 40 ICO platforms closed (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Several platforms have taken steps after the central bank’s announcement of ban on ICO (initial issue of tokens). Up to September 5th, more than 40 platforms in China have taken measures to suspend the operation, registration or even permanently stop the service of ICO. Among them, ICOAGE, a well-known ICO platform, has launched a one-key withdrawal function. Meanwhile, ICOAGE’s official website says that it will actively negotiate with the project side, and even if the project does not accept the refund, ICOAGE will pay the relevant digital currency in advance to ensure the safety of investors. It is worth mentioning that, despite the regulation to stop the ICO, there still stages “the last madness” in the market, with some of tokens’ daily gains exceeding 30%.

China steps up financial regulation to address risks (China.org.cn), Rated: A

China’s ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a digital coin fundraising scheme, was only part of a broader campaign to curb the country’s financial risks.

In an announcement Monday, China’s central bank ordered a complete halt on new ICO offerings, in which technology start-ups issue their own digital coins, or “tokens,” to investors to access funds.

Similar to ICOs, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending served as an Internet-based alternative for companies and individuals to borrow money. As the P2P industry took off in recent years, it also made room for high-profile fraud, which prompted regulators to act fast.

European Union

Klarna’s newest investor could hold the key to ‘growing the company’s revenues manifold’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Klarna last week reported some impressive revenue growth, which, combined with a push into digital banking and recent deals with VISA and Stripe make its future prospects look rosy.

What could make Permira a strategic asset for Klarna, is its stake in Magento, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms. The idea would be to integrate Klarna with Magento; a goal that Lundell says was in the works already before Permira’s entry.

Seeing that Magento runs some 15 percent of global e-commerce, getting visibility on the platform could open up a gigantic new market for Klarna and its CEO and cofounder Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Mambu’s SaaS Banking Engine Helps N26 Transform Operations (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Mambu announced that its innovative solution is being used by N26 to allow the Berlin-based mobile bank to integrate systems and quickly bring services to market in support of its growth strategy.

Before N26 was granted a full banking licence in July last year, it used the services of a partner bank and then migrated to its own platform in late 2016. Since then their customer base has grown by 500%, helping them reach the 500,000 customer mark in August 2017.

Mintos Reports Topping €300 Million Milestone in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Mintos has reached a new milestone having now topped  €300 million in online loans since platform launch two years ago. Mintos reports that more than €200 million has been invested in 2017 alone, making Mintos a market leader in continental Europe claiming a 40% market share.

Mintos states that as of September 2017, approximately € 1 million is invested in loans through Mintos daily, which is three times more than just a year ago.

European Central Bank working on new fintech licensing guidelines (Independent), Rated: A

The European Central Bank is working on new licensing guidelines that would also cover financial technology firms, Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s top bank supervisor told a conference on Wednesday.

The fintech sector, though still relative small, has been stealing market share from traditional lenders in a variety of sectors from payments to lending, attracting investment $6.5bn (£4.9bn) in the first half of the year.

Wirecard Supports Fellow Finance’s Market Entry in Germany and Ensures a Completely Digital Credit Process (Business Insider), Rated: B

Wirecard supports the Finnish FinTech company Fellow Finance to enter and provide a digital infrastructure for the German financial market. Wirecard is supporting Fellow Finance by placing their German full banking licence at the Fellow Finance’s disposal and in addition enabling a completely digital credit process. For example, the identification of the borrower as well as the signature of the credit agreement are made fully electronically.

The market volume of German alternative online financial services grew enormously between 2013 and 2015. In peer-to-peer consumer lending alone, there was year-on-year growth of 95%.

International

Q2 2017 Fintech Insights (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Banking the Unbanked through AirFox ICO (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

AirFox’s groundbreaking idea involves using a mix of micro-credit and advertising to facilitate to make mobile data plans accessible to the world’s poor and underprivileged.

AirFox will launch their initial coin offering (ICO) on September 19, 2017 at 10:00 am EST. The token on sale is called AirTokens (AIR) and the period of sale has been fixed at 31 days. There are plans afoot to sell a total of 1.5 billion AIR, out of which 1.05 billion (70 per cent) are on offer at the crowdsale. AirTokens are based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Laying out his vision Victor Santos, CEO and Co-founder of AirFox says, “Investors will be able to hold AirTokens that will be used by Lenders and Advertisers to sponsor the mobile internet of millions of users. There will be a market for buyers and sellers of AirTokens. Those who wish to take the AirTokens and lend micro-credit to users, will also be able to earn an interest using the data that we collect on the smartphone.”

AirFox raises $ 6.5M in token presale (CoinReport), Rated: A

AirFox, the firm utilizing advertising and blockchain technology to bring smartphone data and internet to 4 billion people in the developing world, has met the presale target of its token, AirToken (AIR), almost two weeks early, raising $6.5 million, according to an email CoinReport received from BIGfish Communications, AirFox’s PR firm.

India

Modalku Gets Audited to Gain Public Trust (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Mitrausaha Indonesia Group, also known as Modalku, a homegrown marketplace that provides peer-to-peer lending, received an “unqualified opinion” which is the best possible audit outcome  from public accounting firm Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, hoping it will help the company gain the public’s trust.

Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, a member of Ernst & Young, granted the company an “unqualified opinion” ranking after reviewing the company’s financial statements, income reports and other relevant comprehensive income statement, equity changes, cash flow datat and other information for the year ending Dec. 31. A ranking of this stature means the statements are deemed sound.

Credit scoring platform CreditVidya bags $ 5 mn from Matrix, Kalaari (VC Circle), Rated: A

Mumbai-based InfoCredit Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates credit scoring platform CreditVidya, has raised $5 million (Rs 32 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Matrix Partners, the company said.

Existing investor Kalaari Capital, which had invested $2 million in June 2016, has also participated in the round. While Matrix put in Rs 23.81 crore, Kalaari accounted for the rest.

What is P2P lending and borrowing: All you want to know about Digital marketplace for loans (Financial Express), Rated: A

In layman’s terms, Peer-2-Peer (P2P) lending and borrowing is like a digital marketplace for loans. Hence usually it is known as ‘marketplace lending’ or often gets confused with crowd-funding. Instead of applying for a loan with a bank, NBFC, private finance company or any other loan institution, you can request a loan from regular people like you and me (therefore, the term Peer-2-Peer).

Most of these loans are unsecured for a large number of people who are underbanked or thinly banked.

The actual logistics of Peer-to-Peer can be a little more complicated in India, but some platfoms like ours allow the borrower to download the app, fill the application form and apply for the loan. As a borrower, you have to fill a quick online registration form and pay the upfront registration fee which is refundable. Then proprietary credit assessment is done and a brief commentary of why you want a loan is shared with the lenders. The app requires the loan applicant to submit bank statement, upload basic KYC documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card etc. The proprietary algorithm assigns the loan interest rate and tenure to post the loan on the marketplace for lenders to assess and invest.

MENA

Developing Asia accounts for large trade finance gap (The Asset), Rated: A

Businesses particularly the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) continue to face challenges in accessing sufficient credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap of US$1.5 trillion in 2016.

Emerging economies continue to face the greatest shortfalls with developing Asia accounting for 40% of the global total in trade finance gap. The MSMEs have the biggest difficulties in accessing trade finance, representing 74% of the total rejections in 2016, compared with 57% in the previous year.

The cost of regulatory compliance can lead banks to exit client relationships as reflected by the 40% response in the 2016 survey and 45% in 2015, including the withdrawal of correspondent relationships.

Mideast fintech startup NOW Money fetches $ 1.46 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

NOW Money has closed its bridge funding round with a total of US$1.46m.

In addition to the recent US Venture Capital investment, mentioned in a previous press release, this funding round includes $700,000 from Dubai-based Venture Capital firm, Myrisoph Capital. Other contributions have come from private investors and MENA-based women’s investor network WAIN.

WAIN is the first investor network for women in the MENA region. Its goal is to build an informed ecosystem of women investors who support women entrepreneurs in the Arab world.

Canada

IOU Financial Partners with Rubicon Global to Fund Recycling Ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Rubicon Global.  IOU joined the RUBICONPro buying program to provide Rubicon’s network of independent haulers with fast, convenient and reliable, non-collateral funding solutions.

Where bank loans are not an alternative, an IOU term loan will help Rubicon’s haulers invest in equipment to take on more recycling volume and proudly join Rubicon’s expansion projects for a more sustainable world.  IOU loans will also be provided to Rubicon’s base of thousands of small businesses embracing recycling to contribute to a healthy planet.  IOU will also promote Rubicon’s innovative model to its thousands of existing and past borrowers.

Africa

Development of African ­crowdfunding platforms (DandC), Rated: AAA

Africanise crowdfunding means setting up local crowdfunding platforms with adapted technology for local investment. No bank account? Not a problem! Many African countries lack conventional money transfer infrastructure; bank accounts and credit cards still tend to be the exception, not the rule. To permit widespread participation in crowdfunding in such circumstances, mobile phone-based money transfer services (like the Kenyan financial service M-Pesa) are needed. The Indian crowdfunding platform Ketto () works with a courier service that collects cash payments.

Copying these approaches is not the way to move ahead in Africa, not least because of the lack of an adequate institutional and legal environment. First and foremost, SME financing  requires national crowdfunding platforms with traditional financing options (donation-, rewards- and lending-based). Minimum contributions must be small and payable in local currency.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Rumor: Able Lending is Selling Its Portfolio

Able Lending

An anonymous source notified Lending-Times that “Able lending is going bankrupt and are selling their portfolio, which is owned by Community Investment Management (CIM).” Able Lending was founded in 2014 by two Harvard graduates, Will Davis and Evan Baehr. The company was founded on the principle that businesses can receive more capital at lower rates by […]

Able Lending

An anonymous source notified Lending-Times that “Able lending is going bankrupt and are selling their portfolio, which is owned by Community Investment Management (CIM).”

Able Lending was founded in 2014 by two Harvard graduates, Will Davis and Evan Baehr. The company was founded on the principle that businesses can receive more capital at lower rates by raising funds from family, friends, and other fans. Investopedia calls it a “hybrid peer-to-business model” and describes it this way:

Able makes loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 to small businesses for one- to three-year terms, at rates ranging from 8% to 16%. They charge a 3% origination fee, but no penalty for paying the loan back early. Repayments come in monthly installments. The borrower must have been in operation for at least six months before applying and take in at least $50,000 in revenue.

CIM calls itself “the first impact investment firm focused on marketplace lending.” The company was founded in 2012 by managing partners Jacob Haar and Michael Hokenson.

Is Able Lending Really Going Out of Business?

Able Lending received $100 million in debt financing from CIM in September 2016. Backed by PayPal founder Peter Thiel of Founders Fund and Chris Gottschalk of Blumberg Capital, the company claims on its Contact page that inquirers will receive a call back within one hour. After placing a call to the company’s 866 number, listed on the Contact page, and hearing a message that the voice mail box was full and not taking new messages, I requested a call back by clicking the blue button and filling out the web form at 10:42 a.m. today. As of this writing, no company representative had yet called.

The company’s last blog entry was posted July 7, 2017. As late as July 28, 2017, the company was still receiving press attention as Nerdwallet published a review of Able Lending.

In February 2017, the company raised $4 million in a Series B funding round led by RPM Ventures. Crunchbase reports the company has raised $16.5 million in total equity funding in four rounds from 23 investors.

Baehr left the company in October 2016. He made his announcement on Medium that month citing his reason for leaving the company was because he realized he was not the right person to lead Able Lending and noted that his relationships with Davis and Able Lending remain positive.

Lend Academy interviewed Davis for its podcast in December 2016.

A call to CIM has also not been returned. The question remains, is Able Lending in trouble, or is this a vicious rumor?

Author:

Allen Taylor

Taking a Unique Approach to Expand Small Business Lending

small business lending

Small business lending has declined considerably since 1995. Three alternative lenders discussed how to approach lending to small businesses in a unique way on a LendIt panel moderated by Community Investment Management Managing Partner Jacob Haar. The panelists included Able Lending CEO/co-founder William Davis, StreetShares co-founder Mark Rockefeller, and Light Capital CEO BJ Lackland. Haar […]

small business lending

Small business lending has declined considerably since 1995. Three alternative lenders discussed how to approach lending to small businesses in a unique way on a LendIt panel moderated by Community Investment Management Managing Partner Jacob Haar. The panelists included Able Lending CEO/co-founder William Davis, StreetShares co-founder Mark Rockefeller, and Light Capital CEO BJ Lackland.

Haar kicked off the discussion with a short introduction saying that the current small business lending system isn’t working.

“Small businesses create two-thirds of the jobs in our economy,” he said, “and produce 50 percent of the nonfarm GDP.” For these reasons, the system needs a fix. To that end, he asked each of the panelists to talk about the unique approaches they take to creating loans for small businesses.

Lighter Capital

Lighter Capital lends long-term growth capital to technology startups using a proprietary royalty agreement. They loan out $250,000. In return, the borrowing company pays 1% of their revenue each month for a 3-5 year period.

“It’s a reasonable alternative to getting money from angel investors,” Lackland said. “Bank can’t get their minds around this.” The problem with technology startups is they have no assets. What they have are the brains of their founders, computer source code, and high margins. “The average borrower has an 80% gross margin. They could be losing $20,000 a month but have $200 million in revenue. By taking some of their revenue in exchange for a loan, we can help them grow.”

Lackland said his company is 96% accurate in predicting how technology companies will grow, which means they can choose the best risks for a win-win scenario.

“We compete with VCs and angel investors,” Lackland said. “Our focus is the market. We’re a loud voice in a small chamber.”

He also said VCs refer businesses to them. In fact, they’ve become a huge source of leads for Lighter Capital. Investment banks, technology banks, and other industry players also refer leads.

“It makes it easy for us to make a connection in the industry,” Lackland said. “We raise a lot of equity money. Once companies find us, it spreads virally.”

“So you have to acquire a customer at a point where they don’t want to go to a VC and a bank won’t service them,” said Haar.

“If the customer is trying to get a bank loan or looking at an equity investor, we’ll get that business $250,000,” Lackland said. “There’s not much in the middle for these companies.”

StreetShares

StreetShares has identified a very large affinity group that is “sticky” allowing them to focus on core niche lending products and cross-sell other financial products.

“Our approach is to capture and monetize social loyalty,” Rockefeller said.

An Iraq War vet, his company lends money to veteran-owned businesses. The problem with veterans, he said, is they don’t get many chances to build credit because they move around a lot, so his company can view financial decisions through the lens of military thinking and help veteran-owned businesses.

“The beacons are alread out there,” Rockefeller said. “There’s a large military credit union, and that model works. We’re Uberizing.”

StreetShares builds partnerships and do a lot of targeted direct marketing. One of their niches is to finance government contracts by underwriting on a cash flow basis. A company could be sitting on five or 10 military government contracts but can’t qualify for a $30,000 loan. Because vets get priority for those contracts, StreetShares can meet their need for a loan.

“We love military vets because they’re highly targetable,” Rockefeller said. “They belong to the same organizations, and that’s a layer—fellow vets—that is a part of our social capital.”

Able Lending

Able Lending took a diversified P2P model and inverted it.

“We ask friends and family to take some of the risk for us,” Davis said. “We reduce the senior cost of capital to a very specific targeted form of backing. Our target is already investing in businesses, but they do it in a way that’s not equity and not diversified across many loans.”

Businesses that borrow from Able Lending get a 18%-20% market rate. By raising 10% of the loan amount from friends and family, they can reduce that to 13% or 14%.

“That’s adds a behavioral component,” Davis said. “The senior lender can charge lower before we calculate known or unknown behavioral issues on the loan.

Able Lending operates in 43 states. Surprisingly, though friends and family use the platform to invest in businesses, they make up only 20% of funding for the borrowing businesses. The other 80% are investors in the community, which means that friends and family joining the platform are investing in other businesses.

“That means during your screen process you have to select businesses that can go out and raise money from the network,” Haar said.

“Yes,” Davis agreed. “What makes a great entrepreneur? Someone who can sell. If someone is willing to take a 30% loss of capital, that is a snapshot of the type of company you want in your portfolio.”

The same skills that allow lenders to predict defaults also allow them to predict the likelihood that a borrower will respond to email, direct mail, or another marketing tactic. Davis said his company has developed those skills in reaching their target market, and that has made a big difference in their business model.

Author:

Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 28th 2016, Daily News Digest

Wednesday September 28th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: LendUp fined $6.3mil; Able raises $100mil; Lending Club sells $300m in loans in private; Today’s main analysis: Speech by Jonathan Davidson, Director of Supervision at FCA; Bondora’s new pricing and its reasons. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Bundling and unbundling; Cognitive computing; United States LendUp gets fined $6.3 mil. This is interesting […]

Wednesday September 28th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

 

United States

“Good guy” loan startup LendUp fined .3M for overcharging, (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

You can read the full announcement from CDBO here.

You can read LendUp’s full statement here.

LendUp was supposed to be different than the payday loan sharks that rip off the poor when they need emergency cash. But in its early days, LendUp charged customers illegal fees, miscalculated interest rates, falsely advertised loans nationwide that weren’t available there and misled people that borrowing from LendUp would boost their credit score.

Now LendUp will have to pay $6.3 million for the violations. That includes a $3.6 million fine by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for failing to keep its promises, and a $2.7 million fine with the California Department of Business Oversight for the fees and interest rates.

LendUp CEO Sasha Orloff spoke to TechCrunch, admitting his company didn’t have a big enough compliance and legal team to review all of its promotions and features. To remedy the situation, LendUp proactively refunded any wrongly charged customers and ceased all problematic practices as soon as the investigation began. Now, Orloff says his 190-employee company has a 15-person-plus legal and compliance division — more people than the entire LendUp team at the time of the infractions.+

Additionally, Orloff tells me LendUp hired former regulators to come in and build out its compliance program.

The startup wasn’t allowed to discuss the ongoing investigations until they were recently completed.

The penalties might merely be a speed bump for LendUp, though. It raised a $47.5 million Series B round last month to bring itself to $111.5 million in equity funding, giving it plenty of cash to pay the fine and keep operating.

Able Lending Receives $ 100 Million To Fund Small Business Loans Despite Wider Industry Slowdown, (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Amidst a slackening in investor interest in alternative online loans, Austin-based Able Lending announces Tuesday that it has received $100 million to fund its online small business loans from Community Investment Management, the first impact investment firm focused on marketplace lending.

The two-year-old company uses a singular loan structure in a competitive space that has seen the growth of early leaders like OnDeck, CAN Capital and Kabbage plus a proliferation of startups over the last few years. Able has borrowers get “backers” or other friends, family or customers to fund part of the loan. The company says that, in addition to offering longer repayment periods, this enables it to charge lower APRs than its competitors because Able has found that having someone the borrower knows contribute to the loan increases their willingness to repay.

Including the 5% origination fee, Able’s average APR is 16%, compared to small business loan APRs that can be not only high but even abusive — 40% or 80% at competitors and 200% or even 4,000%among even less reputable lenders.

“Able’s unique loan structure, where friends and family contribute a portion of the loan, allows small businesses to access more capital at lower rates,”

So far, about 35% of backers are friends of the business owner, around a quarter of the backers are customers or fans of the business, another quarter is family and the final 14% are the owners themselves.

Able, which initially launched in Austin and is now in every state except for California, Delaware, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont, plans to use the new debt financing to lend to 500 new businesses, which need to have at least $100,000 in revenue and be a year old.

So far the company has zero defaults, but it’s only lent out $30 million to a tiny number of borrowers, especially compared to the giants of online business lending such as OnDeck, which in its latest earnings revealed it originated $590 million in loans in the second quarter of this year alone, reaching $5 billion over the company’s lifetime.

The Rise Of Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Lending, (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

According to Reuters, “twenty of the world’s biggest banks have paid more than $235 billion in fines and compensation in the seven years period (2008-2015) for a litany of misdeeds, ranging from fines for manipulation of currency and interest rate markets to compensation to customers who were wrongly sold mortgages in the United States or insurance products in Britain.”

The market for alternate finance gained popularity in recent years. A finding by Transparency Market Research suggests that “the opportunity in the global peer-to-peer market will be worth $897.85 billion by the year 2024, from $26.16 billion in 2015. The market is anticipated to rise at a whopping CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 48.2% between 2016 and 2024.”

One of the major challenges is managing fraudulent activities and malpractices as they result in loss of investor confidence and trust.

In Europe, several countries have introduced changes to alternative finance regulations as an attempt to regulate the activities of these emerging platforms. In the United Kingdom, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates loan-based and investment-based crowdfunding platforms.

In Australia, providers of marketplace lending products and related services need to hold an Australian financial services license and a credit license  They also need to comply with National Consumer Credit Protection Act (for consumer loans) or Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) for other loans.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., such platforms need to be in compliance with SEC regulations and further have to be in sync with the respective state laws.

In India, the Reserve Bank of India issued a consultation paper in April where it proposed to bring P2P lending platforms under the purview by defining them as NBFCs.

Realizing that trouble was brewing, in August 2016, regulators in China issued an aggressive set of measures to restrain the spread of problematic online lending platforms while ensuring that the sector is cleaned up by making such firms exit. Statistics by CRBC showed that out of the 4,127 P2P lending platforms (end of June 2016), 1,778 were suffering from problems such as poor management, capital constraints or were a Ponzi scheme.

While the peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms continue to face the risk of default, fraudulent practices or borrower’s turning to banks, the growth prospects of this segment remain strong, especially in times when the banking sector continues to struggle with lingering damages. Thus, a well-regulated and transparent peer-to-peer platforms offer great opportunities as an alternative investment for loan providers as well as for borrowers – both in retail and small businesses.

Yirendai Became an Inaugural Member of the Credit Information Sharing Platform of Internet Financial Industry, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) has been elected as one of the inaugural member companies of the Internet Financial Industry Information Sharing Platform (IFIISP) on September 9 in Beijing.

IFIISP was launched by China Internet Finance Association (CIFA) and aimed to track credit information in the industry, enabling member companies to cross-examine credit conditions of loan applicants from multiple angles, preventing “multiple loans”, reducing default rate and business risks, ensuring legal compliance and improving information verification processes.

36 member companies in the fields of internet banking and consumer finance etc. of the CIFA were selected into a training camp of the information sharing platform and filed trial applications onApril 14, 2016, while only 17 companies were admitted into the platform at its inauguration as the result.

Inside Wave’s bundled revenue model, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

On the one hand, veteran fintech blogger Pascal Bouvier has written compellingly about the unbundling of incumbents as a result of emerging fintechs and about the different ways for banks to deal with the disbanding of their value chain.

On the other hand, Bernard Lunn and Chris Skinner have argued that the prevalent trend is actually one of rebundling, of banks integrating fintech into their own technologies to form one-stop-shops for customers.

There is, however, a third hand: plain old bundling. Bundling is happening within the fintech ecosystem and without the banks, with payment companies like Square and PayPal launching their own lending services for SMBs. In a sense, if banks are becoming or are trying to become more like fintechs, some fintechs are also becoming more like banks.

For Wave, a Canadian company offering cloud-based solutions for accounting, invoices, payments, and payroll, the decision to bundle up was largely based on the need to provide better customer experience.

“Wave holds all of your financial information. It knows your bank balances, we know who you have invoiced, how much, when they’re due, we know how long we take to pay, all of these insights finance and cashflow,” Maurin explained. “We can therefore do risk assessment and creditworthiness assessments far better than any other entity has been able to do before.”

The fact that Wave’s core accounting software is free has enabled Wave to overcome the costly microbusinesses acquisition process. In fact, all of their signups – between 50-55,000 new businesses each month – are organic. Bundling, however, is what helps microbusinesses get the cash they need and Wave makes a profit.

Fintech’s might be scalable but are they defensible?, (DailyFintech), Rated: AAA

Scaling a business is a challenging endeavor for a fintech provider up against the big old boys of banking. Unlike an incumbent, in the early days, many are single product shops, and often lack a decent loss leader. This can prove challenging on the pricing front, especially when you’re trying to get a foot in the door of a price-sensitive small business. Banks, on the other hand, have a number of cards up their sleeves – from bank accounts to payments – that can, in essence, be given away, priming them for a future up-selling opportunity.

Winning customers with a technically superior product plus a marginal cost saving is the ultimate sweet spot for supercharged acquisition.

As part of our research at Tyro into the current account market, we’ve noticed ING employing this type of ‘continuous ROI’ tactic. As part of theirAustralian cashback campaign, each month they’d let their customers know how much they’d earned.

But imagine if, for the very same account, how much more powerful this would be if you could state, with some degree of certainty, to what lengths you’d helped customers avoid paying late fees, dishonor fees and admin fees.

Any fintech could then generate a continuous ROI measurement on their product and deliver this on a regular basis.

Confidence In The Face Of Alt-Lending’s Potential Implosion, (Pymnts), Rated: A

Investors have cooled off to alternative lending in the U.S. Just look at the near-immediate struggle faced by Lending Club and OnDeck after their IPOs in 2014, or more recently, the knock-on effect Lending Club’s less-than-noble lending practices have had on investor confidence in other marketplace lenders.

Then, there’s the threat of regulation as the CFPB, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Treasury Department all take their turns to probe and poke at the alt-fin space. To some, that means a regulatory crackdown is inevitably close behind.

It’s in this context of stormy seas for the industry that one market player, Able Lending, announced it secured $100 million in debt financing from Community Investment Management (CIM), money that will be lent out to an estimated 500 SMEs in the country.

Alternative SME lending players have faced a problem of supply as of late.

The strength of the national economy means there isn’t a shortage of demand among small businesses for working capital to fuel their growth.

Pat Grady, a partner at investor Sequoia Capital, warned that “upside has been grossly overestimated” in this industry, adding that online lenders are likely headed towards a “culling of the herd.” Ron Suber of alt-lender Prosper, meanwhile, said he noticed many competitors are shopping themselves around.

Recent warnings over loan stacking are the latest scare for the market, with LoanDepot Chief Risk Officer Brian Biglin telling reporters in June that stacking “is causing problems with the whole industry.”

So, what convinces investors to, well, invest?

According to Davis, it’s twofold: transparency and competitive pricing.

Davis predicts that the CFPB, which has recently targeted consumer payday loans, will focus on the payday loan equivalent of the commercial lending space if and when it does turn its focus to corporate lending.

Again, Davis pointed to OnDeck, as well as CAN Capital, as likely initial targets of the CFPB.

“We basically think, ‘What would the CFPB or any other regulator most likely tell a lender to do in their regulation?’”

“Let’s use common sense,” Davis continued, “like transparency, low rates, no disruptive practices, clear contract, no prepayment penalties.”

Lending Club on the road with latest ABS Offering, (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Lending Club is marketing a private unrated ABS offering after drumming up interest at ABS East in Miami last week, say sources speaking with GlobalCApital on the sidelines of the American Banker Marketplace Lending + Investing conference in NY Tuesday.

New York-based Prospect Capital has purchased the loans as is issuing the $300m deal, according to 2 people with knowledge of the deal. The arranger of the deal could not be immediately determined.

California Federal Court in LendingClub Class Action Requires Due Diligence by Lead Plaintiff Before Approving Lead Counsel, (National Law Review), Rated: A

In a recent decision in the now-consolidated LendingClub class action cases, Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California appointed a lead plaintiff but unexpectedly declined to appoint lead counsel at the same time.  Instead, the judge ordered that candidates for lead counsel must submit applications to the newly appointed lead plaintiff, who will then move the court—via their current counsel, who is allowed to apply but not to receive special treatment—to approve the lead plaintiff’s choice.

While “[s]everal lead plaintiff candidates filed motions for an appointment,” all but the Water and Power Employees’ Retirement System, Disability and Death Plan of the City of Los Angeles (“WPERP”) either withdrew or failed to oppose WPERP’s motion.

The Court’s opinion is not clear as to whether WPERP’s motion for appointment of lead counsel will be filed publicly, although, unlike with the accompanying declarations, the motion itself “should be served on defense counsel.”

The decision to separate the appointments of lead plaintiff and lead counsel into separate processes is rare, but it is unclear whether it will have a significant impact.

WTF is cognitive banking?, (Trade Streaming), Rated: AAA

Based on machine learning, natural language processing, and human interface technologies, cognitive computing systems can learn as information changes and requirements evolve, and easily interact with users, other devices, and other data sources. In contrast to traditional computing models which tabulate and calculate based on preconfigured rules and programs, cognitive systems can handle situations that are dynamic and information rich.

Imagine banking was as simple as a Google search. Instead of surfing multiple pages on your bank’s app, you type or talk to a  single input box: “I lost my card.”  A quick chat with a rep you didn’t even realize was not human and the new card is on its way.

Generally speaking, banks are still testing the waters when it comes to cognitive banking. In a 2016 survey conducted by IBM, just 11 percent of bank executives reported they have adopted a cognitive technology. 58 percent named improving operational efficiency as their most important strategic priority right now, which might explain the low adoption rate. Banks are generally focused on cost reducing activities and do not make needed IT investments.

In the same survey, 49 percent cited [the rather superficial outcome of] operational efficiency as the main benefit of cognitive computing, indicating bankers are a bit aloof to the transformative potential of it.

United Kingdom

Comment: Speech by Jonathan Davidson, Director of Supervision – retail and authorisations at the FCA, at the Future of Lending Conference.

The FCA, as far as I know, is almost unique among financial regulators in the world,Malta being another, who have a top-line objective to promote competition.

We also see innovation as a particular imperative. So if you have innovative ideas – whether you are new to the industry or well established – please approach the FCA’s Innovation Hub.

Since we took responsibility for regulating consumer credit in 2014, we’ve handled some 39,000 applications. This was a lot more than we had anticipated.

Nevertheless, we have now dealt with 95% of them, and 99% of those we’ve processed to deadline.

There are a number of important reasons why I think we’ll keep seeing personal lenders coming through the doors.

One big factor is the hangover from the global financial crisis. So we expect innovative lenders to continue taking advantage of the current high margin, low-interest rate landscape.

The other major drivers, of course, are new platforms and technologies. So you can point to developments like real-time data sharing, predictive analytics, and mobile tech, as well as opportunities from the API Open Banking Standard.

At the moment, we see a number of risks in personal lending. I do not intend to go over them in exhaustive detail.

But I want to pinpoint two in particular: namely, affordability and the treatment of customers in financial difficulty.

Our authorisations process for interim permission firms has meant a tough and sometimes long journey for some of you.

I recently had a conversation with a non-exec director at a consumer credit firm who told me that the authorisations process had been, in his words, a ‘nightmare’.

We are very pleased with a large number of firms that have proactively engaged with us on our concerns and made radical changes. Naturally, this has caused delays for firms, but we believe it has had a positive outcome.

We currently have just under 1,700 cases remaining to be determined. The length of time we take to finalize those applications will be affected by lots of different factors. Complex cases from higher risk sectors, for example, tend to take longer. And this brings me to an important message to all firms, please be aware that we do not see authorisation as a one-off focus on performance, equivalent to cramming for an exam and then forgetting everything you’ve learned.

We see your responsibility as twofold. We certainly expect you to look out for your individual customers. But we also want you to be aware of your wider responsibility to the UK economy and society.

The FCA has a statutory responsibility to enhance market integrity, which means we take a direct interest in issues ranging from orderly resolution and market abuse, through to efficiency and transparency.The point I specifically want to address today though is related to issues around the transmission and distribution of risk.We fully understand debt and credit are integral to economic growth. Allowing consumption smoothing and investment. However, we also know that if credit grows too fast, affordability suffers.

From the regulator’s perspective, we’ve already authorized 12 firms who are operating P2P platforms and are assessing 85 additional applications, of which 39 are operating under interim permission. So there is clearly a lot of business interest.

I should immediately say this is not a surprise with yields on bonds at historically low levels. Investors earn as much as 10% on three to five-year P2P loans(link is external).

We will continue to pay close attention to personal lenders, and we will certainly not relax our standards. We want to see firms following our rules, but also the spirit of what we are trying to achieve.

Ultimately, we all want a landscape where the general public has confidence in you. And we all want a market in which you have confidence that your market is working well – with principled firms protected from unprincipled ones.

Zopa’s Janardana & P2P GI’s Champ Comment on Europe’s First Securitization of Unsecured Consumer Loans Originated Online, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Comment: I rated this B because our readers have been aware of this for a while, and while important it is just a secondary reminder now.

Last week, P2P Global Investments and Zopa teamed up to work on Europe’s first securitization of unsecured consumer loans originated online. dedicated to investing in loans originated via marketplace platforms, and was arranged by Deutsche Bank.

To recap: the £138M ($179 million) transaction is backed by 27,137 loans to individuals, according to Moody’s Investors Service, with a weighted average seasoning of 10 months and a maximum loan term of five years. Deutsche Bank AG arranged the deal, branded “Marketplace Originated Consumer Assets 2016-1.” A securitization of loans originated through financial innovator Zopa has received the highest debut rating globally for any issuance backed by peer-to-peer loans, with an AA- rating from Fitch and Aa3 rating from Moody’s on the most senior notes.

Kuflink partners with risk-scoring platform, (Bridging And Commercial), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Kuflink has announced a partnership with Contego, the multi-source identity verification, and risk-scoring platform.

Kuflink has appointed the company to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulation at a time when peer-to-peer lending is under great scrutiny.

Contego’s identity verification and risk-scoring platform will allow Kuflink to verify the identity of its lenders and screen them against politically exposed person and sanction lists.

 

European Union

Estonian P2P lender Bondora hikes max return to 32.5% under new loan pricing scheme, (SMN Weekly), Rated: A

Bondora said on Tuesday it is updating its entire loan pricing system by incorporating a new method for calculation. As a result, аll new loan buyers will get a higher return of up to 32.5% of their investment. For comparison, under the current conditions, lenders can receive a return of no more than 20.2%.

With the move, the platform operator said it aims to increase the rewards for investors who buy higher risk loans. The news comes shortly after Bondora announced the launch of a Refer-A-Friend program, under which investors can earn 5% from the amount their referred friends lend in the first 30 days of signing up via the platform.
Author:

George Popescu