An Overview of African Alternative Lending

African alternative finance

The majority of the African population is underserved and unserved when it comes to banking services. Therefore, a new crop of fintech startups are thriving in Africa by developing innovative products to accommodate the needs of the community. Accenture estimates that over one-third of mainstream financial services revenue is at risk due to disruption in […]

African alternative finance

The majority of the African population is underserved and unserved when it comes to banking services. Therefore, a new crop of fintech startups are thriving in Africa by developing innovative products to accommodate the needs of the community.

Accenture estimates that over one-third of mainstream financial services revenue is at risk due to disruption in the industry from fintech.

Africa: The Land of Opportunity

According to Disrupt Africa’s Finnovating for Africa Report, there has been a boom in fintech startups since 2015. About 301 startups were tracked, and the majority of them were set up in the last two years. They’ve collectively raised around $93 million since 2015.

The reason for this exuberance is smartphone adoption. South Africa and Kenya are the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. As per 2015 research statistics, 88% of Africans didn’t have a bank account, but they did have smartphones. In 2015, 183 million people in Africa had a mobile wallet. That was 3 times the number of digital wallet users in the U.S. and expanding at 3 times the annual growth rate. If this trajectory continues, every African will have a mobile wallet by 2020. Numbers here clearly suggest that fintech startups have a huge opportunity staring at them.

Potential for Home Grown Peer-to-Peer Platforms

As per the Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, Kenya and South Africa are leading the P2P business lending market in Africa. But a noteworthy point here is that 90% of online alternative lending originated from platforms headquartered outside of Africa.

Source: d/p2p-lending-potential-africa/

The third largest alt-lending model in Africa was P2P business lending, which experienced astronomical growth from a modest $2 million in 2014 to $14 million in 2015. In 2015, Kenya and South Africa were the market leaders, garnering $16.7 million and $15 million, respectively.

“(Source) The East Africa region has the largest market share of the African alternative finance market. In 2015, East Africa accounted for 41% of total African market share, while West Africa accounted for 24% and Southern Africa accounted for 19%.”

Source: d/p2p-lending-potential-africa/

Since the market is still in a nascent stage, there has been no regulatory policy for the alternative finance industry. But positive efforts have been made in recent times to develop a regulatory ecosystem that will help in developing this budding industry in the region.

The Alternative Lending Leaders in Africa

Leading alternative lenders in Africa include:

  • Aella Credit – Started in 2015 by Akin (Akinola) J, Aella Credit’s headquarters is in Mountain View, California. The firm provides instant credit solutions that eliminates the hassle of standard loan applications and enables employees to borrow at competitive and fair rates through their employers.  Company offices are located in the United States and Nigeria. They raised a paltry $150,000 as seed capital but have gone on to raise an additional $1 million. Aella Credit disbursed over $1 million in loans with a 0% default rate to about 1,100 borrowers in the course of its soft launch.
  • Branch – Branch was launched in 2015 by Daniel Jung, Matt Flannery, and Random Bares. They raised over $11 million in various funding rounds. Branch eliminates the challenges of getting a loan by using the data on borrowers’ phones to create a credit score. It encrypts the data, thus ensuring complete privacy. Branch is a for-profit socially-conscious company based in San Francisco and Nairobi.
Source: Branch
  • KiaKia – Founded in 2016 by Chiemeziem Anyadike, Olajide Abiola, and Olajide Abiola, KiaKia is headquartered in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria. Utilizing machine learning, big-data, predictive analytics, digital forensics, and social collateral as part of its proprietary algorithm for credit scoring and risk assessment, the company provides real-time access to consumer and SME capital to underbanked Africans. Loans offer interest as low as ₦10K – ₦200K at 0.80%, durations ranging from 7-30 days, and no collateral. It has managed to raise $50,000 in funding.
  • Microcred Group – Microcred was created in 2005 by Arnaud Ventura with the support of Positive Planet and a number of institutional investors. Its headquarters are in Paris, Ile-de-France, France. A leading digital finance player for financial inclusion in Africa & China, Microcred offers financial services to emerging client segments, particularly the unbanked with a focus on micro & SMEs. The company operates in Madagascar, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, and China. The group has raised over € 99 million in various rounds of funding.
  • Musoni – Founded in 2009, Musoni is headquartered in Amsterdam. Musoni BV is a social enterprise that establishes best-practice microfinance institutions and uses technology to lower costs, reduce risk, and improve efficiency. In 2009, Musoni set up the first cashless Microfinance Institution (MFI) in the world using mobile payments for all transactions. Since then, Musoni Kenya has disbursed close to 50,000 loans to micro entrepreneurs with a total value of $12 million. In 2011, Musoni won the award for ‘most innovative use of technology’ at the Global Microfinance Achievement Awards in Geneva.
  • RainFin – RainFin was launched in 2012 by Hannes Van Der Merwe and Sean Emery. Headquartered in Somerset West, South Africa, RainFin was South Africa’s first lending marketplace. It pioneered a viable alternative for quality borrowers looking for access to finance and lenders looking for returns that are higher than fixed deposits or the stock market. It offers loans ranging from 6-24 months and at an APR starting from 10.25%.
  • FarmDrive – Founded in 2014 by Peris Nyaboe and Rita Kimani, FarmDrive is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. This firm is a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit, while helping financial institutions to cost effectively increase their agricultural loan portfolios.

Apart from the above-mentioned lenders, there are a few more who are trying to make their mark in the African market, such Merchant Capital, Lydia.co, and many more.

Conclusion

Africa is not a homogeneous market. It is imperative for alternative lending startups to understand the different cultural nuances so they can develop products that have utility. As the region continues its socioeconomic upliftment, more people will need access to financial services. This makes Africa an exciting market for alternative lending in years to come.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday June 7 2017, Daily News Digest

Ranking by average gross yield

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to add 400 Delaware workers by 2018. KBRA rates Upstart Securitization Trust 2017-1. RateSetter, MarketInvoice, LendInvest make Fintech50 list. China P2P lenders face tighter disclosure rules. Danish fashion tycoon invests in Klarna. Today’s main analysis: RentRange identifies 25 markets with highest average gross yield. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Did someone cancel the fintech revolution? Innovators […]

Ranking by average gross yield

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Canada

News Summary

United States

FinTech company SoFi to add 400 Delaware workers by 2018 (Delaware Online), Rated: AAA

SoFi, an online provider of personal loans, will add 400 workers to its Claymont office by the end of 2018.

SoFi entered Delaware in February when it acquired Claymont-based Zenbanx for an undisclosed sum. The Zenbanx purchase bolstered SoFi’s portfolio of online personal finance offerings. Among the former Zenbanx products that now belong to SoFi are software that enables customers to transfer international currency through mobile devices and an app that allows users to transfer money through the sound of their voice.

SoFi has vowed to ramp up the former Zenbanx office with an aggressive hiring plan that will see it add 100 workers by August, 200 workers by the end of the year and 400 employees by the end of 2018.

The majority of the openings are call center jobs, but SoFi is also looking to fill IT, business development and management positions. Of the first 200 openings, 130 will be call center positions, 30 will be mortgage operations jobs and the remaining 40 will be IT, business development and office staff.

KBRA Rates Upstart Securitization Trust 2017-1 (KBRA Email), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Upstart Securitization Trust 2017-1 (“UPST 2017-1”). This is a $163.107 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on June 21, 2017.

This transaction is Upstart Network, Inc.’s (“Upstart” or the “Company”) first securitization of prime and near prime unsecured consumer loans. The loans are facilitated by Upstart’s proprietary models supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering consumer loans originated by Cross River Bank (“CRB”) through the platform, www.upstart.com (the “Upstart Platform” or the “Platform”).

RentRange Identifies 25 Markets with the Highest Average Gross Yield (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

RentRange, one of the premier providers of market data and analytics for the housing industry, today released data ranking the top 25 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) by highest average gross yield for singlefamily1 homes during the first quarter (Q1) of 2017. The data analysis also identified the average rental rate increase between the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 and the same quarter in 2016, average vacancy rate in Q1 2017 and investor purchases over the past 12 months.

The Q1 2017 RentRange® data shows that the highest yielding markets are dominated by older metro areas in the Midwest and Northeast.

Analyzing the average vacancy rates, which is the percentage of rental properties that are vacant or unoccupied at a particular time, the lowest rates from the list are in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Canton. Lower vacancy rates generally mean properties stay vacant for less time, limiting the loss of rent.

Source: Markets Insider

Lenders Seeking to Provide Real-Time Credit Offers Online Can Cut Implementation from Months to Weeks with TransUnion Find My Offer Solution (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

As financial institutions seek to improve customer experiences online, TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) today announced the launch of Find My Offer to help lenders deliver relevant credit offers to consumers online. Find My Offer is a set of configurable white-label web screens that support a lender’s consumer prequalification and digital prescreen initiatives.

Lenders can use Find My Offer to acquire new customers and expand existing relationships online. The site automatically integrates with TransUnion’s DecisionEdge suite, allowing lenders to use their existing underwriting criteria for their online marketing.

A top 20 national bank recently utilized Find My Offer to increase online acquisitions. Its IT team estimated a six month development cycle to build a customer-facing site to initiate credit offers online. Using Find My Offer, the bank saved more than 40% in development costs and was able to present relevant, tailored offers to consumers within three weeks – approximately 20 weeks earlier than what was projected using internal IT resources.

Sharestates Launches Auto-Invest Tool for Highly-Tailored Investments While Surpassing $ 500M in Loan Originations (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace, announced today the launch of its new Auto-Invest tool, a feature that will maximize the investor’s chances of investing in the platform’s highly sought after real estate debt opportunities. The new feature will allow investors to choose from multiple strategies, including a custom investment strategy that includes 12 underwriting filters to choose from. The launch of this new tool coincides with the company reaching a major milestone of $500 million in loan volume.

With the Auto-Invest tool, the investor will have the ability to increase the frequency at which their funds are deployed. These automatic investments will give the investor a better chance of eliminating “cash drag,” which occurs when the investor does not have a chance to log in, review the new loan and manually make their investment before the loan sells-out.

The interface provides a user-friendly and client-focused tool, making investing in real estate loans hassle-free. Additionally, after every auto-invest transaction, the investor will receive a confirmation email with loan and investment details, where they will then have a 24-hour window to opt out or increase participation.

In order to tailor the best possible loan selection for each individual, Sharestates uses a multitude of adjustable measurements for each investor to meet their investment goals. These measurements include; investment totals per loan, maximum investment frequency and limit, interest rate requirements, risk ratings, property types and more.

Sharestates continues to outperform the online real estate lending industry with originations exceeding $500 million since inception in 2014. Current run rates have Sharestates exceeding $1 billion in total originations before the end of 2017, with current monthly totals hovering around $60 million. Sharestates has funded more than 520 individual loans, providing an average return on investment of 10.62%.

Kuber’s Fluid App that Allows Students to Borrow Money Interest Free Now Live on iTunes (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Kuber Inc, a Southern California based Fintech company, has launched it’s personal finance product targeting the more than 22 million university students in United States. Fluid App is now live on Apple iTunes store and free to download. This is first of its kind finance product is designed specifically to build credit for college students in America.

Using the app, users may borrow up to $500 dollars interest free and without and other associated fees. The lending and repayment activities are then reported to major U.S. credit bureaus to start building credit from day one.

Direct Online Loans: Support That Works For You (NuWire Investor), Rated: A

Direct lenders have streamlined their rules and regulations to help those typically overlooked by conventional lenders. They still review you application carefully, but they don’t necessarily use subprime credit scores to reject your application. If you speak with the representatives at MoneyKey, they’ll you know what you need to provide. These reps may review your rating through other channels, but it’s not the only way they’ll determine your candidacy. It’s just one number amongst many factors they use to review your application.

They also don’t rely on in-person meetings to determine your candidacy, as they do most of their business online. All they require is basic contact and financial information submitted in an online application, and they’ll notify you if you qualify within minutes. For those that do, you’ll receive a phone call from a representative to verify the information that you supplied. If everything checks out, direct payday lenders like MoneyKey deposit your approved short term loan into the account that you supplied on your application. In some cases, you’ll receive your cash in as little as one business day.

Robo-Advice Is Not Your Differentiator (FA Magazine), Rated:  AAA

Increasingly, robo-advice technology will become bare necessities for any retail financial advice firm that wants to grow by adding value to financial advisors and their clients.

How to Get Small Business Loans: Part 2 (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

At some point, bank is one of the most reputable lenders. Banks usually have lower interest rates and the credit duration may be longer. However, large banks usually have more requirements and slower process.

These banks may have slightly higher interest rates. However, local community banks offer simpler procedures, as they always want to be the partners for small business. Local banks commonly offers shorter credit period.

They are the most welcoming partners for quick loan. Direct online lenders usually apply a relatively easy loan process. They are also supported by reputable lenders. Another advantage is that the lenders may not require you to provide collateral. Some lenders do not even check your credit record before making approval. Some lenders even offer overnight credit process. Once you send the application today, you will get the money in your account tomorrow.

The disadvantages include higher interest rates, shorter duration, and lower credit limit. Direct online lenders can be easily found on internet. Some of them have only online presence, but some are online divisions of a conventional lending agency.

They also have online presence. However, peer-to-peer lending sites are not the true lenders. Instead, they act as the middlemen between the clients and the lenders.

Merrill Lynch, Betterment Execs Agree On Financial Advice For New Grads (FA Magazine), Rated: B

Joe DePaulo, CEO and co-founder of College Ave Student Loans, had this advice for grads starting a job on how to ease the burden of the ball and chain of college debt weighing on their finances:

1. Organize all your student loans to make sure you know when your monthly payments start, the amount due for each one and your various due dates so you don’t accidentally miss any payments or pay late.
2. Get to know your loan servicers — the companies handling the billing and payment services for your loans — and make sure each of them have your current contact information, including both your e-mail and mailing address.
3. Consider signing up for auto-pay for each loan through your student loan servicers. You’ll often get a discount on your interest rate when you’re making automatic payments, and you’ll know that your payments are being made on time each month. It’s a great way to save money and build good credit.
4. Know your grace period for your student loans, or how long you can wait after leaving school before you have to make your first payment. This can vary by loan depending which types of loans you have. The grace period is usually six or nine months, and it’s designed to give you time after you graduate to find a job and get on your feet before payments are due. Interest continues to accrue during the grace period on most loans though, so if you have the ability to start making payments before the grace period ends, you should. This will help you save money in the long run.
5. Pay attention to the interest rate on each loan. When you can afford to pay a little extra, you’ll usually save the most money by paying down the loan with the highest interest rate first.

United Kingdom

RateSetter, MarketInvoice and LendInvest make this year’s Fintech50 list (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER, MarketInvoice and LendInvest have made this year’s Fintech50 list, while Funding Circle and Zopa have been awarded a place in the Fintech50 Hall of Fame.

The annual Fintech50 list, which was first launched in 2013, selects the 50 European fintechs that are transforming financial services and recognises innovation rather than revenue. The companies are selected by a panel of more than 60 industry experts, following extensive year-round research from the Fintech50 team.

This year’s list, unveiled at a launch event at Silicon Valley Bank in London on Tuesday night, was chosen out of 1,500 companies. As well as an impressive presence from a raft of UK peer-to-peer lenders, the list includes business finance provider Iwoca, crowdfunding platform Seedrs, challenger lender Atom Bank and cryptocurrency Ethereum.

The Fintech50 2017:

  • Action.ai (London, UK)
  • Advice Robo (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Aire (London, UK)
  • Algomi (London, UK)
  • AQMetrics (Kildare, Ireland)
  • Atom Bank (London, UK)
  • Azimo (London, UK)
  • Behaviosec (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Bonify (Berlin, Germany)
  • Clearmatics (London, UK)
  • Clearscore (London, UK)
  • ComplyAdvantage (London, UK)
  • Contego (London, UK)
  • Credit Benchmark (London, UK)
  • Curve (London, UK)
  • Cuvva (Scotland, UK)
  • DarkTrace (Cambridge, UK)
  • Digital Shadows (London, UK)
  • Ethereum (worldwide)
  • FeatureSpace (London, UK)
  • Fenergo (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Figo (Hamburg, Germany)
  • FundApps (London, UK)
  • Iwoca (London, UK)
  • Kantox (London, UK)
  • LendInvest (London, UK)
  • Mambu (Berlin, Germany)
  • MarketInvoice (London, UK)
  • Meniga (Rejkyavik, Iceland)
  • Monzo (London, UK)
  • N26 (Berlin, Germany)
  • NetGuardians (Switzerland)
  • Onfido (London, UK)
  • OpenGamma (London, UK)
  • PayKey (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Privitar (London, UK)
  • Qumram (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Railsbank (London, UK)
  • Raisin (Berlin, Germany)
  • RateSetter (London, UK)
  • Revolut (London, UK)
  • Scalable Capital (Munich, Germany / London, UK)
  • Seedrs (London, UK)
  • SETL (London, UK)
  • solarisBank AG (Berlin, Germany)
  • Suade (London, UK)
  • Thought Machine (London, UK)
  • Traxpay (Berlin, Germany)
  • Trussle (London, UK)
  • WeFox (Switzerland)

The FinTech50 Hall of Fame:

  • Adyen (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Currencycloud (London, UK)
  • eToro (Limassol, Cyprus)
  • Funding Circle (London, UK)
  • iZettle (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Klarna (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Nutmeg (London, UK)
  • Transferwise (London, UK)
  • WorldRemit (London, UK)
  • Zopa (London, UK)

The Hot Ten – this year’s ones to watch:

  • Bud (London, UK)
  • ClearBank (London, UK)
  • Cleo (London, UK)
  • Datasine (London, UK)
  • Deposify (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Governance.io (Luxembourg)
  • Meteo Project (Paris, France)
  • Nxchange (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Post Quantum (London, UK)
  • 10xBanking (London, UK)
China

China P2P lenders facing tighter disclosure rules (China Economic Review), Rated: AAA

Efforts to clean up China’s scandal-plagued peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector are taking another step forward with a pilot program that imposes tighter information disclosure requirements to protect customers from being swindled, Caixin reports.  Under an initiative announced on Monday, companies will have to give people who use their P2P platforms a range of information including their registration address, shareholders, who provides custodian services, how many investors they have, their bad loan ratio and their outstanding loans. Altogether 47 separate pieces of information will need to be disclosed, 32 of which are mandatory, according to the National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA), which is in charge of the pilot.

Chinese banks boost offshore lending in Asia-Pacific (The Asset), Rated: A

Chinese banks have been increasing their offshore lending volume in Asia-Pacific, outside of Japan, since 2014. Based on the pro-rata mandated lead arranger (MLA) role, China’s offshore lending amounted to US$70.5 billion via 300 deals in 2016, or nearly double the 2015 figure of US$36.3 billion, and nearly three times the 2014 volume of US$24 billion in 2014.

Figures released by Thomson Reuters on June 5 show that the bulk of China’s offshore lending has been concentrated in Northeast Asia. In 2016, Chinese banks accounted for US$52.7 billion through 172 transactions on a pro-rata basis at the MLA lender level, representing an increase of 83% from 2015.

European Union

Danish fashion tycoon invests in Swedish payments firm Klarna (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA

Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of Danish fashion retailer Bestseller, is buying a stake in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe’s most highly valued tech startups, the firm said on Wednesday.

A Klarna spokeswoman declined to comment on the precise size of the stake, but said it would be at least 10 percent.

Klarna said Povlsen’s company Brightfolk would buy shares from General Atlantic, DST Global and Niklas Adalberth, who will all still retain stakes in the firm.

Doing KYC on International Investors and the Potential of Automation (P2P Banking), Rated: A

On the majority of p2p lending marketplaces that accept non-resident international investors, the necessary process to comply with ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) rules involves multiple manual steps both on the side of the investor and on the side of the marketplace. After filling in details in forms the investor typically needs to submit scans (or photos) of an ID or a passport. As an investor  I balk at the very few marketplaces that ask me to submit these via unsecured email. The better ones offer an upload inside the SSL secured website after login. The British marketplace typically also require a recent utility bill to confirm address.

In continental Europe a few marketplaces are doing video ident. Recently when I registered at Paskoluklubas, aside from entering details in forms I needed to schedule a Skype video call in which I answered several questions and had to show my ID live. While it was straightforward, it is not more time efficient (both for investor and for marketplace). And I was lost for words for a split second when asked for my zodiac. How many non-native-english speakers can answer that question without hesitating for the right word (luckily mine is easy to translate).

Another example of outsoucing is the process Lenndy uses. When registering, all an investor is asked by Lenndy is his email address, nothing else. Then the investor is required to link an Paysera account with at least level 3.

Last week British Relendex moved from a manual document upload process to an automated process for investors of 7 countries; Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland. Relendex uses the Call Validate solution and checks (in case of Germany) first , middle, last name, gender, phone, address, city and postal code with the data coming from three different data sources and which Relendex says has high match accuracy. Relendex’s criteria was that the data available should be of equal quality and accuracy to that of the UK database.

Irish fintech start-up Plynk raises €25m in fundraising round (The Irish Times), Rated: A

Dublin-based financial payments start-up Plynk has raised €25 million in a Series A fundraising round as it looks to roll out its money-messaging app globally.

The investment, which has been led by Swiss Privee, is one of the largest-ever Irish Series A rounds.

The company has also announced plans to increase headcount from eight to 28 over the next 12 to 18 months as the number of users it has in Ireland this week reached 6,000, easily surpassing its initial target of 4,000.

Plynk has a licence to operate across the European Economic Area, which includes the EU along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. While only available in Ireland, the start-up intends to roll out its app in Spain over the summer with Portugal to follow shortly after.

German fintech platform Fincompare raises €2.5 million to provide financing for SMEs (Tech.EU), Rated: A

The German fintech startup Fincompare has raised €2.5 million in seed financing. The funding comes from the VC Speedinvest and Uniqa insurance, both from Austria. Several business angels from Berlin also participated in the round.

The Fincompare platform allows SMEs to receive and compare various offers for loans – anywhere from €10,000 to €5 million.

Grundag Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform Launches Powered by CrowdDesk (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

A new real estate crowdfunding platform has launched in Germany. Grundag GmbH & Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CrowdDesk, has launched to provide debt based crowdfunding for German real estate projects. CrowdDesk is a white label crowdfunding platform that powers several well established platforms in Germany. The new site was launched in partnership with ERGE Miet- & Finanzvermittlung GmbH & Co. KG.

International

FINTECH – DID SOMEONE CANCEL THE REVOLUTION? (Finextra), Rated: AAA

There are indications the Fintech revolution has stalled. It promised to change market structure, to radically improve products and services, and to save the incumbent banking sector from a slow slide to invisible utility status.

But these promises are yet to come to pass. Yet the revolution could still be completed – the underlying technologies are real and, deployed in the right way, they can still have a transformative effect on the financial services industry.

Source: FinTech – Did Someone Cancel the Revolution, Accenture

Read the full report.

FinTech Innovators vs. Incumbents: Understanding the Odds (Morgan Stanley), Rated: AAA

How can investors navigate this next chapter in FinTech? In a recent global collaborative report, “FinTech: A Gauntlet to Riches,” Faucette and his colleagues offer an investment framework for understanding where FinTech companies are likely to disrupt—and where established players are poised to get ahead.

Indeed, the pace of venture capital funding in FinTechs has slowed recently, suggesting that early-stage investors are coming to grips with the challenges of this space, and that established financial services firms are likely to take a more meaningful role in funding and developing new technology.

To understand which trends favor startups and which bode well for incumbents, investors should ask some key questions:

  1. What is the existing infrastructure? Innovators have the best shot at success in areas that lack established infrastructure. One area that is particularly poised for growth is B2B payments, a large and underserved corner of the market, with roughly 50% of payments still made via checks.
  2. Is consumer behavior changing? Early adopters in a nascent market tend to be more receptive to a new technology or provider, giving innovators a first-mover advantage. This bodes well for FinTech disruptors focused on small-business insurance (a.k.a. InsurTech).
  3. Does government help or hinder innovation? 
  4. How important is access to data? Investors should take note of the role of data, which can limit a small firm’s ability to scale without partnering with a data owner.
  5. Does success hinge on collaboration? 
  6. How important is access to capital markets? Companies that require continuous access to capital markets are subject to a high degree of market volatility, which can put an entire business model in jeopardy if still early in its formation, says Faucette. For fledgling U.S. marketplace lenders (a.k.a. peer-to-peer lending) and mortgage originators, access to capital markets could be a limiting factor, especially now that established players are investing in the space.
  7. Is the industry concentrated?

TransferWise CEO: ‘There is a huge fight to be the fintech capital of the world’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

The CEO and cofounder of TransferWise says cities around the world are becoming increasingly competitive in attempts to attract tech companies.

Luxembourg earlier this year set up a public-private partnership called the “House of Fintech,” aimed at attracting more companies to set up in the country. Lobbyists from Paris have made multiple trips to the UK in recent months in a bid to tempt financial services, including fintech, to set up in the French capital in the wake of Brexit. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has also copied the UK regulator in setting up a regulatory “sandbox,” which allows innovative companies to experiment with new products in a safe environment.

Why Trustly CEO Oscar Berglund Is Offering An Alternative To Credit Cards (Forbes), Rated: A

Excitement over fintech remains high even though investor enthusiasm has been curbing in recent months. According to a KPMG report, the flow of investments has started to ease. Global investments dropped to $3.2 billion in Q1 of 2017 from $4.15 billion in Q4 of the previous year. Indeed, investors seem to have made their wagers and are now more focused on ensuring that existing fintech companies start delivering.

More mature segments, such as payments, are also seeing saturation, as new competitors seek to maximize opportunities in markets keen on going cashless.

Having processed a whopping €3.2 billion in transactions in 2016, payment startup Trustly has recently emerged as a leader in the global fintech scene. Based in Stockholm, Trustly offers a fresh perspective on payments by putting the bank account at the center of digital payments instead of credit cards. The company is now used in 29 European countries, enabling merchants to perform cross-border business easily.

Berglund: We aren’t really going head to head against big banks. We see the bank account as the hub of people’s financial lives, and it’s what most other payment methods depend on. Trustly’s service is built around the relevance of the bank account and as such around the relevance of banks.

In Europe banks focused on the online channel are at the forefront of the adoption of new technology and I believe more banks will no doubt make use of our services going forward.

Berglund: Credit cards were invented to make payments easier in the physical world, but they may not have the same raison d’être as people move to online and mobile platforms. The truth is, it’s a pain to dig for your credit card and key in a long string of numbers, especially if you’re on the go and trying to make a purchase from a tiny smartphone screen. With Trustly, users can make a payment in just a few steps using only information they know top of mind. And our product is optimized for mobile and other devices to make it even more convenient. So while credit cards won’t be going anywhere for a while, it’s important to offer other user-friendly alternatives too.

India

CIOs Will No Longer be the Most Influential Technology Decision Makers (BW Disrupt), Rated: AAA

The year 2016 registered an impressive impact on the Indian economy and therefore was a landmark year for fintech and banking industries. This year, 2017 started out to be an exciting one for Financial Technology which will spell out a future of continued scale and disruption for the industry, especially after India’s digitalisation movement. With the proliferation of cloud and mobile technologies advancing and customer demand for better digital banking experiences growing, Fintech firms will continue to innovate faster and offer new services with richer user experiences.

Top 5 Trends to watch out for: 

  1. Mobile Everything
  2. Chatbots, machine learning & AI
  3. Banks & Fintech firms to partnerAccording to a recent Business Insider report, 87% of banks that have partnered with financial service providers (fintech companies) have been able to cut costs. Additionally, the same study found that 54% of partnerships increased revenue.
  4. Blockchain moves out of the labs into the real world
  5. Reforming Digital Leadership: CIOs will no longer be the most influential technology decision makers. With the continued rise of the Chief Digital Officer and in many cases the Chief Marketing Officer will help financial institutions usurp the IT team in implementing ‘digital’ throughout the organisation.

FinMomenta Plans to Expand Footprint of P2P Lending Model ‘Tachyloans’ to Other Asian Nations (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

FinMomenta founders believe that they are the Next Moment in FinTech industry. With their latest product TachyLoans, they plan to build a digital lending marketplace that connects people (Investors/Lenders) who wants to invest/lend their incomes, with people (Borrowers) who are looking to borrow funds to meet their financial requirements. The platform caters to both Individuals and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

How does the platform FinMomenta work?

Investors can earn returns as high as 25% per annum and borrowers can avail loan at lower interest rates starting from 11.5% per annum. Interest rates are charged based on borrower’s creditworthiness. Lenders and borrowers can negotiate on the loan amount, interest rates and loan tenor through a two-way bidding process available on their dashboard.

Please elaborate key features/services of Tachyloans?

The platform uses a unique proprietary credit scoring model enabled by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to assess the creditworthiness of applicants. It also uses e-KYC and Aadhaar for verification of the borrowers that helps lenders to automatically invest in the recommended list of borrowers.

Tachyloans not just focuses on cutting down the transaction time for lenders and borrowers but also reduces the overhead costs associated with the traditional lending process and enables us to pass on the cost savings to lenders in the form of higher returns and to borrowers in the form of lower interest rates. Lenders and borrowers can negotiate on the interest rates through Tachyloans platform.

What is the Monetization model of FinMomenta?

FinMomenta charges a service fee to both lenders and borrowers for having loans enabled on the platform.

What is the market size and opportunities for companies operating in Fintech industry in India?

Consumer credit market in India is currently at $300bn out of which $98bn is the personal loans market. The market is currently growing at 14% year on year. The SME business loan market is currently at $600bn and is expected to grow to $3.4 trillion by 2022. In terms of the population, out of 1.2bn population only 150mn population has their history in credit bureaus and 20mn has scores acceptable to banks. There is a very small population that is being serviced by the banks. Around 10mn citizens are entering jobs every year and with more than 55% less than 45 years, the population would have huge aspiration to grow in life which would require access to credit for them.

Canada

Aztec Exchange Launches PayMe in Canada with EDI Gateway (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Aztec Exchange, a global supplier of invoice finance products and services, and Canadian EDI provider EDI Gateway today announced a partnership to deliver Aztec’s breakthrough early e-invoice payment service PayMe (payme.cloud) to EDI Gateway’s (edigateway.com) Canadian supplier and corporate clients.

PayMe is unique in the early payment market because, unlike with factoring firms, creditworthiness is based on that of the buyer, not the supplier.  There is complete pricing transparency, meaning there are no hidden fees or interest charges.  Suppliers are only required to pay a minimal invoice discount charge and a standard transaction fee.  For customers on the EDI Gateway platform using PayMe, this means they’ll typically receive payment within 24 hours.  Furthermore, because it’s entirely online, they can submit for early payment any time from any internet-connected device.  There are also no restrictive long-term contracts and suppliers can sell as many approved invoices as they want.

This partnership with EDI Gateway is the latest for PayMe, which launched in May 2016.  Over the course of the past year, PayMe has had tremendous growth and is now available to more than 100,000 SMEs globally via e-invoice providers as a white label solution for traditional banks.  It will soon be launched directly through corporates. For EDI Gateway, PayMe complements their existing e-invoicing solution, enabling them to offer an integrated payment and financing service.  The firm looks to continue this approach going forward to attract and retain their retail and vendor clients.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday October 26 2016, Daily News Digest

weighted borrower rate Prosper

News Comments Today’s main news: An open-source blockchain technology may solve marketplace lending’s problem. Today’s main analysis : Prosper changes its prices. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How FinTech policymakers can improve. Cordray reignites bank-FinTech fight. An interview with Julian Cork, COO of Landbay. United States Could PUFIN be the answer to marketplace lending’s problems? AT: “Blockchain is looking […]

weighted borrower rate Prosper

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Canada

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

PUFIN Open Source Blockchain Tech May Be Marketplace Lending Answer (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In the wake of recent company shakeups and growing pains in the marketplace lending industry, the need for better transparency and industry tools for all participants has become a critical concern. PUFIN, an online and open source project to create free and global loan identifiers using blockchain technology, aims to deliver order and uniformity in a secure environment to the marketplace.

Recent entrants into the market are proposing systems that reserve the right to charge fees at any time. The idea of a free enticement that allows for charging fees later may be the basis for a slow or incomplete industry adoption of online loans.

LendingCalc.com’s Ben McMillan and Mike Mazier may have the open source answer: They have filed to patent a fee-free system to use blockchain technology to generate unique identifiers for loans in line with the US Treasury’s whitepaper “Opportunities and Challenges in Online Marketplace Lending.” The company is in the works to set up their system as an open source resource for the industry.

The PUFIN project has been set up so that it can never be proprietary. (Learn more at pufin.org.) PUFIN licensing requires all uses of the license to be free of cost to all parties.

Prosper Announces Pricing Change (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Today, the rates offered to borrowers through the Prosper platform are being modified. The changes are a direct result of the forward looking credit market, interest rate expectations, the US credit environment and the competitive environment in US consumer unsecured lending.

Over the course of the last 12 months, rates through the Prosper platform have been raised twice and Prosper has made conservative adjustments to its loss expectations. These rate changes underscore our commitment to operating a marketplace that balances the economic incentives for both our borrower and investor communities.

Borrowers in the AA-C rating grades will generally see rates that are lower. Borrowers in the D-HR rating grades will see higher rates. While the exact portfolio composition going forward will be a result of future marketing mix and borrower reaction to the pricing change, we believe this is a fair representation of the potential impact of the changes to borrowers and investors.  As one can see, higher quality borrowers will begin seeing lower rate offers while higher risk borrowers will begin seeing higher interest rate offers.

10 Principles for Better Fintech Policymaking (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: AAA

A report from ITIF identifies 10 things regulators should consider as they develop fintech regulations

Information technology innovation has allowed financial firms to score easy wins to improve labor productivity, like automating data gathering and reducing the burden on bank tellers. However, “the next wave of IT-based financial-services productivity will depend on significantly different business and service models,” most notably by supplanting firms that acted as intermediaries between the consumer and the service provider.

Fintech companies face a wide range of regulatory bodies and rules including banking laws, consumer protection disclosure requirements, prohibitions on unfair, deceptive or abusive practices, and anti-money-laundering rules. Companies that operate internationally are subject to each country’s financial regulations, as well as rules that force them to store citizens’ data within that country.

Finally, the process of getting a rule passed in the United States is itself too slow, as regulators have to propose a rule, allow for public comment and review those comments before issuing a final rule.

1. Support fintech transformation. Governments themselves should be early adopters of fintech to promote broader adoption, for example, allowing citizens to pay taxes and purchase hunting and fishing licenses on the same online platform, the report suggested.

Governments can also look to fintech solutions to improve reporting and data management. ITIF pointed to Estonia, which adopted blockchains earlier this year to secure patient health records.

2. Ensure regulations encourage innovation.

3. Eliminate redundant regulations. Consumer disclosure and anti-money laundering are two areas where fintech firms may find themselves responding to multiple regulators.

4. Regulate fintech at the national level.

5. Create incentives for fintech companies to protect consumers. Regulators can “go too far” and punish companies acting in good faith, the report noted, which could limit innovation if firms spend more time and money on compliance than development.

6. Create tech-neutral rules. Rules shouldn’t favor one type of application more or less than another.

7. Encourage a level playing field between incumbents and new entrants. Banks are held to rules that startups can avoid, the report claimed.

8. Promote cybersecurity in fintech. Rather than setting prescriptive standards, ITIF recommended regulators create incentives for firms to improve their cybersecurity policies.

9. Support standards development and financial data interoperability.

10. Promote harmonization of international regulations.Harmonization should also occur between different countries, ITIF wrote. Digital currencies and online marketplaces have already lowered barriers to trade between global users. Regulations regarding routing transactions, transparency, anti-money-laundering, regulatory compliance and access to data for law enforcement should follow, according to the report.

Cordray Reignites Bank-Fintech Fight After Comments on Data Sharing (American Banker), Rated: A

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray has revived an ongoing dispute between banks and fintech firms over screen scraping, a method certain companies use to obtain access to consumer bank records.

In a speech on Monday, Cordray bluntly warned banks not to limit access to financial data by third-parties working on behalf of the customer — comments that elated fintech firms which rely on aggregating data to offer financial advice and other services.

Though banks and fintech companies have found several ways to collaborate on sharing and analyzing data, tensions have periodically flared particularly around the method of screen scraping. This technology allows financial advisers and other fintech companies to obtain the financial data of willing consumers through their bank’s website.

Some of the largest banks have reportedly taken steps to limit screen scraping, which they argue poses significant security risk.

Cordray’s comments were the first of their kind for a federal regulator and may be a signal that the CFPB will consider stepping in if banks and fintech firms cannot reach an accord.

First robo advisor enters the Islamic finance stage (Gulf Times), Rated: A

Islamic finance-oriented investors seeking advice on advantageous halal banking products or investment portfolios now have a new option: A robo adviser called Wahed, the world’s first automated Islamic investment platform.

It was launched last month by New York-based Wahed Invest Inc, a financial advisory company founded by Junaid Wahedna, a Columbia- and Yale-educated entrepreneur, Islamic finance specialist and former financial analyst at New York’s M Capital Group.

The functional principle of Wahed is that of an automated platform which analyses thousands of halal securities worldwide to create portfolio allocations with the highest growth potential for its clients. Its aim is the provision of access to halal portfolio management for 2bn potential Muslim clients around the world, as well as for non-Muslims who want to engage in ethical investing. The proprietary platform uses real-time software which conducts fully automated investment allocations by deploying customised financial optimisation algorithms.

The Wahed platform, accessible under www.wahedinvest.com, is currently available to investors in the US only, but it will be rolled out to over 100 countries worldwide starting from 2017. There are also plans to develop an Islamic pension offering for the Middle East and North Africa region, where private sector employee pension plans are in great demand.

The company’s board shows some of the most prestigious names in international Islamic finance, including Sheikh Taha Abdul Basser, former Islamic Chaplin at Harvard University and Shariah board member of Dubai’s sovereign-backed private equity firm Fajr Capital, as well as two former McKinsey & Company partners specialised in Islamic finance.

Lendio Raises Million in Growth Capital Led by Comcast Ventures and Stereo Capital (Benzinga), Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced at Money20/20 that it has secured $20 million in funding from Comcast Ventures and Stereo Capital with participation from existing investors Napier Park, Blumberg Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners and North Hill Ventures. This round of capital will be used to accelerate Lendio’s growth through marketing, sales and brand awareness for millions of small business owners across the U.S.

The funding comes after facilitating another record quarter of loan volume funded through Lendio’s online marketplace of 75 lenders with $63 million going to small businesses in Q3.

With more than 100 percent growth year-over-year, Lendio has focused efforts over the past twelve months on the customer experience, investments in technology and critical unit economics of the business. This round of capital will enable Lendio to further leverage its market leadership and move towards expanded brand awareness among small business owners.

PeerStreet Funds 0M in Investments with Zero Losses During First Year (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Tuesday, PeerStreet celebrated its one-year anniversary by revealing that it has funded $150 million investments with zero losses in the last twelve months. The real estate crowdfunding platform also declared it is offering investors average annualized returns between 6% and 12% to date and a weighted portfolio LTV of 65%.

Accenture’s 7th annual fintech lab launches as funding hits all-time high (Biz Journals), Rated: B

FinTech Innovation Lab., the startup bootcamp launched by the Partnership Fund for New York City and Accenture (NYSE: ACN), is accepting applications for its seventh annual class.

The lab, notably where financial industry expert Blythe Masters launched her bitcoin-related startup Digital Asset Holdings (DAH) out of stealth mode, begins in April 2017 and continues for 12 weeks.

Among the banks lined up to provide guidance and mentorship to the lab’s 2017 slate of up-and-coming entrepreneurs are are American International Group, Bank of America, Barclays and Credit Suisse. VCs from Canaan Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Nyca Partners, Rho Ventures, RRE Ventures and Warburg Pincus are also on board.

Lending Club zooms into car refinancings in turnaround effort (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Many Americans learned through Lending Club that they can refinance their credit card debt online; now, the lending marketplace is hoping they’ll start refinancing their automotive loans using its platform, too.

In comparison, the overall U.S. auto loan debt market had grown to $1.103 trillion by this past June, according to the research firm Experian Automotive.

Lending Club will begin refinancing car loans for California consumers with FICO scores above 640, and whose cars are less than 7 years old and have been driven fewer than 80,000 miles. Sanborn says that interest rates for California customers will range from 2.49 percent to 19.99 percent, and that the average borrower could save $1,350 over the life of their loan.

Initially, the loans, which Sanborn says will range from $5,000 to $50,000, will be made off the company’s balance sheet. Eventually, he says, the program will be extended nationwide to a wider variety of borrowers, and it will be funded by the same sources of capital that currently provide personal loans to borrowers at Lending Club.

United Kingdom

London’s fintech status to get a global boost with a government-backed showcase (City A.M.), Rated: A

The best and brightest of London’s fintech scene will be given centre stage by the government next spring, as the Treasury today revealed plans for an annual fintech conference.

Set to launch next April, the exhibition will give UK fintech firms the chance to present their business to international investors.

Britain’s blossoming fintech sector now employs over 61,000 people and, in 2015, generated £6.6bn in revenue.

There has been some concern raised recently that the Brexit vote could lead to fintech firms moving away from London. In particular, fintechs, like banks, are concerned the final deal could gloss over their passporting needs, while clamping down on freedom of movement could see their access to talent run dry.

P2P lending – Benefiting from the British property market – Landbay (Vimeo), Rated: A

In the Master Investor Show, we interview Julian Cork, COO at Landbay, who speaks on their peer-to-peer technology that matches investors with borrowers, the benefit of peer-to-peer technology, and why they chose mortgages in particular for meeting investing and borrowing needs.

European Union

Scottish Enterprise partners with P2P platform (The Herald Scotland), Rated: A

SCOTTISH Enterprise is to make £2.75 million of funding available to small and medium sized enterprises via the peer-to-peer lending platform LendingCrowd.

LendingCrowd chief executive Stuart Lunn said the business had approached Scottish Enterprise after the Scottish Government last year published a report highlighting the difficulty small and medium sized enterprises (SME) have in accessing funding in the £150,000 and below bracket.

The average size of loan made via LendingCrowd is £75,000 but SIB will not provide the full amount being sought by any of the SMEs on the platform. It expects to lend between £5,000 and £250,000 on a case by case basis.

Canada

Canada’s FinTech Prominence Bodes Well for National Bitcoin Industry (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Canada’s Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman, discussed October 6th 2016 the link between competition and innovation. The Commissioner suggested new disruptive technologies challenge not only traditional business but, as well, regulatory models.

Mr. Cotten cites Vitalik Buterin, Founder of the Ethereum Project, as one prime example of how Canadians are expanding the possibilities of Blockchain technology.

There are numerous Bitcoin startups in Toronto. QuadrigaCX is among Canada’s leading Bitcoin exchanges, but also a multi-sig wallet with enhanced account security features, funding options and e-Transfer. QuadrigaCX’s core usership is located in Canada, though it does accept international users.

The MARS Discovery District claims $6.8 billion was invested in fintech in 2014. Mostly going to New York and London. But Toronto attracts much investment, also, and is considered the 9th largest fintech city in the world with hundreds of thousands of employees. Why such “competitive intensity” in Toronto’s fintech scene?According to the Globe and Mail, Toronto is home to more financial institutions of a $50 billion market cap or higher.

Vancouver, according to number of Bitcoin ATM’s in the west coast city (21), seems to attract most of the Bitcoin energy spent in the nation.

Dream Payments Named Winner of Global Fintech Challenge VentureClash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Tuesday, Toronto’s cloud-based mobile payment platform Dream Paymentsannounced it was named the winner of the global investment challenge for fintech and digital health companies, VentureClash. The event was held on October 20th at Yale University. The company stated it was among almost 200 contenders that participated.

China

China’s Firms Shine Bright in 2016 ‘Fintech 100’ List (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

According to the 2016 Fintech Innovators Report, which evaluates and ranks the world’s top 100 fintech companies, China’s fintech firms have outperformed their counterparts in other countries this year.

According to the rankings, 13 UK firms featured in the Fintech 100 this year, down from 18 in 2015. Chinese fintechs stood out in 2016, with eight firms in the 100, but four of these – Ant Financial, Qudian, Lufax and ZhongAn – are in the top five. In contrast, Atom Bank was the only representative from England to appear on this year’s top 10 list.  In the US, 24 companies made the list of 100 including three in the top 10.

India

Investor network launches three new instruments to renewable energy and green growth in India (Free Press Journal), Rated: A

Today, the India Innovation Lab for Green Finance (the India Lab) announced endorsement of three innovative investment vehicles that will help drive millions of dollars of needed investment to India’s clean energy and green growth targets.

This announcement is in partnership with the India Lab’s public and private Lab Members, including the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Finance, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), the Asian Development Bank, ReNew Power, the World Bank, and the development agencies of the French, UK, and US governments, among others.

The three endorsed instruments, which were selected from among a highly competitive pool, and refined and developed over the course of a year, will now move forward for piloting in India with the support of the India Lab’s members. They include a rooftop solar financing facility, a new lending platform for green investments, and a currency exchange instrument.

The new instruments endorsed by the India Lab today are:

* The Rooftop Solar Private Sector Financing Facility aims to drive capital at a lower cost of financing for developers of rooftop solar projects, by providing long term debt financing through securitization.

* Loans4SME is a peer-to-peer lending platform that would increase access to debt financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives, by connecting them directly with lenders. Loans4SME has the potential to mobilize around USD $2.2 billion in debt financing for SMEs in renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2022, and thereby help in providing access to finance almost 800 MW of rooftop solar projects.

* The FX Hedging Facility aims to facilitate large-scale foreign investment into renewable energy in India by providing a cheaper currency hedging solution.

Asia

Singapore and South Korea sign up for fintech co-operation (Banking Technology), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Korean Financial Services Commission (KFSC) have signed an agreement to foster more co-operation in the fintech space.

Under the agreement, MAS and KFSC will explore potential joint innovation projects on technologies such as big data and mobile payments.

MAS and KFSC will also discuss issues of common interest, and share information on fintech trends and how it may impact existing regulations.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday October 18 2016, Daily News Digest

Tuesday October 18 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Korean company Hanwha Life Insurance acquires 4% stake in Lending Club. American Bankers Association partners with Accenture to publish a playbook for banks who want to partner with FinTech companies. Today’s main analysis : Insurance technology is the next FinTech frontier.  The African financial services industry is making great strides in changing […]

Tuesday October 18 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

China

India

Africa

  • Africa is undergoing some interesting FinTech changes. In fact, technology is revolutionizing how money is handled and business is conducted in one of the most unexpected places of the world. AT: “It will interesting to see how FinTech transforms banking in Africa and whether it could lead to an increase in power and posture for a part of the world that has long been on the underside of the global power structure. This analysis is a must-read.”

News Summary

 

United States

ABA, Accenture Release ‘Playbook’ for Banks on Fintech Strategy (Banking Journal), Rated: AAA

As banks continue to grapple with a rapidly evolving technological environment and the massive growth of fintech startups — and with billions of dollars in revenues at stake — the American Bankers Association and Accenture today released a members-only Fintech Playbook to help banks understand how and when they can most profitably partner with fintech companies. ABA also launched ABA Fintech as an online hub for all the association’s resources on fintech.

According to Accenture, banks that invest in fintech stand to gain up to $20 billion collectively in operating income by 2020, while those that don’t could lose as much as $15 billion in revenues during the same period.

The playbook offers a four-phase approach — establish a baseline, close gaps, focus on the customer and drive transformational change — that addresses channels, lines of business and bank platforms and processes. It also includes sample worksheets to help identify strategic priorities, identify top IT investment priorities and select potential fintech partners.

How to win in the game of odds in the next fintech frontier — insurance (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Insurance technology is getting very popular among founders and investors, yet, as a category, is little understood.

Insurance is one of the most difficult businesses to start, because, well, the regulators don’t actually want new players in the market. The reason for this is risk — insurance is all about having a strong system and balance sheet to manage risk. However, as a result of its difficulty, insurance is now behind the times in terms of technology. This leads to a perfect storm to disrupt the industry.

Oftentimes product development cycles can be 3-5 years. In startup world, that’s an eternity and back. Meanwhile, there is $1.2 trillion in insurance premium written every year in the U.S.

The key to unlocking the insurance industry is understanding behavioral economics. Behavioral economics is the study of behavior and how it impacts purchasing.

Given the size of the market you clearly can create a win-win situation. For example, in auto insurance, even out of those who shop for carriers, more than 71 percent of people stayed with their carrier in 2015.

The most successful players in insurance tech will win by rounding the edges on existing products.

Hanwha Life acquires 4% stake in US loan company Lending Club (Korea Herald), Rated: A

Hanwha Life Insurance has acquired 4.1 percent stake in Lending Club, a US peer-to-peer lending company for 75 billion won (US$66.24 million), it reported on Oct. 17.

The insurance arm of Hanwha Group has a strategic partnership with Lending Club and “thought that its stocks were undervalued after its stock price was slashed due to the recent scandal involving its CEO, and purchased the stake,” said an official.

The distinct advantage of utilizing section 1031: The taxes could be deferred indefinitely (New York Real Estate Journal), Rated: A

A real estate investor, if fortunate comes to a point where they want to sell a property at a profit. Many investors know they may be able to utilize Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 and exchange their property for a replacement property, in turn deferring the capital gains. This has been one of the cornerstones of real estate investing because the deductions taken to make income tax deferred while owning a property also reduces cost basis. Distinct advantage of utilizing section 1031:  As long as the rules are followed each time an investor sells and subsequently buys a property, the taxes can potentially be deferred indefinitely. At the time of death, your heirs will generally receive a stepped up cost basis to the current market value of owned property, regardless of how many exchanges the investor may have done in the past (depending on the total market value of the estate).

Now, while most real estate investors know how to take advantage of a 1031 exchange in the traditional sense, there is an option to invest in an alternative structure and still defer the gains.  This is called the Delaware Statutory Trust or (DST). A DST gives investors another avenue to take advantage of the tax code while still staying within the parameters of the 1031 requirements.

The underlying real estate in a DST may be any asset class including, multifamily, office, retail, self-storage or industrial properties.

FTC Announces Agenda, Panelists for Oct. 26 FinTech Forum on Peer-to-peer Payments and Crowdfunding (FTC), Rated: A

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the agenda for its upcoming FinTech forum examining peer-to-peer payments and crowdfunding. The forum, which is the second in an ongoing event series, will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Washington, DC.

The half-day forum will feature two panel discussions. The first panel will explore peer-to-peer payment systems, the online services – often mobile apps – that allow consumers to exchange money electronically. The second panel will examine crowdfunding, the use of online platforms to fund a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people. Both panels will discuss the important trends in these industries, as well as their benefits and potential risks for consumers.

In addition to these panel discussions, the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation will give a presentation examining crowdfunding practices and the types of information available to consumers about crowdfunding campaigns.

Full details are available on the workshop’s webpage. The workshop will be webcast live on the FTC’s website.

Fintech Trends: Collaboration (FinLeap), Rated: A

With Fintechs growing stronger every day by taking a bigger part of the financial market, banks have become more open to collaborations with these young companies. Those collaborations present a great opportunity for banks not only resulting in increase of revenue, but most importantly innovation.

Studies show that many banks have already established partnerships with Fintechs. According to the UBS bank management survey of 61 big banks, 38% have a partnership already – a number that’s only going to rise in the upcoming year.

Not only do Fintechs gain benefits from collaboration, but also banks. The first benefit is simple: revenue.

Collaborations between banks and Fintechs can be very beneficial, but they are also very challenging as the organizational cultures between the two differ greatly.[5] This means that culturally, banks and fintechs will have to adapt to each other while trying to avoid unnecessary dependence.

How To Value Boston’s Faneuil Hall And Other Questions Fintech Could Answer (Forbes), Rated: A

Ryan Williams surveys the room: how many people could put a price tag on this building?

His question, it turns out, is a bit of trick. This building is Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, which will never come up for sale.

On Monday, the market building constructed in 1742 was host to the Forbes’ Under 30 Summit where Williams spoke on a panel about how financial technology is shaking up stodgy industries. Williams’ co-panelists hail from different segments of fintech, but each touched on variations of  his broader point: technology is expanding access to financial information and in turn broadening financial opportunity.

Vlad Tenev argues that Robinhood, the free mobile stock trading app he co-founded, exists to get people investing as young as high school. This way they won’t be so clueless when it comes time to invest for retirement. Daniel Aisen, head of quantitative strategy at stock exchange IEX Group, notes that his company is pushing institutional investors to look closer at what is happening behind the scenes of their trades with the ultimate goal of making buying and selling stocks fairer for everyone. And SoFi, where Michael Tannenbaum is senior vice president of mortgages, is part of a group of new lenders using expanded data sets to broaden who they can give money to.

While financial technology has gained clients, accolades and venture capital dollars in recent years, high stakes separate these young financial leaders from many other young technology stars. If they get it wrong real peoples’ livelihoods, retirements and homes could be at stake. This is why all four panelists agreed that gaining domain expertise is key before starting a fintech business. They also largely agree that the evolution of finance will not come from throwing out everything that came before.

Class is Back in Session at Fintech University (BBVA), Rated: B

Some of the best-known names working on finance’s new frontiers come together this Monday in one of technology’s most important cities for the second edition of Fintech University.

The one-day gathering at San Francisco’s Bently Reserve is hosted by BBVA’s Open Innovation team, and features fintech entrepreneurs from around the globe.

Some of the hottest topics in fintech will be discussed at the second edition of Fintech University, including payments, lending, Know Your Customer (KYC) and authentication, and regulation. Fintech luminaries such as Socure’s Johnny Ayers, Prosper’s Ron Suber and Coinbase’s Fred Ehrsam will be leading and participating in the discussions.

While Fintech University has sold out, interested parties can follow along by checking out #FintechUniversity on Twitter.

United Kingdom

Amazon Echo and the future of financial advice technology (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. In case you missed the news, having been available in the US for two years, its long anticipated UK launch took place at the end of last month to much fanfare and excitement.

So what does a speaker have to do with financial advice?

Today, an adviser business may need to enter the same data 21 times into 21 different systems. This sounds mad but, worryingly, it is not that unusual.

In drawing together multiple systems and tools, Echo demonstrates the potential of a connected advisory world. A single system, for example, that links to multiple investment platforms, keeps you informed about tasks and diary events, provides client information, manages business finances – and all though a single interface.

Can we expect a financial adviser version of Echo any time soon? The concept of integrated technology is available in the adviser world already.

Robo-advice would have flourished without RDR (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice and the drive to automation would still have happened even without the catalyst of the Retail Distribution Review, experts have claimed.

Steve Thomas, professor at Cass Business School, said the disrupting advance of technology would have still forced a change in the financial services sector, even if the RDR had not taken place.

He highlighted how the advisory marketplace had shrunk from approximately 200,000 advisers in the UK in 1990 to approximately 25,000 qualified regulated financial advisers today.

Landbay launches new range of lending products for professional landlords (Property Wire), Rated: B

Peer to pear lending platform Landbay which specialises in buy to let mortgages has launched a new range of limited edition lending products aimed primarily at professional landlords.

The new tracker products have a competitive rate, no Early Redemption Charges (ERCs) and will be available exclusively via Landbay’s approved broker partners, in addition to the existing suite of both Fixed and Tracker rate products.

Landbay champions a bespoke, flexible and fast lending process, which it believes benefits borrowers in its speed of service and its competitive pricing. To date, Landbay has lent over £42 million since 2014, over 241 loans with 0% facing repayment difficulties.

Established in 2013, Landbay was the fastest growing online peer to peer lending platform in 2015.

Rebuilding the financial services industry takes the best of both (Real Business), Rated: A

The financial services sector is broken. However, it is not broke. It still generates enormous revenue, but it does so within a system that is quickly becoming unsustainable.

From Santander referring businesses to peer-to-peer lending platforms, to Zurich’s creation of a digital workplace – established players are looking to create new efficiencies, and provide greater convenience, customisation and reduced costs.

For something to become truly, disruptively innovative, it must be embraced by the mass market. And although fintech is booming, I’d argue that it still remains the province of early adopters. Many promising fintech startups have already failed due to the big gap between those early adopters and the mainstream market, and the gulf in behaviours between the two.

How come? Well, in financial services, probably more than in any other sector, it’s especially difficult to overcome the forces of inertia and trust. After all, there are few things in life more serious than money – and if someone’s going to place their savings or investments in the hands of a company, they’ll want to have confidence that the company they choose has the scale and longevity to keep their hard-earned cash safe.

SME’s beginning to rely on alternative finance in post financial crisis Britain (Huddled), Rated: A

Recent studies have shown that the Alternative Finance industry is providing SME’s with more flexible funding opportunities and much better terms for businesses. Back in 2015 Nesta revealed that the market had grown by £3.2 billion, highlighting its rapid expansion, and things look set to continue in a similar fashion.

A lot of SME’s struggle with having their invoices tied up for up to 90 days. This can create a problematic cash flow gap which can hinder businesses on a day-to-day basis. Market Invoice is becoming one of the main providers enabling businesses to release up to 90% of their invoices before the typical 90-day period.

The UK government has invested in a variety of different recent schemes and programmes to support SMEs financially. There are now a variety of different options available, from loans to investment schemes and development programmes, which businesses can take advantage of to help them out.

Short term business loans offer a much more flexible alternative for businesses, giving SME’s the opportunity to draw the funds as and when needed as opposed to taking a lump sum in one go. This proves to be a handy resource and quick fix for SME’s experiencing unexpected cash flow problems.

Crowdfunding platforms are more popular than ever before. With so many different online platforms available for donation crowdfunding SME’s can reach out to people around them and other via the power of social media to ask for any donations towards their cause.

With interest rates set to stay low and so many different types of alternative finance now available, there is a huge potential for new businesses to establish themselves in 2016.

Oinky focuses on ways to automate and simplify saving (Pensions & Investments), Rated: B

Conrad Holmboe left his position at U.K. investment consultant Redington over the summer, where he was a director in the investment consulting business, to work on Oinky, a digital piggy bank. Oinky connects to an existing bank account, determines how much a user can safely afford to save every week, and automatically transfers those savings to the piggy bank.

Mr. Holmboe is chief operating officer, chief financial officer and co-founder of Oinky alongside Ivan Soto-Wright, who also is CEO. Mr. Soto-Wright left Redington last year, where he was an investment consultant.

Oinky also has a “discover” feature, which lets savers explore peer-to-peer lending opportunities, investment platforms and other savings products.

Australia

Banks, AMP baulk at cost of financial advice watchdog (The Australian), Rated: A

The big four banks and AMP will contribute nearly $16 million to fund the creation of the federal government’s professional standards body for financial advisers, part of reforms unveiled yesterday by Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer.

The $15.6m bill to cover the first four years of the program has ­already faced resistance from the banking industry, which constitutes only 25 per cent of the financial advice market.

AMP, which represents Australia’s largest network of financial advisers, is also pushing to expand the financial burden of the standards body to be shared by the rest of the industry.

An independent standards body will be established as a commonwealth company and a nine-member board will seat three consumer advocates, three industry members, an ethicist, an education specialist and a chair. The professional associations, such as the Financial Planners Association, will compete to run the body, which will oversee the country’s 22,500 advisers.

FPA head of policy Ben Marshan said the reforms provided ­financial planners with an appropriate amount of time to adjust to the new system. The education and professional standards regime will come into force at the start of 2019.

Australians are using peer-to-peer loans to consolidate their debt (Finder), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, while having first been introduced in 2012, is still a new concept to many Australians. However, the idea seems to be catching on. The P2P lending space is becoming more competitive, with new lenders being announced all the time, and more Australians are starting to take advantage of the competitive rates on offer. According to new data, these rates are being utilised by borrowers looking to reduce the interest they’re paying on current debts.

RateSetter customers that are using their loans to consolidate debt:

  • $20,666 – Average loan amount for debt consolidation
  • 8.23% – Average annual rate for debt consolidation loans
  • 725 – The number of people earning between $50,000 and $100,000 that held debt consolidation loans
  • 64.5% – Percentage of males applying for debt consolidation loans

Move to lift professional standards of financial advisors backed (Professional Planner), Rated: B

The SMSF Association strongly endorses the Federal Government’s decision to legislate to improve the professional standards of financial advisors.

Association Head of Policy Jordan George says improving the educational and ethical standards of financial advisors has been a long-term policy of the organisation, especially as it relates to the $622 billion self-managed super fund (SMSF) sector.

China

Stored Value Facilities : Changing the fintech landscape in Hong Kong (Bryan Cave), Rated: AAA

Last November the Clearing and Settlement Systems Ordinance was amended and renamed as the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities (SFV) Ordinance (“Ordinance”). The Ordinance sees the implementation of a mandatory licensing system for stored value facilities, and was subject to a one year transition period. This grace period will end on 13th November 2016, after which any stored value operator not holding a licence will have to exit the market or face heavy penalties.

In general, a SFV involves the pre-payment to or storage of the value of money (or money’s worth) on a payment facility, which may be used for paying for goods or services or to another party. This includes smartcards, such as gift cards or top-up cards, through to wearable technology such as watches to non-device based SVFs that store the value of money on mobile and internet based accounts, such as e-wallets.

The Ordinance requires all multi-purpose SVFs to be licensed. Single-purpose SVFs do not have to adhere to the Ordinance, so you may rest assured your pre-paid coffee card will still work after 13th November.

The implementation of the Ordinance sees a significant shift in Hong Kong’s payment’s landscape.

More than 20 companies have applied to the HKMA for SVF licenses with 50% Hong Kong-domiciled companies and 68% engaged in the prepaid card business. Howard Lee, senior executive director at the HKMA, advised that the decision to include only five operators at this point did not mean the remaining applicants had been rejected. We expect to see more licences granted before or after 13th November.

SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator Renews Partnership with Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hong Kong-based SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator has renewed its partnership with Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing (HKEX).

SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator was launched in January 2016 with big success seeing a USD $71 million capital investment in accelerator participant MicroCred secured for its expansion in China and the development of their internet finance strategy.

Applications for SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator 2.0 are open until 20 October 2016 both early stage and later stage Fintech firms may apply.

India

Barclays launches fintech accelerator programme with 10 fintech startups (The Economic Times, India Times), Rated: AAA

Rise Accelerator, a FinTech- focussed accelerator programme started by Barclays announced its first cohort today, comprising 10 FinTech startups.

The fintech accelerator will provide the selected startups with access to the bank’s technology, insight and expertise via onsite mentors and advisors. It will also enable them to access the international markets.

The 10 shortlisted startups included 4 from Bangalore, 2 each from Mumbai and Delhi and 1 each from Chennai and Hyderabad. The startups focussed on a host of areas like Artificial Intelligence, Data Integration, Predictive Lending etc to solve real time problems associated with the banking and financial sectors.

The London headquartered lender is also planning to support these nascent financial technology companies as an early stage investment which can reap them big returns if they go on to make it big in the emerging fintech space both in India as well as globally.

Online P2P lending marketplace Rupaiya Exchange fast emerging as a game changer in India (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

Putting an end to redundant lending processes in India, Rupaiya Exchange, a leading online peer-to-peer lending platform, is changing the face of the money lending industry. With its pan-India presence, Rupaiya Exchange serves as a marketplace for a wide range of peer to peer (P2P) lending activity including Consumer-to-Consumer loans, Business-to-Consumer loans, and Business-to-Business loans. The service portfolio of the company includes short-term as well as long-term loan instruments which can be either be secured or collateral-free, as per the user requirement.

The platform also holds the distinction of being the first company to introduce a lender’s protection scheme in India.

Fintech companies like BankBazaar promise smarter profits from mutual funds (The Economic Times, India Times), Rated: A

Investing in a mutual fund is considered a smart option, especially for first-time investors, and several fintech startups are looking to make the process simpler and attractive for individuals.

BankBazaar, which has a Sebi-registered investment-adviser licence, is set to use robo-advisory technology, which entails minimal human intervention in financial advice, to help customers invest in the right mutual funds. The feature will be live internally on October 30 and can be used by the public from November 17, CEO Adhil Shetty told ET.

Digital payments startup Trupay will launch a feature this month for real-time investment in mutual funds using its UPI integration.

Zerodha offers a choice of the bestperforming mutual funds, which Nithin Kamath, CEO of Zerodha, said the company is allowed to do using its stockbroker licence, and also uses a simulated systematic investment plan (SIP) to let users customise their investments based on markets instead of fixed periodical investments.

Fintech firm Lendingkart acqui-hires loans marketplace KountMoney (Tech Circle), Rated: B

Fintech startup Lendingkart Group has acqui-hired KountMoney, an online lending marketplace for personal loans, to boost its technology and data analytics capabilities.

Acqui-hire refers to the buyout of a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff, rather than for its products or services.

KountMoney connects borrowers and lenders, besides vetting loan applications through an algorithm. It forwards the vetted loan applications to suitable lenders in its network, who take the final call. It also helps borrowers in choosing lenders and submission of documents.

Africa

NFC FinTech Banking Technology and Speed (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Abstract – African financial services industry is in the midst of extraordinary change more and more of the population is becoming part of the formal financial system with mobile technology driven inclusion but still large portion of the market still remains untapped. The race/efforts by nonbank organization’s are still on to find innovative ways to get excluded customers on board. Included consumers are looking for everyday convenience, while businesses are looking for a competitive edge thus resulting in a new breed of products and next-generation payment options. At the same time many consumers still needs to answer for their questions like what do I do on Internet banking, with NFC sticker on back of my $10 mobile phone, with easy solution, open and integrated design technologies?

Introduction- With NFC any device can be a payment device.

NFC or any similar technologies are neither new nor a revolutionary innovation its in existence on this planet since decades, but not all of us are aware to make use of this for payments (Ok I agree most of us are). Mobile payment using NFC has been around for a long time but banks and retailers are hesitant to participate due to fear of low adoption rate.

Main Story – Using combination of technologies like mobile device, bitcoin, blockchain, fintech companies are building Internet of value. The question then is what does this means for financial institutions, governments and citizens.

The challenge to NFC is the cost of devices (Handsets & Receiving devices). Some brands do not take time to invest fully as Apple does.

Security is an integral component of all payments, as sensitive data need to be protected from any fraudulent parties. The card associations have created a set of rules and security standards, which must be followed by anyone with access to card information including gateways. This set of rules and security standards is called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. To add security for both subscriber and merchant (Yes at business cost), as in any financial transaction that’s the golden Key.

Banks will certainly have to judge whether the massive investment they could make, in order to challenge the spreading popularity of payment systems such as PayPal, will be worthwhile, given that PayPal has gained ‘first mover’ advantage and that as highly-regulated financial service companies with duties to both national and continental authorities, they have to abide by stricter rules and security protocols. They must also judge whether their customers will move with them into a new more agile, flexible and electronic future, or whether a majority of people actively prefer the new, low cost (or free) services that have sprung up as part of the digital revolution.

Conclusions- Although we have made great strides to expand access to financial services through new technologies and innovative business models, the gender divide stubbornly persists in most emerging markets.

Time has now come for banks and other entities with an interest in financial service provision, to step up as one single team, exploit technology and leverage on existing MNO infrastructure to acquire customers, enrich use cases, lower costs and increase revenue especially in markets where regulators (such as reserve banks) play a dominant role.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor