Tuesday March 6 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Is Amazon about to partner with JP Morgan Chase? Elevate saves customers $3B over payday loan alternatives. LendInvest hosts a roadshow. Folk2Folk lenders provide 200M GBP to UK rural businesses. China issues first personal credit rating license. Today’s main analysis: Credit card losses surge at small banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FT Partners’ CEO monthly […]

credit card charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

News Summary

United States

Amazon wants to make it easier to shop its website without a credit card (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts, The Wall Street Journalreported Monday.

More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

New prime subscriptions flattened in the third quarter of 2017, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Another survey by Piper Jaffray in June said that 82 percent of U.S. households with more than $112,000 in annual income are already Prime members. Its reach is the lowest among those that make less than $41,000 a year.

In November, it announced that shoppers at 7-Eleven stores nationwide could deposit as little as $15 and as much as $500 into an Amazon account through its “Amazon cash” program. Shoppers can then use that cash to shop on Amazon. Nearly one-half of the U.S. population lives within one mile of a 7-Eleven store.

Will Amazon Pitch Financial Advice To Millennials? (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

If Amazon is successful in creating a banking relationship with its vast customer base of millennials, can an investment advice platform be far behind?

Stich predicts that Amazon, a company with a $700 billion market cap, will offer three levels of investment accounts to millennials and interested customers: It could offer do-it-yourself accounts and robo-advisory accounts; and for those who want a personal advisor, Amazon could create and refer customers to a state-by-state network of select investment professionals.

Consumers interested in idea of Amazon-created cryptocurrency, survey reveals (The Block), Rated: A

More than half of consumers would be open to using an Amazon-created cryptocurrency, with Amazon Prime users even keener, according to poll findings from student loan marketplace LendEDU.

The study, which polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased a product from Amazon in the past 30 days, found 51.7% would be interested in an ‘Amazon Coin’, with the number increasing to 58.27% for Prime members, and only one in five (21.9%) saying no.

Only 17% of those polled said they would trust Amazon more than a traditional bank, compared with 23% who disagreed and 38% who said levels of trust would be about the same. Nine in 10 respondents however said that overall, they trusted Amazon to have their best interests in mind, with 52.49% answering ‘yes, very much so’ and 37.56% opting for ‘somewhat.’

Elevate Milestone: Customers Have Saved More Than $ 3 Billion Over PayDay Loan Alternatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced on Monday its customers have saved more than $3 billion to date, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $1.3 billion was saved in 2017 alone.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Keith Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a platform that provides friction-free financing to sellers operating on digital marketplaces. In our conversation with Keith, he delves into the vision behind founding Payability and the unique opportunities and strategies of lending to online marketplace sellers.

M&A
Financings
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

A Dialogue with Peter Renton: Cryptocurrency and Beyond (deBanked), Rated: AAA

deBanked: Why did you decide to rebrand LendIt as LendItFintech?

Renton: The main reason is that we have moved beyond the online lending space.

deBanked: What about online lending? The industry has gone through a lot of changes in its relatively short history. How do you expect to see the competitive landscape change in the next year or so? What about farther out?

Renton: The online lending space has gone through a lot of changes in its short history. I feel like the biggest trend we’re seeing right now is banks launching their own platforms. Take Goldman Sachs with the Marcus online lending platform, for example. More than anything else that has happened in the history of online lending that is among the most telling for the future, I think.

deBanked: What do you see as the biggest risks for online lenders today? How can they best overcome these challenges?

Renton: As an industry, we have to focus on profitability.

Credit-Card Losses Surge at Small Banks (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data.

But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010.

tZero Has Acquired VerifyInvestor for Million in Cash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Buried within the tZero Offering Memorandum for its ongoing initial coin offering were several interesting items of note. The first was the fact the SEC was in the process of reviewing the offering. Another interesting bit of information was the fact tZero has acquired a majority stake in VerifyInvestor.

 

Gina Harman of Accion (Lend Academy), Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gina Harman, the CEO of the U.S. Network for Accion. They are a non-profit lender with 14 regional offices around the country focused on providing funding to underserved businesses. Accion has a very consultative approach to lending so their work often involves face to face meetings with the potential borrowers. But they are also serving the entire country through online means today.

LendingPoint Launches Merchant Solutions Platform (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, today unveiled LendingPoint Merchant Solutions to provide merchants and other service providers a fully integrated one-stop retail financing platform to convert more consumers at the point of sale.

LendingPoint Merchant Solutions combines the LoanHero merchant onboarding, program management and reporting technology with LendingPoint’s industry-leading credit underwriting, risk management, and customer service expertise.

Grameen America eyes banks in ambitious push to expand microlending effort (American Banker), Rated: A

Grameen America is looking for banks and social impact investors to help fuel significant growth in its microlending effort.

The plan is to double the size of its loan portfolio, and lend a cumulative total of $2 billion, over the next five years, David Gough, its chief financial officer, said in an interview.

RICO suit filed against Great Plains Lending over allegations of predatory online lending scheme (Legal NewLine), Rated: A

Vanessa C. Grainger, Beverly Kristina Miller and Lilya J. McAtee, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Great Plains Lending LLC, Kenneth E. Rees, Victory Part Capitol Advisors LLC, et al. over alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

THE SEC’S ICO SUBPOENA EXPLAINED (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

“The SEC typically sends a subpoena for one of two reasons: you are either a direct target of a new or ongoing investigation or you are involved somehow with an entity or individual that is under investigation,” notes William Skelley, Co-founder of William Chris, a Dubai-based consulting firm founded by David Drake and Simon Cocking.

Clayton had stated that most ICOs need to register with SEC because, like other securities that the agency regulates, they trade coins in secondary markets. However, ICO companies have shown reluctance in subjecting themselves to SEC’s oversight despite the fact that up to $8.7 billion has been raised through ICOs, based on CoinDesk data.

How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Stash is letting its customers invest in single stocks, the company’s latest major investment product launch beyond theme-based exchange-traded funds.

Stash lets customers buy portions of shares (called fractional shares) with a minimum balance of $5.

Core Upgrade Brings Orion’s Dynamic, Time-Saving Reporting to Private Assets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, today announced the release of its Alternative Investment Platform (“AIP”), a tool that lets Orion advisors show their clients’ private assets as easily as their public holdings at no additional cost.

AIP lets financial advisors track and maintain alternative investment data for client assets held in private equity, direct investments, venture capital, hedge funds, private real estate, REITs, and more, with ease and efficiency. AIP lets advisors aggregate and update committed capital amounts, total cash distributions, return of capital, and commitment amounts for alternative investments of all types into client reports alongside publicly-traded assets to create a cohesive picture of the client’s net worth.

Is there a sandbox in the US’s future? (Euromoney), Rated: A

The cooperation between the FCA and the CFTC will cover information sharing, referrals and learning from proofs of concept, trials or innovation competitions.

Various agencies – including the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – oversee specific segments of the market, and for a US sandbox regime to be successful there would need to be substantial collaboration and coordination between all of these agencies.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes “How to” for Private Investors on Direct Lending (PRWeb), Rated: B

Direct lending is a new category that is reshaping the asset management and investment landscape, yet most investors see the arena as a “black box.” Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, offers investors insights into the category with its recently published report: High Yield for Investors in Specialty Finance: Exploring Opportunities in Factoring and Merchant Cash Advance. Written and researched by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-author Marla Harkness, the 37-page report is a virtual blueprint for investors, RIAs, advisory firms and the new generation of innovators who have started alternative lending companies to serve a vacuum left by large banks and community banks that used to serve small and mid-size business pre-recession.

The paper covers:

  •     In-depth descriptions of both factoring and merchant cash advance (MCA) loan originators
  •     Insider lingo, so investors are up to speed when reviewing documents
  •     Regulatory history and framework
  •     Detailed investor evaluation checklists

You can access the report here: High Yield For Investors in Specialty Finance.

Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Albuquerque ranks among 10 best places for new small businesses (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Albuquerque ranked No. 8 on LendingTree’s list of the best cities for new small businesses released Feb. 27.

United Kingdom

Roadshow Announcement (London South East), Rated: AAA

LendInvest Limited, the specialist mortgage provider, announces that it has mandated Peel Hunt to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors in the UK and Channel Islands, commencing the week of 5 March 2018, to discuss a possible second issue of sterling denominated bonds.

Folk2Folk Lenders Provide £200 Million to Rural Businesses in the UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer (P2P0 lending platform for local and rural businesses, announced on Monday it has now lent £200 million, providing a valuable source of capital to hundreds of local businesses across the UK. According to the online lending, this milestone demonstrates the strong demand in the company’s Local Lending Movement as Lenders and Borrowers are attracted by Folk2Folk’s platform, providing a fair exchange that sees no difference between what Borrowers repay and Lenders receive on a monthly basis.

Folk2Folk’s lending milestone was reached thanks to a growing community of local Lenders who have placed £20,000 or above on the lender’s platform. The average lent per Lender now exceeds £65,000. Lenders receive 6.5%pa interest which is paid monthly, helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be an additional income for retirement or funding a life event like a once in a lifetime holiday.

Exchange Platform LendingBlock Boosts the Development of the Crypto Sphere (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Lendingblock is an outstanding representative of the “picks and shovel” business of the crypto economy. The recent announcement of an ICO by this company raises an important issue: can these followers of Gold Rush traditions achieve the same success?

Lendingblock is an open exchange platform for both borrowers and lenders of crypto currencies. The platform enables owners of digital assets to earn passive, low risk interest income, while borrowers get an opportunity get assets needed to support trading, hedging and working capital needs.

Tales of failed peer-to-peer lenders (AltFi), Rated: A

A little-known pawnbroking and property-backed peer-to-peer lending platform named Collateral has gone into administration, according to reports. Its investors are in limbo, unable to access their money or even view their accounts.

Be The Lender folded in August 2014. It was a tiny peer-to-peer platform with a focus on lending to small businesses.

GraduRates was a very small peer-to-peer lender specialising in loans to post-graduate students. In 2014, with a new regulatory regime for P2P firms looming, its founder Jonathan Webb decided to close down operations.

TrustBuddy was a peer-to-peer firm specialising in short-term loans for consumers. It is perhaps the best-known example of a P2P blow-up because it was the first big platform to go belly-up.

Finally, the complete comedy that was the Ezubao blow-up. There are many, many examples of failed Chinese P2P platforms, but Ezubao takes the biscuit.

FOS tells adviser to pay client over £30k loss through unsecured Sipp loan (Money Marketing), Rated: A

The Financial Ombudsman Service has told an adviser to compensate a client who they told to make an unsecured loan to a third party with money from their Sipp.

Mr H says O’Rourke Partnership recommended and arranged for him to make an unsecured loan of £29,325 to the third party from funds he held in his Sipp.

The loan was to be over a short-term at a high rate of interest but the loan has not been repaid and Mr H has lost his money.

An investigator reviewed the complaint, thought the advice was unsuitable and recommended that it should be upheld.

P2P lending “high  up the scale of respectability” for non-standard investments (AltFi), Rated: A

BondMason boss warns that recent FSCS fines are likely make SIPP providers extra cautious in reviewing non-standard investments.  

An estimated one million people are said to have taken up a SIPP (self-investment pension plan) since the wrapper was first introduced as part of the government’s Pension Freedom Reforms in April 2015. But squeezing non-standard investments into the still relatively-new tax wrapper hasn’t been easy.

Archover announces new non-exec director, nears profitability (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender is turning dissenters into directors with its latest hire, after hitting £60m in lending.

ArchOver, the p2p business lending platform, has announced it will be appointing Bill Johnston to its board as a non-executive director. Johnston previously was an outspoken critic of p2p lending and alternative finance in general, but says he has been swayed after seeing ArchOver succeed.

Beauty marketplace founder joins Blend Network management team (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A FORMER Morgan Stanley banker turned beauty marketplace founder is among two appointments to the board of a new peer-to-peer lending platform aiming to become the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, a former Morgan Stanley vice president and founder of Zeebba – which arranges at-home beauty services – has joined asset-backed property lender Blend Network as business development manager.

Metro Loans Presents Unsecured Business Start up Loans for Unemployed in UK (MENAFN), Rated: B

The UK based direct lending company has come up with unsecured business start up loans to build up new entrepreneurs.

China

China Issues its First Personal Credit Rating License (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On February 22, the People’s Bank of China published an announcement about setting up personal credit rating agencies. According to the document, Baihang Credit Rating Co., Ltd., was granted the first personal credit rating license in China, and the qualifications of its management team (including board member, supervisors and senior management) has all received approval.

A New Ransomware Virus Could Steal All Your Alipay Balance

Recently, a ransomware virus called “unicorn 2.1” raged online. It spreads through QQ and other Instant Messengers.

Once the virus hacks the computer, it will lock all the files in the computer and requires the victim to pay ¥3 yuan by scanning with his / her Alipay. As long as the victim scans the QR code, the hacker will be able to get access to the Alipay account and steal all the balance.

International

Marketplace lending platform Maliyya scores EUR1.3 million in seed funding (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Maliyya, a fintech company engaged in development of a P2P lending and borrowing platform, has just closed the first seed investment round of USD$1.3 million from Ground1 Ventures, a private investment firm based out of UK.

Targeting to become a primary P2P lending and borrowing platform for the Middle East, North African and Asian Region, Maliyya is working on to roll out its MVP in the coming months.

How can today’s generation of lenders fight global financial crime? (LendIt), Rated: AAA

What if you lent money to someone who used it to finance an act of terrorism? Or to disguise the proceeds of drug dealing. How would this make you feel and what would it mean for the reputation of your growing business?

Today’s generation of FinTechs however, face huge technology and operational challenges – they interface with banks and therefore need ‘bank-grade’ solutions for KYC/AML but existing technology solutions struggle to fit with their unique needs. Increasingly, they are looking to new technology to help them comply with global KYC/AML standards, maintain banking relationships and ultimately fight financial crime.

What are the financial crime risks for lenders and FinTechs?

Lenders spend billions of dollars a year on compliance solutions trying to combat their financial crime risk, which broadly fall into two categories: anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML/CTF) risk and fraud.

Crypto’s missing pieces: Building a sustainable financial ecosystem (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Centralized, “off-chain” cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitfinex and Poloniex, support margin-lending. Although limited to certain customer groups, and a limited number of assets, they generally fit the definition of money markets. The downside is that investors have to trust that the exchange won’t get hacked or abscond with assets. That’s a big risk. The recent $530 million heist from the Japanese exchange, Coincheck, isn’t likely to be the last, and many customers feel that the incremental returns aren’t worth the risk. That may change as exchanges move toward adoption by the existing financial system.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Profile Software’s innovative solutions for banking and wealth industry (Hubbis), Rated: B

The company today has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, America, Asia and Africa, throughout those regions delivering innovative solutions to both start-ups and established banking and finance institutions, through direct communication or a reliable partners network.

Profile’s leading platform, Axia is an omnichannel wealth management  platform covering all aspects of the investment operations that modularly, and with flexibility, embrace the whole spectrum of portfolio management, with continuous updates on client onboarding, online trading, compliance issues (such as MiFID II), instruments, custodian links and bank interfaces, financial planning, and so forth. The investment management solution also supports operations in insurance firms, private banking, custody, brokerage needs and more, with a successful track record.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 18 2017, Daily News Digest

funding mix non-bank lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: A comparison of funding & liquidity sources with lender maturity by PeerIQ. China Rapid Finance sets terms for U.S. IPO. China bank lending falls in March. Perfios raise $6.1M in Series A round. Abu Dhabi ranks as top fintech hub for MENA region. Today’s main analysis: Lenders test personalities to determine loan eligibility. Today’s […]

funding mix non-bank lenders

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

  • Blockchain can save banks tens of billions of dollars per year. GP:”There is a lot of speculatio and the technology is not mature enough yet. There are also still unclear business cases. In the US about 40% of professionals in finance are very familiar with blockchain according to latest surveys so it is not a familiarity problem. On the other side regulation is not there yet and is in fact the largest obstacle to blockchain adoption.” AT: “Blockchain is a technology is a lot of underused potential. It could make the banks competitive again, but it would take years to implement on a global scale to the point where it would be useful and effective in making the financial system of the world transparent, trustworthy, and effective. Getting every bank to adopt it would be a massive undertaking. All it’s going to take is one major bank using it and proving how it can improve banking services to include regaining customer trust. If bank services customers get behind it, the banks will have to.”
  • Pariti shows you your debts, offers to save money via P2P lending. AT: “This is a cool, and useful, development.”
  • Ex-Barclays CEO says Uber moments are happening in finance.

International

China

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

A Comparison of Funding & Liquidity Sources (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The US Fed released their quarterly report covering “Quarterly Trends for Consolidated U.S. Banking Organizations”. The report shows that the ROE for the banking sector remains mired in the 7 to 9% range, below pre-crisis levels and the theoretical cost-of-capital for many banks.

Earnings season kicked off last week, with J.P. Morgan leading the trio of banks who released their first quarter earnings. In a positive sign, JPM booked lower loan loss provisions ($1.32 Bn) vs. prior year ($1.82 Bn) for the same quarter. Higher rates improved net interest margin by 11 bps to 2.33%.

Analysis of Funding Mix Across Leading Non-Bank Lenders

Soruce: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ
Although the funding mix might indicate that OneMain does not rely on warehouse finance, quite the opposite is true. OneMain also has eleven revolving conduit facilities with a maximum balance of $4.8 Bn in additional liquidity. The facilities represent a substantial liquidity backstop (from diverse counterparties with staggered maturities) should term ABS markets seize for a prolonged portion of time.
OneMain does not appear to be optimizing for a singular goal such as low-cost funding or maximizing ROE. All together, it appears that OneMain has implemented a financing strategy to deliver an attractive ROE (potentially high-teens or low twenties) while ensuring sufficient liquidity ballast to guard against disruptions in capital markets. For example, OneMain is also funding via $1 Bn of 8.25% senior notes issued in April last year rather than drawing on lower-cost liquidity available via warehouse finance.  OneMain is willing to take on somewhat higher financing costs in exchange for access to diverse and longer-term funding sources.
OnDeck
OnDeck’s financing strategy varies significantly from OneMain. OnDeck is unique in the peer group from their utilization of whole loan marketplace sales. We note that the usage of this liquidity channel continues to decline over time as gains-on-sales from whole loans decrease, and as investors demand more ‘skin-in-the-game.’
OnDeck also utilizes both securitization and credit facilities for their funding. Securitization makes up 24% of their loan funding, while their utilized credit facilities comprise 50% (although ONDK still has $287 MM undrawn).
OnDeck has the highest loan generation per unit of capital in the cohort. OnDeck is funding through the heavy usage of low-cost securitization and warehouse finance channels, and accordingly has the lowest funding cost in the peer group. However, we note OnDeck has more concentrated sources of funding channels that in turn rely on reliable execution and smooth functioning capital markets.
Enova
Enova employs all three debt financing tools—ABS, warehouse finance, and corporate debt—to fund origination. Enova had no facility borrowing amount reported as outstanding at the end of 2016.
Elevate
Elevate, as a young online lender measured by receivable and inception, does not have any securitization programs to date and limited diversity in warehouse finance. Elevate’s primary source of financing consists of credit facilities provided by Victory Park Capital. Of the four platforms, Elevate has the least diversity in funding sources. The peer analysis suggests that diversification into securitization channels could potentially lower cost of funds for Elevate.
Funding Cost by Financing Channel
As observed in Exhibit 3, securitizations can partially replace secured and unsecured debt in the capital structure with more favorable non­recourse funding. The overall funding costs are positively impacted by the increased usage of securitizations and credit facilities, as the deals are executed at interest rates significantly below the coupon associated with the unsecured debt.

Source: PeerIQ

Issuers that that take the long-view and develop a competitive advantage in financing & liquidity stand to slingshot past their competitors when the cycle turns.

P2P Lender China Rapid Finance Sets Terms for US IPO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lender based in Shanghai, China, announced that it has set the terms for its upcoming US IPO. The company plans to raise $105 million through the offering of 10 million shares priced between $9.50 to $11.50 a share. At $10.50 a share, China Rapid Finance would have a fully diluted market value of $586 million.

Founded in 2001, China Rapid Finance is a consumer lending marketplace that aims to serve China’s emerging middle class. Their target demographic are employed and well-educated Chinese individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, who live in urban cities, and who are avid mobile users. This demographic, known as EMMA (Emerging Middle class Mobile Active), is estimated to include over 500 million individuals.

Are you too neurotic? Lenders test personalities to determine loan eligibility (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

When no credit history is available, lenders in emerging markets are increasingly looking to personality tests to fill the gap. Psychometric data, or data acquired through personality tests, is now being used to determine if customers qualify for credit in countries like Turkey, Russia, Mexico and India. Some assessors look at traits like conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. For example, if someone ranks high on conscientiousness, they’re likelier to be better at saving, thus more secure financially.

The method has yet to go mainstream in the U.S. in part due to culture, regulations and the range of data already available to American lenders.

Still, psychometric data offers another option to assess consumers for whom insufficient data is available to generate a credit score. It’s a section of the population that’s gained more attention in the U.S., where over 25 million people are considered unscoreable by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Over 700 characteristics are organized; results are crunched along with repayment data into a number that represents a credit score.

The global unscoreable population is huge, including in India where over 70 percent of the 1.2 billion-strong population fall into this category, McCaffery said.

For the past few months, FICO, working with the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, has been testing psychometric testing in Turkey, Russia and Mexico. While it’s too early to offer definitive assessments, FICO is optimistic about the model’s ability to deliver results.

Before launching psychometric data in the U.S., Taylor-Shoff said lenders would need to ensure compliance with regulations including those on consumer disclosure (e.g. being able to explain to someone why they were denied credit); fair lending (making sure the method doesn’t disadvantage a particular type of customer) and safety and soundness of the data. Operational considerations, including how lenders would use this method alongside traditional methods , would still need to be resolved too.

“U.S. consumers are not going to submit to a psychometric analysis by their lender,” said Zeydoon Munir, founder and CEO of RevolutionCredit, a startup that uses behavioral data garnered from quizzes and games, in addition to traditional data, to determine if customers qualify for certain credit products. “Who would do that?”

Fifth Third Bank Expands Partnership With Accion U.S. Network (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bank announced on Thursday an investment and expanded partnership with nonprofit small business lender network, Accion U.S. Network, to support lending to underserved small businesses in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

This builds upon the bank’s five-year, $30 billion Community Commitment, which includes $10 billion for small business lending, product innovation and enhanced underwriting and fulfillment. Additionally, the Fifth Third Bank’s  commitment includes expanding technical assistance and support for alternative lending channels.

Fintech Report Card: March 2017 (Riskalyze), Rated: A

What happened: eMoney Advisor announced on March 23 the launch of eMoney for Enterprise, a division that will support users in the home offices of banks, large registered investment advisors, broker/dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions.

What happened: The new product is likely to target individuals with less than $1 million to invest, a significantly larger market than Goldman Sachs’ current private wealth management service that caters to clients with at least $50 million. Their acquisition of Honest Dollar and the launch of a loan platform called Marcus suggest that this robo venture is part of a larger diversification strategy.

What happened: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency pressed ahead with its plan to offer a specialty license to fintech firms, a move that would allow the industry to enter the federal banking system. Currently, fintech firms must apply for licenses in each state to do business, which can be a costly process. The new federal banking license would allow for one set of rules nationwide.

Why it matters: Thumbs up for allowing fintech firms to focus on innovation rather than paperwork. Removing the handcuffs of redundant licenses will surface relevant technology even faster, and I think we’ll see advisor confidence in fintech platforms continue to rise.

What happened: Morgan Stanley is continuing its technology surge after hiring Charles Schwab’s Naureen Hassan as Chief Digital Officer and appointing Jim Rosenthal to lead the development of the company’s digital services, which includes tentative plans for a self-directed robo platform.

What happened: Merrill Lynch is introducing new features to its website, such as a dashboard to track investments, real-time maps of the markets and interactive charts.

What happened: MIT and TD Bank hosted their first fintech hackathon, an event challenging 26 student teams to develop a fintech platform in under 36 hours. A team from Cornell University and their product called Switch, which they describe as a micro-loan and insurance broker, took home the $5,000 prize.

US robos move to ‘hybrid’ automated advice models (IFA), Rated: A

Adviser Intelligence founder and chief executive Jacqui Henderson said in a blog that some of the biggest US robo advisers are now adding humans to their advice services.

“Last month, the second largest robo in the US, Schwab, also combined its automated investment management technology with human advisers for its clients with at least $25,000 to invest.

“These moves by the biggest robos in the world are a sure admission that we are a long way off from a fully automated model becoming a reality.”

Oracle Powers DecisivEdge’s Lending/Leasing as a Service Product (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

DecisivEdge, a business consulting and technology services company, launched its lending and leasing as a service (LLaaS) product, powered by Oracle.

LLaaS is a simple, flexible, securely featured and cost-effective way for small and medium sized lenders to the leverage the capabilities of a solution.

Oracle Financial Services Lending and Leasing is at the core of DecisivEdge’s offering. It is hosted in a securely featured cloud and bundled with 24/7 monitoring, support and other value added services.

HEALTHCARE LENDER HCS RECEIVES FUNDS FROM ARES MANAGEMENT (Health Credit Services), Rated: B

Health Credit Services (HCS), a healthcare funding company created to bring quality-of-life care to more individuals, announces a new financing relationship with Ares Management, a leading global alternative asset manager.

The HCS team will leverage the Ares Management-provided financing to increase patient access to quality-of-life medical care nationwide. With loan approvals in seconds, budget-friendly installment loans ranging from 12 to 84 months and simple loan management, HCS solutions make healthcare financing easy and affordable.

Due to rising insurance deductibles and premiums, the typical American spends nearly 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

United Kingdom

Blockchain Can Save Banks Tens of Billions of Dollars a Year (Coin Telegraph), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England (BoE), one of the first central banks to form a research group dedicated to the development of Blockchain technology, still believes the Blockchain has the potential to save banks tens of billions of dollars in operating costs.

Researchers at BoE perceive the Blockchain as an immutable, transparent and secure technology which banks and financial institutions can utilize to handle operations in an autonomous ecosystem.

BoE along with other banks including the Reserve Bank of Australia and Bank of Korea envision a Blockchain-based platform wherein many banks can participate as members of the network and settle transactions and assets in a transparent ecosystem. By relying on a shared ledger, banks can easily eliminate any additional intermediaries that are contracted to process complex settlements.

Apart from collaborative projects, BoE recently showcased a proof of concept Blockchain platform with PwC, with the intent of demonstrating the potential and applicability of Blockchain technology in the finance industry.

Pariti app shows you your debts, offers to save you money via peer-to-peer lending (9to5Mac), Rated: A

Link Pariti to your bank accounts and credit cards, and it will show you the total costs of your debts. If peer-to-peer lending would offer a better deal, it then offers you the option of consolidating everything into a single loan at a lower rate. The company says that while credit cards typically charge interest rates in the 16-25% range, it can get the APR down to single digits.

Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins: We’re ‘beginning to see some Uber moments’ in finance (Business Insider), Rated: A

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins believes the global financial system is beginning to undergo the “Uber moments” he predicted in the sector a year and a half ago.

Jenkins, who was CEO of Barclays from 2012 to 2015, forecast a series of Uber-style disruptions in the banking industry in late 2015. He said that advances in technology could shrink headcount at traditional big banks by as much as 50%, while profitability in some areas could collapse by over 60%.

Since being ousted at Barclays, Jenkins has set up his own fintech business: 10X Future Technologies. The startup has developed a new core banking platform, effectively a new operating system for banking to build products and services on top off. It aims to help banks cope with the “Uber” disruption by giving them a modern canvas to build upon.

International

Over 200 Fintech Startup Finalists to Celebrate Worldwide Fintech Innovation at the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Benzinga, a leading online financial media publication and data provider, announced today the finalists for the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards.

The Benzinga Global Fintech Awards is the largest fintech event focusing on the capital markets. In its third year, Benzinga has expanded the event’s purview to the global stage, bringing over 200 companies to New York City from countries including India, Israel, Poland, and Singapore.

The Benzinga Global Fintech Awards finalists, by category:

Best Use of Alternative Investments Platform, Tool, or App

  • BankerBay
  • CFX Markets
  • ClearVest Advisers, LLC
  • CoolMellon
  • Entrex
  • Equitise
  • Frictionless Healthcare Finance
  • Income&
  • Kettera Strategies
  • Mercury Capital Advisors
  • SAF Platform
  • Seedrs
  • Swaper
  • YieldStreet

Best Analysis Platform, Tool, or App

  • Alpha Hat
  • Artivest
  • BondCliQ
  • ChartYourTrade
  • F.A.S.T. Graphs
  • NewsHedge
  • Novus
  • Orchard Platform
  • Polly Portfolio
  • TradingView
  • Web Financial Group
  • Ycharts

Best Digital Mortgage or Real Estate Platform, Tool, or App

  • Brickvest
  • BRICKX
  • BuildFax
  • Cadre
  • Morty
  • Neat Capital
  • Neighborhood Pay Services
  • PeerStreet
  • Quicken Loans / Rocket Mortgage
  • RealtyMogul
  • RealtyShares
  • Unison Home Ownership Investors

Best Education & Personal Finance Platform, Tool, or App

  • BillGO
  • Clarity Money
  • Copper Street
  • Dream Forward 401(k)
  • FinTech Business School
  • MoneyLion
  • Shift
  • SmartAsset
  • TradeBench

Best Financial Advisor or Wealth Management Platform, Tool, or App

  • Advisor Engine
  • ALBRIDGE
  • Backstop Solutions Group
  • BaseVenture
  • CBOE Vest
  • FUNDBASE
  • LendingCalc
  • Mil Advisor
  • MyVest
  • ORION
  • RobustWealth
  • STRATIFI
  • Truelytics

Best Forex Platform, Tool, or App

  • Fortex
  • FXPRIMUS
  • FXStreet
  • Markets.com
  • MarketsFactory.com
  • MobyTrader
  • Remitly
  • TF Global Markets
  • uChange

Best InsurTech Platform, Tool, or App

  • Aclaimant
  • Bought By Many
  • Coverfy
  • CoverWallet
  • Embroker
  • FitSense
  • Insureon
  • League
  • Life.io
  • Neuroprofiler
  • Senteri
  • UnBrokerage
  • WeSavvy

Best Lending Platform, Tool, or App

  • Bizfi
  • Datanomers
  • Global Debt Registry
  • IdFinance
  • InterNex Capital
  • MYJAR
  • P2Binvestor
  • PayMe
  • Rubique
  • Stilt
  • Suretly
  • Think Money
  • TWINO

Best Proprietary Technology or APIs

  • Alpha Exchange
  • Connamara Systems
  • Dataminr
  • Finicity
  • Nomad COnnection
  • OpenFin
  • OptionsCity
  • Overbond
  • Push Payments
  • Quovo
  • Redtail Technology
  • Tradier
  • Xignite

Best RegTech Platform, Tool, or App

  • AQMetrics
  • AU10TIX
  • ComplyAdvantage
  • ComplySci
  • Neurensic
  • Qumram
  • Rippleshot
  • ThetaRay
  • Trulioo
  • Trunomi
  • Uniken

Best Research Platform, Tool, or App

  • AlphaSense
  • FinanceBoards
  • MackeyRMS
  • OptionMetrics
  • PitchBook
  • Slingshot Insights
  • Sqoop
  • Street Diligence
  • Virtual Cove

Best Robo Advisor

  • Betterment
  • Clinc
  • Exeria
  • Gravity Investments
  • Polaris Portfolios
  • Scalable Capital
  • Unicorn Bay
  • Vestwell
  • Ways2Wealth
  • Wealthfront
  • Wealthsimple
  • WiseBanyan

Best Trading Execution or Brokerage Platform

  • DriveWealth
  • Fidelity
  • FINVASIA
  • Lime Brokerage (Wedbush)
  • m1 Finance
  • OptionsHouse
  • SelfWealth
  • Sterling Trading Tech
  • StocksToTrade
  • T3 Live
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD)

Best Trading Idea Platform, Tool, or App

  • ADVFN
  • Alpaca
  • BullBoard
  • Chaikin Analytics
  • Equities.com
  • iStockPicker
  • SharingAlpha
  • Stocks For The Week
  • TalkMarkets
  • Ticker.tv
  • TickerTags
  • Trade Ideas
  • Tradespoon
  • Trumid Financial
  • Vest Cycle
  • Vetr

Best Under-banked or Emerging Market Solution

  • Amplify
  • Billmo, LLC
  • Eastpesa Limited
  • Elevate
  • FarmDrive
  • Ovamba
  • PayActiv
  • Ping Express
  • WorldRemit

Best Use of Blockchain or Bitcoins

  • AlphaPoint
  • Blockchain
  • Brave New Coin
  • I/O Digital
  • Melonport
  • Netcoins
  • Paxos
  • Purse
  • Remitt
  • SecureKey Technologies

Finding Alpha

  • AlphaStreet
  • Cindicator
  • Croudify
  • DarcMatter
  • ExtractAlpha
  • Kavout
  • PortfolioEffect
  • Prattle
  • PureFunds
  • RelateTheNews
  • SavaNet
  • Tradagon
  • Visible Alpha

Institutional Innovators

  • Bond Price Validation
  • Bridge Financial Technology
  • ChartIQ
  • Cloud9 Technologies
  • Intro-act
  • Marstone, Inc.
  • Opportunity Network
  • Veriday

Investing In Millennials

  • Aspiration
  • EZMCOM Inc
  • GRAIN
  • Lean Financial
  • MATADOR
  • Payscape
  • SprinkleBit
  • STASH

Leveling the Playing Field

  • CALL LEVELS
  • Capitali.se
  • Click IPO Securities
  • DIY.Fund
  • EnergyFunders
  • finbox.io
  • IEX
  • OptaCredit Fintech Private Limited
  • trigger

Solving Problems Through Payments

  • Alipay
  • CHeckbook.io
  • disburze
  • PayKey
  • Payment Rails
  • RenovITe Technologies Inc
  • Sharepay
  • Soundpays
  • Spendesk
  • SWITCH Inc
  • Zebit
  • ZOOZ
China

China bank lending falls in March; other credit up (Marketwatch), Rated: AAA

Chinese banks scaled bank lending last month, though other forms of credit outside the traditional banking system rose sharply, official data showed.

Chinese financial institutions issued 1.02 trillion yuan ($148 billion) of new yuan loans in March, down from CNY1.17 trillion yuan in February, the People’s Bank of China said Friday.

Total social financing, a measure that includes nonbank credit such as trust products, stood at CNY2.12 trillion in March, up sharply from CNY1.15 trillion in February

Hong Kong’s Central Bank is Trialing a Digital Currency (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Hong Kong’s de facto central bank is developing a prototype digital currency.

The disclosure came in a Hong Kong legislative document published by the Legislative Council Panel on Financial Affair this week and dated 18th April.

India

Indian Fintech Startup Perfios Raises $ 6.1M in Series A (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, Perfios, a fintech startup based in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India, announced it had raised approximately US $6.2 Million (400 Million INR) in its Series A round of funding. The funding is a sign of how much the fintech market has been steadily growing in India the last few years.

The report estimates that the fintech market in India will rise to over USD 2.4 billion by 2020.

The Series A was funded by Bessemer Venture Partners, a venture capital firmed based in New York.

Asia

P2P financing kicks off in Malaysia (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry is off to an encouraging start. Funding Societies Malaysia, the first platform to launch, successfully raised RM320,000 for two term loan financing programmes within three weeks in March.

The loans will be used to fund the working capital of two companies – an electronics business and an automobile parts distribution business. Meanwhile, the platform aims to provide investors with an effective return of 22% and 24.91% respectively over a year.

Wong says the platform aims to seal another 80 to 100 deals in the next 12 months and raise RM10 million to RM20 million. This means investors can expect more deal flows, which will allow them to invest in a variety of companies.

Small countries like Singapore, Switzerland must cooperate in fintech: Swiss Finance Minister (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Singapore and Switzerland are not competitors when it comes to the development of financial technology (fintech) and with both countries being small financial hubs, it is important to cooperate, said Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer.

The minister also noted that Singapore’s fintech sector benefits from its close proximity to a big Asian market, and can act as a stepping stone into Asia for Swiss fintech start-ups. For Singapore firms looking to expand into Europe, Switzerland can similarly do the same.

Lattice80 is one of the organisations that the Swiss delegation is visiting during their time in Singapore. Launched in November 2016, more than 80 foreign and local fintech firms have taken up spaces at Lattice80, which is dubbed the world’s largest fintech hub by Singapore-based private investment group Marvelstone.

Bank Negara Malaysia’s FTEG calls participants for ‘Fintech Hacks’ initiative (EconoTimes), Rated: A

The Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) that was established by Bank Negara Malaysia in June 2016, has launched an initiative ‘Fintech Hacks’ that identifies pain points in the delivery as well as consumption of financial services.

The Malaysian central bank has sought ideas from the public regarding the improvements to financial services sector by adopting innovation and technology.

MENA

Abu Dhabi ranks as the Top FinTech Hub for MENA Region (Emirates 24/7), Rated: AAA

Abu Dhabi with the Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, has been ranked as the top FinTech Hub for the MENA region in the latest Global FinTech Hubs Review, “A Tale of 44 Cities”, by Deloitte in partnership with the Global FinTech Hubs Federation.

From the 44 cities, Abu Dhabi is ranked top FinTech hub in the MENA region. The Deloitte report reiterated that the launch of ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory, RegLab, for FinTech startups, the only “live” Fintech regulatory regime in the MENA region with 11 Fintech players in its first batch of applications, as a “milestone success for Abu Dhabi and marked the openness and support by regulators and government towards innovation.”

Africa

Boost for crowdfunded businesses in South Africa (Times Live), Rated: AAA

In an alternative funding benchmarking report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance‚ published last month‚ South Africa was identified as the potential leader in the growth of online and peer-to-peer lending models in Africa.

In 2015 South Africa represented 18% of the total African online alternative finance market‚ raising over $15-million. Kenya was the only African country ahead of it with $16.7-million raised.

The report also found that in Africa 90% of online alternative finance was originated from platforms headquartered outside of the continent.

Authors:
George Popescu
Allen Taylor