Monday February 5 2018, Daily News Digest

Nav financing

News Comments Today’s main news: Banco BNI starts lending through Fellow Finance. eBay drops PayPal for Adyen. Aviva exec backs robos. OneConnect secures $650M funding. Stripe sets up engineering hub in Dublin. EBANX gets $30M in funding from FTV Capital. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ Alternative Lending Market Analysis for January, and an interview with Nav CEO. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Nav financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

MENA

Latin America

News Summary

United States

eBay ditches PayPal for Adyen (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

What the good fintech can giveth, it can taketh away. eBay has given PayPal the boot and turned to Dutch firm Adyen as its primary processing partner.

Looking to sweeten this bitter pill, eBay says PayPal, a “long-time” partner, will be an option at the checkout for its buyers.

PayPal powers BofA Merrill digital payments (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BofA Merrill) US-based commercial clients can now make payments in local currencies to payees who hold PayPal accounts.

Strong Job Gains, Marcus Acquihires, MLA Testimony (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Janet Yellen chaired her last Fed meeting as the committee kept interest rates on hold in January. Futures are pricing in a 93% probability of a rate hike in March and 3 rate hikes for 2018. The recent sell off on the long end of the curve has seen 10-year treasury yields edge past 2.85%, providing respite to banks who were seeing their loan margins compress as the curve flattened.

In securitization news, Marlette completed its largest securitization to date, with MFT 2018-1 coming in at $464 Mn. The deal was significantly over subscribed and eventually upsized continuing the trend of larger deal size that we pointed out in ourQ4 securitization trackerThe senior tranches were rated AA by Kroll. The collateral pool has 40,303 loans with an average loan balance of $12k, weighted average coupon of 14.3% and a FICO score of 703. All the loans were originated by Cross River Bank.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Levi King, Co-founder and CEO of Nav, which is a data aggregation platform and marketplace that bridges the gap between small businesses and financial institutions. In the interview, Levi discusses the motivation behind founding Nav and how the company solves the challenges small businesses face managing their credit and securing financing solutions, among other topics.

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

Open banking’s early adopters bet on ‘tremendous gains in value’ (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Only a few banks have embraced open banking and offer APIs to almost anyone. But they are betting on having a head start on competitors, as trends in the industry, such as increased bank-fintech partnership and evolving regulation, will push the banking-as-a-platform movement toward reality.

Operating as BBVA Compass in the U.S. in Birmingham, Ala., in 2016 it named a head of open APIs, and has engaged in several data-sharing agreements with fintechs. It is one of a handful of U.S. banks engaged in open banking — Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Citi and CBW Bank in Weir, Kan., also have such programs.

Last May, BBVA opened up its API Marketplace and made commercially available eight APIs so companies, startups and developers would be able to build new products and services by accessing and integrating customer’s banking data — with their permission — into their applications.

Source: American Banker

Fiserv Has Largest U.S. Marketshare of Top Bank Core Processors (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

According to data gathered by FedFis.com, the top processor is Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv. With more than 37% of the market share, Fiserv is well ahead of its competitors. The second, Monett, Mo.-based Jack Henry & Associates, has just half Fiserv’s market share with 17.6%. Close behind JHA is Fidelity National Information Services Inc., better known as FIS.

Enova Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Enova International (NYSE: ENVA), a financial technology company offering consumer and small business loans and financing, today announced financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Summary

  • Total revenue of $243.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 20.4% from $202.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Gross profit margin was 47.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to 51.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016, driven by growth in the installment loan and receivables purchase agreement segment as well as a higher mix of new customers, which requires higher loan loss provisions.
  • Net income was $6.9 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to net income of $8.7 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Fourth quarter 2017 adjusted EBITDA of $38.1 million, a non-GAAP measure, increased from $35.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Adjusted net income of $8.9 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, a non-GAAP measure, in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased from adjusted net income of $8.5 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Full Year 2017 Summary

  • Total revenue of $843.7 million in 2017 increased 13.2% from $745.6 million in 2016.
  • Gross profit margin was 53.0% in 2017 compared to 56.0% in 2016.
  • Net income was $29.2 million, or $0.86 per diluted share, in 2017 compared to net income of $34.6 million, or $1.03per diluted share, in 2016.
  • Full year 2017 adjusted EBITDA of $157.8 million, a non-GAAP measure, increased from $142.3 million in 2016.
  • Adjusted net income of $46.9 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, a non-GAAP measure, in 2017 increased from adjusted net income of $37.5 million, or $1.12 per diluted share in 2016.

No Credit? No Problem! Microlender for Women Uses Novel Approach (WSJ), Rated: A

Daniela Morales’s lender is demanding. Every Friday morning, at 9:45 sharp, she has to visit a small apartment in Woodside, Queens, to make her weekly payment—currently $293 plus $17 interest on a $6,900 balance.

Ms. Morales’s lender is Grameen America, a nonprofit microlender for women entrepreneurs. To get a Grameen loan, you don’t need any collateral or credit history, just the support of a small group of Grameen loan recipients who can vouch for you. It is, essentially, a reputation-based loan.

There are other nonprofit microlenders operating in the city, including Accion and BOC Capital Corp. But Grameen America, modeled on a Bangladeshi microlender, is unique in its peer support and loan-approval model.

The loans, which start at $500 and command an interest rate of 18% on a declining balance, must be repaid in six months. The interest rate falls as the loan is repaid. Members who establish a good track record qualify for larger sums.

How This Founder Is Using Fintech To Give Women More Financial Control (Benzinga), Rated: A

Morty is an online mortgage broker. Our mission is to empower homebuyers to make smarter home financing decisions. With a modern tech stack and a marketplace of lenders, we offer customers the most options, great rates, and a transparent process.

What surprised you the most in the fintech industry in 2017?

That there wasn’t more innovation in the mortgage space. It’s the only lending vertical that hasn’t moved online- credit cards, student loans, small business loans, personal loans- all have a big online presence. There is still so much to be done in mortgage, it’s exciting.

Hackers Targeting Payroll Direct Deposit (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In an article penned for JD Supra by law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., experts warned of a type of payroll scam that sees fraudsters diverting direct deposits from employee accounts to criminal accounts.

According to the firm, fraudsters use a phishing scam by sending an email from an address similar to a legitimate company account.

Ogletree Deakins warned that not only does this scam result in lost funds, but it is ultimately a data breach, with scammers gaining access to corporate systems and data. The report also noted that scammers are targeting all types of businesses using all types of payroll providers.

Will Markets Ever Live Up to Our Expectations (Guru Focus), Rated: A

The fintech industry is the powerhouse behind the meteoric rise of the peer-to-peer lending market. After several platforms launched online payments, it was only a matter of time before new ones emerged offering lending services that are offered by and to registered members.

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) has been one of the most notable players in this space and its popularity pushed it public in 2014. However, since then, the company has struggled to live up to expectations, reflecting the actual picture of the status of the peer-to-peer lending.

According to critics, while peer-to-peer lending is an attractive option for borrowers looking for alternative financing solutions, it appears to have growth limitations due to lack of funding for new products. Peer-to-peer lending platforms do not take deposits and this is a limiting factor, but analysts suggest that if they are to grow to the point of rivaling the mainstream lending market, then they may have to start taking customer deposits.

How to Win Man vs. Machine Advice Game (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: A

TD Ameritrade put the competitive pressures tied to robo-advisors and other technology left, right and center at its LINC 2018 RIA conference this week in Orlando. Industry leaders highlighted the power and threat of technology and how to address these trends in the advice business.

The dealmakers financing top adviser technology (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

It’s impossible to look at the landscape of modern adviser technology without seeing Steve Lockshin’s footprints.

As an early investor in Betterment, Mr. Lockshin, 41, was instrumental in encouraging the robo-adviser to pivot from competing against advisers to partnering with them.

Brad Bernstein could see the role of advisers was changing.

What was once an industry of investment managers and salespeople was shifting to financial planning. Driving the change was technology — automating and commoditizing many of the ways advisers traditionally added value for clients. Mr. Bernstein, 51, managing partner at growth equity firm FTV Capital, believed there was a demand for products that helped advisers better articulate their value to clients.

That’s what attracted Brooks Gibbins, 45, to the industry when he founded FinTech Collective with his partner, Gareth Jones, in 2012. The venture capital firm has been one of the most active early-stage fintech investors over the past five years, seeding some of the biggest names on the adviser fintech scene.

Seeing the opportunity for adviser fintech startups to get acquired by, or partner with, financial institutions, Ian Sheridan decided to draw on his more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry — working in wealth, retirement and investing in startups — to identify which technology would be part of the next wave of innovation.

Fidelity rocked the adviser fintech world in 2015 when it acquired eMoney, one of the most popular financial planning and client portal tools among independent advisers. The reported $250 million price tag proved there was money to be made in adviser fintech.

“Prior to that, there was good technology out there, but there wasn’t this stream of new business models, this new equity flowing in,” said Mike Durbin, 50, the president of Fidelity Institutional who spearheaded the deal. “The pace has clearly quickened.”

After a career that took him from E.F. Hutton to founding the Lockwood family of companies, Len Reinhart turned toward private investing in retirement.

American Association of Private Lenders Opposes Florida Mortgage Licensing Bills (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Florida legislature kicked off its legislative session by introducing Florida Senate Bill 894 and House Bill 935, legislation that could cover private mortgage lenders. The bills, introduced by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Miami) and Rep. Jeanette Nunes (R-Miami), would eliminate a longstanding business purpose exemption for loans secured by a Dwelling.

On January 18, the bill passed the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee with a 13-1 vote. On January 24, the House Commerce Committee passed the bill on a unanimous vote. The Senate similarly passed the bill on a unanimous vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee on January 23.

American Association of Private Lenders’ (AAPL) position is that the proposed regulation would harm Florida residents, business and the state’s economic growth by consolidating power to a few licensed parties. Private lenders provide much needed capital to a marketplace which is underserved by large financial institutions. Professional business parties need to be able to work with each other without significant regulatory intervention. The proposed regulation would result in less market competition, translating to higher interest rates, a higher cost of credit and would force business out of Florida and into neighboring states including Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, all of which exempt business purpose loans from licensing requirements.

Amy Johnson Named as Chief Operating Officer at dv01 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that provides institutional investors insight into lending markets, today announced the appointment of Amy Johnson as Chief Operating Officer. Johnson will report to dv01 founder and CEO, Perry Rahbar.

As COO, Johnson will be responsible for dv01’s finance, legal, and sales efforts, including helping execute the company’s vision and scale its operations.

The 10 D.C. Area Startups That Raised Capital in January (DC Inno), Rated: B

Reston, Va.-based online lender StreetShares closed $23 million in equity funding on Jan. 24. The lender focuses on veteran-owned small businesses and relies on a peer-to-peer lending model. About $20 million of the new round is from Bethesda, Md.-based firm Rotunda Capital Partners. Previously, StreetShares had raised $8.3 million between three rounds.

United Kingdom

Aviva executive backs robo-advisers in call for financial advice shake-up (New World News), Rated: AAA

An Aviva executive has backed the rise of robo-advisers and called for a shake-up of financial advice to help open up the industry to the mass market.

Andy Briggs, chief executive of Aviva UK Insurance, said the current regime is freezing out large swathes of the population because only the upper echelons can afford the hefty fees.

Mr Briggs said robo-advisers could also be more powerful and beneficial to customers if the artificial intelligence did not have to carry out full financial assessments.

Treasury begins SME finance inquiry (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The Treasury committee has launched an inquiry into SME finance to look at the state of the market and the lessons to be learned from RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).
The Treasury’s inquiry will look at the extent of competition in the market, the various sources of funding available to SMEs – including P2P lending and crowdfunding – and whether the current regulatory framework provides enough protection to SMEs when they borrow money.

The committee will also consider the regulation of SME lending and whether banks should be bound by a broader set of duties when dealing with SMEs.

The pros and cons of each of the six types of ISA on the market (Your Money), Rated: A

6) Innovative Finance ISA

An Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) is a peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding product. In some instances, you can generate returns of around 8 – 9% by lending to private borrowers or by taking stakes in ‘crowdfunded’ investments. The IFISA is also subject to the same £20,000 annual ISA allowance so you can split your money between this ISA, as well as cash and stocks and shares.

While this is regulated by the FCA, peer-to-peer lending is not covered by the FSCS meaning your capital is at risk.

Things can only get better, says Christie & Co (The Caterer), Rated: B

Easily available debt from banks, financial institutions, peer-to-peer lending and even crowdfunding, together with forecasts of revpar growth of 2.4% in London and 2.3% in the regions, will help drive investments. Strong leisure business enjoyed by hotels last year – up 20% – is expected to continue to grow, depending on a continued weak pound.

Sainsbury’s and British Land chairmen join late payments start-up (Financial Times), Rated: B

A UK start-up that is aiming to end the culture of late payment that plagues British business has recruited two FTSE 100 chairmen as investors and advisers.

David Tyler, chairman of supermarket chain J Sainsbury, and John Gildersleeve, chairman of property group British Land, have joined the advisory board of Previse.

The London-based business pays supplier invoices instantly and collects the money from customers later. By analysing years of payment data it uses artificial intelligence to calculate the likelihood it can collect from the big customer. It has pilots running with two large corporations and is in talks with dozens more, Mr Gildersleeve told the Financial Times.

China

Ping An OneConnect fintech subsidiary raises $ 650 million in financing (Finextra), Rated: A

OneConnect is the only one-stop FinTech-empowered solutions provider in China. Financing of the three subsidiaries received positive responses, particularly from international institutional investors, including the SoftBank Vision Fund (which invested in Ping An Good Doctor and Ping An Healthcare Technology), International Digital Group (IDG) and SBI Group etc., proving that the capital market fully recognizes Ping An’s technological innovation, the business model for its technology as well as the growth potential and business value of the Group.

European Union

Banco BNI Europe Starts to Lend on Multiple P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today Banco BNI Europe announced it will start lending on Fellow Finance.

‘Investing via Fellow Finance in consumer and SME loans offers us a great opportunity to easily expand our operations and we are very satisfied with the analytical and professional approach of Fellow Finance in credit intermediation’ echoes Pedro Pinto Coelho, Executive Chairman of Banco BNI Europa.

U.S. Fintech Stripe Picks Dublin for New Engineering Hub (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

U.S. payments firm Stripe said on Monday it would place its first engineering center outside its home market in the Irish capital Dublin, attracted by the city’s growing technology workforce and global outlook.

Robo Advisers Start to Take Hold in Europe (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Estimates differ, but according to TechFluence, a technology research firm with offices in Frankfurt and London, the European market had assets under management of about $3.5 billion at the end of 2017. That compares with an estimated $200 billion to $250 billion in the U.S., according to Burnmark, a fintech research firm. Estimates of the number of services range from 98 to 126 in Europe, compared with about 200 in the U.S.

The cost of entry is also much lower: generally €5,000 to €10,000 (about $6,200 to $12,400), versus hundreds of thousands at least for a discretionary service through a bank, says Timo Pfeiffer, head of research and business development at Solactive AG, an index provider that has researched the growth of robo advisers in Europe.

Popular with banks

This has led to a number of banking groups preparing robo-adviser offerings, Mr. Mellinghoff says. One example is Comdirect, a subsidiary of Commerzbank , CRZBY -3.17% which launched a robo-advisory platform in May. This service, called Cominvest, had gained assets of more than €200 million as of end of December and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, says Sabine Schoon, head of corporate strategy and consulting at Comdirect.

The European market has also attracted interest from major U.S. providers; BlackRock Inc. BLK -2.98% announced in June 2017 that it was taking a minority stake in Scalable Capital, a robo-adviser specialist that operates mainly in the German and British markets.

BBVA’s digital push helps drive 20% profit rise (Financial Times), Rated: A

Spanish bank BBVA’s dash to get customers to buy products digitally rather than in branches helped it report a 20 per cent rise in underlying full-year profits, with results boosted by lower costs as well as higher revenues.

Top P2P Cryptocurrency Token Etherecash Gets Listed on QRYPTOS, Following Successful Crowdsale (The Daily Telescope), Rated: A

Top P2P cryptocurrency startup Etherecash has announced that its ECH token will be listed on popular cryptocurrency exchange QRYPTOS on 6th of February 2018, following a successful crowdsale in which the company raised over 40 million USD. This news comes as The Estonian-based lending startup saw a very successful Q4 to 2017 as it gears up for its token distribution in early 2018.

Crypto-lending ICO Etherecash recorded contributions of over 40 million USD and over 46000 new registrations.

GN Compass Creating More Liquidity for its Token, GNCT (PR Web), Rated: B

GN Compass is the first peer-to- peer lending platform for Cryptocurrency-Backed Loans.

All transactions are verified and distributed on the Ethereum Blockchain. GN Compass is joining an expanding group of pioneering projects integrating the Bancor Protocol to maximize the trading liquidity of GN Compass tokens.

Mifid tips balance against active funds in favour of ETFs (Financial Times), Rated: B

New business inflows almost doubled for Europe’s exchange traded fund industry in 2017, in the run-up to the EU’s introduction of rules designed to improve market transparency and strengthen investor protection.

Net inflows into European-listed ETFs reached a record $108bn last year, up from $55.7bn in 2016, according to ETFGI, a London-based consultancy.

International

Disruptive innovation in equity crowdfunding (Deloitte), Rated: AAA

A 2017 report from Deloitte and the World Economic Forum, “Beyond Fintech: A pragmatic assessment of disruptive potential in financial services,” studies the disruptive forces shaping the future of equity crowdfunding.

View the infographic here.

Disruptive innovation in digital banking (Deloitte), Rated: AAA

A 2017 report from Deloitte and the World Economic Forum, “Beyond Fintech: A pragmatic assessment of disruptive potential in financial services,” examines disruptive innovation in digital banking.

View the infographic here.

IdentityMind Global Introduces KYC and Anti-Money Laundering Plug-in for ICOs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

IdentityMind Global, Digital Identities You Can Trust, an SaaS platform that builds, maintains and analyzes digital identities worldwide, allowing companies to perform identity proofing, risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and to detect and prevent identity fraud, announced the immediate availability of its KYC Plug-in for ICOs which provides a turnkey solution for customer onboarding functionality and user experience to walk ICO participants through the know your customer (KYC) process to meet regulations worldwide.

BFB partners with US real estate fintech start-up (Trade Arabia), Rate: A

Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) and the Fintech Consortium (FTC) have announced a strategic partnership with OffrBox, a New York City-based Fintech start-up that has developed an end-to-end real estate transaction platform on which one can buy and sell residential properties online.

India

How early-stage startups raise money (Times of India), Rated: A

The first ’round of funding’ Abhishek Latthe got when he was setting up his wearable device startup SenseGiz in 2013 was from his family and friends. The next year, he set up a crowdfunding page on Kickstarter and raised $47,000. Late in 2014, he took out a bank loan. It was only two years later in 2015, that he could convince Karnataka Semiconductor Venture Capital Fund to back him with Rs 3 crore.

Banks do not back companies without collateral and since the business model is unproven, other investors too hesitate. So, funding options include getting help from friends and family, crowdfunding, or dipping into one’s savings, but how do founders decide on the path to take?

Gadkari says peer-to-peer lending and bridge funding, which fulfil a company’s short-term working capital needs, have also become popular. Choosing the best funding option depends on the company’s need. The next step for an entrepreneur is to negotiate the company’s valuation.

FinTech will revolutionise lending in India, says Faircent CEO (money control), Rated: A

Lending is one of the oldest professions in the world and is one of the pivotal reasons for the banking system to take shape.

There is evidence of lending activities dating back to 2,000 BC between merchants, farmers and traders.

However, up till now, lending as an activity has been largely limited to financial institutes such as banks and Non-banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).

For instance, lenders on Faircent.com usually avail average gross returns of 18% to 26% per annum. This makes online P2P loans a lucrative alternative investment avenue for them.

What makes online P2P lending even more lucrative as an asset class for potential investors is the fact that it offers lenders the opportunity to diversify their investments across multiple risk buckets and loan requirements.

Source: money control

Everything you need to know as pressure mounts on cryptocurrencies (GK Men), Rated: B

Sapan Gupta a Practice-Head at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas said, “capitalising on the blockchain technology could open new ways of securing peer-to-peer lending transactions, boosting trade finance, fintech and information repository sectors”.

APAC

After a Successful Crowdsale Campaign, Karma (KRM) Begins Trading With Blockchain (Coin Idol), Rated: AAA

Decentralized p2p lending platform Karma has just announced trading as well as access to its platform and blockchain solutions. The project has now been backed by Danish fintech startup OpenLedger. Karma’s p2p lending platform can be used on the OpenLedger DEX platform and the Korean exchange CoinLink.

Why Blockchain’s Growing Pains Could Benefit Underbanked SMBs (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to a report released earlier this month by EY, 21 percent of people in the world — about 1.6 billion people — are underbanked. More than 200 million micro and SMBs fall into the underbanked category, too, with access to finance the largest hurdle for many of these firms.

EY pinpointed the APAC region as a particularly wide opportunity for financial services players to address this gap: Bank revenue in this market, researchers said, could reach $88 billion by 2020. If traditional banks don’t step in, alternative financial services firms will.

“A lot of smaller, private small businesses are under-funded,” Tran noted. “It’s not like here [in the U.S.], where we have an established financial and banking system. If you implement something like a decentralized blockchain, a P2P lending system, that would enable [SMBs] to get funded a lot easier than going through the normal banking system. With blockchain technology, you can put a platform together that is smart contract-based, allowing individual investors to participate in a growing economy. On the other hand, you allow [SMBs] to get funded very quickly.”

MENA

Top 20 Fintech Startups In The Middle East (Forbes), Rated: AAA

1 PayTabs
Online payment processing solutions

2 Souqalmal.com
Financial products comparison site

4 Beehive
SME focused peer2peer lending platform

5 Yallacompare
Financial products comparison site

8 liwwa
Peer-to-peer lending platform

StartAD launches on February 18 for fintech startups (Arabian Business), Rated: A

Innovation platform startAD will host a ten-day entrepreneurship programme, Venture Launchpad, at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), from February 18-27.

It will see ten fintech startups pitch their business ideas to investors. UAE-based early-stage startups are encouraged to apply by February 12, 2018, the application deadline.

The programme will equip them with the tools and knowledge to develop a scalable and capital efficient scheme. These include insights into crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, blockchain, algorithmic trading, credit scoring, cryptocurrency, payments, insurance tech and money transferrals.

Latin America

Brazilian Fintech EBANX Secures $ 30 Million Investment From FTV Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech EBANX announced on Wednesday it has secured a $30 million investment from FTV Capital.

EBANX also processes payments for major merchants from 50 different countries, including the U.S. and China. The company reported that just last year it processed $1.2 billion in cross-border transactions and achieved the milestone of helping more than 30 million users from the region gain full access to major international e-commerce merchants.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 24 2018, Daily News Digest

InsurTech

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi hires Noto to be CEO. StreetShares secures $23M in equity to reach military, veteran market. Zopa fills positions for bank launch. Dianrong raises $70M. Yirendai signs onto Internet Finance Industry Credit Information Sharing Platform. Tera Funding sets Korean fundraising record. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners publishes 2017 InsurTech Almanac (a must-read). Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

InsurTech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Lending Times News

News Summary

United States

SoFi Names Anthony Noto Chief Executive Officer (SoFi), Rated: AAA

SoFi today announced that its Board of Directors has named Anthony Noto as chief executive officer and a director, effective March 1.

Twittter executive leaves to run SoFi (SF Gate), Rated: A

In Noto, SoFi has chosen a fast-rising executive in the tech industry. Noto, 49, was one of the most respected bankers at Goldman Sachs before becoming the chief financial officer of the National Football League and then Twitter.

Twitter dips after a key executive leaves for online lending startup SoFi (Business Insider), Rated: A

  • Shares of Twitter slid on Tuesday morning after the online lending startup SoFi announced that Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief operating officer, will be joining the company as its new CEO, effective March 1. 
  • Twitter has suffered from several departures of key executives in the past two years as the company struggles to bring value to shareholders.
Source: Business Insider

SoFi’s Incoming CEO Brings IPO Experience to a Troubled FinTech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Noto, who worked on technology, media and telecom deals at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. before joining Twitter in 2014, brings to the job a background in tech and finance. Beyond Twitter’s nascent revival, his turnaround abilities are largely untested. But given his history of taking companies public — including Twitter — a SoFi IPO is very much a possibility, according to people familiar with the situation. Furthermore, they say, it’ll be nice to have an adult in the room after all the recent turmoil.

SoFi Wealth, launched last year and harbored ambitions to quickly manage $100 million in assets, Bloomberg News reported in October. It grew slowly until last quarter, when it tripled its assets from September to $42.3 million as of Jan. 18, spokesman Jim Prosser said. The average account holds about $4,300. Other digital wealth startups have north of $10 billion under management.

FT Partners Research Publishes 2017 InsurTech Almanac (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Highlights of the 2017 Almanac:

  • 2017 was a very active year for the InsurTech sector globally, with the most financings ever (over 200) and more than $2 billion in financing volume
  • While the total announced financing dollar volume for 2017 was lower than in the prior two years, when excluding rounds over $50 million, the volume reached a record high of approximately $1.3 billion
  • Of the four largest financings this year, two were in the Online Health Insurance space (Bright Health and Clover Health), one was in the Telematics space (Nauto) and one was in Online P&C Insurance (Lemonade)
  • 2017 also featured another wave of mid-range to larger financing rounds for InsurTech companies founded in the last several years, including Next Insurance’s $35 mm Series A, The Zebra’s $40 mm Series B, Health IQ’s $35 mm Series C, PolicyGenius’ $30 mm Series C and Trov’s $45 mm Series D
  • Europe had significant increases in financing activity, the largest out of any region this year — financing volume and deal count both grew by more than 2x; the region also recorded its largest InsurTech financing ever: BIMA’s $107 million raise led by Allianz X, which was the fifth largest financing globally in 2017
  • Among the cohort of InsurTech companies founded since 2010, this year marked two milestones:
    • First IPO: China-based ZhongAn (SEHK:6060) raised approximately $1.5 billion
    • Largest acquisition: Guidewire acquired Cyence for $275 million
Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

California Insurtech Hippo Secures $ 25 Million Through Series B Financing Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hippo, the California-based insurtech company that is transforming home insurance for savvy homeowners, announced on Monday it secured $25 million in Series B funding round, which was led by Comcast Ventures and Fifth Wall. The investment comes less than two weeks after Hippo announced it formed a strategic partnership with Spinnaker Insurance Company.

OnDeck Announces Date of Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Earnings Conference Call (OnDeck), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK), the leader in online lending for small business, will report its fourth quarter and full year 2017 financial results on Tuesday, February 13, at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST. The company will host a conference call to discuss the results at 8:00 a.m. EST that same day.

The conference call will be webcast live on the company’s Investor Relations website or listeners can access the call toll free by dialing (833) 227-5836 for calls within the U.S., or by dialing (647) 689-4063 for international calls. The Conference ID passcode is 5468078.

StreetShares Secures $ 23 Million Equity Funding to Scale for the Military and Veteran Market (StreetShares Email), Rated: AAA

StreetShares, Inc., the leading small business funding and government contract financing company serving the military and veteran market, announced today it has completed its Series B funding round, raising $23 million in fresh equity capital. The Series B round was led by a $20 million investment from Rotunda Capital Partners, LLC, and included an additional $3 million from existing investors, including veteran-focused venture firm, Stony Lonesome Group.

AutoGravity Milestone: Exceeds $ 2 Billion in Finance Amount Request in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a California-based Fintech on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, announced last week it surpassed $2 billion in finance amount requested in 2017.

Central Pacific Bank adds Elevate Credit executive to board of directors (Pacific Business News), Rated: A

Honolulu-based Central Pacific Financial Corp. has appointed Christopher Lutes as director of the boards of CPF and Central Pacific Bank.

Lutes has been the chief financial officer of Elevate Credit Inc. and its predecessor company, which specializes in tech-enabled online credit solutions, since 2007.

LoanDepot to offer agent, contractor referrals to mortgage shoppers (The Orange County Register), Rated: A

Borrowers signing up for a mortgage through LoanDepot soon can get real estate agent referrals from the online lender as well.

And later this year, people getting home-improvement loans will be able to get the names of contractors, architects, roofers and other professionals.

loanDepot Expands mello Brand (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LD Holdings Group, LLC, parent company of loanDepot, the nation’s second largest non-bank consumer lender, today announced continued expansion beyond its profitable mortgage and personal loan businesses.  In Q1, a newly formed venture, mello Home, will connect pre-approved homebuyers with verified real estate agents in their local market, and help consumers find and hire home improvement and other pros.

Fintech startup wants to help advisers find and sell muni bonds (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

It’s like Zillow, but for bonds.

That’s the idea behind Bond Navigator, a cloud-based digital marketplace for advisers to find and evaluate municipal bonds, that launched Tuesday from startup 280 CapMarkets.

Amazon, PayPal to head to Vegas ABS bash (GlobalCapital), Rated: A

Amazon has already tapped the securitization markets as part of a plan to shift the risk of its business lending programme off its balance sheet.

Amazon has stated in previous quarterly reports that it intends to transfer more of the risk of its seller financing programme to third parties.

Similarly, PayPal has expressed interest in funding its credit portfolio through third parties, including bank lending, securitization, private equity and sovereign wealth funds, although the company told GlobalCapital in August that this would unlikely be a near term project.

Acorns wants to bring investing and education together (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Many financial services companies, both startups and incumbents, talk about the importance of customers’ financial education but how they integrate it into their own offerings often manifests as no more than a dedicated content marketing section or blog. Acorns itself has an online magazine called Grow that features news, financial how-tos and interviews with celebrities like Kevin Durant, Ian Kahn and Tony Robbins.

First Bank Goes Big into Peer To Peer Lending, Launches “Cent” (Business Insider), Rated: A

For personal banking customers of First Bank, the largest community bank headquartered in North Carolina, transferring money to family and friends is now as simple as hitting “Cent.”

On January 22, First Bank launched Cent, its new quick-money transfer tool, allowing personal banking users of the bank’s mobile banking application to send money to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the U.S., regardless of if the recipient banks with First Bank or not. And there are no fees.

Marketplace Lending In 2018: A DIY Mindset (mondaq), Rated: A

There is no doubt marketplace lending, by offering speed and flexibility not historically seen in traditional banking, has done its part to foster the “do it yourself” (DIY) era.

The industry’s rapid growth reflects in part the entry of more than 100 new players in the market in less than a decade.

6 Business Loan Scams and How to Spot Them (AllBusiness), Rated: A

1. The peer lending scam

Peer-to-peer lending has become one of the most important sources of online financing. Unfortunately, there are some shadowy operators out there, using Facebook Messenger and other less traditional avenues to hook in victims.

The scam works like this: You’ll be contacted out of the blue and offered peer-to-peer financing, then asked to pay an arrangement fee or fork out for background checks. You’ll never see the promised cash and you could lose quite a bit of money, as well as data that can be used for identity theft.

4. The credit repair scam

Most young businesses have an inadequate credit score. It’s a simple fact of life. However, there are plenty of predators out there who’ll be keen to convince you that they have the expertise and tools to transform your score—in return for a hefty fee, of course.

5. The loan broker scam

Loan brokers exist to identify the right products for your business, make introductions to lenders, and prepare the paperwork to ensure a smooth process. There are plenty of legitimate and professional brokers, who get paid a commission from lenders for arranging loans; unfortunately, there are also quite a few sharks, who charge upfront fees for the same service.

2018 Predictions and Pitfalls In Finance and Investing (AlleyWatch), Rated: A

Online and Alternative Investing Will Remain Strong: The amount of investors using online investing and alternative options will continue to remain strong, especially for both Baby Boomer and Millennial investors. Online investing exposes investors to a larger number of companies driving innovation, and, many online investors are starting to realize an ROI from their online investing activities. In spring 2017, the number of people who lived in a household that used an online investing/stock trading service within the last 12 months amounted to 15.79 million.

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q4 2017 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its quarterly list of the top customer-rated lenders on its network based on actual customer reviews for the fourth quarter of 2017. The list features the top lenders in multiple loan product categories, including Mortgages, Personal Loans, Business Loans and Auto Loans, all of which are included in LendingTree’s online loan marketplace.

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner:  LenderFi, Inc.

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner: Upgrade

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner: Seek Capital

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner: RefiJet

Don’t Let Payday Lenders Off the Hook (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Payday lending can be a useful service. A two-week loan of $500 at 400 percent annualized interest can make sense if, say, you need to fix your truck to get to work. Unfortunately, the industry has long made much of its money by trapping customers in a series of consecutive loans that can end up costing many times the amount borrowed. A patchwork of state laws has done little to combat such practices.

CFPB Drops Investigation Into Payday Lender That Contributed To Mick Mulvaney’s Campaigns (International Business Times), Rated: A

Payday lender World Acceptance Corporation announced in a press releaseMonday that it received a letter from the CFPB stating that the financial watchdog had closed its nearly four-year investigation into the company’s marketing and lending practices. The company, which is headquartered in South Carolina, has given at least $4,500 in campaign donations to Mulvaney, who represented South Carolina in the House for six years before becoming President Donald Trump’s budget director last year.

Bye, bye, boomers — banks are looking toward millennials (Chicago Tribune), Rated: A

Sorry, boomers, but the world of banking and insurance isn’t so interested in you anymore. You’re getting too old to buy insurance and too conservative with your investments. And your time horizons are too short to be very profitable to the investment world. The financial services industry is aiming at millennials now.

–Six in 10 millennials are hesitant to discuss their situation with friends because they are embarrassed that they make less money or are ashamed of poor financial decision in their past.

–Only 12 percent of millennials feel very prepared for their financial future.

–Only one-third of millennials feel like they make enough to pay for bills and also save for the future.

Todd Ruppert Joins Money360 Board of Advisors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate loans, today announced that effective immediately, Todd Ruppert, former CEO and president of T. Rowe Price Global Investment Services, has joined the company’s Board of Advisors.

Ten Ways Young Can People Build A Strong Credit Record (Forbes), Rated: B

According to a report by WalletHub, young people struggle with low credit scores partially because they don’t have the time behind them to establish wealth and experience.

  1. Set Up Automatic Payments
  2. Get A Low-Limit Credit Card – Charging small items to a credit card and then paying it off in full every month builds credit in no time. You can find offers for these at creditcards.com and similar sites, with many offering cards with a $300 limit or so.
  3. Piggyback Off Of Others First – By becoming an authorized user on someone’s credit card, you can start building credit from their payments.
  4. Build A Credit History – It is not uncommon to get a 0% or 2% auto loan these days, and this way of building credit history is brilliant.
  5. Minimize Unsecured Debt
United Kingdom

Zopa expands executive team ahead of bank launch (Finextra), Rated: AAA

P2P lender Zopa has begun building the executive team for the launch of its new challenger bank later this year, appointing a CFO, chief risk officer and chief customer officer.

Chief financial officer Steve Hulme joins from Tandem Money where he was CFO for the last two years. Before Tandem, Hulme served as CFO for PayPal’s global credit business and as CFO for Capital One’s UK and Canadian business.

He will be joined by former TSB man Phillip Dransfield as chief risk officer. Dransfield has a 20-year track record in risk management taking in two of the counttry’s largest high street banks.

The left-field appointment of chief marketing officer goes to Clare Gambardella from health and fitness brand Virgin Active.

How UK fintech startups are preparing for open banking (ComputerWorldUK), Rated: AAA

Major banks are scrambling fast to not only comply with the regulation by opening up their APIs, but are also looking to leverage the new open landscape to separate themselves from their competitors and avoid being bitten by these fintech startups.

Take HSBC UK, which has proved itself to be an early mover when it comes to PSD2 by announcing a new beta app which will allow customers to see all of their accounts on one screen, even if they are with a rival bank.

However, UK challenger banks like Monzo and Starling, as well as some other fintech startups listed below, have been working towards the idea of open banking for some time now.

Monzo

According to a blog post by Simon Vans-Colina, an engineer at Monzo, the new API, which they are calling the AIS API, “will be made available to particular companies, that have been granted authorisation as AISPs.

Iwoca

As CEO Christoph Rieche explained to our sister site Techworld, real-time access to customers’ transactional data, which the banks have traditionally held onto for current accounts, is very valuable to his company.

Chip

“In a utopia consumers can start to grant affordability criteria to a lender, provide transaction data to a savings mechanism like Chip, or income data to a mortgage lender,” he said. “You can choose exactly which data you want which third parties to access, so it puts control into the customer’s hands.”

TrueLayer

Founder Francesco Simoneschi likes to compare TrueLayer to Twilio or Stripe, two companies that provide simple, secure and regulated access to core infrastructure (be it telco networks or payments infrastructure, respectively) through a core API.

So TrueLayer sits between the new breed of fintech companies looking to deliver value from newly opened customer financial data, and underlying banking infrastructure, charging a small fee for access to the API.

Emma

Cofounder Edoardo Moreni wrote in a blog post at the time: “Emma is currently building the banking app for millennials (iOS and Android), a mobile-only solution that helps consumers avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money.

Debt tracker Emma integrates with Monzo (AltFi), Rated: A

After receiving its FCA approval last week as a Registered Account Information Services Provider (RAISP), subscriptions and debt tracking app Emma has now announced its first official integration with digital bank Monzo.

SME bosses aware of P2P lending but cautious about using it (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Research among 200 SMEs by recruitment specialist Tindall Perry found while 74 per cent of finance directors describe their knowledge of alternative finance as average or above, only a quarter suggested that they were comfortable with accessing crowdfunding, with P2P lending also scoring less than 50 per cent.

In contrast, 85 per cent of companies said that they understood how best to access asset-based lending, while invoice finance, trade finance and venture capital all saw a positive response rate of between 55 and 75 per cent.

Top bankers warn of financial stability threats amid the calm (City A.M.), Rated: B

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of the global elite in the Swiss ski resort, she said: “We have far fewer tools to deal with any event that happens.” Richards predicted an upset could occur “somewhere where none of us are looking”, and highlighted peer-to-peer lending as an example.

Current financial conditions have echoes of the pre-crisis era, according to Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, speaking at the same event. While he said he believes banks are much less of a threat to stability than a decade ago, he warned that current benign conditions may not last.

China

Dianrong Increases Series D Round Funding by US$ 70 Million (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Dianrong today announced additional Series D round funding of US$70 million that was led by ORIX Asia Capital Limited, a wholly-owned investment vehicle of ORIX Corporation, and included CLSA, the overseas platform of CITIC Securities, China’s largest investment bank, which in turn is a part of CITIC Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates.

Japan’s Orix invests $ 60 mln in Chinese P2P lender Dianrong (Reuters), Rated: A

Orix Corp has invested $60 million in peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong, in what is the Japanese financial firm’s first investment in a Chinese fintech venture as it looks to tap into the fast-expanding sector, sources said.

Yirendai Connects to NIFA’s Internet Finance Industry Credit Information Sharing Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a fintech company in China, announced today that it has connected to the Internet Finance Industry Credit Information Sharing Platform (“the Platform”) established by the National Internet Finance Association of China (“NIFA”). The Platform was established to serve as an industry wide credit data sharing database in aims of reducing credit risk, improving the credit environment and promoting the healthy development of the internet finance industry. Currently, all leading online lending platforms are required to upload their operating credit data to the Platform’s database and members can only make manual inquiries on the Platform through its webpage. Yirendai has been selected by NIFA to participate in a pilot project to enable automatic queries and the Company expects to launch an automated query function in its system shortly.

European Union

Banks and Fintechs Are Duelling In a ‘War For Talent’ (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Payments company GoCardless Ltd., which employs 170 people in London, will open a Paris office in February, said chief product and technology officer Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas. Online lender LendInvest Ltd. said it will make a “concerted effort” to hire additional engineers in London this year, while Salesforce.com Inc.-backed software company Anaplan Inc. says hiring engineering talent is its current priority.

Faes said about 30 to 40 percent of its hires come from major financial institutions, adding that 100 percent of the team’s small risk and compliance team came from banks. For MarketInvoice Ltd., another British online lender, about three-quarters of its 85 employees — roughly a third of which are software engineers and data scientists — came from a large corporate in the financial services or accountancy space, said CEO and co-founder Anil Stocker.

Europe’s fintech industry, which includes challenger banks and online-only lenders, has rapidly expanded over the past 10 years. Traditional financial institutions have faced intense competition as a result, with former Barclays Plc CEO Antony Jenkins saying in July last year that banks could face obsolescence in five to 15 years.

How Adyen Became a $ 2.3bn Payments Company (Forbes), Rated: A

According to a report published in September last year by Innovate Finance and Magister Advisers, VCs poured around $8bn into fintech startups and early stage companies across the continent between 2010 and 2017 and over the course of that period, deal sizes rose significantly. In London – generally considered to be Europe’s Fintech Hub – figures published in January  by London and Partners found that the UK’s fintech sector attracted £1.24bn in 2017 alone.

Established in 2006,  the Amsterdam-based company is currently valued at around $2.3bn and has has built a portfolio of more than 4,000  clients, including Netflix, Facebook, Uber and Spotify, plus retailers such as River Island and Superdry.

International

Cross Border Funds Transfer (CBFT) using Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain platform contributed by IBM and provides plug-and-play modular blockchain components. You can see the commit history visualization of fabric project. Fabric runs chaincode which is comparable to Ethereum’s smart contracts. The consensus protocol is pluggable.

Transaction Flow Let’s see how nodes work together to execute a transaction. For now, let’s assume that the chaincode is already installed on the Peers.

  • Step 1: Transaction requests are proposed by a client. The client must be connected to the required number of peers according to the endorsement policy. A proposed Transaction is forwarded to Peers for Endorsement.
  • Step 2: Each endorsing peer simulates and validates the transaction. Peers reply with their Endorsement and certificate if they agree that the transaction is permitted.
  • Step 3: The client receives results from different Peers and can thus verify agreement among the Peers. Upon verification, the client forwards the transaction to the OS.
  • Step 4: Determining a well-ordered sequence of transactions is the task of the Ordering Service (OS). The OS generates transaction blocks containing validated transactions in the order they are deemed to have occurred, writes them to the ledger and then broadcasts them to all peers that a new set of blocks are now available on the ledger.
Source: Raj M Shimpi

The disappointing arrival of Open Banking … and the optimistic future (The Finanser), Rated: A

All well and good but, in a move that I am fairly sure was carefully orchestrated by the banking community, nearly all of the mainstream media greeted the launch of Open Banking with fear and scaremongering.

Nevertheless, the FinTech community are far more advocates of the new regime:

Note that to find the positive spin on Open Banking, I’ve had to seek out more business or niche news channels than the doomsayers of the mainstream consumer media.

Nasdaq-listed Longfin to open up Ziddu smart contracts to P2P lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

GLOBAL fintech group Longfin Corp is planning to make its Ziddu cryptocurrency smart contracts available for peer-to-peer lending.

Ziddu.com provides smart contracts which are available on cryptocurrency Ethereum’s blockchain and can be used as alternative finance solutions within trade finance and FX markets, without the need for a middleman or underwriter.

Building the World’s Most Inclusive Banking Service (Medium), Rated: A

Currently, there are over 2 billion people worldwide who find it difficult to access traditional banking services, often because they are new to the country or do not qualify for credit. I, too, was one of those people. When I arrived in the UK, I didn’t have a proof of address and credit history required to open a bank account, and just like many others in a similar position, I was left in a ridiculous catch-22 situation. I needed a bank account to get a job and a place to live but, in order to get a bank account, I was required to have a place to live and a job.

Monese is laying the foundation of how banks will work in the future by bringing the accessibility and convenience to levels that weren’t possible just a few short years ago. You can now bank locally in 20 different countries, in a matter of a few minutes — all you need is a mobile phone and your passport. You can literally open an account in your home country or an international IBAN in another country whilst standing in a supermarket queue.

Over 270,000 people have signed up to Monese and every day 1,000 more are joining us.

Source: Monese

$ 10 million ICO Success Karma Announces P2P Lending Access, aExchange Listing of KRM Token (The Merkle), Rated: A

Fresh from the success of a well-received ICO that raised $10 million, blockchain start up Karma has now announced open access to its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform via the use of its native KRM token, which also began trading on CoinLink exchange on January 11th, 2018.

India

NeoGrowth Credit secures funding of Rs300cr from LeapFrog Investments and others (Medianama), Rated: A

NeoGrowth Credit, a lending startup focused at SMEs has secured Rs 300 crore of equity funding from LeapFrog Investments, and existing investors like Aspada Investment Company and Quona Capital through Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, reports The Economic Times. The report adds that as part of the investment, LeapFrog’s partner Michael Fernandes will join NeoGrowth’s board.

Asia

Tera Funding raised KRW 10 billion from Korean leading investors in Series A funding round (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Tera Funding, a real estate P2P lending company in Korea, announced that it has secured KRW10bn (approx. US$9.3M) through its series A funding round from Woori Bank, Atinum Investment, SBI Investment and Premier Partners on 8 January 2018.

It is the largest single series A investment for Korean P2P lending start-ups, and this comes as a pleasant surprise for the industry as such decision to invest in Tera Funding was made after a thorough due diligence amid general public’s increasing worries about the industry with rising defaults and arrears mainly incurred by late-comers who take riskier approach.

Blockchain will force banks to change their feudal mindset (e27), Rated: A

Having said that, the advent of cutting-edge technologies is pushing banks to change the way they operate. While they have been able to survive many revolutions in the past, they cannot remain aloof to blockchain, one of 21st century’s biggest revolutions.

Lending Times News

Check out our new daily news digest and website Blockchain Times. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter for the best in Blockchain news.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday October 5 2017, Daily News Digest

roboadvisors aum

News Comments Today’s main news: Aspire Fintech is closing. Navient buys Earnest for $155M. Schwab creates robo-advisor, hires ex-Betterment GM to run it. Atom Bank nears 1B GPB in deposits. SoFi’s plan to become a bank isn’t going so well. Rubique has issued 50K credit cards. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issues P2P lending platform directions. Today’s main analysis: Nutmeg sees […]

roboadvisors aum

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Plan to Become the Bank of the Future Isn’t Going So Well (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Now, with Cagney felled by a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, the question is whether SoFi has any chance of building the financial supermarket he envisioned. This was always going to be a tall order given the intense competition from entrenched players and fintech startups alike, but now the SoFi brand has been tarnished as well.

“There are a lot of question marks,” says Alois Pirker, research director at advisory firm Aite Group. “The new CEO will need to find his or her bearings there and that will tell which direction they’ll be going.”

Some members of the board consider the moves into life insurance and wealth management Cagney “pet projects,” according to a person familiar with their thinking. Directors prefer to focus on more mature businesses such as personal loans and mortgages that are more predictable and established, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

The firm reported revenue of $134 million in the second quarter, according to an email from Cagney to investors in August. It had adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $61.6 million and extended over $3.1 billion in student loans, personal loans and mortgages during that time frame. Personal loans are the most profitable, the person said, followed by student loans and then mortgages.

The wealth management unit had just $12 million in assets under management as of early September, according to a filing. This is far short of the more than $100 million the firm had set as an internal goal, people familiar with the matter have said.

SoFi readies 1st student loan bond post-management shakeup (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Social Finance is returning to the securitization market with $626.4 million of bonds backed by loans used to refinance the student debt of borrowers with advanced degrees and high incomes.

The transaction, SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E (internal link; not in original source article), comes just weeks after the marketplace lender experienced a management shakeup; its chief executive officer and chief financial officer both resigned.

SoFi hosts party at Front & Palmer (Metro), Rated: B

Most people are not fans of student loan debt, but last week, SoFihosted a party at Front & Palmer in Philadelphia to celebrate it as a means of opening doors to education and more opportunities.

Recent college grads were invited to attend for free and to gain admittance, only needed to bring a proof of their student loan debt.

Source: Metro.com

Earnest, An Online Student Lender, Bought By Navient For $ 155 Million (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial technology start-up Earnest has agreed to be acquired by student loan servicing giant Navient for $155 million in cash, the companies said on Wednesday.

Earnest, an online lender that has focused on refinancing student loans, will remain a distinct brand and will continue to be led by its current management team, including founder and CEO Louis Beryl.

The acquisition will be a launching pad for Navient to begin originating its own student loans.

Schwab creates robo-exec slot and fills it with ex-Betterment unit chief (RIABiz), Rated: AAA

As its robo-assets soar to seemingly effortless heights, Charles Schwab & Co. is hiring an intriguing ex-Betterment talent to ensure that its good fortune holds.

The San Francisco-based investments giant, with $24 billion* of assets under automated management in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Advisor, hired Cynthia Loh, the ex-general manager of Betterment for Business, the division that oversees the New York-based robo‘s 401(k) unit.

The Schwab robo-launch’s differentiators were its “zero” fee, its 24/7 access to service personnel and its national advertising. Yet the look and offering of the Schwab Intelligent offering are considered plain-vanilla in scope.

How tough can Schwab get with digital upstarts? (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

Outlining his firm’s strategy for battling digital disruption, Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger envisioned it would push client asset revenues lower, while relying on its brand and established market share to grow.

Reacting to his statement, industry observers expect an uphill slog for independents as the largest firms gear up for a price war on three fronts: financial advice, online trading and ETFs.

An early study by A.T. Kearney predicted incumbents would slash prices to compete with robo advice upstarts. While that never came to pass, the 2015 study still predicted industry revenues would drop by as much as $12 billion by 2020.

“[Schwab has] $3 trillion in client assets. They have very positive brand recognition and customer satisfaction scores that are the envy of most of the industry. They have demonstrated a willingness to cut price to gain market share, as seen with their recent commission cuts in online trading. So yes, they can throw their weight around.”

The wisdom of possessing a trifurcated digital advice offering — Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, a digital-only service, an institutional platform for RIAs, and the hybrid robo advisor Schwab Intelligent Advisory — also becomes clearer, McDermott notes. (Schwab’s robo now has $20 billion in AUM).

Robo advice is expected to collectively top $1 trillion in assets under management in fewer than five years, according to Boston-based consulting firm Aite Group. But micro-investing will partly feed such growth, it predicts, noting over 60% of millennials already are subscribed to such apps.

FinTech Lenders and Banks Take Note (VedderPrice), Rated: AAA

While Upstart’s No-Action Letter has narrow applicability, it may serve as a tool for other FinTech lenders in implementing innovative products and services and establishing relationships with banks.

According to Upstart, its underwriting technology uses traditional underwriting methodologies in combination with other variables that are correlated with financial capacity and “repayment propensity.” Upstart states that its model understands and quantifies risk associated with all borrowers—both those with credit histories and those without credit histories. As a result, the Upstart loan program is able to offer credit to segments of the population with limited credit or work histories at more favorable rates. In other words, it appears Upstart is underwriting consumer loans without reliance upon traditional criteria, such as credit scores and length of employment history.

  • The No-Action Letter is only applicable to Upstart’s automated model for underwriting applicants for unsecured non-revolving credit, as described in Upstart’s original Request.
  • The No-Action Letter will expire three (3) years after its issuance, at which time Upstart may seek to renew the No-Action Letter.
  • The No-Action Letter is subject to modification or revocation at any time at the discretion of the CFPB staff for any reason, including where the CFPB’s staff determines that such modification or revocation is appropriate to protect consumers or is otherwise in the public interest.

On one hand, a no-action letter may be particularly useful for a FinTech company, utilizing innovative technology and operations, to obtain guidance concerning the permissibility of its business model under specific regulatory constructs. A no-action letter may also be useful for a FinTech company seeking to establish joint ventures with banks.

On the other hand, a CFPB-issued No-Action Letter has narrow applicability as it is only applicable to the requesting applicant, a specific regulatory issue and the facts and circumstances identified by the applicant in its request submitted to the CFPB. Should a fact or circumstance fail to be conveyed accurately, or should a fact or circumstance change, the No-Action Letter may be rendered useless.

Online housing investment platform Roofstock raises $ 35M in Series C (The Real Deal), Rated: A

Housing investment platform Roofstock raised $35 million in a Series C funding round as it looks to cash in on growing interest in single-family rental housing.

Roofstock CEO Gary Beasley said the firm will use the money to hire and to expand into new markets. The company has raised a total of $68 million from investors, according to Beasley.

From Shopping to Close, LendingTree Study Finds Mortgage Process is Getting Faster (Business Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on shopping timelines for purchase mortgages. The study analyzed data from a sampling of more than 5,000 closed loans from March 2016 through May 2017 and reviews the timeline for the entire mortgage shopping experience – from first submitting a loan request and being matched with a lender to the date of the mortgage loan closing. The study revealed that the median time from early rate shopping to closing on a purchase mortgage declined 7 days from 2016 to 2017.

From 2016 to 2017, LendingTree has seen a 19% increase in the number of loans closed within 30 days and a 27% increase in loans closed in 60 days.

Congress is Trying to Get the IRS to Modernize (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Back in December 2013 Renaud Laplanche testified on Capitol Hill on small business lending. He was CEO of Lending Club back then and when a Congressman asked Laplanche a question as to how the government can best help he said to make IRS data more easily accessible to online lenders.

Fast forward four years and there appears to finally be some movement on this. Last week Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a billthat would help the IRS move into the modern age and allow the automated retrieval of tax information through an API.

The IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017 as it is called will require the IRS to create an API that will allow lenders to verify income in real time.

RealtyShares – New Small Balance Multifamily Program (RealtyShares), Rated: A

RealtyShares is now financing Small & Large Balance Commercial Multifamily, Apartment, Retail, & Hotel Assets.

Typical dwellings/ deal structure:

  • Class A, B & C+ dwellings
  • Typically like properties within a 30 mile radius of a popular MSA (but not necessarily a deal breaker as long as the project looks good)
  • The minimum loan financed needs to meet 1MM (Acquisition w/ renovation)
  • Asset Based Lender but having an experienced client who has done deals in the particular area is a great compensating factor

Project Summary

Loan Information

  1. Loan Amount
  2. Duration (term)
  3. Closing deadline
  4. Reason for deadline

Lien Information

  1. Amount of existing first lien
  2. Amount of other liens

Collateral Information

  1. Collateral Type
  2. Number of Units
  3. Total Square Footage
  4. Street Address
  5. Purchase Price and Purchase Date (if refi)
  6. “As Is” Real Estate Value
  7. Date of “as is” Appraisal/BPO
  8. Net Operating Income (NOI)
  9. Capital Expenditures since Purchase ($)
  10. Vacancy (%)

Guarantor(s) Information

  1. Net Worth of Guarantor(s)
  2. Estimated liquid assets of Guarantor(s)
  3. FICO Score of Guarantor(s)
  4. Guarantor(s) investment in collateral – current or proposed
  5. Sponsor’s Website

Use of Proceeds:
Please provide a concise description, a few sentences, on the Use of Proceeds (i.e., discuss: acquisition, refinance, site improvement, tenant improvements, planning, design/permitting, carry costs and etc.)

Exit Strategy:
Please provide a concise description, a few sentences on the Exit Strategy (e.g. discuss prospective buyer, prospective permanent financing).

What to Watch for When It Comes to Alternative Investing Opportunities (Madison.com), Rated: A

When you are working in the equity crowdfunding space, particularly as a company that is private, you certainly don’t have the liquidity that you would for a publicly traded stock that’s on the exchange.

On this episode of Industry Focus: Technology, host Dylan Lewis is joined by Motley Fool contributing writer Daniel Kline to talk about the dangers of this type of investing. They break down all the risks associated with purchasing shares in a company that does not have to report as much financial data as a traditional publicly traded company.

Watch the full video discussion here.

Elevate to Release Third Quarter 2017 Earnings on Monday, October 30, 2017 (Financial Times), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. today announced that it will release its third quarter 2017 financial results after the market closes on Monday, October 30, 2017. Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Lutes, Chief Financial Officer, will also host a conference call on the day of the release (October 30, 2017) at 5:00 pm ET to discuss Elevate’s financial results.

Interested parties may access the conference call live over the phone by dialing 1-877-407-0792 (domestic) or 1-201-689-8263 (international) and requesting the Elevate Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Conference Call. Participants are asked to dial in a few minutes prior to the call to register for the event. The conference call will also be webcast live through Elevate’s website at 

An audio replay of the conference call will be available approximately three hours after the conference call until 11:59 pm ET on November 13, 2017, and can be accessed by dialing 1-844-512-2921 (domestic) or 1-412-317-6671 (international), and providing the passcode 13671832, or by accessing Elevate’s website.

Citi FinTech’s Customer-Driven Journey: Our Latest Mobile Enhancements (Citi), Rated: B

These new mobile investment features include a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), fund screener, consolidated search functionality and enhanced visualization. Through the Citi Mobile App for iPhone, any Citi client with a brokerage account now enjoys one-touch access to their financial advisors and the ability to manage their investments personally, without switching to another channel.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan: Now clients can enroll eligible securities in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) right within the app. Once a customer has opted in, this feature helps our clients put their cash dividends to work, instead of idling in their accounts.

Investment Search: This consolidated search function makes investing easier for clients interested in managing their portfolios themselves.

Performance Visualization: An enhanced visualization enables clients to track their portfolio’s performance and make adjustments right within the app.

United Kingdom

App-only bank Atom nears £1 billion in deposits (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup, app-only bank Atom has passed £900 million in deposits less than two years after launching its first savings product.

The disclosure comes as Atom’s annual accounts show that the startup had £538 million in deposits from over 17,000 customers at the end of March. It means the app-only bank has attracted around £400 million in four months.

The bank’s accounts, filed with Companies House this week, show Atom has received over £300 million of small business loan applications and lent out close to £100 million in loans and mortgages by March this year.

Atom had a net interest loss of £1 million for the year, due to paying out interest on its 1.95% and 2.5% fixed savings accounts, at the time market-leading interest rates, before the launch of its lending products.

UK’s biggest robo-advisor Nutmeg sees losses widen (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Nutmeg, the UK’s biggest automated investment fintech in terms of assets under management (AUM), released 

Source: Business Insider

P2P lending on course for 20 per cent jump (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Lending across all of the peer-to-peer platforms in 2017 to date is already higher than in the whole of 2016, according to data from research agency 4thWay.

According to the data, total lending across all peer-to-peer platforms is likely to be at least 20 per cent higher this year than last with the largest platforms, Funding Circle and Zopa, leading the way.

Funding Circle has lent £865m in 2017 to date, compared with £825m in the whole of 2016.

European Union

The 8 Biggest Startups in Europe by Funding (Nanalyze), Rated: AAA

Zee Germans are leading the pack with 4 unicorns and we also see that fintech and ecommerce make up half of all the sector allocations.

Company Name Funding Country Sector
Spotify $8.53 Sweden Internet Software & Services
Otto Bock HealthCare $3.50 Germany Healthcare
Auto1 Group $2.80 Germany eCommerce/Marketplace
Klarna $2.50 Sweden Fintech
VistaJet $2.50 Malta On-demand
Adyen $2.30 Netherlands Fintech
Hellofresh $2.09 Germany eCommerce/Marketplace
CureVac $1.65 Germany Healthcare
BlaBlaCar $1.60 France On-Demand
Saxo Bank $1.45 Denmark Fintech
Global Fashion Group $1.10 Luxembourg eCommerce/Marketplace
OVH $1.10 France Big Data
Avaloq Group $1.01 Switzerland Fintech
AVAST Software $1 Czech Republic Cybersecurity
letgo $1 Netherlands eCommerce/Marketplace
MindMaze $1 Switzerland VR/AR

Big Brand Payments, Part 1

Another big player from Sweden is Klarna, founded in 2005 and now valued at $2.5 billion. With $521.44 million in funding from investors like Sequoia and Visa, Klarna is one of the most popular e-commerce payment solutions in Europe, used by Burberry, Overstock.com, J.Crew, Nike, Lenovo, and hundreds more.

Adlibris, one of Europe’s largest booksellers, used Klarna to improve its mobile checkout solution, resulting in an 80% conversion increase.

Big Brand Payments, Part 2

With a valuation just shy of its Swedish colleague Klarna, Netherlands-based Adyen (valued at $2.3 billion), has established a firm foothold in the world of merchant payments by providing a “friction-less payment experience”. Founded in 2006 and funded with $266 million to date, Adyen has some huge customers in its corner, including Netflix, Uber, Etsy, Spotify, Groupon, and LinkedIn. The secret is in its platform, which features support for a wide variety of payment options (250 worldwide, to be exact) in a single system, including Apple and Android Pay, all major credit cards, direct debit for recurring payments, in-app purchases, and much more. The Cambridge Satchel, a UK handbag company, saw its Black Friday sales rocket by 124% after switching to Adyen’s platform. In addition to one-time purchases, the platform also facilitates subscriptions and recurring payments more seamlessly.

Trelix Approved as a Third-Party Due Diligence Provider by DBRS (Business Insider), Rated: A

Trelix, a provider of due diligence, quality control, licensed fulfillment and non-licensed fulfillment products and services across the origination and securitization lifecycle, today announced that it has been approved as a third-party due diligence provider for DBRS-rated transactions. DBRS is a full-service credit rating agency respected for its independent, third-party evaluations of corporate and government issues. DBRS’s approval process, before adding a company as an accepted provider, includes an on-site review to assess companies’ staffing, infrastructure and capabilities relevant to securitization-related services.

As part of Altisource’s Origination Solutions platform, Trelix offers clients a unique combination of technology and risk management tools that position it to have a meaningful impact on the securitization market.

Dutch fintech company InvoiceFinance raises €6 million in funding (Tech.eu), Rated: A

InvoiceFinance, a fintech startup based in Amsterdam, has raised €6 million from Peak Capital.

The new funds will be invested in marketing purposes and hiring for the sales and development team.

New10 Partners With Mambu To Redefine Dutch SME Lending (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

Mambu today announced that New10, ABN AMRO’s newly launched FinTech, has selected the SaaS engine to power a range of small and medium enterprise (SME) lending products in the Netherlands. New10, which aims to provide credit decisions within 15 minutes, went from concept to launch within 10 months, in line with ABN AMRO’s vision of digitisation and innovation.

Mambu took a collaborative approach working with the New10 team in order to complete implementation within four months. In a highly regulated environment, Mambu’s partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) which has received Dutch regulatory approval, helped smooth the path to market. New10 launched on 21 September 2017 with a fully digital SME lending platform with plans to broaden the portfolio and potentially expand into new markets.

collectAI manages 25m Euro in Receivables (Otto Group), Rated: A

collectAI, the service for digital receivables, has processed receivables at a volume of 25m Euro since its foundation in 2016. collectAI automates and digitises invoices, dunning and debt collection processes and is the first digital end-to-end provider in receivables management.

Examples of successful KPIs on the clients’ side include: Introducing digital communication channels lead to an increase of the collection rate of 33 percent, while processing costs have been reduced by up to 41 percent.

While 23 percent of invoices are overdue Europe-wide (EHI 2016 – online retail only), the invoice remains the most popular payment method in Germany with a market share of 30,5 percent (EOS 2016). Even though returns from receivables and debt collection are essential for revenue and thus liquidity, only 18 percent of companies have digitised their receivables to date (EOS/Kantar 2017).

Papering Over the Cracks (LendIt), Rated: A

In 2016 there were a reported 5.4 million SMEs in operation in the UK alone and our economy depends heavily on the success of these “little guys”.

Fintechs and banks are now lending faster than the speed of light, but when it comes to uncovering fraudulent activity, are they actually left standing in the dark?

Invoice finance lenders have to be particularly vigilant when it comes to a different type of fraud: fresh air invoicing.

One way to avoid being stung by paper fraud is to lend against accurate financial data extracted directly from a company’s accounting package, rather than lending against a PDF or excel file that can be amended. Advances in technology means lenders are now able to access this level of data directly, securely and efficiently, so they can be sure they’re providing fair financial support to loan applicants.

International

BitProperty Announces Upcoming Token Sale, Beta Release of Real Estate Investment Platform (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

BitProperty, the blockchain-powered real estate investment platform, has announced that it will launch a closed beta release on October 5, 2017. Ten days later, on October 15, it will kick off a token sale to raise funds for further development of the platform.

The BitProperty platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses two different types of tokens. The first type is an asset token that represents a share of a particular asset. When a real estate owner lists a property on the platform, the number of asset tokens issued against the property represents its value. Investors can purchase these asset tokens and will then receive income based on the performance of the asset (property) and the size of the stake that each investor holds.

The second type of token is the BTP token, which represents the inherent value of the platform backed by the pool of the company’s managed assets.

India

Rubique crosses over 50,000 credit cards customers (India.com), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based FinTech startup Rubique continues to embark upon its fast-paced growth across sectors, including Retail and SME financing.

Rubique has till date successfully crossed over 50,000 Credit Cards customers.

RBI issues directions for peer-to-peer lending platforms (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on October 4, issued directions for non-banking financial companies (NBFC) that operate peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms. According to the directions, from now on no NBFC can start or carry on the business of a P2P lending platform without obtaining a Certificate of Registration. Every company seeking registration with the bank as an NBFC-P2P shall have a net owned funds of not less than Rs 20 million or such higher amount as the bank may specify.

They have been asked to apply for registration as NBFC-P2Ps within 3 months.

NOTIFICATIONS (Reserve Bank of India), Rated: AAA

3. Scope

These Directions provide a framework for the registration and operation of NBFC-P2Ps in India.

(2) Process of Registration

(i) Every existing and prospective NBFC-P2P shall make an application for registration to the Department of Non-Banking Regulation, Mumbai of the Bank, in the form which will be specified by the Bank for the purpose. Existing NBFC-P2Ps shall apply within three months from the issuance of these Directions.

(ii) The Bank, for the purpose of considering the application for registration, shall require the following conditions, among others, to be fulfilled:

  1. The company is incorporated in India;
  2. The company has the necessary technological, entrepreneurial and managerial resources to offer such services to the participants;
  3. The company has the adequate capital structure to undertake the business of Peer to Peer Lending Platform;
  4. The promoters and the Directors of the company are fit and proper;
  5. The general character of the management of the company is not prejudicial to the public interest;
  6. The company has submitted a plan for, or implemented, a robust and secure Information Technology system;
  7. The company has submitted a viable business plan for conducting the business of Peer to Peer Lending Platform;
  8. Public interest shall be served by the grant of CoR;

Any other condition as may be specified by the Bank, fulfillment of which, in the opinion of the Bank, is necessary to ensure that the commencement of or carrying on the business in India shall not be prejudicial to the public interest.

6. Scope of Activities

(1) An NBFC-P2P shall-

  1. act as an intermediary providing an online marketplace or platform to the participants involved in Peer to Peer lending;
  2. not raise deposits as defined by or under Section 45I(bb) of the Act or the Companies Act, 2013;
  3. not lend on its own;
  4. not provide or arrange any credit enhancement or credit guarantee;
  5. not facilitate or permit any secured lending linked to its platform; i.e. only clean loans will be permitted;
  6. not hold, on its own balance sheet, funds received from lenders for lending, or funds received from borrowers for servicing loans; or such funds as stipulated in paragraph 9;
  7. not cross sell any product except for loan specific insurance products;
  8. not permit international flow of funds;
  9. ensure adherence to legal requirements applicable to the participants as prescribed under relevant laws.
  10. store and process all data relating to its activities and participants on hardware located within India.

(2) Further, NBFC-P2P shall-

  1. undertake due diligence on the participants;
  2. undertake credit assessment and risk profiling of the borrowers and disclose the same to their prospective lenders;
  3. require prior and explicit consent of the participant to access its credit information;
  4. undertake documentation of loan agreements and other related documents;
  5. provide assistance in disbursement and repayments of loan amount;
  6. render services for recovery of loans originated on the platform.

(3) NBFC-P2P shall not undertake any activity other than those stated in paras 6(1) and 6(2) of these Directions. Deployment of investible funds by an NBFC-P2P in instruments specified by the Bank, not for trading, shall however be permitted.

11. Transparency and Disclosure Requirements

(1) An NBFC-P2P shall be required to disclose the following:

(i) to the lender

  1. details about the borrower/s including personal identity, required amount, interest rate sought and credit score as arrived by the NBFC-P2P.
  2. details about all the terms and conditions of the loan, including likely return, fees and taxes;

(ii) to the borrower – details about the lender/s including proposed amount, interest rate offered but excluding personal identity and contact details;

(iii) publicly disclose on its website:

  1. overview of credit assessment/score methodology and factors considered;
  2. disclosures on usage/protection of data;
  3. grievance redressal mechanism;
  4. portfolio performance including share of non-performing assets on a monthly basis and segregation by age; and
  5. its broad business model.

(2) NBFC-P2P shall ensure that the providing of services to a participant, who has applied for availing of such services, is backed by appropriate agreements between the participants and the NBFC-P2P. The agreements shall categorically specify all the terms and conditions among the borrower, the lender and the NBFC-P2P.

(3) The interest rates displayed on the platform shall be in Annualized Percentage Rate (APR) format.

Finance Ministry Welcomes RBI Move On P2P Lending (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

The finance ministry today welcomed the central bank’s move to treat peer-to-peer, also known as P2P, lending platforms as non banking financial companies, saying it would improve financing for smaller firms.

RBI To Observe P2P Lenders As Well As Invest in Security Frameworks (Industry Daily News), Rated: A

The government has declared RBI (Reserve Bank of India) as the watchdog for P2P (peer to peer) lending marketplaces that have been segmented as NBFCs (non-banking finance companies). While this might elevate prices for online lenders via compliance needs, most have greeted the decision claiming that it provides them identification.

RBI To Allow Funds Transfer Among Mobile Wallets (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India will make prepaid payment instruments like e-wallets, gift cards and meal coupons interoperable for customers complying with the central bank’s know your customer guidelines.

Inter-operability among KYC compliant prepaid instruments will be implemented in six months after the RBI issues its revised norms within a week by October 11, the central bank said as part of its developmental and regulatory policies.

What startup entrepreneurs should learn from sports (MoneyControl), Rated: B

The so-called unicorn startups and their founders have become role models for the millennials. Hardly any town or city in India is left untouched by the startup fever and its multi-million funding stories.

1. Sport helps build character: Sanjay Darbha, the founder of Peerlend, a peer-to-peer lending platform and a sports enthusiast who competes in Senior Men’s circuit tournaments of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), explains, that sports inculcates attributes such as discipline, focus, and patience.

2. Sports lets you, be yourself: If entrepreneurs want to know the better or bitter side of their team members – make them play a sport.

3. Sport is a medium to connect beyond business: Ecosystem players should find innovative ways to connect with each other to get a better understanding of other’s needs and challenges.

4. Sport helps in building lasting bonds: A playground in an excellent incubator that helps in the construction of robust and long-lasting relationships.

Startups could use games to let their team members explore possible synergies between them.

Canada

Aspire FinTech is closing down (Aspire Email), Rated: AAA

Hey all,

I wanted to share the news today that Aspire Financial Technologies will be officially shutting down this week.  Sadly, the search for a strategic partner we started in the summer wasn’t successful, and our funding has now run out.  As a result, we no longer have the resources to continue the build of our loan data and analytics infrastructure solutions.

I’ll be running a sale process of Aspire’s IP (Aspire Gateway and ALD Explorer solutions) over the next month or so, looking for a quick outcome.  Feel free to contact me to discuss.

Thanks to all that have supported Aspire over the past two years.  Despite the odds, we made it this far, with your help.  Unfortunately, expensive and complex build requirements, with long institutional sales cycles, combined with a lack of scalable professional seed-stage funding in Canada, have been our undoing.  Any one of these being different would likely have yielded a better outcome, but all three together have proved to be terminal.

Mark and I have had a great team to work with.  We thank them for all the hard work and long hours, and wish them well as they move on to their next challenges (and hopefully a bit more stability!).

For me personally, I’ve made and consumed a great deal of  “FinTech Kool-Aid” over the past two years, which has permanently altered by view of the future, and the role that technology will play in the delivery of financial services to consumers, small businesses and corporations going forward.  I’m excited to see this play out, and the role I can play in making it happen.

Best regards,

David A. Fry, MBA, CFA
Co-Founder and CEO
Aspire Financial Technologies Inc.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor