Tuesday February 27 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s new CEO wants to get the company ready to go public. Revolut’s transaction volumes increased 700%. China to crackdown on non-bank lending. Blender raises $16M. Today’s main analysis: Stay away from LendingClub’s notes and shares. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Legacy banks, digital startups see opportunity to go beyond storing money. LendingBlock aims to mainstream […]

LendingClub

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United States

Anthony Noto’s Mission as SoFi CEO: Get the Startup Ready to Go Public (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto, the new chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is looking to steer the company out of crisis and get it in shape for a potential initial public offering.

The vision for SoFi outlined by Noto didn’t stray far from the one set by his predecessor Mike Cagney, who was ousted after accusations of sexual misconduct inside the company. Noto wants to create a broad online financial-service company, adding checking and savings accounts and wealth management to the main business of refinancing student loans.

SoFi’s new CEO says bank charter remains an option (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview during his first day on the job, Anthony Noto did not promise any big course changes, though he did leave open the possibility that SoFi will revive its quest to get a banking license.

LendingClub’s Underwriting: Stay Away From The Notes And The Shares (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

I bought my first batch of $25 notes on April 22, 2016. Now, it is important to note that LendingClub is very clear in its advertising that “99% of portfolios with 100+ Notes have seen positive returns.” So I suppose I added a level of risk by not having a portfolio worth at least $2500. But even still, returns can be .1% annualized and count as ‘positive’, but that is not an acceptable return by anyone’s standards given the risks involved in lending to strangers.

My Portfolio

To date, I have received $436 in payments, $96 of which is interest. I have lost $100 on notes that have charged-off, meaning that there is zero expectation of future payment and LendingClub collectors have stopped attempting to reach the borrower. I also have a note that is late, and based on how things have gone so far, I fully expect that to charge-off too and will lose the $11.50 still owed. In short, I have already lost almost 20% of my initial investment, crossing my fingers that none of the 14 notes I still have that are current don’t enter a late status with more than a year to go before the oldest reaches full term. My results have been dismal.

Source: Seeking Alpha

LendingClub’s ratings are A-G, with A being the safest. As you can see, the vast majority of my portfolio sits in A-C, with one E and one G note (LendingClub did away with F and G notes last year).

Source: Seeking Alpha

Legacy Banks and Digital Startups See a Big Opportunity to Move Beyond Simply Storing Money (AdWeek), Rated: AAA

Change can be hard for the financial industry, which is dominated by decades of processes and internal systems. But with a slew of upstarts making their way into the trillion-dollar industry, the old guard is finding innovative ways to beat these challenger brands at their own game.

“A lot of these companies have what we call ‘technical debt’—very expensive mainframe systems that are very difficult to change, run [and are] expensive and obviously that limits their ability to innovate,” said Oliwia Berdak, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “The biggest challenge is often culture … In banks the attitude has always been to perfect [products] before it’s unleashed on customers and [technology] is a big change where you’re working with a certain degree of uncertainty and risk.”

According to data collected by Accenture, 90 percent of banking executives said that their companies needed to “innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to remain competitive,” but only 47.8 percent say that they are actually “investing comprehensively” in digital.

Another challenge: For all the talk about slick mobile banking apps and services, consumers—gasp—still like going to physical banks to manage financial decisions. Eighty-seven percent of customers enjoy going to a physical bank and prefer to interact with a human while there, per Accenture.

Source: AdWeek

Retail Banks Are Missing Opportunities to Give Digital Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Most customers who received face-to-face financial advice from their retail bank felt their needs were completely met (58 percent), but satisfaction drops when advice is delivered by other means, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Sales Practices & Advice Study. Only 45 percent of customers who received digital advice through their bank’s website or mobile app felt their needs were met and only 33 percent felt their needs were met via email.
The majority of customers surveyed for the study (58 percent) said they want to receive advice through their bank’s website and mobile app, but only 12 percent said they received advice in that manner.

Why neobanks need to find a niche offering (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Customers still aren’t excited about digital-only banks. Less than 10 percent of Americans looking to open a checking account would consider doing so at a digital bank, according to a new report by Cornerstone Advisors.

For example, San Francisco-based neobank Chime’s customers are mostly middle-income millennials, with a median age of 29 and incomes between $45,000 to $65,000. Chime says it caters to a gap in the market for younger customers who felt larger institutions weren’t meeting their needs.

Neobanks should focus on a “clear, differentiated value proposition” for the customer, but too many of them are just adding a little technology to a customer experience that’s not terribly different from what the big banks offer, said Satya Patel, a partner at Homebrew, a seed-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco and an investor in Chime.

How Capital One is rethinking its approach to products (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For the past year, Capital One has been rethinking how it can get out of the too-common approach of “innovating” by layering new technology on top of an old product — it’s realized it needs to entirely reconsider the customer’s interaction with it.

Are banks too blasé about mobile security? (American Banker), Rated: B

About a third of companies have knowingly sacrificed security for expediency or business performance, according to a newly published study, and researchers said that bankers’ responses were consistent with the group as a whole, which included health care and other sectors.

Bringing Credit Invisibles Into Focus with Alternative Financial Data (LendIt), Rated: A

Ten percent of the U.S. adult population do not have a credit score or history with any of the big three credit bureaus.

That’s 1 in 10, or roughly 26 million people who are considered “credit invisible.”

But the financial underserved market spends $173 billion in fees and interest to use $1.94 trillion in financial services, according to the 2017 Center for Financial services Innovation study.

There are four basic categories of people who fall under the credit invisibles umbrella:

  • Millennials: People between 18– 34 and have not yet borrowed money or gotten a credit card.
  • Low-Income: People who don’t make enough money to gain access to credit.
  • Recent immigrants: People who recently moved to the U.S. but haven’t established credit.
  • Mass-affluent: People who earn more than $100,000 per year and pay with cash instead of credit.

Mobile Payments In US To Reach $ 3 Trillion Within Two Years (Payment Week), Rated: A

in 2015, mobile payments in the US represented $550 billion. That’s good by most any standard, but the growth expected is staggering. By 2020, that number is projected to hit $2.8 trillion. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 percent, which is far beyond most any but the most unlikely investments.

China represents $5.5 trillion in mobile payments use as of right now, a combination of various societal factors like a comparative eschewing of the personal computer in favor of the mobile device, as well as a near-ubiquity of locations that accept the system.

BREAKFORM | RE Closes a Small Lot Subdivision Development in Record Time Via Crowdfunding (PRWeb), Rated: A

BREAKFORM | RE closed its latest small lot subdivision development project in the prime West Hollywood adjacent neighborhood in record time using Equity Multiple, one of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms. The offering was 145% subscribed in 72 hours.

Credible Appoints Chris Bishko as Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Chris Bishko as chief financial officer. Mr. Bishko will report to Credible’s founder and CEO Stephen Dash.

New York Lawmakers Open to Revisiting the BitLicense (CoinDesk), Rated: B

A bill to reform the regulation could be introduced “very soon,” State Senator David Carlucci told CoinDesk.

But what is likely to remain is the animosity toward the BitLicense, as evidenced by the small but dedicated protest gathering outside just before the roundtable began, not to mention the grievances aired by the two dozen or so attendees.

United Kingdom

Transaction volumes increase 700pc at fintech firm Revolut (Independent.ie), Rated: AAA

Fintech start-up Revolut has seen its monthly transaction volume increase by over 700pc in the last 12 months to $1.5bn (€1.2bn).

Lendingblock Aims to Popularize Crypto Lending in a Secure and Transparent Way (cryptovest), Rated: AAA

Lendingblock aims to become the first to build a marketplace where cryptocurrency lenders meet borrowers, and can exchange their assets across blockchains. The platform aims to bring securities lending to the crypto economy. The current estimates of the market paint a picture of enormous potential for development: in 2017, $2 trillion of assets on loan in traditional securities lending brought approximately $4 billion in revenue. Replicating this in crypto could generate up to $300 million within 3 years as the project notes in its white paper.

 

Britain’s big banks play catch up with fintech with new apps (Reuters), Rated: A

British retail banks are poised to introduce money management apps to compete with those already launched by financial technology start-ups, betting their trusted brands, broad client base and deep pockets will help them make up lost ground.

NatWest sets up network of fintech accelerator hubs (Finextra), Rated: B

The UK’s NatWest is launching four specialist fintech accelerators based in its Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester sites.

China

Screws to tighten further on non-bank lending (The Standard), Rated: AAA

China will tighten its crackdown on illegal fundraising to fend off financial risks, according to an inter-agency meeting.

European Union

European Fintech Alliance raises bank API fears (Finextra), Rated: A

The European Fintech Alliance has fired another broadside in its tussle with the financial services establishment over PSD2, raising fears that banks will develop substandard APIs as a way to fend off competition.

Specifically, the alliance of 74 fintechs, challenger banks and fintech associations is unhappy that the Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2 allow banks the possibility to be exempted by their National Competent Authority from having to accommodate licensed Third Party Payment Services Providers (TPPs) to access accounts via the so called fallback option in case of malfunction of the API.

International

Marketplace lenders worldwide raised nearly bn last year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL marketplace lending sector saw nearly $9bn (£6.45bn) invested across 233 deals last year, marking a new funding record for the industry.

Consultancy firm Fintech Global, who compiled the data, found that equity investment in the sector rebounded to $8.9bn last year after a slowdown in 2016. The total was boosted by the top 10 deals, which raised a combined $4.4bn.

The second half of the year was strongest for funding, with the largest deal of the year closing in the fourth quarter when Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender Lufax raised $1.2bn.

Online lender ID Finance bolsters security with beahvioural biometrics (Finextra), Rated: A

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, is incorporating behavioural biometrics into its AI-based fraud scoring engine to eliminate fraud, boost loan approvals and reduce the incidence of non-performing loans.

The behavioural biometrics system studies the unique typing and behavioural patterns users display during the loan application process to capture a range of patterns. These include mouse movements, to how fingers interact with a keyboard. The biometrics record patterns such typing speed, typos, flight time between keys, keystroke depressions, as well as the patterns from actual input.

Celsius: Get Dollars When You Need Them or Get Paid to HODL (cryptovest), Rated: A

The global financial system is wobbling. Banks and other traditional financial institutions have so far managed to survive the crisis resulting entirely from their errors, greed, and arrogance. Now, many believe, they won’t live through the crypto revolution unless they embrace it.

Meet the Celsius Wallet – a combination of a digital wallet and a peer-to-peer lending platform where members can earn passive interest on their crypto holdings and use them as collateral to get loans in fiat currencies.

Australia

‘Essential’ brokers advising Xinja on mortgage strategy (TheAdviser), Rated: A

The chief executive of banking disruptor Xinja has revealed that mortgage brokers have been involved in the group’s home loan plans and will be “essential” to its strategy.

The crowdfunded online lender recently received an Australian credit license (ACL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and plans to utilise the broker channel to facilitate its digital home loan approval process.

Mortgage franchise sees decline in loan settlement (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

Mortgage franchise Yellow Brick Road posted a 2% decline to $7.74bn in loan settlement volume in the first half of FY18 over the previous period as it reduced its number of branches.

Overall, the company delivered 85% growth in profitability, with net profit before tax increasing to $0.53m in the first half of FY18 over the same period of FY17. It cited higher revenue – up by 5% – and lower costs – down by 4% – as drivers of its result.

The company also expects the addition of a small business lending product through its partner Prospa to provide additional revenue opportunities for its network and support growth in commercial lending.

India

P2P platforms as NBFCs gaining popularity in small cities, but there’s a catch (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

P Kanwal is from Punjab’s Bhatinda. He has a furniture business which mainly deals in cash, because of which it was difficult for him to get a secured loan from the formal banking system. For him, a Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform came as a rescue, which got him an unsecured loan for his kid’s education and expanding his business.

This not just the story of Mr Kanwal, but many more small entrepreneurs who are operating their businesses in Tier-1, Tier-2 cities and far-flung areas, some not even on Google map, who are getting financial support through P2P lending.

The pattern that emerges currently from the P2P lending is that borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed through the platform. The new-to-credit borrowers comprise 35% of fulfilled borrowers, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number.

MENA

Peer-to-Peer Lending Startup Blender Raises Million in Debt Financing and Equity (CTech), Rated: AAA

Israel-based peer-to-peer lending startup Blender P2P Israel Ltd. has raised $16 million in equity and debt financing, the company announced Monday.

Latin America

Airfox Launches Mobile App in Brazil, Giving Unbanked Access to Financial Services (PRWeb), Rated: A

Airfox, a mobile financial services company, today launched its free Android app in Brazil, giving millions of people unprecedented access to much-needed financing solutions.

More than 44 percent of Brazil’s population is unbanked, another 30-44 percent lack sufficient access to mainstream financial services, and those with credit cards face interest rates upwards of 200 percent (sources: World Bank, Bloomberg).

Canada

Big banks strive to give better digital financial advice (BNN), Rated: AAA

CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid discusses the Canadian banks’ quest to deliver quality online financial advice in an effort to catch up with the digital age.

Africa

PayJoy Partners With Vodacom & CBA to Bring Smartphone Financing to Tanzania (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced this week it has teamed up with Vodacom and CBA to bring smartphone financing to the country of Tanzania.

PayJoy Teams Up With Allied Mobile to Bring More Smartphones to Africans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced on Friday it has teamed up with mobile distributor Allied Mobile to bring affordable smartphone payment plans to markets across the continent of Africa. According to the duo, Allied Mobile will use PayJoy Checkout, an instant paperless finance system for customers without access to formal credit, and the patented PayJoy Lock which enables “pay-as-you-go” access to the phone. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Solving the Data Problem for Prepaid Mobile Users With Microloans

AirFox

4 billion people, about 60% of the world, remain offline. Affordability is the biggest underlying problem in allowing the poorest to enjoy the power of the Internet. For 3 billion pre-paid mobile users in developing countries, data still remains out of reach. For instance, in Nigeria, 500 MB of data is costlier than health care […]

AirFox

4 billion people, about 60% of the world, remain offline. Affordability is the biggest underlying problem in allowing the poorest to enjoy the power of the Internet. For 3 billion pre-paid mobile users in developing countries, data still remains out of reach. For instance, in Nigeria, 500 MB of data is costlier than health care or education. And in countries like Brazil and Mexico, you need to work between 8 to 40 hours to earn 500 MB of mobile data. This is too big of a trade-off.

Also, around 2 billion of the world’s population is underbanked. As a result, they have no means to transact using formalized currency. So this unbanked and underbanked population executes their daily transactions using other risky, expensive, and unconventional ways, which also hinders the economy.

Airfox is trying to solve both of these problems with its unique platform.

Who is AirFox?

AirFox was founded in January 2016 by ex-Googlers Victor Santos and Sara Choi, and has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Santos has been a technology entrepreneur with expertise in telecom, mobile, and adtech gained at Google and three different startups. Choi, a Harvard University alumnus, was product marketing lead at Google Partners before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey.

Last year, the company raised $1.2 million in seed capital from Project 11, Launch Capital, NXT Ventures, and TechStars. In August 2017, looking forward to its vision to launch the new blockchain platform AirToken (AIR), they raised $6.5 million in an ICO presale from a diverse investor set including crypto investors, angel investors, and early backers. AirFox plans to raise around $15 million through the token sale.

AirFox Products

AirFox products consist of several seemingly unrelated items, but they are interconnected by the complete vision of the company founders:

  • AirFox Browser – The AirFox browser allows users a means to earn AirTokens by surfing the internet. These tokens can then be converted into air time, mobile data, and other digital goods. They can also be leveraged for getting microloans. When it comes to granting microloans to the mobile subscribers, AirFox will use ICO funds to develop a micro-lending program where they evaluate users on their mobile behavior, device data payments, and browsing history. The company will use this data for its proprietary algorithms to assign a credit score to users. Based on the score, AirToken holders will be able to borrow money against the tokens and build a credit history for themselves. AirFox charges 10% of the total transaction.
  • AirFox Mobility – AirFox Mobility is an easy-to-apply and cost-effective platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for mobile operators. This allows them to be nimble service providers who are able to provide tailored and flexible data offers to users.

The company provides three different kinds of plans for mobile operators.

  1. Sponsored plans – Brands pay the carrier and its subscriber by sponsoring data. It’s a win-win for all parties as the advertiser gets connected with real customers and in return subscribers get free data while the carrier gets to monetize its user base who earlier could not afford to buy data.
  2. Zero-Rated plans – AirFox offers a freemium business model where the carrier or any third party can sponsor the data usage of a particular application for a specific period of time.
  3. App Plans – AirFox also offers app-specific data passes for subscribers. For example, a one-day data pass for WhatsApp costs just 99 cents.

The AirToken Platform

AirToken is a new Ethereum ERC20 token that allows users to have free access to mobile internet through advertising and micro-spotting. AirToken thus becomes the currency representing mobile data, but the unique thing is that it can also be converted into digital goods and services, and even used for microloans.

The platform has been designed for low-income communities who have been underserved or have no access to banks. There are approximately two billion people unbanked and four billion underserved worldwide. These people are yet to receive mobile internet access due to lack of affordability. AirFox helps prepaid mobile subscribers get access to the internet and micro-finance products at much cheaper rates.

Advertisers and lenders sponsor the platform to gain access to AirFox users. AirFox has a lot of advertisers on board through its partnerships with ad networks like Rubicon and Facebook. AirFox has integrated over 500 carriers comprising nearly 80% of the world’s prepaid subscribers. Since its inception, its B2B platform has empowered more than two million unique US prepaid mobile subscribers to reduce their mobile bills and has facilitated mobile carriers in structuring flexible data plans. After gaining a foothold in the United States, the company is now launching its business in Brazil and subsequently Southeast Asia, starting in Malaysia, to target the underserved and underbanked.

AirFox’s Partnership with Pareteum Corporation

AirFox has partnered with Pareteum Corporation, a leading international provider of mobile networking software and services to the mobile network and Internet-of-Things (IoT) industry. The aim is to deliver mobile data accessibility to AirFox’s customers.

Under the terms of partnership, the AirFox mobile platform was integrated and embedded with Pareteum Mobile Cloud Platform. Service revenue generated through users opting into advertisement and sponsored content will be collected by AirFox and paid to Pareteum. Pareteum will pay mobile operators their share of revenue.

Maintaining an Upper Hand Over Rivals Through the Blockchain

Though there are multiple microfinance startups, and many harnessing the power of the smartphone for disseminating funds, AirFox is the first company to use the blockchain for that purpose. The Ethereum platform allows for uniquely customized smart contracts, which saves on infrastructure, a key pain point when dealing in loans worth only a few dollars. Its “AirFox Browser” business model is another critical factor in the company’s success as it allows for building credit models on real-time user data. Despite the competition, the developing world market is massive, and there is enough space for all players to grow.

Blockchain is disrupting the fintech sector, and many companies are starting to successfully integrate blockchain in their lending models. Not only would it allow lenders to serve borrowers more cost effectively, but it would also eliminate the need of the traditional credit-scoring ecosystem to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers. AirFox is a case in point as it will evaluate data to determine creditworthiness, data which is generated by borrowers as they browse the internet using AirTokens.

AirFox’s Future Plans

AirFox is looking to close its ICO sale in 4-6 weeks. Moreover, the micro-lending platform is on track for launch by the end of Q1 2018. In Q3 2018 it plans to extend the use of AirTokens to a wider network of publishers and advertisers. The company has an innovative business model and a successful ICO will give it the funds to roll out the business aggressively across the developing world.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Thursday September 7 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors

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

robo-advisors

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United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DOOMED TO FAIL

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

Source: Financial-Planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overview

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

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

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

Read the full survey results here.

LendingRobot CEO exits (Geekwire), Rated: A

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

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

Legislative Update 162 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

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

Read the full report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights from my conversation with Andrew:

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


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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MENA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada

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

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

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

Africa

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Prosper

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper performance update for July 2017.Top Mozido executives quietly left company.White House OKs delay of fiduciary rule.Funding Circle kicks off 12M marketing campaign with TV ad.LATTICE80 to open London fintech hub.Klarna profits up 130%+.RateSetter hits 2,000 broker milestone. Today’s main analysis: Millennials prefer auto, personal loans to credit cards. Today’s […]

Prosper

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

South America

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Prosper Performance Update: July 2017 (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Today we are sharing performance data from the Prosper portfolio for July 2017.

Our risk team implemented a credit tightening in July aimed at removing certain populations of borrowers from originations on a go-forward basis. As a result of this credit tightening, the overall distribution of the book shifted slightly towards lower risk loans. This slight shift resulted in an overall portfolio coupon decrease of 45bps and an overall return estimate decrease of 26bps.

Additional highlights from the July Update include:

  • Charge-off levels in 2016H2 vintages continue to show meaningful improvement compared to 2016H1 vintages.
  • Periodic delinquencies moved higher for 2016 and 2017 vintages.
Source: Prosper

The Top Executives Of Former Fintech Unicorn Mozido Have Quietly Left The Company (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The top two executives of Mozido, a financial technology company that raised some $300 million to develop a mobile payments business, have quietly left the company.

On its web site, Mozido currently lists Todd Bradley as its CEO, but Bradley said in a brief interview that he left the company in June. Bradley’s departure appears to have left Mozido without a chief executive officer. Bradley has also left Mozido’s board but the company’s web site still lists Bradley as a director.

Scott Ellyson, Mozido’s chief financial officer who is listed on Mozido’s web site as its second-most senior executive, has also left the company, according to Bradley. Ellyson’s LinkedIn page currently does not mention his time at Mozido. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Three weeks ago, Michael Liberty, the founder of Mozido, was sentenced to four months in prison and a $100,000 fine by a federal judge. Liberty pleaded guilty in November 2016 to making illegal campaign contributions.

Digitalization Among Factors Pushing Millennial Credit Preferences Toward Auto and Personal Loans (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

As the first generation to be fully immersed in mass-market digitalization, Millennials are slowing their credit card usage while increasingly using other credit products such as personal loans. A just-released TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy found that Millennials are carrying on average two fewer bankcards and private label cards than Generation X (“Gen X”) consumers at the same respective ages. Conversely, Millennials’ appetite for new auto and personal loans has grown at a faster rate than Gen X borrowers at the same age points.

Credit Cards Out of Fashion; Cars and Personal Loans in Style

The study found that, in addition to carrying fewer credit cards than Gen X consumers, Millennials also are maintaining lower balances on those cards. TransUnion analysts believe that this is partly driven by the CARD Act of 2009, which limited the marketing of credit cards on college campuses. The increased use of debit cards also plays a role in this shift. The study pointed to recent Federal Reserve data, which found that debit card transactions grew from 8 billion in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015. In contrast, credit card transactions only increased from 16 billion to 34 billion in that same timeframe.

Source: TransUnion

Millennials and Mortgages

Among all major credit products, the mortgage market has been the slowest to recover from the Great Recession, with home ownership rates still below levels observed in 2009. Overall, homeownership is down 0.8% since the Recession, but this number grows to -1.6% for 35-44 year olds and -2.1% for those under 35.

As a result of credit access being limited and, per the U.S. Census Bureau, affordability being affected by income gaps between the two generations, TransUnion’s study found the percentage of Millennials opening mortgages between the ages of 21-34 (5%) is nearly half of the Gen X group (10%) when they were that age. TransUnion observed a smaller but still material gap (13% for Millennials vs. 16% for Gen X) within the Super Prime risk tier, suggesting that this dynamic is not driven solely by credit supply.

TransUnion’s study found that access to mortgages has declined dramatically for 21-34 year olds. In 2000, 39% of mortgage originations in this age range were comprised of non-prime borrowers.  In 2016, non-prime borrower originations declined to 20%.

Further impacting mortgage originations to Millennials are lower income levels. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income of consumers ages 25-34 declined from $60k in 2000 to $57k in 2015.  The impact can be seen in the housing status of these consumers: a larger portion of younger adults ages 25-29 are living with their parents, rising from 15% in 2000 to 25% in 2014.

Despite these challenges, a TransUnion survey of 1,340 consumers in July 2017 found that nearly 75% of Millennials ages 23-37 said they plan on purchasing a home in the future.

White House OKs DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: AAA

The Office of Management & Budget of the White House has approved the Department of Labor’s request to push back the final implementation date of its fiduciary rule — originally scheduled for January — to July 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Banks Send Warning Signs for Economy (WSJ), Rated: A

Being a key transmission mechanism for savings, investment and spending, the banking sector is worth watching as a barometer for the health of the overall economy. Lately it has been acting as one would expect toward the end of an expansion phase.

Most glaringly, after strong lending growth for several years, momentum clearly is slowing. In its quarterly report on the sector, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found that total loans and leases by banks and other insured institutions rose by just 3.7% from a year earlier at the end of June. That is the third consecutive quarterly deceleration and is down from a 6.7% pace of growth a year ago.

After a period of strong lending, it is also typical for defaults to start ticking up as levels of indebtedness rise and bills come due. This is indeed happening, at least among consumers. Credit-card charge-offs soared by 24.5% in the second quarter, according to the FDIC, marking the seventh straight increase. Charge-offs on loans to commercial and industrial borrowers, however, declined by 9.7%, possibly due to a recovering energy sector.

‘Madden fix’ bills are a recipe for predatory lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Currently pending in both houses of Congress are versions of the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act of 2017 — bills that would “fix” the 2015 appellate court decision in Madden v. Midland Funding LLC. Unfortunately, these so-called legislative solutions are based on a faulty reading of case law.

The Madden case held that National Bank Act preemption of state usury laws applies only to a national bank, and not to a debt collector assignee of the national bank. The decision has potentially broad implications for all secondary markets in consumer credit in which loan assignments by national banks occur: securitizations, sales of defaulted debt and rent-a-BIN lending.

Unfortunately, the “Madden fix” bills are overly broad and unnecessary and will facilitate predatory lending.

The actual “valid-when-made” doctrine provides that the maker of a note cannot invoke a usury defense based on an unconnected usurious transaction. The basic situation in all of the 19th-century cases establishing the doctrine involves X making a nonusurious note to Y, who then sells the note to Z for a discount. The discounted sale of the note can be seen as a separate and potentially usurious loan from Y to Z, rather than a sale. The valid-when-made doctrine provides that X cannot shelter in Y’s usury defense based on the discounting of the note. Even if the discounting is usurious, it does not affect the validity of X’s obligation on the note. In other words, the validity of the note is a free-standing obligation, not colored by extraneous transactions.

Recovering Non-Performing Loans: Better Options (Lend Academy), Rated: A

A small business lender knows that a certain percentage of loans will become NPLs and typically has parameters the business must stay within to remain profitable. The lender may pursue NPLs on an in-house basis indefinitely past the charge-off date or turn them over to a collections agency at some point. Both options create problems in the fintech business model.

The best recovery option for online small business lenders is to manage NPLs in-house until they become charge-offs, then use the services of a reputable commercial debt buyer. This is how it works.

  • The lender works with the commercial debt buyer on a one-time basis, periodically, or in a forward-flow relationship where NPL information is sent regularly to the buyer.
  • A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is signed and the lender provides information to the buyer on the pool of non-performing assets. This includes the number of accounts and amount of outstanding balances.
  • Buyer assigns a value to the NPLs and offers a price.
  • Lender signs the purchase agreement. Typically, buyers in forward-flow relationships will send payment within 24 hours.
  • Reputable buyers then work to collect the debts over time, without using the lender’s name and in a sensitive manner, and without reselling the debt.

TEN-X PARTNERS WITH MONEY360 TO OFFER FINANCING SERVICES FOR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION MARKETPLACE (Money360), Rated: A

Ten-X Commercial, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, today announced that it has partnered with Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender focused on commercial real estate (CRE), to offer financing for properties available for sale. The partnership will expand the investor pool for commercial properties listed on Ten-X by giving prospective buyers assurance they will be able to procure the necessary financing to fill the deal’s capital stack, while providing sellers and their brokers increased confidence that once terms are agreed upon, buyers will be able source a loan and close the deal.

Under the agreement, Money360 will work with Ten-X to determine which commercial properties listed on the Ten-X platform are appropriate for pre-arranged financing, and will then pre-underwrite bridge and/or permanent loans for qualifying properties. The lender’s offers will be listed on the Ten-X property detail page, informing prospective buyers about the available financing terms. After the property trades, Money360 will work with buyers to underwrite, process and close the loans to facilitate the transaction.

Non-Prime Boomers Struggle Financially, but Less So Than Other Generations (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Despite the widespread perception that Baby Boomers (ages 51-64) are struggling to make ends meet more than any other generation, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class has found that Baby Boomers are actually struggling the least. In fact, Baby Boomers are the most likely to have steady employment and run out of money less often, compared to data from previous studies.

“These findings come as a surprise, as they are counter-intuitive to many of the trends we have seen widely covered around Baby Boomers,” said Jonathan Walker, executive director of Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class. “Recently, it was reported by the Federal Reserve that Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce in such large droves that they are skewing employment numbers, but we’ve found that 60 percent of non-prime Boomers have had no employment change in the last 12 months, compared with 59 percent of Gen-X and 43 percent of Millennials.”

But even though they struggle less than other non-prime generations, they are still facing challenges in the new economy, especially when compared to their prime counterparts. Non-prime Boomers are more likely to hold more than one job and are 10 times more likely to run out of money every month.

Additional key findings include that – compared to their prime cohorts – non-prime Boomers are:

  • 2.2x as likely to say that their finances cause them significant stress
  • 4x as likely to live paycheck to paycheck and 1 in 6 use payday loans
  • 14x as likely to express difficulty predicting monthly income and are 2.5x more likely to overdraft on bank account
  • 3x as likely to take a loan against their 401k
  • 46 percent less likely to go on vacation
  • More likely to be living in households with 3 or more working adults

How Gen Z Will Affect The Future Of The Peer To Peer Economy (Forbes), Rated: A

Born in the mid-1990s to late 2000s, Gen Z accounts for one-quarter of the U.S. population. They are considered the most diverse and most multicultural generation the U.S. has ever seen. The highly influential Gen Zers are the first digital native generation. They are already impacting the current peer-to-peer (P2P) economy and will have an enormous effect on how this economy evolves.

Gallup study found that about 8 in 10 students in grades 5 through 12 reported that they wanted to be their own boss rather than work for someone else.

Additionally, a millennial branding studyreported that 72% of high school students and 64% of college students want to start their own business.

PUBLIC COMPANIES MAKING ICO-RELATED CLAIMS (Investor.gov) Rated: A

The SEC may suspend trading in a stock when the SEC is of the opinion that a suspension is required to protect investors and the public interest.  Circumstances that might lead to a trading suspension include:

  • A lack of current, accurate, or adequate information about the company – for example, when a company has not filed any periodic reports for an extended period;
  • Questions about the accuracy of publicly available information, including in company press releases and reports, about the company’s current operational status and financial condition; or
  • Questions about trading in the stock, including trading by insiders, potential market manipulation, and the ability to clear and settle transactions in the stock.

The SEC recently issued several trading suspensions on the common stock of certain issuers who made claims regarding their investments in ICOs or touted coin/token related news.  The companies affected by trading suspensions include First Bitcoin Capital Corp.CIAO GroupStrategic Global, and Sunshine Capital.

RealtyShares Reports: $ 10.3 Million Raised for Industrial Real Estate Deals in San Francisco and Boston MSA (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online real estate marketplace RealtyShares announced on Tuesday the closing of two industrial real estate financing transactions in San Francisco and Boston MSA. The amount raised between the deals was $10.3 million.

RealtyShares stated it secured  $8.7 million industrial debt loan for a San Francisco located mixed-use, industrial warehouse and office space in the city’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood.

Westlake Financial Services Embraces Clarity Services’ Clear Fraud to Enhance Its Auto Lending Nationwide (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Following impressive results using Clear FraudTM to mitigate losses in targeted auto lending transactions, Westlake Financial Services has expanded its relationship with Clarity Services to strengthen its auto portfolio nationwide.

Westlake, which has a network of more than 50,000 new and used auto and motorcycle dealers throughout the United States, began testing Clear FraudTM a year ago in select markets. The California-based finance company has enhanced its profitability by using Clear FraudTM to provide loan terms that are more attractive to both consumers and dealers.

By incorporating Clarity’s credit data, Westlake is able to more accurately price and structure deals with profitable loan terms, and determine down payment requirements. Westlake’s use of Clear FraudTM helps the lender evaluate subprime applicants with credit scores below 600. Clear FraudTM also makes it easy to integrate scores into Westlake’s existing scorecard.

AirFox Closes $ 6.5 Million AirToken Pre-Sale Weeks Ahead of Schedule (News BTC), Rated: A

AirFox, the company making mobile data and the internet more affordable for millions of people, today announced it closed its $6.5 million ICO pre-sale weeks earlier than scheduled. The ICO will open at 10 a.m. ET on September 19, 2017. AirFox will use the ICO funds raised to further develop and launch its new blockchain consumer platform, AirToken (AIR), in order to tokenize mobile access by unlocking mobile capital from the smartphone for the underserved and underbanked prepaid mobile subscribers in emerging markets.

FinTechs Give Banks A Wake-Up Call With Loan Disbursements (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Not too long ago, when small- to mid-sized business (SMB) Orion First, a business credit ratings firm, needed a loan, its only option was to visit a local bank, fill out myriad application forms and wait several weeks or months to (maybe) get approved. Fast forward to today, and the small business lending process has undergone a significant overhaul.

With a growing number of FinTech players competing in the lending space, small businesses now have improved access to a range of loan options — and, in most cases, funds are disbursed in as little as 24 hours.

New services that can expedite the lending process for companies like Orion First are already gaining popularity with SMBs and consumers who need short-term loans. The Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), a trade organization representing several companies in the space — including prominent players like small business loan provider Kabbage and financial consultant and insights provider PayNet — says its member companies have distributed more than $14 billion in capital loan disbursements to small businesses to date.

The millennial population is estimated at roughly 83 million, and a recent survey found almost half of millennials (49 percent) plan to start their own businesses within the next three years.

recent survey by YouGov found 81 percent of both retail consumers and SMBs who turned to digital lenders said the ease and speed of completing a loan application were the reasons they made the switch. In the same survey, 77 percent of respondents cited the rapid pace of loan decision making as the key appeal for these platforms.

3Q 2017 PitchBook Fintech Analyst Note: Marketplace Lending (PitchBook), Rated: B

Key takeaways & highlights:

  • Online lenders have faced increased competition from other more established fintech companies. Furthermore, banks such as Goldman Sachs have started their own lending arms
  • Publicly traded firms have made great strides in improving financials; the analyst consensus has Lending Club moving into positive GAAP earnings by year end in part driven by securitizations as a lower-cost source of capital
  • SoFi has made strides towards becoming more bank-like after adding mortgage loans, wealth management services and acquiring (and subsequently shuttering) online bank and money transfer service Zenbanx

Online Lenders Gain Traction By Partnering With Incumbents (ValueWalk), Rated: B

As the latest PitchBook fintech analyst note points out, some of the most notable companies are becoming more like banks, with SoFi the most prominent example, as it expands from student loan refinancing into unsecured consumer credit, wealth management and more. Yet as some online lenders establish a foothold, there are still significant hurdles to overcome.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle is kicking off a £12 million marketing bonanza with a Great British Bake Off TV ad (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Funding Circle is kicking off a £12 million ($15 million) marketing campaign with a prime-time TV advert during the Great British Bake Off.

A 30-second TV spot of a woman drumming will run during the premiere of the smash hit baking show on Channel 4 on Tuesday evening.

Singapore Fintech Hub LATTICE80 Announces UK Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a fintech hub owned and operated by Singapore-based private investment firm Marvelstone Group, announced on Monday it is set to open a fintech hub in London as part of its global expansion. The organization revealed that as of August 2017, its UK entity has been registered, but a suitable hub space remains to be found. It is currently in talks with relevant parties in the private and public sectors, with plans to secure and open a hub by 2018.

The evolution of the UK receivables market (AltFi), Rated: A

In particular, the UK market has lots of new entrants (now in excess of 100 providers) but the number of clients seems to be static at about 40,000-45,000. In order to remain competitive, lenders are required to compete on price and terms, which increases their risk and often reduces their return.

Customers also have more choice in the market, in that they have access to working capital both from banks and alternative lenders such as peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the non-traditional players in the market that are harnessing technology. The new generation of borrowers is more tech-savvy and more comfortable embracing P2P capabilities, which makes new players more attractive.

The funding pitfalls a small business owner needs to know (RealBusiness), Rated: A

Richard Spielbichler, ABL director North West, Independent Growth Finance

“The main pitfall to consider is whether the business has a USP that will protect their position in the market. Many businesses suffer from ‘me too’ syndrome, where their USP is very similar to an existing organisation.”

Angelika Burawska, COO, Startup Funding Club

“It depends on the type of financing. In the case of loans and various types of trade finance, the main pitfalls lie in payment terms, such as how much and when, late payment fees and what happens if a company fails to pay.

“In the case of equity funding, businesses have to pay attention to the valuation they raise which may be too high or too low; and the control rights they give to investors.”

China

There Is a Major Tech IPO Boom Happening, Just Not in the United States (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

In the first half, a total of 59 Chinese technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) companies sold shares through initial public offerings (IPOs), a surge from 10 a year ago.

In value, the firms raised a combined 25.8 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) in the first six months, five times the amount a year earlier, said the accounting firm in Shanghai.

The trend is a continuation of a boom that began in the second half of 2016, when there were 58 IPOs of such companies raising a total of 33 billion yuan.

Embracing Auto Finance Wave, Zhushang Financial Raised Tens Million RMB in Series A (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 25th August, Zhushang Financial, a P2P lending platform specialize in providing auto financing services, announced the closing of Tens million RMB in series A funding. Toulang Capital led the round, with participation from Cailang Capital. The “Zhushang Financial” brand has been upgraded from the “Zhushang Dai” brand and announced with this round of financing.

Zhushang Financial is based in Chengdu, a developed city in west China, providing P2P auto financing services for small companies and individuals. Currently, it has established branches in many western cities, including Chongqing, Guizhou Province, Kunming, Xi ‘an, Taiyuan and Lanzhou. Also, the company has signed agreements on depository with both Zhejiang Mintai Bank and Hunan Rural Commercial bank (Youxian Branch). Up to now, the total volume of the platform has reached over 500 million RMB.

According to the report of Central Bank, China’s auto financing market reached 700 billion RMB in 2016 and may exceed 1.85 trillion RMB in 2018. Its rapid growth comes not just from the wave of “car service”, but also from the policy support. Actually, according to the policy issued last year, the net loan assets must be small and dispersed, and since then auto finance has become a new hotspot of P2P lending industry.

sources said the SFC on the ICO advice Jianzhao pyramid schemes (Yicai), Rated: A

August 29, the first financial reporter from a block chain technology business executives were informed that the China Securities Regulatory Commission recently to some of the block chain enterprises on the ICO (Initial Coin Offering, virtual currency initial public offering) for advice, the current In the stage of collecting comments and discussions, the SFC expressed particular concern about ICO projects for pyramid schemes in the name of virtual currency.

Net mass transfer will go to the US IPO official response (01Caijing), Rated: B

According to Bloomberg News, Fintech Quantifiers currently selected JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley as US financial adviser to the US IPO, the IPO size of about 200 million US dollars.

European Union

Profits Up More Than 130 percent In Klarna’s Half-Year Report (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Klarna, the online payments firm based in Sweden, and one of the unicorns that came of age with a more than $1-billion valuation, posted results Friday detailing growth for the first half of the year.

The company said that net profit came in at 228 million crowns, or about $28.4 million, up 138 percent year over year, on sales of 2.05 billion crowns.  Sales were up 21 percent.

Klarna Celebrates Year-Over-Year Sales, Profit Gains (Finovate), Rated: A

On Friday the company reported sales and profit results for the first half of 2017 that represented gains of 21% and 138%, respectively. The strong financials come amid a series of headlines that show the Swedish payments company making strides on a number of fronts. This includes rumors that Klarna is partnering with Stripe to better access the U.S. market. Such a partnership would make Klarna the only non-credit card option available on the platform, and enable customers to take advantage of Klarna’s signature “pay after delivery” service. A deal between Klarna and Stripe also would provide what an anonymous source quoted in Nordic Business Insider referred to as “potentially an important piece of the puzzle” of Klarna’s plan for expansion in the U.S.

Swedish Tech Bank Klarna Launches ‘Smoooth’ Brand (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Last year, Klarna launched the “Smoooth” campaign with a series of award winning and critically praised advertisements showing just how smooth payments should be. Now Klarna takes the next step by fully implementing the concept of “Smoooth” across all aspects of the brand. This includes not only a new logo, graphic identity and checkout touch-points but towards a completely new user experience – transforming rational payment transactions into an emotional shopping experience for consumers.

Ice-cream melting on warm car hoods, shampooed long-haired dogs and pencils being pushed into huge jelly pastries. Klarna`s new identity is definitely not your average bank speaking.

“We are on a journey to transform Klarna from a traditional payment provider to a stronger consumer brand. Our new identity is more modern and expresses our focus on the consumer experience, innovation and simplicity in payments. It’s time for a new kind of bank.” Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna

This is not only an update of the visual identity of Klarna but also changing the way consumers interact with the company. The concept of “Smoooth” will be evident when watching an ad or pushing a button to pay in the Klarna app. Every Klarna touchpoint has a new unique graphic and will be smarter and more intuitive. That will ensure a better user experience for consumers, but will also support in driving growth, conversion and consumer loyalty for all  Klarna merchants.

There are three intuitive ways to shop with Klarna:

  • Pay now. – Pay directly at checkout. No credit card numbers or passwords to remember.
  • Pay later. – Try first, pay later. Klarna lets you have 14 days or more to decide if you want to keep your goods or not.
  • Slice it. – Get all your payments on one invoice and choose how much to pay each month.

As of today, Klarna has released all touchpoints that can be updated automatically, and over the coming months will continuously roll out “Smoooth” updates to the touchpoints of all merchants.

PitchIt @ LendIt Europe 2017 (LendIt), Rated: B

Submit your application to PitchIt, a competition for fintech startups, taking place at LendIt Europe–one of the largest international lending and fintech conferences in Europe. This exclusive programme will nurture emerging talent throughout the competition, provide selected finalists with unparalleled access to industry expertise as well as invaluable exposure, branding and more at the event.

Deadline for applications is 4 September 2017.

International

NEW REPORT: Faster Disbursement Services From Alt-Lending Players Put Banks On Notice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The August edition of the PYMNTS.com Disbursements Tracker™, powered by Ingo Money, highlights several notable developments that explain the waning influence of the paper check, and how new disbursement tools could impact the workplace, pension systems and mobile payment options.

The August edition of the PYMNTS.com Disbursements Tracker™, powered by Ingo Money, highlights several notable developments that explain the waning influence of the paper check, and how new disbursement tools could impact the workplace, pension systems and mobile payment options.

Hike recently added a digital payments wallet to its app, allowing money transfers between customers using the country’s United Payments Interface (UPI) service. Skype is another messaging service helping users quickly send money to one another using popular payment option PayPal. The partnership between Skype and PayPal enables users to send money to fellow Skype users in 22 countries, including the U.S., Canada and more than a dozen nations in Europe, through PayPal in the Skype mobile app.

Australia

Australian SMEs are turning to alternative sources of funding (Finder.com.au), Rated: AAA

Australian businesses are turning to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and online loans for finance, according to new research from Businessloans.com.au. The Small Business Credit Surveyconducted by ACA Research, found that the most sought-after alternative funding source was equity finance (34%), followed closely by online lenders (30%) and P2P business loans(21%).

However, while small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are embracing alternative sources of capital, not all of them are receiving the loans they hope for. The survey revealed that while 84.1% of businesses were successful in their applications, less than half of those (38.9%) of those were approved for all of the credit they applied for.

It is interesting to note that the number of businesses which were declined a loan is only 1.6% of respondents. The remaining 14.3% of the “unsuccessful applicant” group was approved for less than half of the loan they had asked for. Over one-third of this group (35%) had applied for more than or equal to $250,000.

The survey found that a rejected application seriously affects a business. Respondents that did not receive the full amount applied for delayed or could not expand their businesses (34%), delayed or were not able to fulfil existing orders or contracts (27%) or did not hire new employees (17%).

 

P2P lender reaches 2,000 brokers (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has accredited 2,000 brokers on its lending platform, amidst a rise in P2P popularity within the general public.

Lending volumes through the broker channel, especially in auto and home improvement loans, are doubling every six months, according to the lender’s most recent settlement figures.

Across the direct and broker channels, RateSetter has also passed $150m in lending facilitated since 2014. In the last five months alone, lending grew 50% across both channels, passing the $100m milestone in March.

Source:: BrokerNews.com
India

‘Future-ready’ Industrial Policy to be out in October (The Hindu), Rated: A

The other “illustrative outcomes” are developing alternatives to banks and improving access to capital for MSMEs through ‘Peer to Peer Lending’ and ‘Crowd funding’, providing a credit rating mechanism for MSMEs to provide them easier access to funds, addressing the problem of inverted-duty structure and also balancing it against obligations under multilateral or bilateral trade agreements, studying the impact of automation on jobs and employment, ensuring minimal/zero waste from industrial activities and targeting certain sectors to radically cut emissions.

Asia

Dianrong and FinEX Asia Launch Asia’s First Fintech Asset Management Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Dianrong and FinEX Asia today announced the launch of Asia’s first financial technology (fintech) asset management platform. FinEX Asia was established in 2017 to connect Asian investors with US consumer lending assets, such as credit card loans.

FinEX Asia combines its risk management expertise with Dianrong’s advanced fintech capabilities to give Asian investors access to a diverse and attractive portfolio of U.S. consumer lending assets. FinEX Asia’s fintech solutions offer advanced risk modeling capabilities, blockchain data security, performance monitoring, and secondary marketplace liquidity.

Seminar: Regulating Peer-to-Peer Lending to SMEs (Asian Development Bank), Rated: B

Event | 12 September 2017ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

This seminar looks at the regulation of P2P lending in the US, People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the UK, and discusses how regulators can help develop P2P as a safe and effective source of financing for SMEs.

Register here.

South America

Top VC funds in Fintech in Argentina (TechFoliance), Rated: A

Currently, Argentina has four major investment funds that have Fintech companies within their portfolios.

  1. NXTP
  2. Kaszek – Founded in 2011, it recently announced the release of a third fund of $200 million to be used for young technology throughout the region. To date, Kaszek has invested USD 1.4 billion in 43 companies, including Nubank, Brazil’s largest digital bank.
  3. Wayra
  4. Incutex
Canada

RBC WANTS TO USE AI TO GIVE CUSTOMERS FINANCIAL ADVICE (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Canada’s largest bank has announced that its mobile banking app will soon provide users with “actual insights about our client’s financials and a fully automated savings solution that uses predictive technology to identify money in a client’s cash flow that can be automatically saved.”

Dubbed ‘NOMI Insights’ and ‘NOMI Find and Save,’ the services are currently in a pilot release. A full launch is expected later this fall.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Three and Six Month Period Ended June 30, 2017 (Newswire), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses, announced today its results for the three and six month period ended June 30, 2017.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Loan originations for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 were US$26.2 million versus originations of US$31.8 million for the same period last year. Loan originations decreased by 17.8% due to changes made to the Company’s lending policies in response to increased delinquency levels. We anticipate that these changes will have a positive impact on our loan portfolio over the course of 2017. For the first half of 2017, loan originations amounted to $48.2 million, representing a decrease of 15.7% over the origination of $57.1 million for the same period last year.
  • As of June 30, 2017, IOU’s total loans under management amounted to approximately $65.7 million as compared to $79.6 million in 2016. On June 30, 2017, the principal balance of the loan portfolio amounted to $41.6 million compared to $35.5 million in 2016. The increase is consistent with the Company’s strategy to retain more loans on its balance sheet. The principal balance of IOU’s servicing portfolio (loans being serviced on behalf of third-parties) amounted to approximately $24.1 millioncompared to $44.1 million in 2016.
  • IOU recorded gross revenue during the second quarter of $4.4 millionversus $3.5 million for the same period last year, representing a 24.5% increase. The increase in gross revenues was primarily driven by a 55.3% increase in interest income from $2.4 million in 2016 to $3.7 million in 2017, as a result of an increase in the size of the loan portfolio. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, gross revenues improved to $8.7 million compared to $6.8 million for the same period in 2016.
  • Interest expense during the three-month period ended June 30, 2017increased by 44.3% to $1.0 million, up from $0.7 million over the previous year. The increase is attributable to an increase in borrowings under the credit facility partially offset by a reduction in the cost of funds borrowed versus the previous year. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, interest expense amounted to $1.9 million compared to $1.3 million in 2016.
  • Provision for loan losses (net of recoveries) increased to $2.4 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017, up from $1.2 million for the previous year. The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in defaults by borrowers and partially due to an increase in the size of the loan portfolio. To improve loss performance, IOU Financial has made changes to its lending policies and deployed its next generation proprietary IOU Risk Logic Score. In addition, the Company has implemented certain process changes to improve its servicing and collections which includes an aggressive litigation process against businesses who intentionally default on their loan obligations. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, IOU recorded a provision for loan losses of $4.3 million compared to $2.0 million in 2016.
  • Excluding non-recurring costs, operating expenses decreased 18.1% to $2.5 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017 as compared to $3.1 million for the previous year. During the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the Company adopted a plan to reduce operating expenses. The Company is on track to achieve its target of quarterly operating costs of $2.0 million to $2.2 million on a normalized basis in the third quarter. In the second quarter, IOU recorded non-recurring costs of $0.5 million related to vendor contract cancellations and impairment of intangible assets. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, operating expenses amounted to $4.9 million, excluding non-recurring costs, compared to $6.0 million in 2016.
  • IOU closed its second quarter 2017 with a net loss of $2.1 million, or $0.03per share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million or $0.02 per share during the same period of 2016. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, the net loss amounted to $3.1 million versus $2.8 million in 2016.
  • IOU closed its second quarter 2017 with an adjusted net loss of $1.3 million, which excludes certain non-cash and non-recurring items, compared to an adjusted net loss of $1.1 million in the second quarter of 2016. For the first half of 2017, the adjusted net loss was $1.9 millioncompared to an adjusted net loss of $1.6 million for the same period in 2016. Assuming the cost reduction plan was fully implemented on January 1, 2017, IOU’s pro forma adjusted net loss for the three-month and six-month period ended June 30, 2017 would have been approximately $0.8 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
Africa

Should established banks fight or assimilate to tech? (African Business Magazine), Rated: AAA

The same quandary that now faces established banks stood before landline telecoms operators 15–20 years ago. In terms of fintech, it seems likely that the answer will become clear over the next few years, as different banks adopt different strategies.

Global consultancy Accenture calculates that fintech threatens more than a third of traditional banks’ revenue. Due to the march of technological innovation and the emergence of more attractive investment regimes, the challenge posed by fintech is only likely to grow.

Fintech is not just a threat to established banks but also to other companies in the financial services sector. Visa, for instance, is built on technology developed during a previous financial technology revolution, and should be able to capitalise on the fintech boom.

Other attempts to integrate the two worlds include PayDunya, an online payments system that allows African e-businesses to accept payments from credit and debit cards, as well as mobile money wallets. Similarly, Yoco provides retailers with an integrated card acceptance and point-of-sale solution, incorporating a mobile app, and either wireless or plug-in card reader.

Some established banks have sought to compete by becoming incubators for fintech. Standard Bank and Barclayshave both launched startup support programmes, with the most successful companies taken under their wing at the end of their periods of support.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor