Wednesday February 14 2018, Daily News Digest

OnDeck gross revenue

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck becomes profitable. NepFin launches first online commercial lending platform for U.S. market. MoneyLion has 2 million customers. Sequoia China leads $40M DataVisor Series C. Moody’s reviews CommonBond for upgrade. Today’s main analysis: Review of OnDeck Q4 2017 earnings results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The Future of Lending. Is investing RateSetter Isa worth it? Genie ICO: The […]

OnDeck gross revenue

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

OnDeck swings to profit, eyes second bank partnership (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The New York-based small-business lender recorded net income of $5.1 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, which compared with a $35.9 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2016.

OnDeck, which has recorded $94.5 million losses over the last two years, is cutting costs in an effort to achieve profitability.

Review of OnDeck Q4 2017 Earnings Results (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In the fourth quarter they generated $5 million of GAAP profit. To put this in perspective, this is $41 million better than the prior year period. This puts them on solid footing as they look towards priorities for 2018. Originations for the quarter were $546 million, up 3% from the prior quarter.

Source: Lend Academy

Gross revenue came in at $87.7 million, up 7% year over year. Gain on sale revenue or revenue from loans sold on OnDeck’s marketplace to investors totaled $0.6 million. Other income totaled $3.5 million, up slightly from $3.4 million in the previous quarter.

Source: Lend Academy
Source: Lend Academy

Full Year 2018

  • Gross revenue between $370 million and $382 million.
  • GAAP Net income (loss) attributable to OnDeck between $(2) million and $10 million.
  • Adjusted Net income between $16 million and $28 million.

First Quarter 2018

  • Gross revenue between $86 million and $90 million.
  • GAAP Net income (loss) attributable to OnDeck between $(5.5) million and $(1.5) million.
  • Adjusted Net income between $1 million and $5 million.

OnDeck Flips To Profitability Much To The Market’s Delight (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Originations were up 3 percent over the previous quarter to $546 million.

Loans sold or designated as held for sale through OnDeck Marketplace represented 3.9 percent of term loan originations. Provision for loan losses was $34.4 million and the Provision Rate was 6.4 percent, down from Q3’s 7.5 percent.

Gross revenue increased to $87.7 million, up 7 percent year-over-year, while net revenue was $42.1 million, up 159 percent year-on-year.

The cost of funds rate was 6.5 percent, which was a slight increase over Q3. OnDeck noted that figure will likely continue to tick up during 2018, as the Fed is forecast to keep raising short-term interest rates.

Online lender OnDeck’s profit beats on lower costs, shares soar (Reuters), Rated: B

Shares of OnDeck Capital Inc (ONDK.N) soared on Tuesday after the online lender reported better-than-expected quarterly profit as it set aside less money for bad loans, and managed to keep costs lower.

NepFin Launches First Online Commercial Lending Platform for -Trillion U.S. Market (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Neptune Financial Inc., or NepFin, a financial services firm, announced today that it has launched the first online commercial lending platform for mid-sized U.S. businesses, creating a new source of credit as well as business software solutions for a large, thriving sector of the economy whose borrowing options are limited.

NepFin also announced that it has raised a $10-million Series A round led by Sands Capital Ventures with participation from its existing investors. Michael Raab, Partner at Sands Capital, will join NepFin’s board, which already includes Third Point’s David Bonanno, currently a board member of SoFi, as well as Robert Schwartz, Managing Partner at Third Point Ventures. This round brings NepFin’s total capital raised to $13 million.

NepFin, whose platform has digital solutions built from the team’s years of experience in online lending and traditional finance, says that its focus is on one of the most underserved sectors of the broader U.S. economy – businesses with between $10 million and $100 million in revenue. NepFin provides loans of up to $60 million.

LendingClub at the Watermark Conference for Women (LendingClub), Rated: A

LendingClub is excited and proud to be a sponsor of the Watermark Conference for Women being held on February 23rd in San Jose, California. As part of the agenda, two of our Client Advisors from the Business Loans team, Mana and Somie, will be leading roundtable discussions with women entrepreneurs on the core elements to consider when exploring small business financing options.

Forbes Fintech 50 2018: The Future Of Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Affirm, San Francisco

Makes instant three, six and 12 month loans for purchases from 1,500 online merchants. A handful of sellers subsidize 0% rates, but most loans carry annual interest rates of 10% to 30%.

Bona fides: More than 1 million loans issued. Partners include Wayfair and Expedia.

Better Mortgage

Digital-only mortgage originator estimates the loan an applicant qualifies for within three minutes using stated income and a credit score check.

Bona fides: Fannie Mae and five of nation’s six largest banks buy its loans.

Blend

Speeds up the mortgage approval process at the nation’s largest lenders with its cloud based white label software.

Bona fides: Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp are already onboard

CommonBond

Online lender refinances and finances undergraduate and graduate student loans.

Bona fidesCommonBond has made $1.5 billion in loans, but says just two have gone into default.

GreenSky

Provides on-the-spot financing for home improvement projects (with loans up to $65,000) via a network of contractors and bank partners — without itself taking on the risk of defaults. Most borrowers don’t pay a dime in interest thanks to zero-interest promotional periods that last from 6 to 60 months. Recently began offering financing at doctor, dentist and veterinary offices.

Bona fides: Has facilitated over $10 billion in loans

Kabbage

Lending platform offers nearly instantaneous small business loans. Uses creative alternative data to underwrite loans–such as the number of UPS packages a business sends and receives over time.

Bona fides: Over $4 billion in originations to 130,000 small businesses

LendingHome

Four year-old online lender started out providing bridge loans to fix and flip housing investors, a historically underserved segment. With original product now available in 25 states, LendingHome has expanded into personal mortgages in 14.

Bona fides: $2 billion in loans made; 10,000 homes financed

Tala

Approves developing-world borrowers who lack a credit history for micro-loans of between $10 and $500 by crunching 10,000 data points—from financial transactions to mobile games played—from an applicant’s smartphone.

Bona fidesHas made more than 4.5 million loans, with a repayment rate above 90%.

Upstart, San Carlos, CA

Uses alternative data such as education, employment history and whether applicants know their own credit score to underwrite and price loans. After five years of training its algorithms, it now approves 47% of loans without human intervention and with some of the lowest default rates in the industry.

Bona fides: $1.5 billion in loans originated to 120,000 borrowers

MoneyLion Reaches 2 Million Customer Milestone As Growth Accelerates (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, today announced that it now empowers over 2 million customers to better their borrowing, saving and investing through personalized, AI-driven solutions. The growth of MoneyLion’s community is a reflection of the positive financial outcomes its customers have achieved and the platform’s unique approach to money management for everyday Americans.

The momentum behind MoneyLion’s customer growth follows a number of recent milestones for the company, including:

  • The December launch of MoneyLion Plus, a first-of-its-kind membership that combines guided savings, simple investing, access to low-cost loans, and personalized daily financial tips to help consumers build their credit, financial resilience, and first $2,000 in savings. MoneyLion Plus has democratized access to private banking-like services typically reserved for high net worth consumers, providing an opportunity for first-time investors to begin building wealth.
  • Completion of a successful $42 million Series B equity round in January, bringing MoneyLion’s total funds raised to $67 million. This financing accelerates MoneyLion’s continued development of innovative, inclusive financial products and services for America’s financial middle class.

Student lending platform on review for ratings boost (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Moody’s puts six tranches issued by CommonBond on review for upgrade.

Moody’s Investor Services has placed six tranches issued by CommonBond Student Loan Trust 2016-B, 2017-A-GS and 2017-B-GS on review for upgrade. The tranches are comprised of loans to students, and $488m of asset backed securities are affected by the review.

Dwolla Lands $ 12 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

In a short, three-sentence blog post, Dwolla CEO Ben Milne announced that the company closed a $12 million round of funding. The investment, which brings the Iowa-based company’s total to $51.4 million, was led by Foundry Group with participation from Union Square Ventures, Next Level Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, High Alpha, and Firebrand– all existing investors.

Fortress Balance Sheet: Goldman Sachs’ Online Lender Marcus Has Access to $ 17 Billion in Deposits (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

But today, Blankfein shared that Marcus now has access to over $17 billion in deposits representing a huge amount of credit firepower at an unbeatable cost to lend.

In a savvy move, Goldman acquired GE Capital’s retail deposits prior to launching Marcus. Since the acquisition, these deposits have grown an impressive 90%.

Secured Lender BlockFi Secures $ 1.55M Funding to Build Cryptoasset Ecosystem (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BlockFi, a New York-based non-bank lender that offers USD loans to cryptoasset owners, announced a $1.55 million raise from ConsenSys Ventures, Kenetic Capital, PJC, SoFi,  Purple Arch Ventures and Lumenary. The new capital injection will be used to bridge the gap between traditional debt capital markets and the cryptoasset ecosystem.

Five credit unions sign with new text messaging platform in January to enhance lending and operations (CUInsights), Rated: A

Shastic, a SaaS company specializing in banking-specific technology services, has signed on five new customers in the first month of 2018. The recent growth follows the fintech company’s early launch of Elle, the conversational text messaging platform built for credit unions. Elle is an expansion of their automation services to deliver efficient, real-time message communication between a credit unions and their members.

Data-sharing spec revised to encourage open banking (American Banker), Rated: A

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center announced Tuesday an attempt to move the ball forward on data sharing and open banking in the U.S.

The FS-ISAC on Tuesday released a new version of its technical recommendations for data sharing, the Durable Data API specification. This could become the standard banks and third parties adopt for PSD2-style data sharing and open banking. In fact, the new standard meets all of PSD2’s requirements, according to the security data-sharing organization. (However, PSD2 also requires third parties to register and agree to be overseen by a regulator, something unlikely to happen here.)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Finances (With Alexa) (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As anyone who has used an Alexa skill might know, the movement toward conversational finance, or financial conversations, is a tricky one, as specific instructions or questions (okay, they are commands, really) have traditionally been needed to spur the assistant to retrieve information.

To that end, USAA has sought to bring a natural cadence and flow to the conversation, one that builds, and built, on its experience in the PYMNTS Voice Challenge last year.

In play for customer data, TD Ameritrade rolls out Twitter trading bot (Tearsheet), Rated: B

The brokerage firm released a Twitter bot Thursday, allowing stock investors to execute trades, get market updates and browse educational content through direct messages. For the brokerage, encouraging traders who use Twitter to transact will give it, the hope is, a rich source of user data to offer personalized customer experiences and product recommendations.

Millennial entrepreneur strives to provide affordable financial advice to all (NewsOK), Rated: A

How to go about repairing your credit, reducing your student loan debt or obtaining the best mortgage loan now is available to you through a locally produced app.

The answers are among the widespread financial advice available to consumers nationwide through a new app called Coinmast launched by an Oklahoma City-based millennial entrepreneur.

At $11 a call, the tech startup offers such help from certified financial counselors, certified financial planners and certified public accountants whom Haller contracts nationwide. Experts, he said, offer advice on almost anything, excluding on individual securities, insurance and taxes.

Robo advice app Stash raises .5m Series D, releases investing for kids (AltFi), Rated: A

US-based micro investments app Stash has announced a $37.5m raise in Series D funding, led by Union Square Ventures. Existing investors Breyer Capital, Coatue Management, Entree Capital, as well as fintech familiars Goodwater Capital and Valar Ventures, also joined in on the round.

My Financial Advisor is a Robot (Direct Industry), Rated: A

Fintech company Moneyfarm uses cutting-edge technology as well as human financial expertise to help make investing simple, easy and cost-effective. The company also invests in artificial intelligence and machine learning and recently bought AI-driven chatbot Ernest. 

DirectIndustry e-magazine: What is the technology behind it?

Paolo Galvani: We use technology to match investors with investment portfolios that are specifically built for their investor profiles. Each new customer completes a survey during the sign-up process. The algorithms we have developed in-house match each investor to an investor profile that reflects their tolerance for risk. Investors are then paired with a portfoliothat is specifically built and managed by our team of investment experts to reflect the customer’s investor profile.

LPL rolls out robo-adviser to regional bank (InvesmentNews), Rated: A

Webster Bank, a $26.4 billion financial institution with branches in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York, announced that it would start offering access to Guided Wealth Portfolios, a digital advice platform developed by LPL Financial and BlackRock Inc.‘s FutureAdvisor.

Interest Doesn’t Always Bring Adoption of Robo-Adviser Tech (PlanAdviser), Rated: A

A new report published by Cerulli Associates examines the growth trajectory of the digital financial advice market that has occurred since 2015, finding there remains a clear inverse relationship between an investor’s age and their willingness to engage with purely digital financial advice platforms.

Scott Smith, director at Cerulli, notes that as of the third quarter of 2017, there is “greater openness to digital advice relationships, but a strongly negative correlation between age and interest remains.”

Cetera Financial Group Enhance Delivery of Advice-Centric Experience for Financial Advisors, Clients (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cetera Financial Group (“Cetera”)*, a network of independent firms supporting the delivery of professional financial advice, today announced that the six firms comprising its network will be organized under its newly-created Traditional and Specialty Channels. The formation of these two channels is expected to accelerate the ability of each network firm to support Cetera’s Advice-Centric Experience for advisors and clients, which envisions a financial advice profession driven by goals-based planning and solutions that help clients achieve more predictable outcomes on their journey to financial well-being.

Looking for Credit Union Student Loans? Here’s How to Find and Apply for Them (Student Loan Hero), Rated: B

MyCreditUnion.gov provides a map that makes it easy to locate credit unions in your area. Input your address to find a list of credit unions, directions to each location, and available member services. You can then contact local credit unions to find out about membership requirements and student loan options.

One of the best ways to research your options is to use LendKey. LendKey offers easy access to hundreds of different credit unions and community banks that provide private student loans.

You have the option of applying directly through a credit union that allows people to join from anywhere in the United States. Some examples of credit unions open to individuals nationwide include Alliant Credit UnionDigital Federal Credit Union, and First Tech Federal Credit Union.

United Kingdom

New Isa from RateSetter offers 6% return: is it worth investing? (Which?), Rated: AAA

With the new product form RateSetter, you could earn 3-6% interest on your investment, depending on how long you lock your money away.

RateSetter’s Innovative finance Isa allows you to invest up to £20,000 in a tax year.

It is a flexible Isa product, meaning you can withdraw money and replace it without using up your £20,000 tax-free savings allowance.

Say, for example, you put £10,000 into your innovative finance Isa and then withdrew £5,000. Under the rules, you could still deposit £15,000 without incurring tax.

The shortest duration investment rolls over monthly with an interest rate of 3.1%. The longest is a five-year investment, which currently has an interest rate of 5.8%.

Money goes to… Minimum investment Projected rate
Abundance Green energy projects £5 6-9% over lifetime of investment (3-5 years)
Advancr Public and private businesses £1,000 5-6% depending on length of bond
Basset & Gold Fixed income bonds £1,000 3-7% depending on product
CapitalRise Property development projects £1,000 10% or more depending on the project
Crowd2Fund Businesses £10 9%
Crowd for Angels Crowd bonds funding small businesses £25, but companies can increase that 12%
Crowdstacker Businesses £500, but set by borrowers 5-7%
Downing Crowd Fixed-term bonds for small businesses £100 4-7%
Folk2Folk Asset-backed loans to small, mostly rural businesses £20,000 5.5-6.5% depending on product
Funding Circle* Businesses £1,000 4.8-7.5% depending on selected risk level
FundingSecure Asset-backed sub-prime loans to individuals £25 Up to 16%
Goji P2P Consumer, business and property loans £5,000 5%
HNW Lending Asset-backed loans to individuals and businesses £10,000 6-15% depending on term and risk
Kuflink Property loans £100 5%
LandlordInvest Asset-backed loans to landlords £100 5-12%
Landbay Buy-to-let mortgages £5,000 4%
LendingCrowd Business loans £1,000 6%
Lending Works Individuals £10 3-5% depending on term
Money&Co. Businesses £100 8%
Mongoose Crowd Community energy projects £100-200, but can vary by project 4-7%
Property Crowd Commercial and residential developments £5,000 10%
Proplend Property of varying types £1,000 5-12%
Ratesetter Businesses, individuals and property developers £10 3-6% depending on product
Rebuildingsociety Small and medium-sized businesses £10 9.7%
Relendex Commercial and residential property loans £500 10%
UK Bond Network Businesses £5,000 11%
Zopa** Individuals £1,000 4-4.6% dep

Fintech group TruFin raises £70m (Finextra), Rated: A

TruFin, a British fintech and banking business with fingers in various niche lending pies, has raised £70 million through a listing on the LSE’s AIM market.

LendInvest unveils product transition process (BestAdvice), Rated: A

The Product Transition process allows existing borrowers to transfer between specialised loans that are tailored to support them at each stage in their development project.

Lendy returns £2.1m loan repayment from luxury property in Chelsea (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy returned a £2.1m loan repayment to P2P investors from a luxury apartment in Chelsea, on an investment made through Lendy.

Lendy appoints new head of finance (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Andrew Wawrzyniak has joined the peer-to-peer lending platform from Fund Partners, a fund manager whose clients include Octopus Investments, Pictet Asset Management and Russell Investments.

China

Sequoia China leads $ 40M DataVisor Series C (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

DataVisor, a provider of fraud detection solutions using unsupervised machine learning, today announced a $40 million Series C round of financing led by Sequoia China, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates and GSR Ventures.

Rock Wang, managing director at Sequoia China, will join DataVisor’s board of directors. With this new round of financing, DataVisor will expand its global footprint in the fraud detection and prevention market, which is estimated to reach $41.6 billion by year 2022 according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

European Union

Swedish Online Payments Company Klarna Shuts Down Tel Aviv Development Center (CTech), Rated: AAA

Swedish online payments company Klarna Bank AB (publ) will be shutting down its Tel Aviv development center during the next few months, the company announced Tuesday. All 31 of its employees in Tel Aviv were offered the opportunity to remain with the company and relocate to one of its Swedish or German offices.

Banco BNI Europa to invest with CrossLend (Finextra), Rated: A

Banco BNI Europa and CrossLend have launched a cooperation whereby Banco BNI Europa invests into notes issued by CrossLend Securities SA.

International

Barclays faces new charge, Triodos innovates and outlook for Citizens Bank in the US (Financial Times), Rated: A

Martin Arnold and guests discuss the latest charges against Barclays, Bevis Watts of the ethically-focused bank Triodos talks about his new UK peer-to-peer lending model and Bruce van Saun explains what US rate rises will mean for Citizens Bank.


 

Australia

DirectMoney Secures New Strategic Investment From Alceon For Growth & Innovation Initiatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian marketplace lending platform DirectMoney announced on Tuesday it secured a strategic investment from alternative investment manager Alceon to fund growth and innovation initiatives.

According to DirectMoney, the investment will be structured through an initial placement of $600,000 at $0.042 per share (being 14,285,715 new shares), a 56% premium to the price at close of trading on February 9th and equivalent to a 3.1% shareholding.

India

Why just rent when RentoMojo also gives you the option of renting and owning (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Online rental and financing marketplace RentoMojo, which lets consumers in eight cities lease furniture, two-wheelers and home appliances, has launched an additional  rent-to-own model. 

PE AND VC OPPORTUNITIES IN 21ST CENTURY INDIA (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: AAA

ARA Law, a firm based in Mumbai and Bangalore, India, has issued a paper on private equity and venture capital in that country.

The main text of the paper begins with sectoral analysis and market behavior. PE and VC investments in India declined in the early months of 2017, but they had started to pick up already before the end of the first quarter and in the third quarter investments by such vehicles “surprised the market with a tremendous jump in deal volume as well as value.”

In August of that year the deal value reached US$5 billion. The third quarter as a whole saw 129 deals of value greater than US$100 million, aggregating to about US$7 billion.

The most lucrative sector last year was e-Commerce, “in spite of the sharp fall in investments by the end of AY 2016,” followed by real estate. In the 3d quarter, e-Commerce recorded roughly US$2.6 billion in deals across 18 deals. Real estate?  US$2.3 billion across 13 deals. Banking and Financial Services? Third place in the league table with US $1.4 billion across 25 deals.

MoneyOnMobile Raises $ 5 Mn Funding From S7 Group (Inc42), Rated: A

Mumbai-based fintech startup MoneyOnMobile has raised $5 Mn in Series H funding from Russia-based private aviation and aerospace holding company S7 Group. The development comes just two weeks after the startup secured $7.6 Mn Series F funding from undisclosed investors.

Asia

Genie ICO: A Blockchain Network For Decentralized Business Loans (Global Coin Report), Rated: AAA

Genie was created to provide individuals based in Asia with a unique way to borrow and lend money for their business using a peer-to-peer system that is based on a blockchain network. The Genie ICO has been created by an experienced team after observing the rapidly changing Asian financial landscape ever since cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and blockchain technology grew to prominence in 2017.

The platform will also have its very own token Crowd Genie Coin (CGC) which will be generated via an ICO. There will be a limited supply of 120,000,000 tokens available. Of this amount, only 50 million will be available for purchase during the token sale. The rest of the tokens will be used for facilitating transactions on the platform, will be given to the founders, used for distribution, etc. All tokens that are not bought during the token sale, however, will be destroyed to increase the value of a single CGC.

The Genie team hopes to raise a total of $35,000,000 throughout the ICO and the value of 400 CGC tokens has been estimated to be of equal value of 1 ether, which at the time of writing equates to $858. This means that a single CGC is worth $2.15. However, the interested investor can invest a minimum of 0.1, which will attract a wide variety of investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Tayl

Tuesday August 22 2017, Daily News Digest

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments Today’s main news: PawnHero lands $9.7M financing. AltFi Data scoops equity investment, appoints advisory board. Funding Circle to launch new Autobid, Autosell lending features. SocietyOne celebrates fifth anniversary. Today’s main analysis: Peter Renton’s MPL results for Q2 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Amazon’s Alexa will upend wealth management. The future of banking investments. Will finance businesses jeopardize the credit quality […]

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • Instant gratification and real-time vacations. AT: “In 2005, my wife and I toured Germany by train. At that time, we had our laptops and managed to book hospitality services using the public railway system’s free wi-fi. We thought it was cool that we could plan a two-week vacation on the fly and move from one city to the next with minimal planning. Today’s technology is even better and more readily available for this type of ‘vagabonding’.”
  • International REITs.

Australia

APAC

Middle East

News Summary

United States

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q2 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

One could almost say my returns are in a downward spiral. Since peaking in Q1 2014 at 12.44% my returns have decreased pretty much every quarter and for the last two years that decrease has averaged around 0.5% per quarter.

This past quarter my overall returns stood at 7.28% and the returns for my original six accounts were 5.07%. My worst Lending Club account was my original account there and it came in at 1.95% for the year. The only good news, if there was any, was that I did not have a negative quarter in any of my accounts this quarter unlike in Q1.

Source: Lend Academy
  1. All the account totals and interest numbers are taken from my monthly statements that I download each month.
  2. The Net Interest column is the total interest earned plus late fees and recoveries less charge-offs.
  3. The Average Rate column shows the weighted average interest rate taken directly from Lending Club or Prosper.
  4. The XIRR ROI column shows my real world return for the trailing 12 months (TTM). I believe the XIRR method is the best way for individual investors to determine their actual return.
  5. The six older accounts have been separated out to provide a level of continuity with my earlier updates.
  6. I do not take into account the impact of taxes.

Lending Club

While Lending Club shows an 8.19% return I ignore that number and do my own calculation. My TTM return here is at an all time low of 1.95% but at least I have reversed what happened in Q1 when I had a negative quarter.

Prosper

Source: Lend Academy

Direct Lending Income Fund

The Direct Lending Income Fund continues to be my most consistent performer returning solid double digit returns every quarter since I started investing back in 2013.

How Amazon’s Alexa will upend wealth management (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Advisors wondering how Amazon will enter wealth management should look to its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, which is pitching the natural language processing, machine-learning brain behind its voice interactive service to wirehouses, broker-dealers and robo advisors.

Already, UBS has partnered with Amazon to enable clients and non-clients of the bank to get answers to financial and economic questions through Alexa.

The Future Of Banking Investments (Modest Money), Rated: AAA

I’ve actually had this subject on my mind for awhile. In my article “Customer Experience And Retail Banking: Why Banks Need To Enter The Modern World”, I discussed a day where my district manager came to show us the ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE OF LOBBY LEADERSHIP!!!!!!! I was rather underwhelmed by its importance, but overwhelmed by the fact that the banks were all putting such a heavy focus on greeting customers at the door and making each trip to the bank “an experience”

One of the downsides of the future of banks—and one of the things that might compel someone to avoid bank stocks—is that they are slow to change. They are loathe to change.

Other businesses are trying to please their customers. Banks are trying to please their regulators. Because customers don’t issue multi-million dollar fines on banks when they don’t get what they want.

A New Challenger Has Entered The Battle!

Businesses always have competition within their field. Banks are no exception. Banks compete with other banks to provide their services to the global market.

Except now, with fintech growing at a record pace, banks face competition from small fintech companies and major technology giants such as Google and Apple.

We’ve seen companies like Lending Club take the world of lending andinvesting by storm with their peer-to-peer lending services. LendingTree has changed the way people shopped for mortgages, and LendKey is fast becoming a leader in student loans by acting as a broker for not-for-profit lenders and providing full after-funding services. I wrote a review about LendKey here.

For non-lending companies that aren’t brought to you by the letter “L”, there’s PolicyGenius (an online life insurance broker). There’s Acorns, a “micro investment” company that takes each of your debit card purchases, rounds them up to the nearest dollar, and invests the spare change into your investment portfolio. And of course, there’s PayPal, the legendary online payments/money transfer company.

Of course, the fintech firms aren’t even the largest future competitors! Ironically, it’s non-financial technology giants that pose the greatest threat to the future of traditional banks!

Why I Think Bank Stocks Are A Great Future Investment

No, I’m bullish on banks because I think that they will adapt, in their own unique way.

Read the rest of this snarky analysis.

What Key’s fintech investments say about commercial payments (American Banker), Rated: A

Last week the Cleveland-based bank announced it had taken an equity stake in the fintech firm Billtrust, which provides digitized and automated accounts receivable capabilities for companies. The investment is one of a series the $134 billion-asset Key has made in the space in the last two years.

Other banks are also making an effort to enhance commercial payments capabilities. Wells Fargo, for example, in June announced that receipt imaging would be available for commercial card customers who use the bank’s commercial card expense reporting service, which allows them to upload and manage receipts directly on mobile devices. U.S. Bank also began offering corporate clients a virtual payments service, for employees who need to make a one-off work-related payment or who make purchases rarely enough that they don’t need a physical plastic corporate card.

Key is hoping that B-to-B payment solutions will make it stand out in the competitive landscape of commercial banking.

Making Friends with Fintech: Tips for Bankers (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: A

Time and reality have since set in, and the tone of the conversation has shifted away from “compete” toward “collaborate.” Banks increasingly see the value of capabilities developed by fintech firms, and those companies in turn are becoming better acquainted with the challenges of regulation and other barriers to bringing their products to market.

For banks, the wakeup call has been the realization that customers are coming to value—and expect—a frictionless banking experience. And if banks can’t provide that kind of frictionless experience, Henrichs says, they’ll turn to alternate solutions.

Keys to building a successful fintech strategy

1. Adopt the right cultural mindset.

First and foremost, the bank must have an appetite for innovation.

For some banks, this may involve a shift away from viewing fintech companies as simply third-party vendors or service providers, and instead as collaborators working side by side to develop something new.

2. Do something.

And size isn’t an excuse to sit back and wait, Henrichs adds. Rather, it’s about choosing an area of focus that makes sense for the bank in terms of available resources. While that may not always be a big, sexy innovation, banks can start by achieving smaller, incremental change—something as simple as building and beta testing a new email delivery system can help build up the bank’s “try and fail muscle” and help lay the groundwork for future, larger-scale projects.

3. Be forward-looking.

Consumers’ demands are shifting every day, and new products will continue to hit the market at an unrelenting pace. Knowing that, bankers must be able to keep an eye on the horizon.

Will the human-robo approach to wealth management become best practice? (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

According to the quarterly Fiserv “Expectations & Experiences: Borrowing and Wealth Management” survey conducted in June 2016, 49 per cent of consumers are interested in receiving financial advice from a robo-advisor.

However, there are limits to a robo-only approach. That is why we are witnessing an increase in wealth management firms that incorporate both digital advice and human advice to create a hybrid model, which is likely to become best practice in the industry.

Property Partner adds student assets to portfolio (Property Week), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform Property Partner has added student accommodation assets to its portfolio for the first time due to its high returns.

Online financial websites abound with free information (Lebanon Democrat), Rated: B

Annualcreditreport.com is a free website and app which will allow you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company.

Nerdwallet.com is another free website and app. The site offers financial tools and objective advice to help people better understand their financial options and make the best possible financial decisions.

Mint.com is a free website and app that helps you create budgets that make sense today and set you up for success tomorrow.

Bankrate.com is a free website and app that will help you find and compare rates on financial products like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, checking ATM fees, home equity loans and banking fees.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to Launch New Version of Autobid & Autosell Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, Funding Circle announced it is set to launch a new version of its existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools. Funding Circle will be eliminating the option to manually choose which businesses an investor may lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn. This is a significant shift in operation of the peer to peer lending platform as it begins to operate more like a fund.

Funding Circle created a new section on their web site dedicated to the explanation as to why they were moving away from peer to peer lending and becoming more like a fund by eliminating manual selection.

While many investors have enjoyed manually choosing loans, there are some drawbacks to it:

  • Many investors do not currently benefit from lending to all types of businesses.
  • It can mean your lending is not spread evenly across lots of businesses.
  • It can be confusing for investors.73% of new investors who join Funding Circle choose Autobid, and 80% of Funding Circle investors* say simplicity of lending is important to them.”

Regulatory spotlight on crowdfunding & P2P lenders (Moore Stephens), Rated: A

The FCA has launched a crackdown on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, in the coming months, aiming to ensure protection for retail investors within this heavily risk-associated market.

China

Finance businesses may jeopardise credit quality of internet companies, Moody’s says (SCMP), Rated: AAA

These operations could weaken the internet companies’ credit quality, especially if their finances are consolidated on the technology companies’ accounts, Moody’s Investors Service said.

That’s because most internet companies don’t generate enough profits from operating these businesses, and they lack a track record of holding borrowers accountable for timely payments on their loans, Moody’s said.

Source: South China Morning Post

Unruly and unregulated, nation’s Internet finance sector urgently needs supervision (Global Times), Rated: A

After years of explosive but unruly growth, the online finance market requires cooling through tighter regulation.

On the contrary, there were few regulations to guide or hamper China’s Internet finance industry, with no such requirements as reserve levels or loan-to-deposit ratios. The near-absence of regulation greatly lowered the barriers to entry for the sector, which witnessed both explosive expansion and high failure and fraud rates as it grew. Take P2P lending platforms, for example. As of the end of July, 5,916 P2P lending platforms had been set up in China, but only 2,090 were operating normally, with the rest either encountering liquidity problems or simply closing, according to statistics from wangdaizhijia.com, a P2P industry portal.

Views on Yu’E Bao: easy for payment but difficult in credit! (Xing Ping She), Rated: B

Ant Financial has a big market share in the online payments industry in China. However, its ambitions go far beyond that. Recently, Ant Financial was known to get involved in the credit market.

Ant Financial seeks to merge the gap between the Yu ‘E Bao account and the general bank account through the online merchant bank. It hopes to connect the supply and demand side of the credit in its own account system, just as the bank account do.

But it won’t be easy. The biggest difference between the credit business and the payment business is that the credit business is a heavy capital business and a highly regulated licence business with a strong social spillover effect.

European Union

Sweden Cryptocurrency Boom: Top 3 Swedish Fintech Startups To Watch (IBT), Rated: AAA

The Swedish startup Klarna made waves this summer by launching its own peer-to-peer payment app called Wavy and acquiring a full banking license, which sets Klarna apart as one of the few fintech companies able to compete with traditional banks head-on. TechCrunch described it as a $2 billion startup working the  700,000 e-commerce sites. In June, Visa Inc. announced it is buying a stake in Klarna plus forming a payments partnership. Klarna is now widely considered one of the world’s most promising fintech startups.

The Stockholm Fintech Hub is less than a year old and is now reportedly home to more than 200 startups, plus representatives from a few global players like IBM and Microsoft.

There is a small but growing demand for bitcoin in Sweden. Sweden’s central bank is even considering the merits of making its own national cryptocurrency. In the meantime, Safello aims to become the “ Coinbase of Europe,” since the European bitcoin landscape is far more diverse than North America in terms of regulation and user habits. Coinbase, arguably the world’s best funded bitcoin exchange, is already available in Europe. However, Safello sets itself apart by focusing exclusively on the needs of European users, including support in nine different languages.

So far, Schuil said Safello has facilitated $10 million worth of transactions involving tens of thousands of European users.

Klarna and Safello aren’t the only Swedish startups with the potential to completely overhaul how people interact with money. Among all the startups buzzing around Stockholm, Biohax International certainly stands out. Biohax CEO Jowan Osterlund told IBT his team has implanted 3,000 microchips in people’s bodies, usually their hands, most of which happened in the past year.

These microchips can be used for purchases like train tickets and food. The Wisconsin company Three Square Market now lets employees buy office snacks with the swipe of a bio hacked hand, while also using the chip as a workplace ID for office equipment.

AltFi Data scoops equity investment, appoints advisory board (AltFi), Rated: A

The transparency agenda in online lending has taken a step forwards, as another analytics firm raises capital. AltFi Data has raised an undisclosed sum of equity funding, in tandem to forming a new advisory board.

Roger Spooner and Peter Wilson will join existing backer and executive board-member Michael Baptista on the newly established advisory board. Spooner was most recently a member of the management committee at global data firm Markit, where he was head of global client management. Following a 20 year career in private equity, Wilson was the inaugural CEO of British Business Bank Investments, where he was responsible for £1.5bn of government investment. In this role he oversaw a number of early institutional investments within the UK’s marketplace lending sector.

Funding campaign aims to establish new co-working space in Dublin (Irish Times), Rated: B

Sona 10 Newmarket, which is located next to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, is being created in collaboration with the long-established Dublin Food Co-Op and will be hosted on its premises.

The brainchild of Adrian O’Connor, a Canadian entrepreneur who has lived and worked in the area for about a decade, Sona 10 has already raised some private funding to get the building open with some tenants already coming on board.

It is now seeking to raise an additional €25,000 via the Irish crowdfunding platform Flender to kit out the premises.

International

Real-Time Vacations: The Instant Gratification Of Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Being able to transfer money between accounts in real-time has become part of our daily lives, so much so that when these automatic services do not work, it becomes a problem.

Smartphones have become global standard: ‘conventional banking meant writing traveler’s checks and exchanging physical currency ahead of a trip, both of which are very expensive for the average consumer. Since then, new fintech providers – even in emerging markets – have dramatically increased the acceptance of foreign credit and debit cards,’ Likar said.

Vacationing in real-time is here: ‘you can now rent an apartment for same-day arrival on Airbnb or HomeAway, find last-minute dinner reservations through OpenTable, borrow a car near your location with Turo, and even book by-the-minute hotel rooms through the Recharge app.

Another aim of the fintech industry, in the same vein of the eradication of cash, is helping those that are unbanked and underbanked pay for services only available for those with credit cards. ‘Most airlines today accept payments from alternatives like PayPal. Other financial services companies, such as Affirm, offer three, six and twelve-month financing plans for customers who cannot afford to pay for the flight up front.’

WeSwap is a multi-currency card that can hold up to 18 different currencies, ensuring that consumers can lock in the exchange rate upfront rather than after the purchase,’ Likar mentioned.

International REITs: An Overlooked but Surging Asset Class (Investopedia), Rated: A

In the U.S., the real estate sector is one of the smallest groups in the S&P 500, but real estate investment trusts (REITs) are popular among income investors.

As WisdomTree points out in a recent note, a massive chunk of global real estate investments are actually found outside the U.S. (See also: Eyeing Emerging Markets REITs? See These ETFs.)

Australia

SocietyOne Celebrates Five Year Anniversary Of Helping Customers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australia-based online lender SocietyOne announced on Monday it is celebrating its five-year anniversary of helping customers achieve their lending needs. This celebration comes less than two months after the lending platform surpassed $300 million in total originations. The lender revealed that more than 13,000 customers thanks to $325 million provided by its investor funders.

APAC

PawnHero bags $ 9.7m financing, partners PLDT fintech arm (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Southeast Asia’s first digital pawn shop PawnHero has closed a $9.7 million (P500 million) financing deal with a Philippine investment bank even as it signed a partnership agreement with the fintech arm of telco giant PLDT.

Middle East

Ever a lender or a borrower be… (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The key to the banks’ risk taking ability is aggregation. The bank is able to get the deposits at scale and at the same time lend to a large number of customers most of which are likely to pay back. In a portfolio of loans, historically, only a small percentage is non-performing. The individual lender has so far not had the ability to create a portfolio. The start of crowdfunding a few years ago began to change that. Crowdfunding works in the area of providing returns through some level of ownership of either the product itself or the company which is promoting it. For individual investors seeking a stream of steady income on the other hand, P2P Lending or Marketplace Lending makes more sense.

However, the speed of growth of P2P lending outstrips that of traditional banking. An excellent December 2014 whitepaper, A Trillion Dollar Market By the People, For the People published by Foundation Capital, describes the blistering pace at which P2P lending grew from a base of $870 million dollars in 2012. Estimates of the size of the industry vary from between $100 billion to $200 billion. The whitepaper predicts that the market size will be about $1 trillion by 2025.

On average, P2P lending platforms like Beehive are able to reduce interest rate spreads between sourcing and lending money by about 400 basis points (4 per cent). That’s because players in this space do not keep the loans on their balance sheets.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor