Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest

bank technology

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust. Stripe debuts corporate credit cards. College Ave completes $300M securitization of private student loans. Yirendai issues earnings results. Today’s main analysis: Deregulating Fannie and Freddie (A MUST-READ REPORT FROM THE U.S. TREASURY). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Average FICO scores hit […]

The post Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

bank technology

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust (“SCLP 2019-4”). This is a $465 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4

Class

Preliminary Rating

Class Principal

A

AAA (sf)

$360,000,000

B

AA+ (sf)

$29,500,000

C

A+ (sf)

$47,500,000

D

BBB+ (sf)

$28,000,000

OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow to Deliver Keynote Address at 2019 LEND360 Conference (GuruFocus), Rated: A

OnDeck today announced that Chairman and CEO Noah Breslow will be a keynote speaker at the LEND360 Conference in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, September 26, 2019. Mr. Breslow will discuss industry trends in alternative data and how they are improving many aspects of online lending to small businesses.

Case activity for On Deck Capital, Inc. vs Beautyshea, LLC on Sept. 9 (Pennsylvania Record), Rated: B

‘Judgment Entered For $6,593.50 On 09-09-2019 236 Notice Of Judgment Sent 09-09-2019’

Payments giant Stripe debuts a credit card in its latest step into the financing fray (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Last week, when the popular payments startup Stripe made some waves with its first move into money lending through the launch of Stripe Capital, we reported that the company was also soon going to be launching a credit card. Now, that news is official. Today, the company is doubling down on financing with the launch of corporate cards for business customers.

College Ave Student Loans Completes $ 300 Million Securitization of Private Student Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Student loan marketplace, College Ave Student Loans, announced on Tuesday it has completed a $300 million securitization of private student loans, its third securitization and largest to date. According to College Ave, the transaction was oversubscribed attracting a broad and diverse group of repeat investors and new participants. Barclays and Goldman Sachs were joint lead underwriters on the transaction with Barclays serving as structuring agent and sole bookrunner.

The Deregulation of Fannie and Freddie; Rate Cuts; “Full Stack” Banks (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, the Trump administration released their long awaited housing finance plan that will privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The plan would require a significant recapitalization – up to $180 Bn.

Read the full report here.

Source: Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

Average FICO score hits all-time high (CNBC), Rated: AAA

For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.

Source: CNBC

U.S. Consumer Debt Surges on Jump in Credit-Card Balances (Bloomberg), Rated: A

U.S. consumer borrowing swelled in July by the most since late 2017 as Americans carried larger credit-card balances to fund both everyday and online purchases.

Total credit rose by $23.3 billion from the prior month, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. Revolving debt outstanding increased by $10 billion, also the most since November 2017, while the growth of non-revolving credit was little changed from a month earlier.

Kabbage Launches New Small Business Revenue Index (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Global financial service platform Kabbage announced this week the launch of its new Small Business Revenue Index. According to Kabbage, the index has two million live data connections the platform maintains across its customer base of more than 200,000 small businesses.

The Current State of the Small Business Lending Sector (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The companies that I view as pioneers in this space are Kabbage and OnDeck.

Although Kabbage and OnDeck were early to small business lending there are many other names in this space with varying models and scale including Funding CircleStreetsharesFundboxBlueVineBiz2CreditFundation and Credibly to name a few. LendingClub also has a small business lending operation but they primarily work with partners Funding Circle and Opportunity Fund today to originate these loans.

The Challengers of Small Business Lending

Probably the most recognizable name is PayPal and the Working Capital product which, according to deBanked, has surpassed OnDeck in small business lending volume.

Patriot Financial leads $ 15 million round for Numerated (American Banker), Rated: A

Numerated, the loan technology company that incubated inside Eastern Bank and spun off on its own in May 2017, has raised $15 million from bank investment fund Patriot Financial Partners. Existing investors Venrock, Fintop Capital and Hyperplane also joined the round.

TBF Financial Buys $ 60 Million in Commercial Debt from Major Online Lender (PR Newswire), Rated: A

TBF Financial purchased nearly $60 million in non-performing loans from a major online small business lender in recent transactions, CEO Brett Boehm announced today.

TBF bought the pools of post-charge-off loans as the highest bidder in transactions arranged through multiple brokers. In most cases, the company purchases directly from alternative lenders, equipment leasing companies and banks.

LendingTree Ranks the 50 Most Expensive Towns in America (NewKerala), Rated: A

No. 1 Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Total population 17,321
Median individual income $39,045
Median home value $674,600
Affordable housing costs for a median income earner $911
Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home $2,767
Median rent payment $1,441
Home affordability deficit -$1,856
Rent affordability deficit -$530

The DeFi trend is accelerating and gaining acceptance, with Coinbase joining the fray. The leading brokerage has created the Coinbase Bootstrap Fund, to boost DeFi projects. Coinbase will invest in two projects, the Compound crypto lending scheme, and the dy/dx crypto derivative exchange.

The 30-somethings guide to creating passive income (Ladders), Rated: A

You might not have $30,000 saved up to buy a rental property right now, but do you have $500? The beauty of REITs like DiversyFund is you can start investing for the amount of money you might drop on a new pair of shoes.

There are public and private REITS as well as funds classified as real estate crowdfunding. Compare your options and find the best one that works for you.

PeerStreet Named CRETech 2019 Real Estate Tech Award Winner (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate investment platform PeerStreet announced on Tuesday it won first place in CRETech’s 2019 Real Estate Tech Awards (RETAs for the Information & Intelligence – Crowdfunding category.

Zillow chooses Impac Mortgage COO Rian Furey to lead mortgage expansion (Housingwire), Rated: B

Zillow announced Monday that it is naming Rian Furey president of Zillow Home Loans.

Balboa Capital Continues Accelerated Growth, Adds 125 New Employees in First Half of 2019 (Yahoo! Finance), Raated: A

Balboa Capital, an online lender that specializes in equipment financing and small business loans, hired 125 new employees during the first six months of 2019 to accommodate the company’s rapid increase in new business and acquisition of several new strategic partners.

United Kingdom

Why crowdfunding may not be the great democratising force in investment after all (The Conversation), Rated: AAA

The digital revolution has had a huge impact on the way new and small companies are financed – and crowdfunding has been at the forefront.

Initially, crowdfunding brought great optimism that it would have a “democratising effect” on finance. On the one hand it would enable entrepreneurs excluded from traditional sources of finance to attract funding. And, on the other, it would provide new opportunities for people with even relatively modest amounts of money to invest. For example, private investors looking for higher returns than those available with high street banks have been attracted to various lending platforms – also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

Sonovate raises £110m to drive invoice finance (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Finance tech provider Sonovate is looking to expand internationally and deploy more working capital to SMEs and mid-market businesses after raising £110 million, reports Jane Connolly.

Spotcap find 77% of SME brokers are upbeat about Brexit (AltFi), Rated: A

Over three-quarters of commercial finance intermediaries in the UK expect the number of loans they broker to increase after Brexit, with more than half saying the number will rise “by a lot”.

In July Berlin-based online lender Spotcap asked 132 UK brokers, accountants and advisers about the future of SME finance in the UK, the results of which it published today as part of a report entitled The State of Commercial Finance in the UK.

FCA urges firms to prepare for no-deal Brexit and launches helpline (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FIRMS should prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, says the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as it launches a dedicated helpline for businesses.

The City watchdog, which oversees the peer-to-peer lending market as well as the rest of the financial servcies sector, says firms who have not prepared appropriately for the UK leaving the EU without a deal may see an impact on their business.

Foreign firms eyeing P2P market entry (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

REGULATORY consultancy Bovill has reported a steady stream of interest from new entrants to the peer-to-peer lending market, particularly from overseas firms.

Brown attributed the slowdown to the fact that P2P is a more mature market, meaning there was “less of a gold rush” for new players.

H&M extends Klarna ‘buy now, pay later’ service to the UK (Fashion United), Rated: B

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has extended its partnership with payment provider Klarna to the UK market, offering Brit shoppers the option to ‘buy now, pay later’.

New SME services added to Starling Bank’s marketplace (AltFi), Rated: B

Digital Risks is an insurance provider for small and medium-sized digital businesses, including cover for specific threats like commercial legal protection, cyber security, management liability, employers liability, public liability and professional indemnity.

While CyberSmart is a platform for SMEs to identify digital weaknesses and achieve their Cyber Essentials Certification, the government-backed accreditation for companies looking to protect against cyber threats.

China

Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) Issues Earnings Results (Mayfield Recorder), Rated: AAA

Yirendai posted its earnings results on Tuesday, September 3rd. The technology company reported $0.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.48 by ($0.24), Morningstar.com reports. Yirendai had a return on equity of 32.93% and a net margin of 15.30%. The firm had revenue of $322.89 million for the quarter.

LexinFintech Secures $ 300 Million Private Placement of Convertible Notes with PAG (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Chinese consumer financing platform LexinFintech announced on Wednesday it has entered into a convertible note purchase agreement with PAG issue and sell convertible notes in an aggregate principal amount of $300 million through a private placement. 

IceKredit Raises $ 47M in Pre-Series C Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

IceKredit, Inc., a Los Angeles, CA and China-based credit risk and credit management company, raised $47m in pre-Series C funding.

These Chinese Online Lenders Are Not For the Weak at Heart (GuruFocus), Rated: A

Beijing-based online lender Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) and Shanghai-based Paipaidai, or PPDAI Group (NYSE:PPDF), shares have been pummeled down to their lowest levels in the past year. Yet aside from receiving credit lines from large Chinese institutions amid China’s crackdown on fraud lending in their industry, both lenders appear to remain in a healthy state.

PPDAI — the older and bigger of the two lenders — came out strong in its recent quarter, beating earnings expectations. The $1.2 billion online lender reported it had 29% year-over-year growth in loan origination volume to $3 billion, compared to just 1.6% growth a year earlier.

Hexindai Announces Support For Regulators’ Decision to Include P2P Platforms in Central Bank’s Credit System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Hexindai (NASDAQ: HX) announced on Tuesday its support for the decision by industry regulators to include the country’s P2P platforms in the central bank’s credit system. The online lender reported that it believes this as a positive move for the P2P industry.

Sequoia-Backed P2P Lender Huobank Collapses As Beijing Mops Up Online Finance Risks (China Money Network), Rated: A

European Union

Banks raise concerns ahead of ECB meeting (Irish Examiner), Rated: A

The president of Germany’s powerful savings banks association, community lenders that dominate the country’s shopping streets, joined Dutch bank ING yesterday in criticising the ECB’s loose monetary policy.

Its 50 million customers have increased their savings by almost 5% since last year to €965bn which is roughly the size of the Dutch economy. With lending amounting to about €860bn, the banks are left with a chunky unused surplus.

Fintech Europe Selects Eight Startups for its Fourth Batch (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Fintech Europe, Plug and Play’s fintech-focused innovation platform based out of Frankfurt, Germany, announced today the eight startups selected for its fourth batch. The platform has grown its partner base to 11 Financial Institutions since its inception in May 2018. Together with Deutsche Bank, TechQuartier, BNP Paribas, Nets Group, UniCredit, Aareal Bank, Abanca, Danske Bank, DZ Bank, Elo, and Finablr, it runs two 12-week innovation programs a year.

CashDirector 

CashDirector SA is a technology company providing SMEs and banks with a Digital CFO integrated with on-line banking, helping with SMEs manage cash flow and accessing financing.

Credit Kudos

Credit Kudos is a credit bureau that uses financial behaviour to measure creditworthiness.

International

Technology Is Banks’ New Battleground (WSJ), Rated: AAA

European banks are spending vast sums on technology—but it may not be enough to defend against the incursions of bigger, richer American rivals.

U.S. lenders already dominate investment banking in Europe. The big risk for the continent’s banks is that slicker tech could give their American rivals a platform to make gains in lending to companies—the Europeans’ traditional stronghold.

This year, Europe’s banks plan to make technology investments worth in aggregate $77 billion, according to consulting firm Celent. That compares with $105 billion for their U.S. rivals. Faster, more seamless trading systems have long been a priority, but tech spending has shifted across business lines and from back office to front office. It can cover everything from maintaining decades-old systems to cutting-edge artificial intelligence.

Source: Celent

Wirecard Teams Up With Credibly to Digitalize Funding Disbursements (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Germany-based global provider of digital payments and commerce solutions Wirecard announced on Wednesday it is partnering with U.S. business funding fintech Credibly to digitalize funding disbursement. Wirecard claims to be one of the largest issuers of payout cards in the U.S. and is now offering fully digitalize solutions.

PwC to AM industry: disrupt yourself or face extinction (City Wire Selector), Rated: A

The European financial services industry is facing an ‘Amazonisation’ moment, in which those offering consumer-first solutions underpinned by sustainable finance will survive and the others will cease to compete.

That is the headline finding of 52-page report co-authored by PwC Luxembourg and Luxembourg for Finance, which investigated underlying industry trends and indicated that the European market is losing ground on its US and Asian peers when it comes to innovation and assets.

State of the Chain: Five Winning Use Cases for Blockchain in 2019 (U.today), Rated: A

Predictably it was Binance that stole the limelight, with the surprise launch of its eponymous lending platform, which was unveiled on Monday, August 26, and then proceeded to fill its initial lending quota of 200,000 BNB and 10 million USDT in a matter of seconds two days later.

Dharma and Compound have announced new products, while Coinbase has hinted that this will be the next vertical it expands into.

Lenders can enjoy annualized interest of up to 15%, which is significantly better than the negative rates they are currently offered on fiat savings and on negatively yielding government bonds.

Australia

Hopes fintech inquiry will ‘validate’ bank competitors (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

On Wednesday New South Wales senator Andrew Bragg successfully moved to secure a senate committee inquiry into the fintech and regulatory technology spaces, paving the way for a year-long review into how competitive Australia is in these sectors.

Chief executive of small business lender Lumi, Yanir Yakutiel, said the inquiry should focus on expanding the regulatory sandbox program, which is designed to help early stage fintechs test their ideas.

India

Five Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Instigating Paradigm Shift In Online Lending Space (Via.news), Rated: AAA

Currently, digital lending accounts for around 15% to 20% of the total lending market and could surpass 50% in coming years.

Asia

Chinese P2P Lending Companies Ventures to Vietnam (LearnBonds), Rated: AAA

This business model boomed in China, but following a regulatory clampdown by authorities on risky financial practices, the number of fintech and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the country dropped from about 1,900 a year ago to just 900 in May.

It now appears that some of these Chinese P2P lending companies have not necessarily disappeared. They simple ventured into new markets and in particular Vietnam.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), there were 40 peer-to-peer lending companies operating in Vietnam as of March. Of these, 10 companies are from China.

MENA

The opportunity of peer-to-peer lending in Lebanon (Executive Magazine), Rated: AAA

Through conversations with Lebanese entrepreneurs, business owners, bankers, and politicians, I have had a number of eye-opening discussions into the challenges and opportunities faced by Lebanon’s SME ecosystem. Given the country’s long-standing tradition in financial services and its large banking sector, I believe fintech—with solutions such as peer-to-peer lending, machine learning to personalize insurance solutions, and the use of artificial intelligence for wealth management—stands as a serious contender to unlock the funding challenges faced by Lebanon’s SMEs.

Latin America

SoftBank in talks to invest in Latam venture capital funds (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) is in talks with venture capital firms in Latin America to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in their funds, a move likely to speed up spending of a $5 billion regional venture capital fund, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

So far, SoftBank has only announced direct investments using the fund’s resources, injecting capital into Colombian delivery app Rappi, Brazilian lender Creditas, gym membership app Gympass and Mexican payments firm Clip, for instance.

Proptech Flat raises US$ 4.5 million pre-seed round led by ALLVP (Contxto), Rated: A

Contxto – Not only is the Mexican real estate industry huge but also outdated with many inefficient processes. Counteracting this, a new Mexican startup, Flat, recently raised US$4.5 million in one of Mexico’s largest pre-seed rounds ever.

Africa

Nigerian online-only bank startup Kuda raises $ 1.6M (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Nigerian fintech startup Kuda — a digital-only retail bank — has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding.

Canada

Peer to Peer Lender Lending Loop Tops $ 50 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Canada’s first peer to peer lending platform for SMEs, Lending Loop, has topped CDN $50 million in loans, according to a post by Brendon Vlaar, co-founder and CTO of the company. Lending Loop provides investment opportunities in debt-based securities to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

PayBright Raises $ 34M in Growth Equity Financing (FINSMES), Rated: A

PayBright, a Toronto, Canada-based fintech company, received a $34m equity investment from goeasy.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday August 1, 2018 Daily News Digest

Global Banking Executives Biggest Challenges

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC approves fintech charter. Microsoft, Nationwide invest in BlueVine. UK overtakes US in fintech investment. P2PFA members take in over 300M GBP from IFISAs. Today’s main analysis: Trump Administration hugs fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Online lenders, payment companies can act more like banks. How Revolut reduced fraud by 30%. Chinese P2P lending under severe challenges. Fintechs […]

Global Banking Executives Biggest Challenges

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

After years of debate, OCC to offer fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: AAA

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Tuesday that it would move ahead to consider special-purpose charter applications from fintech firms, ending the guessing game over whether the agency was serious about giving fintechs a federal option.

The decision, unveiled just hours after the Treasury Department released a report endorsing a national fintech charter, means fintech firms that opt for the charter could soon be regulated more like banks on a national scale.

Fintech Gets a Hug From the Trump Administration (Barron’s) Rated: AAA

The Treasury Department released a report today with more than 80 recommendations that are aimed at tailoring regulations for nonbank financial institutions and encouraging the development of financial technology.

Source: U.S. Treasury Department
Source: U.S. Treasury Department

Read the full report here.

Securitizations swell as marketplace lending matures (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

A report out of the Department of the Treasury on Tuesday notes that the growth of marketplace lending has fueled ABS deals in the sector.

Marketplace lenders have originated some $100bn in loans since 2014, with unsecured consumer debt accounting for 50% of total volume.

The strong pace of originations has fueled consumer securitization issuance, with the number of marketplace loan ABS deals ballooning every year since 2013.

Online Lenders and Payment Companies Get a Way to Act More Like Banks (The New York Times) Rated: AAA

Online lenders and other so-called fintech firms — including the payment processor Square, the online lender Lending Club and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase — have pressed for regulatory routes that would let them cut through the thicket of state and federal laws that govern financial businesses.

Heeding those requests, the Treasury Department released a 222-page report laying out the Trump administration’s view on how nonbank financial companies should be regulated. Hours later, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a national bank regulator, announced a new kind of charter that would potentially free such companies from the state-by-state approvals they currently need to offer loans and other financial products.

Source: Treasury.gov

Read the complete report here.

CSBS Responds to Treasury, OCC Fintech Announcements (CSBS) Rated: A

We appreciate the Treasury’s recognition of the vital role performed by state regulators in overseeing nonbank financial service providers. And we are pleased that Treasury noted the substantial progress states have made towards harmonizing the multistate experience for industry.

At the same time, we disagree with certain Treasury recommendations. We do not support creation of new federal rules or unauthorized federal charters that would seek to compromise the ability of state officials to apply and enforce state laws. And so, we disagree with Treasury’s recommended changes to the valid-when-made doctrine and the true-lender doctrine, and the creation of an OCC special purpose bank charter for fintech companies.

An OCC fintech charter is a regulatory train wreck in the making.

Microsoft’s M12 joins $ 12 million funding extension for fintech startup BlueVine (Venture Beat) Rated: AAA

Fintech startup BlueVine has added $12 million to its recently announced series E round of funding, bringing Microsoft’s venture capital (VC) unit M12 onboard alongside the VC arm of finance giant Nationwide.

The additional funding brings BlueVine’s total series E round to $72 million, after the company announced an initial $60 million cash injection just two months ago.

BlueVine has now raised around $590 million in funding since its inception, though it’s worth noting that around three-quarters of that came in the past year via debt financing.

Small-Biz Talks: StreetShares on Small Business Lending (Value Penguin) Rated: A

On average, veterans are getting, through us, about 2% to 3%lower interest rates than nonveterans. That’s an internal discount that we give. Comparing us to an OnDeck or a Kabbage, we are probably half the average APR of OnDeck and probably a quarter of Kabbage. They may disagree with that, but that’s our numbers.

Online Lending Needs More Regulation: New York Regulator (BNA) Rated: A

Notably, a group of lenders that is currently not subject to licensing – those making loans between 7 and 16 percent – would have to become Licensed Lenders. As a result, those lenders would have to complete the licensing process, pay the associated fees, and would then be subject to supervision and examinations by the NYDFS.

Additionally, any nonbank that lends to a New York borrower, either directly or through a partnership, would have to comply with New York’s usury limit. This rule is already in effect for servicers that acquire loans originated by banks, due to the Second Circuit’s decision in Madden v. Midland Funding. However, the NYDFS recommendation would potentially expand that rule to loans originated by lending companies organized by Native American tribes, among other situations.

Gusto raises $ 140 million to go after small business payroll and benefits with more gusto (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Gusto, which sells payroll, benefits and human resources management and monitoring services to small businesses, has raised $140 million in its latest round of funding.

The company said it will use the money to add new services to increase payment flexibility for employees. The company launched a new service called Flexible Pay, which gives employees a way to get paid no matter when a company’s pay schedule dictates. It seems sort of like a payday loan, where a percentage of the salary is taken by Gusto  for providing money upfront.

Elevate Credit, Inc. (ELVT) CEO Kenneth Rees on Q2 2018 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha) Rated: A

Before I catch on the specific highlights for Q2, I’d like to restate, as I usually do, our commitment to use technology and advanced analytics to be the most responsible lender in our space and to make a positive impact in the lives of our customers. As Slide 3 shows, we’ve now extended more than $5.9 billion in credit to more than 2 million nonprime consumers. We’ve come to call the 170 million consumers in the U.S. and U.K. who are credit constrained, the new middle class. And we’re proud to announce on this call that Elevate products have now saved our customers more than $4 billion over what they would’ve paid for legacy products like payday loans.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Issues FY18 Earnings Guidance (Press Oracle) Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) updated its FY18 earnings guidance on Monday. The company provided EPS guidance of $0.55-0.90 for the period, compared to the Thomson Reuters consensus EPS estimate of $0.72. The company issued revenue guidance of $790-810 million, compared to the consensus revenue estimate of $803.81 million.

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on ELVT. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Elevate Credit from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $11.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, July 24th.

Nobody Says ‘Zelle Me’: Banks Struggle to Catch Up to Venmo (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

A year in, Zelle’s reviews are mixed. Usage is up, but most banks haven’t signed on, meaning many consumers can’t use it without downloading a separate app. It also fell short of its goal to have 33 banks on the network by its first anniversary, and behind the scenes, it runs on plumbing that’s more than 40 years old.

Zelle’s rocky debut shows the challenges of trying to make alterations to an industry often slow to change and still weighed down by old infrastructure.

Go Midwest, young fintechs (American Banker) Rated: A

For startups, they are not the obvious places to settle down. While fintech is flush with venture capital, three states — California, Massachusetts and New York — gobble up 75% of all VC funds. Yet if there is a good time to go against the odds, it might be now. These days, it has become fashionable for venture capitalists to say they are scouting for opportunities beyond the coasts.

Most visibly, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, co-founded by AOL co-founder Steve Case, continues to make a splash by investing in all kinds of startups across America to promote growth and increase investment capital. As Case blogged, “People know that the future of America is tied to more than just three cities, and there is an eagerness, now more than ever, to address the investment gap.”

Bill to enhance poor credit scores will backfire, critics say (American Banker) Rated: A

Legislation to enhance credit scores by allowing consumers to include data about their monthly bills has broad bipartisan support, but some consumer advocates and others question whether the legislation may backfire on those it is meant to help.

The measure, which passed the House earlier this month and is authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is intended to allow consumers to benefit from positive information about lease, telecommunications and utility payments in their credit reports. An identical version has been introduced by Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the upper chamber.

A CEO used to think student loans were predatory, but he’s changed his mind (Business Insider) Rated: A

Last week, LendingTree acquired Student Loan Hero for $60 million. In an interview with Business Insider, Josuweit reflected on how his view of the student-loan industry had changed since launching his business.

Today, Student Loan Hero offers users financial-comparison tools and personalized advice for paying off student loans, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Josuweit said he had also softened his stance on student loans in general. Where he once saw them as predatory, he now considers them a valuable tool when used wisely.

Kroger stops accepting Visa credit cards at some stores (Cincinnati Business Courier) Rated: A

Kroger Co. has quit accepting Visa credit cards at some of its stores in a battle against rising fees charged by the credit card giant.

Blockchain’s Spring Labs Appoints Peter Tapling Chief Commercial Officer (Block Tribune) Rated: B

Blockchain’s Spring Labs names Peter Tapling, an identity and payments expert, as chief commercial officer and head of industry relations. He will be responsible for overseeing Spring Lab’s network development, industry awareness, partnerships and commercialization. He will report directly to CEO and Founder of Spring Labs, Adam Jiwan, and will be based in Spring Labs’ Chicago office.
United Kingdom

UK overtakes US on Fintech investment for first half of 2018 (Business Matters) Rated: AAA

The UK has overtaken the US in terms of fintech investment for the first half of the year, and taken the top spot in Europe to attract $16.1bn (£12.3bn) out of the EUs $26bn total.

Four of Europe’s top 10 fintech deals happened in the UK, which included a $250m raise by Revolut, $100m by eToro, $60m by Flender and $54m by Moneyfarm. Data provided by KPMG’s pulse of fintech report has allayed fears that Brexit would hurt the UK’s startup scene, as venture capital firms have cemented the UK’s position as a funding hot spot.

Fintech investment across the world reached record levels over the last six months, taking in $57.9bn across 875 deals. This was an increase of 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1bn overall.

P2PFA member platforms secure over £300m from IFIsa investments (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

Members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) have seen 28,000 Innovate Finance Isas (IFIsas) opened, with more than £300m of funds already under management, according to the latest figures.

The six P2PFA member platforms which offer an IFIsa are: 

• Crowdstacker
• Folk2Folk
• Funding Circle
• Landbay
• Lending Works
• Zopa

UK neobank Revolut has reduced fraud by 30% – here’s how (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based neobank Revolut launched disposable virtual cards in March , and has now reported that they resulted in a 30% reduction in card fraud cases.

Disposable virtual cards provide users with card details that get destroyed right after making an online purchase, and new details are made seconds after the previous ones are scrapped. This way, a merchant can’t charge the customer again, as they don’t have the person’s actual card information.

This fraud reduction announcement comes at the right time for Revolut. Earlier in July, we reported that the neobank had discovered potential money laundering activity on its digital payments system a few months back. It informed the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), suggesting that the severity of the issue was high, as conventionally companies just inform the NCA.

Source: Business Insider

FCA regulation sees an increase in consumer confidence for loans (Financial News) Rated: A

It’s an industry that has often come under intense scrutiny, but the high cost short term loans sector has seen a significant increase in consumer confidence. This comes as a result of the FCA facilitating dramatic changes and the enforcement of new regulations. In fact, a recent review by the FCA has stated that the noticeable improvements in the payday loan industry means that it will now not be reviewing this sector again until 2020. We take a look at the reasons why the FCA has successfully increased consumer confidence in the high-cost short term loan industry.

UK Regulators Taking Very Close Look At P2P Lending (PYMNTS) Rated: A

According to the U.K. Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), a self-regulating P2P industry group that includes most of the biggest names in U.K. marketplace lending, the country’s P2P lending industry had hit £9 billion in loan originations from the group’s members as of Q1 2018.

The figures also reflected having provided finance for approximately 50,000 businesses and 221,000 individuals overall, with a total investor count of about 150,000. According to the The Times of London, those figures are even higher – though they agree on the 150,000 investor count, they think about £10 billion in total loans have been underwritten.

Will New P2P Rules Hit SME Funding? (Forbes) Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s chief financial watchdog, has just spent months investigating the sector, where it has already intervened with new rules once to safeguard investors. Now the FCA says the sector has further problems that must be addressed, including poor standards of disclosure, opaque pricing structures, over-optimistic marketing claims and poor record-keeping. It is consulting on a series of potential reforms and has also warned individual businesses in the industry could be investigated for compliance failures.

Much of the regulator’s ire is reserved for the peer-to-peer lending sector, where online platforms facilitate loans from investors to consumers or small businesses. While defaults have been relatively rare – though the regulator points out most platforms have not been tested through a complete economic cycle – the FCA is worried that investors are sometimes being given false expectations about the returns they should expect.

QuickISA Launches Free Search Engine to Discover Profitable Savings and P2P Finance Schemes (Perfect Investor) Rated: A

Past economic turbulence, the recession, and the uncertainty over Brexit and its impact on future investments, has made it imperative for every investor to keep an eye on their investments.  Individual Saving Accounts (ISAs) are a great way to earn tax-free interest on your investment. But which ISA is the most profitable? This question can now be easily answered with the new online service offered by QuickISA.

Legal & General invests £3m in lendtech Smartr365 (FinTech Futures) Rated: A

Legal & General’s (LG) fintech business has made a £3 million investment in Smartr365, a Software-as-a-Service firm which supplies systems to the UK mortgage intermediary market.

Conor Murphy, director, Smartr365, says the new funding will be used for product development – such as its LendrConnect, a mortgage API service that allows brokers to submit mortgages.

China

The Chinese P2P Lending Sector Facing Severe Challenges Right Now (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Back then new platforms were launching pretty much every day as p2p lending became the hot new investment. The number of platforms grew to well over 3,000, a number that everyone agreed was not sustainable. But new platforms kept on launching, attracting both investors and borrowers with relative ease.

We all knew the party was going to end at some point and it looks like 2018 will be the year of reckoning. According to industry data provider, Wangdaizhijia (loosely translated as Online Lending House), platforms are failing at a rate of around five a day with 114 platforms shutting down between July 1 and July 24.

Xiaomi’s risky play with P2P lenders: another reason to be bearish (Kr-ASIA) Rated: A

But in the lead up to the company’s IPO earlier this month – which continues to be a rocky one – its founder LEI Jun went all in to deliver his bigger vision: Xiaomi isn’t a gadget maker, it’s an internet company. One that gathers data from a network of smartphones and other internet-enabled devices, and sells additional “online services” – things like utility apps and content, created by partners. In other words, a platform business built around the Xiaomi brand and gadgets ecosystem.

Well, large parts of China’s P2P sector were crumbling after a government crackdown. For some, it came too late – they had trusted sites with their savings in hopes of getting the promised returns.

Xiaomi had an explanation: It doesn’t have anything to do with those lenders. It only let them use its platform for advertising purposes.

European Union

Big Red Cloud becomes the latest SME to raise funds through Flender (Silicon Republic) Rated: AAA

Irish accountancy firm Big Red Cloud raises thousands in partnership with alternative-lending firm Flender.

Alternative-lending platform Flender has added another successful SME funding partnership to the pile, with Irish accountancy software company Big Red Cloud raising €31,500 in just 24 hours.

SMEs benefit from different lending models

O’Dwyer said it was encouraging to see the normalisation of alternative-lending models such as Flender as a credit option for SMEs and a novel opportunity for investors.

DGAP-News: Varengold Bank AG: Preliminary figures for first half of 2018 (Markets Insider) Rated: A

In the first half of 2018, the total assets increased significantly from EUR 445.2 million to nearly EUR 665.5 million. Customer deposits continue to be the dominant amount on the liabilities side with EUR 599.3 million and therefore 90%.

The company’s interest result increased due to the expanded lending volume from TEUR 2,047 in the first half of 2017 to TEUR 3,429 in the first half of 2018. The commission result remained almost constant at TEUR 8,108 in the first half of 2018 (30th June 2017: TEUR 5,818).

International

Fintech vendors keep reinventing themselves, and banks struggle to keep up (American Banker) Rated: AAA

There were 70 mergers and acquisitions among fintechs in the U.S., Canada and South America in the first quarter, and those deals were worth a combined $3.4 billion, according to a fintech investment report issued by KPMG on Tuesday.

The number of deals fell to 60 in the second quarter, but the total value rose to $5.8 billion. M&A activity in this field is expected to remain “very healthy [in] 2018 on the whole,” the report said.

The investment flow is also breeding new companies looking for bank clients. American fintechs, the report noted, attracted $14.2 billion in overall funding in the first half of 2018.

What that means for all banks is when it comes to tech, there’s plenty to ponder: more options for their front- and back-office operations; more retail and commercial service improvements to consider; more new vendors that will be seeking their business; and more fintech investment opportunities to pursue.

Source: American Banker

UK fintech scores the global top spot for investment in the first half of 2018 (City A.M.) Rated: A

China came in second place with $15.1bn, followed by the US with $14.2bn.

Four of Europe’s top 10 fintech deals happened in the UK, which included a $250m raise by Revolut, $100m by eToro, $60m by Flender and $54m by Moneyfarm. Data provided by KPMG’s pulse of fintech report has allayed fears that Brexit would hurt the UK’s startup scene, as venture capital firms have cemented the UK’s position as a funding hot spot.

Fintech investment across the world reached record levels over the last six months, taking in $57.9bn across 875 deals. This was an increase of 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1bn overall.

Interval Funds: A New Approach To Alternative Investing (Seeking Alpha) Rated: A

The way I view it is that interval funds are a great blend of the traditional closed-end fund that Tortoise is used to managing, along with the traditional mutual fund that we also have managed in the past and still do. Compared to other registered fund structures, they’re obviously less liquid than a mutual fund and a traditional closed-end fund, but they’re great for more long-term investors that aren’t looking to need liquidity quite as often. From our fund’s perspective, you can subscribe daily. You only have the option to redeem at certain periods, and that’s typically between 5 and 25 percent on a quarterly basis. From a liquidity standpoint, obviously, this is nice for folks that aren’t qualified purchasers that aren’t getting exposure to traditional private funds in the limited partnership structure.

Crypto Lending Platform Launched By CoinLoan (Block Tribune) Rated: A

Estonia-based startup CoinLoan has officially launched its crypto-to-fiat lending platform that allow users to HODL crypto and borrow fiat money.

For borrowers, the platform allows them to create an application for receiving a loan in the amount that does not exceed 70 percent of the current market value of the crypto collateral. This limitation has been created for preserving the crypto assets of the borrower and reducing risk related to the high volatility of the crypto asset market.

The platform currently supports bitcoin, ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, ZCash, and Ripple. Users can borrow a loan in the following fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CNY, JPY, RUB, CHF, PLN and CZK.

A blockchain solution for global peer-to-peer lending (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: A

A blockchain solution for global peer-to-peer lending is on the horizon, adding an exciting layer to an already booming sector which is expected to reach the $1 trillion mark by 2025.

The problem is, some aren’t excited by blockchain’s arrival. Experiencing Déjà vu? It’s easy to be transported back to the 1990s when the Internet was dismissed as just a “wasteland of unfiltered data”.

FintruX Network welcomes Bob Rinaldi to its Board of Directors (Leap Rate) Rated: B

FintruX Network, the global P2P lending ecosystem, has just announced a new addition to its Board of Directors, Bob Rinaldi, a serial entrepreneur and business director. FintruX Network is an online ecosystem that facilitates the lending and borrowing of finances to small businesses in a peer-to-peer marketplace powered by blockchain and no-code development.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup Tic:Toc raises $ 11.5 million to take hassle out of home loan approvals (Smart Company) Rated: AAA

Aussie fintech startup Tic:Toc has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding in its bid to improve the customer service around home-loan approvals.

The funding round was led by Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and La Trobe Financial, and also included some existing shareholders.

Heartland Bank unveils restructure plans (Interest) Rated: A

Heartland Bank says it’s planning a corporate restructure that will remove business growth constraints stemming from Reserve Bank regulation, and see it list on the Australian sharemarket.

The proposal is for a restructure of the Heartland Bank Ltd group of companies via a court approved scheme of arrangement under Part 15 of the Companies Act. The purpose of the restructure is to more clearly define the separation between Heartland Bank Ltd’s New Zealand and Australian businesses, and to enable it to access the most efficient forms of equity and debt funding, according to an NZX filing.

India

How RBI Is Solving P2P Lending Issues And India’s Credit Woes (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Over the past couple of years, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India have undergone major transformations to keep up with the growing demand in the country’s credit market.

Subsequent to the ease in regulations, a number of new NBFCs were established to supply credit to consumers. However, access to financial services was only restricted to a small segment of consumers/ borrowers with existing credit histories and profiles.

On the other hand, the unbanked sections of the population, or those with limited exposure to institutional credit were not affected much with these developments, finding themselves in more or less the same situation as before.

Latin America

Uruguay: Peer To Peer Lending In Uruguay (Mondaq) Rated: AAA

As the peer to peer lending market is quite embryonic, processional expertise is recommended to make sure the transactions are compliant and in keeping with existing and developing regulations.

Any new lending schemes in this field must be registered with the Central Bank of Uruguay, and payments must be legitimate and in line with existing regulations for the Prevention of Money Laundering.

Asia

Indonesian P2P lender Investree raises Series B round led by SBI Holdings (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Indonesian P2P firm Investree has announced the closing of a Series B investment in a round led by SBI Holdings and joined by Mandiri Capital Indonesia, Persada Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, 9F Fintech Holdings Group and previous backer Kejora Ventures.

The financial details of the round were not disclosed.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Marketplace Lending Securitization League Table

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck closes $100M credit facility. LendingClub expected to announce quarterly sales of $152.18M. Affirm expands to cover smaller purchases. Funding Circle lends 80M GBP through IFISA. China Construction Bank opens robot-only branch. Today’s main analysis: Originator league table. UK P2P lending nears 9B GBP. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Top fintech investors by stage. Interview with […]

Marketplace Lending Securitization League Table

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Australia

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Announces New 0 Million Revolving Credit Facility (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

OnDeck announced today the closing of a $100 million asset-backed revolving credit facility with Pioneers Gate LLC, a lending vehicle of a leading life insurance company managed by 20 Gates Management. The new facility provides the longest revolving funding period of any of OnDeck’s funding sources, and the lowest interest margin of any of OnDeck’s variable-rate funding facilities to date.

Lending Club (LC) Expected to Announce Quarterly Sales of 2.18 Million (The Lincolnian Online) Rated: AAA

Wall Street brokerages expect that Lending Club (NYSE:LC) will announce sales of $152.18 million for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Three analysts have provided estimates for Lending Club’s earnings. The lowest sales estimate is $150.00 million and the highest is $154.53 million. Lending Club posted sales of $124.48 million during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 22.3%. The firm is scheduled to announce its next earnings results after the market closes on Tuesday, May 8th.

On average, analysts expect that Lending Club will report full-year sales of $688.45 million for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $680.00 million to $693.30 million. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the company will post sales of $803.61 million per share, with estimates ranging from $773.00 million to $858.31 million. Zacks Investment Research’s sales averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover Lending Club.

Affirm Expands Offering to Cover Smaller Purchases with Simple, Transparent Payments (The Virginian Pilot) Rated: AAA

Affirm, Inc., the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest financial products, today announced Affirm will partner with brands and retailers to offer shoppers a simple, no-interest payment option on purchases of any size via three easy, monthly payments. Now, Affirm’s financial products are available for purchases of any size, marking an expansion for the company. Affirm will continue to offer shoppers the option to buy now and make simple, transparent payments over time for purchases up to thousands of dollars, with terms ranging from 3 to 36 months.

The expansion of Affirm’s capabilities will be especially valuable to fashion and apparel brands and retailers that want to offer a quick and convenient payment method that better aligns with shoppers’ cash flows and are more transparent than traditional credit.

PeerIQ Releases Their Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker For Q1 2018 (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

We see another robust quarter for marketplace lending securitizations with $4.3 billion in new deals.

SoFi lead the way again with $2.6 billion or around 60% of the market with two huge student loan deals and a consumer loan deal.

Online Lending in Risk On Mode: Unprecedented 21 Months of Non Stop Securitization Issuance (Crowdfubd Insider) Rated: A

The most recent report stated that PeerIQ has observed an “unprecedented 21 months of non-stop issuance. Markets remain in a “risk-on” mode and MPL investor appetite continues to grow. This is a very bullish statement for online lenders coming at a time when interest rates are rising as is competition in the sector is increasing.

Top Seed-Stage FinTech Investors (Crunchbase News) Rated: AAA

Crunchbase News recently took a deep dive into the U.S. FinTech industry’s Q1 2018 venture activity. We found that deal volume in 2017 amounted to more than $7 billion in venture funding for seed, early, and late-stage startups. As 2018 came to a head, the number of deals in the space declined slightly, while venture capital dollars increased by 37 percent quarter over quarter.

The firm has made more than 690 investments in technology companies, with lead investments in 24 startups. Plug and Play also made an early bet on PayPal, now a public company with a market cap over $90 billion. California-based Hippo Insurance picked up an investment by Plug and Play in its $25 million Series B in January 2018. Hippo Insurance was coincidentally also mentioned in our Crunchbase News analysis of startups that have weird names.

Source: Crunchbase News

Defi Solutions, a SaaS platform for lenders, was the latest growth-stage FinTech company to score an investment by the firm. Bain Capital Ventures was the sole investor in the startup’s $55 million Series C in January 2018.

Source: Crunchbase News

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes Senior Debt Investment in San Francisco (The Virginian Pilot) Rated: A

MogulREIT I today announced that it has completed an investment in a $6.69 million mixed use building in San Francisco, California, its 15 th acquisition since inception. MogulREIT I was designed to offer investors potential cash flow through managing a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate investments, including, but not limited to medical office buildings, multifamily apartment complexes, office spaces and retail shopping centers.

Ascentium Capital Surpasses $ 4 Billion in Originations (deBanked) Rated: A

Texas-based lender Ascentium Capital announced last week that it had surpassed $4 billion in origination volume since the company was founded in 2011.

The other business channel is a direct channel where Ascentium makes direct loans to small and medium sized businesses of up to $250,000. Depping told deBanked that the company’s direct channel makes up about 30 to 40 percent of its business.

Q&A: Renaud Laplanche on Starting Upgrade and Offering New Credit Products to Consumers (LendEDU) Rated: AAA

Q: It looks like you co-founded Upgrade with a total of 6 co-founders. How has starting Upgrade been unique from a team building perspective?

A: Over the last year we’ve on-boarded more than 250 team members across our three offices – San Francisco, California headquarters, Phoenix, Arizona operations center and Montreal, Quebec, Canada development center. It has been an incredible year, especially looking back at the team we’ve formed.

Q: How did the challenges of starting LendingClub compare to the unique challenges of starting Upgrade?

A: The challenges are quite different because the launch of each company stands about decade apart, so the landscape is very different.

Q: Beyond credit monitoring, how is Upgrade helping to educate consumers about their finances?

A: We believe helping people get smarter about credit can enable them to access more affordable credit in the future, and that’s why we launched Credit Health. Credit Health comprises of a range of tools that we think can help people understand their credit profile and what they can do to improve it. In addition to credit monitoring and alerts we offer Credit Health Insights – a library of educational articles and videos. Credit Health also features a credit simulator that gives you customized advice and tips tailored to your unique credit history. We haven’t seen other credit monitoring platforms offer this the same way we do.

Blockchain Startup Backed By Billionaire Bitcoin Bull Peter Thiel Gets $ 28 Million Investment (BTC Manager) Rated: A

Harbor, a blockchain startup backed by billionaire bitcoin bull Peter Thiel, has received an additional $28 million investment that it hopes will make blockchain real-estate investing a reality.

This latest cash infusion was led by Thiel’s Founders Fund, venture-capital fund Andreessen Horowitz, and cryptocurrency investment firms Pantera Capital and Craft Ventures. The San Francisco-based Harbor secured $10 million in Series A financing in February 2018, raising its total investments to $40 million.

LendingClub vs. Prosper Review: Here’s What You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

In recent years, there’s been rising interest in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. A report from Research and Markets estimates that P2P lending could grow by 53.06% between 2016 and 2020, while Transparency Market Research projects that the global P2P market will be worth $897.85 billion by 2024.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Need an Alternative to a Capital One Personal Loan? Here’s Where to Look (Student Loan Hero) Rated: B

For example, if you’re looking for a small loan — say, around $500 — you should skip online lenders. Most don’t provide loans for less than $1,000 or $2,000. Also remember that your credit score is vital to the approval process, so if you can’t get one on your own, consider getting a cosigner.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Why digital banks are welcoming CRA revamp (American Banker) Rated: A

To get a sense of why Ally Bank wants the Community Reinvestment Act rewritten, look at its situation in Utah.

Since it has no retail branches, the $137 billion-asset Ally is assessed for CRA compliance for its lending in Salt Lake City, where its bank is headquartered. But Ally gets no CRA credit for lending in Detroit, where its holding company is based and where nearly four in 10 households are living in poverty.

Quarles suggests new Fed approach to ILCs (American Banker) Rated: B

The Federal Reserve Board’s chief regulator suggested he was open to companies receiving industrial loan company charters, a sign that the central bank’s view on ILCs may be evolving.

“I don’t think of [ILCs] as a particularly special, excessively problematic case,” said Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles at an International Monetary Fund forum Wednesday.

Education Loan Finance Receives AAA Ratings on Inaugural Securitization Deal (Business Wire) Rated: A

Education Loan Finance (ELFI), a division of SouthEast Bank, focusing on student loan debt refinancing and consolidation, announces the close of its inaugural securitization of refinanced student loans. Education Loan Finance is the first student loan refinancing lender to receive the AAA rating from both Standard & Poor’s and DBRS on its senior notes in its first securitization transaction comprised of this type of education loan product.

The $200 million transaction was comprised of $24.784 million of variable rate Class A-1 Notes, $158.65 million of fixed rate Class A-2 Notes, and $16.566 million of Class B Notes. The Class B Notes are rated A by DBRS. Citi and Credit Suisse served as joint lead managers on the transaction.

The process of elimination in multiple-offer scenarios (The Ledger) Rated: A

If a house is listed for $400,000 and someone presents a cash offer for $380,000, that will not be favored over an offer for $400,000 from a person getting an 80 percent loan.

For example, a 75 percent loan from an online lender with no ties to the Nashville area could be trumped by a 100 percent loan from a local, well-known lender that provides physician loans.

Boulder solar power finance firm lands big bucks (like $ 112M of them) (Denver Business Journal) Rated: A

Boulder-based Wunder Capital, which lends money for commercial-scale solar power projects, said Wednesday it’s raised $112 million in equity and debt financing to grow the company.

The Series B financing round was led by New York City investment firm Cyrus Capital Partners, which manages $4 billion in investments. Existing investors also were involved in the round, including Techstars Ventures which led the company’s Series A round of funding in March 2016.

United Kingdom

£80m lent through Funding Circle Isa (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has announced that approximately £80m has already been lent to thousands of businesses through its Innovative Finance Isa (IFIsa).

The Isa offers an estimated tax-free projected return of 7.2% and is a flexi Isa which allows investors to take money out of their account and put it back later in the tax year without losing their tax-free entitlement.

There is an initial minimum investment of £1,000 and investors will be able to transfer exiting Isas into the Funding Circle Isa later this year.

 

 

P2PFA: UK Peer to Peer Lending Industry Nears £9 Billion in Total Lending (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has released Q1 data for its member platforms. According to the industry association, P2P lending is nearing £9 billion in loan originations having provided finance for approximately 50,000 business and 221,000 individuals. Total investors stand at around 150,000.

 

Source: Crowdfund Insider

How Starling Bank is taking cues from Amazon (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

And digital-only banks with a license, like Monzo, Starling, Tandem and OakNorth, are growing market share.

What are the biggest problems with banking today?
Banking as it is today sucks — it’s hard to easily manage account openings, and [until recently] to send payments to friends. That’s why Venmo has been so successful, but this should be a thing banks do.  You shouldn’t have to read an FAQ to use the mobile app or set up a bill pay.

LendInvest Calls Upon UK Government to Improve Finance Access for Property SMEs (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

LendInvest reported that in a new report entitled Putting Finance First: the alternative route to funding Britain’s SME housebuilders, the online lender recognizes that while the government is trying to help improve the outlook for property SMEs, but then argues that not enough is being done to put rhetoric into action. The report focuses on three proposed initiatives that combine existing government-backed funding mechanisms with the experience and expertise of alternative lenders, like LendInvest, to speed up and increase the supply of finance to property SME businesses:

  • Homes England: Should deploy its £2.5 billion Home Building Fund through funding lines agreed with alternative lenders.
  • Local authorities: Should co-invest with alternative lenders in local developments, utilizing the Public Works Loan Board mechanism to provide discounted capital for SMEs.
  • The British Business Bank: Should appoint more alternative lenders to use the ENABLE Guarantee programme to underwrite property investment and development loans.

Malta-Based Decentralized Ventures to Spearhead Crypto Island’s Blockchain Services Provision (Blockchain News) Rated: B

Blockchain services provider Decentralized Ventures on Tuesday announced its official launch, with the objective of bolstering Malta’s crypto communities.

A partnership between initial coin offering (ICO) specialist TokenKey and token research and Blockchain consultancy Strategic Coin Inc., Decentralised Ventures is designed to support the Maltese government’s plans to create the world’s first fully regulated market for ICOs, DLT and virtual currencies, a statement said.

 

JustUs launches IFIsa to support ethical housing scheme (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

The IFIsa aims to raise £367,500 and will offer a return of up to 6.5% to investors.

JustUs will provide a bridging loan to Mersten for up to 50% of the property’s value to fund the renovation.

China

 

China Construction Bank opens robot-run branch (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

China Construction Bank (CCB) has opened a branch in Shanghai run solely on the power of pure technology.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the branch has no human staff and instead uses facial recognition, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to provide the bank services.

SCMP says it is hyped as a first for the Chinese banking industry, and the Beijing-based bank says it has installed 1,600 smart machines at its 360 branches in the city to ramp up its appeal to tech-savvy customers and trim staff costs.

CreditEase’s Hou outlines allocation outlook (Asian Investor) Rated: A

Beijing-based CreditEase, a peer-to-peer P2P lending platform and wealth management platform, has been busy building its roster of mutual fund, trust and insurance products.

European Union

iZettle squares up to Square with e-commerce platform launch (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Swedish mobile payments firm iZettle is taking on Square with the launch of its new e-commerce platform that will allow merchants to sell in-store and online.

Called iZettle E-commerce, it lets small business owners set up and customise a new webshop or start selling across channels online, including social media, blogs and existing websites.

International

Digital banking’s key trends: Demand, competition, mobile on the rise (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Two global studies — a study of 150,000 consumers polled by Gallup for the World Bank for its Global Findex Database, and a survey of 5,200 consumers by the tech giant Oracle — found complementary trends in the use and adoption of digital banking.

For example, 60% of customers globally want to open a bank account online, according to Oracle’s survey.

Many are already there: Sixty-seven percent of customers globally are on digital banking platforms now, according to Oracle; the World Bank reports that 515 million customers worldwide opened a banking account through a mobile money provider in the last three years.

 

More Than Half Of Cards Issued Globally Were EMV-Enabled (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Data from EMVCo shows that 54.6 percent of all cards issued globally by the end of 2017 were EMV-enabled.

In addition, the number of EMV payment cards in circulation around the world increased by 1 billion over the previous 12 months — to a total of 7.1 billion.

“Both EMV chip card issuance and EMV chip transactions surpassing 50 percent globally is testament to the increasing maturity of the worldwide infrastructure, and [is] a significant milestone for the payments community,” EMVCo Executive Committee Chair Jack Pan commented.

 

Australia

Australia’s top bank says it charged dead clients for advice (CNN) Rated: AAA

Australia’s top bank has admitted to charging fees to clients it knew had died years previously.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBAUF) told a government inquiry Thursday that the practice of billing deceased customers for financial advice stretched back years. In one instance, an adviser at the bank’s financial planning business was collecting fees from a client more than a decade after they had died.

The revelations emerged as part of a Royal Commission, or public inquiry, into malpractice in Australia’s financial services industry.

One winner from the banking royal commission (The Australian) Rated: B

The peer-to-peer lending space may be a major beneficiary of the poor practice scandals coming out of the Royal Commission, according to one non-bank lender.

ME hikes home loan interest rates: does this mark the end of super low rates? (MOZO) Rated: A

Online lender ME has announced it is increasing home loan interest rates across its variable mortgage range effective today, citing increased funding costs as the reason – and it’s not the first to do so.

ME hiked its standard variable rate for existing owner-occupier principal-and-interest borrowers with an 80% LVR by 6 basis points, bringing it to 5.09% p.a. (5.11% comparison rate).

Existing investor principal-and-interest borrowers were hit with a bigger increase of 11 basis points, while interest-only borrowers saw the biggest increase of 16 basis points.

Source: MOZO
Asia

 

High investor FOMO about P2P lending in SE Asia: Funding Societies co-founder Kelvin Teo (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Your Series B round is likely the largest for a P2P lender in the region. Is that a measure of how strong the investor interest in this space and the potential for the sector in Southeast Asia?

P2P lending is a promising sector in Southeast Asia. We see strong investor interest, but perhaps too much, especially for emerging markets like Indonesia where the fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) is high. SME lending is a technical and a very localized business, and Southeast Asia apparently is not easily understood. We did not realize the significance of them until we started speaking to investors for Series B. In all candour, it was slightly painful to interact with investors who do not know Southeast Asia and/ or lending business.

Is $25 million the amount that you were looking to raise? 

We have a trust-based relationship with our shareholders. Our early discussion with our Series A lead investor Sequoia was to raise US$ 10M – 15M.

Alternative investment opportunities in Việt Nam (Viet Nam News) Rated: A

Access to and use of formal financial services is low in Việt Nam compared with other countries in the region, with only 31 per cent of all adults having formal bank accounts in 2016, according to the World Bank.

In 2016, 14.6 per cent of Vietnamese had saved money with a formal financial institution, 18.4 per cent had a loan with a formal financial institution, and only 26.5 per cent had access to a debit card. Interestingly, about 30 per cent of adults borrowed from friends or family in 2016 in Việt Nam, against 18.4 per cent who have borrowed from a financial institution.

Latin America

Creditas investment a Brazilian first for Santander InnoVentures (Bankless Times) Rated: AAA

Santander InnoVentures, the fintech venture capital fund of Santander Group, announced today an investment in the startup Creditas, a Brazilian secured lending platform. This is Santander InnoVentures’ first investment in Brazil and second in Latin America.

Creditas also announced today an increase of its Series-C funding round to $55 million with the addition of Santander InnoVentures and Amadeus Capital Partners. The round was led by Vostok Emerging Finance (VEF), a company focused on early and growth stage fintech companies across emerging and frontier markets, based in Sweden. Current investors also participated in the round, including Kaszek Ventures, Quona Capital, QED Investors, International Finance Corporation and Naspers Fintech.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 7 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending categories

News Comments Today’s main news: Citigroup may open a national digital bank. Marcus to open in UK, Goldman recruiting engineers. Robo.Cash posts 2017 results. Tera Funding to hedge P2P project finance risk. Today’s main analysis: Preparing taxes for LendingClub, Prosper investments. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why institutional investors turn to marketplace loans. Branches are still disappearing despite Chase’s investment. Credit card […]

marketplace lending categories

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Citigroup moving toward ‘national digital bank’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Citigroup Inc is laying the foundation, through a growing network of mobile banking tools, to support the launch of a national digital consumer bank sometime within the next three years, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, had fewer than 700 U.S. branches at year-end compared with more than 4,000 at the three biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Citigroup, Kabbage Form Consortium on Fintech Cybersecurity (WSJ), Rated: A

Four financial companies including Citigroup Inc.C -0.48% and online lender Kabbage Inc. said Tuesday they have formed a consortium to address fintech firms’ cybersecurity risks, a sign of the industry’s growing links to traditional banks and insurers.

 

Why institutional investors are turning to marketplace loans (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Greenwich Associates, an unaffiliated research company, conducted a study to better understand how marketplace lending is perceived and the current state of adoption within the institutional investing community.

Study Finding #1: Higher yields drive investment.

Sixty-seven percent of institutional investors cited the higher yield that marketplace loans tend to offer as their primary reason for investing.

Study Finding #2: Different investors use the asset for different things.

Because marketplace loans can be used for many different reasons, one of the first questions that investors may face when considering marketplace loans is how to categorize them. For over two-thirds of surveyed institutional investors currently invested in MPL (see chart below), they fall in the category of structured products, putting them alongside ABS and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Almost half of current investors reported viewing them as short-duration instruments and one-third as high-yield bonds.

Almost 40% of institutional investors who are not yet invested in marketplace loans said they didn’t know how to characterize them.

Study Finding #3: The path to institutional adoption will be driven by a few key catalysts.

Since mid-2017, however, each new issuance was rated by at least one rating agency, removing this obstacle and further broadening exposure to the asset class.

Investors deeply value data and analytics, which are key to understanding the credit profile of borrowers on marketplace lending platforms.

While the secondary market for marketplace loans is illiquid, there is a more active secondary market for the securitized offerings.

Study Finding #4: Marketplace lending is here to stay.

A majority of current investors, 52%, believe that marketplace lending will be a significant player in the financial system in the next 10 years. This is another meaningful vote of confidence in the industry.

New phase of growth and development for ‘Peer-to-Peer’ lending (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Among the investors participating in a new Greenwich Associates study, 30% of institutions not currently investing in marketplace loans (MPL) are watching the space or conducting research and due diligence on the asset class—a level of interest that suggests future institutional involvement is on the horizon.

The first marketplace loans were securitised in September 2013, and the trend has accelerated rapidly since then. Cumulative issuance now stands at $28.2 billion, with $4.4 billion issued in Q4 2017.

LendingClub and Prosper Tax Information for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Note that investors who invest through a retirement account do not have to worry about tax reporting. Here at Lend Academy we believe there is a strong case for investing in marketplace lending through a product like an IRA.

Copied below is how LendingClub summarizes the tax treatment of investing in loans on the platform:

Generally, gains and losses from recoveries, sales or charge-offs related to LendingClub Notes are reported for tax purposes as capital gains or losses, rather than ordinary gains or losses. Generally, LendingClub Notes are considered capital assets because they are owned for the purposes of investment (similar to a stock or a bond). Generally, realized capital losses are first offset against realized capital gains. For individuals, any excess capital losses can be deducted against ordinary income up to $3,000 ($1,500 if married filing separately). Capital losses in excess of this limit may be carried forward to later years to reduce capital gains or ordinary income until the capital losses are fully utilized.

Source: Lend Academy

I had $12.21 in proceeds (recoveries) from loans that were charged off which is offset by the cost basis of charged off loans, $204.33. This resulted in a net loss of $192.12.  On my 1099-B outlining long-term transactions I had proceeds of $109.64 with a cost basis of charged off loans of $1,469.02 resulting in a net loss of $1,359.39. The short and long-term transactions roll up on the 1099-B summary shared above (middle box). Ignoring taxes, I earned a profit of about $500 on my LendingClub account for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

Filing Taxes for a Prosper Account

Below is my 1099-OID which includes the net interest of $840.62 I received for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

My losses totaled $834.71 which means I earned a net return of around $100 for the year.

How would regulators react to Amazon-JPM checking partnership? (American Banker), Rated: A

The negotiations between Amazon and big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to offer a checking-account-like product pose significant questions for regulators about the e-commerce giant pushing further into the banking space.

Who owns the customer?

If the bank “owns the customer,” then “the rules governing banks protect the consumer,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based financial services consultant, Federal Financial Analytics. “If the bank doesn’t own the customer, then the rules — not just the consumer protection rules but the safety and soundness rules — are both different.”

What is Amazon’s role in the accounts?

If JPMorgan is “contracting with Amazon to do the marketing and customer intake, in that case, Amazon is subject to the regulation for those activities,” similar to other bank partnerships, said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Who, if anyone, would regulate Amazon?

Another tricky question is which agency would regulate the partnership depending on how it is structured. For example, if Amazon were to act as a vendor to the bank, the e-commerce company would fall under a wide range of bank regulations involving partnerships and data security. However, if JPMorgan were to be a vendor to Amazon, those regulators would have limited influence over the deal.

Branches are still going away, despite Chase’s flashy investment (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year JPMorgan Chase announced it’s investing $20 billion in 400 new branches and last week at the company’s Investor Day CFO Marianne Lake said 75 percent of its deposit growth comes from customers that visit its branches. Research published last month by Novantas shows 60 percent of Americans would still prefer opening a checking account at a branch than on digital channels and a September report by Deloitte similarly found 56 percent of people prefer to open bank accounts in branches (based on a survey of 3,000 consumers who had opened a deposit wealth management or consumer loan between January 2016 and May 2017).

JPMorgan Chase may be opening hundreds of new branches, but that hardly suggests every bank will follow.

Source: Tearsheet

Legacy vendors have been losing revenue
Global financial services and ATM producer NCR has been watching revenue fall over the past year where ATM sales and software licenses are concerned as revenue from services and cloud has shown a slight uptick. Diebold Nixdorf, another manufacturer of connected commerce and self-service products in the banking and retail industries, reported a 9.6 percent decline in revenue from banking sector services to $3.4 billion from 2016 to 2017.

Reimagining Lending Risk Management for the Digital Era (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As of February 2018, US bank lending of various kinds – auto loans, commercial credit, mortgages, credit cards or small business lending – constituted $11.7 Trillion, representing around 60% of US GDP and 70% of commercial banking assets.

A tale of two startups with ‘superstore’ ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s co-founder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at an industry event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.”

Robinhood’s co-founder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking at the same event later in the evening, had much the same messaging. “Five years from now,” Tenev told the crowd, Robinhood will be a “full service financial institution” with every product one can find at a “local bank branch and more.”

‘PIN on glass’ is still a novel concept for U.S. retailers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Though common in Europe, chip cards with PIN numbers still haven’t caught on in the U.S. But a mobile chip-and-PIN terminal could nudge more retailers to get on board.

TransUnion Introduces New IDVision Alerts to Mitigate Rise of More Sophisticated, Emerging Risks (Nasdaq), Rated: A

A new TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) analysis found that the growth in outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing in large part due to recently focused efforts by issuers to prevent such instances of fraud.

Outstanding suspected synthetic fraud balances rose 5.2% between Q4 2016 ($276.01 million) and Q4 2017 ($290.37 million). This was a far smaller percentage rise than what was observed the previous year when such balances rose 68.5% between Q4 2015 ($163.77 million) and Q4 2016. Despite the slowing of fraud balance growth in the credit card space, TransUnion found that the incidence of such fraud on credit applications remains similar to last year, moving from 0.59% at the end of 2016 to 0.60% in 2017.

While the growth of synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing due to proactive measures being taken by issuers, outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud identities increased 6.6% to $885.42 million in Q4 2017, up from $830.25 million in Q4 2016 for auto loans, credit cards, personal loans and retail cards combined.

TransUnion today introduced 25 new IDVision Alerts and data enhancements to its current collection of alerts, including new alerts for possible synthetic fraud, new or recently created identities and social security numbers that may be compromised. In total, TransUnion IDVision Alerts now provide more than 65 notifications to businesses about high risk, suspicious identities and other potentially fraudulent activities.

 

Varo Money Helps Americans With High-Yield Savings Accounts & SMS Alerts (Varo Email), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup Many Americans Are Struggling to Achieve Good Financial Health

A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo Money, determined that 85 percent of American adults sometimes feel stressed out about money, and a full 30 percent feel stressed out about money constantly.

  • About 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) are living paycheck to paycheck
  • More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) report having had to dip into their savings to make it to the next payday at least once in the past two years
  • 55 percent of millennials have dipped into their savings in the past few months
  • About a third (31 percent) of millennials understand what their finances will look like from month to month only “somewhat” or “not at all”

Helping Customers to Make More from Their Money

Varo’s 1.25% APY Savings Accounts have no fees or minimum balances and offer a rate that is more than 60x the average rate offered by traditional banks. According to Varo’s two new features are part of its continued expansion of features and focus on financial health for Varo customers:

  • 1.25% APY High-Yield Savings Account: All Varo customers can easily open an online savings account with a few taps through the Varo app and receive a rate of 1.25% APY. Customers can access funds 24/7 and easily transfer money from their checking into savings. There are no fees or minimum balances required.
  • SMS Alerts: Customers can receive notifications based on aggregated financial activity across all linked accounts that let them know how they’re doing on income, saving, and if they are at risk of overspending so they can stay on top of their money effortlessly. Standard text messaging and/or data rates from the wireless service provider may apply.

Startup, Rentlender Revolutionizes the Rental Market, Offering Finance Options for Renters (PR Newswire), Rated: A

According to a Harvard University housing report, over 110 million Americans, or about 36 percent of households, now live in rental units — an increase of 9 million renters over the past decade — the largest 10-year gain on record.

Unfortunately, other records are being smashed too: the number of cost-burdened renters — that is, households paying more than 30% of their income on housing — jumped to 21.3 million. And a record 11.4 million Americans are spending more than half their income on rent. The news is even worse for New Yorkers, who last year spent 65.2%, or two-thirds of their total income, on rent2.

With upfront rental deposits and fees at move-in costing over $3,000 (more if you live in New York City, where comparable costs typically top $20,000); there has never been a greater need for finance options for renters.

Beginning today, New York City-based startup Rentlender is partnering with Upstart to provide modern financing solutions for renters.

Renters must meet a minimum set of requirements to qualify for a loan including having a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%.  All loans are originated by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, and lending terms and fees are as follows:

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,0003
  • Loan duration: 3 or 5 years
  • Annual percentage rate: 7.436.25% to 29.99%4
  • Origination fee: 0% – 8% of loan amount
  • No prepayment fee

Renters can use these loans to ease the burden of renting in a number of ways:

  • Upfront costs – Pay first month, last month, security deposit and broker fees
  • Individual Months of Rent – Finance one or two months rent
  • A Full Year’s Rent – Finance a full year’s rent in addition to up-front costs

The loan application process is Powered by Upstart and provides renters with a fast, easy and paperless application process:

  1. Check Your Rate –  With a quick form, renters can see the loan options for which they qualify.
  2. Submit an Application – Complete the application online and indicate the bank account where funds should be sent.
  3. Accept Your Loan – Upon approval, log in and digitally sign loan documents. Funds can be available as quickly as the next business day.

Crowdfunding enters the New York City real estate scene (Born2Invest), Rated: A

These two problems are big hurdles for investors, but StraightUp is offering a solution to these woes. Crowdfund Insider notes that it is a new real estate crowdfunding platform that provides backers and investors an “unbeatable opportunity” on properties in New York City.

Capital markets tech firm Capitolis snagged $ 29 million in VC (New York Business Journal), Rated: A

Who gets: Capitolis, a New York-based technology provider for the capital markets, secured new funding.

Amount raised: $20 million in series A financing, plus $9 million in seed funding.

Credible Appoints Jobe Danganan as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Jobe Danganan as general counsel and corporate secretary, effective immediately.

GDS Link to Exhibit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PRWeb), Rated: B

GDS Link, a global provider of credit risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending for both consumer and small business, point of sale retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto and leasing, will be attending LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 at the Moscone West in San Francisco.

Upgrade Inc. Named a 2018 ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named a ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ finalist in the small company category by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs is recruiting at least 6 people for the UK launch of its online lender Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is recruiting engineers in London to help build and launch its online lender, Marcus, in the UK.

Credit Card Customers Prepare for Debt Crackdown (Market Oracle), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, as of this month, given credit card providers six months to adhere to the new rules that tackle the issues surrounding persistent debt*.

From September 2018, credit card providers must review the last 18-month history of a borrower’s repayment records, if they are in persistent debt, and assess whether they are subject to the new rules.

Source: Market Oracle

Investors flock to Assetz Capital IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ASSETZ Capital has had almost 3,000 investors start the process of setting up an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), with those who have already started investing putting an average of nearly £12,000 into the product.

Business borrowers should think outside the bank (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

SMEs are the backbone of the Scottish economy, making up 99% of the business population and accounting for more than half of all private sector employment.

The unemployment rate in Scotland rose to 4.5% in the final three months of last year, slightly higher than the rate of 4.4% for the UK as a whole, but there are grounds for optimism. Independent forecasts suggest that growth in the Scottish economy will be slightly higher than last year.

According to research from the British Business Bank , published on 20 February, net bank lending remained “relatively flat” in 2017, while P2P business lending volumes rose by 51% to almost £1.8 billion.

Why SME banking may spawn the industry’s next big winners (Euromoney), Rated: A

Small businesses, which account for more than 99% of private businesses in the UK and in aggregate contribute more than half of turnover and employment, are particularly poorly served by big banks.

The big five high street lenders are built for serving either retail customers or medium-size and larger companies with collateral to back three-year and longer term loans that the banks like to hawk to companies that do not really need them as a way to sell associated risk management.

Small businesses want short-term, flexible working capital with no punishing fees for low usage or early repayment. This is expensive for banks to underwrite – especially for new startups and sole traders lacking several years’ worth of financial history – and to administer. Few small businesses want the interest-rate hedging and FX facilities that banks like to bundle up with term loans for medium-size and larger corporate customers.

The market is at last now producing non-bank competitors looking to provide the right kinds of services and products for small businesses – ones that give these challengers a shot at the £2 billion of annual revenue the British Bankers Association suggests SMEs now pay for financial services.

Wealth Wizards launches AI robo system (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Wealth Wizards, the robo-adviser majority owned by LV, has launched an artificial intelligence service which will learn how advisers serve their clients and replicate that house view.

China

Chinese IPOs In US Continue To Disappoint Investors (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Industry watchers foresee a 25% to 30% increase in the the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2018, versus 2017. That’s a significant gain given that the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2017 was more than double the number in 2016.

Peer-to-peer lending company Qudian Inc. raised more than a billion dollars when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in last October. Today the stock is down just over 50%, according to data from Dealogic, a loss of more than US$500 million for investors.

The average PE ratio for profitable Chinese companies listing in the U.S. reportedly rose to 50 in 2017, versus 31 a year earlier, driven in part by the marketing efforts of the three banks behinds most of the IPOs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse AG, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Another problem has been the Chinese government’s crack down on online consumer lending. This has hurt the businesses of financial technology companies, which made up the largest group of IPOs in 2017.

European Union

Online Lender Robo.Cash Posts 2017 Stats (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash outlined the results of its first year in operation on the European P2P lending market: 2,000 investors from the EU and Switzerland invested over €3M in the issue of 330,000 short-term PDL-loans in Kazakhstan and Spain. The average inflow of investments is €240,000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.Robo.Cash views the results and platform dynamics as proving the growing demand for complex automated solutions in the global alternative fintech.

The European investors financed 330 thousand short-term PDL-loans (Financial IT), Rated: A

The European P2P-platform Robo.cash was launched in Latvia on February 21, 2017. It has achieved to attract over €3 million and 2.000 investors from 29 European countries (the EU and Switzerland) in one year. The average inflow of investments is €240 000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.

International

The Pro-Growth Magic of Inflation Anchoring: Eco Research Wrap (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Credit-constrained industries grow faster in countries with well-anchored inflation expectations, based on an IMF analysis of data covering 22 manufacturing industries for 36 advanced and emerging-market economies between 1990 and 2014. It seems to be the anchoring – not the level – that matters for growth. So while most advanced economies angle for 2 percent, there’s nothing magical about that number.

Killing zombies

The share of global zombie firms – low-productivity companies that struggle to meet their interest payments – has more than tripled in the past two decades, climbing to 2 percent of companies in 2016 from 0.6 percent in 1996. Early, incomplete data for 2017 indicate that the may finally be disappearing, suggesting that climbing interest rates are making it harder for the laggard firms to hang on.

Websites for Bitcoin (BTC) Borrowing and Lending (Hade Platform), Rated: A

1) Bitbond

They have more than 100,000 happy borrowers and investors. The peer to peer Bitcoin borrowing community has offered loans to more than 2500 borrowers. The loan application process is simple, and the loans can be received within one hour. Investors receive up to 13% interest on the loans they give, with some investors having a history of loaning to more than 100 borrowers. The duration of the loans, which are generally to help finance small businesses, range from 6 months to 3 years. Bitbond has users from more than 120 countries, and has an investment volume above $1million.

2) Btcpop

With a large user base above 20,000, from more than 60 countries, Btcpop holds a volume above $1million.

3) BTCjam

BTCjam has more than 100,000 users from more than 200 countries. The website supports peer to peer lending and has a volume of more than $13 Million BTC in their holding.

Australia

RateSetter CEO: Comprehensive credit reporting and open banking to help Australia play catch-up (mozo), Rated: AAA

For many Australians hearing the words ‘credit history’ may well elicit a shudder down their spine – especially if they’re looking at taking out a finance option such as a personal loan, credit card or home loan. But in just under four months that could well change, with the impending implementation of mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR).

From July 1, the big four banks will be required to have at least 50% of their credit data – both positive and negative – available to be shared, which Daniel Foggo, Australian CEO of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, suggests will help Australia catch up to the rest of the world.

Promontory says AI for banking compliance ‘a long game’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

The inaugural chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority says it will take “massive investment” before regulators let banks use artificial intelligence to meet their multimillion-dollar compliance obligations.

While AI is being used to deliver personalised banking experiences to customers via “chatbots” and helping bank staff make more customer-centric decisions, the technology which Promontory thinks has the capacity to cut sky-high compliance costs is still a work in progress.

The company is combining its regulatory prowess with IBM’s artificial intelligence technology known as “Watson” to cut costs, but also to improve accuracy for regulators.

Verrency, a global Australian payments platform and fintech marketplace, has been accepted into the latest fintech cohort of Silicon Valley-based technology accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center.
India

Women are Looking at Alternative Forms of Investments and Tech is Here to Help (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

More and more women are taking charge of their financial decisions and moving beyond the usual investment routes and looking at P2P lending, mutual funds as options.

Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Faircent, believes that gone are the days when women investors looked only at traditional tools of investments as part of their financial planning. “These ambitious go-getters are increasingly ditching the traditional tools of savings and investments and exploring the relatively new and more lucrative forms of investments,” said Gandhi.

At Faircent, 14% of the lenders registered are women and they account for 21% of the total amount disbursed through the platform.

“Female lenders on our platform are earning an average NAR of approx. 20% p.a proving that women tend to invest wisely; know how to take calculated risks, can meticulously diversify their investment portfolio across different borrowers and hence, end up enjoying better returns,” asserted Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Keerti Kumar Jain, founder and CEO, of Anytime Loan, shared the following statistics from their platform regarding female lenders.

Blockchain: a new technology or a new kind of enterprise? (YourStory), Rated: A

Let us imagine a new kind of enterprise that is designed to create value through a self-regulating method that is both decentralised and auto-incentivising. This is in direct contrast to the conventional top-down hierarchical, command and control enterprise.

We will do this in a two-step process.

First, we set up an initial monetary policy (“the white paper”) in the form of a finite number of digital tokens that represents the overall value of the enterprise. This also creates the requisite economic scarcity to start with that is essential to this approach.

Second, we set up clear encodable rules for how the participants who generate value in the enterprise will “earn” in tokens. This incentivises the participants to “do the right thing” to generate value for the enterprise, which in turn increases the value of the tokens.

Distributed ledgers

One basic requirement for setting up such an enterprise, is the use of a transparent immutable Distributed Ledger to establish trust between all participants of the enterprise.

Examples of the new kind of enterprise

A Distributed P2P Lending Network in which Lenders and Borrowers are joined by a network of Verifiers, Hosting providers and Developers, all incentivised to build, maintain and use the distributed lending platform that is hosted on a blockchain technology.

Asia

Tera Funding sets out to hedge risks of P2P project finance (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

The high return — often at above 10 percent — that the instrument promises to the lenders, triggered a rush into the sector, and roughly a third of loans on P2P platforms went into project financing as of September.

As such, the default rate of the average local project financing P2P platform operators is relatively higher at 1.7 percent, over threefold that of other P2P platforms, according to an estimate by the Financial Services Commission.

The returns are roughly estimated 8-15 percent of investment per a year, without tax deducted, depending on the level of risk.

Fintech lenders hit back at OJK (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial technology (fintech) players were in shock when they found out that their main regulator, the Financial Services Authority (OJK), had some disconcerting views about their businesses despite having a relatively close relationship.

Executives of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech firms on Tuesday voiced their concerns about a controversial statement from OJK chairman W…

Funding for RedDoorz, Hotelogix, and 23Mofang (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Online lender Finova Capital secures US$6 million Sequoia Capital backing (India). The startup provides loans to small businesses in India’s tier-2 cities and rural areas. Finova will use the funding for technology development and hiring talent. Sequoia India made its investment in two tranches, the first taking place late last year.

Paytm Mall in talks with SoftBank to raise US$600 million (India).

Canada

Katipult Named Finalist For Most Promising Partnership Award at Lendit Fintech Industry Awards (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Canadian fintech Katipult announced last week it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. According to Katipult, the partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Servicing portfolio recurring revenue

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub spared from sharing underwriting docs with investors. Wealthsimple raises $65M. Zopa warns investors of increased defaults. Raisin now operates in UK. RaboDirect to bow out of Ireland. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub’s Q4 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub’s CIO issues an update on Q4 results. LendingTree ranks best places for fresh start. Faster payments mean […]

Servicing portfolio recurring revenue

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Fourth Quarter 2017 Results (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Source: LendingClub

View the reported Q4 2017 earnings results from LendingClub right here.

Q4 2017: An update from our CIO (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

A core strength of LendingClub’s marketplace model is the ability to incorporate data insights quickly in order to responsibly adapt for the benefit of borrowers and investors.

From 2009 to 2014, credit supply was tight, so consumer loans experienced better-than-average loss rates. Since then, credit supply has increased, and the industry has seen a return to long-term average delinquency rates and higher losses in higher risk populations.

As a result of cumulative actions taken, our loss forecast for newly originated loans remains unchanged in aggregate compared to last quarter.

Economic backdrop

U.S. economic growth remains slow but steady, with annual GDP growth rate increasing to 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017. A primary driver of GDP growth since the financial crisis has been a historically low unemployment rate, which is down to 4.1% from its peak of 10% in 2009.

Updated pricing and return forecast

We continuously refine our methodology and recalibrate interest rates based on shifts in risk across the portfolio. This quarter, interest rates are increasing for certain subgrades in grades D and E.

Loss forecasts are remaining stable in aggregate for the platform relative to last quarter.

Platform Summary and Projections as of February 20, 2018

Source: LendingClub

Judge Nixes LendingClub Investor Bid For Underwriter Docs (Law360), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and the other underwriters of LendingClub Corp.’s $1 billion initial public offering for now don’t have to produce roughly a thousand documents sought by a class of investors suing the peer-to-peer lending company for alleged stock fraud, a California federal judge ruled Tuesday.

 

 

LendingTree Ranks Best Places for a Fresh Start in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released the findings of its study on the best cities for those seeking a fresh start.

First, the study looked at eight elements to consider when going through a financial recovery, such as the local median income and rents, and if the state has laws to protect debtors from aggressive collections and penalties, in case methods like debt consolidation or refinancing to lower rates aren’t enough to manage liabilities.

Next, to determine what opportunities there might be for people seeking a solid job and income, the study looked at the percentage of people in these metros who are between the ages of 35 and 64, single, employed, have health insurance coverage and are currently enrolled in school.

Lastly, to get an idea of how well people in an area are recovering from financial calamity, LendingTree calculated how quickly credit scores are rising after a bankruptcy by using proprietary data on the average credit score, on a geographic basis, of LendingTree customers who declared bankruptcy between three to four years earlier.

1. Buffalo, N.Y. – 67.6
At $738Buffalo has the lowest median rent among the 50 cities reviewed, and 94 percent of adults over the age of 35 are insured (second highest). Residents who declare bankruptcy have an average credit score of 664 three years on, tied for the second highest score for the cities reviewed, suggesting that conditions are favorable for financial recovery. However, Buffalo ranks poorly in two metrics: at $52,303, median income is the seventh lowest, and only one other city has fewer students over the age the 35.

2. Minneapolis – 62.9
At just 3.7 percent, the exceedingly low unemployment rate for citizens in Minneapolis between the ages of 35 and 64 helps push the city to the No. 2 spot. Not only are most over-35s employed, but they also earn a median salary of $70,915, the eighth highest in the cities reviewed, 94 percent have health insurance and median rents are relatively low at $963.

3. Salt Lake City – 62.6
Only two other cities have more over-35s enrolled in school (Virginia Beach and Washington), and only five have more unmarried over-35s (New Orleans has the most). That could be due to the lowest unemployment rate for over-35s of any city reviewed (3.6%), and higher-than-average median income of $64,564 for that same group. That combines nicely with a moderate median rent of $967.

Source: LendingTree

The full report is available here: 

Why faster payments mean faster fraud (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Less than a month ago Early Warning Services, the network that powers peer-to-peer payments platform Zelle, touted $75 billion in funds moved through its bank-supported platform with plans to expand its member network. One member bank, however, also reported a fraud rate of 90 percent shortly after implementing Zelle last year, said someone familiar with the statistics who wished to remain anonymous.

Fraud detection in banks, however, is no longer just about building a wall to keep outsiders out; cybersecurity teams need to install a filter that can identify who can and should enter the system.

Bank of America will spend $600 million this year on cyber defense alone, its chief operations and technology officer Cathy Bessant recently told Tearsheet. In December Menlo Security, a company that provides malware isolation solutions, raised $40 million in Series C funding, bringing its total funding to $85 million. JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and American Express Ventures are among its investors.

Greenlight raises $ 16m for kids’ debit card (Finextra), Rated: A

Greenlight Financial Technology, the startup behind an app and debit card for kids and college students, has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round joined by SunTrust Bank, Ally Financial and the Amazon Alexa Fund.

 

7 COMPANIES REIMAGINING REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND FINANCE (Builder Online), Rated: A

Companies like Better Mortgage, Blend and LendingHome are reengineering the way mortgages are applied for and underwritten. While Cadre and Fundrise are moving real estate investments from Excel spreadsheets to the digital world.

GreenSky offers on-the-spot loans of up to $65,000 for home improvement projects with generous zero-interest promotional periods. Lemonade offers urban renters and homeowners insurance for as little as $5 and $25, respectively. LendingHome provides financing for house flippers, and more recently, homeowners.

Enodo delivers quantifiable insights for property investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: A

With the Enodo platform investors can cut to the chase with a platform that supports their decision-making through acquisition all the way to renovation, with features including rent price forecasting. In other words, Enodo is a real estate investing platform that provides quantifiable data, meaning investors no longer have to rely on hunches alone.

Enodo allows investors to carefully analyze any property in the country using basic physical and investment parameters. Users can also identify comparable properties, predict operating expenses and more. Parameters include things such as the year the home was built, number of units, amenities, market demographics and more.

Savings and Deposit Rates in a Rising Rate Environment (Lend Academy), Rated: A

This thread called Cash Parking on the Lend Academy Forum was created back in December 2016 and since then, forum members have discussed opportunities at banks and credit unions.

The discussion caught my eye when one user posted a 3% 5 year CD which happened to be offered by my local credit union.

Signing Up for a Savings Account at Marcus

Marcus by Goldman Sachs has been near the top of the list since I began checking. We last did a piece on savings account rates back in June 2017 when Goldman Sachs’ deposit accounts were still branded under GS Bank. Rates are now 30 basis points higher at 1.5% on Marcus accounts.

Their investment has paid off and it was recently reported that they had $17 billion of deposits. Since Goldman Sachs acquired GE Capital’s retail deposits, deposits have grown a whopping 90%.

 

Kabbage’s Kathryn Petralia Talks Small Business Loans (LendEDU), Rated: A

She’s been hailed by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world, and TechCrunch recognized her for “crushing it” last year. Both sources refer to her success as a leader at Kabbage, Inc. which has financed over $4 billion to more than 130,000 businesses to date.

Q: What sets Kabbage apart from other online small business lenders?

A: Our focus on real-time access to third-party data and our ability to stay connected to our customer’s data all the time. This technology allows us to provide an automated experience.

Q: So, user experience seems to be a big advantage for non-traditional lending sources. While that’s an advantage, what disadvantages does a lender like Kabbage have against a traditional lender?

A: There are lots of things. First, traditional lenders like banks have well-known brands; they have access to really cheap capital. They have a lot of customers already. They already have access to a framework which they operate with the ability to move funds. 

The only thing they don’t have is the ability to serve the market, because it’s too expensive for them to serve our customers with the type of product they need.

Q: Was there a typical small business customer that you would lend to? Do you lend to certain business more often than others today?

A: Well, we got our start making loans to eBay sellers which you may or may not know. The reason we started there was because that’s where the first API was available, so we could get information on a business’ performance. Then as more APIs became available, we were able to expand our business. So for a long time, all of our customers were eCommerce businesses.

But about three years ago, we began expanding to service brick & mortar businesses, and today, about 85% of our customers are brick & mortar businesses. 

Q: Over the last 5 years, fintech lending has grown to take up more of the small business lending market. Where do you see the market share in 5 years? Where’s Kabbage in this equation?

A: If you’re talking about businesses seeking less than half or a quarter million dollars, I think it’ll stay the way it is with largely non-traditional players, like Kabbage, filling that space. And I think banks could serve that market through partnerships, but overall, I think it’s going to look much the same as it is now.

The Expanded Military Lending Act Regulations (The National Law Review), Rated: A

The Military Lending Act’s (“MLA”) lending restrictions are expanded to apply to consumer credit card issuers and unsecured consumer lenders. Compliance in most areas was mandatory as of October 3, 2016, but as to credit cards the mandatory compliance date is October 3, 2017.

The MLA applies to active-duty military personnel, active Reserve and National Guard personnel serving on Title 10 orders, and their dependents with a valid military identification card.

How to Invest in Private Loans (The Student Loan Report), Rated: A

The $1.45 trillion student loan market is made up of public and private student loans.

We now live in a world where crowdfunding and P2P investment opportunities are everywhere. The student loan market is no different. Companies like Sofi are shaking up what it looks like for both students and investors alike.

Sofi (short for Social Finance) has funded over $25 billion in student loans, with over 437,000 members around the country.

As challenger banks seek to enter the US, the business model still faces hurdles  (Tearsheet), Rated: A

European digital banks N26 and Revolut will launch in the U.S. later this year, and there are reports that U.K. challenger bank Monzo is mulling a move into the U.S. market. Meanwhile, three U.S. banking startups — Varo Money, Square and Moven — recently announced plans to apply for or acquire U.S. banking licenses.

For N26, winning means customers loving N26 like in Europe. U.K.-based Revolut, which plans to launch in the U.S. later this year with a multi-currency bank account, said winning means acquiring millions of customers, particularly those who travel often; and to San Francisco-based Chime, a win is to bring large numbers of customers away from traditional institutions.

Why BankMobile has launched an online magazine (Tearsheet), Rated: B

BankMobile has launched a content marketing website called Paradigm Money to help customers navigate personal finance.

The site, which launched this month, includes news, opinion pieces, interviews and advice.

BankMobile, which was born as the mobile-only offshoot of Customers Bank which sold it last year, has 1.8 million customers to date and opens about 300,000 new accounts each year.

WHAT FAMILY OFFICES WANT FROM ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT MANAGERS (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Competition within the alternatives sector for family office investments is at an all-time high, as these investors get more comfortable with the range of assets available to them and their general understanding of alternatives rises. Fund managers want to win these wealthy investors over, but often find they are unsure of how best to pursue them. The family office client is increasingly demanding a more tailored approach to wooing them over. Managers who can adapt their prospecting tactics stand a better chance of winning a partnership with these prized investors.

A Q4 2017 research study, “Single-Family Offices and Alternative Investments,” by Institutional Capital Network, provides a framework for the changing dynamics in family office activity within the alternatives space. Some of the research findings that stand out in particular include:

First-generation founders have a “stay-rich” mentality, while second-generation are more likely to have a “get-richer” perspective.

About 40% of second generation single-family offices are investing 15% or more of their total portfolios into alternatives, compared to 20% of first generation single-family offices that are investing at similar levels. In 2017, 71% increased their direct allocations relative to 2016, and 82% intend to do so in the future.

33% of Americans do not have more savings than credit card debt (KHOU), Rated: A

In the latest survey by personal finance site Bankrate.com, 33% of Americans say they do not have more emergency savings than credit card debt. That includes 21% who say their credit card debt exceeds their emergency savings and 12% who indicate they have no savings or credit card debt.

While one in three Americans are financially ill-equipped for an emergency, that is down from 41% in 2017 and 43% in 2016 and is the lowest level in the eight years of the survey.

Fifty-eight percent say their emergency savings fund exceeds their credit card debt, which is up from 52% in the last two years and ties 2015 as the best seen in eight years.

US Mobile Payment Market to Reach $ 3 Trillion by 2020, Fintech Stocks Lead the Way (Investing News), Rated: A

A new Market Research Reports Search Engine report states the US mobile payments will grow from $550 billion in 2015 to reach $2.8 trillion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 percent over the course of that period.

Marlette Funding Named a Finalist in Top Consumer Lending Platform in LendIt Fintech Industry Awards Competition (Business Wire), Rated: B

LendIt Fintech, the world’s leading event in financial services innovation, announced today that they have selected the Best Egg Personal Loan Platform provided by Marlette Funding, LLC, as a finalist in the Top Consumer Lending Platform category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards. The Top Consumer Lending Platform finalists were selected from companies that demonstrate a combination of loan performance, volume, growth, product diversity and responsiveness to stakeholders.

Klarna North America to Highlight “Smoooth” Payment Products at eTail West 2018 (Klarna Email), Rated: B

Klarna, a global payments provider, is a sponsor of and will be exhibiting at next week’s eTail West 2018 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Carl Gish Joins Varo Money as Chief Marketing Officer (PRWeb), Rated: B

Mobile banking startup Varo Money, Inc. today announced the hire of Carl Gish as Chief Marketing Officer. Gish is a marketing and general management executive with more than 20 years of experience across well-known, high-growth consumer brands and e-commerce businesses, including Amazon, Unilever, Dyson, eBay and Affirm. He will lead all aspects of the company’s branding and marketing, and will work directly with CEO Colin Walsh to drive large growth in Varo’s customer base across multiple marketing channels and partnerships.

United Kingdom

Zopa warns over defaults as investor returns decline (Financial Times), Rated: AAA 

The UK’s oldest peer-to-peer service is warning investors that defaults on its recent loans will be running at a higher rate than during the financial crisis.

Fintech Raisin Crosses the Channel to Offer Services to UK Savers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Savings marketplace Raisin has launched in the UK.

Revolut’s Nikolay Storonsky on long hours and high staff turnover (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Over the past three years, and with the backing of Balderton Capital and Index Ventures, two European venture capital firms, Mr Storonsky’s company has raised about £60m and had a valuation of £300m last year.

How Startups Can Gain Traction In The Financial Services Market (Forbes), Rated: A

The United Kingdom’s financial technology sector attracted a record £1.34bn in venture capital  investment in 2017, with 90% of that money going to startup and early stage businesses based in London.

Those raising cash last year included peer2peer lending platform Funding Circle (£81.9m); payments company, Transferwise (£211m) and challenger bank, Monzo (£71m).

Last week I spoke to two fintech entrepreneurs – Ollie Purdue of online bank account provider, Loot and Jared Jesner, CEO of currency exchange, WeSwap – about their reasons for entering the fintech arena and how they hope to carve out a niche in a crowded market.

Lloyds Bank Marks $ 4.1B for Digital Strategy (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

British bank Lloyds has put aside £3 billion ($4.1 billion) for digital development and growth, the bank announced today.

The  £3 billion is a 40% increase on the spend Lloyd marked for its previous three-year expansion plan.

P2P lending to form part of inquiry into SME finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

POLITICIANS are going to consider the availability and uptake of peer-to-peer lending as part of an inquiry into finance for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

Ultimate guide to Innovative Finance ISAs: Part two (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has soared in recent years. Members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association have cumulatively lent a total of £5bn to businesses versus £3bn to individuals, as of the end of 2017.

Loans to SMEs tend to produce a higher rate of return than loans to consumers, but they can also be riskier in some cases. The average size of loan is also much higher.

How Short Term Lender Wonga Went Worldwide (Silicon India), Rated: A

Today the brand eclipses its competition, with many of its 400 failing to survive in 2016 as fresh price caps on loan and repayment charges came into action.

With UK-domination taken care of, the lender has been expanding rapidly overseas, starting its journey by launching in Canada, South Africa and Poland, before going on to purchase and assimilate a number of foreign short term lenders as part of its global growth.

To launch Wonga Spain, the lender purchased Spanish credit agency Credito Pocket in 2013, going on to purchase German “pay later” payment firm BillPay (with two million users to its name) and a stake in Indian firm Nahar Credits Private in October of the same year.

China

China tries to bring order to sprawling online finance sector (Asian Review), Rated: A

China’s 1.2 trillion yuan ($189 billion) internet finance industry has reached a turning point as regulators tighten regulations after one too many cases of bankruptcy and fraud.

European Union

RaboDirect to quit Irish market in May (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

RaboDirect Ireland, an online savings bank owned by the Dutch lender Rabobank, will quit the Irish market in May. The bank has up to 90,000 Irish customer accounts with a total of €3 billion on deposit.

The bank says it has decided to withdraw from the Irish market after 13 years following “moves by our parent, the Rabobank Group, to simplify its business model across the world and reduce costs”.

Bizarre Buybacks and Expensive Takeovers (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

In November, Swiss fintech company Temenos Group AG spent 150 million Swiss francs ($160 million) buying back its shares at an average price of 122 francs each. Weeks later, with the stock at 115 francs, it’s preparing to sell shares to fund a $1.9 billion takeover of British rival Fidessa Group Plc.

The return on invested capital looks set to be just over 6 percent in 2020, based on the stated cost synergies plus Fidessa’s forecast operating performance. That’s well below the target’s 9 percent cost of capital.

Anyfin raises €4.8 million to refinance loans with a statement selfie (Finextra), Rated: A

Anyfin, a Swedish startup that offers to refinance consumer loans and credit card debt using a combination of artificial intelligence and a photo of the current statement and repayment terms, has bagged €4.8 million in Series A funding led by Accel and Northzone.

BNI Europa and Code for All partner to train new generation of IT developers (Finextra), Rated: A

BNI Europa, through Puzzle, its online credit brand, created a partnership with <Code for All_> to provide financial aid to anyone who wants to learn to become a IT developer.

This partnership provides an intensive code training program of 14 weeks supported by an online credit solution that offers special payment conditions to the program’s students.

International

What Is the Ripio Credit Network? (The Merkle), Rated: A

The Ripio Credit Network wants to offer a real global credit ecosystem which is more suitable than traditional solutions and even than similar peer-to-peer lending services. While that sounds like a tall order, the RCN protocol will connect lenders and borrowers all over the world via the native RCN token.

As is the case with any blockchain ecosystem, the Ripio Credit Network has its own native RCN token. It is the network’s payment channel first and foremost. Although credit transactions can be settled in any local currency, one does need RCN tokens to access the network and facilitate transactions.

Etherty launches blockchain-based, real estate trading platform (Construction Business News), Rated: A

A new investment portal, Etherty, has launched offering a real estate linked-crypto currency that enables investors to seize property investment opportunities all over the world, primarily in key markets such as Dubai, Mexico, and Australia.

500 Startups, Huobi Labs to Incubate Blockchain Projects (CoinDesk), Rated: B

500 Startups, the Silicon Valley startup accelerator, announced Tuesday it is partnering with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi’s incubator wing, Huobi Labs.

The two companies will support startups in various areas, including developing business plans, focusing on elements such as white papers, marketing strategies, community engagement and fundraising efforts, the accelerator said in a press release.

Australia/New Zealand

FMA opens applications for personalised digital advice (Scoop), Rated: AAA

The FMA is now open for applications from providers seeking to offer personalised financial advice to consumers through digital tools and platforms (so-called robo-advice).

India

P2P lending, payments platform JaldiCash to merge with parent firm Weizmann Forex (Financial Express), Rated: A

Weizmann Forex Limited (WFL), a foreign exchange and inward remittances platform, has approved the acquisition of its unit Weizmann Impex Enterprises Ltd (WISE). The proposed deal is supposed to take place on April 1st and will be done through a Scheme of Amalgamation, the company said in a press release. WISE is authorized by the Reserve bank of India to issue and operate semi-closed prepaid payment systems in India. The company owns ‘JaldiCash’, a payments platform that claims to have a network of more than 18,000 channel partners across 29 Indian states and more than 520 districts through their B2B model. JaldiCash works on a P2P model lending model, enabling loans for retailers, hotels and other services

APAC

ALAMI is on a journey to popularise sharia-based finance in Indonesia. (e27), Rated: A

Islamic banking assets is only 5.03 per cent of the total banking sector’s assets in the country, with a market share of IDR356.5 trillion (US$26.7 billion).

According to ALAMI CEO Bembi Juniar, this is due to the lack of infrastructure, support from key opinion leaders, and education on the benefits of sharia-based financial services.

So ALAMI offers a platform that serves as an aggregator for sharia-based financing for SMEs.

Canada

Wealthsimple raises $ 65 million in funding from Power Financial group of companies (Cision), Rated: AAA

Canada’s digital investor has raised a $65 million investment from the Power Financial group of companies, bringing their total investment in Wealthsimple to $165 million. Wealthsimple manages approximately $1.9 billion for over 65,000 clients in Canadathe United States, and the United KingdomMore than 80 per cent of people who use digital investing in Canada use Wealthsimple.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Tayl

Friday February 16 2018, Daily News Digest

Amazon small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Amazon partners with Bank of America on lending. Roostify raises $25M for expansion. Lendy’s pretax profits hit 3.3M GBP. Lendix to enter Dutch, German markets. Revolut to launch banking app in APAC. Vested backs Dojo. Today’s main analysis: Important barriers to alternative investing digitization. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans can’t get enough consumer debt. Who are Britain’s […]

Amazon small business lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Amazon has partnered with Bank of America for its lending program (CNBC), Rated: AAA

CNBC has learned that Amazon Lending, which launched in 2011, ultimately found a partner in Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the alliance is confidential. Partnering with Bank of America allows Amazon to reduce its risk and access capital specifically to provide credit to more merchants so they can acquire inventory.

Amazon Lending is an invitation-only program that makes loans of $1,000 to $750,000, with terms of up to a year, for companies that may have difficulty landing traditional business loans. In June 2017, Amazon said it issued more than $1 billion in loans during the previous 12-month period, compared to $1.5 billion in combined loans for the four years prior to that.

Scaling back

But even with the Bank of America deal, Amazon Lending has been tapping the brakes on growth of late. After almost doubling to $661 million in 2016, outstanding loans just barely increased last year to $692 million, according to Amazon’s annual report earlier this month.

Source: CNBC

These 10 MBA Programs Will Earn You the Highest Salary, According to SoFi (Levo), Rated: A

According to SoFi, the student loan refinancing company, “No BS” Return on Education 2018 MBA rankings, these are the best schools for earning back your money.

With Americans owing more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt,  (which is $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt) knowing which schools are going to help you pay off your debt faster, is something you should consider if you are looking at business school programs.

Source: Levo

Roostify Closes $ 25 Million Series B To Fund Expansion (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Roostify, a digital lending platform provider, today announced the completion of a $25 million Series B round of financing. The round included new investments from Cota Capital, Point72 Ventures, and Santander Innoventures, the venture capital arm of Banco Santander, as well as additional funding from previous investors JPMorgan Chase, Colchis Capital, and a subsidiary of USAA. The new funds will power the company’s ambitious growth goals, including a deeper presence in the enterprise space, rich product enhancements, and expansion into new markets.

Abode Aims to Make Home Buying and Selling Easier (Chicago Inno), Rated: A

In 2016, Kyle Stoner and best friend Carson Junginger were both having a hard time navigating the home-buying process. Between finding a realtor, finding a property and securing a mortgage, the two tech entrepreneurs realized that buying a home was too cumbersome and fragmented. And when they couldn’t find a single platform where they could manage all these separate tasks, they teamed up to create one — Abode.

SoFi named Abode in its 2018 class of SoFi Entrepreneurs, the fourth cohort of startups which will receive mentorship and funding from the alternative lending startup, but Stoner declined to comment on whether SoFi is officially partnering with Abode in the future. Stoner said Abode is rolling out a new consumer product in March 2018, but declined to give further details.

Americans Can’t Get Enough Consumer Debt (WSJ), Rated: AAA

If anything, consumers are borrowing more on credit cards or through auto loans than they have in years, and lenders seeking growth are happy to oblige them.

In the fourth quarter, consumer debt, excluding mortgages and other home loans, rose 5.5% from a year earlier to $3.82 trillion. That is the highest amount since the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began tracking the data in 1999. Moreover, consumers’ non-housing debts accounted for just over 29% of their overall debt load, also the highest amount on record.

Overall, households are paying about 5.8% of their disposable personal income to stay current on their nonmortgage debts, according to third-quarter Federal Reserve data. This figure, which is at the highest level since the end of 2008, bottomed out at 4.9% in 2012.


URGENT VS. IMPORTANT: BARRIERS TO DIGITIZATION IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

KPMG International and CREATE-Research have jointly prepared a report about the digitization imperative for alternative investment management.

Early on, its authors list eight key digital innovations that are reconstructing the industry:

Application programming interfaces; cognitive technology and machine learning; Big Data; blockchain; new digital platforms; robo-advisors; robotic process automation; and social media.

To that end they have talked to 125 alternative managers located in 19 countries, with combined assets under management of $2.6 trillion.

A Need to Future Proof

They found that the scale of the ongoing shake-up is well understood. Only 2% of respondents saw a “business as usual” scenario playing out over the next 10 years. Roughly one-third (35%) expect marginal changes. But 53% anticipate “partial” disruption and the remaining 10% anticipate “total” disruption.

Can small-dollar loans be both profitable and safe? (American Banker), Rated: A

Is now the time when U.S. banks, credit unions and their regulators finally see eye to eye on small-dollar loans to consumers who have checkered credit histories?

A long-running stalemate between the industry and its overseers has ceded much of the subprime consumer market to payday lenders, pawn shops and other high-cost lenders. But in recent months, banks started to get some insight from Washington about what type of product would be deemed acceptable.

Citi, PNC invest in B-to-B payments fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

In the latest example, Citi Ventures and PNC on Wednesday announced a strategic investment in the fintech firm HighRadius, which makes business-to-business payments and receivables software. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. HighRadius has an existing partnership with Bank of America on an accounts receivables platform, and also counts as clients Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Starbucks.

U.S. Bancorp hit with $ 613M in penalties linked to payday lender Scott Tucker (USA Today), Rated: A

U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank, agreed to the criminal and civil penalties in settlements announced by the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys Office in New York, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

From 2009 until 2014, U.S.Bank set an artificial cap on the number of alerts generated by its customer transaction monitoring systems, authorities said. The Minneapolis-based bank based the number of alerts on low staffing levels, rather than on the level of risk in the transactions.

The lax oversight aided Tucker, a longtime U.S. Bank customer who was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison last month for running an illegal $3.5 billion Internet-based payday lending scheme that victimized thousands of consumers with loan interest rates as high as 1,000%.

 

Fluid Market Launches Truck Sharing Marketplace (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fluid Market, a neighborhood truck sharing application that allows people to rent trucks seamlessly from one another, today announced the nationwide launch of its truck-sharing marketplace, providing a seamless and on-demand utility vehicle rental experience to its peer-to-peer network of users and lenders across the country.

Finalists for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2018 Announced (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fintech Innovator of the Year

  • Affirm
  • Varo Money
  • Better Mortgage
  • Upstart
  • Plaid
  • Circle
  • loanDepot

Top Consumer Lending Platform

  • LendingClub
  • Zopa
  • Marlette Funding
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • LightStream
  • Yirendai

Top Small Business Lending Platform

  • Kabbage
  • Funding Circle
  • BlueVine
  • Mirador
  • Credibly
  • StreetShares

Top Real Estate Lending Platform

  • Sharestates
  • LendInvest
  • LendingHome
  • PeerStreet
  • LendingOne
  • Fundrise

Emerging Lending Platform

  • Upgrade Inc.
  • Better Mortgage
  • ETHLend
  • Neat Capital
  • Nexoos
  • LendingUSA

Excellence in Financial Inclusion

  • Kreditech
  • LendUp
  • LenddoEFL
  • Oportun
  • China Rapid Finance
  • Elevate Credit

Most Promising Partnership

  • Katipult + Polymath Inc
  • Macquarie + PeerIQ
  • Lending Club + Opportunity Fund
  • Intrinio + QUODD
  • Financeit + Goldman Sachs
  • Minna Technologies + Swedbank

Most Successful Cross-Border Partnership

  • Kabbage + ING
  • Kreditech + PayU
  • PayJoy + Macrocel
  • nCino + OakNorth
  • Kasisto + DBS Bank
  • Phoenix Finance + Saxo Bank

Most Innovative Bank

  • BankMobile
  • Cross River Bank
  • Laurel Road
  • CBW Bank
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • HSBC

International Innovator of the Year

  • UP Financial
  • LexinFintech
  • Afluenta
  • Phoenix Finance
  • IrisGuard
  • Borrowell

Top Enterprise Technology Company

  • Salesforce
  • Roostify
  • Blend
  • ThreatMetrix
  • Mambu
  • CUneXus

Top Emerging Technology Company

  • Nav
  • Ingo Money
  • Nova Credit Inc.
  • MoneyLion
  • dv01
  • Emailage

Most Innovative Mobile Technology

  • PayJoy
  • Clarity Money
  • AutoGravity
  • Dave.com
  • Blinker
  • Juvo

Top Investment Bank in Fintech

  • Macquarie
  • Marlin & Associates
  • FT Partners

See the full list here.

Macquarie looks to broaden US ABS footprint (Global Capital), Rate: B

Macquarie Group is seeking to hire a US ABS director for its credit markets team as it looks to grow its presence in US esoteric ABS sectors, including whole business, marketplace lending and renewable energy finance.

Small nonbanks call for clearer exemption from CFPB audits (American Banker), Rated: A

Nonbank mortgage firms are seeking formal assurance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that they will not become subject to surprise audits or enforcement without involvement of a state regulator.

In a joint letter to acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, the Community Home Lenders Association and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America said the agency should practice “streamlined supervision” of smaller nonbanks, which is consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act.

 

Business Innovation Could Accelerate Under a Friendlier CFPB, LeClairRyan Attorney Says (Business Insider), Rated: B

Recent moves by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) could signal a friendlier approach to businesses, according to Jay Spruill, a partner in LeClairRyan’s Richmond office and leader of the national law firm’s Marketplace Funding Team.

“The Payday Loan Rule has been heavily criticized by the small loan industry which says the rule will restrict consumers’ access to credit,” Spruill notes in the blog, CFPB Signals Retreat from Aggressive Regulation. The post appears in Marketplace Shift, which focuses on the impact of legal and regulatory developments on financial innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Lendy Releases Financial Results: Pretax Profits Rise to £3.3 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lending platform Lendy has released its audited accounts for 2016, showing profits before tax rising to £3.3 million compared to £53,000 in 2015. The company reports that since launch in 2012, Lendy has originated over £376 million in secured loans generating £36 million in interest for investors. Approximately £141.5 million in principle has been repayed with current outstanding loans at £186.5 million.

 

The digital upstarts taking on Britain’s dominant few banks (The Economist), Rated: AAA

For some British millennials, Monzo is as close to a cult as a bank can be. Its coral-pink cards are hard to miss. “People in bars will get very excited if they see you are a fellow Monzo user,” says Mr Matthews, who is 29.

Counting the British arm of Santander, Spain’s largest bank takes the share to over 80%. In 2015 Britons had 70m-odd active current accounts. They paid £500 ($750) or more into 70% of them every month.

Supervisors have licensed more than 30 entrants since 2013. But by no means are all the challengers young. One of them, CYBG, owns Clydesdale, a Scottish bank that turns 180 this year, and Yorkshire Bank, aged 159. It has about 1.8m personal current-account customers and assets of £43bn. Nor are all the infants purely digital. Metro Bank has since 2010 established 55 “stores” (ie, branches) and is spreading beyond south-east England.

Among digital purists, Monzo’s chief rival is Starling Bank—where Mr Blomfield used to work. It started current accounts last spring; around 100,000 have been opened. Tandem, which recently acquired Harrods Bank, the banking arm of a posh department store, is also open for business. Atom Bank, part-owned by Spain’s BBVA, focuses on mortgages funded by fixed-rate savings. N26, a German smartphone bank, is due to arrive this year. Another near-cult, Revolut, is seeking a European licence (valid, for now, in Britain).

To ginger up small-business banking, RBS, the market leader, must cede ground and money to competitors as part of the price, agreed on with the European Commission, of its rescue by the government in 2008. RBS will put up £425m, divided into sums from £5m to £120m, to build up rivals’ capabilities, plus £350m for incentives to customers to switch banks. Banks with assets of up to £350bn may bid. That excludes the big four but just lets in Santander (£315bn), to some challengers’ chagrin.

 

Industry reacts to SME finance inquiry (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Earlier this month, the Treasury committee launched an inquiry into SME finance to look at the state of the market and the lessons to be learned from RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

The Treasury’s inquiry will look at the extent of competition in the market, the various sources of funding available to SMEs – including P2P lending and crowdfunding – and whether the current regulatory framework provides enough protection to SMEs when they borrow money.

For example, unsecured lending to an SME borrower for the purposes of their business will only be regulated if the SME is unincorporated and the amount being borrowed is £25,000 or less.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority doubles down on algorithmic trading (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Monday published its report on the supervision of algorithmic trading, which is intended to illustrate best practices and give guidance to firms considering implementing AI to automate trading operations.

The focus areas of the report hint at concerns the FCA harbors about AI use in capital markets. The regulator placed particular emphasis on humans being able to intervene in an algorithm if something goes wrong, and ensuring the technology doesn’t start behaving in a way unintended by its creators.

Innovate Finance Announces Finalists for 2018 FinTech Pitch360 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The 2018 Pitch360 finalists are the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Axyon AI SRL, Coriolis Technologies Ltd, Eye Capital S.A.
  • Banking/ Enterprise Solutions: Akoni, Hedgewiz Pure Risk Management Solutions, Salt Edge Inc
  • Distributed Ledger Technology: hiveonline, SPIRAL
  • Financial Inclusion: CommuScore, CreditSpring, Trezeo
  • Payments & FX: Duality Banx, Divido Financial Services, Envision&Company LTD
  • Peer-to-Peer / Alternative Funding / SME Lending: Alterest, Credit Data Research Ltd, StrideUp
  • Personal Finance Management & Robo Advice: CASHOFF Ltd, Bedaan
  • RegTech: Calcabis, Exate Technology
China

 

Hexindai: Positive Quarter Strengthens Bull Case (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Sales increased 575% to $43.31 million, driven by loan facilitation growth, which was $388 million – an increase of 187.1% over the prior year. The high sales growth rate contributed to a whopping 1,589% net income growth, which was $26.9 million for the quarter. Gross billing ratio contributed to overall growth with an increase from 7.4% in the previous year to 12.1% in the reported one as the company continues its shift to credit loans.

The company increased its guidance, bumping EPS estimates for the year from $0.74 (see linked article for full estimate calculations) to $1.30 per share, as sales are now expected at $108 million – up from previously expected $90 million. The company believes this will be driven by a bump in loan facilitation, which it expects to be $1.23 billion, up from previously expected $1 billion.

In my previous article I initiated the company with a price target range of $14.80 to $22.20 per share given a 20x to 30x forward earnings multiple, and given recent positive catalysts I believe fair value lies in the same multiple. As the company has hiked its sales and net income guidance, pushing EPS to $1.30 for fiscal 2018, I believe the company’s fair value now lies in the range of $26.00 to $39.00 per share. That represents almost 200% upside from the current share price.

Money20/20 launches in China, the world’s biggest FinTech market (CUInsight), Rated: A

Ascential announced in Hangzhou recently the launch of its trailblazing FinTech event Money20/20 at Hangzhou International Expo Center on 14-16 November 2018.

Guest speakers includedArthur Zhu, President of LianLian Pay; Raymond Qu, CEO of Geoswift; Jeff Parker, Managing Director of WorldFirst Asia-Pacific; Eric Gu, founder & CEO of Metaverse; and experts such as Dr. Ben Shenglin, Dean of Zhejiang University’s Academy of Internet Finance.

Chinese ADSs on the Rise (Capital Watch), Rated: B

Coming in second and third place, China Rapid Finance Ltd. (NYSE: XRF) and JP Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: JP) both soared 8 percent to close at $5.17 and $19.85 per share, respectively, while Jianpu Technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) rose nearly 6 percent to $7.28 per share.

European Union

Online Lender Lendix Plans Entrance into German and Dutch Markets (ICO News Desk), Rated: AAA

Continuing its plan to lead the European SME lending market, fintech company Lendixcontinues its geographical expansion with plans to branch into Germany and the Netherlands.

bitJob teams up with the Dutch government blockchain program to enrich students résumés with a crypto flair (Chipin), Rated: A

bitJob, the P2P marketplace that connects students and businesses, is announcing today its partnership with the Blockchain projects division inside the Dutch government, to deploy its pilot project in Holland. The marketplace, developed by bitJob, bridges the gap between businesses and students by enabling both sides to offer/look for employment with a technology that promotes honesty, immediacy, and robustness.

Opiria & PDATA token: peer reviewed token sale from Germany (Opiria email), Rated: B

Opiria allows consumers to sell their personal data and companies to buy personal data directly from consumers without a veiled middleman in a fully transparent and secure way.

We are presently running an ICO. About our ICO:

  • peer reviewed with due diligence report – showing PDATA is a top 5% ICO

  • Already >1 million USD raised in the Pre-ICO (hard cap $5 million in Pre-ICO)

  • 4k+ active users providing personal data and opinions

Management Team:

  • Dr. Christian Lange (CEO): proven track record in entrepreneurship and successful exit in 2015

  • Marlene Gagesch (CTO): head of B2B software departments for > 10 years

For more information:

  • 2 min pitch video: 

    1 page business model canvas: 

    ICO website/whitepaper: 

    International

    Can’t Miss Quick-Start Guide to Launching a New Business Venture (Influencive), Rated: A

    The following quick-start guide will explain the 7 steps that you need to follow to launch your business venture.

    Make Sure There Is a Market for Your Idea

    The very first step you should take is to validate your idea or concept. You need to make sure that there is a market for your idea.

    Create a Basic Business and Marketing Plan

    If you are trying to launch your product or service as soon as possible, you will still need a solid business and marketing plan. You do not need to be completely detailed, but you should have a good plan in place.

    Obtain Funding for Your Idea

    Another way to get financing is to use P2P (peer to peer) lending. This is similar to crowdfunding, which is another option. With both P2P lending and crowdfunding, you will need to properly explain the value of your product or service. Also, it may take a while to obtain all the funding that you require.

    Research Your Target Demographic

    Once you get funding, you will need to start researching your target demographic. You need to know who you are marketing to before you start a marketing campaign.

    Create a Website

    You do not need to spend a lot to build a website. There are several affordable options with easy to use website builders. These website builders include drag and drop layouts, so anyone can build their own website. A few options include WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

    Decide on a Business Structure

    The next step is to choose a business structure. This is essential and should be decided before you release your product or service.

    Start Marketing Your Product or Service

    The final step is to begin marketing your product or service.

    India

    In consultation with MCA, Sebi makes headway in framing crowd-funding norms (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is finalising the regulatory framework for crowd-funding in consultation with the corporate affairs ministry.

    APAC

    Revolut uses GPS for FX app launch in APAC (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

    Revolut will be using Global Processing Services (GPS) for the launch of its multi-currency FX app in the APAC region.

    Revolut will unleash its app, starting with New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. GPS announced the deal during the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s UK Business delegation, which is currently in Australia this week.

    Middle East

    Fintech Startup Beehive Is Closing The Gap For SME Finance In The GCC (Dubai Forum), Rated: AAA

    She found Beehive, a Dubai-based peer-to-peer lending platform. Through Beehive, Lowmass borrowed $54,000 in late 2016 at an interest rate of 9.89%. Although it took about the same amount of time to get a loan from Beehive as it did through the bank, Lowmass says, “the funds were raised cleanly and extremely quickly and we were delighted with the resultinginterest rate we ended up paying.”

    It has 6,000 registered investors—mostly from the U.A.E.—and has channeled a total of $40 million to borrowers.

    Africa

    Ecobank: African Fintech Predicted to Grow Exponentially by 2020 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    Africa is now at the forefront of fintech with 57.6% of the world’s 174 million active registered mobile money accounts (100.1 million) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fintech in Africa is predicted to grow from US$ 200 million to US$ 3 billion by 2020. As Ecobank works seamlessly across 36 countries in total, Ecobank is also the only bank that allows customers to transact more easily across borders.

    Ecobank’s mobile app allows customers in any of the 33 African countries in which it operates to check balances, pay bills and merchants, and many other services. Rwanda, where the summit is taking place, has the second highest use of mobiles in Africa, with more than 50% of the population unique subscribers. Kenya has the highest penetration rate of almost 60% of the population.

    Canada

    Vested Ventures completes seed round in gamified savings app Dojo (Finextra), Rated: AAA

    Vested Ventures, the investment arm of the fastest growing public relations agency globally, Vested, announced it has successfully completed a seed round investment in Vancouver financial software company Dojo Technology Corp (“Dojo”).

    Dojo’s iOS and Android-friendly mobile platform reimagines how families and young people interact with their banks and credit unions by providing reward-based gamification and nudging users towards positive financial habits.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Thursday January 18 2018, Daily News Digest

mobile banking user growth

News Comments Today’s main news: Marcus passes the $2B loan origination mark. Varo Money secures $45M in Round B. Funding Circle’s fund announces Citibank deal. Qudian enters budget auto financing. PeerStreet intros 30-day notes. Today’s main analysis: Investing in Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Mobile banking is more important than ever. Credit score changes would force banks to help […]

mobile banking user growth

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs’ Online Lending Platform Marcus Has Originated Over $ 2 Billion in Loans, Deposits Rise to Over $ 5 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Meeting a prediction from this past June set by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, online lending platform Marcus topped $2 billion in loan originations. Additionally, Marcus reported online deposits of over $5 billion. Deposits and consumer lending have now been combined under a single brand, thus, in reality, creating a challenger bank for the future.

Overall, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reported net revenues of $32.07 billion and net earnings of $4.29 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Diluted earnings per common share were $9.01 compared with $16.29 for the year ended December 31, 2016. Goldman reported a Q4 loss of $5.51 per share. The results were impacted by a tax related expense of $4.4 billion. Without this expense, Goldman said earnings per share would have been $5.68.

Varo Money Closes $ 45M Series B Financing Round (Varo Money Email), Rated: AAA

Mobile banking is more important than ever (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

As we’ve seen for the past few quarters, mobile banking is continuing to rise, but the rate of growth is decelerating as offerings mature.

  • JPMorgan Chase 

    How a 23-year-old Max Levchin got Peter Thiel to invest in PayPal in under 24 hours (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Levchin told Shontell, “I saw [Thiel’s] name on the pinboard, wandered into a class that was taught by him, which turned out to be more like seminar with six people in the room. So it was a very small group of people. One: I couldn’t sleep because it would be obvious, but two, he was actually pretty interesting. So I stayed awake and chatted him up afterwards.”

    That turned out to be a good move. Here’s Levchin:

    “In the inimitable Peter Thiel fashion, we basically spend about 20 minutes talking after his lecture, and he said, ‘Well, what are you doing in Silicon Valley?’ I said, ‘I just got here two weeks ago. Probably gonna start a company.’ He said, ‘Oh, great. We should meet for breakfast.’

    “We met the next day. He said, ‘All right, so what companies are you thinking of starting?’ I had two ideas that I was concurrently thinking about. I described No. 1., No. 2. He said, ‘No. 1 is better; you should do that.’ ‘OK.’ ‘I’d like to invest.’ It was less than 24 hours later. Peter was a committed investor in my new project.”

    Credit score changes would saddle banks with risk to help nonbanks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been evaluating whether to allow originators that sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use something other than the currently mandated FICO model. Specifically, the FHFA is evaluating whether originators can also use the VantageScore model offered by a company owned by the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

    VantageScore contends that its model will provide credit scores on more than 30 million additional consumers and make 7.6 million of these scores eligible for a loan sold to Fannie or Freddie because of the model’s supposed ability to more accurately assess blemished and dormant credit histories and accommodate thin credit files that most often effect younger consumers. VantageScore also argues that, since the model consolidates data from all three credit bureaus, it eliminates scoring differences caused by data discrepancies. The result, the company maintains, will be expanded home ownership, a more vibrant housing market, more consistent underwriting and faster economic growth.

    The major proponents of the alternative credit scoring model are large nonbank originators and credit reporting firms — companies that make their living from the quantity of loans they originate, not the quality. Their business models shield them from ongoing credit risk and require ever-increasing volumes to achieve scale economies. In short, nonbank originators generally don’t eat their own cooking — either in the form of loans or in the form of securities backed by the loans they originate. Therefore, they have everything to gain from this FHFA change, and very little to lose.

    PeerStreet Announces New Investment Product “30-Day Notes” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    On Wednesday, PeerStreet announced the launch of its new investment product, 30-Day Note, to provide increased liquidity for accredited investors at 30-day terms. According to the online lender, the 30-Day Notes product was launched quietly in October as a pilot program, is now offered monthly.

    Axial Members Surpass $ 25 Billion in Closed Middle Market Deals (Axial Email), Rated: A

    Axial, the deal network for the middle market, today announced its members have closed more than $25 billion in deals on 2,000-plus M&A and growth capital transactions since Axial’s launch in 2010. To facilitate these closed transactions, Axial arranged more than 2.1 million private member-to-member deal connections. Nearly one-third (650) of the total transactions closed in 2017.

    In 2017, the revenues of businesses that privately transacted using the Axial deal network ranged from $2.9 million to $610 million, with EBITDA ranging from negative $19 million to $223 million. Top sectors of deal flow activity include Business Services, SaaS, Healthcare IT, Distribution & Logistics, and Manufacturing. Notably, 24% of all growth capital transactions attempted in 2017 were in the Technology sector, more than doubling year-over-year from 10% in 2016.

    Worthy Peer Capital Receives SEC Qualification for 5% Money Market Alternative (Worthy Financial Email), Rated: A

    Worthy Financial, Inc., a modern personal finance company that delivers alternative investment products and digital savings solutions to a wide-range of retail investors, is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Worthy Peer Capital, Inc. has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under Regulation A+, to bring a new liquid peer-debt product to the entire investing ecosystem.

    The new Worthy Bond offers all investors – including non-accredited investors – a 5% fixed return. Although the bonds have a 36 month term, they can be cashed in at any time for those with imminent liquidity needs, thereby serving more as an alternative to traditional money market products. Bonds may be purchased at .

    Democrats Add Momentum to G.O.P. Push to Loosen Banking Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

    But unlike the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, which passed along party lines, the effort to loosen the post-crisis rules is somewhat bipartisan. A group of Senate Democrats has joined Republicans to support legislation that would mark the first major revision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, a signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama that has been deemed “a disaster” by President Trump.

    The bill would allow hundreds of smaller banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, including stress tests, which measure a bank’s ability to withstand a severe economic downturn. Under current law, banks with assets of $50 billion or more are considered “systemically important financial institutions” and therefore governed by stricter rules. The bill would raise that threshold to institutions with assets of $250 billion or more, leaving fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to the stricter oversight.

    Banks with assets of $50 billion to $100 billion would be immediately freed from those requirements. Financial institutions with $100 billion to $250 billion in assets, such as BB&T and American Express, would no longer be subject to tougher rules after 18 months, although the Federal Reserve would retain the authority to periodically conduct stress tests on those firms.

     

    The One Big Reason It’s So Hard to Refinance Your Student Loans (Money), Rated: A

    More than half of borrowers who applied for refinancing in 2017 were turned down, according on a report released Wednesday by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace that tracked 32,000 applications to eight refinance companies.

    Using data from users of the LendEDU marketplace, the report found that 58% of 2017 refinance applicants were ultimately rejected. And those who passed muster had very high FICO credit scores—the average approved applicant had a score of 764. Nationally, the average credit scoreis 700 out of 850; anything above 720 qualifies as excellent.

    Refinancing companies are currently advertising fixed interest rates that start at about 3.5%. Yet the average on refinanced loans in 2017 was 5.56%, LendEDU found.

    Source: Money

    Bill Gates made these 15 predictions in 1999 — and it’s scary how accurate he was (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Gates’ prediction: “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

    No. 3: Instant payments and financing online 

    Gates’ prediction: “Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.”

    The Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    10. Resurgence of Peer to Peer Lending and the Emergence of A New Asset Class

    We’ve seen coin-backed lending such as Salt Lending. There will be many more platforms that will attempt to solve solvency and liquidity issues with lending in fiat currency backed by coins.

    9. Alternative Internet

    The cost of a simple PayPal transaction might go up dramatically because it was routed through Comcast’s fiber. You may have to pay an additional $3.99 a month for an “Online Banking” package if you want to do online banking…

    8. Banks will rule again

    Most of the online platforms (payments or lending) plus secondary markets are at the mercy of banks. Without a bank charter, you are simply limited on growth.

    6. Baby Boomer Financial, Inc.

    The youngest baby boomers are approaching retirement age. The baby boomer generation is about 75 million people (on par with Millennials) in the US and represents a vast amount of wealth in this country. They want to transact, invest, bank and most importantly transfer their wealth in a responsible way. I predict that there will be Fintech startups specifically addressing the needs of this generation of folks.

    4. Mass Adoption of Zero Latency Payment Clearance/Credit.

    Over the past few decades, we went from a cash society and in-person / in-branch interviews to “same-day” ACH (direct deposit) and next day loan funding. I predict that in 2018, we will see instant credit approval and funding.

    3.  Social Networks Venture Into Credit.

    I am making another prediction that Facebook or Snapchat will venture into extending credit.

    2. Vertical Integration.

    WeWork will get into the Working Capital lending business. And dare I say Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, will start lending money based on your resume and activities within your professional connections?!

    BlackRock makes impact a necessity for companies (ImpactAlpha), Rated: A

    Larry Fink flips social impact from a luxury to a necessity for every company. The chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, served notice on corporate CEOs their companies “must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Fink made his point as clearly as possible: “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

    Would a bank payday loan be any safer? (Daily Journal of Commerce), Rated: A

    Thanks to a recent regulatory change, it now may be possible for banks to offer small, short-term loans that could be a lot less dangerous for borrowers. Whether banks will actually do so remains to be seen.

    Standard Chartered creates fintech investment unit (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

    Standard Chartered has established a new business unit, SC Ventures, to invest in fintechs and other start-ups.

    Christopher Blake Joins Cross River Bank Loan Team (Long Island Press), Rated: B

    Veteran loan officer Christopher Blake joined Cross River Bank, where he’ll serve clients in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn in the lender’s Commercial and Multi-Family Real Estate division, the company announced Tuesday.

    Freefly has teamed up with three fantastic financing partners (Freefly), Rated: B

    AFFIRM FINANCING

    Ideal for individuals looking to finance their Freefly purchases.

    SCL EQUIPMENT FINANCE

    A flexible lender designed for U.S. business, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.

    GLOBAL FINANCE

    A creative lender with options for businesses in the U.S. and many countries across the globe.

    United Kingdom

    Funding Circle’s fund unveils Citibank deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    FUNDING Circle’s listed fund has inked a deal with Citibank, whereby the financial institution indirectly channels £50m to small businesses through the peer-to-peer lending platform.

    The transaction was announced by the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF) on Wednesday.

    Under a rather complicated structured finance deal, Citibank’s London branch will advance a senior, floating rate loan of £50m through two Irish special purpose vehicles. The facility matures in December 2026.

    Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited (London South East), Rated: A

    The Board is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a formal agreement with Citibank, N.A. London Branch (“Citibank London”) to establish a funding transaction to make loans to ?UK small businesses through the Funding Circle platform?. The transaction will serve to support the Company’s target dividend yield of 6-7% per annum.

    Under the terms of the agreement Citibank London will provide �50 million of funding into the transaction, by entering into a senior, floating rate loan. The Company will contribute a portfolio of existing UK small business loans at par, and in return shall receive ?approximately �50 million of cash to be deployed in accordance with its investment policy, and junior notes.

    Fintech firms struggling to get a foothold with established lenders (The Irish Times), Rated: A

    Banks and other financial institutions remain extremely wary of working with fintech firms, particularly in Ireland where few are willing to give start-ups the endorsement they need to help secure business elsewhere.

    Andrew Patrick White, founder and chief executive of FundApps, a regtech firm that provides compliance and regulation monitoring services to asset managers and hedge funds, said many financial institutions were afraid of fintech solutions because of a fear that they would be used to replace staff.

    “Your grandmother probably has more sophisticated apps on her iPad than many banks have inhouse,” Mr White added.

    Your morning briefing (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

    ‘All-in-one’ cards get another shotCurve has debuted a card in the U.K. that allows consumers to switch a card used to fund a payment after they have left the store. Through the card’s “back in time” feature, card preferences can be changed for up to two weeks, a system the company is selling as a financial management tool. Curve, which is being offered for free with a $60 premium option with more rewards, works like a regular card and is usable anyplace that accepts Mastercard. While all-in-one cards have struggled to gain traction over the years, more than 100,000 people signed up during the card’s testing phase and spent more than $120 million, according to a release.

    OnePlus’ fraud hit: Electronic equipment company OnePlus became the latest to get hit with card fraud, with consumers reporting unauthorized transactions and the company disabling credit card payments but still allowing PayPal transactions. The company is doing a complete audit of its systems and is looking for alternative payment options.

    When we asked, which, if any, Isas have you used over the 2017/18 tax year, nearly a third (32%) said they’d only used a Stocks and Shares Isa.

    This was followed by nearly a quarter (24%) who’ve only used a Cash Isa, and 17% who use a mixture of different Isas.

    This decline in Cash Isa savings is likely to be attributed to poor cash savings rates and the introduction of the personal savings allowance in April 2017.

    Interestingly, Innovative Finance Isas – used for peer-to-peer lending – don’t appear to have taken off, with just 3% of those who voted in our poll only using this savings vehicle.

    Source: Moneywise

    Name Change for Funding Knight as GLI Finance Updates to Sancus Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    As part of an ongoing strategic update, GLI Finance has renamed peer to peer lending platform FundingKnight to Sancus Funding Limited with immediate effect. GLI Finance, an AIM listed company, has also transferred ownership to Sancus BMS Group Limited.

    China

    Qudian is Moving into Budget Auto Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

    The newly listed peer-to-peer lending company in China, Qudian (NYSE: QD), has moved into auto-purchase financing, a new business initiative called “Dabai Auto,” according to the company.

    Launched in late November 2017, Dabai Auto is currently targeting Qudian’s existing high quality users, who have been approved with credit lines, but have not actively transacted in small cash installments. The company also announced that it plans to spend around RMB 100 million ($15.5 million) to promote Dabai Auto through online and offline channels. The offline channels would include Qudian user engagement and delivery centers that are located in the shopping districts of over 100 cities across China.

    HNA-owned P2P lending platform doing business normally, executive says (Global Times), Rated: A

    Payments of investment products on jbh.com, an online peer-to-peer (P2P) platform owned by HNA Group, remain normal and there have not been any capital losses since the platform was set up three years ago, an executive of the company said on Wednesday.

    Payments for all maturing investment products on jbh.com are being made as normal, sina.com.cn reported Wednesday, citing Xia Aobi, president of jbh.com.

    International

    Funding Circle and Lufax: Two High Profile IPOs for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Neither IPO is a surprise as both companies have indicated their intentions before. But we now have a clearer indication on the timing. First off the rank will likely be Lufax. The South China Morning Post reported that Lufax is planning to do their IPO in Hong Kong in April at a possible valuation of US$60 billion. This would be more than three times the valuation of their previous funding round in 2016.

    The Funding Circle news actually broke just before the New Year with this article from Sky News. They reported that the company was preparing to hire advisors in the first steps towards an IPO. They are supposedly going to interview investment bankers this quarter with a possible listing in London in late fall which would put us in the latter part of the third quarter.

    A successful Funding Circle IPO, one where the valuation rises after it goes public will be very good for the marketplace lending industry in both the UK and the US. We have had little good news here in the last couple of years when it comes to the public markets and I would very much like to see a success story here.

    Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint One (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    On the Mintos p2p lending marketplace the majority of investors invest on the primary market into loans, either manually or via autoinvest. But for the 29% of investors that do invest on the secondary market picking loans presents them with a huge choice of about 125,000 offers (no typo, really 125K loan parts on offer!).

    Source: P2P-Banking

    For the shown loans there is a very high probability that they will miss the payment and therefore run an additional 60 days until they are repaid under the buyback guarantee. If that happens the remaining actual loan duration would be 62 or 63 days and the impact of the 0.1% discount on the YTM would be much smaller. The resulting YTM would be somewhere around 11 to 13%. So they would not be a good buy and there are much better offers on the secondary market.

    Source: P2P-Banking

    With two weeks remaining the effective YTM for a buyer is not 36% but rather around 12%. Again there are offers with better YTMs on the secondary market.

    Chinese tech groups undermine banks’ dominance of finance (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

    The recent refusal by US regulators to sign off on Ant Financial’s $1.2bn acquisition of Dallas-based money transfer firm MoneyGram International does not signal the end of the Alibaba-affiliated payments group’s US financial ambitions.

    On one level, the scuppered deal suggests that Chinese companies, whether state-owned or otherwise, will have an ever harder time winning approval for US acquisitions. The move also confirms that the Americans now believe that the definition of national security — their basis for scrutinising overseas deals — embraces anything related to information and data.

    But Ant Financial’s attempted US play also shows how much technology is undermining the dominance of traditional global titans, especially in the financial sphere. It is especially noteworthy that many of the upstart challengers to banks and other legacy companies increasingly either have a Chinese face or Chinese capital behind them. That, in turn, underscores how some Chinese players have leapfrogged into prominence across the world.

    Blockchain is revolutionizing the loan industry – a look at Valorem… (Global Crypto Press), Rated: A

    Smart contracts are providing the solution to the trust issues that are usually the main concerns in the micro loan industry.  Whether it be student loans, cars, or any other kind of micro lending – blockchain technology provides what’s needed to move away from the banks, and towards a peer to peer lending model.

    Volerem Foundation is building the infrastructure to facilitate exactly this.

    India

    Govt should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending: LenDenClub (India Info Online), Rated: A

    Additionally, we also expect the government should think of new ways to boost sectors like P2P lending. Eg.- Enable tax exemption for the lenders on P2P lending platforms, under section 80C. This will result in raising the trust bar and credibility, leading to more and more people investing in such platforms. It will also bring in a good enough capital infusion in the P2P lending space.

    Introducing Syndicates for India (Angel.co), Rated: A

    Today, we are announcing Syndicates for India, a new way for investors in India to invest alongside experienced angels and VC funds that invest in India’s vibrant tech ecosystem.

    To date, over 1,800 startups have raised more than $700M through Syndicates on the AngelList platform, receiving more than $6B in follow-on funding.

    APAC

    Gov’t urged to increase ceiling for individual investment in P2P lenders (Yonhap News Agency), Rated: AAA

    A business lobby of peer to peer (P2P) finance firms said Thursday it has asked financial regulators to raise the annual ceiling on individual investment in P2P lenders.

    The Korea P2P Finance Association has asked the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to increase the limit to 100 million won (US$93,632) per year from the current 10 million won, an association official said.

    ZorroSign Among Top 25 FinTech Companies (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    ZorroSign, Inc., today announced the company has been recognized among the top 25 FinTech companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) by CIO Outlook. The honor spotlights organizations that are fundamentally disrupting the way companies in the global finance sector do business. ZorroSign offers unique secure eSignature, end-to-end Digital Transaction Management, and post-execution fraud protection solution. With security being on top of mind for financial services providers, ZorroSign Document 4n6 (Forensics) Token technology offers a major advantage to its customers.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Thursday January 11 2018, Daily News Digest

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments Today’s main news: Vanguard’s robo-advisor passes $100B AUM. YieldStreet raises $113M. RateSetter, Funding Circle join FSB funding platform. Funding Circle looks at Autumn for flotation. ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership. Modalku hits $7.4M in total crowdfunding. Today’s main analysis: KBRA 2017 consumer loan marketplace lending year in review and 2018 outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree survey: Survey takers […]

consumer loan mpl abs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

Canada

 

News Summary

United States

Vanguard’s Digital Advice Platform Is First to Pass $ 100B in AUM (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Vanguard reached another milestone that should keep competing robo-advisors on their toes: it is the first firm to have a digital advice platform to surpass the $100 billion mark in terms of assets under management. And that comes with Vanguard having launched the service in 2015, just three years ago.

According to Stokes, 90% of the platform’s $101 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2017 are from existing clients. Vanguard’s assets under management beat those of Charles Schwab, which has $25 billion in assets under management for its Intelligent Portfolios, Institutional Intelligent Portfolios and Intelligent Advisory services, as well as Betterment’s $10 billion in assets, noted FinancialPlanning.

KBRA Releases 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) released its 2017 Consumer Loan Marketplace Lending Year in Review and 2018 Outlook. The accompanying research report highlights the fact that 2017 was a notable year in the consumer loan marketplace lending (MPL) space in many respects. Total ABS issuance topped $7.8 billion in 2017, up from $4.6 billion in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 71%. SoFi led the way in 2017 in terms of number of ABS deals and total securitization volume, having completed six securitizations for $3.2 billion in total notes. Prosper completed three securitizations totaling $1.5 billion under their PMIT program followed by four deals from LendingClub’s prime and near prime shelves totaling $1.2 billion and three from Marlette’s MFT shelf totaling $919 million. Avant completed two securitizations totaling $480 million while Upstart issued its inaugural securitization in June 2017 followed by a subsequent deal in November. Investor demand strengthened with orders exceeded total deal size and a larger number of investors participated in the deals.

KBRA’s 2017 year in review and 2018 outlook provides:

  • KBRA’s outlook for 2018
  • Information behind the growth in the consumer MPL market
  • Detailed loan origination and ABS issuance volume by platform
  • Securitization performance and rating trends
  • Comparison of collateral characteristics, lending license arrangements platform servicing strategies and funding sources
  • Synopsis of legal and regulatory developments affecting the sector
  • Summary of significant equity raised by fintech companies

Read the full report here.

LendingTree Survey Reveals Optimistic Outlook for Personal Finances in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree recently conducted an online survey among 1,025 Americans to gauge financial expectations, concerns and overall sentiment regarding personal finances for 2018. According to the results, two out of three Americans have an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, with millennials being even more optimistic.

According to the survey, almost half of Americans (45%) feel that 2017 was at least somewhat better than 2016 in terms of personal finances. Approximately one third (34%) earned more in 2017 than they did in 2016, 24 percent put more into savings in 2017 compared to 2016, and 21 percent improved their score over the past 12 months. However, only 16 percent reduced their total credit card debt, making debt reduction a priority in the year ahead.

Additional positive expectations for 2018 include:

  • 46% expect income to increase
  • 28% expect to pay off credit card debt
  • 35% plan to make and/or stick to a budget in 2018
  • 35% also expect to improve their credit score
  • 18% expect to save for a down payment on a house
  • 27% plan to build an emergency fund
  • 26% expect to save for a savings/purchase goal

To view the rest of the survey results, visit 

Spike in delinquency rate mars outlook for personal loans (American Banker), Rated: A

U.S. consumers are falling further behind on loans commonly used to consolidate debt, the latest sign that monthly payment burdens have become unsustainable for more households.

In the third quarter of 2017, 1.9% of all bank-issued personal loans were at least 30 days delinquent, according to data released Tuesday by the American Bankers Association. That was a notable jump from the second quarter, when the delinquency rate was 1.52%.

YieldStreet Raises $ 113 Million Financing Round to Disrupt Alternative Investing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

YieldStreet, the alternative investment platform working to change the way wealth is created, today announced that it has closed a $113 million financing round. The round includes $12.8 million of Series A equity financing co-led by Greycroft and Raine Ventures, as well as a revolving credit facility of $100 million from a New York based family office (the “Family Office”). Additional equity investors include Saturn Ventures, Expansion Venture Capital, the Family Office and FJ Labs.

The equity capital will help enable YieldStreet to accelerate the transformation of wealth creation by investing in further product innovation and growing its loyal community of investors. The raise comes as YieldStreet reached a tipping point in 2017, almost tripling prior year originations and surpassing $250 million raised by retail investors at the end of the year.

Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft and one of the pioneers of modern private equity as the founder of Apax Partners, will join the YieldStreet advisory board. Ian Sigalow of Greycroft, Gordon Rubenstein of Raine Ventures and a representative from the Family Office will join YieldStreet’s board.

It’s Time to Talk About Alternative Assets (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: A

While many high-net-worth investors get advice from friends, family and sources on the internet, the majority — 72% — rely on financial professionals such as their advisors for investment information, according to research by Millennium Trust. In fact, financial professionals are over three times more relied on and trusted than the next trusted investment source: 51% of HNW investors trust financial professionals more than competing sources, including family, which is the most trusted source for only 13% of investors.

When advisors discuss potential investments with clients, they often focus on traditional options like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. As our research shows, however, many HNW investors are interested in alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, marketplace lending and crowdfunding.

For example, 63% are moderately or extremely interested in investing in real estate and 46% report the same level of interest in private equity. But when it comes to discussing those investments with their broker or advisor, the numbers are significantly lower: Just 25% have discussed residential rental properties, 20% commercial rental properties, 23% real estate investment trusts, and 27% real estate limited partnerships, whereas 38% have discussed private equity.

Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest, Updates on 2017 Progress & Crowdcube Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SeedInvest is one of the most selective investment crowdfunding platforms in the US.

Today, SeedInvest is a full stack platform allowing companies the ability to sell securities under each of these exemptions.

How were your numbers for 2017? Can you share some top line detail?

Ryan Feit: We had another record year at SeedInvest.  We invested around $50 million into startups during 2017 (more than in our prior four years combined).  By our calculations we did at least twice as much investment volume as the next largest US-based equity crowdfunding platform that is open to all investors.

During 2017, what were some of the highlights for SeedInvest?

Ryan Feit: Here are a few additional highlights for 2017:

  • HelloMD completed the largest Regulation CF Side-by-Side round fundraise in history, raising $3 million.
  • Knightscope completed the largest pure Equity Crowdfunding round in history, raising $20 million.
  • We launched Auto Invest to help investors easily diversify in up to 25 startups and so far, 470 investors have made 3,300 auto investments into startups.
  • We launched LIVE Fundraising at events around the world and through our partnerships with LAUNCH Festival/Scale and
  • TechCrunch Disrupt, $10 million was raised from 5,800 people on SeedInvest.
  • SeedInvest had 14,000 startups apply to raise capital (vs. 1,500 in 2015).
  • SeedInvest had 2.5 million site visitors (vs. 400k in 2015).
  • SeedInvest processed 20,000 investments (vs. just 275 in 2015!).

Petal Card Raises $ 13M Led by Thiel’s VC Firm (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Petal, the card designed to serve the credit invisible, has raised $13 million in funding that it will use to double its employees as the young startup tries to meet the demand of its growing user-base.

The Series A funding round was led by Peter Thiel’s VC firm, Valar Ventures.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Alkami raises $ 70 million for mobile banking software (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Plano-based Alkami has developed a white label service that credit unions and banks use across digital platforms.

And Alkami’s 4.5 million users have generated enough revenue for the company to justify a $70 million Series D round, led by General Atlantic, with participation from MissionOG. Existing investors include S3 Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity.

Chase Partners with AutoFi to Deliver Digital Car-Buying for Dealerships across the Country (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Chase announced today a partnership with AutoFi, a financial technology company that helps customers select and finance vehicles through their automotive dealers’ website and reduce the time it takes to complete the sale. Chase is the first national bank on the AutoFi platform.

The AutoFi digital retailing platform connects dealers with buyers and lenders. Chase will deliver financing terms online through the AutoFi platform, often within seconds.

Nearly half of consumers want to purchase and finance vehicles online, Chase’s research has found.

CECL compliance dragging small banks toward automation (American Banker), Rated: A

Like many small-to-midsize banks, Bank Independent in Sheffield, Ala., calculated its monthly allowance for loan and lease losses the hard way: setting aside a week every month to complete a largely manual, Excel-based model.

Download Your Guide to LendItFintech USA (LendIt), Rated: B

Discover who attends, why you should attend, andmore.

Ascentium Capital Exceeds $ 1 Billion in Funded Volume During Fiscal Year 2017 (Ascentium Capital), Rated: B

Ascentium Capital LLC, the nation’s largest private-independent finance company, announced it surpassed $1 billion in annual funded volume for the first time in the organization’s history.

 

Real estate investing startup Cadre partners with Goldman Sachs (Reuters), Rated: A

New York-based real estate investment company Cadre has partnered with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to allow the bank’s private wealth management clients to invest through the startup’s platform.

Goldman Sachs clients have committed to investing $250 million in properties through Cadre’s platform so far, the companies said on Wednesday.

Better Saves Homeowners $ 2.7 Million in Mortgage Refinancing Costs in 2017 (Better Email), Rated: A

PeerStreet: A Group Of Surfers Out To Revolutionize Real Estate Investing (Benzinga), Rated: A

PeerStreet is an investment platform that enables accredited investors to easily invest in high-yield, short term, real estate backed loans. PeerStreet sources its loans from non-bank lenders across the nation. They underwrite both the lenders and the loans using advanced algorithms, big-data analytics, manual processes and on-the-ground due diligence to filter and select high quality loans.

Who are your investors, if any?

Our investors include: Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, Montage Ventures, ThomVest, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Colchis Capital, Toba Capital, Le Frak, and many notable individual investors including Dr. Michael Burry, Adam Nash, Ron Suber, D. A. Wallach, etc.

Is there anything else Benzinga should know about your company?

PeerStreet is entrenched in the financial technology and lending industries at large. PeerStreet has been named by American Banker as one of the “Best Places to Work in Financial Technology” in 2018 and one of the “10 Best Startups in Los Angeles” in 2017 by Zippia. PeerStreet is a member of the Marketplace Lending Association and has partnerships with over 150 private residential real estate lenders in over 30 states.

Q&A With Chief Investment Officer Chris Fraley (RealtyMogul), Rated: A

Q: How do you intend to translate your experience from Rockwood Capital to your role at RealtyMogul?

In 2018, I see RealtyMogul expanding the size of its investment transactions, something I have direct experience in managing and find very exciting. I believe RealtyMogul is entering its third phase of growth as a business, evidenced by its recent acquisition of Serendipity Apartments this past September. Due to the ability to invest larger amounts of equity, we were able to maintain a majority, controlling interest in a $24M apartment community. While providing opportunities in preferred equity, mezzanine debt and smaller, passive limited partner interests will still be a critical aspect of our business, I’m hopeful that our real estate team’s substantial institutional background will help us acquire and successfully manage properties with larger transaction values.

Q: Do you think RealtyMogul will impact the traditional institutional investing model?

Absolutely. The institutional world is already starting to sign on to the concept of direct investing because the typical closed end fund model is broken, inefficient and fraught with possibility of misalignment of interests.

Surprisingly, most institutional investors do not want to invest in value add real estate investments in the bottom of a cycle until there is clear evidence of a market recovery. This was evident in the last downturn by the paucity of institutional allocations to value add strategies in the 2008-2012 timeframe. When the market starts to recover, institutional investors should start to make allocations. This may take a year or two. They lock up allocations with 3-4 year investment periods, oftentimes at the peak of cycle. Now is a perfect example of this disconnect.

Direct investment platforms allow investors to move in and out of market more efficiently and avoid an extra layer of fees to the investor. I believe this is the future of our industry and RealtyMogul is poised to lead.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (RealtyMogul), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Stressing About When And How To Pay Your Debts? Pefin’s AI Assistant Is Here To Help (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin is the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor. The platform provides intelligent, unbiased and personalized financial planning and advice. Pefin’s mission is to look after the financial best interests of users in a way that embraces the unique individuality of their lives.

The platform offers:

  • 1. Long-term Financial Planning services, including a complete Financial Plan
  • 2. Financial Advice, including savings and debt management strategies
  • 3. Investment Advice and Portfolio Management Services
  • 4. Real-time monitoring, updates, and curated financial literacy content for each user

Tech advances force advisers to adjust — or else (ROI-NJ), Rated: A

There’s a machine-versus-human calculus that’s going on in the world of money management.

It may not yet be that more financial advice is provided by machines than humans, but to say the industry is on that path isn’t hyperbole. Investors themselves — particularly those of a younger demographic — have shown they are willing to trust a robot for advice.

John Babcock, president of Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s private wealth management division, sides with the humans, but understands automation is quickly changing the face of his business.

ProShares and VanEck are withdrawing their requests for bitcoin ETFs (Business Insider), Rated: A

Two financial services giants — ProShares and VanEck — are withdrawing requests to the Securities and Exchange Commission to list bitcoin ETFs.

 

US Banks Rely on Fintech Firms to Overcome Legacy Systems (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Legacy systems are preventing nearly two thirds (64%) of US commercial banks from developing Fintech applications, research commissioned by Fintech provider Fraedom has revealed.

Interestingly, 82% of the respondents that highlighted this concern were shareholders. Over half of those polled also noted a lack of expertise within banks as an important concern (56%), just ahead of limited resources (53%).

Commercial banks outsourcing services to a Fintech provider is clearly a trend on the rise, with only 22% of US banks revealing that they do not outsource any payment services compared to 30% of their UK counterparts.

How a Fintech Startup Aims to Take the Fear Out of Investing (Wharton), Rated: A

Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein talks to former Wharton visiting professor Vinay Nair about his startup’s business model and path to growth.

Nair: Can you give us a sense of what your Risk Number model is and why advisors are attracted to it?

Klein: We built the technology on top of the academic framework that won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002 — Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on prospect theory. We had a team of academics do a deep dive into the methodology and they said, ‘On the one hand, there are a lot of novel things in what you’ve done. On the other hand, a lot of what you’ve done is taken stuff that we’ve been working on in the labs for 15 years to 20 years and figured out a way to make it commercially viable and understandable by the average human.’

Listen to the podcast here.

Can taking out a loan be a good experience? (WGN Radio), Rated: A

Kabbage has enough experience with small businesses to say providing loans to small businesses can make for a good experience. John Parise is the Head of Customer and Partner Marketing and has been following company journeys for years now. His way of making loans a positive experience is by offering flexibility.

Listen to the podcast.

Fintech Startup Apruve Partners With MSTS For Credit Card Alternative (Benzinga), Rated: B

B2B fintech companies MSTS and Apruve announced Wednesday a payment process obviating the need to leverage capital and resources to provide credit and payment terms.

The new service enables automated instant credit approval, buyer onboarding, billing, customer service and collections services while allowing business clients to eschew the high transaction fees of credit cards.

4 of the 5 Biggest IPOs in 2017 Bombed. Here’s Who Won (Madison), Rated: B

The number of companies going public in 2017 surged 52% over the year ago period, hitting 160 deals, with the proceeds from the IPOs reaching $35.6 billion, double the amount in 2016, according to an analysis by Renaissance Capital.

5. Qudian (down 47.8%)

United Kingdom

RateSetter and Funding Circle added to FSB Funding Platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER, Funding Circle and Assetz Capital are some of the peer-to-peer lenders that have been included on the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) new business funding platform.

The FSB Funding Platform, developed by Finpoint, matches potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

FSB launches AI-led business finance aggregator (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new business finance aggregator that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders.

The trade body unveiled the FSB Funding Platform on Wednesday, after it was trialled on FSB members in three UK regions.

The new platform has been developed for the FSB by Finpoint and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Funding Circle eyes autumn flotation, report claims (The Digital Banking Club), Rated: AAA

UK peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle is set to hire investment advisers as part of preparations to float on the London Stock Exchange.

UK Businesses Enter 2018 Vulnerable to Economic Shocks (CL News), Rated: A

These are unpredictable times for the UK economy. The great financial crisis remains fresh in the memory of business owners and its effects are still being seen in the form of relatively low wages growth and lagging productivity. Meanwhile, the ongoing talks on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union are a reminder that the future too is uncertain. Against this backdrop, a significant number of Britain’s SMEs are acutely vulnerable to any downturn in trade, according to a survey by the business lender, Nucleus Commercial Finance.

Small business owners were more or less evenly split on the question of whether the UK should remain in Europe, but as the survey indicates, the possibility that current trade talks will lead to a poor outcome is now a major concern,  trumping both the possibility of another major financial crash or the threat of digital attack by hackers.

And almost half of the businesses taking part in the survey said they are financially exposed to any event that impacts on trade, with 47% admitting they wouldn’t last a month on the basis of their current cash reserves. 30% said they wouldn’t last two weeks.

After 2017’s European Brexodus companies want to know the UK is open for business (Verdict), Rated: A

The first Morgan McKinley London employment monitor of the new year has revealed a 37 percent decrease in jobs available year-on-year while there are 30 percent fewer people seeking jobs in the capital.

Month-on-month there was a 52 percent decrease in jobs available, while the number of people seeking jobs in London fell by 40 percent.

China

WeChat shows messaging is the future of financial services ‘platforms’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

WeChat could be the next big broker-dealer among high-net-worth Chinese investors.

Its parent company, Tencent, now has a license that allows it to sell mutual funds on WeChat and give the popular messaging app’s 980 million users more options to help boost funds sold on the platform. It also gives Tencent more sway in deciding which financial products third-party companies can sell on its different platforms.

WeChat is showing that messaging channels, at least in China, are where people like making financial transactions.

European Union

Berlin-based FinTech startup Penta accuses TransferWise to have stolen its debit card branding (EU Startups), Rated: A

The London-based FinTech giant TransferWise just announced its borderless current account, which enables users to spend money in a choice of up to 28 foreign currrencies with a debit card. Tranferwise’s choice of a neon green colour for its first debit card was met with anger by Berlin-based SME challenger bank Penta, which turned to Twitter to express its anger at the striking resemblance to its own neon green card.

Looking at the two card designs, you’ll notice that it’s really just about the colour, and chances are high, that TransferWise picked the similar colour “by accident”.

International

Crypto P2P lender ETHLend launches secondary blockchain partnership (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has partnered with a technology provider to help record and store transactions more securely.

ETHLend, founded by Finland-based Stani Kulechov, is a P2P lending platform funding business and personal loans in the Ethereum digital currency.

Central banks are experimenting with blockchain technology — here’s why (Business Insider), Rated: A

So, blockchain can be quite resilient, it can also be a way to create greater transparency into central banking, more credibility because of the rules a blockchain-based system enforces.

Blockchain based BABB Kicks Off Initial Coin Offering to Create the “World Bank for the Micro Economy” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

BABB, a banking platform based on Blockchain based in London, is launching its initial coin offering (ICO) on January 15th with a pre-sale. The general token sale of BAX will commence immediately following the pre-sale seeking to raise a hard cap of USD $20 million. Once their app is live, BAX will be used to pay for services, fees and licensing costs; so if an individual or business wants to use a BABB account, they will use BAX to pay for it. BAX tokens can also be used for other services.

The money raised by the ICO will be used for BABB to deliver: a smartphone app with bank account capability and international money transfer functionality; a European banking license in the appropriate jurisdiction for their go-to market strategy; and a partnership with a leading retail or central bank in an emerging market, to open corridors for international transactions.

Finova’s FNVA to Become the First Equity-linked Token (BTCManager), Rated: A

Finova Financial is growing as a trusted online lender enabling people to access affordable loans quickly. The platform is recognized as part of the “Fintech 100 list of the world’s leading financial technology innovators for 2016.”

Finova’s FNVA tokens are unique because these tokens are linked with a share of equity in Finova Financial itself. Also, it utilizes the ERC-20 Ethereum token standard that will be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges that are SEC approved and has the backing of assets of a US corporation. Therefore, the token sale is like a hybrid between an ICO and IPO.

These tokens will soon be available through FrontFundr investment platform.

The token price structure of the sale is displayed below, where the price will increase over time. A total of $18.5 million worth of tokens will be sold, on a sliding scale between $0.75 and $1.56 as the supply of FNVA increases.

 

Source: BTCManager
Australia/New Zealand

Auswide Bank sells stake in MoneyPlace, only two years after investing in online lender (The Courier Mail), Rated: AAA

BUNDABERG-based bank Auswide is offloading its 62 per cent stake in online lender MoneyPlace only two years after making an investment to “take a position” in the hi-tech sector.

Mom and pop investors fleeing property rental business (Scoop), Rated: A

Increasing numbers of mom and pop landlords are contemplating giving up on property investment and exploring alternative investments due to reasons such as the increasing pressure they feel from what can be a capital-intensive investment, changes to the legal environment (such as the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017) and fears of how methamphetamine contamination could ruin their retirement planning.

CEO of New Zealand’s largest peer-to-peer mortgage lender Southern Cross Partners, Luke Jackson, says a string of inquiries about alternative investment options that don’t stray too far from property have been received by his team in recent weeks.

India

Existing NBFC cannot operate as peer-to-peer lender (IIFL), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notified that existing non-banking financial companies cannot operate as peer-to-peer lenders. Further, new applicants for peer-to-peer lending license will need to provide the list of promoters and the source of funds for the minimum capital requirement of Rs20mn, the regulator said.

RBI further clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial companies and other regulated financial institutions to identify borrowers for lending will not be classified as peer-to-peer lending platforms. Only electronic platforms that also cater to retail lenders can register separately as such platforms, the central bank said.

The future of online financial advice and mutual funds (hubbis), Rated: A

Kunal Bajaj points out India is a large country without sufficient financial advisors to serve the population’s needs. With most people simply finding a financial advisor close to their home or place of employment, financial advice in India is primarily limited by geography which is not an ideal situation. As an added problem, many people find that their advisor has persuaded them into choosing a product which did not meet their needs. “Clearfunds eliminates this issue by delivering a bespoke solution for each customer which uses our internet platform.” Bajaj explains.

Traditional financial advisors try to channel every client into one of 21 possible portfolios (0-100 Debt-Equity or 100-0 Equity-Debt, in five-percent steps) or outcomes, often through first impressions or physical factors. With an online financial advisor, this is not possible, and therefore more work is put into finding out more about the person themselves and their individual requirements by asking periodic psychometric questions about the stability of their employment and income stream.

Bajaj has seen Clearfunds go from strength to strength in the 12 months since the platform has been online. “We have customers across 400 cities and around $10 million in assets under management.” He says. “Betterment and WealthFront took over a year to gather their first $10 million in the USA but now they both have billions in assets. Nutmeg has been in business for 7 years and has around 40,000 accounts and a billion dollars of assets under management.”

APAC

Indonesia P2P Startup Modalku Milestone: Hits $ 74 Million in Total Crowdfunded MSME Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Modalku, an Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending fintech startup, successfully surpassed $74 million (Rp 1 trillion) in total crowdfunded MSME loans.

Canada

Mike Novogratz is planning a crypto version of Goldman Sachs (Business Insider), Rated: A

In a statement out Tuesday, Novogratz said he is looking to raise $200 million for Galaxy Digital LP, a “best-in-class, full service, institutional quality merchant banking business” for the crypto market. Novogratz also plans to list the company on TSX Venture Exchange, a Canada-based exchange for small cap companies.

The new bank will be born out of Canadian-based First Coin Capital, which Novogratz plans to buy and then merge with Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. Its main businesses will include trading, advisory services, asset management, and private equity-like investing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 10 2018, Daily News Digest

personal loans LendingTree

News Comments Today’s main news: Citi launches mortgage platform. Credit card debt hits all-time high. The House Crowd receives FCA authorization. Apples for Oranges, an Isa comparison site, launches. Ant Financial dupes users into joining credit system, then apologizes. Ant Financial halts consumer loan sales. P2P lending association launches in India. TD Bank acquires AI company Layer 6. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s […]

personal loans LendingTree

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United States

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) today announced that on January 2, 2018, its Board of Directors (the ‘Board’) received another letter from IEG Holdings Corporation (‘IEG’), which had previously commenced an unsolicited tender offer for LendingClub’s stock in July 2017 and withdrew the tender offer less than a month later. IEG’s letter states its intention to acquire up to 4.99% of the outstanding common stock of LendingClub on the basis of 13 shares of IEG common stock for each share of LendingClub common stock. On January 5, 2018, IEG announced the commencement of its proposed exchange offer. The Board believes there is no rational economic basis upon which LendingClub stockholders should accept IEG’s proposed exchange offer, which appears intended to mislead investors into mistakenly tendering into a discounted offer. The Board has unanimously concluded the offer is grossly inadequate, is not in the best interests of LendingClub and its stockholders and urges stockholders not to be misled into tendering into the offer.

Citi unleashes single digital platform for mortgages (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

Citi has made dual agreements to integrate its suite of US mortgage products into a single digital platform for its clients.

A new front-end digital solution, LoanFx, from Digital Risk, a provider of technology platforms and services, will be complemented by a new loan origination system, LoanSphere Empower, from Black Knight.

The bank says this development will enable its mortgage clients to go through the full loan cycle, from research to application, processing, scheduling appraisals, handling title, to closing, “through the channel of their choice – and at their own pace”.

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – December 2017 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

I wanted to let you know we just released the inaugural monthly 

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.54%, an increase of 17 basis points from the prior month, and a drop of 24 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $24,177, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above was down almost 2% ($451) from November, and up 26% ($6,179) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had APRs of 5.07% on average, and loan amounts of $41,768. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,407 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
  • Good credit (680 – 719 score): Loan offers to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged over $15,000 in December.

    • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.91%, down 1.5% from last month, but up 2% from a year earlier.
    • At $15,468, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs drop by 4% ($624) in the last month, but rise by 343 basis points ($530) over the last year.
    • The top 10% of offers, presented to the borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, saw an average best APR of 7.37%, offered with an average loan amount of $25,385. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,306 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.

    Credit card debt hits all-time high of $ 1.023 trillion (American Banker), Rated: AAA

    U.S. revolving consumer debt reached an all-time high of $1.023 trillion in November, according to Federal Reserve Board data released Monday.

    The card market’s previous peak came in April 2008, when $1.021 trillion in revolving consumer debt was outstanding.

    Will Consumer Lenders Benefit from the Removal of Tax Benefits for HELOCs? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Since a HELOC is backed by an asset, interest rates are typically lower than an unsecured loan, such as the ones offered by LendingClub and Prosper. There was an added benefit to a HELOC with the ability to deduct the interest, something that differentiated HELOCs from pretty much all other loan products. Now that this benefit is, in many cases, removed with the new tax code, we may see homeowners opt for other loan types. It is important to remember that the interest deduction only benefited individuals who itemize their deductions, which tend to include individuals with higher incomes.

    Unsecured Lenders May Benefit

    As the deduction benefit is removed, other options which offer a pleasant user experience look even better. Platforms like Goldman Sachs’ Marcus charge no origination fee and currently offer fixed rates as low as 6.99% for the best borrowers. Another player in the unsecured consumer lending space called LightStream offers loans as low as 2.49% depending on the use of proceeds. This could lead to the very best borrowers moving to products offered by these companies while borrowers with a less than perfect credit history, who would qualify for a higher rate, may rely on HELOCs.

    Americans Don’t Understand Auto Loans, Millennials Understand Less (instamotor), Rated: A

    In order to find out what people know and don’t know about auto financing, we surveyed 800 Americans who have applied for auto loans about their auto financing knowledge and found:

    Many Americans are qualifying for auto financing, but aren’t sure how.

    • Nearly 4 in 5 (79%) were approved for the last auto loan they applied for
    • More than half (51.9%) can’t name the 3 major credit bureaus
    • An overwhelming majority of respondents (94%) weren’t aware that auto lenders often use a specialty credit score, called an Auto FICO, when evaluating auto loan borrowers
    • Nearly 3 in 5 (60.9%) think lenders consider age and marital status when evaluating loan applicants

    Most Americans don’t know how to properly evaluate an auto loan offer.

    • Nearly 3 in 5 (59.9%) don’t understand the relationship between loan term and interest.

    What Americans Think is the Most Important Factor When Evaluating a Loan

    • All factors considered holistically – 47.9%
    • Interest rate – 21.9%
    • Monthly payment – 14.3%
    • Loan amount (price of car) – 7.9%
    • I don’t know – 2.4%

    Most Americans are unaware of a common, yet deceiving auto dealing practice.

    • 2 in 3 respondents didn’t know dealers can add interest to your loan to make more profit. in fact, more than 2 in 5 (41.3%) believed this practice was illegal

    Other concepts people don’t understand? Being “upside down” and gap insurance.

    • More than 2 in 5 (42.6%) don’t know what it means to be “upside down” or “underwater” on your loan
    • More than 3 in 5 (62.1%) don’t know what gap insurance is

     

    Community Banks Aim To Amplify Competitive Edge With FinTechs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

    Community banks approved 49 percent of SMB loan applications in November, according to the latest data from the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index.

    But small business lending is only one part of the banking puzzle. SMBs demand access to robust solutions, from mobile banking to advisory services.

    The Fed released a report, “Community Banking in the 21st Century,” last October, which surveyed more than 600 FIs. While analysts found small business lending dropped by 2.2 percent in 2016, the decline was significantly smaller than that at larger banks, which reduced SMB lending by 5.1 percent.

    Finance Professionals Preparing For Technological Innovation & Disruption (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    On Monday, TD Bank released its 2017 Treasury Management Survey, which revealed that technological innovation and disruption is set to greatly influence the investment priorities and business plans of financial executives.

    The survey noted that disruptive technologies are top of mind for the participants, who also cited that they are preparing for changes in the treasury management industry by:

    • Leveraging solutions from fintech providers (31%)
    • Developing in-house technology for competition (23%)
    • Hiring more tech-savvy employers (15%)

    Meet the First 100 Speakers (LendIt), Rated: A

    Source: LendIt

    Read speaker bios here.

    Payday rule will protect, not harm, vulnerable consumers (American Banker), Rated: A

    Criticism of payday lenders is well-earned. They have devised a system that rolls customers into one 300% annual interest loan after another, until those customers very often reach a point of serious financial desperation — they may lose their bank accounts and are more likely to declare bankruptcy than nonpayday borrowers.

    In 2015, over 83% of Florida payday loans went to borrowers stuck in seven or more loans, based on data from the office of the regulator himself. The average annual interest rate is still 278%, and these unscrupulous lenders drain $311 million out of the economy every year, disproportionately affecting African-American and Latino communities and a growing number of seniors.

    The New York Institute of Credit & Financial Poise Announce BUSINESS BORROWING BASICS (Benzinga), Rated: A

    This webinar series provides a guided tour of the various borrowing options available to businesses, from both a business and legal perspective. Major topics covered include asset-based lending, P/O Finance, Factoring, Merchant Cash Advances, and Market Place Lending / Fintech.

    The first episode of the series, Understanding the Lending Landscape, airs on January 17th at 2:00 PM CST (Register Here) and features Moderator Jonathan Friedland of Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer.

    Future episodes in the series include “Asset-Based Lending,” airing on February 21st, “Purchase Order Finance” airing on March 21st, “Factoring,” airing on April 18th, “Merchant Cash Advances” airing on May 23rd, and “Marketplace Lending/Fintech,” aring on June 20th.

    Marlette Funding Names Mark Elbaum as Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

    Marlette Funding, LLC, the parent company of Best Egg, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Elbaum as the company’s new chief financial officer (CFO). As CFO, Elbaum will join the executive management team and lead the finance, accounting and capital markets activities from the company’s headquarters in Wilmington, DE.

    Most recently, Mark was the CFO of Merrill Lynch, Bank of America’s Wealth Management business. Prior roles included 18 years in the mortgage industry as CFO of Bank of America’s mortgage lending division, appointed to the position after the company’s acquisition of Countrywide Financial. At Countrywide he held the position of CFO of the Residential Lending Division. After starting his career at Price Waterhouse, Mark worked at Aames Financial Corp, a midsize consumer finance company, where he helped upgrade the finance capabilities to post IPO requirements. Mark has a Masters in Accountancy from University of Southern California and is a CPA and experienced in FP&A as well as capital markets.

    LendingTree, Inc. to Present at the 20th Annual Needham Growth Conference (Business Insider), Rated: B

    LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in Needham & Company’s 20th Annual Growth Conference at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York City.

    The Company is scheduled to present on Wednesday, January 17 at 10:00am ET.

    Enacomm, Advantel Partner on AI Conversational Banking and Next-Generation IVR (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

    Enacomm, Inc., a provider of intelligent interactions and customer authentication technologies for banks, credit unions and credit card companies, has teamed up with Advantel, a technology solutions provider deploying integrated voice and data solutions for clients around the world. Through the partnership agreement, Advantel will make available to financial institutions both VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

    United Kingdom

    The House Crowd achieves FCA authorisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

    THE HOUSE Crowd is looking to unveil a new website and auto-lending option after achieving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) at the end of last year.

    The property peer-to-peer lending platform had first applied for full permissions in October 2015 and had previously expressed concerns about delays.

    Innovative finance Isa comparison site launches (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

    A new Isa comparison site, including Innovative Finance Isas, has been launched directly to potential investors.

    Apples for Oranges will allow customers to shop around for Isas and be able to see the different returns from stocks and shares, cash and innovative finance Isas in the same place.

    Figures last Autumn showed that investors had put just £17m into Innovative Finance Isas in their first year in existence, according to data from HM Revenue & Customs, significantly less than both stocks and shares Isas and cash Isas, which had £22bn and £39bn put into them respectively during 2016 to 2017.

    Fintech firm Marqeta has hired its first UK employee as it prepares to launch in Europe (Business Insider), Rated: A

    The 180-employee company has hired Ian Johnson, formerly the European commercial director at payments processing firm Wex, to be Marqeta’s Head of European Growth, and there are plans in the works to open a formal office in London and hire further staff later this year. The company has also appointed a head of international strategy, Renata Caine (who also previously worked at Wex), who will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    UK Direct Lender Goji Nabs Multi-Million Pound Anthemis-Led Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    Goji, the UK-based specialist direct lending investment manager and platform, secured an undisclosed multi-million pound funding round from investors including Anthemis’ Venture Fund 1 (AVF1) and AXA Strategic Ventures (ASV).

    Investors in alternative investments driving change in manager behaviour, says SEI survey (hedgeweek), Rated: A

    Released today and based on a survey of 70 alternatives investors, “How to Meet Operational Challenges while Pursuing Opportunities in Alternative Investing” illustrates the alignments and disconnects between those investors and the managers with whom they allocate capital.

    The trend toward greater transparency is well established, but expectations continue to outpace reality, as many investors remain dissatisfied with the level of transparency available to them. While 67 per cent of managers surveyed thought existing levels of transparency surrounding operating expenses were sufficient, only 25 per cent of investors agreed. Additionally, almost nine out of 10 investors say it was important (or extremely important) that they are given the opportunity to negotiate fees, yet this negotiation occurred far more often with the larger investor than with those at lower asset levels: 73 per cent of investors with more than USD25 billion of assets reported they had success negotiating fees compared to only 29 per cent of those with less than USD1 billion of assets.

    China

    Jack Ma’s Ant Apologizes for Baiting Users Into Credit System (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

    Ant Financial, the internet finance behemoth controlled by billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma, has apologized for roping unsuspecting users into its fledgling but fast-growing credit-score system.

    Ant Financial’s Alipay kicked off a free service this week to help users generate a consumption profile based on their shopping history. But buried at the bottom of its landing page was a small box — checked by default — that automatically enrolled users to its Sesame Credit unless they opted out. The subsequent online uproar prompted Ant to change that setting and to call the move “extremely idiotic,” according to a post on its official social media account.

    Jack Ma Debt Giant Grinds to Halt as China Curbs Micro-Loans (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

    After selling billions of dollars of debt backed by consumer loans last year, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is pausing such fundraising as the government steps up curbs on micro lending.

    The company hasn’t sold any asset-backed securities since early December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and China Securitization Analytics. That marks an abrupt shift after it issued a record 238 billion yuan ($37 billion) in 2017 of such securities backed by consumer loans.

    Source: Bloomberg

    China moves to shutter bitcoin mines (Financial Times), Rated: A

    China is moving to eradicate the country’s bitcoin mining industry over concerns about excessive electricity consumption and financial risk, reflecting authorities’ judgment that cryptocurrencies are not a strategic industry.

    International

    TransferWise begins private launch of its consumer borderless account and bright green debit card (TechCrunch), Rated: A

    Money transfer company TransferWise has begun a private launch of its “Borderless account” for consumers. It marks the first time the European unicorn has offered a debit card (pictured below), a move that is bound to draw further comparisons with newer fintech upstarts such as Revolut.

    Initially rolling out to a thousand customers, with several thousand more to be invited in the coming weeks and a full public launch pegged for Q1 this year, the online banking account gives you local bank details for the U.K., U.S., Australia and Europe, and lets you hold and convert 28 currencies.

    If, like me, you receive income from abroad and in a different currency to your home bank account (as a contractor for TechCrunch, I’m paid in U.S. dollars), then you are very likely hit by extra bank charges and an uncompetitive exchange rate by your existing bank. This could be avoided if you had a local bank account in the country and currency you are paid in, and could then choose when and how to do the currency exchange.

    100 Most Promising AI Startups Globally (CB Insights), Rated: A

    The companies were selected from a pool of 2,000+ startups based on several criteria, including investor profile, tech innovation, team strength, patent activity, mosaic score, funding history, valuation, and business model.

    Source: Fortune

    See CB Insights’ take on the 100 top artificial intelligence startups.

    Nets Group Announces Partnership with Plug and Play (PR Newswire), Rated: B

    Nets Group, the largest Nordic-based payment service provider, announced its newest strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a global matchmaker for startups, corporations, and investors. They joined Plug and Play FinTech’s innovation platform to engage in both the European and North American startup ecosystem. This collaboration will introduce Nets Group to top tier startups that align with their innovation strategy.

    India

    Peer-to-peer lending companies join hands to form the Association of P2P Lending Platforms (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

    India’s leading peer-to-peer lending companies on Wednesday said they have come together to form the Association of P2P Lending Platforms. The first-of-its-kind association will act as a representative for its members, as well as the country’s P2P lending industry. In addition, the association will work in conjunction with the government and regulatory authorities in matters of compliance, and to further the cause of financial inclusion in the country.

    The association also intends to undertake research and development, collect data and conduct surveys that will further the development of the P2P lending industry in India. The research and its findings will be shared publicly, and exchange of ideas will be encouraged through various conferences, lectures and sponsored events.

    Other founding members include Bhavin Patel, Founder and CEO, LenDenClub and Bhuvan Rustagi, Co-Founder and COO, Lendbox.in who will be the association’s Secretary and Treasurer respectively.P2P lending, Vinay Mathews,Faircent.com,Shankar Vaddadi, i-lend.in, Bhavin Patel, LenDenClub,Bhuvan Rustagi, Lendbox.in

    Ola, ICICI Bank partner (Outlook), Rated: A

    Private sector lender ICICI Bank and ride-sharing app Ola have signed an agreement to offer a range of integrated services to their customers.

    Through this alliance, ICICI Bank customers can book Ola and pay the fare by using the bank’s mobile banking applications, ‘iMobile’ and ‘Pockets’.

    The facility will also help Ola customers to get small ticket digital credit instantaneously from ICICI Bank, on the Ola platform, a statement said, adding it will also enable digital payments to driver partners.

    i2ifunding applies for NBFC-P2P licence

    Peer-to-peer lending platform i2ifunding has applied for registration certificate from RBI to operate as non- banking financial company-peer-to-peer lending (P2P).

    Fintech moves in the new year (livemint), Rated: A

    The other pending issue is completing the formation of a Payments Regulatory Board, which was set up through an amendment to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act.

    Finally, RBI’s guidelines on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending need further refinement to bolster the nation’s growing fintech credentials. The rules have confusing eligibility criteria, are ultra-conservative in lender exposure limits and allocate too much discretionary power to the central bank without spelling out specific trigger points for regulatory action.

    Muthoot Pappachan plans strategic investments in fintech start-ups (livemint), Rated: B

    Muthoot Pappachan Group, a Kerala-based lending and financial services conglomerate, plans to make strategic investments in fintech start-ups as part of a larger digital transformation exercise to drive synergies and profitability among its business units, as it chalks out a plan to list its flagship lending arm Muthoot Fincorp Ltd, a top company executive said.

    The group may look to invest $1-5 million in each deal, he added.

    A key focus is technology solutions that will help the organisation disburse loans faster and conveniently to its target low-income customers. This will be achieved by exploring non-traditional data sources for credit appraisal, innovative repayment models and assistive technology solutions at branches.

    Muthoot Pappachan recently invested in two start-ups: peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent and RemitGuru, that offers online money transfer service to Indians settled abroad.

    Asia

    KK Fund backs founders with an ‘unfair advantage’, says founder Saito (Deal Street Asia), Rated; A

    Koichi Saito, the Founder and Partner of KK Fund, a Singapore-based venture fund with roots in Japan, is bullish on the opportunities that ASEAN offers, with the inflow of Chinese and Japanese capital into the region providing more opportunities for deal flow and exits.

    In terms of the KK Fund, can you discuss the funds it currently manages? 

    We started fund one in early 2015, which has a corpus of a few million dollars, so it was a micro fund. From that fund, we made 13 investments in online marketplaces in the e-commerce space. At the time, we were investing between $50,000 and $200,000. Then we closed a second fund at the end of 2016, a $20-million fund. We’re still focusing on seed-stage startups.

    P2P lending platforms are a proven model in the US, China and Japan, as well as in Southeast Asia. However, there is a lack of credit scoring data, so with the need for alternative financing solutions in the region, there are substantial opportunities.

    Besides the founders, what do you look for in terms of the business concepts?

    Let’s say, in the Philippines, there are a lot of remittances players. Now, I reckon only about 10 per cent of people in the Philippines have a bank account. They need a platform for admittance to a bank. If there is a solution that addresses such an issue not only in the Philippines but across Southeast Asia, then I am impressed.

    MENA

    Egyptian Fintech Startup Moneyfellows Secures Investment (Forbes), Rated: AAA

    Egypt-based fintech startup Moneyfellows has raised a $600,000 investment from a group of investors led by Dubai Angel Investors and 500 Startups, the company’s founder Ahmed Wadi revealed.

    Moneyfellows is a web and mobile-based platform allowing users to create, manage and track money circles online with members of their social networks. The startup makes money by charging users a small fee when they withdraw their payout from their money circle.

    Although rarely recognized by mainstream financial institutions, money circles have long given people who lack access to the formal banking system the ability to save money and take small loans. This type of finance is known by many different names. In Egypt, it’s called gameya while in India, it’s a chit fund. In North America, it would be a rotating credit and savings association, or ROSCA.

    To date, Wadi reports Moneyfellows has had 2,600 paying users and about 240 active circles.

    Africa

    Entrepreneurs and innovators to watch out for (The Nation), Rated: AAA

    So many fintech companies have birthed, including , Startcredits.com, to provide   online loan marketplace for  entrepreneurs to fund their  start-ups, promoting financial inclusion in the bid to fix the access to credit problems. A fintech  to watch  is Social Lender, a  digital   lending solution based on social reputation on mobile, online and social media platforms.  Social Lender is designed to bridge the gap of immediate fund access for people with limited access to formal credit. Social Lender uses its own proprietary algorithm to perform a social audit of the user on social media, online and other related platforms. Loans are guaranteed by the user’s social profile and network allowing users to then borrow from banks and other financial institutions based on their social reputation.

    Flutterwave, a payments platform is  making  it easier for banks and businesses to process payments across Africa. U.S. investors  have  invested  $10 million into it.

    Canada

    TD Bank’s first fintech acquisition is an AI company (Digiday), Rated: AAA

    TD Bank just bought its first technology firm, Toronto-based artificial intelligence startup Layer 6.

    The Canadian banking giant, also based in Toronto, invested an undisclosed amount in Layer 6 to help it “continue to transform itself” in the industry shift from mobile-first to AI-first customer experiences, said Rizwan Khalfan, TD’s chief digital and payments officer. The transaction was completed Tuesday morning.

    Authors:

    Allen Taylor

    Friday December 22 2017, Daily News Digest

    LendingClub charge offs

    News Comments Today’s main news: DV01 finishes year with $7.9B in consumer unsecured bonds. PayPal invests in Raisin. Affirm CEO affirms its product is a personal loan. LexinFintech share price surges. The state of P2P lending in New Zealand. InvestUp considers cryptocurrency investing. Today’s main analysis: Why bitcoin is a threat to LendingClub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech lenders go after […]

    LendingClub charge offs

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    United States

    High-tech lenders target the decades-old store credit card (Reuters), Rated: AAA

    The once-hot online lending industry has been battered by scandal and losses since last year, but one of the oldest forms of lending – store credit – is increasingly attracting tech companies aiming to supplant a retailer’s credit card.

    One such lender, San Francisco startup Affirm, is attracting investment and large customers by using a new approach to underwriting that allows it to approve more borrowers than traditional store credit cards.

    Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder who also co-founded one of the earliest digital payments companies, PayPal, boasts that Affirm approves 126 percent more borrowers than Synchrony Financial, the largest issuer of private-label credit cards.

    Startup Affirm CEO Clarifies that Product Is a Personal Loan – Not a Credit Card (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

    Consumers looking for a personal loan option have another one to consider in Affirm, which is a startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. With Affirm, consumers can access a loan, a form of credit, to buy items at a store, which was originally interpreted to be similar to how a credit card works.

    But Levchin has pointed out there are important differences between an Affirm loan and credit cards.

    Who Uses Affirm?

    Generation X and Millennials are the customers who most frequently use Affirm. Younger consumers have seen how carrying high credit card balances affected their older relatives, and they are less likely to want to have much credit card debt.

    The annual percentage rate can be steep, going from as low as 10 percent to as high as 30 percent. But, unlike credit cards, the interest isn’t compounded.

    Why Bitcoin Frenzy Is Terrible News For LendingClub (SeekingAlpha), Rated: AAA

    LendingClub (LC) has had plenty of troubles over the years. Back in 2015, you could throw a dart at a list of financial stocks and hit a double if you held it through today. LC stock, by contrast, has destroyed shareholder value since its IPO. Even the recent Trump financials rally did next to nothing for LC stock, and now shares are back to near new all-time lows after a downbeat earnings report:

    Source: SeekingAlpha

    In a booming economy, the G-rated loans did so badly that they jacked up interest rates almost 3% on consumers while also reducing expected returns by more than 3%. This suggests that the G-rated loans were fully 6% short of expectations. This speaks to massive problems with the company’s underwriting, and leaves you to wonder just how badly internet-originated subprime loans will fare when a recession hits and the unemployment rate goes up again.

    Source: SeekingAlpha

    Bitcoin Losses Ahead?

    If you are someone with a low income and a challenging financial position, you have an almost no-lose proposition (if ethics don’t get in the way). You borrow money on a credit card or from LendingClub, “invest” it in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hope it keeps going to the moon. If it does, you make many multiples of your interest expense, and have hit the lottery.

    Now if the trade goes bad, and Bitcoin plummets, what is your debtor going to do? Since there is little consequence to defaulting on unsecured debt (and LendingClub has a reputation for being a lax debt collector), you simply stop paying on the note. The borrower has a win/win situation – essentially the lender is financing purchase of lottery tickets. I don’t know about you, but I’d need a much higher interest rate than even the 15 or 20% you might get off a low-end LendingClub note to justify that risk.

    Source: SeekingAlpha

    DV01 to Finish 2017 With $ 7.9 Billion in Consumer Unsecured Bonds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Thursday it is set to close 2017 with $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds. This news comes just a few months after the company launched its Cashflows for Securitizations feature.

    The company revealed that it has launched a redesigned Securitizations homepage to celebrate the $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds.

    SoFi Vs. Earnest Student Loan Product Comparison (StudentLoans.net), Rated: AAA

    SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

    Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

    Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

    Repayment Options

    SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

    Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

    American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights (PR Newswire), Rated: A

    American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.

    Since opening, more than $100 billion cumulative has been successful transacted. Recently, daily volumes have averaged approximately $350 million with several days of volume highs over $500 million principal traded.

    Is Peer to Peer Lending the Best Option for Small Company Financing? (Newswire), Rated: A

    If your small company needs a borrowing arrangement but does not have a credit rating that benefits instant endorsement from the banking institutions, you need to sign up for an alternative solution of capital such as peer to peer lending.

    Rather than signing up to a recognized traditional bank for a financial loan, you create a proposal to be lent from people who, (if they are interested in your offer), sign up for the loan request in amounts as low as $25.

    Unsecured business loans and where to get the best ones if you have bad credit (Las Vegas Informer), Rated: A

    Kabbage

    Kabbage offers loans that go between $2000 and $150,000, and the APR goes between 24% and 99%. They ask for no minimum credit score but you need to have been in business for at least one year in order to qualify, and have annual revenue of over $50,000.

    Fundbox

    With Funbox you’re looking at a loan amount of $1000 that can go all the way up to $100,000. The APR goes between 15% and 59%, and they also cater to the needs of people with bad personal credit.

    OnDeck

    With OnDeck you’re looking at loans that go up to $100,000 and an APR that can go from 14% to 40%. Unlike the other two, here you need good personal credit and also you need to be good at managing your cash flow. You will need a personal credit score of at least 600, not to mention an annual revenue of at least $100,000.

    LendingClub

    At LendingClub you can get a loan of up to $100,000, from a minimum of $5,000, with an APR that goes between 9.8% and 35.7%.

    New Real Estate Investing Resource Platform is Changing the Landscape (Benzinga), Rated: A

    Think Realty is a membership-based resource platform developed exclusively for real estate investors. Since launching in 2016, investors across the nation and around the globe have signed up at ThinkRealty.com to become Think Realty Members, with an 81 percent increase in membership in the past six months.

    Think Realty’s reach continues to expand with its national talk radio show, Think Realty Radio, which will begin airing January 1, 2018 on Wall Street Radio. Think Realty is presenting four national conferences for investors in 2018, beginning with the Think Realty Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 24 and 25. The other locations are Baltimore, Maryland, April 14 and 15; Irvine, California, July 14 and 15; and Atlanta, Georgia, September 22 and 23.

    The 10 biggest real estate tech deals of 2017 (The Real Deal), Rated: A

    WeWork is now worth $20 billion. Compass is valued at $2.2 billion following a December funding round. Have you heard of Placester? Well, investors think it’s worth $202 million. The Jared Kushner-backed real estate crowdfunding startup Cadre now has a $800 million price tag.

    • 1) WeWork, $4.4 billion fundraising round
    • 2 & 3) Compass, $100M and $450M fundraising rounds
    • 4) Cadre, $65 million fundraising round
    • 5) Placester, $50 million fundraising round
    • 6) Common, $40 million fundraising round
    • 7) HomeLight, $40 million fundraising round
    • 8) Roofstock, $35 million fundraising round
    • 9) Knock, $32.5 million fundraising round
    • 10) Opcity, $28.77 million fundraising round

    Congress: Hands off new rule protecting families from payday lenders (Herald Sun), Rated: A

    Ignoring the voices of families and communities who have worked for many years for relief from the harms of predatory payday lending, a handful of members of Congress have introduced legislation that would nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national rule to rein in payday-lending abuses. Their legislation uses Congressional Review Act authority to repeal the rule and prevent the Consumer Bureau from issuing a similar rule in the future, giving predatory payday and car title lenders a free pass.

    Why Amazon won’t buy a bank in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

    Forget the speculation about Amazon buying a bank next year. But don’t count it out from adding banking to its near endless line of offerings.

    For Amazon, providing financial services is just a means to an end: making more money by selling more things. Other retailers are still its main competition — not banks.

    Why banks want to collaborate now on open banking standards (Tearsheet), Rated: A

    Every U.S. banker is watching their European counterparts react to the looming Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, which will come into effect in 2018. When that happens, banks will lose their monopoly on customer data as merchants and retailers like Amazon will be allowed to retrieve customer account data from the banks (with customers’ permission).

    Now, U.S. banks want to get ahead of their own regulators when it comes to creating data exchange standards. It can take 18 to 36 months to get a framework in place, Courbe said, but banks know they need to start exchanging data with other companies today.

    LendingTree Adopts the RevJet Marketing Creative Platform (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

    RevJet, the first smart marketing creative platform, today announced that LendingTree has adopted RevJet’s system for producing, approving, personalizing, serving and automatically optimizing all formats of digital ad creative. Using RevJet to take a methodical approach to experimentation, LendingTree is able to deliver a higher volume of leads to their business partners while optimizing for revenue.

     

    United Kingdom

    December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

    Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

    In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company.

    Peer to Peer Robo-Lending Platform InvestUp Sizes Up Cryptocurrency Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

    FCA authorised crowdfunding aggregation platform InvestUp may be going crypto. The UK based Fintech has so far focused on the peer to peer lending space but management is currently looking at adding algorithm driven cryptocurrency investing.

    InvestUp shares that 2017 has been another good year for P2P lending having delivered, on average, 10.74% to investors.

    Protecting the future of peer-to-peer lending (Gov.uk), Rated: A

    Today the peer-to-peer lending industry was given a boost of confidence as the government began legislating to clarify that no business borrowing through a peer-to-peer platform needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ (often referred to as a ‘banking licence’) unless that is their core business. The legislation will ensure that the industry can continue to thrive and innovate while still benefiting from the UK’s high quality regulatory standards.

    The Committee on Exiting Europe Publishes Sector Reports Including Document on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    The Exiting the European Union Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the process of the Department for Exiting the European Union , released a grouping of documents from the Department today. As one may expect, the slew of reports addressed certain aspects regarding ramifications of the UK’s departure from Europe.

    The Fintech Sector Report highlights the current regulatory regime in the EU and how cross border transactions take place between continental Europe and the UK. The document describes Fintech as covering four different categories:

    • Investment, advice (including Robo-Advisors) and  neo or challenger banks
    • Regtech for compaliance
    • Payments including digital currencies such as Bitcoin
    • Alternative finance including crowdfunding and peer to peer lending

    Read the full UK Fintech Report here.

    Bank of England approves Tandem’s Harrods Bank takeover (AltFi), Rated: A

    Tandem can now end the year on a high note after the Bank of England today gave regulatory approval for the challenger’s purchase of Harrods Bank.

    The deal will now give Tandem access to a full banking license and the 10,000 customers attached to Harrods Bank, as well as the bank’s mortgage and savings books. According to Tandem, the purchase will also come with a “significant capital injection”.

    UBS and EPAM Win Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management for SmartWealth App at Banking Technology Awards (NASDAQ), Rated: B

    EPAM Systems (NYSE:EPAM), a global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, and UBS AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, have been awarded for Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management at the Banking Technology Awards held on December 13, 2017 in London.

    China

    Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in U.S. market debut (Reuters), Rated: AAA

    Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s (LX.O) shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, brushing aside worries related to Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

    LexinFintech’s shares touched a session high of $14.88, a 53 percent jump from its IPO price that valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

    China online lending IPO meets tepid demand as fintech zeal wanes (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

    LexinFintech, the latest Chinese online consumer lender to complete a US initial public offering, has met with muted investor demand amid concerns over Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on dubious lending practices.

    Lexin scaled back its planned $500m IPO on Nasdaq to $109m, and final pricing was at the bottom end of the price range initially marketed to investors.

    Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, raised $900m on the New York Stock Exchange in October — the largest US IPO by a Chinese fintech group. After hitting that high point investor interest quickly slid: last month PPDAI raised $221m in a deal that priced below the initial price range.

    Since their IPOs, both Qudian and PPDAI have faced allegations of issuing misleading financial disclosures. Qudian closed at 48 per cent below its IPO price on Thursday, while PPDAI was down 44 per cent.

    Source: Financial Times

    Is Qudian A Bargain Or A Falling Knife? (SeekingAlpha), Rated: A

    QD’s stock price has taken a nosedive, plummeting from its $24 IPO price to $12.9 as of 12/19/2017. Given QD’s strong earnings and fast growth rates in the past, the current price may appear to be a great bargain. Is that true?

    QD’s strong past operating performance is mainly driven by its online cash-loan business, which brings in 83.3% of its total revenue.

    The regulations can be distilled into three key rules: (1) cap the interest rates at 36% (2) limit the leverage of cash-loan companies at 3 or lower, and (3) forbid commercial banks, insurance companies, P2P, etc from investing in cash loans. These rules will put QD’s extraordinary profits to an end, as discussed below.

    • Rule #1: The interest rate caps may turn QD’s strong profits into negative. While QD may have already compiled to the 36% interest cap by the time of its IPO, QD’s revenue will still take a nearly 1/3 cut, holding all else equal.
    • Rule #2: The leverage limit will bring QD’s entire cash-loan business to a halt. According to QD’s 3Q report (Qudian Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2017 Unaudited Financial Results), as of 09/30/2017, its capital structure consists of Liability: 11.18 billion; Mezzanine equity/convertible preferred shares: 5.94 billion;Total Shareholders’ deficit: 1.78 billion. However, the national regulation limits the maximum leverage at 3, or even at 1 according to some regional regulations (21jingji news). It is clear that with 1.78 billion shareholders’ deficit, QD has to raise literally billions of additional funds to satisfy this rule, which is “mission impossible” given the third rule as discussed below.
    • Rule #3: restricting the financing sources will shut the door for QD to raise additional capital.
    QD PPDF
    Market Cap 4,243 2,175
    Total Transactions 3,938 3,231
    Revenue 223 192
    Net Income 100 83

    Brett Diment: 2018 Will be China Fintech’s Breakout Year (FiNews), Rated: A

    Fintech will increasingly be associated with Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in 2018 instead of Silicon Valley, Aberdeen Standard’s Brett Diment details in a contribution for finews.asia.

    The Chinese online-payment industry already accounts for around half of global transactions. Alipay, operated by Alibaba’s financial arm, is the market leader.

    But Tencent’s Tenpay has been catching up fast. Tenpay’s stroke of genius was to allow its users to send electronic hongbao – the red envelopes of money traditionally given as a Chinese New Year gift. Some 16 million online hongbao were sent in 2014 – rising to a billion in 2015. This helped Tenpay’s share of the online-payment market to reach around 40 percent in just three years.

    The University of Hong Kong Online Fintech Course Now Open for Registration (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    The Fintech MOOC is a six-week online course on innovations in finance and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the global changes impacting all financial services.

    European Union

    Mayo businesses raise almost €800,000 through Linked Finance (The Connaught Telegraph), Rated: A

    LINKED Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company, has raised almost €800,000 for Mayo-based businesses.

    Eighteen Mayo businesses, including Doherty for Men, Main Street, Castlebar, and Electric Escapes, based in Westport, have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com) to facilitate business growth.

    Electric Escapes has raised €50,000 over two separate funding rounds, facilitated through the platform.

    PayPal backs fintech deposit marketplace Raisin (AltFi), Rated: AAA

    Raisin has secured an undisclosed sum of investment from digital payments platform PayPal. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Raisin across its core European geographies.

    International

    Blockchain is “no longer in proof of concept” phase (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

    Sin has just helped launch the world’s first cross-border bancassurance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, working with China Life Insurance and Guangfa Bank in Macau.

    In another sign that the technology may be fit for commercial purpose, SME lending platform ModulTrade has settled its first blockchain-based export transaction out of China.

    This transaction was small –  just over US$1,000 – but again shows that the technology is beginning to be used outside of the laboratory.

    The company teamed up with Rabobank to complete an inventory financing transaction on the blockchain that resulted in a real-time payment for farmers.

    All payments were made in real time, using a Rabobank-backed digital dollar, pegged to the Aussie dollar. The digital dollar was issued and cleared by a central issuing and settlement institution.

    BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

    Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

    • The protocol layer of this ecosystem is only slowly maturing, and the limit of this maturation is one of the key challenges for the broader adoption of DLT;
    • Most users experiment with only small-scale, isolated layers, with live applications allowed only as “permissioned” layers;
    • There is an increasing focus on creating common standards of enterprise DLT frameworks that will allow for interoperability, but this effort to overcome fragmentation is itself fragmented into “a variety of consortia”;
    • Ethereum in particular has been tested at 57% of central banks, either via the public network or a permissioned version.

    Nearly half of the surveyed DLT start-ups are in North America (47%). The second largest group by continent is that which hails from Europe (28%), then 19% (Asia Pacific).

    But employment isn’t precisely aligned with the number of enterprises on each continent. A full 61% of employees working in this field are in North America, and only 13% are in Europe.

    RCN ANNOUNCES DECENTRALAND PARTNERSHIP (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

    Earlier this week, RCNannounced their new partnership with Decentraland, the blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can acquire virtual land to create and monetize their content.

    Under the new partnership, RCN will be able to integrate its credit protocol with the Decentraland platform. This will enable users who own plots of land, content, or businesses created in the 3D world to issue and receive loans.

    The Top FinTech Trends of 2017 … were they? (The Finanser), Rated: B

    Rise of InsurTech

    True. I’ve seen a lot of InsurTech movement this year with a number of standout start-ups like BackmeupBrollyBuzzmoveCuvvaInmybagLuther and Neos.

    Rise of RegTech

    Yep, I’ve heard more about RegTech this year than ever before, although that’s unsurprising when most banks have at least two staff checking the work of each employee (Citibank has 40,000 compliance people!). Consultancy picks out 100 of the most innovative firms in this space.

    Platforms, APIs and Open Banking are the key

    I feel like I’ve been talking platforms all year and, with PSD2 and Open Banking coming into play in January 2018, it is certainly true that platforms, APIs and Open Banking have definitely been the theme of 2017.

    China and emerging markets focus

    Ah yes, I definitely think this year has been a big year for financial inclusion and discussions of Ant Financial and Tencent.

    Australia/New Zealand

    Banking without the banks: the state of peer-to-peer lending three years on (The Spinoff), Rated: AAA

    In 2014, New Zealand was one of the first countries to legalise peer-to-peer lending.

    For the latter, Snowball Effect and PledgeMe led the way with the FMA awarding its first equity crowdfunding licences to the two firms. For the former, the first licence for P2P lending was granted to Auckland-based platform Harmoney, which was founded by Neil Roberts that very same year.

    To date, there are eight licensed P2P lending services currently operating in New Zealand with more than 20,000 investors currently registered with P2P lending intermediaries. When it comes to borrowers, there are more than 200,000 individuals currently registered with P2P services.

    Source: The Spinoff

    Since launching in September 2014, it’s lent more than $655 million via 37,000+ loans and paid more than $87 million interest in total. In the most recent financial year, Harmoney saw over more than 830,000 investments made in loans by almost 5,400 unique investors.

    Source: The Spinoff
    India

    Want Good Financial Advice? Ask a Digital Lending Platform (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

    The need for credit can come for a variety of reasons, and can be catered to by a vast plethora of different loan products.

    Clearly, if you had to get good financial advice, AI-leveraging algorithms are a better bet than humans. So why not use the same technology to help individuals and SMEs find the right credit options for their needs?

    Asia

    NewsBTC Interviews the Crowd-genie Team (NewsBTC), Rated: A

    NewsBTC: Why is licensing so important? How difficult is it to get in Singapore? 

    Crowd-genie: Being registered and licensed are two different stories. As peer to peer lending platform involves enormous monetary transactions, a securities license is crucial for regulated lending activities.

    NewsBTC: Can you please explanation of how reputations coin work?

    Crowd-genie: For each repayment, from the borrower to lenders, we will incentivise on-time payment by adding CGCOIN “Credits” to the borrowers’ wallets. This will be a spendable asset that will be tracked separately in the Digital Passport. The more CGCOIN Credits earned, the higher their reputation, and that in turn, will increase their chances of getting higher investments from more lenders and/or a lower interest rate.

     

    Source: NewsBTC
    Cayman Islands

    Robot to speak at Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (Cayman Compass), Rated: B

    Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship of a country, will be one of the speakers at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Feb. 8 to 9, 2018, organizers announced Thursday.

    At the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Sophia will be interviewed on stage by a representative from event sponsor KPMG.

    Organizers say the robot’s appearance complements the theme of the investment conference, “Wired: the rise of alternative investments in a digital age,” which targets opportunities at the intersection of alternative investing and technology.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor