Friday January 26 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi completes $960.2M student loan securitization. Robinhood adds zero-fee crypto trading, tracking. Goldman partners with Cadre. South Korea earmarks 11.2T won for midrange borrowers. Today’s main analysis: Buying overdue loans at discount on Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What RateSetter will look like without unsecured commercial loans. AltFi Data predicts strong U.S. MPL […]

marketplace lending

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Completes $ 960.2 Million Student Loan Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi announced on Thursday the closing of its $960.2 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A Notes (SoFi 2018-A). According to the lending platform, the offering reflects underlying collateral of more than $1billion in student loans and is SoFi’s largest ever securitization, as well as the first by any fintech lender to reach the billion-dollar collateral mark.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (“SCLP 2018-1”). This is a $591.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A-1 AA+ (sf) $320,000,000
A-2 AA+ (sf) $142,500,000
B A (sf) $81,000,000
C BBB (sf) $48,000,000

A Knife in Twitter’s Back Could Bring A Happy Ending to SoFi Investor’s Wild Ride (Inc.), Rated: A

And the reason that departure could make me better off is that I invested in SoFi in December 2014 when the company was valued at $1 billion. The last time SoFi raised money – in 2017 – it was valued at $4.3 billion.

There are five reasons I invested in SoFi  — of which these four are the most important.

1. It was targeting a huge market

SoFi started out targeting the $1.2 trillion student loan industry and in 2014 announced an expansion into the $12 trillion mortgage market.

 2. Its management team had excellent industry knowledge

 3. It knew what ailed stakeholders and provided a remedy

Of the 15,500 borrowers who had taken out about $1.3 billion worth of loans in 2014, SoFi estimated that it had saved the average borrower $11,783.

 4, It looked like it could reach $100 million in revenue

In November 2017, Bloomberg reported that in the third quarter of 2017 SoFi’s adjusted operating revenue rose 8.2% to $145.3 million in the third quarter while its adjusted earnings totaled $56.1 million.

Moreover, SoFi added 55,000 members in the quarter to a total of 400,000 – having completed “more than $3.52 billion in loans in the period and completed three securities offerings totaling more than $1.5 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

Scandal-rocked SoFi says it has foundation for full recovery (American Banker), Rated: A

He points to the $12.9 billion in loan originations SoFi did last year. The company sold more than $2 billion of those loans.

“All our investors are still buying, and we’ve added many new investors post Mike leaving,” Jain said. “All our lenders continue to lend to us and they’ve shown interest in lending us more. In the face of adversity, we did all we could.”

Source: American Banker

6 Awesome Benefits of SoFi Parent Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

If your child is a college student, you can borrow money to help offset their education costs with a SoFi Parent Loan. According to the company, borrowers can save $3,637 over the life of the loan compared to a federal Parent PLUS Loan, on average.

If you took out a federal Parent PLUS Loan, you could face interest rates as high as 7.00%.

  1. Low interest rates – Depending on your credit score and income, you could qualify for a much lower rate with SoFi than you would with a federal student loan. SoFi student loans have fixed interest rates as low as 3.25% and variable rates as low as 2.58%.
  2. No origination or application fees – For borrowers who received their loans after October 2017, that fee is 4.264 percent of your loan amount. On a $10,000 loan, that means you’ll have to pay a fee of $426.40, adding to the cost of your child’s education.
  3. Career support
  4. Wealth advisors
  5. Member discounts – If you have a SoFi parent student loan and go on to take out a personal loan, mortgage, or another student loan with the company, you’ll receive a 0.125 percent interest rate discount on the new debt.
  6. Customer support

Loan Program Plans to Offer Students Prepaid Bank Cards (The New York Times), Rated: A

The Department of Education plans to provide students with a prepaid card that would hold surplus loan money that is not needed for tuition, giving the government and financial services providers a firsthand look at how students are spending those dollars.

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.

Former Ripple Exec Invests $ 57.5 Million in Uphold (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Digital money platform Uphold today announced it has received a $57.5 million investment from former Fed Reserve senior analyst and Ripple chief risk officer Greg Kidd.

Goldman Sachs Teams Up With This Silicon Valley Upstart in Commercial Real Estate (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman’s strategic investments group, which makes venture-capital-like investments, now owns 80 portfolio companies.  One such company is Cadre, a fintech company involved in online commercial real estate investing that Goldman funded in its Series B, C, and D funding rounds. The start-up, which happens to be led by some Goldman alumni, also just received a $250 million investment from Goldman’s private wealth clients.

Cadre also charges its LPs less than a typical private real estate fund. These funds usually charge a management fee, often around 1.5%, as well as a 20% cut of the profits above an 8% “preferred” return to LPs. On Cadre’s website, it advertises a 1% “transaction fee” (I assume that’s based on a per-deal fee, like a broker would get) and then a similar 1.5% management fee, but no incentive fee. Cadre claims this fee structure will increase investors’ invested rate of return by over 2% compared with a typical fund, all other factors being equal.

Instant cash out comes to Venmo (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned digital peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer service, is within 30 minutes) cash out their Venmo balance for a flat $0.25 fee.

Trump administration prepares to roll back key financial protections for consumers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

The new leadership has taken over at a time when consumers are struggling with credit-card, auto loan and student loan debt. They’re also worried about their personal data, after a 2017 breach at the credit reporting agency EquifaxEFX, +0.81%   exposed personal information of more than 145 million U.S. adults, including their Social Security numbers and financial accounts.

Mulvaney requested zero dollars for his second-quarter budget

The bureau already had $177 million in reserves, enough to cover the $145 million the bureau projected it would need during the second quarter, he said.

USA consumer bureau delays prepaid card rules into 2019 (AliveForFootball), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today finalized changes to its final rule on prepaid products, including an overall delay of the rule’s effective date until April 1, 2019 – an extension long sought by the American Bankers Association. The bureau also made changes meant to boost compliance with the rule and loosen rules on linking credit cards to prepaid accounts or “virtual wallets”.

The rule requires companies to disclose fees on prepaid cards and cooperate with consumers who discover unauthorized charges or errors.

Mastercard eyes biometric totality by 2019 (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Mastercard says all consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when they shop and pay with Mastercard by April next year.

StreetShares lands $ 23M for expansion, will look for new office space (Washington Business Journal), Rated: A

The veteran-oriented online lender will beef up staff and look to expand its government contracting offerings.

REIT Industry Veteran Talks About What to Expect from the Sector in 2018 (NREI Online), Rated: A

NREI: More specifically, what’s your take on how publicly-traded REITs will perform this year? Will 2018 be better overall than 2017?

Aaron Halfacre: In 2017, publicly-traded REIT performance was anemic relative to the S&P 500. I think that can be largely attributed to a few factors: big demand for large-cap “infotech” names driving the broader market, a meaningful sell-off in retail REITs and general market hesitation on REITs in front of the tax bill and Fed decisions. On a relative basis, publicly-traded REITs are well-positioned in 2018, not only from the fundamentals picture, but from a value perspective.

NREI: What about non-traded REITs?

Aaron Halfacre: I think 2018 could be as strong, or stronger, than what we saw in 2017. Personally, I am excited about the industry changes in the non-traded REIT space. It is a good thing to see Blackstone and Starwood entering the space while some of the traditional fee-hungry shops have bowed out—a good advocacy trend for the individual retail investor. Institutional-grade real estate choices without the… fee structures of yesteryear, combined with greater valuation transparency and an investment that is not correlated to the broader equity market — that’s a positive story for all of us who aren’t part of the 1 percent.

‘AI isn’t just technology, it’s good judgment’: Cathy Bessant on why banks need humans (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bessant is transforming B of A into a technology firm and leading it into a future that requires humans to apply immense computing power to immense amounts of data — an artificial intelligence future. But like any every other technology executive, she’s facing a shortage of talent with science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds. The result is often departments hiring from other departments.

Bank of America will spend $600 million this year on cyber defense alone. It employs 1,200 people whose jobs are dedicated to nothing else but information security, although the company makes that “the job of every single employee,” Bessant said. But the caliber of the talent the bank hires is just as important as the technology it invests in, since they’ll be the ones that determine how to work responsibly with AI.

Bank of America Enters Car Subscription Space With Volvo (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

All of Volvo Car Financial Services’ loan and lease originations end up on Bank of America’s balance sheet, Hollodick explained, including subscriptions to Care by Volvo, which starts at $600 a month for an XC40 compact crossover.

2,000+ bank branches closed in US in 2017 (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures in 2017, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016), according to CoStar, a US-based commercial real estate news site.

3 Industries that can benefit from alternative credit data (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Although alternative credit remains a murky, unfamiliar concept to some, its adoption is slowly but steadily spreading. Some sectors may be particularly well-positioned to benefit from its use, and businesses under those umbrellas should consider adopting them if they haven’t yet done so.

Rally Rd collects $ 2.6 mln seed (PE Hub), Rated: A

Rally Rd., A marketplace for making investments in collector cars the same way you buy & sell stock, announced that it has raised a $2.6 million seed round investment from leading venture capital firms and individual investors.

The Unconventional Way This Man Paid Off $ 70,000 in Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

When Ray Laureano and his wife graduated from college, they left school with a staggering amount of student loans. Between the two of them, they were over $200,000 in debt.

Ray and his wife paid off over $70,000 in just one year.

A radical debt repayment strategy

Instead, he talked to each loan servicer and entered the lower-interest loans into forbearance; in other words, he paused payments on those loans.

With his other debt payments on hold, he put all of his extra money toward just one loan with the highest interest rate. When that loan was fully paid off, he tackled the next highest-interest debt, and so on.

Ray estimates that they will be debt-free by March 2020.

Enacomm Inks Reseller Agreement with Telvoyant (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Data intelligence and advancements in communications technologies are helping financial institutions dramatically improve the customer self-service experience. Enacomm, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent interactions and customer authentication technologies for banks, credit unions and credit card companies, today announced a new partnership with Telvoyant, a premier telecom consulting firm providing comprehensive telecom solutions for business, non-profit organizations and government institutions. Through a reseller agreement between the two companies, Telvoyant’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of Enacomm’s 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

What will RateSetter look like without unsecured business lending? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Consumer loans still make up the lion’s share of RateSetter’s £2.2bn loan book, while its commercial arm – both secured and unsecured – makes up 9.8 per cent, equating to £223.4m.

Of 2,213 commercial loans in total, including those that have been paid and repaid, 1,622 were unsecured and 591 secured as of the end of last year.

But its secured loans tend to be larger. 42.5 per cent of the value of RateSetter’s commercial loan book are listed as unsecured. This represents £95.1m worth of unsecured business loans compared with £128.2m of secured business loans.

UK Federation Of Small Businesses Says AltFin Is Just Heating Up (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The not-for-profit Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been a vocal proponent of faster SMB payment times, greater access to more robust banking services and tighter regulation in support of small businesses across the U.K. Most recently, the FSB announced plans to join the alternative finance world and establish the FSB Funding Platform, a marketplace lending portal through which small businesses can access funding from more than 100 lenders.

The FSB’s own research on small business finance, outlined in its Q4 FSB Voice of Small Business Index, found that fewer SMBs were concerned about their access to finance in Q4 2017 than they were in the same quarter of 2016. For the first time since Q1 2012, the FSB’s credit availability index has surpassed its credit affordability index.

And yet, according to the report, small business confidence fell into negative territory, with 73 percent of SMBs reporting a rise in the cost of doing business.

Does cutting-edge technology require a new approach to insurance? (techworld), Rated: A

Digital Risks, an insurtech startup launched in 2014, focuses solely on providing insurance to startups working in the digital, media and tech space.

“We insure things like challenger banks, peer-to-peer lending, payments, medtech, teleadvice, fraud detection, cyber security software, and sharing economy businesses,” Rose adds. “The general focus is around technology.”

Digital Risks doesn’t provide insurance itself – rather, it acts as a broker between companies and a group of about 20 different underwriters.

Lendinvest backs £12m Leeds-based PRS scheme (Specialist Lending Solutions), Rated: B

The specialist property finance lender has completed a £12.5m financing deal with KMRE Group to build 111 new homes in Kirkstall, in a private rental sector (PRS) scheme.

The whole development will be managed as a PRS scheme, and was forward sold before construction commenced to a £300bn investment management group.

International

AltFiData Predicts Strong Growth for Marketplace Lending in the US in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Today, leading data analytics provider for marketplace lending, AltFiData, released the total origination numbers for the UK, Europe and the USA. They are predicting solid growth for the industry in all three regions in 2018. The new loan volume for the USA in 2018 is expected be $38.9 billion, a year on year increase of 46%.

Still, I think 46% growth is a little on the high side for the four companies covered here but I expect we will get close to those numbers. Interestingly, AltFiData is expecting the UK industry to grow at 43%, slightlty slower than the USA, and Continental Europe to grow at 73% off a much smaller base.

Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint 2 – Buying overdue loans at discount (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

I get a result of 349 loans with various discounts and an YTM of up to 14%. Not surprising for me, many of the loans listed at the top are Mogo loans.

Source: P2P-Banking

If these loans do pay up and then run till regular maturity date, then he recieves a yield of 12.4% to 13.8%. Decent, but not very high compared to other Mintos loans.

However there is a chance of at least 50% that these loans will default and are bought back within the next 30 days. If that happens to a loan, that a buyer bought at 0.3% discount, it will boost his yield very roughly by more 3.6% (0.3% for 30 days multiplied by 12 to get annual effect). Likely it is more because the next payment date will be less than 30 days away. But even taking 3.6% the yield will be around 17%.

The loan with the 0.6% discount would mean a boost of very rougly 7.2% yield on top (0.6*12). So that could lead to about 20% yield.

Global Venture Capital Investment Market – Top 3 Trends by Technavio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

According to Technavio analysts, the global venture capital investment market will grow at a CAGR of more than 27% during the forecast period.

The three emerging market trends driving the global venture capital investment market according to Technavio research analysts are:

  • IPO market gains momentum
  • Growing portion of new investments in China and India
  • Increased participation from mutual funds, hedge funds, and banks in the VC market

In 2017, a lot of major startups such as Cloudera, China Rapid Finance, and Okta came up with IPOs. Most of the companies issuing IPOs were technology-focused and were software and cloud service providers.

During the forecast period, the Americas was the leading venture capital investment market with a market share of more than 56%, with the US being the leading country in the region.

Source: BusinessWire

Crowdfunding – Raising Billions (BW Disrupt), Rated: B

Equity crowdfunding has also become legal in countries like United Kingdom, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and the U.S. with President Obama legalizing the equity crowdfunding by signing the JOBS Act into law.

Source: BW Disrupt

The Crowdfunding statistics for 2017 reports a global amount raised for $34 billion, broken into $25 billion through peer-to-peer lending, $5.5 billion through reward and donation and $2.5 billion through equity crowdfunding. The projection of the crowdfunding industry is expected to grow over $300 billion by 2025.

Australia/New Zealand

Big banks, biased financial advisers, and the three tricks to avoid them (The NewDaily), Rated: AAA

This week the big banks got more bad press when the corporate regulator ASIC declared that their huge networks of financial advisers were failing to operate in the best interests of their customers.

The report, which covered the financial advice arms of the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB and AMP, found that an astonishing 75 per cent of advice provided was not in the best interests of customers.

And in 10 per cent of cases, consumers were actually worse off than they would have been if they hadn’t got advice.

PledgeMe announces new crowdlending-inspired platform in the works (bizEDGE), Rated: A

PledgeMe has jumpstarted the year with the announcement of the launch of a new lending platform they will be offering.

The Ta Koha platform will be based on a crowdlending model in partnership with the Māori Women Development Inc (MWDI).

India

Innovative products pay off for e-lending startups (ET Rise), Rated: A

After payments, digital lending as a space is at the vanguard of innovations, driven by a clutch of startups seeking to take formal lending to a customer segment that never got easy credit from banks.

From a digital EMI card to instant personal loans and a line-of-credit product, new-age disruptors such as Stashfin, Kissht, and Antworks, along with their established peers Paysense and Moneytap, are trying to generate traction through innovative lending products. Mumbai-based Kissht is financing consumption requirements of low-income households with a digital EMI card that can be used to make payments directly.
“There are around 40 online merchant partners and 2,000 points of presence accepting the Kissht EMI card across businesses like electronic stores, furniture shops and others,” said Krishnan Vishwanathan, chief executive of Kissht. Another Delhi-based startup, Stashfin, is also targeting consumers with income levels between ?20,000 and 1 lakh per month.
Asia

W11.2tr earmarked for midrange borrowers (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission said Thursday it plans to circulate a combined 11.2 trillion won ($10.6 billion) this year for local retail borrowers that hold midrange credit scores while having trouble finding corresponding loans.

The FSC pledged to pour a combined 8 trillion won into state-run loan products sold at banks, including those designed for refinancing. The remaining 3.2 trillion won will be spent to encourage private banking institutions to develop and sell midrange loan products this year, and the volume of support is expected to gradually increase, according to the plans.

By 2022, the government’s annual financial support for five commercial banking groups — Shinhan, KB, KEB Hana, NH and Woori — will increase by 2.5 times to 2.4 trillion won from 2017, according to the plans. Direct banks Kakao Bank and K Bank received 900 billion won in 2017, and the volume will increase by 3.5 times to 3.1 trillion won in 2022.

Africa

SelfKey Receives Regulatory Sandbox License in Mauritius (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SelfKey, a blockchain-based digital identity firm, has obtained a Mauritius’ Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL), according to information provided by the company. This license will allow SelfKey to develop their self-sovereign digital identity wallet and financial services marketplace under supervision and scrutiny of the Board of Investment of Mauritius.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 22 2017, Daily News Digest

Peter Renton investment results

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

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

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

Australia

APAC

Middle East

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

Lending Club

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

Prosper

Source: Lend Academy

Direct Lending Income Fund

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A New Challenger Has Entered The Battle!

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Think Bank Stocks Are A Great Future Investment

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

Read the rest of this snarky analysis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys to building a successful fintech strategy

1. Adopt the right cultural mindset.

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

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

2. Do something.

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

3. Be forward-looking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

Source: South China Morning Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia

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

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

APAC

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

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

Middle East

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

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor