Thursday September 5 2019, Weekly News Digest

neobanks

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingPoint closes $178M personal loans securitization. OnDeck hits $879M in online financing in Texas alone. RateSetter adds three products. Funding Circle lenders face longer cash out waits. Yirendai files Form 6-K. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for August 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Silicon Valley is building a social […]

The post Thursday September 5 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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United States

LendingPoint : Closes $ 178 Million Personal Loans Securitization (MarketScreener), Rated: AAA

LendingPoint, the company revolutionizing and democratizing commerce, announced today that it closed its inaugural securitization of consumer loans. LendingPoint Receivables Trust 2019-1 (“LDPT 2019-1”) issued $177.85 million of notes backed by a pool of $187.22 million of direct-to-consumer loans originated on the LendingPoint platform.

The LendingPoint Receivables Trust securitization was rated by Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc. and includes $117.76 million of Class A notes rated “A-“, $24.74 million of Class B notes rated “BBB-“, $23.68 million of Class C notes rated “BB-” and $10.67 million of Class D notes rated “B-.” The notes priced at a blended yield of 4.05% per annum and provided for a 95% advance rate. The transaction has a 5% overcollateralization Deposit and a 5% overcollateralization Target. The risk adjusted yield of the receivables securing the notes is expected to be 13.14% per annum.

TyMac Electric Powers Business Success with Online Financing from OnDeck (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced that TyMac Electric of Plano, Texas is its Small Business of the Month for August, 2019.  The 30-person company serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area with high-quality, professionally managed electrical services.

Over the last two years, OnDeck has provided additional financing to TyMac Electric as the business grew to meet demand in the Dallas-Fort Worth commercial marketplace.

Overall, OnDeck has provided more than $879 million in financing online to small business owners in the State of Texas.

2019’s Best & Worst Places to Retire (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Best Retirement Cities

Overall Rank
(1 = Best)
City Total Score ‘Affordability’ Rank ‘Activities’ Rank ‘Quality of Life’ Rank ‘Health Care’ Rank
1 Orlando, FL 60.87 9 11 68 48
2 Tampa, FL 59.06 10 19 45 95
3 Scottsdale, AZ 58.35 98 22 3 58
4 Charleston, SC 58.30 42 21 56 51
5 Miami, FL 57.21 51 5 105 74
6 Denver, CO 57.08 113 17 43 17
7 Fort Lauderdale, FL 56.58 65 18 82 56
8 Cape Coral, FL 56.50 19 51 15 109
9 Minneapolis, MN 56.46 145 3 58 5
10 Cheyenne, WY 56.06 2 142 50 33

Source: WalletHub

Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Fundrise Opportunity Zone Fund Has Raised Over $ 22 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate investment platform Fundrise has raised over $22 million for their Opportunity Fund. The information was revealed in a recent Form D 5o6c filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Kabbage acquires Radius Intelligence, the marketing tech firm with a database of 20M small businesses (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Data is the new oil, as the saying goes, and today Kabbage — a fintech startup backed by SoftBank that has built a business around lending up to $250,000 to small and medium enterprises, using AI-based algorithms to help determine the terms of the loan — is picking up an asset to expand its own data trove as it looks to expand into further SMB financial services. The company has acquired Radius Intelligence, the marketing technology firm that has built a database of information on some 20 million small and medium businesses in the U.S.

Here is a list of the top nonbank and alternative lenders in 2019 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Nonbanks and alternative lenders have garnered attention in the banking industry due to their ability to partner with legacy banks and utilize technology to make financial transactions more efficient and convenient for users.

Source: Business Insider

Chime now has 5 million customers and introduces overdraft alternative (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Challenger bank Chime has reached 5 million customers in the U.S. The San Francisco-based startup is creating an FDIC-insured mobile bank without any physical branch. The company also promises fewer fees.

Back in March, Chime  said it had 3 million customers when it announced its $200 million Series D round. So that’s 2 million additional customers in roughly 5 months.

Zac Prince of BlockFi (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Even Financial raises $ 25 million to connect banks with channel partners (VentureBeat), Rated: A

Even Financial, a four-year-old New York-based provider of APIs for financial services search, acquisition, and monetization, today announced that it’s raised $25 million in a strategic round of investment co-led by Citi Ventures and MassMutual Ventures, with additional participation from LendingClub. Existing backers American Express Ventures, Canaan Partners, F-Prime Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, and Goldman Sachs also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total raised to $50 million.

Credit Sesame, a platform for managing loans and credit scores, picks up $ 43M en route to IPO (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Credit Sesame — which lets consumers check their credit scores and evaluate options to rebalance existing debts and loans to improve that score and thus their overall “financial health,” in the words of CEO and founder Adrian Nazari — has raised $43 million. With the company already profitable and growing revenues 90% each year for the last five, Nazari said that this round is likely to be the last round the company raises before it goes public.

Household debt in the U.S. continues to rise and as of this year now stands at nearly $14 trillion.

Fintech startup CrowdBureau closes $ 1.1 million Series A equity funding with $ 9.7M valuation (Tech Startups), Rated: A

CrowdBureau Corporation, a fintech startup and index provider, has closed $1.1 million Series A equity funding to expand its series of benchmarks and launch a pilot program for its patent-pending regulatory technology product. The round, which values the company at $9.7 million, was led by Clydagh Limited, Estuary Holdings Ltd. and Alpama Limited along with existing investors.

Some Companies Offer a New Benefit: Payroll Advances and Loans (WSJ), Rated: A

A growing number of companies are helping workers gain access to payroll advances and loans, reflecting concern over the impact money problems are having on productivity levels and worker retention.

Employers including Walmart Inc. and Pima County, Ariz., have recently added these services. The aim is to help cash-strapped employees, many with damaged credit, cover unexpected expenses without resorting to high-cost debt.

Lendingblock Launches Institutional Crypto Lending Platform (Lendingblock), Rated: A

Lendingblock, the regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, today announces the launch of its institutional lending platform on September 3, 2019. The lending product, which is a reinvented version of securities lending from traditional capital markets, is the first exchange fully dedicated to pure crypto lending and aims to support the needs of the broader cryptocurrency market by providing a secure and liquid venue for lending and borrowing needs of institutional market participants.

Upon launch, Lendingblock platform users will be able to borrow and lend BTC, ETH, PAX and USDT on a fully collateralized basis, for loan terms of 1, 7, 14 and 30 days, with a minimum trade size of $100,000 equivalent of a specified digital asset.

How American Express uses machine learning to detect fraud (American Banker), Rated: A


A financial planner says there’s a ‘huge opportunity’ to build wealth during a recession (Business Insider), Rated: A

As long as you have a cash safety net to fall back on should you lose your job or face an unexpected expense, there’s little reason to panic, says Lauren Anastasio, a certified financial planner at SoFi, a personal-finance company.

Are P2P Loans A Viable Investment for Your Portfolio? (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Peer to peer (P2P) loans allow you to act as a bank, providing loans directly to other individuals or businesses in exchange for a return on your investment via interest payments. Investing in P2P loans, which are typically smaller than a traditional bank loan, has proven to be reliable no matter the economic climate.

Judge Rejects States’ Fintech Charter Challenge, Again (Bloomberg Law), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was able to beat back a challenge by state regulators to its proposed charter for financial technology firms for a second time, but the charter remains in limbo due to other litigation.

White Oak Global Advisors Announces Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing Program (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) is pleased to announce the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (“CSCDA”) has named White Oak as a commercial PACE Program Administrator for the CSCDA’s Open PACE Program.  As a Program Administrator, White Oak will provide up to 100% financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and seismic retrofit projects on commercial real estate.

White Oak is seeking to fund projects ranging in size from $500,000 to $150 million.

United Kingdom

RateSetter revamps investment products (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is rejigging its investment products, to boost liquidity and give the peer-to-peer lender more control over market rates.

The three new products, which will be available on 3 October, will be called Access, Plus and Max. Access will offer three per cent interest and no fees to access money; Plus will offer four per cent interest and cost 30 days’ interest to access money; and Max will offer a five per cent interest rate, with a fee of 90 days’ interest to access money.

Funding Circle Amateur Lenders Facing Longer Waits To Cash Out (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Amateur lenders on peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle Holdings PLC are facing waits of 100 days to cash out of their loans, it has emerged.

Investors who provide funding for small businesses through the platform can list old loans for resale to other investors if they wish to withdraw all their money.

But the PA news agency understands that the amount of time taken to re-sell the loan parts has risen from just a few days in January to up to three months in recent transactions.

Funding Circle reveals inclusion in FTSE4Good Index Series (Funding Circle), Rated: A

Funding Circle today reveals its inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index Series, which recognises companies that demonstrate the highest standards of corporate governance and sustainability.

Woodford trust is on the FTSE 250 casualty list (The Times), Rated: B

The investment trust, which focuses on early-stage companies, was one of six companies to be relegated from the second tier of quoted stocks.

Among them is Funding Circle, the online peer-to-peer lender aimed at small and medium-sized companies, which floated at 440p a year ago. Last night its shares closed at 110¼p.

P2PGI blames writedowns and Funding Circle bad debts for poor July (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments has blamed writedowns in the value of two equity stakes and bad debts from Funding Circle for a “disappointing” performance in July.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust delivered a 0.33 per cent NAV return for the month of July, down from 0.48 per cent the previous month. This brought the trust’s year to date return to 2.88 per cent, and 23.93 per cent since inception.

Investors ‘nearly’ double IFISA holdings (AltFi), Rated: A

Small investors have parked £588m across 40,400 accounts by the end of the second quarter of this year, according to trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA).

The compares with around £300m invested in this product 12 months ago across major platforms such as Funding Circle, Ratesetter, Zopa, said the trade body.

Lending Works targets profitability and £10m turnover in 2019 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer consumer lender reported a loss of just over £2.1m for the year ended 31 December 2018, up from £1.41m the previous year, which chief executive Nick Harding (pictured) attributed to a larger wage bill.

There is no requirement for businesses to report revenues in small company accounts, but Harding revealed that the firm saw revenues rise to £6.2m last year and is targeting £10m this year.

Peer to Peer Lender Folk2Folk Tops £300 Million in Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer lender for local, rural and SME businesses, has now surpassed £300 million in lending, according to a company release. Folk2Folk notes that it is the 3rd largest P2P Lender to UK businesses in terms of money lent.

P2PFA boss Paul Smee: ‘Lendy was an outlier that should not have been authorised’ (AltFi), Rated: A

The collapse of Portsmouth-based property peer-to-peer firm Lendy, with outstanding loans of more than £160m, and some £90m in default, prompted the new rules from the FCA. The watchdog is also carrying out an in-depth report into the firm’s failure, which affected with some 21,500 investors. Critics argue that Lendy under competitive pressure wrote poor quality loans to swell its balance sheet, which then turned bad.

However, the Lendy crash, taken together with the poor float of the sector’s biggest firm Funding Circle last October, which languishes 75 per cent below its 440p float price at around 112p this week, has tarnished the sector.

UK Fintech Curve fastest startup ever to reach £4m Crowdfunding on Crowdcube (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Last month, Curve announced plans to launch a seven figure crowdfunding campaign for early September, with plans to raise £1million. However, just 42 Minutes after launching to pre-registered customers, Curve had raised four times that figure, breaking records in the process. The current overfunding amount stands at £5million.

China

Form 6-K Yirendai Ltd. For: Sep 30 (Street Insider), Rated: AAA

  • Cumulative number of investors served reached 2,185,513, representing an increase of 1% from 2,159,490 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 1,974,984 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Number of active investors in the second quarter of 2019 was 671,957, representing a decrease of 13% from 768,514 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 928,251 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Total assets under management (“AUM”) for Yiren Wealth was RMB 43,604.2 million (US$ 6,351.7 million) as of June 30, 2019, representing a decrease of 7% from RMB 46,663.1 million as of March 31, 2019. Average AUM per investor reached RMB 149,480 (US$ 21,774) as of June 30, 2019, representing an increase of 7% from RMB 139,473 as of March 31, 2019.
  • AUM of non-P2P products amounted to RMB 354.3 million (US$ 51.6 million) in the second quarter of 2019, representing a decrease of 23% from RMB 457.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to RMB 951.0 million in the second quarter of 2018. Non-P2P products include money market funds, mutual funds and insurance.

Consumer Credit—Yiren Credit

  • Total loan originations in the second quarter of 2019 reached RMB 9.7 billion (US$1.4 billion), representing a decrease of 12% from RMB 10.9 billion in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to RMB 18.2 billion in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Cumulative number of borrowers served reached 4,491,466, representing an increase of 2% from 4,404,812 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 4,027,254 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Number of borrowers in the second quarter of 2019 was 135,246, representing a decrease of 10% from 149,715 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 267,628 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • The percentage of loan volume generated by repeat borrowers was 35.9% in the second quarter of 2019.
  • 52.5% of loan originations were generated online in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Remaining principal of performing loans reached RMB 58,071.3 million (US$8,459.0 million) as of June 30, 2019, representing a decrease of 8% from RMB 63,213.8 million as of March 31, 2019.

Yirendai Ltd. (YRD) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

As of September 2019, the line of credit we have obtained from our institutional partners has increased from RMB19 billion in Q1 2019 to close to RMB30 billion. We are now working with approximately 10 partners, including leading joint stock and city commercial banks. We expect loan origination funded by institutional partners to reach approximately 30% by the end of this year.

China Rapid Finance Retains China Merchants Bank New York and Pangaea Finance as Co-Financial Advisors for Recapitalization and Restructuring (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF) (the “Company”) today announced that its Board of Directors has retained China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd., New York Branch (CMBNY), and Pangaea Finance as separate Co-Financial Advisors, and Pangaea Finance as Structuring Agent, to advise it for strategic alternatives, including but not limited to potential strategic partnerships, recapitalization of certain operating companies, and for a related reconfiguration of the Cayman company as a listed investment vehicle for China credit.

Central bank to include troubled P2P lending industry in credit system (Technode), Rated: A

China’s central bank will include the country’s troubled online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in its credit reference system as the clampdown on illegal financial services continues, Chinese state-run media reported on Wednesday.

China’s credit system to cover P2P lending in tightening regulation (Xinhua), Rated: A

P2P lending platforms in operation will provide certain information such as online lending interest rates to credit reference agencies such as operators of financial credit information basic databases and Baihang Credit, China’s only licensed and market-oriented personal credit agency, according to an official guideline.

China Central Bank’s Credit System to include P2P Lending Platforms amidst tightening regulations (China Knowledge), Rated: A

Credit information of P2P lending platforms will be collected, regardless of their operational status. New penalties will also be imposed on defaulting borrowers of P2P online lending. Some of the penalties include higher loan interest rates and restriction limits to loan and insurance services.

Chinese entrepreneur among 41 arrested over illegal P2P platform (CGTN), Rated: A

Property mogul and founder of a leading Shanghai contemporary art museum Dai Zhikang has turned himself into police following the collapse of a peer-to-peer lending platform, as China continues to crackdown on illegal online lending.

Shanghai police confirmed Monday that Dai, the founder and head of Zendai Group, was among 41 people being investigated over illegal fundraising through an online P2P platform called Laocaibao.

European Union

Revolut is looking to hire 400 customer support staff following compliance complaints (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Revolut is looking to hire up to 400 staff at a new base in Portugal, a move that will increase its employee headcount by almost a third.

Source: Business Insider

German online bank N26 expands to Switzerland (Verdict), Rated: A

German online bank N26 has launched its services in Switzerland, as it continues to build up its footprint across the globe.

Binance Crypto Lending Program expansion – a bad idea for traders (FX Street), Rated: A

Binance is one of the latest entries in launching its crypto lending platform on August 28. In the first phase, it began with a short period fixed return on Binance (BNB), USDT (Tether) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). It provides an annual return of 15%, 10%, and 7% respectively, beginning with a 14-Day fixed period. Binance starts with about $30 million in crypto-lending. Moreover, the annual interest offered is higher than the return from banks.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes August 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Milestones in culumulative volume lent crossed this month:

  • Bondora: 250M EUR
  • Fellow Finance: 500M EUR
  • Mintos: 3000M EUR
  • Thincats: 500M GBP

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 634 million Euro. I track the development of p2p lending volumes for many markets.

Source: P2P-Banking

Fall Conference Season for Fintech Kicks Into Gear This Month (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ABS East

When: Sept 22-24, 2019
Where: Miami, FL
Link:  /> Discount code: LEND10

Lend360

When: Sept 25-27, 2019
Where: Dallas, TX
Link: 

LendIt Fintech Europe

When: Sept 26-27, 2019
Where: London, UK
Link: 
/> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

Moneyconf

When: Nov 4-7, 2019
Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Link: 

Money2020 China

When: Dec 4-6, 2019
Where: Hangzhou, China
Link: 

I WISH I’D BOUGHT IT WITH KLARNA (The Drum), Rated: B

The Swedish ‘pay later’ service, Klarna has launched its first international campaign – ‘I wish I’d bought it with Klarna’ – with the internet sensation Celesta Barber as its leading lady.

Australia

Ethereum lossless lottery PoolTogether is still innately flawed despite updates (finder), Rated: A

How do you encourage people to practice responsible saving? Easy. You shake it up with a dose of randomness and call it a lottery instead. This is the basic principle behind Pool Together, a lossless lottery designed in such a way that there are no losers. The idea is that everyone always gets back the price of their ticket, but one lucky person walks away with a lot more than that.

Pool Together is built on Ethereum, and utilises the Dai stablecoin in combination with the Compound crypto lending system.

India

Online lender Namaste Credit launches digital-only bank (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Online lending marketplace Namaste Credit today said that it is launching its Neobanking solutions for MSMEs, becoming a full-fledged “Digital-Only Bank” with a foundational SaaS play.

IndiaMoneyMart opens the first East-India branch for NBFC-P2P Lending (United News of India), Rated: A

Making sense of regulatory sandbox for Fintech startups (Vantage Asia), Rated: A

Over the past few years India has seen rapid development in the financial technology sector and it has the second highest number of Fintech startups in the world. According to certain estimates, India’s Fintech sector added about 1,300 startups from 2015 to 2018. According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, India’s Fintech market is expected to be worth US$2.4 billion by 2020.

India Government Panel Pushes for Fintech, Regtech Adoption (Regulation Asia), Rated: A

The panel has also proposed the development of a marketplace model for P2P lending, and the introduction of virtual banking in India.

Why fintech panel believes P2P platforms can ease credit supply (India Times), Rated: A

While the importance of P2P lending sector in India is understood by all stakeholders, and a lot has been done over the last few years to encourage the sector, a lot more needs to be done to accelerate its growth.

APAC

Leading Southeast Asian Peer to Peer Lender Funding Societies Revamps with New Executive Team (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Southeast Asia, has revamped its executive team with new hires.

Matt Lambie joins as the Chief Technical Officer, Dheeraj Chowdhry as the Chief Executive Officer and Jared Goldberg as the Chief Data Officer.

Top 10 APAC Startups Reigning the Future Finance Industry (Banking CIO Outlook), Rated: A

Africa

AlphaCode of South Africa Invests $ 1.5 Million in Three Domestic Fintech Startups (CryptoNewsZ), Rated: AAA

AlphaCode is the incubation and investment arm of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings, and in a new development, the company has decided to invest a combined $1.5 million in three separate Fintech startups in South Africa. The companies in question are Zande Africa, which is a platform meant for merchant finance, while the others are Bright On Capital, a peer to peer lending firm and Livestock Wealth, an agricultural investment startup. AlphaCode invested $655,000 each on Bright On Capital and Zande Africa, while Livestock Wealth got an injection of $131, 000.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 5 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday February 12 2018, Daily News Digest

credit immigrants

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi loan performance suffers, earnings projections missed. Ant Financial to pursue equity fundraising at potential $100B valuation. Elevate publishes FY 2017 results. Symphony, OpenFin join forces. Openwrks, Zopa, TrueLayer get into open banking. Rupeek raises $6.8M. Today’s main analysis: MPL securitizations comparison (SoFi 2018-A, MFT 2018-1, SCLP 2018-1). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Silicon Valley investors fund […]

credit immigrants

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Australia

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

SoFi Reports Disappointing Earnings as Loan Performance Suffers (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Customers of online lender Social Finance Inc. are missing their loan payments at an unexpectedly high rate, a misstep for a company that has boasted that its focus on high-earning individuals would yield better borrowers.

The privately held San Francisco-based company said it missed its internal fourth-quarter earnings projections, due in part to a markdown in the “value of certain personal loan assets due to lower-than-expected credit performance,” according to a letter to investors that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The company also cited increased hiring costs and expenses related to recent management changes.

You won’t believe how much grads from these top business schools rake in (Moneyish), Rated: A

SoFi examined 60,000 student loan refinancing applications to determine which MBA programs churn out the highest earners, and which produce grads who are mired in student debt.

According to SoFi, these are the top 10 business schools, ranked by average salary three years after graduation:

1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business): $224,034
2. Columbia University: $189,295
3. Stanford University: $186,534
4. Harvard University: $184,463
5. University of California, Berkeley: $171,270
6. Dartmouth College: $169,498
7. Northwestern University: $167,770
8. Cornell University: $167,544
9. University of Chicago: $166,215
10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $165,666

These 10 programs have the best salary-to-debt ratio in the US:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison: Avg. salary = $122,532; avg. debt = $52,568
2. Brigham Young University: Avg. salary = $114,559; avg. debt = $50,224
3. Harvard University: Avg. salary = $184,463; avg. debt = $83,337
4. Stanford University: Avg. salary = $186,534; avg. debt = $85,443
5. Villanova University: Avg. salary = $136,464; avg. debt = $63,014
6. University of Pittsburgh: Avg. salary = $149,157; avg. debt = $71,471
7. Loyola University, Maryland: Avg. salary = $122,915; avg. debt = $59,029
8. North Carolina State University: Avg. salary = $92,184; avg. debt = $46,140
9. University of Florida: Avg. salary = $110,942; avg. debt = $56,035
10. University of Houston: Avg. salary = $105,476; avg. debt = $54,308

Elevate Announces Full Year 2017 Results (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate’s  Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights are the following:
  • Fourth quarter GAAP net loss due to federal tax law charge, but fourth consecutive quarter of net income on an adjusted basis: Fourth quarter 2017 net loss totaled $12.2 million, or $(0.29) per diluted share, reflecting a one-time $12.5 million charge associated with the change in the federal tax law resulting from the tax reform in 2017. Excluding the impact from the tax law change, net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 would have been $0.3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $4.4 million, or $(0.34) per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2016. The net loss for full-year 2017 totaled $6.9 million, or $(0.20) per diluted share. Excluding the impact of the federal tax law, net income for full year 2017 would have been $5.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $22.4 million, or $(1.74) per diluted share, for full-year 2016.
  • 16% year-over-year revenue growth: Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 14.5% from the fourth quarter of 2016 and were up 16.0% for full-year 2017 versus 2016. Revenues totaled $193.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $169.0 million for the prior-year period. Full-year 2017 revenues totaled $673.1 million compared to $580.4 million for full-year 2016.
  • More than 28% year-over-year growth in combined loans receivable – principal: Combined loans receivable – principal totaled $618.4 million, a 28.5% increase from $481.2 million for the prior-year period. The Rise installment loan and Elastic line of credit combined loans receivable – principal balances as of December 31, 2017 were up 19.6% and 47.4% over the prior year-end balances, respectively.
  • Adjusted EBITDA up 45% compared to prior year: 2017 Adjusted EBITDA totaled $87.5 million, up 44.7% from $60.4 million in 2016. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 13% for both the fourth quarter of 2017 and full-year 2017.
  • The ending combined loan loss reserve as a percentage of combined loans receivable was 14.3%, lower than the 16.1% reported for the prior-year period due to the improved credit quality and the continued maturation of the loan portfolio. Charge-offs as a percentage of originations for full-year 2017 continued to trend below previous years at less than 25% of principal originations.
  • The total number of new customers acquired during the fourth quarter of 2017 was approximately 95,000 with an average customer acquisition cost of $231, below the targeted range of $250-$300. This represented a 34.6% increase over the approximately 70,000 new customers acquired in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Equity Market Volatility, GS Dialing Up M&A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Volatility made an abrupt return to capital markets after a nearly 18 month hiatus. Equity markets dropped almost 10% from their peaks, as investors focused on rising US treasury yields. 10-year yields touched 2.88% – nearly a four-year high. Corporate bonds (CDX.IG spreads) widened 5bps this week to 60bps, while high-yield widened 16bps to 353bps.

US consumer credit grew by $18.4 Bn in December 2017, at an annualized growth rate of 7.7%. Revolving credit card debt increased by $5.1 Bn to $1.03 Tn, the highest on record. Consumer spending has boosted US GDP, although the increasing cost of leverage and rising rates could create a drag on growth.

GS M&A Accelerating

Source: PeerIQ

 

Source: PeerIQ

Taking a cut of student’s future paychecks has Silicon Valley investors funding education (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The model is attracting a new generation of startups, as well as investors, eager to bail out American students drowning in $1.3 trillion in student debt. The Brookings Institute estimates as much as 40% of students who entered college in the early 2000s may default on their loans by 2023, based on historical trends.

One of the first firms to enter the US market was the Chilean firm Lumni founded in 2002 (although it only came to the US in 2009) followed by 13th Avenue (2009), Cumulus Funding (2011), Upstart (2012), Pave (2012), and Vemo (2015). Not all are still signing ISAs, but current interest seems to be based on growing demand.

Are income-sharing arrangements a good deal for students?

The federal government already provides more than $200 billion (paywall) in grants, loans, and work-study assistance for students’ post-secondary education each year. Private lenders hand out about $8 billion in student loans annually, estimates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Parents and family contribute still more.

Almost 60% of college graduates in the US carry student debt, and about 57% of Americans regard it as a major problem, reports the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Yet many are not even confident their college educations are still the golden ticket they once were. A 2017 survey of 32,000 college students revealed only one-third felt prepared to enter the job market, while only half said their major will lead to a good job.

Four-year universities like Purdue are using them as a way to show their commitment to students as much as reduce their financial burden. The school’s program, Back a Boiler (an abbreviation of the nickname for the student body known as Boilermakers), is offering 175 students almost $2 million in ISA funding. Graduates with high income never pay more than 2.5 times their original ISA amount, while those earning less than $20,000 a year see their payments go to $0.

MissionU, a one-year training program in data analytics and business intelligence, offers students a blended online (80%) and in-person curriculum (20%), and work experience. It charges no tuition. After graduates earn at least $50,000, they pay back 15% of their income for the first three years.

 

2 startups are joining forces — and together they could pose a threat to Bloomberg (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Symphony, a messaging service that has gained some traction among Wall Street firms, has been integrated into OpenFin, an operating system built for financial-services, the two companies announced Thursday.

OpenFin hosts more than a hundred applications on its platform, and the integration means Symphony will be “interoperable” with those apps, the same way social media apps on your phone are able to talk with one another.

In total, Symphony has 230,000 users across 200 firms, whereas OpenFin can be found on more than 100,000 desktops across the Street.Symphony, a unicorn, announced a $63 million fundraise in May, bringing the total amount the company has raised to $234 million. OpenFin finished a $15 million round of venture funding backed by JPMorgan in February 2017. It has raised $22 million in total funding.

For new immigrants, buying a home or getting a cellphone is complicated and expensive. Even if they have financial identities and wealth in their home countries, they have no credit history in the U.S.

It’s a challenge for millions of people, and a handful of fintechs, including Nova Credit, CreditStacks, and Petal, see an opportunity to help with some creative solutions.

Others, like Deserve (formerly SelfScore) and Petal have been hoping to woo immigrants and other thin files with their own credit products, while still others like eCredable are crunching alternative data to help people build up their credit history.

And in January, CreditStacks announced a credit card product aimed at immigrant professionals who want to have a U.S. credit card in hand when they arrive in America.

San Francisco mortgage fintech Lenda expects growth spurt in 2018 (San Francisco Business Times), Rate: A

San Francisco mortgage fintech Lenda, which offers mortgages faster and at lower cost than traditional rivals, expects growth to accelerate this year as it expands into a dozen states and puts to work the $5.25 million it raised in its first venture round.

New Retail P2P Investment: The Worthy Bond (P2P Lending Expert), Rated: A

When I wrote my book on P2P Lending for the retail investor, P2P Investing 101 (the paperback version here), that came out in November, there were only 7 options for retail investors.  Those options were Lending Club and Prosper, as well as 5 options that take advantage of the adjustment to SEC Regulation A known as Reg A+.

We now have an 8th investment option.  The Worthy Bond, which uses Reg A+ and comes from Worthy Financial. By using Reg A+, the Worthy Bond is available to retail investors as a proxy savings account within the p2p lending landscape.

Prices up for January, Subaru 0-percent financing (Kelley Blue Book), Rated: A

While the average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles hit $36,270 in January, a whopping $1,360 or 3.9-percent gain over a year earlier, the ATP declined from December’s record, dropping $486 or 1.3 percent month over month.

Subaru 0-percent financing

Subaru, which has been setting sales records, typically runs tight inventories and keeps a close rein on incentives. However, through the rest of February it is offering 0-percent financing for 63 months on select models along with a couple of enticing fleet deals.

The 0-percent deal for 63 months is being extended on 2017/18 Legacy models, 2017/18 Outbacks and 2017 Foresters. On the 2018 Legacy, there’s also a $185 per month lease for three years with $2,595 down. The 2018 Outback is being offered on a 3-year lease deal for $239 per month with $1,739 down, while the 2018 Forester can be leased for 36 months at just $219 with $1,719 down.

Interest rates climb

According to Bankrate.com, the average 60-month new car loan is averaging 4.51 percent interest, a two-basis point increase over rates being offered at the end of November. Shorter 48-month loans are slightly cheaper, averaging 4.44 percent, again, two basis points higher than two months ago. On the used car side of the ledger, rates are closing in on the 5 percent level, averaging 4.97 percent on 3-year loans. That’s up from an average of 4.78 percent at the end of November.

Eyeing robo advisors, IBDs to launch new client portals (FinancialPlanning), Rated: A

Independent broker-dealers are rebuilding their online presences for a digital investing era, ushering in new client portals and offering automated investing for smaller accounts.

Advisors have pushed the firms to mimic the speed and look of digital investment platforms. Digital advice clients of all kinds will soar 844% to more than 17 million by 2021, according to a September study by Aite Group. In a nod to incumbents’ services, robos have also started offering human advisors to clients.

Narmi integrates top fintech companies into digital banking platform for credit unions (CUInsight), Rated: A

Narmi, a financial technology company, showcases two of its remarkable fintech integrations – Billshark and Lemonade.

Billshark – Helping Reduce Monthly Bills for Millions of Americans

Billshark helps consumers reduce monthly bills on cable, satellite TV, wireless phone, internet and many other categories. There are currently approximately 375 million monthly bills in America and roughly 80% can be negotiated. The average amount saved per bill is $280-300.

Lemonade – Reinventing Insurance Through Artificial Intelligence

Lemonade provides a mobile-first, artificial intelligence-infused way to obtain a home insurance policy. The company’s focus is on homeowners and renters insurance, and policies start at $25 a month and $5 a month, respectively.

When fintech lite is the right small-business lending strategy (American Banker), Rated: A

Adding a community touch to automation has proved a profitable lending strategy for one bank.

Marquette Bank in Chicago has been able to digitize its lending processes and improve its credit memo creation time by upwards of 25% using technology from the cloud-based loan origination software firm Baker Hill.

Small-business lending has long been a staple of community banking, but in recent years customers have turned to online lenders and other fintechs for credit, in large part due to the speed and digital aspect of the experience.

Zelle’s next phase takes shape at BNY Mellon (American Banker), Rated: A

The banks behind the Zelle network had more in mind than P-to-P payments between consumers, and BNY Mellon is beginning the network’s evolution by targeting the business payments market.

Zelle will help support tokenized digital payments for institutional and corporate clients in a market that is notoriously resistant to automation. BNY Mellon hopes corporates will see the Zelle network’s ability to increase control over cash flow through near-instant processing.

Webster Bank Offers Customers An Automated Digital Investment Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Webster Investments, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., now offers Guided Wealth Portfolios (GWP), an advisor-enhanced, digital investment platform designed to enhance customer experience by providing an additional option to manage their investments. The online investment platform was designed as an innovative option for clients seeking a technology-enabled investment solution combined with the opportunity to have a relationship with a financial advisor.

We’re partnering with SURE to bring you Small Business Insurance (Inc Authority Email), Rated: B

Small Business Insurance is an all-in-one policy that protects you and your growing business from critical risks. Your policy will cover:

  •   General liability
    • Get up to $2 Million of coverage in legal and litigation issues tied to 3rd party claims of property damage, and bodily injury and associated medical costs.
  •   Business personal property
    • Replace lost or damaged property owned by your business, such as computers, furniture, and machinery.
  •   Lost business income
    • Receive up to $250,000 in lost income if your business has to close due to a covered loss.
  •   And other coverage
    • Includes coverage for data breaches, litigious employees, non-business automobiles, and more.
United Kingdom

Openwrks, Zopa and TrueLayer get into Open Banking groove (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The UK’s major banks are being shown a clean pair of heels by non-bank competitors in the Open Banking space, with new announcements by TrueLayer in tandem with Zopa, and Openwrks demonstrating the determination of third party providers to open up access to consumer account data.

Zopa has worked with TrueLayer to create an income verification product which removes the need to manually upload documents to verify income – replacing it with Open Banking data.
Separately, Openwrks – which likewise enables providers of consumer and small business products and services to access consumer’s financial data – has become the first third party provider to successfully connect to all of the banks currently providing functional APIs (Lloyds, RBS, AIB, HSBC and Danske).

Elliott takes majority stake in new Welsh online bank (The Times), Rated: A

China

China’s Ant plans equity fundraising at potential $ 100 billion valuation – sources (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to $5 billion in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than $100 billion, people familiar with the move told Reuters.

The new round should start with a valuation of between $80 billion to $100 billion, the people said.

China Fintech Watchdog to Step Up ICO Oversight (CoinDesk), Rated: A

A self-regulatory association that draws support from China’s banking and securities sectors is vowing to increase its oversight over cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICO) in 2018.

In its annual meeting held on Feb. 9, China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) revealed that while it has put special efforts into overseeing the sector in 2017, it expects this work to become a regular part of its 2018 agenda.
Australia

Loans.com.au slashes home loan rates for owner-occupiers, investors (mozo), Rated: AAA

Online lender, loans.com.au has today slashed rates for both owner-occupiers and investors on certain home loans, and is now offering some of the lowest mortgage rates in the market.

One of the changes was to cut the Essentials Variable 80 rate for owner-occupiers looking to make principal and interest repayments by 12 basis points, bringing it to a red hot 3.52% – the lowest rate for a loan of its kind in the Mozo database.

The rate on loans.com.au’s Offset Variable 80 for owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments was also slashed by 12 basis points, bringing it down to a competitive 3.60%.

India

Online gold loan platform Rupeek gets $ 6.8 mn from Accel, Sequoia (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Bengaluru-based Rupeek, which operates an online marketplace for gold loans, has raised $6.83 million (Rs 44 crore) in a fresh funding round led by Accel Partners.

Eduvanz Financing raises funds from Blinc Advisors (livemint), Rated: A

Eduvanz Financing Pvt. Ltd, an education technology start-up that provides loans for skill development to students, has raised $500,000 in a round of funding led by Blinc Advisors, a venture capital fund, a senior executive at the start-up said.

Fintech start-up EarlySalary is making emergency loans more affordable (Business-Standard), Rated: A

Neha Kumari needed a new phone urgently after her old one was damaged during a Saturday night party. To add to her difficulties, it was the beginning of the last week of the month and the salary day was 10 days away. Missing client calls for more than a couple of days was out of the question and the weekend was expensive anyway.

Neha, who did not have a credit card, could have borrowed from friends, but most of them were as broke as she was then. And borrowing from the family was ruled out. The last time she had borrowed Rs 10,000 from a friend to book emergency tickets was three …

Preventive measures (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

This is with reference to reports on market volatility. Regulators must ensure that this trend does not end up promoting alternative investment avenues of an uncertain nature. Investor interests demand that risk-based P2P lending via online/social marketplaces be regulated. Peer lending has significantly grown and enabled borrowers with a sub-par credit history. P2P lending is highly prone to performance risks on account of a higher probability of a borrower-default, credit risks owing to poor loan-sanctioning decisions & lack of fund-monitoring post disbursal, cash drag risks because of a larger borrower-population than the available lenders, platform Risks driven by borrower insolvency or frauds or technology risks/cybersecurity breaches and market risks owing to interest rate fluctuations and unemployment risks leading to non-payments.

What’s Driving India’s Fintech Boom? (Wharton), Rated: A

With more than 200 million active users in India — the largest anywhere in the world — WhatsApp is expected to drive large volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and also become a popular platform for merchant payments. India is slated to be the first country globally to get the payments facility from WhatsApp.

Other global giants, too, are zeroing in on this space. For instance, Google has already launched its payments app Google Tez (“Tez” in Hindi means fast), while Samsung has launched Samsung Pay and Amazon has introduced Amazon Pay.

Paytm, India’s largest online payments and mobile wallet company, has invested Rs. 5,000 crore ($786 million) in mobile payments to date.

This was 13% less than $14.6 billion in 2015. On the other hand, fintech investments in Asia increased to $5.4 billion in 2016, up 12.5% from $4.8 billion in 2015.

Fintech Will Change How We Bank (Business-Standard), Rated: A

In the not too distant future, there may come a time, where we cease to interact with the as we know it. which were monolithic organization who created the products, sold it directly and owned the customers are being slowly ceding ground to so called new breed companies chipping away at the edges. While regulations and strict KYC/AML regulations still enable to continue to be in business, the power they once wielded is diminishing. As Niti Aayog Chairman, Amitabh Kant said “Debit cards, credit cards and ATMs might lose relevance in the next four years”.

Peer to peer lending picks pace (Telengana Today), Rated: B

According to the latest annual report of RBI, during Q1 of FY18, as against negative incremental rise in bank credit, the non-bank sources gained space in lending. The total flow of funds to the commercial sector from non-bank sources during the period increased to Rs 1,16,600 crore while the formal banking system trailed behind.

In terms of financial assets, NBFCs recorded a healthy growth — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% in the past few years — comprising 13% of the total credit and are expected to reach nearly 18% by 2018-19.

APAC

Asia-Pacific Fintech Market to reach US$ 72 billion by 2020, finds Frost & Sullivan (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Active support and initiatives by financial regulators such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank Indonesia has enabled the Asia-Pacific Fintech ecosystem to grow significantly in 2017.

The Fintech industry in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$72 billion.

Future of Cashless Payments in Singapore

According to Ms Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal, ICT, Asia-Pacific, the mobile payments market in Singapore was estimated to be worth US$1.4 billion in 2017. The market is still small but is growing fast. There are many supportive regional and local regulations and initiatives that will help Singapore move towards a cashless Society.

Fintech in Singapore’s SME Landscape

In the wake of the global Fintech boom, disruptive market innovations have forced a radical shift of business models in the Financial Services industry, notably within the P2P Lending segment. Frost & Sullivan believes that leading banks and financial institutions are driven to be lean and agile on multiple fronts, including but not limited to new digital services, elevated customer experiences and innovative technological solutions.

Online loan providers have recently begun targeting young adults here in their 20s and 30s in Korea in the name of “providing pocket money.” Other peer-to-peer lending platforms promote their services as an investment fund or shared wallet to relax young people’s vigilance toward the money lenders.

Blockchain spending surges in China and Asia (Shine), Rated: B

Blockchain spending in Asia Pacific excluding Japan will jump 91 percent in the five years until 2021, thanks to applications in finance and supply chain industries, said IDC in a report today.

China will see a five-year annual growth rate of 95 percent, compared with about 81 percent growth worldwide, said IDC in the report, the first blockchain report released by the company.

For example, PPDai, China’s first online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform listed in the US market, said in January it would invest 1 billion yuan (US$156 million) within three years to set up a new research institute.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 22 2017, Daily News Digest

APAC alternative finance

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi hit with a new lawsuit. Former SoFi loan reviewer says company created a hostile work environment. LendingClub launches Android app for investors. ZhongAn prices Hong Kong IPO at HK$59.70, raises $1.5B. Australia passes Japan to become second largest alternative finance market in APAC. Today’s main analysis: APAC alternative finance report. Today’s thought-provoking […]

APAC alternative finance

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United Kingdom

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United States

SoFi Condoned ‘Rampant Sexual Activity,’ Lawsuit Alleges (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A former loan reviewer at Social Finance Inc. claims in a lawsuit she was repeatedly sexually harassed while working there, ratcheting up pressure on the embattled fintech startup.

Sonoma County Superior Court court clerk confirmed by phone that the complaint was filed Thursday.

Top management indulged in the inappropriate behavior, which then trickled down through the ranks, according to the complaint. Cagney dated subordinates at SoFi’s San Francisco office — where his wife works as chief technology officer and vice president of engineering — and attended parties with SoFi’s Healdsburg staff while intoxicated, Zamora alleges.

SoFi Faces New Sexual Harassment Claim Days After CEO’s Departure (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Yulia Zamora, who worked as a loan reviewer at SoFi’s Healdsburg, Calif., office from October 2015 until October 2016, said in a complaint against the company that a manager had propositioned her for sex and retaliated against her when she refused.

She added that SoFi exhibited a “hostile work environment where sexually inappropriate behavior became widely accepted and laudable by upper management.”

In her complaint, Ms. Zamora said that a SoFi director of operations who had authority over promotions approached her during and after an office Christmas party in December 2015. The manager, Adam Cobb, told her that he was “intimidated by [her] beauty” and that he “want[ed] to do sexy things” to her, according to the complaint. She denied his advances, the complaint added.

In the weeks following those comments, Mr. Cobb refused to promote Ms. Zamora and refused to write her a letter of recommendation after she resigned from the company, according to the complaint. She raised the issue with supervisors just after the party, but said that they found the story “entertaining rather than upsetting.”

Why Startup Founders Should Be Required to Sign a ‘No Go, Bro’ Clause (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Startup CEOs like Cagney, Travis Kalanick at Uber, and Taylor Freeman at UploadVR—accused in a recent lawsuit of bragging with his co-founder Will Mason about how many girls they were going to have sex with at company parties, and designating a room at the office as a “kink room”—can destroy as well as create billions of dollars in value for their companies, all while creating toxic work environments.

Whether they resign like Cagney and Kalanick or remain with the company like Freeman and Mason, startup executives typically own a large percentage of company stock. That often leads investors and boards to treat them gently when it comes to sexual harassment allegations and other forms of misconduct—but it should not.

Before making a big investment in a startup, investors should use their power to require CEOs to sign a clause under which they forfeit a large proportion, or potentially all, of their stock, if fired for misconduct, including reasons such as sexual harassment and misrepresentations to investors.

 

 

 

LendingClub, a peer-to-peer loans platform, just launched its Android app for investors (Android Police), Rated: AAA

With the LendingClub Invest app, you can log in via your fingerprint, view information like your current value and return, as well as transfer money.

Keep in mind that this is for investors, not borrowers. It’s for those using the service who want to manage their accounts and view the details of their current investments. Borrowers using LendingClub don’t have an app just yet.

The full log for this initial release is below:

WHAT’S NEW

Access your LendingClub investor account through a convenient experience optimized for your mobile device.
In this initial version you can:
– Log in to your account with a touch of the finger (for Android 6.0 or above)
– View and manage your account
– See your Net Annualized Return (NAR)
– Invest in Notes
– Use your saved filters to find the Notes you want
– Set up and update automated investing
– Transfer money between your LendingClub account and your bank

Hackers Entered Equifax Systems in March (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Hackers roamed undetected in Equifax Inc.’s EFX +2.76% computer network for more than four months before its security team uncovered the massive data breach, the security firm FireEye Inc.FEYE +0.24% said this week in a confidential note Equifax sent to some of its customers.

FireEye’s Mandiant group, which has been hired by Equifax to investigate the breach, said the first evidence of hackers’ “interaction” with the company occurred on March 10, according to the Mandiant report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Equifax has said it didn’t discover the breach until July 29. Days later it called in Mandiant. Equifax didn’t disclose the breach until Sept. 7.

In a progress report that accompanied that announcement last Friday, Equifax said hackers accessed consumers’ data from May 13 through July 30. It didn’t mention in that report that the attack had begun at an earlier date.

Mandiant’s report this week noted the hackers accessed one of Equifax’s servers by taking advantage of a flaw in software called Apache Struts, used by many companies to build interactive websites.

Two days before the access occurred, on March 8, security researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. warned of the flaw in Struts and a patch was issued by the Apache Software Foundation. Equifax in its report last week said its security staff “took efforts” to fix the system, saying it understood the intense focus outside the company on patching efforts and that its review was ongoing.

After interacting with Equifax’s server in early March, the hackers then entered the computer command “Whoami,” Mandiant wrote. This command would have given the attackers the username of the computer account to which they had just gained access, an early step in a hacking attempt.

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers (Prospect), Rated: A

When you need a new mortgage in the future, will your only options be AmazonWellsFargo or AppleChase? The prospect of a mash-up of banking and commerce keeps people like George Washington University law professor Arthur Wilmarth up at night. “This would mean an end to healthy innovation and startups and competition,” said Wilmarth. “I think it is that dire.”

In principle, these maneuvers could inject competition into a banking industry controlled mostly by four Wall Street giants, making financial services more accessible and flexible to modern needs. But special charters also let fintech evade critical regulatory scrutiny. And the tentative steps by SoFi and Square seem like a dry run for the day Silicon Valley’s giants decide to get in the game, building sprawling businesses the government has aimed to prevent for decades.

Banks get all sorts of privileges from the government—and if banks can also function as ordinary commercial enterprises, they have unfair advantages against other businesses (who are also their clients).

Non-Prime Gen-Xers Lack Financial Stability According to New Research by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Members of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) now sit at the age where they anchor the country’s economic and social structure. Yet, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class shows that Gen-Xers face a slew of economic challenges that perpetually keep them off balance. Worse still, that lack of balance means they can’t plan for the future or get back on track.

Non-prime Gen-Xers, in particular, lack stability – in their employment as well as their income. They have difficulty predicting their monthly income, and consequently act like cash accountants in managing their day-to-day finances. Non-prime Gen-Xers are thus the least likely generational cohort to be able to save money—an important aspect of financial planning. Compared to their prime counterparts, non-prime Gen-Xers are:

  • 4x as likely to be living paycheck to paycheck
  • 4.5x as likely to worry about meeting monthly expenses
  • 2x as likely to have been laid off in the past year, and almost 3x as likely to be laid off in the last 5 years
  • 5x as likely to feel “significant stress” over finances
  • 5x more likely to say that in the prior 12 months they were never able to plan for a major expense

The planning gap between prime and non-prime Gen-Xers is wider than any other generation, and 1 in 5 reports running out of money every month. When it comes time to pay for unplanned or unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs, only 13 percent feel confident they could come up with $1,200. This lack of confidence may be due to lack of reliable options. Though 80 percent of prime Gen-Xers have a solid option – savings, credit or turning to family/friends – only 44 percent of their non-prime counterparts have a solution for coming up with the funds.

3 Stocks With eBay-like Return Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club is finally starting to show signs of growth after several quarters of stagnant loan originations. With the stock down 74% since its first trading day in 2014, there’s certainly potential for a big investment win if things continue to go well.

For the second quarter of 2017, Lending Club’s loan originations grew by 10% year over year as well as sequentially, which came as a pleasant surprise to investors. Revenue grew by an impressive 35% from last year, and profit margins improved tremendously. What’s more, Lending Club’s CEO said that the company could approach GAAP profitability as we head into 2018, which would be a major improvement from the first half of the year.

Lending Club’s loan portfolio is currently about $11.1 billion in size, which may sound like a lot, but consider that the U.S. nonrevolving (loan) consumer lending market has more than $2.7 trillion in outstanding balances, not including mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve.

US auto-loan fintechs help incumbent lenders stay up to speed (Business Insider), Rated: A

Hyundai Capital America, the car maker’s US lending division, has partnered AutoGravity, a US-based digital car shopping and financing platform, to extend its loans more easily to consumers looking to buy a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis vehicle.

Hyundai Capital will be one of several auto lenders that consumers can borrow from via the platform.

JPMorgan Chase partnered online car marketplace TrueCar in August 2016 to launch an end-to-end digital platform, Chase Auto Direct, for finding and financing a vehicle. Additionally, Ford Motor Credit Co., the car giant’s lending arm, started leveraging US marketplace lender AutoFi’s software in January to make it easier for customers to buy and finance a vehicle without going to showrooms.

The Saatva Company Partners with Payment Solutions Company Klarna (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Saatva Company, the largest online luxury mattress retailer, has formed a strategic partnership to offer financing plans to its customers with Klarna, a global payment solutions company that works with other top U.S. brands like Microsoft and Taylormade.

Through this partnership, Saatva customers now have the option to “Slice Up Your Payment” through Klarna and spread the cost of purchases over time with convenient, stress-free low APR financing offers. It is available immediately under all three Saatva Company brands – Saatvamattress.com, Loomandleaf.com and Zenhaven.com.

After selecting the perfect mattress, customers can apply for Klarna financing at checkout through a simple three-step instant credit approval process. Customers are approved for an open line of credit that may also be used at any other merchant where Klarna is accepted.

Digital Lending Dramatically Cuts Down Closing Times (The M Report), Rated: A

In a recent sampling of 10,000 purchase loans from LendingTree, a leading online loan marketplace, the closing times on mortgages saw a sharp decrease thanks to more digital lending; approximately 74 percent on average from May 2016 to May 2017. According to the report, the average closing still takes roughly 72 days, but this rate is influenced by several other buying factors as well as digital integrations.

The study shows the average amount of days to close in Boston (79.5) strongly differs from the time spent in a city like Denver, (56.2); a 23.3 day difference.  New York closely followed Boston at 79.2 days and Cleveland at 71.5. Phoenix and Dallas barely ranked above Denver at 57.5 and 57.6 days respectively. The time to close also varies largely by state, with Montana measuring at 52.7 days until closing and New York at 91 days.

Activehours raises $ 39 million for its new take on cash advances (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Nine months after raising $22 million for its unique take on the cash-advance business, Activehours has gone back to the venture capital well and pulled out another $39 million in financing.

Led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from the company’s early-stage investors Matrix Partners, Ribbit Capital, and March Capital Partners, Activehours has managed to now raise nearly $65 million since its launch in 2013.

The Palo Alto-based company skirts regulation as a payday lender because it doesn’t charge interest on the cash that it fronts to customers. Instead, the company asks that users pay a small voluntary fee for access to their money ahead of their payday.

Tribal Lender Claims Immunity From Challenge To Immunity (Law360), Rated: A

An online lender accused of striking “rent-a-tribe” deals with a Native American tribe in order to benefit from tribal immunity urged a Virginia federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a proposed class action over its lending practices, saying it is, in fact, a sovereign arm of the Chippewa Cree tribe and therefore immune from the litigation alleging false immunity.

The Government Shouldn’t Collect Private Financial Information from America’s Poor (National Review), Rated: A

The CFPB, which was created under Dodd-Frank supposedly to protect consumers and prevent the next big financial crisis, is now being used to try to discourage payday lending, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.  The rule will require customers applying for a small-dollar loan – the average of which is $350 — to submit extensive personal financial information in support of their applications. In addition to determining a customer’s ability to repay the loan, the lenders will be required to share this information with each credit reporting agency (CRA) registered with the Bureau.

With this data all in one place, it will be vulnerable to a potential hack.

And just this week the SEC reported a hack.  Now government will have a new pool of data for hackers to try to infiltrate.

Embracing Blockchain Is in the ‘National Interest’ (Coindesk), Rated: B

Giancarlo continued:

“Everything we do has been digitized. The one thing that has not yet been digitized is regulation. We’re still very much an analog regulator of digital markets.”

And most importantly, Giancarlo stressed that it is imperative that U.S. regulatory structures catch up with the fast-moving digital economy.

eOriginal Announces Coluzzi as New Chief Financial Officer (Benzinga), Rated: B

eOriginal, Inc., today named Michael Coluzzi as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), another valuable addition to the executive team of the rapidly growing financial services technology firm.

Coluzzi is the third key addition to eOriginal’s leadership following a growth capital investment by LLR Partners. In addition to the new CFO, Brian Madocks joined as Chief Executive Officer in April 2017 followed by Timothy Wall as Chief Revenue Officer earlier this month. These hires and the existing eOriginal management team together will drive the business towards achieving full potential.

Veteran CFO Bruce Felt Joins Personal Capital’s Board of Directors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Personal Capital, the leading digital and professional advisor based wealth management firm, today announced that Bruce Felt, the Chief Financial Officer of DOMO, has joined Personal Capital’s Board of Directors and will chair the Audit Committee.

Felt is the CFO of DOMO, one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the country. Previously, he was the CFO of SuccessFactors, where he guided the company through six acquisitions, a public offering and the sale of the business to SAP. Felt has spent 25 years managing financial operations for high-tech companies and serving on multiple boards of directors.

Form 8-K Elevate Credit, Inc. For: Sep 15 (StreetInsider.com), Rated: B

The Registered Office of the corporation in the State of Delaware is changed to 251 Little Falls Drive, in the City of Wilmington, DE, County of New Castle, Zip Code 19808. The name of the Registered Agent at such address upon whom process against this Corporation may be served is Corporation Service Company.

United Kingdom

Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins raised £34 million for his fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has raised £34 million ($46 million) for his fintech startup 10X Future Technologies.

The Series A funding round was led by Chinese firm Ping An Insurance and consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

London-based 10X, which went public last October, will help banks and financial institutions modernize their back office technology.

Older people are underserved by financial services, says the City watchdog (City A.M.), Rated: A

In its Ageing Population Project, the FCA found that older people’s needs are not being fully met which may result in exclusion, poor customer outcomes and possibly even harm.

It has called on retail banks, advisors and the savings industry to think about the vulnerabilities which older people – defined as those who are aged 55-plus – may face.

Cautious investors blind to risks of alternative favourites (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The aftermath of the financial crisis has seen investors pour capital into income generating alternative assets perceived to be low risk but market watchers have warned the dangers won’t be evident until interest rates rise.

The AIC said 70 per cent of the investment trust launches over the past five years have been in the alternative income sector.

Jonathan Davis, who runs Jonathon Davis Wealth Management in Hertford, said he has been preparing his clients portfolios for higher inflation, and higher interest rates, and generally avoiding UK equities.

LendInvest hires Aldermore’s Boden (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

Aldermore head of commercial mortgages Ian Boden has joined specialist lender LendInvest.

Boden joins the group as sale director, after five years at Aldermore Bank.

He has previously worked at Lloyds Bank and HSBC and has an advanced diploma in financial planning from the CII.

In his new role, Boden will help grow the business development team at LendInvest. He will help the group expand to new markets.

Deadline nears for pub purchase (County Echo), Rated: B

THE 30 September deadline to secure the necessary funds to purchase the threatened Tafarn Sinc pub in Rosebush is fast approaching.

“The aim now is to see a sum of £200,000 in shares achieved by 1 October and also the committee has endorsed a special Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme where a four per cent gross interest rate is offered to individuals who can lend a £5,000 sum to the co-operative to secure the total funds.

“As a target for the P2P we have 20 lots of £5,000 loans we are seeking and then this will bring in the needed final sum to purchase the pub and ensure it is owned by local people.”

China

China online insurer ZhongAn prices HK IPO at top end, raises $ 1.5 bln (Kitco), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co priced its IPO at the top of an indicated range, raising $1.5 billion in Hong Kong’s biggest ever financial technology stock offering, IFR reported on Friday.

China’s first internet-only insurer priced 199.3 million new shares at HK$59.70 ($7.65) each, the top of a HK$53.70-HK$59.70 range said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. It cited people close to the deal.

China’s first Internet Insurance Company is set to list in Hong Kong on 28th Sep (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Zhongan Insurance, which was co-founded by Jack Ma of Alibaba, Ma Mingzhe of PING AN and Pony Ma of Tencent, is the first internet insurance company in China. Because of its strong background, every move of Zhongan Insurance is closely concerned. On September 17, Zhongan Insurance revealed it would be listing in the main board of Hong Kong stock exchange. More details, the price range will be set at HK$53.7- 59.7, and the company plans to raise HK$10,948 million in total, it is scheduled to begin trading on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange on September 28. If the plan is implemented, Zhongan will become the first publicly listed fintech unit of China.

Chinese online stockbroker Tiger Brokers gets investment from US firm Interactive Brokers (SCMP), Rated: A

Tiger Brokers, a Chinese online securities brokerage start-up backed by Wall Street billionaire investor Jim Rogers, said on Thursday it has landed an investment from Interactive Brokers Group, one of the largest electronic brokers in the United States.

The Beijing-based Tiger Brokers, which offers an app to allow Chinese investors to trade on US stock markets and the Hong Kong exchanges and in Chinese A shares, did not disclose the size of the investment by Interactive Brokers.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Unicorns (Benzinga), Rated: B

The United States is home to the most unicorn companies in the world, with over 100 such companies, according to a new report by HowMuch.

8. Lu.com ($18.5 billion): China

Lu.com is an online finance marketplace which started as a peer-to-peer lending platform. Since 2011 it has service over $2.5 billion peer-to-peer loans.

 

European Union

EU’s new data privacy law creates headaches for U.S. banks (American Banker), Rated: AAA

What happens when a cookie of a Brit in London lands in the server of a community bank in the U.S. if, on an off-chance, the Brit browses the bank’s website?

It’s unclear, experts say, but U.S. banks — especially small and midsize banks — need to go find out because the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could affect them, unlike the EU privacy regulations before it.

The countdown is ticking on GDPR’s website. The law, approved by the European Parliament in April 2016, will take effect in late May 2018. It will apply to “all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location,” the website said.

International

SoftBank’s Banker Stash (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Their presence begs a question of the Vision Fund, whose backersinclude Apple Inc. and Saudi Arabia. Is its long-term goal to get into everything from ride-hailing apps to indoor farming, or is it more about getting juicy returns?

One Fund to Rule Them All
SoftBank’s $93.2 billion Vision Fund is the world’s largest private equity fund.
Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s former co-chief executive officer and key architect of its rapid growth in markets prior to the credit crunch, was an adviser at SoftBank-backed U.S. based online lender Social Finance Inc. until recently.

While SoftBank put in equity to the tune of $28 billion, its partners, including the government funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, hold part of their stakes via preferred instruments, also known as mezzanine capital. It means they’re owed yearly payouts, similar to a dividend.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, for instance, is injecting $45 billion, but only $18 billion of that is straight equity, the Wall Street Journal reported in May. The preferred units will earn about 7 percent interest annually over the life of the fund, expected to be 12 years.

Source: Bloomberg

Which banks are leading digital (and who are the laggards)? (The Finanser), Rated: A

Banks typically spend 80% of their IT budgets on legacy technology maintenance and a tier one bank could easily spend up to $300m a year on existing software which constantly needs expensive updates in order to meet regulatory requirements.

Why so much? Because most of those systems are written in programming languages that no one knows anymore. Anna Irrera writes on Reuters that 43 percent of US banks’ core systems are written in COBOL.

$3 trillion in daily commerce flows through COBOL systems. The language underpins deposit accounts, check-clearing services, card networks, ATMs, mortgage servicing, loan ledgers and other services.

In another report, Autonomous Research said the banks with the most potential to do better than analysts’ profit expectations because of digitisation were: JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust in the US, Spain’s CaixaBank, Lloyds Banking Group in the UK and KBC in Belgium.

Autonomous ranked the banks based on two criteria: their current level of digitisation and their transformation outlook. It assessed 18 attributes from customer ratings of mobile banking apps to IT expertise on the board of directors. Banks viewed as being behind on digitalisation included HSBC, BNP, Credit Suisse, Intesa Sanpaolo and Standard Chartered; the three biggest Japanese banks: MUFG, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group; and the four big Canadian banks: TD Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Bitcoin’s connection to the real economy (Business Live), Rated: A

Among those leaving the building is Wayniloans (‘an online peer to peer lending platform based on bitcoin technology. Wayniloans INC was founded in 2015 and is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina’).

According to Juan Salviolo, Wayniloans co-founder:

On Wayniloans part of our business is achieved thanks to bitcoin, and in May we agreed to a sentence to reach consensus for the good of the ecosystem. This sentence was later changed to a longer agreement without our notice, and it was known as the New York Agreement (NYA). At the time we didn’t know that existing developers wouldn’t support it, or that most Latin American bitcoin users, our customers, would view it as a contentious proposal.

Which brings us back to Fickling’s point. The connection between Bitcoin and the real economy is sentiment and therefore, ipso facto, prima facie, mutatis mutandis, sentiment is the sole driver of value.

Australia

Australia ranked as the second largest alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Findings from a joint study by KPMG, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, released today, reveals that Australia’s alternative finance market size grew by 53 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and has now reached US $609.6 million.

According to the Second Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Report, Australia has leap-frogged Japan to become the second largest alternative lending market (behind China) across the Asia-Pacific.

Outside of China, Australia now contributes 30.42% of the total market in Asia Pacific and stands well ahead of Japan (US $398.45 million) and South Korea (US $376.31 million) in terms of market size.

CCAF Asia-Pacific Report Shows Dramatic Rise for Alternative Finance in Australia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

China is the biggest kid on the block when it comes to the emerging alternative finance market in the Asia Pacific region. In fact, China has the largest alternative finance market in the world driven by a fast growing economy, a highly connected population via mobile devices, and a need for access to capital not serviced by traditional state owned banks. But rapid alternative finance growth is not isolated to just China in the Asia Pacific region. Australia experienced growth of 53% from 2015 to 2016, according to the recent research report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Australia’s alternative finance market has now reached US $609.6 million.

MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan echoes Bertoli’s sentiment regarding online lending;

“We have now moved on from being an ‘early stage’ and ‘cottage’ industry to be a legitimate source of funding for Australian borrowers,” he said.

Daniel Foggo, CEO of RateSetter Australia, explained that while trust and confidence in banks continues to erode, peer-to-peer lenders are building a sustainable, technology-led alternative to the bank model, offering better value to Australian investors and borrowers.

Trademarks and fin-tech (Lexology), Rated: A

Technology is an increasingly important aspect of the financial marketplace. With the rapid introduction of platforms such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and new crypto-currencies, it is important for fin-tech users and providers to protect their intellectual property (IP) from infringement and ensure they are not at risk of infringing the IP of another.

Businesses that provide fin-tech services are at risk of infringing the trademarks of other such providers. For instance, one European peer-to-peer facilitator attempted to register a trademark for their brand, only to be challenged by a similarly branded business. This resulted in an expensive negotiation that lasted for almost a year and a half.

India

RBI move on P2P lending companies may affect small players, say experts (The New Indian Express), Rated: AAA

While the recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification treating all peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is likely to bring some credibility to the business, experts say it’s a battle half won by the fintech firms.

The RBI proposal, they say, might cripple the operations of small players who won’t be able to comply with some of the new requirements such as keeping net available funds of Rs 2 crore.

APAC

Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Report “Cultivating Growth” Released (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance together with the Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University today released their second annual alternative finance report.

Source: Lend Academy

Alternative finance volume totaled $245.28 billion in 2016, up from $103.31 billion in 2015. It’s amazing to see alternative finance continue to grow in the region. Not surprisingly, China is the main driver accounting for 99.2% of the total Asia Pacific market. China represented approximately 85% of the entire global market in 2016.

Other findings from the report include:

  • China continues to see “distinctively low levels” of institutional participation in alternative finance compared to other markets such as the US and UK, with only five per cent of peer-to-peer business lending coming from institutions in 2016.
  • In the Asia Pacific outside of China, about $1.5 billion was raised by businesses through alternative finance channels, up 72 per cent from the previous year, with an estimated 43,000 business entities utilising alternative channels of business finance.
  • In China, 72 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending platforms see cyber-attacks as the biggest threat to the industry, while more than 50 per cent across all platforms in China see current and proposed regulatory norms to be adequate.
  • Outside of China, 69 per cent of platforms in Japan see existing regulation as inadequate or too relaxed, while in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia around two thirds of platforms see current regulations as adequate.
Source: Lend Academy
South America

Venezuela Said to Be Late on $ 185 Million Sovereign Bond Payment (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The intermediaries tasked with passing along interest payments for the cash-strapped nation haven’t received the funds for an $185 million coupon that was due Sept. 15, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Investors interviewed by Bloomberg say they haven’t been paid, and brokers say their clients are still waiting on the cash.

The government has a 30-day grace period — now 25 days — to make good on the payment before triggering an event of default on the notes.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor