Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

structured debt

News Comments Today’s main news: Klarna launches open banking platform. SoFi re-engineers home loans. Apple’s new credit card. OakNorth secures guarantee of $133M. Qupital raises $15M to bumrush China. Today’s main analysis: Arbuthnot Banking Group audited final results for 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: U.S. yield curve, new fintech products. Cities with most overleveraged mortgage debtors. Household debt. Expanding access to credit […]

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United Kingdom

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United States

SoFi Refreshes Home Loans, Making Home Buying Painless and Paperless (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today, SoFi announced the refresh of its mortgage offering as SoFi Home Loans, complete with a reengineered process that helps people buy or refinance a home with an online application, no hidden fees, or prepayment penalties.

SoFi Home Loans offer competitive rates including affordable down payments, with as little as 10% down on loans up to $3MM, with no hidden fees or prepayment penalties. SoFi allows applicants to choose between four different loan terms and fixed or adjustable rates. Those interested in refinancing can choose between traditional mortgage refinancing, cash-out refinancing, and student loan cash-out refinancing. If SoFi Home Loans isn’t able to handle a loan request, SoFi provides an easy option to digitally transfer member information to its affiliate partner who may be able to help.

Apple’s new credit card keeps advisors guessing (Financial Planning), Rated: AAA

The Apple credit card is the latest offering by a Silicon Valley tech giant looking for a ready-made avenue into the financial services’ sector. While the new card mostly benefits loyal users of Apple products, it’s also an unwelcome reminder of an ever present question on the minds of wealth managers: Will the FAANG companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet continue their land grab of services historically provided by the financial services industry — and at what cost to traditional RIAs?

Ominously, a majority of investors considering switching financial services providers said they would consider banking with a tech company like Facebook, Google or Amazon if they could, according to a recent survey by Novantis.

US Yield Curve Inverts; New Products from FinTechs (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

For the first time in 3,000 days, and with much anticipation, the 3-month and 10-year treasury curve inverted. The median time to a recession after this curve inverts is between 1 to 1.5 years. However, unprecedented interventions such as QE (and higher central bank holdings globally) make it difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions. Market participants are pricing in a 41% probability of an interest rate cut in the September meeting.

Source: PeerIQ; Bianco Research

New Products from FinTechs

FinTech innovation continues with new products from PeerStreet and Figure. PeerStreet has launched a 30-year loan to enable private investors to buy rental properties. Residential for Rent loans are targeted towards rental home operators. The rental market in the US has grown exponentially post-crisis people struggle to buy homes. The number of rental homes has grown from 36 Mn in 2006 to 43 Mn in 2017.

Source: FactTank, PeerIQ

2019’s Cities with the Most Overleveraged Mortgage Debtors (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Buying a home represents an important milestone for most consumers. But for those who dive in to the deep end of real estate without a financial safety net, the decision could lead to buyer’s remorse in the long run. Mortgage rates are slowly falling after reaching their latest peak in November 2018, and are close to the lowest they’ve been in the past 3 decades. This makes 2019 a tempting time to buy a home. Some industry experts believe 2019 is friendlier toward buyers than sellers because of the lower rates.

Source: WalletHub

Household Debt – Mixed Signals (DBRS), Rated: AAA

The most recent Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the Fed) and Equifax Inc. (Equifax) showed that household debt rose for the 18th consecutive period during Q4 2018 to $13.5 trillion, $869 billion higher than the peak reached in 2008. This represented the third-smallest increase (0.24%) over the 18 consecutive periods of growth, partly because of decreasing mortgage loan debt during Q4 2018 to $9.2 trillion from $9.4 trillion at the end of Q3 2018 and flat levels of auto loan debt at $1.3 trillion for both Q3 and Q4 2018.

Expanding Access to Credit in the Land of New “Halves” (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Credit is one of the largest, most powerful, lucrative and important industries in the world. It also is one of the best tools for wealth creation – home ownership, small business ownership and growth, and, leveraged investing.  This is readily accessible for prime consumers with more options now than ever before. But for the other half of the country that is non-prime, options are still limited and in many cases non-existent.

Early pioneers of securitizations like SoFi, the scaling of marketplace lending like Lending ClubProsper and Best Egg, and new distribution models like Greensky and Affirm have contributed towards increasing comfort of these “new asset classes” that were mostly locked up in bank’s balance sheets.

There are a lot of new “halves” in today’s world.

Amount Delivers Seamless Digital and Mobile Lending Platform to TD Bank (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Amount, a technology provider for financial institutions, today announced a strategic partnership with TD Bank. TD Bank, a top ten U.S. bank, is leveraging Amount’s platform to power the bank’s TD Fit Loan, which launched in August 2018. This initial offering allows consumers to consolidate higher-interest debt, while helping TD meet growing consumer demand for a seamless digital and mobile lending experience. Through this partnership, TD and Amount will roll out additional offerings, as well as standalone tools addressing fraud, verifications and decisioning.

5 Freebies With Your Student Loans (NerdWallet), Rated: A

1. Career coaching

Who offers it: SoFi.

SoFi members have received over 15,000 coaching sessions to date.

4. Referral bonuses

Who offers it: Multiple refinance lenders.

  • Education Loan Finance offers $400 for each successful referral, as well as $100 for the loan applicant.
  • Laurel Road lets you split its $400 bonus however you and your referral see fit.
  • Splash Financial provides $250 apiece for both parties.

5. Charitable work

Who offers it: CommonBond.

If you prefer freebies that help others, CommonBond has a one-for-one social impact mission. For each loan the lender issues, it donates an amount based on a formula that funds a child’s education in a developing country through the nonprofit Pencils of Promise. Those donations have totaled over $1 million to date.

CNote Launches Wisdom Fund to Close Lending Gap for Women (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Yet less than 5 percent of small business lending—only $1 in $23—goes to women. CNote aims to fix this disparity with the Wisdom Fund, a new impact investment opportunity launching today.

Investors in the Wisdom Fund will earn an estimated 4 percent annual return, over a 60-month term, on a loan portfolio that’s diversified across established CDFIs. Email wisdomfund@mycnote.com to learn how you can help fund more women-owned businesses today.

Women seeking loans should contact a participating CDFI. Partners in the Wisdom Fund’s first phase include:

  • Carolina Small Business Development Fund, which provides small business loans and financial training to startups, existing businesses and community organizations in North Carolina.
  • LiftFund, a Texas-based organization that empowers underserved entrepreneurs with capital and support services in 13 states.
  • TruFund, a national nonprofit organization that provides affordable capital to small businesses and nonprofits in AlabamaLouisiana and New York.

Study Finds 70% of Americans Would Share More Personal Data for Fairer Credit Decisions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (54%) of loan applicants don’t even have a clear understanding of why they receive the interest rate they do from a lender, while a majority (70%) say it is difficult finding lenders who will look at them as something other than their credit score.

  • 7 in 10 American adults (71%) wish there was another way to prove themselves to credit lenders outside of the standard credit score.
    • Hispanics (82%) and African Americans (81%) are more likely than Whites (67%) to want lenders to look at additional factors in lending decisions.
  • 77% believe more data is better when evaluating potential borrowers’ credit.
  • 71% would be willing to share more personal data with a lender if it resulted in a fairer credit decision. The motivation is even higher among middle-class earners. 79% of people making $50,000 to $75,000 would share more personal data to prove their creditworthiness, compared to 66% of people making over $100,000.
  • 84% think their bank should use modern technology to assess their creditworthiness.
    • Specifically, about half of loan applicants (53%) would like their ideal lender to use machine learning to make fairer credit decisions.
    • More than 2 in 5 (42%) would like their ideal lender to use machine learning to make the credit for homeownership more accessible to everyone.
    • Surprisingly, older generations want newer technology even more. Baby boomers and seniors (83% and 87%, respectively) wanted their banks to use new technologies to score them, compared to 79% for Millennials and Gen Zers.

Survey: Alternative Data Sharing (Urjanet), Rated: B

Urjanet surveyed more than 300 U.S.-based adults to assess consumer sentiment around alternative data sharing in the lending process. Key findings include:

  • A majority of consumers have multiple alternative sources of payment history
  • Alternative data sharing represents a huge opportunity for lenders to drive financial inclusion
  • Most consumers (59%) are willing to share utility and telecom data to boost chances of approval

SigFig launches platform to help retail banks sell financial products (Investment News), Rated: A

SigFig, the financial technology firm that developed digital advice platforms for several large financial institutions, wants to help banks automate more than investment management.

Technology to Play Crucial Role in Preparing ABS Professionals for Next Economic Cycle (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of asset-backed securities (ABS) professionals feel that adopting new technologies will be important to preparing their businesses for the next economic cycle, according to Capital One’s sixth annual survey at SFIG Vegas 2019.

The survey also revealed that ABS professionals believe the biggest risks to their businesses are uncertainty around regulatory risk and increased credit risk, both at 29 percent. However, despite regulatory risk being a top concern, the industry’s apprehension has nearly cut in half over the last two years. In 2018, 48 percent noted regulations were the biggest risk to their businesses while 58 percent thought so in 2017. Additional top-of-mind concerns for 2019 include increases in interest rates (18 percent) and increased competition (17 percent).

TrustToken’s Stablecoin Now Available On Cred’s Crypto Earning Platform (BlockTribune), Rated: A

Asset tokenization platform TrustToken has announced a strategic partnership with crypto lending platform Cred.

Founded by former PayPal financial technology veterans, Cred is a decentralized global lending and borrowing platform that allows stablecoin issuers, exchanges and wallets to provide valuable earn and lending services worldwide.

Fintech in Brief: Update on Legal Challenges to OCC Fintech Charter (JDSupra), Rated: A

On March 19, 2019, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) filed a brief in opposition to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (“OCC”) motion to dismiss the NYDFS’ lawsuit challenging the OCC’s statutory authority to grant special purpose national bank charters to Fintechs (the “Fintech Charter”). The brief in opposition signals that the NYDFS will continue its opposition to the Fintech Charter under the leadership of Acting Superintendent Linda Lacewell, who replaced outgoing Superintendent Mari Vullo in February. In opposing the OCC’s motion to dismiss, the NYDFS argued that it has standing to challenge the Fintech Charter, the matter is ripe for judicial review, and its claims are not time-barred. The NYDFS also argued that the OCC’s interpretation of the “business of banking” is not entitled to Chevron deference and “should be invalidated in its entirety.”

Mortech Partners with Roostify for Enhanced Online Mortgage Experience (Business Wire), Rated: A

Today, Mortech, a Zillow Group business providing mortgage technology solutions for mortgage lenders and secondary market teams, announced a new partnership between Mortech’s product and pricing engine (PPE) and Roostify, a digital lending platform that gives customers more control of their home buying process while allowing loan officers to utilize the latest technology to more easily process loans. The strategic partnership will integrate two proven mortgage technology solutions to improve the digital mortgage experience for many industry-leading lenders.

Finastra brings community banking services outside the branch with the launch of Fusion Digital Front Office (Finastra), Rated: A

Finastra has launched Fusion Digital Front Office, an innovative tablet-based banking platform that enables community banks and credit unions to take services directly to the consumer, outside of the branch. The solution provides a simple gateway to manage account origination, sales and service, and transaction processing from any remote location.

Huobi’s US Arm Launches Institutional Group for OTC Crypto Trading (CoinDesk), Rated: A

“We’re entering the market now with a real institutional offering, we’re definitely going to be offering some new products and services,” such as token lending and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, in the coming months, he added.

Elevate Named as a Finalist for LendIt Fintech 2019’s Financial Inclusion Award (AP News), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, has been named as one of six finalists in the “Excellence in Financial Inclusion” category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2019. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest impact in expanding access to financial services in new and innovative ways.

J.D. Power ranks Regions among top alternative lenders for personal loans (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Birmingham’s largest bank has ranked among the top alternative lenders in the U.S. for providing personal loan satisfaction through digital applications.

United Kingdom

ARBUTHNOT BANKING GROUP (“Arbuthnot”, “the Group” or “ABG”) Audited Final Results for the year to 31 December 2018 (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

·      Profit Before Tax £6.8m (2017: £2.5m)

·      Underlying profit before tax £7.4m (2017: £3.2m)

·      Operating income increased by 24% to £67.9m (2017: £54.6m)

·      Negative earnings per share 134.5p (2017: positive 43.9p)*

·      Continuing earnings per share 38.0p (2017: 14.0p)

·      Underlying earnings per share 40.3p (2017: 17.6p)

·      Final dividend per share 20p (2017: 19p), an increase of 5%

·      Total full year dividend per share 35p (2017: 33p)

·      Bonus share issue to create new class of non-voting shares

·      Net assets £196m (2017: £236m)

·      Net assets per share 1283p (2017: 1547p)

·      Underlying return on deployed equity 5.6% (2017: 4.2%)

Consolidated statement of financial position

 

At 31 December

2018

2017

Note

£000

£000

ASSETS

Cash and balances at central banks

17

405,325

313,101

Loans and advances to banks

18

54,173

70,679

Debt securities at amortised cost / held-to-maturity

19

342,691

227,019

Assets classified as held for sale

20

8,002

2,915

Derivative financial instruments

21

1,846

2,551

Loans and advances to customers

22

1,224,656

1,049,269

Other assets

24

12,716

20,624

Financial investments

25

35,351

2,347

Deferred tax asset

26

1,490

1,527

Interests in associates

27

– 

83,804

Intangible assets

28

16,538

15,995

Property, plant and equipment

30

5,304

3,962

Investment property

31

67,081

59,439

Total assets

2,175,173

1,853,232

EQUITY AND LIABILITIES

Equity attributable to owners of the parent

Share capital

37

153

153

Retained earnings

38

209,083

237,171

Other reserves

38

(13,280)

(949)

Total equity

195,956

236,375

LIABILITIES

Deposits from banks

32

232,675

195,097

Derivative financial instruments

21

188

931

Deposits from customers

33

1,714,286

1,390,781

Current tax liability

236

705

Other liabilities

34

18,549

16,239

Debt securities in issue

35

13,283

13,104

Total liabilities

1,979,217

1,616,857

Total equity and liabilities

2,175,173

1,853,232

Read the full report here.

Tech Nation Lists 10 Fintech Pioneers In Future Fifty 2019 Cohort (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Revolut, Monzo, Starling Bank, Currencycloud, Aire, Blockchain, MarketInvoice, Quantexa, Nested and Salary Finance were revealed to be among the 24 most dynamic and fast-growing late-stage technology companies to be chosen to join Future Fifty’s 2019 cohort.

Tech Nation and Dealroom data has also revealed that the U.K. has attracted a whopping $7.9 billion in funding in 2018 and closed the gap for exits of venture-backed companies with the U.S. As well as this U.K. sales, IPOs and mergers were worth $40 billion – ahead of every other European country – which points to the success of the tech sector as a whole in the country.

OAKNORTH ANNOUNCES BRITISH BUSINESS BANK ENABLE GUARANTEE OF £133M (Business Leader), Rated: AAA

OakNorth has today announced its participation in the ENABLE Guarantee programme, securing a guarantee of £133m from the British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank. OakNorth will use the guarantee to strengthen further its lending support to fast-growth businesses and established property developers and investors.

The ENABLE Guarantee programme is designed to encourage banks to increase their lending to smaller businesses by reducing the amount of capital required to be held against such lending. Under an ENABLE Guarantee, the UK Government takes on a portion of the lender’s risk on a portfolio of loans to smaller businesses, in return for a fee.

Inside OakNorth’s plan to take its lending technology global (Tearsheet), Rated: A

As a challenger bank, OakNorth charts a different course. While Revolut, Monzo, and N26 focus on putting their digital current accounts in the hands of millions, OakNorth doesn’t even offer a current account. While other challengers are racing to acquire banking licenses all over the world, OakNorth is happy with just a UK license.

OakNorth is also posting profits while other challengers aren’t.  The bank announced a £33.9m profit for 2018, up 220 percent from 2017.

OakNorth provides debt financing to entrepreneurs in growing businesses, lending £0.5M to £40M to profitable, scale-up, British businesses. To fund its underwriting, OakNorth offers digital savings accounts. It currently has 40,000 customers with digital savings accounts and has lend £3 billion in under four years.

Successful UK Payday Lender Western Circle Limited Begins Offering Personal Loans Online (Finger Lakes Times), Rated: A

Western Circle Limited has made a name for itself by offering responsible payday loans online. Their decision to branch out into the personal loans market through the new brand PersonalLoansNow.co.uk was well received by their customers.

Five last-minute IFISA ideas (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE END of the tax year is fast approaching, so if you haven’t yet taken full advantage of your £20,000 ISA allowance to make tax-free returns, now is the time. The peer-to-peer lending industry is expecting to see an uptick in inflows into Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA) this year now that there is a much wider choice of products available and the potential for higher returns than cash with lower volatility than the stock market.

FINTECH LAUNCHES AI LOAN COMPARISON SERVICE (Business Cloud), Rated: A

Loan marketplace Monevo has launched a new platform to give consumers comparisons of pre-approved loans.

Based in Macclesfield, the business is a licensed credit broker for personal and business loans and is Europe’s largest personal loan marketplace.

An Alternative Approach (IFA Magazine), Rated: A

When it comes to asset allocation, advisers constantly face the challenge of finding real diversification in client portfolios. Sue Whitbread met with Matthew Ardron and Benedict Yung of Basset & Gold Group, to talk about their approach of offering fixed rate bonds that invest in alternative lending.

Half of Brits running out of cash before payday – pushing them to rogue lenders (Mirror), Rated: A

Exclusive research for Mirror Money shows by the end of this month, those turning to payday loans will have shelled out more than £214million – that works out at £28 per second

P2P to have strong presence at Innovate Finance Global Summit (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

FOUNDERS of the ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lenders are among the confirmed speakers at Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS), which takes place next month at London’s Guildhall.

Giles Andrews of Zopa, Samir Desai of Funding Circle and Rhydian Lewis of RateSetter are all participating in various sessions at the fintech industry trade body’s flagship conference on 29-30 April 2019, which marks the start of UK Fintech Week.

Other confirmed speakers from the P2P world include Zopa chief executive Jaidev Janardana, ArchOver’s Angus Dent, Ali Celiker from British Pearl and Roxana Mohammadian-Molina from Blend Network.

China/Hong Kong

Hong Kong SME financing platform raises $ 15m for China push (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based online SME trade financing platform Qupital is targeting the mainland after closing a $15 million Series A funding round led by CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

Consumers hunger for loans, lenders popping up everywhere (Shine), Rated: AAA

Qin Shuifeng, 30, who lives in the suburban district of Jiading, went to a branch of the Postal Savings Bank of China in 2016 to seek a loan for home improvements.

The lender granted her and her husband a credit line of 1 million yuan (US$148,600), of which they drew 600,000 yuan, with an interest rate 10 percent higher than the benchmark rate.

Competition 

The central government has issued a series of policies favorable to consumer lending since the second half of 2018.

Still, risks remain. To realize sustainable development, players need to build strong operational and risk control capabilities, either by themselves or in partnership with financial technologies firms.

European Union

Klarna Launches Open Banking Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today, Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payment providers and the global market leader in payment initiation services, announces the launch of its own Open Banking Platform. This platform will enable access to more than 4,300 European banks through a single Access to Account (XS2A) API in line with Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Klarna’s XS2A API is the most established and proven solution that has been developed at scale across markets for almost 15 years through the Klarna Group company Sofort.

This platform provides a fully proven and mature infrastructure, superior market coverage and connectivity, with access to 99% of online banking consumers currently across 14 European markets. By opening up its own advanced technology and capabilities, Klarna is simplifying and democratising access to APIs securely. Both established and newer banks and fintechs as well as other licensed businesses, will be able to build smart and personalised offerings that meet the evolving needs of consumers across Europe. Klarna has been one of the leading proponents of the PSD2 legislation and believes high-quality APIs will drive innovation and competition but most importantly will empower consumers across Europe with increased choice, control and clarity on their finances, and ability to access better products.

International

Has Alternative Lending Seen Its VC Peak? (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

U.S. FinTech funding reached its highest level in five years in 2018, according to CB Insights data published last month, hitting $11.89 billion. Yet at a time when analysts say VCs are focusing more on late-stage investment, alternative lenders are having a tougher time securing funding, particularly market newcomers in a crowded market.

But there is evidence that investors’ appetite for alternative lending startups is on the wane, even as overall FinTech funding continues to climb — and as the success of the alternative lending market grows, too.

eToro buys blockchain company Firmo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Just weeks after launching in the US, trading and investment platform eToro announced plans to purchase Copenhagen-based blockchain firm Firmo, reports Julie Muhn  at Finovate

Founded in 2017, Firmo offers a programming language called FirmoLang that runs on a sidechain. Exchanges can leverage FirmoLang to create financial instruments such as P2P lending platforms or cryptocurrency derivatives with tokens. And Firmo is versatile, allowing the tokens to be run on any blockchain.

Battlestar Capital Earns 30% Returns For Holding Crypto (ChainBits), Rated: B

Battlestar Capital, which is a blockchain staking-as-a-service company, revealed that customers could potentially earn up to 30 percent on a yearly basis when it comes to their idle crypto holdings. Here is everything about the startup’s claims in a nutshell.

In an interview, the company said that it has teamed up with crypto lending startup called Celsius Network in an attempt to launch a large-scale service capable of offering potentially high returns.

Australia

APRA Proposes Stricter Credit Risk Management Standards (Regulation Asia), Rated: AAA

The revised prudential standard enhances board oversight of credit risk and requires more intensive credit checks on borrowers. APRA also highlights the risks of P2P originated loans.

India

New modes of lending, fund raising on cards (The Asian), Rated: AAA

In a bid to change the market dynamics of the banking and financial sectors, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon come up with alternative models of lending and capital raising for the sectors.

Asia

Bukalapak partners three P2P lenders to provide loans for offline businesses (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Bukalapak is teaming up with Indonesian P2P lending startups Amartha, Modalku, and PohonDana to provide loan facilities in a program called Modal Mitra. The loans are available to offline vendors who are part of the company’s Mitra Bukalapak program.

The financing offered through Modal Mitra ranges between US$70 and US$700 and can be paid back in up to six months, with weekly installments starting from US$6. It can only be used for purchases in the Mitra Bukalapak app.

Eurasia

Russian fintech launches digital bank 131 (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Bank 131, a new digital bank focused on Russian companies and entrepreneurs that work for global internet companies and/or buy from global ecommerce companies with a Russia presence, announced today they have received their banking license from authorities – the first and only new bank to do so in four years.

Canada

Shadow banking has grown, but risks to financial systems are modest (Advisor’s Edge), Rated: AAA

Canada’s shadow banking sector has grown substantially in recent years, but the overall financial system has grown even faster, keeping risks in check, suggests a new report from the Bank of Canada.

In the report, the central bank details the results of its monitoring of so-called “non-bank financial intermediation” (NBFI), also known as shadow banking. Among other things, the report finds the Canadian NBFI sector has grown by 1.7 times since 2006, driven by strong growth in investment funds, securities financing transactions and private lending.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor