Thursday November 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper launches HELOCs with BBVA. LendingClub beats profit estimates. Pennsylvania fines SoFi subsidiary $110,000. Kabbage partners with GoDaddy. Zopa makes banking debut. RateSetter rolls out investor self-certification. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub Q3 earnings. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The hot stuff at Money 2020. China’s slowing economy. International […]

The post Thursday November 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Officially Launches HELOCs with First Bank Partner BBVA (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was last November when we first heard that Prosper had plans to expand their offerings from personal loans into HELOCs.  In 2018 David Kimball noted that they would be partnering with banks on the new product and loans would be available both directly through Prosper.com and also as a white-labeled offering. Now we know their first bank partner is BBVA.

LendingClub beats profit estimates on higher fees, loans (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online lending pioneer LendingClub Corp (LC.N) beat analysts’ estimates for third-quarter profit on Tuesday and forecast current-quarter largely above estimates, sending its shares up 4% in after-hours trading.

Transaction fees jumped 17% at the company, which helps connect customers looking for loans to individuals or institutional investors, such as banks, through its online marketplace.

Loan originations soared 16% to $3.35 billion in the third quarter, with total revenue rising 11% to $204.9 million.

LendingClub Q3 2019 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Revenue also topped records at $204.9 million, up 11% year over year. Losses narrowed to a GAAP net loss of just $400,000 compared to the prior year period where they lost $22.8 million. Adjusted net income came in at $8 million, up from a loss of $7.3 million in the prior year period.

Source: Lending Club

Pennsylvania regulators hit SoFi with enforcement action (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A subsidiary of Social Finance Inc. has agreed to pay a $110,000 fine in Pennsylvania after operating as a mortgage servicer for nearly a year without the required state licensing.

SoFi Lending Corp. is one of several mortgage companies that has been hit recently with enforcement actions in Pennsylvania after a change in state law in December 2017.

The new law required mortgage servicers that were operating in Pennsylvania to be licensed. Companies had until June 30, 2018, to apply without being penalized for unlicensed activity.

SoFi vs. Prosper: Which Personal Loan Lender Is Right for You? (credible), Rated: A

SoFi and Prosper are two companies that offer personal loans with competitive interest rates and no prepayment penalties. However, there are some major differences between the companies that could affect your decision on which one to choose.

Money 2020 Highlights, Jobs Report, Markets Doubt Fed (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

What’s Hot and What’s Not at Money 2020?

Attendance was at record levels. Here’s our view on the areas attracting the most attention at Money 2020:

  • Lending-as-a-Service: lenders that enable non-banks, banks and credit unions originate loans (e.g., loan origination software, digital experience, bank workflow software, etc.). Examples: Better, nCino, Happy Money (backed by CUNA Mutual), Alchemy, Splash Financial, Blend, Roostify
  • International Lending: Non-banks expanding access to credit, particularly in the LatAm markets. Examples: CrediJusto (Mexico SME), Addi (Colombia POS), Nova Credit
  • Underwriting infrastructure: Reducing OPEX or fraud risk thru automation. Examples: Ocrolus, Feedzai

The healthy Friday jobs report supports the ‘wait and see’ Fed view (although it is a backward looking indicator). The report indicated growth in employment of 128K in October and a tick-up in unemployment to 3.6%.

Source: WSJ, Labor Department, PeerIQ

Kabbage partners with GoDaddy to offer capital to entrepreneurs and SMBs (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The partnership: Kabbage’s online lending platform is now available to GoDaddy’s U.S. customers to access a business line of credit in minutes.

  • Customers can access flexible lines of credit of up to $250,000 in minutes after filling out a short application.
  • Existing GoDaddy customers can get $100 off their first month’s fees
  • “We know that a lack of capital for marketing and other core activities remains a major roadblock to accelerate growth. Our partnership with Kabbage is key in our ongoing mission to empower our customers and provide them with the resources they need to fuel their business needs,” said Melissa Schneider, GoDaddy’s vice president of global marketing operations.

Ron Suber Shares Perspective on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ron Suber is one of the better-known names in the Fintech sector. Originally, Suber’s role as the President of the marketplace lending platform Prosper Marketplace brought Suber’s name to prominence as the Fintech emerged as an early leader in the US online lending market. Since departing Prosper’s management team several years ago, Suber has been associated with multiple Fintech’s as an investor, advisor or, perhaps, a board member. Today, Suber has invested in more than a dozen Fintech companies

Real estate crowdfunding startup CrowdStreet turns to its customers to raise $ 12M round (GeekWire), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, a Portland-based commercial real estate crowdfunding startup, has raised a big new funding round, with a twist. Instead of relying solely on venture capital investors, the startup turned to its own community of real estate investors and developers to raise the bulk of the money for its Series C round.

The result: CrowdStreet this morning announced it has raised $12 million, primarily from the users of its platform, bringing lifetime funding to $25 million.

CrowdStreet lands $ 12M in financing, hires execs (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Robert Stiles, former chief financial officer at LendingHome, joined as CFO/COO. Londa Quisling was named chief technology officer, after serving as chief product officer at Treehouse. And John Havens, previously of BNY Mellon, joined as vice president of capital markets.

Inside Affirm’s ID Verification And Fraud Prevention Techniques (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Many consumers do not have funds readily on hand to make big purchases like electronics or furniture and prefer turning to instant loan apps like Affirm, a point-of-sale installment lender established in 2013, rather than going into debt with a bank or credit card provider. Customers may feel thankful to be able to pay off a purchase over a year, but not at the cost of losing their identities to fraudsters or scammers.

Max Levchin backs digital banking startup built to reward savers (Finextra), Rated: A

A new digital banking platform promising to help reward people for positive financial behaviour has closed a $3.5 million seed round led by Accomplice Ventures and Walkabout Ventures nd joined by PayPal founder Max Levchin’s startup studio.

According to Moody Analytics, an average person under the age of 35 saves -1.8% of their income. HMBradley is promising to tackle this by increasing awareness and rewarding people for saving more.

LA is fast becoming a fintech hub as HMBradley launches another West Coast challenger bank (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Add HMBradley to the list of Los Angeles-based startups looking to shake up the world of high finance typically dominated by East Coast giants with names like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Building A Challenger Bank That Actually Challenges Traditional Banking (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Minus the CEOs at the top-10 largest banks in the U.S., whose main concern is probably figuring how to deal with their trillions of dollars’ worth of assets, nearly the entirety of bank CEOs outside that tier have one primary concern, according to Bruhnke: How do they grow deposits? Meanwhile, he noted, bank customers also have a singular desire: How do they make the most money on the funds they have deposited?

How Goldman Sachs plans to boost its reputation with online bank Marcus (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs’ upstart digital consumer bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, will help boost the reputation of its parent company, one of its leaders told Yahoo Finance recently.

The OCC Fintech Charter Is Down, but Maybe Not Out (Lexology), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently faced another setback in its attempt to issue a special purpose national bank charter tailored to fintech companies (fintech charter). A federal district court in New York held that the OCC does not have the authority to grant charters to companies that do not accept deposits. The ruling is a blow to the OCC’s efforts to provide new avenues for innovation in financial services. The fintech charter would allow fintech companies, which do not accept deposits like traditional banks, to benefit from the same preemption of state laws and licensing requirements as national banks.

Troubled Fintech Charter: How More Delays Impact Competitive Situation (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

The other is Varo, which initially considered going for an OCC special purpose charter but then decided to apply for a full-service charter. Varo has preliminary approval from OCC and awaits approval of its FDIC deposit insurance application. Below, we look at how Lending Club, the online marketplace consumer loan platform, is exploring chartering options.

Crypto APIs Launches Trading APIs, Allowing Users to Leverage Multiple Crypto Exchange Accounts (Cryptovest), Rated: A

The Trading APIs service provides one Unified API that has integrated multiple crypto exchanges. Thus, users will now be able to link multiple exchange accounts to their profile, collect data and execute their portfolio management trades from a single point.

Crypto APIs is used by thousands of developers to create products like Crypto exchanges, Crypto wallets, Trading bots, Crypto PSP, Arbitrage solutions, Crypto Lending solutions and many more.

Brex And Bank Of The West Team On Co-Branded Credit Card (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, the fintech credit card startup, is teaming up with Bank of the West, the subsidiary of BNP Paribas, to roll out a co-branded credit card. It marks the first co-branded credit card to come out of Brex which caters to startups and entrepreneurs.

Washington flexes its muscles on small-business lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In one instance, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency angered borrower advocates by siding in court with a high-cost business lender. In the other, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signaled its intention to move forward with a small-business lending rule that has languished for nine years amid sharp disagreements over its proper scope.

USA Continues to be a Top Location for Fintech Events (Fintech News), Rated: A

On the global fintech scene, the US has been amongst the top leaders, accounting for 57% of the fintech market in 2018, according to a Mordor Intelligence research.

Fintech continues its momentum this year, with investment in US fintech companies surging to US$12.7 billion in the first half of 2019. That represents a 60% increase in value of deals and signals a trend of larger deals in already the world’s biggest and most active fintech market, according to data from Accenture.

Legitimate Shoppers Take Advantage of Deals, Outpacing Seasonal Growth in Fraudsters (Riskified Email), Rated: A

A new report from 

Elevate Credit to Attend the Stephens 2019 Investment Conference (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT) today announced that its Interim Chief Executive Officer, Jason Harvison, and Chief Financial Officer, Chris Lutes, will attend the Stephens 2019 Nashville Investment Conference on November 14th at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Mr. Harvison and Mr. Lutes will be available for 1×1 meetings with investors.

Michigan AG sues online tribal lender (Lexology), Rated: B

On October 31, the Michigan attorney general announced it filed a lawsuit against an online lender alleging the lender violated the CFPA and Michigan…

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa makes banking debut as pressure mounts (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Zopa, one of the UK’s three largest names in peer-to-peer lending, is to launch its first foray into banking after receiving partial authorisation last year.

RateSetter begins roll-out of investor self-certification (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has begun asking its customers to confirm their investor status ahead of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new marketing and disclosure rules that come into effect on 9 December.

iwoca hits £1bn lending milestone as headcount soars (AltFi), Rated: A

UK business lender nearly doubled its lending last year to £330m, helping the startup announce it has now reached a cumulative lending milestone of over £1bn.

The news comes as iwoca’s headcount has jumped 50% in the last 12 months, boosted further by the £10m BCR grant which the company secured in August to further expand its customer base.

China

China has a steady hand on its slowing economy, but can it prevent a crash landing? (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Year-on-year growth has fallen by 0.2 percentage points per quarter this year, from 6.4 per cent in the first quarter to 6.2 per cent in the second quarter and to 6 per cent in the most recent quarter.

China to Transform Remaining P2P Platforms (Finews.Asia), Rated: A

Recent data showed that the number of online P2P platforms plummeted to just 427 – a 59 percent drop compared to 2018-end. The total outstanding loan value and the number of borrowers also dropped correspondingly by 49 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

China is making rapid inroads towards reducing peer-to-peer lending risk to meet the 2020 target deadline but expects to keep alive the few remaining with strong fintech expertise and shareholder support.

China warned to avoid P2P lending mistakes in blockchain push (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

China has been warned to avoid the same mistakes with blockchain that it made with its peer-to-peer lending, as the government vowed a “thorough revamping” of the controversial lending platforms as part of a continuing battle against financial risk amid the domestic economic slowdown and the trade war with the US.

Chinese fintech players want to do a Xiaomi in lending. Caution: regulatory glare ahead (India Times), Rated: A

From adopting unique business models to routing investments through Singapore, Chinese lenders are trying every trick in the book to win the Indian fintech-lending space. But getting money to India, deploying it, and dealing with stringent KYC norms is easier said than done.

Asset management arbitration cases in China (Vantage Asia), Rated: A

The wave of closures of P2P platforms in China in the summer of 2018 garnered national attention. The latest blacklist for P2P lending published by “P2PEYE.COM” ( shows that as of the end of March 2019, the number of problematic P2P platforms reached 5,388.

European Union

Marks & Spencer Buy Now, Pay Later Option (The National Law Review), Rated: AAA

Klarna, a popular BNPL provider used by over 4,000 UK retailers, offers three types of BNPL service:

  1. delayed payment up to 30 days after purchase. This incurs no interest or fees, providing the payment is made within the timeframe.
  2. instalment options whereby the purchaser can pay in three equal, interest-free payments every 30 days.
  3. flexible financing, which spreads the cost of larger purchases into manageable monthly payments. The term for this repayment option ranges from six to 36 months.

Upcoming maintenance affecting ability to view orders (Klarna), Rated: A

On Wednesday 6th November at 05:00 CEST, we will perform an important technical maintenance which will prevent customers from seeing some order details within the Klarna app for a short time. We expect this maintenance to take approximately 15 minutes, after which time full details of orders will become accessible again.

LendIt Fintech Europe 2019 Slide Presentations Now Live (LendIt), Rated: AAA

Below, you can find the presentations from keynote speakers at the event, as well as the different track presentations.

Lending Innovations

More presentations here.

International

Beijing may cull a stateside unicorn stampede (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese firms have raised just $3 billion from American exchanges so far this year, less than a third of the 2018 total. In the last week of October, however, half a dozen companies filed for initial public offerings in New York, bringing the total backlog of Chinese floats to 24, according to data from Refinitiv. Rising trade uncertainties, tougher listing requirements on the NASDAQ and an upcoming U.S. presidential election have sparked fears that 2020 may prove even more volatile for debutants.

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

Mintos leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 703 million Euro.

Milestones in cumulative volume lent crossed this month:

Asia

P2P lending platform Validus expands into Vietnam (Business Times), Rated: AAA

SMEs make up 97 per cent of Vietnam’s enterprises, but only account for 22 per cent of total bank lending. To meet a US$21 billion SME financing gap in the country, Validus Vietnam will partner corporates to provide SME growth financing to their vendors and subcontractors.

How South Korea’s PeopleFund Is Shaking Up P2P Lending (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Joey Kim, chief executive officer at PeopleFund, discusses what his company does, the growth drivers for his company, his latest funding round, P2P lending in South Korea, regulation, the possibility of consolidation in the industry and how the Korean economic headwinds are impacting his business. He speaks exclusively on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia.”

Vietnam’s IT Sector: 5 Industries to Watch (Vietnam Briefing), Rated: A

Vietnam’s fintech industry is expected to reach US$7.8 billion in revenue by 2020. A rising middle class, growing internet usage, and a young population present a great combination for the fintech sector to thrive. An estimated 120 companies and brands cover a wide range of services, from digital payments to wealth management and blockchain.

Fintech help banks broaden customer base (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Instead of competing against each other, banks and financial technology (fintech) companies are joining hands and combining their resources to tap into the country’s growing financial services market.In an effort to keep up-to-date with recent technology and stay relevant amid the latest changes in financial services, many banks have signed partnership deals or bought into nimble start-ups as an alternative to building costly technology projects.For the banks, the logic behind a partnership with fintech companies is simple: It gives them the opportunity to reach a wider customer base, unlock their technological capabilities without having to buy one of their own and penetrate the country’s unbanked population — all without having to spend too much money.“We are partnering with 12 fintech companies from peer-to-peer [P2P] lending and payment apps to SME [small, middle, enterprise]…

Latin America

Preview of LendIt Fintech’s inaugural LatAm conference (LendIt), Rated: AAA

Temenos’ report tags financial inclusion as LatAm bankers’ priority (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Temenos has concluded the LatAm results for its annual retail banking survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The survey titled ‘A whole new world: How technology is driving the evolution of intelligent banking in Latin America’ stated that 35% of retail bankers prioritize investments in digital technologies along with cost-cutting or margin improvement for furthering their financial inclusion goal.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday November 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Algorithmic Trading in Real Estate Investing

AlphaFlow

A secular growth trend in the real estate market and a growing US economy is expected to be a strong tailwind for real estate financing companies and should have a commensurable positive effect on asset management companies in the space. AlphaFlow, a California registered investment advisor, is amongst the first and fastest growing automated real […]

AlphaFlow

A secular growth trend in the real estate market and a growing US economy is expected to be a strong tailwind for real estate financing companies and should have a commensurable positive effect on asset management companies in the space. AlphaFlow, a California registered investment advisor, is amongst the first and fastest growing automated real estate investment services in the US. The company launched operations in 2015. Its first avatar was focused on bringing consolidated reporting, transparency, and insights to real-estate crowdfunding investments on multiple platforms. The company, under Founder and CEO Ray Sturm (formerly founder of RealtyShares), has now graduated to cutting-edge algorithmic investing.

Meet The New AlphaFlow

The company has raised a total of $6.4 million with $4.1 million coming in the latest funding round (September 2017). The round was led by Hedge Fund titan Steven Cohen’s Point72 Ventures while other marquee names likes Social Capital and Y Combinator also joined in the raise. The funds are being deployed to build infrastructure, develop underwriting resources, finance partnerships with leading online lenders & investors, and to update the company’s technology.

AlphaFlow launched the industry’s first fund allowing investors to diversify their portfolios through multiple real estate loans with an option to reinvest earnings automatically. Investors now have a true opportunity to diversify.

In March 2017, AlphaFlow launched an Automated Investment Platform incorporating SMA (Separately Managed Accounts) and artificial intelligence technology offering portfolio optimization and diversification services in a way that each client has his unique asset portfolio at minimal cost. This relieved clients from the hassle of managing their portfolios as the entire administration and monitoring is in the hands of experienced professionals.

The AlphaFlow Working Model

AlphaFlow is working on an asset management model and not a marketplace lending model. The company stands out from the crowd because its investments are spread across 75-100 loans aiming at net returns of 8-10% and targeting lower LTVs.

 

Source: AlphaFlow.com

Loans are purchased/underwritten from lending platforms after performing a detailed due diligence process. Each client’s portfolio is under automatic review on a daily basis to keep it diversified. Loan underwriting is not a fully automated process, however. The algorithm and allocation methodology used are proprietary while loans not fulfilling predefined criteria are rejected. This ensures that the fund is not on an auto-underwriting mode and every loan is analyzed to evaluate suitability for client’s portfolio.

The platform charges a fee of 1% on invested capital and its loans are usually for a tenure of 6-12 months. The minimum investment amount is $10,000 for each investor. AlphaFlow currently has over 280 investors on board.

Normally, loans are repaid earlier than the credit period sanctioned, where AlphaFlow’s automatic system re-balances the entire portfolio. Also, the portfolio of each client is re-balanced with the addition of new loans to the platform.

The Current Scenario

Sturm shares his thoughts on the real estate crowdfunding industry freely. “Most platforms are facing challenges related to managing customer acquisition costs (CAC),” he says, “which have started topping $5,000. Growing competition further fuels the CAC. Though VC funding has been strong in the segment, this has shifted the balance towards institutional investors as compared to originally empowering retail investors. The winner in the space will be the one who can control his CAC and develop an artificial intelligence-powered underwriting technology.”

With sufficient capital in hand, AlphaFlow is now looking for partnerships with online lenders to expand its business reach. Its criteria for selecting partners is to focus on their underwriting technology, reporting infrastructure, and transparency. Another challenge the industry as a whole is facing is that it has become harder to determine which lender is doing better. For an investor, it is fundamental to their job, but transparency has taken a hit in the current ecosystem.

Future Prospects

A changing economic environment will lead to shifting trends in the housing market, in terms of job growth, affordability, increased demand, and nominal interest rates. Credit models need to be able to stomach this shift. AlphaFlow is still building out its technology, but the solution developed has helped it lower delinquency rates by more than 80 percent as compared to the rest of the industry. Also, most platforms talk about the need to synthesize information using AI and machine learning, but few have done it well.

Real estate crowdfunding firms will need artificial intelligence to analyze all the data points on scale, and it will soon become uneconomical to hire a massive team to execute all these repetitive tasks. Moreover, profitability is not the function of growth alone. AI-empowered smart underwriting will be the key differentiator, Sturm believes. He shares that it is always easy to grow by underwriting bad deals, but it is suicide in the long run when capital deployed is not able to hit target returns or, even worse, if principal is destroyed during the process.

AlphaFlow became a Registered Investment Advisor to showcase to investors that it is on their side and that it has a fiduciary duty to protect their interests. Serious players in the segment will have to move in this direction to achieve scale in the asset management industry and better serve their customers.

Although AlphaFlow is doing well with its present underwriting model and clients are satisfied with the results, it is always searching for improvements that can be incorporated into the system. It is also considering multiple avenues to get a diversified exposure in the real estate industry. It might go for a combination of debt and equity deals for better exposure. Different duration debt deals may be targeted (2 or 3 years tenure) with a locked interest rate of 5 percent. To be a market-driven company, strategies will need to be reframed accordingly.

Integration of blockchain technology can transform the entire operational aspect of the real estate industry. But Sturm believes it is still a long way from maturing enough for real estate investing. The technology is currently not on his road map, but he might get interested if someone is able to introduce a breakthrough product.

Conclusion

To achieve scale and a strong position in the industry, AlphaFlow will keep investing in data science and engineering. In today’s fintech world, that is the only moat a business can cross.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday March 6 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Is Amazon about to partner with JP Morgan Chase? Elevate saves customers $3B over payday loan alternatives. LendInvest hosts a roadshow. Folk2Folk lenders provide 200M GBP to UK rural businesses. China issues first personal credit rating license. Today’s main analysis: Credit card losses surge at small banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FT Partners’ CEO monthly […]

credit card charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

News Summary

United States

Amazon wants to make it easier to shop its website without a credit card (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts, The Wall Street Journalreported Monday.

More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

New prime subscriptions flattened in the third quarter of 2017, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Another survey by Piper Jaffray in June said that 82 percent of U.S. households with more than $112,000 in annual income are already Prime members. Its reach is the lowest among those that make less than $41,000 a year.

In November, it announced that shoppers at 7-Eleven stores nationwide could deposit as little as $15 and as much as $500 into an Amazon account through its “Amazon cash” program. Shoppers can then use that cash to shop on Amazon. Nearly one-half of the U.S. population lives within one mile of a 7-Eleven store.

Will Amazon Pitch Financial Advice To Millennials? (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

If Amazon is successful in creating a banking relationship with its vast customer base of millennials, can an investment advice platform be far behind?

Stich predicts that Amazon, a company with a $700 billion market cap, will offer three levels of investment accounts to millennials and interested customers: It could offer do-it-yourself accounts and robo-advisory accounts; and for those who want a personal advisor, Amazon could create and refer customers to a state-by-state network of select investment professionals.

Consumers interested in idea of Amazon-created cryptocurrency, survey reveals (The Block), Rated: A

More than half of consumers would be open to using an Amazon-created cryptocurrency, with Amazon Prime users even keener, according to poll findings from student loan marketplace LendEDU.

The study, which polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased a product from Amazon in the past 30 days, found 51.7% would be interested in an ‘Amazon Coin’, with the number increasing to 58.27% for Prime members, and only one in five (21.9%) saying no.

Only 17% of those polled said they would trust Amazon more than a traditional bank, compared with 23% who disagreed and 38% who said levels of trust would be about the same. Nine in 10 respondents however said that overall, they trusted Amazon to have their best interests in mind, with 52.49% answering ‘yes, very much so’ and 37.56% opting for ‘somewhat.’

Elevate Milestone: Customers Have Saved More Than $ 3 Billion Over PayDay Loan Alternatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced on Monday its customers have saved more than $3 billion to date, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $1.3 billion was saved in 2017 alone.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Keith Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a platform that provides friction-free financing to sellers operating on digital marketplaces. In our conversation with Keith, he delves into the vision behind founding Payability and the unique opportunities and strategies of lending to online marketplace sellers.

M&A
Financings
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

A Dialogue with Peter Renton: Cryptocurrency and Beyond (deBanked), Rated: AAA

deBanked: Why did you decide to rebrand LendIt as LendItFintech?

Renton: The main reason is that we have moved beyond the online lending space.

deBanked: What about online lending? The industry has gone through a lot of changes in its relatively short history. How do you expect to see the competitive landscape change in the next year or so? What about farther out?

Renton: The online lending space has gone through a lot of changes in its short history. I feel like the biggest trend we’re seeing right now is banks launching their own platforms. Take Goldman Sachs with the Marcus online lending platform, for example. More than anything else that has happened in the history of online lending that is among the most telling for the future, I think.

deBanked: What do you see as the biggest risks for online lenders today? How can they best overcome these challenges?

Renton: As an industry, we have to focus on profitability.

Credit-Card Losses Surge at Small Banks (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data.

But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010.

tZero Has Acquired VerifyInvestor for Million in Cash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Buried within the tZero Offering Memorandum for its ongoing initial coin offering were several interesting items of note. The first was the fact the SEC was in the process of reviewing the offering. Another interesting bit of information was the fact tZero has acquired a majority stake in VerifyInvestor.

 

Gina Harman of Accion (Lend Academy), Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gina Harman, the CEO of the U.S. Network for Accion. They are a non-profit lender with 14 regional offices around the country focused on providing funding to underserved businesses. Accion has a very consultative approach to lending so their work often involves face to face meetings with the potential borrowers. But they are also serving the entire country through online means today.

LendingPoint Launches Merchant Solutions Platform (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, today unveiled LendingPoint Merchant Solutions to provide merchants and other service providers a fully integrated one-stop retail financing platform to convert more consumers at the point of sale.

LendingPoint Merchant Solutions combines the LoanHero merchant onboarding, program management and reporting technology with LendingPoint’s industry-leading credit underwriting, risk management, and customer service expertise.

Grameen America eyes banks in ambitious push to expand microlending effort (American Banker), Rated: A

Grameen America is looking for banks and social impact investors to help fuel significant growth in its microlending effort.

The plan is to double the size of its loan portfolio, and lend a cumulative total of $2 billion, over the next five years, David Gough, its chief financial officer, said in an interview.

RICO suit filed against Great Plains Lending over allegations of predatory online lending scheme (Legal NewLine), Rated: A

Vanessa C. Grainger, Beverly Kristina Miller and Lilya J. McAtee, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Great Plains Lending LLC, Kenneth E. Rees, Victory Part Capitol Advisors LLC, et al. over alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

THE SEC’S ICO SUBPOENA EXPLAINED (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

“The SEC typically sends a subpoena for one of two reasons: you are either a direct target of a new or ongoing investigation or you are involved somehow with an entity or individual that is under investigation,” notes William Skelley, Co-founder of William Chris, a Dubai-based consulting firm founded by David Drake and Simon Cocking.

Clayton had stated that most ICOs need to register with SEC because, like other securities that the agency regulates, they trade coins in secondary markets. However, ICO companies have shown reluctance in subjecting themselves to SEC’s oversight despite the fact that up to $8.7 billion has been raised through ICOs, based on CoinDesk data.

How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Stash is letting its customers invest in single stocks, the company’s latest major investment product launch beyond theme-based exchange-traded funds.

Stash lets customers buy portions of shares (called fractional shares) with a minimum balance of $5.

Core Upgrade Brings Orion’s Dynamic, Time-Saving Reporting to Private Assets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, today announced the release of its Alternative Investment Platform (“AIP”), a tool that lets Orion advisors show their clients’ private assets as easily as their public holdings at no additional cost.

AIP lets financial advisors track and maintain alternative investment data for client assets held in private equity, direct investments, venture capital, hedge funds, private real estate, REITs, and more, with ease and efficiency. AIP lets advisors aggregate and update committed capital amounts, total cash distributions, return of capital, and commitment amounts for alternative investments of all types into client reports alongside publicly-traded assets to create a cohesive picture of the client’s net worth.

Is there a sandbox in the US’s future? (Euromoney), Rated: A

The cooperation between the FCA and the CFTC will cover information sharing, referrals and learning from proofs of concept, trials or innovation competitions.

Various agencies – including the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – oversee specific segments of the market, and for a US sandbox regime to be successful there would need to be substantial collaboration and coordination between all of these agencies.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes “How to” for Private Investors on Direct Lending (PRWeb), Rated: B

Direct lending is a new category that is reshaping the asset management and investment landscape, yet most investors see the arena as a “black box.” Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, offers investors insights into the category with its recently published report: High Yield for Investors in Specialty Finance: Exploring Opportunities in Factoring and Merchant Cash Advance. Written and researched by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-author Marla Harkness, the 37-page report is a virtual blueprint for investors, RIAs, advisory firms and the new generation of innovators who have started alternative lending companies to serve a vacuum left by large banks and community banks that used to serve small and mid-size business pre-recession.

The paper covers:

  •     In-depth descriptions of both factoring and merchant cash advance (MCA) loan originators
  •     Insider lingo, so investors are up to speed when reviewing documents
  •     Regulatory history and framework
  •     Detailed investor evaluation checklists

You can access the report here: High Yield For Investors in Specialty Finance.

Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Albuquerque ranks among 10 best places for new small businesses (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Albuquerque ranked No. 8 on LendingTree’s list of the best cities for new small businesses released Feb. 27.

United Kingdom

Roadshow Announcement (London South East), Rated: AAA

LendInvest Limited, the specialist mortgage provider, announces that it has mandated Peel Hunt to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors in the UK and Channel Islands, commencing the week of 5 March 2018, to discuss a possible second issue of sterling denominated bonds.

Folk2Folk Lenders Provide £200 Million to Rural Businesses in the UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer (P2P0 lending platform for local and rural businesses, announced on Monday it has now lent £200 million, providing a valuable source of capital to hundreds of local businesses across the UK. According to the online lending, this milestone demonstrates the strong demand in the company’s Local Lending Movement as Lenders and Borrowers are attracted by Folk2Folk’s platform, providing a fair exchange that sees no difference between what Borrowers repay and Lenders receive on a monthly basis.

Folk2Folk’s lending milestone was reached thanks to a growing community of local Lenders who have placed £20,000 or above on the lender’s platform. The average lent per Lender now exceeds £65,000. Lenders receive 6.5%pa interest which is paid monthly, helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be an additional income for retirement or funding a life event like a once in a lifetime holiday.

Exchange Platform LendingBlock Boosts the Development of the Crypto Sphere (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Lendingblock is an outstanding representative of the “picks and shovel” business of the crypto economy. The recent announcement of an ICO by this company raises an important issue: can these followers of Gold Rush traditions achieve the same success?

Lendingblock is an open exchange platform for both borrowers and lenders of crypto currencies. The platform enables owners of digital assets to earn passive, low risk interest income, while borrowers get an opportunity get assets needed to support trading, hedging and working capital needs.

Tales of failed peer-to-peer lenders (AltFi), Rated: A

A little-known pawnbroking and property-backed peer-to-peer lending platform named Collateral has gone into administration, according to reports. Its investors are in limbo, unable to access their money or even view their accounts.

Be The Lender folded in August 2014. It was a tiny peer-to-peer platform with a focus on lending to small businesses.

GraduRates was a very small peer-to-peer lender specialising in loans to post-graduate students. In 2014, with a new regulatory regime for P2P firms looming, its founder Jonathan Webb decided to close down operations.

TrustBuddy was a peer-to-peer firm specialising in short-term loans for consumers. It is perhaps the best-known example of a P2P blow-up because it was the first big platform to go belly-up.

Finally, the complete comedy that was the Ezubao blow-up. There are many, many examples of failed Chinese P2P platforms, but Ezubao takes the biscuit.

FOS tells adviser to pay client over £30k loss through unsecured Sipp loan (Money Marketing), Rated: A

The Financial Ombudsman Service has told an adviser to compensate a client who they told to make an unsecured loan to a third party with money from their Sipp.

Mr H says O’Rourke Partnership recommended and arranged for him to make an unsecured loan of £29,325 to the third party from funds he held in his Sipp.

The loan was to be over a short-term at a high rate of interest but the loan has not been repaid and Mr H has lost his money.

An investigator reviewed the complaint, thought the advice was unsuitable and recommended that it should be upheld.

P2P lending “high  up the scale of respectability” for non-standard investments (AltFi), Rated: A

BondMason boss warns that recent FSCS fines are likely make SIPP providers extra cautious in reviewing non-standard investments.  

An estimated one million people are said to have taken up a SIPP (self-investment pension plan) since the wrapper was first introduced as part of the government’s Pension Freedom Reforms in April 2015. But squeezing non-standard investments into the still relatively-new tax wrapper hasn’t been easy.

Archover announces new non-exec director, nears profitability (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender is turning dissenters into directors with its latest hire, after hitting £60m in lending.

ArchOver, the p2p business lending platform, has announced it will be appointing Bill Johnston to its board as a non-executive director. Johnston previously was an outspoken critic of p2p lending and alternative finance in general, but says he has been swayed after seeing ArchOver succeed.

Beauty marketplace founder joins Blend Network management team (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A FORMER Morgan Stanley banker turned beauty marketplace founder is among two appointments to the board of a new peer-to-peer lending platform aiming to become the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, a former Morgan Stanley vice president and founder of Zeebba – which arranges at-home beauty services – has joined asset-backed property lender Blend Network as business development manager.

Metro Loans Presents Unsecured Business Start up Loans for Unemployed in UK (MENAFN), Rated: B

The UK based direct lending company has come up with unsecured business start up loans to build up new entrepreneurs.

China

China Issues its First Personal Credit Rating License (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On February 22, the People’s Bank of China published an announcement about setting up personal credit rating agencies. According to the document, Baihang Credit Rating Co., Ltd., was granted the first personal credit rating license in China, and the qualifications of its management team (including board member, supervisors and senior management) has all received approval.

A New Ransomware Virus Could Steal All Your Alipay Balance

Recently, a ransomware virus called “unicorn 2.1” raged online. It spreads through QQ and other Instant Messengers.

Once the virus hacks the computer, it will lock all the files in the computer and requires the victim to pay ¥3 yuan by scanning with his / her Alipay. As long as the victim scans the QR code, the hacker will be able to get access to the Alipay account and steal all the balance.

International

Marketplace lending platform Maliyya scores EUR1.3 million in seed funding (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Maliyya, a fintech company engaged in development of a P2P lending and borrowing platform, has just closed the first seed investment round of USD$1.3 million from Ground1 Ventures, a private investment firm based out of UK.

Targeting to become a primary P2P lending and borrowing platform for the Middle East, North African and Asian Region, Maliyya is working on to roll out its MVP in the coming months.

How can today’s generation of lenders fight global financial crime? (LendIt), Rated: AAA

What if you lent money to someone who used it to finance an act of terrorism? Or to disguise the proceeds of drug dealing. How would this make you feel and what would it mean for the reputation of your growing business?

Today’s generation of FinTechs however, face huge technology and operational challenges – they interface with banks and therefore need ‘bank-grade’ solutions for KYC/AML but existing technology solutions struggle to fit with their unique needs. Increasingly, they are looking to new technology to help them comply with global KYC/AML standards, maintain banking relationships and ultimately fight financial crime.

What are the financial crime risks for lenders and FinTechs?

Lenders spend billions of dollars a year on compliance solutions trying to combat their financial crime risk, which broadly fall into two categories: anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML/CTF) risk and fraud.

Crypto’s missing pieces: Building a sustainable financial ecosystem (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Centralized, “off-chain” cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitfinex and Poloniex, support margin-lending. Although limited to certain customer groups, and a limited number of assets, they generally fit the definition of money markets. The downside is that investors have to trust that the exchange won’t get hacked or abscond with assets. That’s a big risk. The recent $530 million heist from the Japanese exchange, Coincheck, isn’t likely to be the last, and many customers feel that the incremental returns aren’t worth the risk. That may change as exchanges move toward adoption by the existing financial system.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Profile Software’s innovative solutions for banking and wealth industry (Hubbis), Rated: B

The company today has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, America, Asia and Africa, throughout those regions delivering innovative solutions to both start-ups and established banking and finance institutions, through direct communication or a reliable partners network.

Profile’s leading platform, Axia is an omnichannel wealth management  platform covering all aspects of the investment operations that modularly, and with flexibility, embrace the whole spectrum of portfolio management, with continuous updates on client onboarding, online trading, compliance issues (such as MiFID II), instruments, custodian links and bank interfaces, financial planning, and so forth. The investment management solution also supports operations in insurance firms, private banking, custody, brokerage needs and more, with a successful track record.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 28 2017, Daily News Digest

china IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: VPC Specialty Lending Drops Prosper Loans.Best Egg to broaden services in 2018.Faircent raises $4M.RoboCash updates loan origination process.Tyro to launch new SME solutions. Today’s main analysis: China leads Asia’s IPO boom. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Lending Club grow by 20% in 2018?Blockchain could transform these major industries.APAC online lending is […]

china IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

  • China leads Asia in IPO boom. AT: Not really news, but it’s interesting to see where Chinese companies are going public. The big winner is the New York Stock Exchange. But Shanghai and NASDAQ are also looking good with Hong Kong hanging in there.”

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Reversal of fortune (Breaking Views), Rated: AAA

Most new entrants have also found it hard to build scale. Lending Club’s top line may grow by 20 percent in 2018, according to Reuters data, but that will take it only to $800 million. Even online student lender Earnest, which largely avoided industry potholes, has struggled. In October it sold itself to old-school servicer Navient for $155 million – less than half its value in a 2015 funding round.

Best Egg Will Broaden to Financing Purchases in 2018 (Banking Innovation), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lender Best Egg will move towards financing consumer purchases, including homes, as it looks to expand in 2018, the company told Bank Innovation.

If I can know my monthly cost for Amazon Prime before I sign a contract, why can’t I know my monthly cost for a car payment before going to the dealership? If I can see movie options before I go to the theater, why can’t I see my financing options before I sign a 5-year loan contract? Being empowered with concrete choices would make both budgeting and buying a car that much easier and help to save hours on the financing process. So, using my personal experiences from childhood to fuel my passion, I co-founded AutoGravity in October of 2015.

Our goal at AutoGravity was to make car financing as easy as watching a movie on Netflix, streaming an album off Spotify or buying a book from Amazon. So, we demystified the process by making it accessible to everyone – empowering them through our app on their smartphone.

Tax cuts, softened regulatory tone likely to help banks in 2018 (Central Penn Business Journal), Rated: A

Financial institutions also could face challenges in the near future as a result of technology-driven competition and long-term impacts from the recently approved tax reforms.

Marsico expects banks to increase automation of certain support-center processes over the next year. Artificial intelligence, for example, could handle some of the work that goes into processing loans, as well as tasks like verifying the authenticity of checks submitted through mobile deposit apps.

One study predicts banks throughout the world will increase their tech budgets by 4.1 percent in 2018.

Consumers still not benefiting from bank overdraft programs (Consumer Affairs), Rated: A

Most consumers still don’t know they are not required to accept their bank’s overdraft protection service, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ latest consumer finance project.

Before the law was changed in 2010, banks automatically enrolled consumers in overdraft protection. If consumers made purchases that overdrew their accounts, the banks covered the expense and then assessed an overdraft fee, which often cost as much as $35.

Since the law changed, consumers must opt-in to this coverage — banks cannot automatically enroll them. Thaddeus King, officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ consumer finance project, says it’s clear consumers don’t understand that overdraft protection is not only costly, but unnecessary.

In September a survey found that an estimated eight million consumers have opted-in, primarily because they thought they had to. Two-thirds of consumers who agreed to pay the overdraft fees were unaware it was optional.

Banks actively headhunting, but they want specific skill (CNBC), Rated: B

The rising influence of digital and banking-specific technology — so-called fintech — is “really changing how banks themselves will organize their own recruitment functions,” O’Sullivan told CNBC.

United Kingdom

VPC Specialty Lending Sells Prosper Marketplace Loans (London South East), Rated: AAA

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC on Wednesday said it sold its Prosper marketplace loans and was able to immediately reinvest substantially all of the proceeds into new investments.

The loans sold represented around 4.1% of VPC’s net asset value as at the end of October, and it expects the hit to net asset value from the sale to be around 0.56%.

China

China bourses behind Asia’s lead in global IPO boom (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Asian companies raised $79.14 billion through initial public offerings as of Dec. 18, up 10% from 2016, data from Dealogic shows. The sum represents 42% of the global tally, which surged 41% on the year to $194.8 billion.

Shanghai, the world’s second largest economy saw a total of 409 companies tapping $31.61 billion from the market, up 30% compared with last year. Of the country’s total funds raised, 56% was from Shanghai, making it Asia’s top IPO destination.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Hong Kong saw total funds raised fall 34% to $14.08 billion this year, despite a 24% jump in volume.

Alibaba-backed online lender Qudian, for instance, saw its New York-listed shares tumble 55% after it debuted in October. Its peer LexinFintech Holdings, backed by JD.com, on Dec. 14 slashed its fundraising target by 76% to $120 million.

European Union

P2P Lender RoboCash Updates on 2017 Progress (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvia-based European peer to peer lender Robo.Cash, a young platform that is less than a year old, has provided an update on loan origination progress.  According to the P2P lender, RoboCash attracted € 2.5 million of investments in pay day lending (PDL) loans in 2017. Robo.Cash launched its platform in Latvia in February 2017.

Robo.cash said the current average sum of investments is € 2.900 per investor with over 1,500 investors from 28 EU-countries have joined Robo.cash in 10 months. The site says investors may be separated as follows:Germany (50,5%), Spain (7,2%), the Czech Republic (6,1%), Austria (4,6%), Latvia (3,9%), Portugal (3,6%), the United Kingdom (3,3%), Netherlands (2,7%), Lithuania (2,3%), Estonia (1,6%).

More retailers’ customers using Klarna’s buy-now, pay-later plan (The Columbus Dispatch), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-commerce company signed 500 online retailers for its new service, which allows consumers to buy products now and pay for them later.

And the company’s North American operations signed on a new CEO, Jim Lofgren, replacing central Ohio native Brian Billingsley, who recently was named chief revenue officer for Dallas-based payment-service company Modo.

“We serve more than 70,000 merchants over 18 markets, and our data in the U.S. market is really very similar to other markets,” Lofgren said recently. “We’re making a very significant impact for our merchants.”

Brussels moves to boost Europe’s fintech sector (Financial Times), Rated: A

The European Commission is to present draft legislation early next year to remove administrative hurdles to the cross-border operation of crowdfunding sites and online peer-to-peer lending services. It says the initiative will ensure that EU companies can grow and compete.

European fintech successes include TransferWise, the Estonian-developed foreign exchange company, and France’s PayPlug, which makes it easier for sole traders to accept credit card payments.

LoanBook Shares Latest Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LoanBook, a Spanish marketplace lending platform, having easily surpassed its initial £650,000 last week is, is heading toward the home stretch having raised over £721,200 for 6.40% equity with the help of more than 253 Crowdcubeinvestors. £340,000 of this investment sum comes from current shareholders, local Business Angels and Family Offices. Funding will be used to continue LoanBook’s platform growth and development.

Crowdfunding saves tumbling down French chateau (The Business Times), Rated: B

It’s a modern story of an ancient fairytale castle: a crowdfunding effort online has raised 1.6 million euros (S$2.55 million) to restore a chateau in western France.

Around 25,000 people from 115 countries have become shareholders in the chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers which has turrets, a moat and an elderly owner who had not maintained it.

International

30 Big Industries Blockchain Could Transform (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

1. BANKING

Swiss bank UBS and UK-based Barclays are both experimenting with blockchain as a way to expedite back office functions and settlement, which some in the banking industry say could cut up to $20B in middleman costs.

2. PAYMENTS AND MONEY TRANSFERS

Abra, another blockchain-enabled mobile wallet and payments startup, was recently integrated into the payments ecosystem of American Express: through a new feature, customers will be able to fund their Abra wallets using an eligible American Express Card.

3. CYBERSECURITY

Other potential applications include using blockchain to provide massive scale data authentication: for example, using its blockchain-enabled KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure), cybersecurity startup Guardtime tags and verifies data transactions for cryptographic assurance of their integrity and authenticity.

11. STOCK TRADING

Partnerships with existing trading networks and exchanges will help blockchain take off in the space. Blockchain startup Chain (which is also mentioned below) is a leader on that front: the company helped orchestrate a live blockchain integration that successfully connected Nasdaq’s stock exchange and Citi’s banking infrastructure.

12. REAL ESTATE

Tech startup Ubitquity offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) blockchain platform for financial, title, and mortgage companies. The company is currently working with Land Records Bureau in Brazil, among other stealth clients, to input property information and record documents through the blockchain.

13. INSURANCE 

LenderBot is a micro-insurance proof of concept for the sharing economy that demonstrates the potential for blockchain applications and services in the industry. LenderBot, which allows people to enroll in customized micro-insurance by chatting through Facebook Messenger, enables blockchain to serve as the third-party in the contract between individuals as they exchange high-value items through the sharing economy.

28. CREDIT HISTORIES

Lenders minimize the risk posed by loans or lines of credit to small businesses by evaluating their histories using business credit reports. These third-party reports — issued companies such as Dun & Bradstreet — are inaccessible to the small business owners (beyond the basic profile information they provide to the credit bureau). This can make business owners feel like credit bureaus have all the power over loan terms, even though the credit bureau may be assessing outdated or inaccurate information to determine their reports.

Lumeno.us is one startup using blockchain technology to make business credit reports more accurate, transparent, and shareable. Lumeno.us normalizes semi-structured financial data using a proprietary application of collaborative tagging and advanced analytics. From there, it provides business owners the tools to share their data in order to get a loan, find trusted partners, or manage a portfolio or network.

30. CROWDFUNDING

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in which companies sell cryptocurrency-backed tokens in their companies in the same manner as a publicly-traded company sells stock, are another example of blockchain-powered crowdfunding — startups such as OpenLedgermake that possible. Individuals may soon invest in real estate using “crypto crowdfunding,” as well: Singapore-based Real Estate Asset Ledger (REAL) intends to use blockchain technology to inject greater liquidity and transparency into real estate investing.

How telepresence can revolutionize financial services industry (Born2Invest), Rated: A

Imagine, you are trying to make an investment somewhere in the World and you want to be face to face with your investment advisor without leaving your own office or room?

What is different about telepresence is that you can be telepresent through someone else instead of being even present through video conferencing or other methods.

I the financial sector, companies are using telepresence to connect their customers with their loan officers, investment advisors, and other employees to discuss all the requirements and provide solutions without actually the presence of the customer as well as the financial organization at the same place.

Australia/New Zealand

Challenger Bank Tyro to Launch New Financial Solutions for SME (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian fintech and challenger bank Tyro is set to launch a new set of financial solutions for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Founded in 2001, Tyro describes itself as Australia’s largest independent EFTPOS provider, focusing on smaller to medium enterprises. The company states it is now has a license from APRA to offer banking products and deposits with its platform are government guaranteed. The company currently has 20,000 customers and has $42.2 billion in transaction.

Online Financing Down Under: A Rapidly Evolving Market (TG Daily), Rated: AAA

The research paints a clear picture of trends currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand, where $348.37 million and $267.77 million respectively has been issued through online financing options (through 2015). These statistics are notable since 2012, with a growth rate of 653% between 2013 – 2015.

Various small business loans lenders currently offer funding to Australian clients from $5,000-$400,000 (depending on the industry lender). Australian small business loans lenders such as prospa, Capify, Sail, and Spotcap dominate the market.

India

Online Peer-To-Peer Lending Startup Faircent Raises $ 4 Million (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Faircent raised $4 million (Rs 25 crore) in early-stage funding led a Belgium-based impact investor Incofin Investment Management, Rajat Gandhi, co-founder of Faircent, told BloombergQuint over the phone.

P2P lending marketplace platform launched (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

Rajiv Ranjan, a former Infoscion along with Ambar Kasliwal, a Mumbai-based Chartered Accountant, has launched a fully-owned P2P lending marketplace platform.

Called PaisaDukan.com, it is a part of BigWin Infotech, a government recognised start-up and it aims to start operations from January 2018, company officials said. The startup is among a few who have applied for an NBFC ((non-banking financial company)-peer-to-peer (P2P) licence after RBI’s revised guidelines.

Fin-tech gains from innovations, digital push (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Private equity and venture capital firms, which sat on huge money piles and waited on the side lines looking for the right opportunities, caught on to the excitement and loosened their purse strings to record a four-fold jump in investments to $1.84 billion in 2017 from $447 million, showed provisional data from VCCEdge, the data and analysis platform of News Corp VCCircle.

While seed and angel investments accounted for 43% of the total number of deals at 32, growth- and late-stage deals, besides private transactions and venture debt accounted for the rest.

Besides, Paytm’s $1.4 billion infusion from Softbank, Policybazaar’s $77-million Series-E round, SME Lending platform Capital Float’s $45 million Series-C funding, MSwipe’s $41 million funding from UC-RNTand Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, and Mobikwik’s $35 million round from Bajaj Finance also made the headlines during the year.

Source: VC Circle

RBL Bank to go stronger on fintech partnerships (Economic Times), Rated: A

While banks are fighting a bitter turf war with fintech startups to retain their share of business, private sector lender RBL Bank has seen value in strategic partnerships. The bank is growing its advances book by almost half annually, driven largely by partnerships with non-banking finance companies (NBFC) and tech startups.

While startups such as MoneyTap, BookMyShow are helping the bank acquire customers for its credit products, even its tie-up with one of the most prominent NBFCs Bajaj FinservBSE -0.14 % is helping the bank get customers who were never eligible for a credit card previously.

Rein in your exuberance as you step into 2018 (Business Standard), Rated: A

Investors need to position their personal finances in a manner that will enable them to gain from developments in the future.  Book profits in the mid- and small-cap space: Mid- and small-cap funds’ strong performance streak continued in 2017 (category average return: 47.19 per cent year-to-date). As valuations of growth stocks shot up, investors turned to value picks. …

Asia

Robo-advisory and its role in capital management (Fintech Innovation), Rated: AAA

Africa

Robots versus financial advisors (Moneyweb), Rated: A

With the advent of robo-advisors, where advice is provided at low- or no cost over the internet, questions are being raised as to the future of qualified financial advisors. Is my job becoming obsolete?

A qualified and trusted advisor is able to spot potentially poor financial decisions and gently advise against this course of action. A robo-advisor could never be such a friend in need.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 14 2017, Daily News Digest

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments Today’s main news: LexinFintech relaxes on IPO funding goal. Welendus exceeds Seedrs funding target. LendingTree provides 2018 guidance prior to Investor Day. Yirendai invests in Lion Rock. Mercer delivers financial advice with AI through Facebook Messenger. Today’s main analysis: Online lenders test the faith of investors. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why Google, Amazon scare BlackRock, Fidelity. A new chapter […]

online lender delinquency rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

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News Summary

United States

Why Google and Amazon Keep Fidelity and BlackRock Up at Night (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

“Alexa…will I meet my retirement goal?”

“You are not on track to meet your retirement goal,” replies Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital assistant, with not a bit of sugar-coating. Then she suggests turning over $76 a month to Fidelity Investments and its advisers.

This won’t actually happen if you try it on your Amazon Alexa device at home. It’s a demonstration put on by EMoney Advisor LLC, a company owned by Fidelity, in its offices in Radnor, Pa. Amazon provides software for third-party developers to experiment with new functions. Fidelity is trying to find ways to apply artificial intelligence, computer algorithms, and voice-­recognition software to the hidebound world of money management and investing.

Earlier this year, Boston-based Acadian Asset Management LLC struck a deal so its portfolio managers could use Microsoft Corp.’s Bing Predicts, which makes forecasts using search and social media data, to help pick stocks; that agreement later ended.

BlackRock, led by chief executive officer Larry Fink, in recent years has been buying stakes in other companies, particularly technology firms. Through these purchases, the company is pushing into new lines of business.

Fidelity bought EMoney in 2015. It sells software to investment advisers that’s designed to make it easier to interact with their customers on budgeting for weddings, college, or retirement.

Online lending platforms test investors’ faith (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Tianqiao Chen still wants to be part of Lending Club. Last week, while shares in America’s biggest listed online lender were tumbling after another cut to profit forecasts, the chief executive of Shanda Group bought 4m more of them, further cementing his position as the company’s biggest shareholder.

Many operators are feeling the effects of a big push for market share in the latter half of 2015 and early months of 2016, says David Snitkof, chief analytics officer at Orchard. As the platforms rushed to offer new loans, credit quality suffered, and loans originated during that period are among the worst performers, with loss rates well ahead of projections.

Across the sector, valuations have fallen. Earnest, a San Francisco-based student loans specialist, sold itself in October to Navient, the loan-servicing company, for $155m, or about 40 per cent of its peak valuation. Personal lender Prosper, once a “unicorn”, saw its pricetag drop from a peak $1.9bn to $550m in a fundraising last month.

That meant platforms had to spend heavily to bring compliance and controls systems up to scratch. Lending Club’s latest quarterly filing, for example, shows it had $1.21 of operating expenses for every dollar of fee income over the first nine months — up from $1.03 at the same point two years ago.

LendingTree Introduces 2018 Guidance Ahead Of Investor Day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Business Outlook – 2018

  • Revenue is anticipated to be in the range of $770 – $790 million, representing growth of 27% – 30% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $608 million.
  • Variable Marketing Margin is anticipated to be $270 – $280 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be in the range of $145 – $150 million, up 28% – 33% over the high-end of full-year 2017 guidance of $113 million.

The Analyst and Investor event is being hosted in New York at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.  The presentation will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. ET.  A live audiocast with accompanying slides will be made available on the company’s investor relations website at investors.lendingtree.com.

 

Does the ICO Open a New Chapter for RE Crowdfunding? (Lexology), Rated: AAA

An ICO is simply the initial public sale of a new type of digital “coins”, or “cryptocurrency”.

Judging from the prolific way these new cryptocurrency ICOs are popping up, like mushrooms after a spring rain, one might imagine any clever techie could spin one up at the kitchen table with little more than an internet connection and some well-caffeinated daring-do. Yes, ICOs are easier than crowdfunding, they have that special “blockchain” cachet going for them, and the “regulators talons” have not yet sunk deep.

In a real-life example, on September 29, 2017, the SEC filed a civil complaint in federal district court against ICO promoter Maksim Zaslavskiy and two companies run by Mr. Zaslavskiy. According to the complaint, between July and October Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies raised at least $300,000 in an ICO touting a new cryptocurrency called “REcoin” — “the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate.” According to the SEC complaint, Mr. Zaslavskiy and his companies have been peddling unregistered securities. Furthermore, the complaint alleges, the companies never had any real operations even though Mr. Zaslavskiy told investors in REcoin they could expect sizeable returns from those company’s operations; the securities he sold weren’t backed by any real estate or other assets as he claimed they were; and no “REcoin” digital tokens ever actually existed.

ICOs and Crowdfunding

Circling back to the original crowdfunding thesis, we should also expect this disruptive new technology to begin surfacing in even more impactful nextgen “killer apps” for commercial real estate investment. That’s right, real estate crowdfunding may actually make a comeback by dint of being co-opted into the blockspace. New-age real estate crowdfunding ecosystems are already forming; for instance, the Real Estate Asset Ledger (“REAL”) is one application currently being talked up as a real estate crowdfunding network built on blockchain infrastructure.

The Rise of the ICO (Coinlist), Rated: AAA

Zeus CrowdFunding Earns Top-Ten Ranking in Real Estate Crowdfunding Industry (PR.com), Rated: B

Zeus CrowdFunding earned high marks recently from an independent ranking and reviews portal. The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review named Zeus CrowdFunding the #7 real estate crowdfunding site on the Web based on its “incredible volume” and other impressive advantages.

The ranking also lauded Zeus CrowdFunding’s low default rate and semi-liquidity option and guarantee and called the company “one of the few platforms offering conservative loans below 65% LTV.”

To read The Real-Estate Crowdfunding Review’s ranking and review of Zeus CrowdFunding, visit

Open Banking Trends Shift to US Market (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Open Banking is set to launch in Europe next month. As banks and fintech firms rush to ensure compliance we wanted to explore the effects on the US fintech market. Recently the CFPB set forth data sharing guidelines for banks and fintech firms to share information. There has since been a number of articles in the news pointing to frustration among fintech companies as banks have not been forthcoming with data sharing.

The current process is clumsy and requires consumers to login many times across many different services. This has also been something banks have complained about to agencies like the CFPB. Services such as Personal Capital and Mint constantly ping bank accounts for information that users have open access to. Setting up a similar initiative in the US could not only allow for a better experience but will undoubtedly be safer for the banks and fintech firms.

LendingUSA Secures $ 60m Credit Facility (Finsmes), Rated: A

LendingUSA, a Sherman Oaks, CA-based point-of-need financing company, secured a $60m credit facility.

The funding was provided by CapitalSource, a division of Pacific Western Bank, and a provider of commercial lending and banking solutions.

 

U.S. Fintech Simility Secures $ 17.5 Million During Latest Funding Round Led By Accel With Participation From PayPal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Simility, a provider of machine learning–powered adaptive fraud prevention solution, today announced it has secured $17.5 million during its latest funding round. PayPal, Inc. also participated in the round as a new strategic investor along with existing investors The Valley Fund and Trinity Ventures.

First National Bank Plans Online SMB Lending Portal (PYMNTS), Rated: A

First National Bank and Trust Company is planning the launch of a digital small business lending portal and has tapped a partner to create the solution.

The financial institution (FI) said Tuesday (Dec. 12) that it is working with FinTech firm RCGILTNER Services to deploy the digital platform, which will launch in the first quarter of 2018.

Aspiration Taps $ 47 Million for Conscientious Banking (WSJ), Rated: A

Conscientious consumption and online banking services don’t typically go hand in hand. Andrei Cherny, co-founder and chief executive of Aspiration, aims to change that.

Aspiration, which offers online banking with optional fees and no penalties, provides its customers insights on how companies treat the environment and their employees, informing spending decisions.

Aspiration now boasts more than 200,000 account holders since launching in February 2015. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles company said it raised a $47 million Series B to further fuel its ambitions.

Will 2018 Be the Year of the Bank of Amazon? Experts Weigh In (Fortune), Rated: A

Payments

Matt Harris, Bain Capital Ventures: “SoftBank buys 20 percent of Stripe for $3 billion. PayPal continues to push itself down the path of being the leading financial services company for millennials and the mass market.” Dion Lisle, Capgemini SA: “‘Alexa, buy this’ or ‘Siri, I need an Uber, pay for it with my AmEx.’ Payments are going to be activated by that voice because that’s a great security method.”

Lending

Spencer Lazar, General Catalyst Partners: “Potential changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Trump Administration will likely turn back the clock on Obama-era regulations on non-bank lenders. This will be a boon to startup lenders, making it far easier to dole out capital. The fear is that rates could potentially become predatory.”

Amazon vs. JPMorgan

Andy Weissman, Union Square Ventures: “Some combination of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. will move deeper into online financing of small businesses.”

M&A

Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures: “Stripe and Adyen will merge, forming a $20 billion plus enterprise-value business and API-driven merchant processor.”

Funding

Charles Birnbaum, Bessemer Venture Partners: “Valuations in the alternative-lending space were overly optimistic in our opinion over the prior five years, but we do feel that the pendulum has likely swung back too far in the other direction following the recent pullback” leaving the sector ripe for potential funding or M&A.

Braviant Holdings Announces Launch of Chorus Credit Personal Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that offers analytics and technology-driven credit solutions for underserved Americans, is now offering personal loans up to $10,000 in Californiathrough its Chorus Credit online lending platform. Chorus will complement Braviant’s existing installment lending business, Balance Credit, by offering higher loan amounts at lower rates to the estimated 26% of California consumers who are underserved by traditional banks.

2017 YEAR-IN-REVIEW (Wunder Capital), Rated: A

In 2017, we increased our solar project pipeline by an order of magnitude. This is due in large part to more resources dedicated to pipeline development, advancements in our lending practice, and – at a macro level – a rapidly growing solar market and commercial sector.

Source: Wunder Capital

See the full report here.

Not “ripe,” says judge dismissing N.Y. fintech charter challenge (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed one of those lawsuits, Vullo v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The judge dismissed the suit of the New York State Department of Financial Services, headed by Maria Vullo, against OCC on the grounds that the matter is not “ripe” for a decision on the legal ability of the Comptroller’s Office to issue such specialized charters.

Indeed, at the recent RegTech Enable conference in late November, OCC’s Beth Knickerbocker, chief innovation officer, characterized the proposal as “on hold.”

Why New York’s claim isn’t ripe

Judge Buchwald’s decision recapped the history of the proposal at length. Her decision came down to this sentence: “Claims are not ripe if they depend on the occurrence of contingent future event that may never occur at all.”

She pointed out that no injury would occur if OCC never issues such a charter to a fintech company.

Vanguard, the fund giant with nearly $ 5 trillion in assets, is using blockchain to underpin its mutual funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Vanguard is moving to use blockchain to simplify how it updates index data underlying mutual funds, executives said on Monday, an important sign of confidence for the new financial technology.

Closely-held Vanguard, the top mutual fund firm with nearly $5 trillion under management, has successfully tested blockchain to automatically update data like the names and share prices of companies in index funds, processes that must currently be closely overseen by individuals, said Warren Pennington, a principal in Vanguard’s investment management group, in Pennsylvania.

UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICIUS CURIAE BRIEF (U.S. District Court, D.C.), Rated: A

Further, to date, the parties have not raised an important argument that this Court should consider, namely, that restricting the President’s authority over the CFPB Director’s replacement only exacerbates the serious constitutional questions currently before the D.C. Circuit with respect to the CFPB’s structure. As CUNA explains, such questions could be avoided by adopting Defendants’ position in this case. Thus, CUNA’s perspective on the central issues in this case is invaluable and unrepresented by the parties.

Read the motion in full here.

(Coindesk), Rated: A

The startup revealed today that, through an existing partnership with MicroVentures, it will begin offering services to projects seek to use the blockchain funding model.

Specifically, accredited investors purchase Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs), with the tokens set to be delivered at a later date. The mode has been used by a number of ICOs in recent months, and according to the page on MicroVentures, $915,000 has been raised from nine investors thus far in the new ICO.

Mastercard targets millennial clients with digital money management service (American Banker), Rated: B

The payments company today announced it is launching a new service called Assemble, which it calls a “prepaid innovation hub” designed to allow Mastercard partners or issuers to provide checking, budgeting, and payment features, as well as additional money management tools.

Longfin Corp. Becomes the First Public-listed FinTech Company Under Reg A+ on Nasdaq (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ: LFIN) announces that it will be traded on the Nasdaq market for the first day after its initial public offering (IPO) under Reg A+ closing on December 8, 2017.

U.S. News & World Report Names LendingPoint One of 2017’s Best Personal Loan Companies (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint was named one of nation’s six best personal loan companies by U.S. News & World Report.

The media company evaluated personal loan companies in five key areas, reviewing data on eligibility, loan terms, fees, repayment methods and additional features. LendingPoint was cited as 2017’s top lender for people with fair to good credit, who have merit-based qualifications beyond FICO scores that make them worthy loan candidates.

Quesnay’s Female Founders in Tech Program Awards Goalsetter First Place (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Quesnay is pleased to announce that Goalsetter is the winner of the inaugural Female Founders in Tech, spotlighting female founders that positively impact the financial services and/or insurance technology industries.

The winners represented cutting-edge businesses that were also socially conscious:
– Goalsetter – Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and gifting platform, targeting millennials.
– Marinus Analytics – Marinus uses technologies to help identify and fight crimes like human trafficking and money laundering associated with it and other illicit activities
– LENDonate – LENDonate provides a marketplace lending platform for non-profits and supporters.

Approximately 100 women-led startups registered for the program with solutions ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain to creative financial literacy and savings solutions. Seven finalists presented in New York to a panel of judges which included industry leaders from the sponsoring organizations: John HancockMassMutualRGAxSterling National BankTD Bank and Thomson Reuters.

 

United Kingdom

Welendus exceeds Seedrs fundraising target (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday loan provider, has announced that its latest crowdfunding round on Seedrs has reached over 130 per cent of its target.

The firm had been seeking £150,000 but has already raised £197,991, according to Seedrs’ website.

Welendus said on Thursday that the funding round had attracted more than 250 investors.

Investec Provides U.K. Fintech With $ 67 Million for Online Loans (Bloomberg), Rated: A

London-based MarketInvoice, which arranges loans for small companies secured by accounts receivable, will handle the underwriting for Investec customers in the partnership, according to the bank’s website. Investec will provide 50 million pounds ($67 million) in the first year to fund the loans, Anil Stocker, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview.

The rise of the payday-style business loan (City A.M.),  Rated: A

British banks have been mired in criticism for not lending as much as they could.

Many businesses have meanwhile found that alternative lenders lack the data to provide products that are tailored to their needs.

Creative credit

Rate hikes typically result in an increase in lending profitability, and so the increase often stimulates the appetite to lend.

But an increased appetite to lend doesn’t always follow an increased ability to price risks on all loan applicants, and herein lays the risk: lenders become creative with the ways in which they entice borrowers and mitigate their risks.

These loans from mainstream lenders look like the payday loans that flooded the market in the height of the recession. They take minutes to apply for, turnaround is within one day, and command interest rates of up to 23 per cent APR – five times more than some personal loans.

Data shows increase in demand for alternative finance services (Londons School of Business Finance), Rated: A

The figures showed growth across the UK’s alternative finance market, including crowdfunding, invoice trading, and marketplace lending. The date found a year-on-year rise of 43 per cent in 2016 from £3.2 billion to £4.58 billion.

Business marketplace lending grew by 28.5 per cent from £881 million in 2015 to £1,232 million in 2016, placing it ahead of consumer marketplace lending, which previously had the biggest share.

LendInvest’s Latest Buy-to-Let Index Reveals: Manchester Tops Charts & Hull is Named Biggest Climber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, specialist property lender LendInvest released its latest LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index report, which ranks all 105 postcode areas around England and Wales based ona combination of four metrics, which are capital gains, transaction volumes, rental yields, and rental price growth.

The Index report’s key findings include:

  • Manchester, leader of the Northern Powerhouse, takes top spot
  • Leicester breaks into the Top 10 and Birmingham climbs 8 places from #18 to #11, signaling upward mobility in the Midlands markets
  • Hull marks itself as biggest climber for 2017, rising 93 places to #6
  • Enfield tumbles from Top 10 in February to Bottom 10 in December
Source: LendInvest

Download the full report here.

One in two advisers ‘fire’ clients with less than £50,000 (Money Observer), Rated: A

Those with pot sizes of less than £50,000 are increasingly being turned away by their financial adviser. In 2014 just under a quarter of clients were shown the door, whereas in 2017 this figure rose to 50 per cent.

Artificial intelligence is guiding venture capital to start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: A

Mr Bonanzinga thought he could combine internet data and machine learning to do a better job of ferreting out prospects. It took two years and £5m in investment for InReach Ventures to create the software, which has so far trawled through 95,000 European start-ups, picking out 2,000 that Mr Bonanzinga might be interested in.

The software determines this based on the people they are hiring, the products they are developing and the traffic on their website, among other things.

Tifosy: The sports crowdfunding platform that wants to help small teams grow and big teams reconnect with fans (City A.M.), Rated: B

The company has already partnered with 15 clubs in England and Italy, raising £2.9m from “fanfunders” for a variety of different projects.

So rather than owners selling equity stakes to unfamiliar outside investors, crowdfunding solutions such as mini-bonds or equity shares have emerged as alternative solutions to many sports franchises.

Top-flight rugby clubs Harlequins and Wasps raised £15m and £35m respectively by issuing their own bonds, while Surrey County Cricket club raised £5m in seven days in 2015.

China

Chinese Online Lender LexinFintech Shrinks U.S. IPO Fundraising Goal (WSJ), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., a Chinese online lender that is planning to go public in the U.S., scaled back its fundraising ambitions after regulatory changes in China sparked a rout in shares of similar companies.

Lexin, a four-year-old company whose backers include Chinese online-retail giant JD.com Inc., is planning to raise $120 million in an initial public offering, according to a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

JD.com-backed micro lender slashes IPO by 70pc after China’s internet finance crackdown (SCMP), Rated: A

Lexin Fintech plans to offer 12 million American depositary shares at an indicative price range of US$9 to US$11 a share, raising as much as US$132 million, the company said in an updated filing on Thursday to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fundraising value is sharply down from an originally planned US$500 million, as mentioned in the IPO prospectus issued last month.

Noncompliant P2P Lenders to Be Out by Mid-2018 (Caixin), Rated: AAA

Local banking regulators have until the end of June to weed out noncompliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, according to a circular issued by a special working group led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Yirendai Announces Strategic Investment in Lion Rock (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”), a leading fintech company in China, announced today that it has made a strategic investment in Lion Rock, a comprehensive financial services platform that is focused on global asset allocation, through Lion Rock’s Series A financing of HK$50 million.

Lion Rock is headquartered in Hong Kong and offers a wide-variety of high-quality financial products, financial news, robo-advisory services as well as asset allocation services through its online platform.

Hong Kong Fintech Start-Up Lion Rock Raises $ 6.4M Led By Marathon Venture (China Money Network), Rated: A

Lion Rock FinTech Ltd., a Hong Kong-based fintech company, has raised HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in an equity financing led by Marathon Venture Partners.

In addition, 9F Inc., the strategic investor who backed Lion Rock’s last round of financing, continued to invest in this round.

European Union

The Culture of p2p Investors Across the EU (FastInvest), Rated: AAA

FastInvest, a p2p fintech platform, recently studied data from over 8500 EU investors daily and came across a really unexpected finding. Highly specific traits and behaviors were driven by nationality over and above other individual factors when looking at big data.

From traditional investment metrics like risk aversion, to outside the box items like nationalistic tendencies and compulsive behaviors.  Across numerous areas, national cultural traits could be seen solely based on country to country locales.

Source: FastInvest

Poland
Even with the EU offering a bit of a more stable currency, only 1.76% of residents prefer to invest in Euro based currency loans.

Belgium
Only 2.20% of Belgian investors choose PLN (Polish) currency based loans as opposed to their own Euro.

Germany
Germans appear to be the most open minded of EU countries, with 15.73% making investments in PLN currency.

Netherlands
The Netherlands followed behind Germany in diverting from the euro, with 9.08% of investors choosing PLN based loans.

Download the full report here.

iZettle Grabs $ 47M Additional Funding, Eyes Market Expansion (PYMNTS), Rated: A

iZettle has grabbed €40 million in funding (the equivalent of $47 million) that the Stockholm-based payments firm will use to expand into new markets.

International

Disruptive Startup, Etherecash, Concludes ICO Ahead Of Schedule (Coinidol), Rated: B

Etherecash is one step closer to actualizing its vision of bridging the financial divide between the banked and the unbanked with the successful conclusion of its ICO ahead of schedule. The ICO is now scheduled to finish on 12th Dec 6:29 PM (GMT) after four impressive bonus rounds that outperformed expectations.

With over $30 million raised and 45000 registered participants, Etherecashcan now set its sight on eliminating traditional borders, intermediaries and prejudices in the way money is lent, spent, and sent.

Australia/New Zealand

MERCER LAUNCHES SUPERBOT, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE DELIVERING FINANCIAL ADVICE VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER (Mercer), Rated: AAA

Australia’s 17 million active Facebook users spend on average 1.4 hours a day liking, commenting and sharing stories with family and friends. Moreover, with roughly 17% of the earth’s population being active users of Facebook Messenger, there is irony in the fact that the smartphone generation is spending more time engaging on Facebook rather than thinking about their future financial readiness.

Accessed through Facebook Messenger, SuperBot represents the ultimate opportunity to scale financial advice across a very large proportion of the population.

Non-bank lenders lift profit 10% in 2017 (NBR), Rated: A

Eighteen of the 25 participants in the KPMG non-bank financial institutions performance survey posted increased earnings in 2017, generating a total net profit of $216.7 million, up from $196.6 million a year earlier. Total assets grew 12 percent to $10.96 billion, with lending boosted by the nation’s strong demand for new vehicles and several non-bank institutions testing the waters in the mortgage space as the major banks become more reticent in some of their credit criteria.

HNWI financial advice demand falls (Financial Standard), Rated: A

The use of financial advice among high-net-worth investors (HNWI) has fallen to a five-year low, according to the insights, which show 435,000 millionaires own more than $1 million of investable assets.

Almost 75% of HNWIs relied on the expertise of a financial advice professional in 2013 – but this has declined to 68% in 2017.

Credit Suisse found the number of Australian millionaires rose by 200,000 in the year to June, marking the third-largest increase after the US and Germany in its global wealth ranking.

CCR to help business financing (InvestorDaily), Rated: B

Indeed, interest rates on small business loans have “remained relatively high” due to a lack of competition – leaving banks as the major provider of lending to small businesses (80 per cent).

But a CCR regime would offer lenders more information about potential borrowers’ credit history than just negative credit information, as per the current standard.

The Australian government has determined a mandatory credit reporting regime to come into effect in July 2018, but a number of financial institutions such as NAB have already announced it will roll out such a regime.

Other forms of accessing finance for smaller firms or entrepreneur were large technology firms and alternative financing platforms, such as marketplace lending and crowdfunding, he added.

India

Online loans marketplace FinBucket gets funding from Impanix Capital (VC Circle), Rated: A

FinBucket Pvt. Ltd, which runs an eponymous online marketplace for loans and investments, has raised Rs 12 crore ($1.8 million) from Delhi-based early-stage venture capital firm Impanix Capital.

The startup plans to use the funds to increase its staff strength to 200 and expand operations.

‘Fintech can help assess credit score ’ (The Hindu), Rated: A

Financial technology firms that generate credit scores based on digital footprints of individuals will have a major role to play as banks begin to focus on lending to first generation customers who do not have credit history, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India H.R. Khan said here on Wednesday.

Fintech startup CapitaWorld raises funding (VC Circle), Rated: B

Mumbai-based fintech startup CapitaWorld Platform Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount through convertible equity from high-net-worth individuals, corporate honchos and investors from Hong Kong and the Middle East.

The investors who participated in the latest round include former chief executive of Indian Banks’ Association Mohan Tanksale, Swift India CEO Kiran Shetty, Madhu Silica’s managing director Darshak Shah and former JP Morgan executive Mandar Mhatre, the startup said in a statement.

Asia

BHSI Launches Financial Institution Professional Indemnity Insurance in Asia (Insurance Journal), Rated: A

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. (BHSI) announced it has introduced Financial Institution Professional Indemnity (FIPI) insurance in Asia.

The new BHSI policy is designed to cover a range of claims, from allegations of failure to disclose information, to misleading financial advice and breach of contracts, the company said in a statement. The policy combines coverage for civil liability, pre-investigations, mitigation expenses, bail bond costs, court attendance, loss of documents, and more.

The policy is designed for medium to large financial institutions, including securities dealers, regional banks, insurance companies, reinsurance companies, diversified institutions, and financial technology (fintech) and corporate advisory firms.

South America

Brazilian fintech Nubank starts international tech talent hunt (ZDNet), Rated: B

Brazilian fintech Nubank has launched an engineering center in Berlin as part of a plan to boost its software engineering function internationally.

Nubank has expatriated four of its engineers to Berlin to kickstart the European operations. It has also already started to hire local experts such as Gavin Bell, a senior engineer who previously managed the core data infrastructure platform at Soundcloud.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday December 12 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P investors

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $200M at almost $2B valuation. Elastic Line of Credit surpasses $1B in funding. Klarna signs 500 online retailers in U.S. Zopa makes changes to Isa. Mintos adds first Russian loan originator. Flexiti offers online financing for e-tailers in Canada. Today’s main analysis: UK alternative finance is still healthy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cross River […]

P2P investors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Asia

Russia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 200 million at a nearly $ 2 billion valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based company confirmed that it’s raising $200 million, led by GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital are also participating.

Affirm’s valuation is estimated to be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Investors are betting on Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder who runs Affirm.

Elastic Line of Credit Surpasses $ 1 Billion in Total Funding (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has originated more than $1 billion, and has served over 200,000 customers since 2013.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), currently has more than $260 million in total principal outstandings across over 150,000 open accounts.

Klarna North America Sees Surge In U.S. Merchant And Consumer Adoption Of Its ‘Smoooth’ Financing Solution (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna introduced its financing solution in the U.S. in October 2016, 500 online retailers have already enrolled in the simple and ‘smoooth’ credit solution that is fully integrated into the online checkout process. Available in 10 countries via a single API, retailers include powerhouse global brands like Microsoft, TaylorMade, Overstock and Lenovo.

Why Cross River Bank and Mastercard are collaborating on cardless ATM access (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank, the bank of fintech startups, is working with Mastercard to give consumers cardless access to ATMs through an offering called Mastercard Cash Pick-Up. It allows businesses or individuals to send cash payments by logging in to the Cash Pick-Up platform via their bank’s website or mobile app and entering the necessary transaction and recipient. When they’ve done that, recipients receive a text message with the order number, PIN and a link that helps them locate a participating ATM nearby.

The offering highlights the role of mobile phones in banking’s new normal — mobile is more than just a channel, it’s the thing that’s guiding both financial incumbents and consumers alike through  the shift from physical to digital banking, which still hasn’t been fully realized.

For now, Mastercard Cash Pick-Up is only available at enabled ATMs in the U.S., where the postal service plays far too big a role in payments, particularly low dollar disbursements, Isaacson said.

 

Once Shunned, Regulated Industries Now a Lure for Some Investors (Xconomy), Rated: AAA

Niehenke theorized that consumers whose trust in traditional banks had eroded might become a willing customer base for financial technology startups. But it was a bumpy time for tech companies entering the highly regulated financial sector.

Among those startups was Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending startup that had been temporarily shut down in 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC maintained that the company was, in effect, selling securities rather than merely functioning as a marketplace connecting lenders and borrowers, TechCrunch reported.

CAN Capital Makes Three Strategic Hires to Strengthen Sales and Technology Teams (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CAN Capital, a small business specialty finance company, today announced three strategic hires as the company continues to invest in its technology and growth strategies. Mike Dodson, Vice President, Technology, Michael O’Brien, Director, Business Development, and Liping Deng, Director, Modeling & Analytics, have joined CAN Capital to focus on accelerating the company’s expansion.

China’s JD partners with accelerator program Plug and Play to reach US startups (TechCrunch), Rated: A

E-commerce giant JD.com, the closest rival to Alibaba in China, is broadening its presence in Silicon Valley after it announced a collaboration with accelerator firm Plug and Play to seek out and work with promising U.S. startups.

Robo-advisors hit lull in everything but VC backing as reality fragments their identity (RIABiz), Rated: A

Last summer, Sallie Krawcheck took a seat before 18 venture capitalists to raise capital for Ellevest Inc., her New York-based robo-advisor for women. See: Sallie Krawcheck astonishes industry observers by raising another $32.5 million for her robo-advisor — perhaps on strength of ‘unit economics’.

The role reversal reflects broader changes occurring across automated advice. BlackRock Inc. originally bought San Francisco-based FutureAdvisor as a retail product, then made it into a B-to-B offering. See: Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business, how post-Invesco Jemstep is doing and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco

News out of Betterment has slowed to a crawl.

Wealthfront Inc.‘s Andy Rachleff leaned into the irony of robo-advisors moving away from digital-only in a September blog post.

Yet, in an autumn largely devoid of news from robo-advisors, Acorns had a blistering announcement of a much deeper integration with one of its VC backers, PayPal, which has 218 million users. See: As Acorns grapples with monetizing 1.1 million micro-accounts, the laid-back LA robo-advisor brings Wealthfront’s former chief exec onto its board.

In the case of Irvine, Calif.-based Acorns, the nudging took the form of A/B-style testing of giving investors choices of how much to invest.

Robo-adviser launches using chatbot technology (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Nuvo has launched what it describes as an “artificially intelligent digital broker powered by chatbot technology”.

The launch of the robo-adviser, which uses AI to learn about customers to pick prices for mortgages and protection products tailored to them in less than a minute, comes just days after a US company claimed to be the first in the world offering financial advice with artificial intelligence.

US Banks Look to Silicon Valley as Fintech Booms (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

More than eight out of ten (82%) US commercial banks have pledged to increase fintech investment over the next three years as the sector continues to expand, with 86% of senior managers planning an imminent rise in investment.

The in-depth research commissioned by global Fintech provider Fraedom, polled decision-makers in commercial banks including shareholders, middle managers and senior managers.

The study also found that more than seven out of ten (71%) respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banking threatens traditional one to one bank and customer relationships. This disruptive impact was felt greatest by shareholders (95%) as opposed to 67% of middle managers.

Need a Shot of Capital for Business Growth? Here’s How to Find a Working Capital Loan This Year (AllBusiness.com), Rated: A

Startup founders know to look for grants, crowdfunding, and angel investors, and established small business owners understand the ins and outs of bank loans. However, another form of financing for established small businesses—working capital loans—is a little less familiar to many owners, yet working capital loans can be the ideal financial tool to handle opportunities (or problems) that present themselves in the shorter term.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • You don’t need to lay out a detailed plan of what you want to do with the money. Paperwork is minimal.
  • If your credit score is at least 500, you’ll need to show an annual profit of $50,000; if your credit score is at least 600, that gets cut in half to $25,000. If you’ve been denied a bank loan, your chances may still be good for a working capital loan.
  • You have the flexibility of choosing the type of working capital loan that best meets your needs: a term loan, cash advance, invoice factoring, revolving line of credit, or purchase order advance.

Today In Data: Consumer Spend, Venture Capital And Bitcoin Reach Record Highs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

$682 billion | Amount that consumers are expected to spend on presents and other holiday preparations this holiday shoppingseason, with retailers going the extra mile to meet them where they are in a simpler and faster way. That means upping mobile and online shopping experiences, offering a buy online pick up in-store model and launching services like curbside pickup and better shipping options.

Broker-Dealer Firms Raise Alarms That SEC’s CAT Database Isn’t Secure (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Broker-dealer firms aren’t confident the SEC’s consolidated audit trail (CAT) – a single, comprehensive database expected to store an unprecedented amount of sensitive trade data and personal identifiable information (PII) – is secure, according to testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives.

National securities exchanges, Finra, alternative trading systems and broker-dealer firms have been required to submit information on trading activities – including customer information and prices – to the CAT daily since November 15 of this year. Large broker-dealers will be required to start submitting information to the CAT by November 15, 2018, while small broker-dealers are expected to do so by November 15, 2019.

The CAT is expected to take in 58 billion records daily – including orders, cancellations, modifications, executions and quotes for the equities and options markets – and maintain data for more than 100 million customer accounts and their unique customer information, according to parties involved in the CAT.

.46 Billion in Extra Credit Card Charges Due to Upcoming Fed Rate Hike (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

Forecasts call for a 99%+ chance of a Federal Reserve rate hike on Wednesday, which would make three for 2017. The move couldn’t come at a worse time for consumers, according to WalletHub’s 

Use your 2017 budget before you lose it (LendIt), Rated: B

Having an exhibitor booth or sponsoring this event is your best chance to do business with companies shaping the fintech industry. 100+ companies have picked their spot. Download the sponsorship brochure today now and our team will help you seal the deal before your budget runs out.

Take advantage of the current ticket price and save $1,200 vs. the standard ticket.

Angie Herbers Launches Online FA Education Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Financial advisor consultancy founder Angie Herbers has launched an online training platform aimed at helping advisors grow their firms.

Beyond U offers advisor education via videos, online seminars and assessments, covering such topics as operations, management, sales and marketing, client services, compensation and more, according to a press release from the firm.

United Kingdom

Zopa announces changes to its Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa investors can now redirect their repayments into an Isa, allowing investors to gradually transfer their funds into an Isa without having to sell loans or pay fees throughout the process.

The UK alternative finance market is still healthy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK’s alternative finance market — including marketplace lending, crowdfunding, and invoice trading — grew 43% year-over-year (YoY) in 2016, from £3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) to £4.58 billion ($6.17 billion), according to a recently released study from the 

Source: Business Insider

UK positioned to win in fintech, despite Brexit uncertainty (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Just this week the 

Small Businesses Drive 43 Percent Growth In UK Alternative Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Researchers said about 72 percent of market volume in 2016 can be traced back to demand for lending options among startups and small businesses, up from 50 percent the year before. That amounts to more than $4.4 billion driven by startups and SMBs in 2016.

Peer-to-peer businesses lending was 2016’s largest alternative finance market segment, which saw 36 percent year-over-year growth.

Squirrel Extends Crowdcube Campaign After Achieving £400,000 Funding Target (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has successfully secured its initial £400,000 funding target from 450 investors through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

Downing enters property development space with Funding Circle hires (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

DOWNING has hired two real estate experts from Funding Circle’s property division as it enters the property development space through its crowd bonds platform.

Investors on Downing’s crowd bonds platform are being offered returns of five per cent for one year or six per cent for two years by investing in Downing Development Finance (DDF) through the DDF Property Bond.

 

Investors put trust in Scotland’s canniness (The Scotsman), Rated: B

Edinburgh Worldwide is another Baillie Gifford managed trust, though rather obscured by the group’s better known trusts. Notable performers (not a Scottish name among them) were Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a gene silencing company, LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, and IPG Photonics, a manufacturer of fibre-lasers used in metal processing.

China

 

How asset managers like FinEx Asia are using AI to disrupt traditional bank lending (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Banking disintermediation – essentially, taking out the middle man – has taken a new twist. While in recent years peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has become the poster-child for threatening banks’ lending business, a new type of hybrid disrupter is apparently starting to emerge: asset managers backed by financial technology.

One such firm attempting to cut banks out of the consumer-lending equation is FinEx Asia. The newly-licensed asset manager connects Asian investors with American consumer-credit assets, using artificial intelligence to select the loans based on risk appetite.

Founder and chief executive Maggie Ng said the company’s three funds now have US$100 million under management. They are backed by a portfolio of more than 10,000 US-based borrowers who have obtained loans from multiple online lending platforms, she said without specifying which ones.

Thomson Reuters platform to help further develop Hong Kong’s fintech offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Thomson Reuters, the news and market data giant, is partnering with a Hong Kong government-backed body to help the city’s banks and fintech firms develop new technology, cut costs and create new products.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong next year, the new arrangement will see Thomson Reuters offer its platform to financial firms to distribute their products as well as use its technology, tools and data to create products, for free.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today I take a look at how investor numbers are developing at several platforms.

Source: P2P-Banking

FinTech Startup Nanopay Is For Banks, Not Against Them (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Whether bank customers are consumers or businesses, chances are good that they do at least some of their banking online. This month, startup nanopay is announcing a partnership with Canadian nonprofit interbank network Interac to help businesses manage the complexity of working across borders.

The partnership creates access for any bank account holder in the country to send funds to or receive funds from any other bank account served by nanopay. So far, that’s a short list including just India. But, according to nanopay CEO Laurence Cooke, coverage will be supported in the U.S. and China as well in Q1 of 2018.

The First Social P2P Cryptobank Datarius to Launch a Pre-Sale on December 12 (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

The Datarius main characteristics are the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency operations and a special designer of the customer-adapted tariffs.

P2P lending is another characteristic of Datarius. It provides millions of people around the world with the possibility to receive and make loans using a Personal Account in the browser or through a smartphone application. It is a fast, reliable and easy way to get a loan wherever a person is. This is an opportunity to earn without involving brokers.

The pre-ITO round starts on December 12 on the official website of the Datarius Cryptobank and will last till December 31. 1 DTRC token = $ 1, but during the Pre-sale every buyer receives a 35% bonus. Soft Cap: $ 125,000.

Asia

ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE iFX EXPO ASIA 2018 (NewsBTC), Rated: B

CONVERSION PROS, a marketing agency within the retail finance sector and founding company behind the iFX EXPO series of financial B2B events, has announced their next event, the iFX EXPO Asia 2018, which will take place in Hong Kong from the 23rd to the 25th January 2018 at the HKCEC (Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre).

This event holds special significance, according to Gal Ron, CEO of CONVERSION PROS:

“This will be our 12th show to date and we expect to showcase this steady growth as we present an expanded floor plan with more exhibitor and sponsor areas tailored to the needs of our attendees. We are also placing special focus on Crypto as well as Peer to Peer lending as we are sure that this is part of the future of the online trading industry.”

Russia

Mintos, an Online Marketplace for Loans, Adds First Russian Loan Originator to Platform. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Mintos marketplace for loans has added its first Russia based loan originator: EcoFinance. The online lender offers investments in unsecured personal loans issued in Russia under its CreditPlus brand. Mintos reports that EcoFinance loans on its marketplace will initially be listed in Euros with investors able to earn up to 11% annually.

Africa

Kiakia — get real-time capital as a business owner or working class (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

It’s no longer news that many individuals and SMEs in Nigeria have limited access to finance, especially from commercial banks.

Kiakia, an AI and machine learning powered alternative credit scoring, customer service, direct and a P2P lending platform has launched a virtual agent called “Mr K” to help working adults and SMEs access credit.

According to the Co-founder, Olajide Abiola (who also doubles as the Chief Data Scientist), millions of naira in loans have been successfully granted to and repaid by hundreds of borrowers across 22 States in Nigeria. This comes with a loss/default/NPL ratio of below 2.3%, which is consistently maintained over a 12-month period, all thanks to Kiakia’s algorithm.

Canada

FLEXITI FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES ONLINE FINANCING TO GROW E-COMMERCE SALES FOR CANADIAN RETAILERS (Flexiti Financial), Rated: AAA

Flexiti Financial, a provider of Point-Of-Sale (POS) financing and payment technology, announced today that its award-winning POS consumer lending platform is now available for online transactions. Retailers across Canada now have access to a powerful, online financing platform that easily integrates into any e-commerce engine, offering a low-cost solution. This is a critical new offering for Canadian retailers as it overcomes two key hurdles – speed of implementation and cost – as e-commerce continues to grow as a critical sales channel.

Flexiti Financial’s POS lending platform offers low rates for retailers who want to offer their customers flexible payment options, such as 0% interest financing. Customers do not require an existing credit card to apply.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 1 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate sensitivity

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm partners with Shopify Plus.The Fed is thinking about starting a cryptocurrency.Payday lending group sues Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Funding Circle gets first IFISA sign-up within 15 minutes of opening.Assetz Capital to launch IFISA with manual lending.KappAhl to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna. Today’s main analysis: How should […]

interest rate sensitivity

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Affirm Joins Forces With Shopify Plus to Help High Growth Retailers Rapidly Scale Online Store Sales (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced it has joined the Shopify Plus Technology Partner Program to help more retailers quickly scale their online store sales by giving their customers a quick and easy alternative to credit cards.

Affirm App Gives Loans For Designer Jeans, Holiday Flights And More (International Business Times), Rated: A

Affirm’s chief of staff and head of international expansion, Ryan Metcalf, told International Business Times the startup works with 1,200 retailers nationwide and issued $1 billion worth of loans in 2017.

“We are able to approve 126 percent more people than industry averages. A large portion of these people have no access to credit or if they do they are being mispriced in the market because their FICO score is outdated,” Metcalf said. “Around one in 10 Americans have ‘unscorable’ credit reports. That’s around 30 million people. So we’re also able to offer credit to those people as well.”

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation’s data, 20 percent of American credit card owners are ranked as “subprime” because their FICO score is 600 or lower.

Expert Commentary: how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates? (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

In Four Interest Rate Myths, I made a theoretical case for higher rates by debunking the New Gospel of the New Normal. The Slow Agony of and Old Bull highlighted seven signs that the bond bull market was already over. This report discusses the most important question facing market participants for the next five years – how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates?

The report reviews the performance of U.S. sectors, currencies, and international indices during prior hiking cycles and their recent correlations with yields. Six conclusions emerge:

  • Almost tautologically, bond proxies have consistently underperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • Currently, only two sectors are positively related to interest rates: financials and energy. Since their valuations remain below average, these sectors are a cheap option against the risk of rising rates.
  • Investors should monitor the correlation between yields and tech stocks: higher rates would kill the bull market if the correlation between tech stocks and bond yields turned negative.
  • U.S. stocks and the dollar index have tended to fall in prior hiking cycles.
  • Korean equities and, to a lesser extent, Japanese stocks have outperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • The performance of emerging markets and commodity-driven markets is mixed: they have outperformed massively during in the 2003-2006 cycles, but have suffered during the hiking cycles of the 90s.

Read the full report here.

Dudley Says Fed Has Started Thinking About Official Digital Currency (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said Wednesday the U.S. central bank is beginning to explore whether it could adopt its own digital currency, in an appearance at Rutgers University where he also expressed optimism about the economy.

Bitcoin is “really more of a speculative activity,” Mr. Dudley said. But he said aspects of the technology are interesting and worthy of attention. “It’s premature to be talking about the Federal Reserve offering digital currencies, but it is something we are starting to think about,” he said.

Some academics have called for the Fed to offer its own digital currency. They believe it would afford the central bank better control over the economy by tweaking interest rates at the consumer level, bypassing fickle financial markets that often work at cross-purposes with Fed policy aims.

THE FINTECH EFFECT: AMAZON, GOOGLE, AND THE DISRUPTION OF SMALL BUSINESS LENDING (The Boss Magazine), Rated: AAA

If banking bigwigs and fintech entrepreneurs have seemed a bit queasy since October’s Lendit Europe conference, they might be blaming Karen Mills for daring to illuminate the elephants in the room: Amazon and Google, and their ability to disrupt the small business lending industry.

Mills, a former White House administrator for small business and current Harvard Business Review fellow, succinctly pointed out the obvious. With the tremendous amount of financial and personal data these behemoths collect, a broadening of scope into small business lending may be inevitable.

While Google hasn’t made any notable overtures into the lending business yet, Amazon launched its lending business to support its merchants in 2012. As reported by Bloomberg, the retailer issued $1 billion in loans in the 12 months between May 2016 and June 2017. To date, they have extended $3 billion to over 20,000 small businesses here, as well as in the U.K. and Japan.

The Magnificence of Micro Loans

Merchant services provider Square has given its merchants loans of over $1.5 billion since its in inception in 2014, and PayPal’s Working Capital program has loaned over 115,000 global businesses a total of $3 billion.

Amazon and Square merchants repay the loans automatically based on the amount of sales they make. PayPal’s maximum small business loan amount is 30 percent of a merchant’s annual PayPal sales, not to exceed $97,000 for the first loan.

Small Business Domination

Small businesses account for roughly 99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S., and are responsible for 61.8 percent of the new jobs established from Q1 1993 to Q3 2016. About 80 percent of the nation’s 29.6 million small businesses are nonemployers.

Payday lending group plans to sue the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (USA Today), Rated: AAA

The Community Financial Services Association of America plans to challenge one of the federal watchdog’s signature achievements could signal how the consumer bureau’s previous enforcement policies will shift under new Trump administration leadership.

The anticipated battle would target a new rule that was indeed published in the Federal Register on Nov. 17, capping a contentious 18-month public comment and lobbying battle between the payday loan industry and consumer advocates.

Federal budget director Mick Mulvaney, installed by Trump as the bureau’s acting director, has been critical of the payday lending rule and has received campaign backing from the industry. He received $31,700 in 2015-2016 federal campaign cycle contributions from payday lenders, ranking ninth among all congressional recipients, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Federal judge refuses to block Trump’s designation of Mulvaney as interim head of CFPB (Legal NewsLine), Rated: A

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments by Leandra English, who was named the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by outgoing director Richard Cordray, in a lawsuit she brought over the agency’s interim leadership.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to a minute order and entry on the case docket, denied English’s emergency motion for temporary restraining order after a motion hearing held Tuesday.

English filed her lawsuit Sunday night in attempt to block President Donald Trump’s naming of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s acting director.

In a minute order filed Wednesday, Kelly said the parties will meet, confer and submit by Dec. 1 a joint proposed schedule for briefing the merits and/or for briefing a preliminary injunction, or separate schedules.

Payday lender going public as new sheriff takes over at CFPB (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

Curo Group is looking to raise about $100M with the sale of 6.7M shares at hoped-for range of $14-$16 each. Prospectus here

Marlette Funding President Offers Insight on Personal Loan Market (LendEDU), Rated: A

Q: So we know that Fintech personal loan lenders are starting to attract more consumers and take up more of the market. How do you expect traditional banks to react to this over the next couple of years if the trend continues?

A: You’re starting to see banks wake up to this new way of lending. They’ve been impacted by a regulation-focused environment in recent years, driving them towards a compliance mindset. However, banks are starting to think of ways to grow their consumer lending businesses, and technology is a big part of this.

Q: What sort of future do you see for blockchain technology in the Fintech personal loanmarket? What sort of challenge would its implementation pose to Fintech lenders?

A: One use that I could see for Fintech lending is creating a more secured identity verification process for the customer. From the recent Equifax news, you have a single source of data where all relevant info is in one location, and a breach creates both chaos as well as problems with trust. Distributed ledger tech creates an interesting opportunity to limit this concern, but it’s going to take a long time before it can be implemented fully.

For Workers In A Pinch, Start-Ups Experiment With No-Interest Loans (Forbes), Rated: A

Dave is part of a new crop of financial technology companies that are trying to help consumers avoid nasty overdraft fees, as well as payday loans, pawn shops and other expensive forms of debt, via zero-interest loans. They’re going after workers who may struggle to make ends meet, but who could benefit from a minor influx of cash at the right time.

Dave analyzes a consumer’s bank account history to issue warnings about potential overdrafts up to seven days in advance. Then, for users who still find they’re in a pinch, it may approve a loan of up to $75. Dave doesn’t charge interest, but the app costs $1 a month and users are asked to leave a tip on advances. The Mark Cuban-backed service has amassed 100,000 users since it launched in April.

In 2016, financial institutions hauled in $33.3 billion on overdraft fees alone, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

Dave, in addition to companies like Even and Earnin (formerly Activehours), are attempting to do away with the high interest rates and fees that they say put a financial institution’s incentives in contrast with those of the borrower. Their answer: Small, zero-interest advances on a person’s next paycheck with no hidden or punitive fees.

According to one study of low and moderate income families, household income spiked — or fell — by more than 25% in six months out of every year.

YieldStreet CEO Milind Mehere: Excited about Growth and YieldStreet’s Future (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Launched in NYC in 2015, YieldStreet aims to allow people to invest in alternative investments that are backed by real collateral. With a world-class advisory board which recently added three new members Ron Suber (Prosper Group), Mitch Jacobs (On Deck)Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Gilt Group) and a growing leadership team, including Volfi Mizrahi who just joined as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel, the platform’s growth is undeniable.

Erin: On what other elements of your YieldStreet street vision are you currently working?

Milind: Continuing to expand our product and audience offering – AutoInvest will let users choose their investment preferences such as asset class, yield and duration, then the algorithm our platform uses will match them as offerings become available. In 2018 we hope to open the platform to non-accredited investors, and we are working to provide liquidity on our platform, as well as creating products for the Financial Advisor/RIA market and IRA market.

Erin: How do you expect YieldStreet to grow? How do you source deals?

We work with a network of originators and asset managers, as well as many funds (from $50M to $10B) in the private credit space.

Erin: What lessons from Yodle — from its beginnings to its $342M sale to web.com in 2016 — have you applied to YieldStreet?

Milind: We have been incredibly efficient at YieldStreet because of that. We have just raised $3.7M in seed capital to reach $200M in originations, where some of our peers have raised anywhere from 6x-25x to achieve the same results. Yodle taught me to be extremely disciplined about where to invest and when.

Erin: What are YieldStreet’s future plans for growth by 2018? by 2020? by 2025?  How do you predict the sector will change and be disrupted?

Milind: According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the asset management industry is set for “transformational change” and booming growth in the next decade. Alternative asset classes, such as real estate and private debt are expected to grow to about $21.1 trillion by 2025.

Innovative Approaches to Expanding Home Availability and Affordability (Lend Academy), Rated: A

It seems like almost every day I see a story about increasing real estate prices in the major metropolitan areas of the US. Prices in cities like San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Washington DC have made homeownership unobtainable for many people.

SoFi comes to mind with their jumbo mortgage which allows borrowers to put just 10% down and offers loans up to $3 million.

Landed is taking a different approach. I spoke with Alex Lofton who is Head of Growth and Co-founder at the company. They first came on my radar this summer when TechCrunch profiled them. They are similar to companies like Unison (who recently was on the Lend Academy podcast) and Point with a slight twist. Currently, the company focuses on teachers to help purchase a home, providing up to 50% of the down payment. Like other similar products, Landed participates in either the upside or downside when the home is sold.

PWC CHARGE: ASSET MANAGERS ARE DIGITAL TECH ‘LAGGARDS’ (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

In filling out the particulars of this claim the authors of the new report make four more specific points: one, asset management is a buyers’ market and will become more so, in large part because “institutional investors have the tools to differentiate alpha and beta,” and they want to pay for the former not the latter. They also say that asset managers have been filling gaps in the financial system that emerged in the wake of the global financial crisis – they’ll need to capitalize on and expand these once-niche markets. Thirdly, while they make the common point that traditional active managers feel a squeeze between passive management on the one hand and alternatives on the other, they go further in that direction than other analysts have, saying that the way to react to this squeeze is not to try to beat back the competing forces but to join them, to turn a management firm into a “multi-asset solutions firm.”

But perhaps the most surprising of the four points is the contention that asset management has been a refuge of digital technology “laggards,” and that this will change in the near future, as “technology giants … enter the sector, flexing their data analytics and distribution muscle. The race is on.”

Lincoln Financial Network Launches Integrated Technology Platform to Drive Greater Client Engagement and Collaboration in Financial Planning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Lincoln Financial Network (LFN), the retail wealth management affiliate of Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC), today announced that it has successfully launched a meaningful enhancement to its fully integrated wealth management platform for financial advisors and their clients – Automated Account Opening (AAO). AAO encompasses a full suite of new capabilities, integrated tools, and client-servicing solutions that will increase client satisfaction and collaboration with advisors.

Banks resist pressure to raise rates, but for how long? (American Banker), Rated: A

Online banks have been aggressively raising the rates they pay on consumer deposits, and that is putting pressure on mainstream banks to consider following suit or risk losing valuable deposits to their more nimble competitors.

A recent survey of 100 banks conducted by MoneyRates.com found that online banks such as Ally Bank, Goldman Sachs’ GS Bank and Sallie Mae Bank are paying significantly higher rates on savings and money market accounts than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

U.S. regional banks delve deeper into advisory services to boost growth (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Smaller banks, like their bigger Wall Street rivals, have aggressively cut costs since the 2008 financial crisis and trusted ultra-low interest rates to increase loan volumes.

U.S. Bancorp, BB&T Corp, SunTrust Banks Inc, Fifth Third Bancorp, KeyCorp and Citizens Financial Group Inc together earned $6.97 billion in non-interest income in the third quarter, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier and 15.2 percent from the second quarter.

That compares with growth in net interest income of 7.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

RICH PICKINGS

The number of millionaires in the United States is at the highest since Chicago-based research company Spectrem Group started measuring it in 2004, but thresholds of – for example $250,000 to invest – mean many are too small to get personal attention from the big Wall Street firms.

Born between the early 1960s and 2000, Americans from Generations X and Y who have an average annual income of about $200,000, account for 18 percent of millionaires compared with 8 percent in 2012.

Yet only 58 percent have financial advisers compared to 72 percent five years ago, according to a study by Fidelity Investment.

KeyBank Forms Strategic Partnership With Snapsheet To Provide Powerful Insurance Claims Payment Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) announced today its strategic investment and partnership with Snapsheet, an innovator of self-service claims solutions for insurance carriers. This investment follows the joint launch and announcement of Snapsheet Transactions, a payment platform on the back end of Snapsheet’s existing claims solution.

Snapsheet Transactions provides carriers with a payment hub that features a variety of payment options, without adding complexity or risk to insurance carriers’ back-end processes. Key and Snapsheet will continue to partner with each other to support the rollout and execution of enhancements and innovations related to Snapsheet Transactions.

Concord President & COO Shaun O’Neill to Lead Panel at Marketplace Lending Conference in New York City (PRWeb), Rated: B

Shaun O’Neill, President and COO of Concord Servicing Corporation, a leading force in the portfolio servicing and financial technology industry, has been invited to serve as moderator of a finance-related panel during the upcoming Information Management Network’s 3rd Annual Investors’ Conference on Marketplace Lending. O’Neill’s panel will focus on the highly topical “Trends and Best Practices for Loan Servicing” during the conference, to be held December 1st at the Marriott New York Downtown, in New York City.

LendingTree Logo To Appear On Greensboro Swarm Jerseys As Part of Company’s Partnership With Hornets (NBA.com), Rated: B

The Charlotte Hornets, Greensboro Swarm and LendingTree announced today that the LendingTree logo will appear on the jerseys of the Swarm as part of the Founding Level Partnership announced earlier this month between the Hornets and LendingTree.

Family loans: How to dodge the drama (Work IT, SOVA), Rated: B

There are advantages of a family loan for a borrower: no credit check, low or no interest and flexible payback terms.

Family loans may also come with tax considerations, whether the lender charges interest or not. Charge zero interest, and you may face a gift tax; a borrower who receives a gift may have to report it as taxable income. Tack on an interest charge and you must follow IRS-specified guidelines for the rate you charge and report it as income.

BORROWERS: EXHAUST OTHER OPTIONS FIRST

When weighing the pros and cons of a family loan, also consider alternative options, including a personal loan borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender that can be used for any purpose.

Personal loans from credit unions and online lenders typically have more flexible qualification requirements than a bank loan.

LENDERS: ASSESS THE REASON FOR THE REQUEST

If you are lending the money, try to set your emotions aside and look at the reason for the loan. Has your family member been rejected by banks and other lenders? If so, why? Will your loan help promote good financial decisions?

United Kingdom

Funding Circle IFISA motors ahead with instant sign-ups (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has begun rolling out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to investors and had a customer sign up within 15 minutes.

The peer-to-peer business lending giant started emailing users on Thursday morning, in order of when they opened accounts and started investing.

The IFISA account is a flexi-ISA, meaning you can withdraw any available funds without affecting your annual £20,000 ISA subscription limit, providing you transfer them back in by the end of the tax year.

Assetz Capital Announcement: Soon to Launch IFISA Set to Include Manual Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The online lender reported that the IFISA will be launched next month, with users able to use their £20,000 annual tax-free allowance on the Assetz Capital platform. Users will be able to transfer in past years’ ISA savings from their cash and shares ISAs. Assetz Capital also noted that new and existing investors will be able to open an IFISA wrapper on the platform and then invest into any automated Assetz investment account. The IFISA is also set to include the popular Manual Loan Investment Account (MLIA) in the New Year.

Digital banking: a tough way to make money (Financial Times), Rated: A

It’s been a busy period for the UK’s fledgling digital banks. Since January, eight UK digital banks have collectively raised $600m and two challenger banks were acquired for $2B+. Digital banks have built out the tech, landed banking licenses, and started winning customers – but they have arrived at a ‘now what’ moment. How can they capture a large enough customer base to validate their significant collective investment?

Monzo reported that its prepaid card scheme loses around £50 per active customer per year, and other digital banks face similar costs. While on the one hand the cost to acquire these current account customers is not very high, given the ‘buzz’ around the sector and banks’ word of mouth-driven growth – these current accounts, with their low average balances, are also inherently unprofitable. So it’s a steep climb for digital banks to recoup their operational costs, much less make a lot of money per customer.

P2PGI unveils new strategy that speeds up timetable for target returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has brought forward its timetable for reaching its target returns of six to eight per cent after unveiling its new portfolio strategy on Thursday morning.

The investment trust said it now expects to provide a dividend of at least 15p per quarter by the end of the second quarter of 2018, which analysts say reflects an annualised yield of 7.8 per cent.

LendInvest: How our BTL launch will fill the portfolio landlord lending gap (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

The prospects of the dinner party landlord, who picked up a property or two during the boom years, have been dented by moves like the additional rate of stamp duty on second homes and the changes to mortgage interest tax relief.

In contrast, it’s the professionals who are best placed to adjust their budgets and ride out such changes. These are the investors who spend their working hours – rather than just their spare time – focused on running their property businesses.

Countrywide’s letting index in August flagged up the fact that the number of homes on the market to tenants has jumped by 171,000 over the last two years, despite the number of landlords falling by 154,000 over the same period.

Three reasons why investors must consider alternative lending (Money Observer), Rated: A

With cash held at the bank slowly being eroded by inflation, many investors have been attracted to the enhanced return prospects offered by alternative – or ‘peer-to-peer’ – lending.

Alternative lending is very interesting from this perspective, as it is one of the few income options available to retail investors that may be shielded from market volatility. This has grown in importance recently as many markets are currently trading at historically high valuations. Markets follow a supply and demand dynamic and the traditional asset classes are definitely vulnerable to sudden downside pressures in stressed market environments.

China

Was 2017 the year that Chinese fintech grew up? (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

While investments in the Chinese fintech sector tripled to almost 10 billion US dollars in 2016 compared to the year before, 2017 has seen a significant drop in corporate fintech investments across Asia. KPMG reports that corporates have only put 840 million US dollars into the sector in 2017, compared to 6.8 billion US dollars in 2016.

Decline of P2P, robo-advisors

One other area that has struggled in 2017 has been robo-advisors. In 2016, China Merchants Securities predicted that by 2020, some 5.22 trillion yuan (758 billion US dollars) worth of assets would be managed by robot financiers.

China leverage and shadow banking biggest threats to growth (The Asset), Rated: A

FINANCIAL system leverage and shadow banking pose the biggest threat to China’s economic growth, according to a live poll of attendees at the Fitch on China Forum.

The forum was organized by The Asset in association with Fitch Ratings and held on November 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.

Source: The Asset

Ant Financial and QCash scoop FT fintech awards (Financial Times), Rated: B

A big Chinese group and a US not-for-profit have triumphed in the second annual Financial Times fintech awards, with Ant Financial taking the “impact” prize and QCash winning for “innovation”.

European Union

KappAhl first to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna (NB Herard), Rated: AAA

KappAhl is the first major fashion chain to offer its customers digital payment solutions in stores via their smartphones. Customers will have the option to make their purchases with Klarna In-Store, paying either on the spot or upon invoice.

This new payment solution will become one of the cornerstones in KappAhl’s digital transformation, with customers in stores benefitting from the same payment options that they have in Shop Online.

The service has been rolled out gradually and, as of 1 December, will be available in all 173 KappAhl and Newbie stores in Sweden. From 1 December, the service will be available in all 96 Norwegian stores, and, from 4 December, in all 58 stores in Finland.

Fintech company Deposit Solutions raises $ 20 million from existing investors (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Deposit Solutions, a German fintech company, has raised $20 million in a round led by e.Ventures and Greycroft, both existing shareholders.

The new funds will be used to grow the Hamburg-based company’s Open Banking platform for savings deposits for both B2B and B2C services, and to expand internationally. Its APIs allow banks to connect to the platform to build and offer deposit services. It has partnered with more than 50 banks.

Why Scandinavia’s Biggest Bank Is Setting Up Its Own Fintech Startup Fund (Forbes), Rated: A

The bank has announced that it’s setting up Nordea Ventures, to make strategic investments in fintech start-ups.

A case in point is Tink the Swedish-based fintech company, where Nordea provided capital and advice and integrated some of Tink’s own technology into its own digital products while preserving Tink’s name and brand.

Tink’s app helps consumers to aggregate financial transactions in one place, to compare and switch mortgages to a partner bank or open a savings account, for instance. Another Tink app for banks and payment services like Klarna provides account aggregation and payment capabilities.

Nordea invests in fintech company Betalo (Nordea), Rated: B

Nordea is investing in the fintech company Betalo. This takes our partnership with the Swedish company to the next level after a cooperation agreement was signed in March 2017.

PSD2 BRINGS DELAYED DISRUPTION TO THE FINTECH ECOSYSTEM (TechSavvy), Rated: A

A new EU-directive is about to force banks to open up their data vaults and allow third parties to access their user data. Nordea has chosen to embrace the change with open eyes, and a fintech startup predicts tough competition embarking on the opportunities it brings along.

The release of bank data is bound to cause a stir in an otherwise traditional and established sector. One of the incumbents that have already made an imprint is the fintech startup Spiir.

American tech giants might end up owning the financial space. Rune Mai looks to China to catch a glimpse of what the financial future might hold. The retail giant Alibaba owns half the payment market here with an all-encompassing app that offers everything from dating, financing to shopping.

Nordea is more inspired than afraid of Amazon. The bank has more than 10 million customers in the Nordic region, and they have decided to face the coming change with open eyes. They are actively pursuing a first mover strategy and has allocated more than 100 people to ready themselves for the coming digital disruption.

International

Blockchain P2P Lending, Sending, and Spending: Etherecash Garners Support from Over 40,000 Contributors During Pre-ICO (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

A little over three weeks are left in the Etherecash token sale and it’s been a fantastic run so far; the success they have seen comes after a big appearance at the World Blockchain Summit, Dubai, which was closely followed by a heated Pre-ICO.

The platform is the remedy to the overly-complex and lengthy process of getting a traditional bank account, and will provide access to finances through a cryptocurrency-backed P2P (Peer-to-Peer) fiat currency loan marketplace. P2P loans are backed by the borrower’s own crypto-wealth allowing them to borrow up to 80 percent of their wallet’s value.

On top of this, once the crypto debit card is available, users will be able to store multiple types of cryptocurrency on it, allowing them to shop anywhere and everywhere as they please, even abroad.

Based on the Ethereum standard token ERC20, purchasable with Bitcoin or Ethereum, the exciting ICO Launch began 15th November, 2017 – ending December 19th, 2017.

Australia

Treasurer of Australia Scott Morrison Visits Online Lender Prospa’s New Office in Darlinghurst (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, an online lender serving SMEs in Australia, had a visit from the Honorable Scott Morrison yesterday. The Treasurer of Australia help to open up Prospa’s new high tech Darlinghurst office, which apparently is quite large extending over two floors housing a team of 150.

Prospa expects to add another 50 hires over the next 12 months as it accommodates platform growth.

India

KrazyBee looks to expand in Tamil Nadu (The Times of India), Rated: A

Online lender KrazyBee says it is rapidly expanding its business in Tamil Nadu and its focus in the state will be on solving unique needs of the student community.

KrazyBee, which earlier operated in five cities (Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Vellore and Mysore), said that is expanding aggressively in over 11 cities, including Chennai. With more than four lakh registered student borrowers on its platform, KrazyBee says it currently processes over 3,000 loan applications and disburse around 1,700 loans per day.

Asia

Asian banks’ operating income could be hit by fintech disruption (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Asian banks that do not take any action against the rise of financial technology (fintech) could see their operating income take a hit, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (Nov 30) in its latest Financial Stability Review.

For lenders in Singapore that do nothing to stave off the disruption, that could mean a 5 per cent loss in operating income over the next five years, the central bank warned.

 

Mobile wallets taking hold in Asia (The Asset), Rated: A

WHILE the development of digital payments started with the launch of the first universal credit card in the 1950s, the space has rapidly evolved, and now the mantle is being passed to e-wallets, otherwise known as mobile wallets.

In 2014, credit and debit cards accounted for more than half of e-commerce payments in terms of transaction value. However, that share is predicted to drop to 49% in 2019 as mobile wallet options start to gain ground, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Canada

Activists across Canada demand fair banking for low-income people (TheStar), Rated: AAA

At the Toronto rally held outside Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s constituency office, a 46-year-old man was holding the loan he got in August from a payday loan company and was trying to get pedestrians to look at it.

He took out a $5,500 loan to pay his rent in August, to be paid back at 60 per cent interest by 2020.

Don is a member of the grassroots activist group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and one of thousands of people who, on Tuesday, rallied across Canada demanding fair banking.

Mobetize’ CEO to speak at first BC Tech Association FinTech Day (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Mobetize Corp. (OTCQB:MPAY), a leading fintech service provider for payments, remittances and mobile banking solutions, today announced CEO Ajay Hans will be the keynote speaker at BC Tech’s Fintech Day event on December 5.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club rolls out its next-generation small business credit policy. Elevate’s RISE surpasses $300M in outstanding loans. Upgrade, Corridor collaborate on big data, credit analytics. Assetz Capital completes Seedrs funding round with 1.6M GBP. Alibaba seeks majority stake in SenseTime. Revolut banks on cryptocurrency. Comunitae suspends activities due to fraud. Today’s main analysis: The hidden relationship between […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Next Generation Small Business Credit Policy (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

We are excited to announce the next generation small business credit policy on our platform which allows us to power the vision of even more small business owners.

Minimum qualifications have been reduced from 24 months in business to 12 months in business and from $75,000 to $50,000 in annual sales.

Since 2014 we’ve facilitated over $500 million in loans to thousands of small businesses across the nation.

Elevate’s RISE Product Surpasses $ 300 Million in Outstanding Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced its RISE product has surpassed $300 million in total outstandings, with more than 130,000 open accounts.

Will Lending Club Turn a Corner? (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

Lending Club arguably pioneered peer-to-peer lending, which has been one of the most vibrant segments of the credit market. Some analysts, however, have questioned the company’s ability to continue growing without adopting some traditional banking practices, like taking deposits.

Lending Club has failed to manage costs well over the past two years, leading to its inability to net profits. As illustrated in the chart below, the company’s trailing 12-month revenue now stands at about $551 million, but it has managed to reduce the net loss from about $175 million in the first quarter to about $94 million in the third quarter.

Source: GuruFocus

Lending Club’s first-half 2017 loan originations figure, however, declined from the prior-year period, dropping to approximately $4.1 billion versus $4.7 billion last year.

Would You Take Out a Loan for a Pair of Jeans? (Racked), Rated: AAA

Jocelyn Vera Zorn is not eager to talk about the loan she took out to buy the pants. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” she grimaces.

For merchants, Affirm provides exceptional benefits, increasing average order values across the board; perhaps not surprisingly, people will shop more, and more often, when they don’t immediately feel the costs. And for many customers, including Jocelyn, the predictable, convenient payments are worth the higher interest rates.

Affirm claims to be a more transparent and honest, if not cheaper, line of credit for the underserved. Using internal, proprietary data science and artificial intelligence, the company says it approves 126 percent more borrowers than traditional lenders, based on soft credit pullsand an opaque mosaic of consumer information.

Source: Racked

While more than two-thirds of Americans own at least one credit card, 20 percent are considered subprime, with a FICO score of 600 or below. Another 10 percent are on the bubble.

Source: Racked

Upgrade and Corridor Collaborate on Big Data and Credit Analytics (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, today announced a strategic partnership with Corridor Funds (), a new credit analytics and portfolio management platform founded by Manish Gupta. Mr. Gupta was recently EVP, Global Head of Information Management and Advanced Decisioning at American Express and prior to that spent many years as Chief Credit Officer of the Amex US consumer lending business. Under the terms of the partnership, Corridor will provide independent analytical review and validation to investors in Upgrade’s personal loan products, and will collaborate with Upgrade on new product design.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising 0 Million XRP Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest in New York, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonrevealed he’s raising $100 million for a hedge fund that will buy and hold crypto assets while making investments in token sales and (some) equities and debt.

Launched under a new entity called Arrington XRP Capital, the fund claims to be the first that will require all limited partners (LPs) to make investments in XRP, the cryptocurrency that powers San Francisco startup Ripple’s RippleNet software.

Why Social Impact Matters in Tech: How LendUp Saved our Customers More Than $ 150 Million Dollars (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Five years later, LendUp customers are improving their credit scores, and now I’m proud to say that LendUp Loan customers have saved $150 million versus what they would have spent with traditional small dollar lenders, all while improving their credit score to open up more financial options in the future.

Two-thirds of LendUp Loan customers report having income swings of $100 or more a month. And since our newest customers lack short-term savings — 83% aren’t confident they can cover a $400 emergency — 77% report that they often miss bill payments.

Fintech Can Help Fast-Track Puerto Rico’s Recovery (Forbes), Rated: A

Agile, customer-experience-focused financial technology businesses continue to drive innovation, modernization and access to credit in America’s financial services marketplace when banks and other traditional providers can’t meet consumers’ needs. For example, fintech lenders help consumers and small businesses alike find financial products and services that meet their credit needs, whether it’s a short-term loan for an emergency expense or capital to help grow a small business — even when these applicants have been denied by their banks.

OnDeck monthly series highlights successful small businesses (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online small business lender OnDeck today launched a new monthly series spotlighting the achievements of its small business customers and how they are thriving as a result of receiving capital from OnDeck.

For December, the customer success spotlight is on Dana Donofree, the owner of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for women with a unique mission.

“Applying for a loan can be incredibly stressful but fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses.  Right away, I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant regarding payback. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan.”

New Survey Finds Relationship Tension and Anxiety are Hidden Costs of Debt (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ It should also say ‘and debt can make you anxious, keep you up at night and cause problems in relationships.’ That’s according to a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) are living with debt driven by factors such as everyday expenses, a lack of income, mortgage costs and student loans, reflecting the far-reaching potential impact of debt upon society.

Recent data shows outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion, making this survey timely. With U.S. consumer spending growing at its fastest pace since 2009, it appears the frugal habits many Americans adopted directly after the Great Recession are a thing of the past.

More than half of Americans with debt (56 percent) say it has negatively impacted their life.

Of those, one-in-five (21 percent) say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner and one-in-ten (11 percent) have misled family or friends about their financial situation. Debt is not just impacting life at home, it has found ways to creep into all aspects of the day. Nearly a third (31 percent) admit to worrying about their debt in general while nearly one-in-five (18 percent) say they worry while at work and one-in-four (25 percent) worry at bedtime.

Living with debt has become a financial and mental burden for nearly three-in-ten Americans with debt (28 percent) who stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt. Nearly one-fifth of Americans with debt (19 percent) have received letters and calls from collection agencies. While the low interest rate environment has the potential to keep payments lower, one-in-four (25 percent) say that they’re worried a rate hike could change that.

Nearly seven-in-ten Millennials with debt (68 percent) admit it has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers (48 percent) and three-fifths of GenXers (59 percent) with debt. Most concerning, the survey found that of those with debt, Millennials are twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers (M: 43 percent, BB: 19 percent) and more than a third (37 percent) admit that their debt causes them to stress about everyday financial decisions.

Source: BusinessWire

World’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, enters the US (CNBC), Rated: A

The world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume is launching in the U.S.

BitFlyer, based in Tokyo, announced Tuesday it became the fourth digital currency exchange to receive a “BitLicense” to operate in New York. The exchange said it also has licenses to operate in 40 other states.

Former U.S. Comptroller Thomas Curry, Now At Boston Firm, Is Still Fintech Advocate (The National Law Journal), Rated: A

Curry, who was integral in leading the federal banking regulator’s efforts in advancing financial technology, including through the proposal of a special purpose national bank charter for fintechs, joined Nutter McClennen & Fish this week. He is a partner and will co-lead Nutter’s Banking and Financial Services practice group.

How involved with fintech do you plan to be?

That will be a key area and something I’m excited about working with the other members of the firm on. Fintech is interesting, especially if you’re talking about online lending and marketplace lending.

Do you expect the fintech charter will, in fact, move forward?

From my standpoint, I would not have pursued the charter without being very comfortable with the legal foundation for it.

How will you advise clients in the meantime until any special purpose charter is finalized?

Today institutions, banks as well, need to be making strategic decisions about which direction they’re going in. Well before you decide whether to apply to a fintech charter, you should be thinking through the process, so I think the time is now.

Here’s How Andreessen Horowitz & Union Square Ventures Are Betting On Blockchain (CB Insights), Rated: A

This year’s blockchain craze has pushed a huge amount of new money into cryptocurrencies, private blockchain projects, and companies holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). As of now, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies stands at more than $340B — a huge leap from where it started the year at $18B.

Source: CB Insights

Blockchain startup AlphaPoint names Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde CEO (Finextra), Rated: B

As it gears up for the launch of a public blockchain network promising to democratise asset digitisation, AlphaPoint has poached Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde and installed him as CEO.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans? (Credible), Rated: B

But you shouldn’t make the decision to refinance your loans lightly. Refinancing can help some borrowers save money, but what refinancing can do for you depends on a number of factors, including the repayment term and repayment options that you choose for your new loan.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Completes Latest Seedrs Round With More Than £1.6 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital completed its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs. The online lender launched the funding round last month and raised a total of £1,665,892.

Thistle and lender rescue developer (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

LendInvest has teamed up with specialist packager Thistle Finance to provide a developer with a £1.3m development exit finance loan.

The developer was set to move from his standard development finance rate on to a more punitive default rate on 1st December, which could have added 0.75% to his monthly interest payments.

However, the development exit finance loan provided by LendInvest – at around 70% LTV – will save the borrower 0.5% on the standard rate he had been paying.

Finance a vital resource as billing delays hit building industry (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Businesses in the UK construction sector have been hit by a leap in payment delays, with invoices taking an average of 69 days to be settled.

Analysis of more than 13,000 companies by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket, shows that delays have risen 8% in the past two years.

Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna (Retail-Systems), Rated: A

Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options.

Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.

Klarna’s second payment option – Slice it – gives shoppers the ability to spread the cost of any purchases over £60 into equal monthly instalments.

Proplend Joins the NACFB (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Wednesday, Proplend, a UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, announced it has joined the NACFB.

3 smart New Year’s resolutions for business owners (Funding Circle), Rated: B

  • Manage your stress level
  • Make smart money decisions – 
    • Improve your personal credit. Yes, this has everything to do with money. You see, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to score lower interest rates on the money you borrow. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, so it’s definitely a resolution worth making.
    • Compare financing offers. Some options just aren’t good for your business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the APR you’ll be paying, and compare multiple loans to pick the best deal.
  • Continue to learn
China

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The rise of online consumer loans in China has spawned a thriving black market in stolen user data.

Virtually non-existent in the country five years ago, consumer lending through websites and mobile apps has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months amid a proliferation of fintech start-ups that use big data to assess credit risk.

In a chatroom devoted to consumer lending on Tencent’s QQ social-media platform, the Financial Times contacted a person claiming to be an employee of an online lender who was offering user data for sale.

For Rmb4 ($0.61) per user, he offered to provide the full name, national ID number, phone number and loan limit. He added that for some borrowers, the data would also include a credit score from Sesame Credit, the unit of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial that sells credit scores to banks and consumer lenders with users’ consent.

Alibaba Seeking Biggest Stake in AI Startup SenseTime (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in discussions to invest about 1.5 billion yuan ($227 million) and become the largest backer of Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SenseTime, which says it’s valued at more than $2 billion, is backed by Qualcomm Inc. and considered one of the more advanced players in machine vision technology.

Uncertainties of overseas markets may transmit P2P risks back to China (Global Times), Rated: A

A number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies went public in the US this year. Those P2P firms have been growing quickly, with some venturing into high-risk segments such as campus loans and cash advances. As they go public overseas, it creates potential risks that may eventually affect China’s financial stability. Supervision is needed to bring the P2P lending sector in order.

That these companies listed in the US reflects several factors. One main reason is the companies are expanding. Most are underperforming, and some are in the red. US stock exchanges do not have strict requirements for indicators such as net profit and cash flow. Also, the US market attracts investors from all over the world, easily raising more funds.

China’s Lending Crackdown Is Notable for Three Reasons (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Policy makers from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission convened in Beijing on Nov. 23 to discuss new measures to crackdown on online consumer loan platforms, including those for payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. On the same day, Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial said it will enforce a cap of 24 percent on interest rates charged by lenders on its website, or 12 percentage points lower than current rates.

Although the measures haven’t been made public, our industry checks suggest three notable changes. First, the issuance of new licenses to online micro-loan platforms is being suspended, suggesting that regulators are scrutinizing online lending practices. Second, banks and bank-holding companies are being told not to buy loans underwritten by online platforms because such assets are deemed too risky. Third, turning the loans into securities will be forbidden because regulators believe securitization amplifies risks and gives investors less of an incentive to perform due diligence on the underlying assets.

So-called P2P online lending platforms have mushroomed from fewer than 10 to more than 2,000 in just over seven years, but only a few hundred operate with government-issued permits.

European Union

Digital Bank Revolut Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Features (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital only challenger bank Revolut is preparing to enter the cryptocurrency world with new features on their bank app to allow users to exchange and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While no official announcement has been made yet, Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile at Revolut, recently tweeted out Revolut’s intent to offer digital currency solutions.

Spanish Peer to Peer Lender Comunitae Suspends Activity Due to Fraud (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a report in El Español, peer to peer lender Comunitae has ceased all operations indefinitely due to fraud detected on the platform this past October. The Comunitae web site is still live but certain portions are not functional.

Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017 to Klarna and Daloc (Sweden Abroad), Rated: B

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands, The Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden are very proud to announce the winner of the Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017; Klarna.The prize aims to strengthen the Swedish-Dutch business relations and has been awarded since 2012 to Swedish related companies in the Netherlands.

International

Alibaba-Backed Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Digital Bank (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading.

The bank, backed by the country’s largest digital wallet of the same name, launched formally Tuesday and is targeting people who don’t have access to professional financial services. That aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to broaden access for the under-banked in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Paytm was one of fewer than a dozen entities that secured permits to start payments banks, which can accept deposits and remittances but cannot lend.

It said it will operate a mobile-first bank with zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance.

Cryptocurrencies and the ‘crowd’ are small businesses’ bank alternative (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

A major trend shaping the small-business landscape is the rise in cryptocurrency, which can provide alternative means for a variety of cross-border financial transactions.

Cryptocurrency is ideal for cross-border transactions in several ways. In addition to being secure and permanent, cryptocurrency transactions allow borrowers and lenders to sidestep time spent working through a bank, as well as converting from one currency to another. For many investors, the speed and convenience of cryptocurrency-based transactions presents an opportunity to magnify gains.

Along with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency can improve access to both payments and credit for SMEs.

International Fintech companies with > 5M funding (Crunchbase), Rated: A

TransferWise is an money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges.
Funding Circle is a lending platform focused exclusively on small businesses operating in in the U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe.
Blockchain is a web-based bitcoin platform that makes using bitcoin safe, easy, and secure for all consumers and businesses worldwide.
Building a bank as smart as your phone. Intelligent notifications, instant balance updates and financial management.
WeLab analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

Independent Asset Managers need to become polygamous (Finextra), Rated: A

Independent asset managers shall maintain relationships not only to custodians. Due to disintermediation and distributed ledger technology they will be able to profit from a much broader range of financial assets.

Source: Finextra

SWIFT warns banks on cyber heists as hack sophistication grows (Reuters), Rated: A

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency last month reported that Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) lost $500,000 in a cyber heist. BAE later said that attack was launched by a North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus, which many cyber-security firms believe was behind the Bangladesh case.

Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank lost $580,000 in a cyber heist, two Nepali officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Australia

FACEBOOK LIVE: Treasurer Scott Morrison on fintech and the banking royal commission (Business Insider), Rated: A

He’s now in Sydney at fintech business Prospa, the nation’s leading online lender to small business, where’s he talking to Business Insider about the sector as well as the 12-month investigation into misconduct by the banks.

See the video interview here.

India

Want a loan? Make sure you’re tweeting the right things (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The article that someone tweeted about, posts that they liked on Facebook, and a new phone just bought on an e-commerce site—all these events now play a crucial role in determining if an individual is eligible for a loan or not.

Online lending firms have seen rapid growth in the last two years, despite the presence of a wide network of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. That’s because, till 2015, about 70% of Indians remained under-served by banks and other financial institutions, an opportunity that these firms are trying to cash in on. Now, even banks and NBFCs are tying up with online lending firms to reach out to more customers.

The 166 million households that make up middle-income India—with annual earnings of between Rs2.2 lakh ($3,414) to Rs3.59 lakh ($5,572)—typically apply for personal loans to buy consumer durables, for weddings, to meet medical expenses, set up a new business, and the likes.

“We have about 80-90 parameters that are used to check a consumer’s credit worthiness. And that’s where technology comes into play to ensure that it can be done swiftly and efficiently,” said Satyam Kumar, co-founder, LoanTap, an online fintech platform that provides retail loans to salaried individuals.

Delhi start-up wins GIST pitch (The Hindu), Rated: B

GyanDhan, a Delhi-based start-up working in the space of education loans, emerged winner of a GIST pitch competition for enterprises in the Fintech and Digital Economy, one of the four focus sectors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, here on Wednesday.

Lupiya Circle, an online market place created by women in Zambia to financially empower women in the African nation through a branchless banking model was declared the runners-up.

MENA

Saudi Arabia puts buzz back into Mideast startup scene (Arab News), Rated: A

Since 2005, the top 200 funded startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $2 billion in capital, according to a report issued by MAGNiTT, which tracks the development of startups across the region.

To date, the majority of top funded startups in the region were established in the UAE, and the primary financial backers have also tended to be UAE-based.

But a recent uptick in funding from Saudi investment firms points to a developing ecosystem for startups in the Kingdom, according to MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy.

Bahoshy said that startups providing solutions for broader regional challenges such as sticky logistics and cross-border banking frictions stand the best chance of attracting meaningful investment.

2018 will be the year African fintech takes off (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Next year will be a good year for Sub-Saharan Africa. After a challenging 2017 for many of its nations, 2018 will see economic growth return across the continent, gas activity boom and fintech innovation pick up in speed.

So says Ecobank Research as it recently launched the newest version of its yearly Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook, which provides analysis on African markets for investors and businesses.

The research department of the Pan-African bank forecasts three key trends that will take hold across Africa during the next 12 months. GTR takes a closer look at them.

3. Africa’s evolving role in fintech leadership

But 2018, he emphasises, will see African fintech firms increasingly driving this innovation. “There will still be international investors, but the actual leadership of fintech development is going to start coming increasingly from the Africans. It’s not going to be the Europeans and Americans going in, saying, ‘you should do this’.”

Ecobank’s research highlights South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as tech hubs that will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors.

One fintech that has caught Ecobank’s attention in particular is IroFit, a firm that uses the mobile network to enable real-time financial payments without the need for an internet connection.

Other emerging innovations in Africa include digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’ or using blockchain technology for digital identity and KYC solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday October 17 2017, Daily News Digest

PeerIQ IMF

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter receives full FCA approval. PayPal’s market value eclipses American Express’s. Lending Club files 8-K entry into material definitive agreement. Some of Zopa’s loans are up for sale by P2PGI. Hexindai sets terms for U.S. IPO. PolicyBazaar becomes most-funded insurance aggregator worldwide. Today’s main analysis: Big bank earnings, IMF global growth forecast. Betterment vs. Wealthfront. Today’s […]

PeerIQ IMF

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United States

United Kingdom

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International

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United States

PayPal’s Market Value Eclipses AmEx, Nears Morgan Stanley, Goldman (WSJ), Rated: AAA

PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL +0.04% vaulted over American ExpressCo. AXP -0.20% in terms of market value this week, punctuating a rally that has pushed up the payments company’s shares by nearly 75% since the start of 2017.

Its market capitalization stands at about $83 billion, nearly double the $47 billion value it had when it spun off from eBay Inc. a little over two years ago.

PayPal is even gaining ground on Wall Street titans. Its market value is now about $6 billion less than Morgan Stanley ’s and about $10 billion less than that of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

PayPal, which reports earnings on Thursday, now trades at a multiple of about 32 times forward earnings, according to FactSet. So although its market value is about half that of Mastercard Inc. and about two-fifths that of Visa Inc., its earnings multiple is far dearer. Visa trades around 27 times forward earnings and Mastercard is around 29 times. AmEx, meanwhile, trades just shy of 15 times.

Ron Suber: We are in the Golden Age of Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

So what exactly is the “Golden Age of Fintech”?

Ron Suber: Innovation cycles take 50 years. PayPal started it in 1998, Lending Club and Prosper accelerated it in 2006 by giving people reasons to borrow and lend online … similar to how AOL and EBay gave people reasons to go on the World Wide Web in the early internet days. And now we are in the Golden Age of Fintech which is the middle 10 years of the 50 year innovation cycle.

How does this fit with the online lending space? Can early MPL/Online Lenders remain competitive? And what do they need to do to remain competitive?

Ron Suber: Yes, The keys (KPI’s = key performance indicators) continue to be:

A) Loan Performance

B) Equilibrium between capital and borrowers

C) Committed Long term, low cost of capital

D) Unique, diversified and low cost methods of acquiring borrowers

E) Increasing Life Time Value (LTV) with multiple loans and additional products

F) Platform efficiency, customer experience and profitability

G) Scale and Brand.

What is next for you? Was Lend360 really your final appearance as the “Godfather of Fintech”? Or is this the intermission before the next act?

Ron Suber: Lend360 was my last presentation in North America … I am heading back to Australia and Southeast Asia for the remainder of the year … then to Patagonia for a Q1 vacation and then onto Africa to do some teaching about lending and entrepreneurship with Opportunity International (OI). OI provides entrepreneurs around the world with access to loans, savings, insurance and training – tools that empower them to work their way out of poverty…..a hand up, not a handout.

[Editors Note: Ron has created his own “Rewirement” web site available here.

LendingClub Corporation (NYSE:LC) Files An 8-K Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement (Market Exclusive), Rated: AAA

On October 10, 2017, LendingClub Warehouse I LLC (“Warehouse”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation (the “Company” or “Lending Club”), entered into a Warehouse Credit Agreement (the “Warehouse Agreement”) with certain lenders from time to time party thereto (the “Lenders”), a large commercial bank as administrative agent (the “Administrative Agent”), and a national banking association as the collateral trustee (in such capacity, the “Collateral Trustee”) and as paying agent. to the Warehouse Agreement, the Lenders agree to provide a $250 million secured revolving credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) to Warehouse, which Warehouse may draw upon from the Credit Facility closing date until the earlier of October 10, 2019 or another event that constitutes a “Commitment Terminate Date” under the Warehouse Agreement. Proceeds under the Credit Facility may only be used to purchase certain unsecured consumer loans from the Company and related rights and documents and pay fees and expenses related to the Credit Facility.

IMF Raises Global Growth Forecast, GS Enters Fix-and-Flip, Deep Dive on Big Bank Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

During an unusual period of global synchronized growth, the IMF raised its Global Growth Forecast for 2017 and 2018 by 10 bps to 3.6% and 3.7%, respectively. The IMF also named nine banks that will struggle to achieve profitability.

Source: IMF

In securitization news, Marlette Funding Trust 2017-3 is expected to close at the end of October with $298 Mn in loans. MFT 2017-3 is the fifth ABS from this platform and the fourth on the MFT shelf (the first was on Citi’s CHAI shelf).

In this week’s newsletter, PeerIQ dives into the earnings and loan loss provisions for the major money center banks.

The big money center banks released earnings this week to a mixed reception although YTD stock performance is strong. FICC trading revenues were down year-over-year across the board. ROE levels for the big banks remain mired in the low double-digit area or lower.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Information

Highlights:

JP Morgan

  • JP Morgan is currently the largest US Bank ranked by total US Deposits, which has grown 9% year over year.
  • JP Morgan credit card costs were up about $200 Mn year-on-year driven by the successful Sapphire launch, and higher net charge-offs.
  • Q3 2017 provision for credit losses was $1.5 Bn, up from $1.3 Bn in the prior year. Currently at 3.3%, credit card allowance to total loans rose every quarter this year.

Citigroup

  • Citi built approximately $500 Mn in card loan loss reserves this quarter:
    • $150 Mn from regular seasoning and volume growth.
    • $50 Mn from hurricanes and other natural disasters.
    • $300 Mn attributable to forward-looking NCL expectations.
  • Citi expects NCL rate on branded cards to increase 10 bps in 2018 to 295 bps.
  • Citi shifted away from rewards oriented products and more towards value products due to heavy competition in rewards products (see Chase Sapphire Reserve). These cards typically have non-yielding promotional balances in the near term.

Bank of America

  • Quarterly profit rose 13% year over year.
  • Provision for loan losses increased by nearly 15% quarter over quarter while allowance for loan losses decreased 1.7% over the same period.
  • Allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total loans decreased to 1.15% from 1.19% last quarter and from 1.29% last year.

Wells Fargo

  • Wells Fargo was the only reporting bank that had decreasing negative returns YTD and a ROE decline YOY.
  • Revenue fell 2% year over year, and Wells is the only reporting bank to have falling revenues.
Source: PeerIQ, Company Information

It Was a Busy Quarter for Deals in Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Traditional Wall Street firms are keeping financial technology humming as they set their sights on developing technologies of their own. The third-quarter saw the second highest financing deal count ever, with 412 total transactions, according to a report from investment bank FT Partners.

Still, some areas are hotter than others. Banking — which includes peer-to-peer lending — and payments reported the most deals in the period. The largest was Softbank Group Corp.’s $250 million investment in online lending startup Kabbage Inc. Payments startups Toast Inc. and Raise Marketplace Inc. were also in the top 10 deals with $101 million and $60 million investments, respectively.

Robo-Advisor Teardown: How Betterment And Wealthfront Stack Up (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

In the battle for assets under management (AUM), incumbent wealth management firms have faced significant pressure from insurgent robo-advisors, as investors have poured over $1.6B into robo-advisors across 151 investments since 2013.

The two largest of these robo-advisors, Betterment and Wealthfront, have collectively raised $405M in aggregate funding to date and have both voiced the long-term goal of going public. Nearly a decade after launch, Betterment and Wealthfront together manage approximately $15.9B of assets for over 495K client accounts.

Some of the key takeaways from our analysis include:

  • Betterment continues to outpace Wealthfront in client accounts. As of Q1’17, Betterment managed approximately 330K accounts, nearly 2X as many accounts as Wealthfront (at 165K accounts).
  • Wealthfront has a higher growth rate than Betterment. As of their respective filings in Q1’17 and Q2’17, Wealthfront had added 65K accounts, representing 65% growth, while Betterment added 52K accounts and grew 19%.
  • Betterment has raised more than 2X the amount of funding as Wealthfront. Betterment has raised $275M total as of its latest investment (a $70M Series E – II round in Q3’17), while Wealthfront has raised $129.5M as of its last funding (a $64M Series D in Q3’14).
  • Betterment has taken the lead over Wealthfront for total AUM since 2015.
  • Wealthfront has consistently had a higher AUM per client. Wealthfront clients average $40.9K per account, compared to Betterment’s account average of $27.4K.

CLIENT ACCOUNTS: WEALTHFRONT COULD SURPASS BETTERMENT IN 3 YEARS

An analysis of the data shows that while Betterment leads Wealthfront in number of client accounts today, Wealthfront’s higher growth rate suggests that Wealthfront could surpass Betterment within 3 years. Wealthfront added 65K accounts in H1’17, representing 65% growth, while Betterment added 52K accounts and grew only 19% over the same period.

Comparing average AUM per client, Wealthfront has consistently had a higher AUM per client ($40.9K invested per account, vs. Betterment’s average of $27.4K), and as it continues to add additional services like PATH and the portfolio line of credit, that average could grow over time.

Source: CB Insights

 

ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT (AUM): BETTERMENT GROWTH SLOWS

Betterment grew AUM by approximately 13% since their last filing, their slowest quarter for growth. Again, this comes on the heels of the backlash against changes in Betterment’s fee structure in Q1’17. In contrast, Wealthfront set a new record for AUM growth in Q2’17, adding approximately $1.76B in AUM since the previous quarter. This was Wealthfront’s largest quarterly dollar increase in AUM.

Source: CB Insights

Mortgage startups blur lines between old and new capital strategies (National Mortgage News), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending is, in many respects, an evolution of the privately funded mortgage market, which has co-existed with mainstream lenders without posing much threat for years.

Technology used by marketplace lenders offers deeper insights and transparency into transactions, while more easily connecting investors and borrowers in disparate locations.

LendingHome has raised $110 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2013 and is looking for more. It’s done six bridge-loan securitizations totaling $183 million and has a marketplace lending vehicle where accredited investors can purchase fractional interests in loans.

This suggests that the legacy of fintech and marketplace lenders will not be defined by drawing lines between this new breed of lenders and mainstream incumbents, but rather by how those lines are blurred.

Source: National Mortgage News

Income&, while reaching out directly to investors, is working to serve retirees potentially more interested in accessing the mainstream mortgage market’s lower-risk cash-flows than taking on more risk in order to reach for yield the way marketplace lenders’ investor bases tend to.

The company structures the investments through a twist on traditional securitization.

SoFi Bails On Being A Bank (PYMNTS), Rated: A

“With SoFi’s leadership in transition, we’re withdrawing our application with the FDIC for now,” SoFi spokesman Jim Prosser said in a statement to Reuters. “A bank charter remains an attractive option when the time is right. This decision does not change our plans to make deposit accounts available through partner banks in the near future.”

Barclays CEO Says Bank Must Protect Payments Business From Apple, Amazon (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Barclays Plc will need to defend its advantages in the payments business from encroachment by technology companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc., according to Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley.

LendingHome adds $ 450 million to ramp up originations (National Mortgage News), Rated: A

A fund LendingHome began setting up earlier this year raised $100 million in commitments and established a $300 million credit facility that brings its total potential assets to $400 million.

LendingHome Opportunity Fund II is committed to buying more than $1 billion in high-yield bridge loans over a two-year period, but the company also will continue to sell loans to other investors through other existing channels.

Pefin Leverages Artificial Intelligence To Provide A Comprehensive Set Of Financial Advisory Services (Superb Crew), Rated: A

Q: Catherine, what is Pefin?

A: Pefin understands a user’s complete financial situation, including their current spending patterns, their debt and investments and their goals. An interactive chat experience helps users plan for life events that matter to them- like buying a home, having kids, sending them to college, and retiring in comfort. Pefin then incorporates the economy, markets, social security rules, federal and state taxes and much more to craft a thorough financial plan tailored to each user, showing the affordability of their plans. It provides ongoing advice on how they can save to achieve their plans, when they should repay debt, and whether investing is appropriate. If it is, Pefin also offers investment advice and portfolio management services through its SEC regulated subsidiary, Pefin Advisors. Pefin does not require that users invest through its platform, but if they choose to do so, it tailors each portfolio to help users achieve their plans.

Source: Superb Crew

Q: Who are the primary users of Pefin and what are some of the key challenges you are helping them solve?

The typical human advisor charges between $2,000 – $,5000 for a one-time financial plan and being static, it is obsolete moments after it is created. Robo-Advisors, while affordable, are unable to offer a comprehensive financial plan, instead focusing on recommending a generic portfolio (one of 10 or so static investment portfolios), primarily based on a risk level the user picks. Pefin’s AI stays on top of 2-5 million data points per user and updates plans real-time, ensuring the advice users receive is current and anything but generic. And Pefin does all this, for $10 a month. As for investments, Pefin requires no minimum investment size, and fees are 0.25% of assets under management, with the first $5,000 managed for free.

Q: Can you give us more insights into your Artificial Intelligence powered solution?

The neural network understands these financial rules and relationships, and propagates them forward in time, up to 80 years depending on the age of the client. The network starts with a user’s current finances and projects how they change over time with market conditions, inflation, taxes, government rules, and their plans. For any given user, the network evaluates anywhere from 2-5 million data points, depending on the complexity of their financial situation and financial plans are available 24/7.

BlueVine Expands Reach With up to $ 130 Million in New Debt Financing, Business Credit Line With Monthly Payments (PR Newswire), Rated: A

BlueVine is expanding its reach in online business lending with new debt financing of up to $130 million and a new additional line of credit product that allows business owners to make monthly, instead of weekly, payments, over 12 months.

BlueVine secured major funding as the company rolls out a 12-month business line of credit based on monthly payments, a new offering that would make it easier for business owners to meet their everyday funding needs.

BlueVine introduced the new product in response to client requests for a longer-term business line of credit with monthly payment plans. The new financing underscores the fintech pioneer’s commitment to innovation based on customer needs.

The new product gives business owners 12 months to repay each withdrawal in full, meaning lower payments each month.

Fintech market moves beyond lending (Financial Times), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs, arguably the world’s leading investment bank, has not been the greatest success story of recent times. After all the challenges of the 2008 financial crisis and the post-crisis regulatory glut, its profitability has declined sharply.

Today its stock market valuation, though far stronger than most banks, puts it on a so-called price-to-book valuation of 1.1 times. That is to say, its shares are worth 10 per cent more than the value of its net assets.

Compare that with the market’s view of Lending Club, the upstart peer-to-peer lender. Despite a scandal last year founded in slipshod controls, and a fall in the group’s share price from a 2015 high of more than $25 to barely a fifth of that today, it is relatively far more valuable than the Wall Street titan, with a price-to-book multiple of 2.6 times.

All that has yet to follow is a re-rating of Goldman stock — from bank to fintech. Though with barely $1bn of Goldman’s near $1tn balance sheet so far devoted to online lending, it may have a while to wait.

In a sign that the fintech business is maturing into more sophisticated areas, “regtech” is among the fastest-growing areas, accounting for a chunk of applications to the Future of Fintech awards.

Community Banks Take A Swing At FinTech Collaboration (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Community banks are typically a better bet for small businesses in search of a loan, with approval rates higher than those at larger financial institutions. But the latest data on SMB lending in the U.S. suggests a shift is ahead.

Earlier this month, Biz2Credit released its monthly Small Business Lending Index and found that approval rates at large banks increased more than they did at smaller community banks. And while community banks’ SMB loan approval rates are still higher than those at large banks (49.1 percent compared to 24.8 percent, respectively), separate analysis from the Federal Reserve, also published earlier this month, concluded that community banks are beginning to reexamine how small businesses fit into their broader loan portfolios.

The Fed found that small business lending at community banks actually declined in 2016, while SMB lending at big banks increased over the same period.

SENATE DEMOCRATS CLAIM A TOP BANKING REGULATOR IS SERVING ILLEGALLY IN HIS POSITION (The Intercept), Rated: A

SIX SENATE DEMOCRATS have asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Keith Noreika, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is illegally serving in office.

Noreika planned to serve temporarily until Joseph Otting, former CEO of OneWest Bank and Trump’s nominee for the OCC, was confirmed. But that hasn’t happened yet; Otting’s nomination has sat on the Senate calendar for over a month.

Special government employees are limited to 130 days of service over a 365-day period. The OCC contends that the number only refers to business days, meaning weekends can be taken off and Noreika still has until November to go. But “business days” appears nowhere in the statute.

No, Trello Didn’t “Fail To Build A Billion Dollar Business” (Medium), Rated: A

I’ve seen a lot of folks passing around that article about how Trello failed to build a billion dollar business. It’s stunningly obtuse.

The premise is that the software that was sold for a $400m acquisition was a failure because it wasn’t worth $1b.

When Fog Creek spun Trello off as its own entity, the amount of money they raised was $10m. That was the only money they ever raised, and it was all they needed to raise.

For almost anyone with a sincere connection to reality, a $400,000,000 exit is an amazing win.

The “Trello Failed” take is not only wrong…

Really, what is the issue with an exit that large, after a fundraise that small? I believe there’s a level of unicorn fetishism at play here that’s more than a little depressing. To think that on any level a company either reaches a billion dollars or has “failed” is to denigrate the work of entrepreneurs building amazing products and achieving amazing things.

I have no real interest in billion dollar companies. I’m interested in companies that serve their customers, build amazing products and make money. If they happen to reach a billion, that’s great. But getting to a billion is not a goal that keeps me up at night.

Companies Are Owning Less And Creating More Value (Forbes), Rated: A

Although our society and culture are slow to realize it, the assets of yesterday are quickly becoming the liabilities of today. This is true in business and in our individual lives as well.

Digital technology and digital assets, rather than physical things, are giving us options that are newer, faster, cheaper, and more convenient.  It appears that today, the less you own, the more have.

By owning less and relying on a network to share the load, they operate more profitably and scale rapidly and inexpensively, trouncing big, established, asset-heavy players.

So, what are we doing in a world where less (stuff) is becoming more (valuable) and access is trumping ownership?

  • First, we are lightening our balance sheets, both personal and corporate. People are carefully considering which assets they actually need to own, and what stuff actually creates more value than its cost of ownership.
  • Second, we are using our intangible assets, like skills, ideas, technology, and particularly relationships, to serve us in ways never before possible.
  • Third, we are identifying our own professional skills and differentiators for the gig economy.

Congress Should Fix Fintech Lending Model (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Rated: A

Originally announced for markup, the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 never made it to a vote. Yet, this is one of the most important bills Congress can pass this session, as it provides a legislative fix to a damaging U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, Madden v. Midland Funding.

Nonbank Fintech lenders are not currently chartered at the federal level. Instead, each Fintech lender is required to charter in each the state in which it originates loans. Each state sets its own regulations with regards to interest rates. Such a patchwork of different regulations means that Fintech lenders often cannot lend to customers in other states at the same interest rates that they lend to their in-state clients. This puts Fintech lenders at a competitive disadvantage, as solely state-chartered firms cannot offer consistent products nationwide that can provide benefits from economies of scale.

Source: CEI.org

Fintech’s Achilles heel: Reaching low-income consumers (American Banker), Rated: A

Over the last decade, fintech companies have launched robo-advisers, digitized lending, improved fraud detection and created virtual currencies. In short, fintech firms have helped change our understanding of what is possible in financial services.

However, the fintech revolution has largely ignored the financial needs of the bottom third of the U.S. population. For instance, fintech companies have so far failed to successfully create an alternative to credit scores for the 51% of people with subprime scores. Secondly, fintech firms have yet to help move our national savings rate in a positive direction. Thirdly, the amount of money that lower-income households have left over every month after paying their expenses is still declining despite fintech apps’ promise to help people budget. According to data from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the typical low-income household had $1,500 of income left over after expenses in 2004. In 2014, they were $2,300 in the red after expenses.

One explanation: Consumer spending dictates the preponderance of innovation and investment, and spending by 5% of households with the highest income now directs one-fifth of gross domestic product.

AI can help people save more of their paycheck

Close to half of Americans have expenses that equal or exceed their income, making every month a financial balancing act.

A fintech company could use artificial intelligence to identify patterns in someone’s past family financial behavior — both successful and unsuccessful — to recommend an easy-to-follow budget, send reminders or prompts, and eventually, say, help someone consistently lower expenditures and increase savings. Digit, for instance, is one example of a fintech company paving the way to do just that. The digital service mines someone’s checking account data to determine what he or she can afford to save and then Digit automatically transfers that amount into someone’s savings account.

Improve government-issued benefit cards

Each month, 52.2 million Americans receive government benefits — and most of them receive the benefits on a payment card. Most of these payment cards lack associated mobile apps that could make it easier for someone to check balances, track spending or fund savings. The cards also fail to let someone pay utility or phone bills directly.

Peer-to-peer platforms that enable lending between friends and family

Twenty percent of Americans have a credit score below 600 and another 19.3% of Americans are considered to be “unscored” or “credit invisible.”

Pro-consumer auto and mortgage loan calculators

In 2014, auto loans (29%) and mortgages (28%) were the second and third largest debt categories in America. In a world where visiting two additional mortgage brokers (or getting two more quotes) could save someone over $24,000 over the lifetime of their loan, the lack of clarity and understanding when people are signing their loan documents is reprehensible.

Wall Street Veteran Joins PeerStreet To Lead Capital Markets Team (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, is excited to announce the appointment of Louis Nees as Head of Capital Markets. He will be based in the firm’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

In this role, Nees is responsible for leading PeerStreet’s Capital Markets team, which plays a crucial part in interfacing with the growing number of investors seeking to invest in loans on PeerStreet. The company recently surpassed half a billion in cumulative loans funded, all with zero losses to investors, and monthly origination volumes now reach above $50 million.

With his deep Wall Street background, Nees will provide key guidance on multiple and varied capital sources for PeerStreet.

Centana Growth Partners Expands Investment Team with Senior Hires (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Centana Growth Partners (Centana), a unique growth equity firm focused on the future of financial services, today announced an expansion of its investment team with the hiring of Tom Davis, Principal, and Matthew Alfieri, Vice President. Mr. Davis and Mr. Alfieri join the firm after the successful close of its $250 million fund earlier this year.

Mr. Alfieri joins Centana from Goldman Sachs where he spent nine years, most recently as a Vice President with the Principal Strategic Investments team, where he invested in financial technology and enterprise technology companies.

Kansas AG’s office targeting student loan scammers (WIBW News Now), Rated: B

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is joining the Federal Trade Commission and ten of his colleagues from other states in a coordinated crackdown against student loan scammers.

“The student loan market is the second largest debt market after mortgages,” said Schmidt. “There’s more than $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loan balances around the country.”

Around 42 million Americans have student loan debt.

United Kingdom

UK Peer-To-Peer Lender RateSetter Receives FCA Regulatory OK (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter on Tuesday said it had received full regulatory authorisation from the country’s Financial Conduct Authority watchdog.

P2PGI puts portion of Zopa loans up for sale (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER investment trust P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has appointed Deutsche Bank to sell off 31,153 Zopa loans in its portfolio in the latest securitisation activity in the sector.

The bank is offering the loans in three tranches worth £208.9m overall.

The average value is £7,488 with an average interest rate of 7.2 per cent and remaining term of 45.7 months, Deutsche Bank said.

Inflation hitting higher income households hardest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

NEW analysis by investment and financial planning group Tilney has revealed that the wealthiest households have experienced a much higher rate of inflation over the last two decades than everyone else.

In its household inflation index report, Tilney calculated that the top 10 per cent of households – those with incomes above £78,500 a year – have seen overall inflation of 64 per cent since 1997. That’s compared to 50.7 per cent for typical households (those with incomes of £26,900 to £30,000 a year) and 53.8 per cent for the lowest income families (less than £10,400).

Inflation has grown sharply in recent months, hitting a higher-than-expected 2.9 per cent in August, making it ever more difficult to savers to find an inflation-beating return from conventional savings accounts, adding to the allure of the peer-to-peer lending market.

Payday P2P lender Welendus receives full FCA approval (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA.)

The milestone comes a year after the company was formed.

The platform, which wants to shake-up the payday lending market by offering more reasonable interest rates than its competitors, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs in January to raise £300,000, but closed that campaign two weeks ago and instead started a new one to raise £100,000.

Moneyfarm is changing the face of wealth management (City A.M.), Rated: A

Moneyfarm is one of the new kids on the block. Founders Giovanni Dapra and Paolo Galvani left behind their City careers to set it up in 2011. It’s an app-based digital wealth management platform, which expanded into the UK from Italy last year. Dapra, the firm’s chief executive, is on a mission.

Since moving to London, the business has doubled its user base, now managing £260m in assets across the UK and Italy.

As well as a partnership with Allianz Global Investors, and launching separate partnerships with Uberand Revolut, Moneyfarm is in the process of launching a pension product.

Fewer people are saving into a private pension plan than at any point for the past 60 years. Auto-enrolment has gone some of the way to curing this ill, yet still there is a reluctance to think ahead.

Collaboration brings benefits to business at every level, say bosses (The Yorkshire Post), Rated: A

One banking leader said that the rise of fintech and challenger banks had forced his and other large scale banks to collaborate more widely while all assembled agreed that universities and business leaders should work together more closely for the benefit of students as well as their respective organisations.

Pete Sumners, director of corporate structure finance at Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, said that recent innovations in disruptive lending technology has meant that the banking sector at large had had to admit it did not have the technology to offer certain services and as such was forced to work with fintech companies: “In terms of banking, not just CYBG, collaboration has been forced on us by competition.

Simon Pilling, partner at Bond Dickinson, agreed that the rise of artificial intelligence had meant professional services had needed to change their business model but that there was still a need for skilled lawyers in all ends of the process.

Future of Fintech Awards shortlist 2017 (Financial Times), Rated: A

There are two categories; the Impact Award is for larger and more established fintech companies, which are starting to have an effect on the financial services industry, while the Innovation Award is for newer fintech companies that are bringing out novel solutions.

Impact Award

Funding Circle, a direct lending platform that connects investors to borrowers, is shortlisted for the second year running for our Impact Award. With valuation of more than $1bn it is one of the UK’s “unicorns” and the largest British online “peer-to-peer” company by cumulative amount lent. More than £3bn has now been lent through the platform, with £1.1bn of that in 2016.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“The company is big enough to be making an impact in small business lending now.”

Ant Financial Services, founded in 2014, is an affiliate of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“This is clearly one of the most innovative and impactful fintech companies of the moment, changing the landscape completely.”

California based Ripple, founded in 2012, has grown to be one of the world’s biggest blockchain networks. It allows businesses to transfer money globally at low cost using its own cryptocurrency XRP.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“This is no longer a prototype. Ripple is actually sending blockchain payments through. Many of these are still test payments but it is further than a lot of others.”

EFL Global provides alternative credit scoring for people who have previously been outside the banking system.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“There were many credit scoring entries and we liked what many of these were doing in terms of giving more people access to finance. However, we particularly liked the way EFL went beyond traditional credit score information.”

Digital Reasoning uses cognitive computing techniques to detect rogue traders at financial services companies.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“We thought this idea was cool. Cutting rogue trader activity and fraud at banks is a serious issue with consequences beyond just the banks themselves.”

Innovation Award

Micro finance lending platform QCash Financial was founded by the Washington State Employee Credit Union as an alternative to expensive payday loans.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“We liked this because it was an alternative to payday lending and an instance of an established financial institution doing something innovative.”

Token is creating an open banking platform aimed at making it easier for people, businesses and financial institutions to move money around. Using digital identity and smart tokens it offers a way for people to give third parties access to their account details in a secure and simple way.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“This is solving the problem that PSD2 brings, where banks need to provide APIs to authorised third parties. Token simplifies the many APIs and is already integrating 10 banks into the system.

RSRCHXchange was founded in 2014 as a one-stop-shop for asset management firms to purchase research services from banks, brokers and boutique providers. It will be particularly useful in helping banks comply with the EU’s new Mifid II rules, which come into force at the start of 2018.

THE JUDGES SAID:

This is solving a problem that comes with Mifid II. A more sophisticated solution than others in the market.

Bricklane.com is an online property ISA allowing anyone to participate in the housing market with an initial investment of as little as £100.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“We liked this because it is creating a new product. The founders say the main competitor is cash, with most of their funds coming from people transferring their ISAs.”

Castlight Financial is aiming to prevent another credit crunch by providing a more accurate way to assess what a consumer can afford to borrow. It collects data in real time from customers’ banks accounts, including income and expenditure, and uses these to build a clear picture of a their monthly disposable income. People who may have previously been refused loans because banks had too little data about them may become eligible for credit. Castlight says it can also speed up the mortgage decision process from six weeks to 10 minutes.

THE JUDGES SAID:

“The idea of better credit scoring is attractive and it is significant that the company has made a profit from the first year and has not had to take any financing.”

SMEs are ignoring their credit score (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ALMOST half (44 per cent) of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have never checked their credit score, new research from RateSetter Business Finance shows.

The study, released on Monday, found that a further six per cent have opted against checking their score in the last year, while less than one in five (18 per cent) have checked the score in the last six months.

The peer-to-peer lender pointed out that credit scores are an integral part of establishing whether a business has a decent record of repaying debt, and have a significant impact on their chances of getting further finance.

Epiphany appointed by Wonga to help with brand perception (Prolific North), Rated: B

Leeds search specialist Epiphany has been appointed to help improve the brand perception of payday loan company Wonga.

Epiphany will work in partnership with Wonga’s content agency, Cedar, on brand perception and delivering a customer-first multi-channel content strategy.  The agency will also be responsible for driving traffic and enquiries from organic search.

China

Chinese peer-to-peer marketplace Hexindai sets terms for $ 58 million min-max US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

Hexindai, a Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its min-max US IPO on Monday. The offering is being made on a best-efforts, min-max basis and therefore will not be included in our IPO stats.

The Beijing, China-based company plans to raise at least $30,000,000 by offering a minimum of 2.7 million ADSs and a maximum of 8.9 million ADSs at a price range of $9 to $11. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Hexindai would command a fully diluted market value of $487 million.

European Union

Credimi: four asset management funds renovate and increase the commitment up to €72.5 million (Credimi Email), Rated: AAA

Barely a year after the launch, Credimi – the digital financing platform for SMEs that makes liquid the working capital in short time at low costs – has renewed the agreement with the four primary investment funds. They committed up to 72,5M€ to purchase the entire portfolio of commercial credits originated by the fintech platform.

Credimi is a fintech company officially authorized by the Bank of Italy to the public financing activity according to the dispositions contained in the new art.106 of the Banking Consolidated Law. The company will be able to provide funding to SMEs up to €300 million in the next months .

The four partners previously involved, Anima Sgr, Anthilia Capital Partner Sgr, BG Fund Management Luxembourg S.A. and Tikehau Capital, have decided to renew the agreement. Credimi is therefore reinforcing the attractiveness of its notes, which are the among the most profitable and diversified asset class among investments with a comparable risk profile.  In fact, the notes combine an average life of the underlying invoices of less than 3 months with a spread around 450 base points and credit losses of 0.3%.  Credimi finances hundreds of SMEs with average ticket of 20,000€, creating a low risk, diversified portfolio.

The portfolio subscribed by the four noteholders is untranched and pays a quarterly  coupon. Additionally, Credimi continues to keep a stake of around 5% (as fifth noteholder alongside with the other four) to have ‘skin in the game’. This is not requested by law as the note is untranched and is ensured by Credimi to the noteholders on a voluntary basis.

Since launch on the market, Credimi has achieved outstanding results, exceeding initial expectations: €40million of loans have been delivered to Italian SMEs and more than 2.000 invoices have been financed. The same strong  results have been obtained with the Supply Chain financing: by signing deals with corporations – such as Ariston Thermo, Jab group (Jimmy Choo and Bally), Pittarosso and few others – Credimi helps large enterprises to finance their suppliers at competitive prices and with an unmatched flexibility.

International

Lenddo and EFL Team Up to Lead Financial Inclusion Revolution (Lenddo Email), Rated: A

United by the common vision of providing financial inclusion for more than one billion new and underserved individuals across the globe, Lenddo and EFL will together provide a suite of credit scoring and identity verification products to more than 20 emerging markets.

Lenddo and EFL have individually facilitated over 5 million credit assessments since inception, allowing more than 50 financial institutions to disburse over $2 billion USD in credit to people with limited information. The combined company will work directly with banks, telcos, retailers, microfinance institutions and insurers to serve individuals and small businesses.

The first joint product offering goes live in Asia and Latin America today, with additional products and features scheduled for release in the coming months.

Australia

Australian banking doesn’t need Google to be competitive (Financial Review), Rated: A

A leading member of Australia’s fintech community has backed the view of veteran bankers that technology giants will be dissuaded from setting up shop in Australia and taking on the big four. But the disrupters see different reasons for Google’s absence.

SocietyOne CEO Jason Yetton said for the tech companies with the resources it wasn’t a question of whether they could disrupt the incumbents but whether they should do so.

In Australia there is a raft of smaller companies looking to carve out their own share of the financial services market including personal loans company Ratesetter, layby purchases Afterpay and online lender Zipmoney.

Tyro is a payments and technology company that also lends to small businesses. It also has Australia’s newest banking licence and is therefore subject to the same oversight as other authorised deposit taking institutions (ADIs).

Online Lender Prospa Forms New Partnership With Retail Marketplace MyDeal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Prospa, an Australian online lender for small businesses, has formed a partnership with Gandel-backed retail marketplace MyDeal, which will allow retailers on its platform to apply for loans of up to $250,000.

Senvirtne and his MyDeal team will be receiving a 1-2% small commission for every loan that comes through the marketplace.

India

PolicyBazaar Raises $ 77M at a $ 500M Valuation (Coverager), Rated: AAA

Gurgaon-based PolicyBazaar announced it has raised $77M in a Series E round led by Wellington Management , with participation from IDG Ventures India and True North; to name two. The online insurance aggregator has raised a total of $146.6M since its inception in 2008 and is currently valued at $500M.

According to VCCiRCLE, the company plans to go public by the end of 2018 after breaking even in November 2016.

Source: Coverager

Micro-lending startup KrazyBee raises $ 8M, plans to enter payday-loan segment (YourStory), Rated: A

On Monday, Bengaluru-based micro-lending startup KrazyBee said it had raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Xiaomi Technologies and Chinese venture capital fund Shunwei Capital. The funding raised was a combination of equity and debt, with participation from Essel Group’s E-City Ventures and RK Group.

The funding announcement comes within a year of the firm raising $3 million pre-Series A round in January from Plum Ventures. Prior to this, KrazyBee had raised a seed round of $2 million in May 2016.

Until July this year, the company claimed they had disbursed 80,000 loans and processed close to 170,000 loan applications. As of October 2017, the company had disbursed close to 150,000 loans and processed above 200,000 loan applications.  The founder claims that of this number, 75,000 loans have already matured with steady settlement.

The average size of loans by KrazyBee is around Rs 15,000 with the maximum tenure being 12 months.

Lending and borrowing limits on peer-to-peer lending platforms (Livemint), Rated: B

Many lenders find P2P platforms attractive because of their potential for giving higher returns, compared to fixed and savings bank deposits. In fact, these platforms also market their services by comparing the returns from P2P lending with returns from mutual funds. It is important to note here that these platforms cannot guarantee any return.

Thus, the RBI imposed limits on how much can be lent and how much can be borrowed by individuals from these platforms—to limit the risk exposure of individuals.

If such a person was to take a personal loan from a bank, it would come at 16-17%. Through P2P lending they can get that loan at around 14%. Those with low credit scores typically go to other NBFCs, and get loans at 22-23%.

No borrower can have loans of more than Rs10 lakh, from all the P2P platforms combined; and no more than Rs50,000 from one lender. All loans through P2P platforms come with a payback period that cannot be more than 36 months.

APAC

Markel International Launches Fintech Insurance for Asian Market (Insurance Journal), Rated: A

Markel International, the specialist insurer, has unveiled a fintech policy offering comprehensive protection for businesses in the financial technology sector in Asia, having successfully launched it in the UK early last year.

Coverage also extends to the costs involved when sensitive documents or data are lost.

On top of the professional indemnity core cover, the policy offers protection for three additional perils to protect clients against their key exposures:

  • Directors’ and officers’ liability cover protects against claims of mismanagement, which could be brought by shareholders, employees, creditors or regulators.
  • Theft option covers the insured against the stealing of money or other financial instruments, through both electronic and non-electronic means, including through extortion. It will also cover the cost of rectifying computer systems following a theft.
  • Cyber liability and loss cover provides protection if the insured suffers a network security incident, such as a hack, denial of service attack, or a computer virus, and will also cover business interruption losses arising from such an incident. This section includes cover for the cost of rectifying computer systems following a network security incident.

Baker McKenzie snags top G+T partner (Australasian Lawyer), Rated: B

Baker McKenzie has snagged a top partner from Gilbert + Tobin.

In addition to his knowledge in DCM matters, McGrath brings to Baker McKenzie a practice that covers a wide range of areas, including securitisation, leveraged and general finance, peer-to-peer lending, insolvency and restructuring, blockchain, and smart contracts.

Africa

SA’s Retailer Pick n Pay Reaches 200 000 Money Transfer Users (Tech Financials), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s Pick n Pay announced on Tuesday that it has 200 000 registered money transfer customers as of 27 August 2017.

The largest online grocery business in Africa is in partnership with digital bank TymeDigital, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank, to deliver money transfer.

In line with its plans to launch a digital bank, TymeDigital was recently awarded a banking licence by the South African Reserve Bank, a first in 18 years.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Prosper

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper performance update for July 2017.Top Mozido executives quietly left company.White House OKs delay of fiduciary rule.Funding Circle kicks off 12M marketing campaign with TV ad.LATTICE80 to open London fintech hub.Klarna profits up 130%+.RateSetter hits 2,000 broker milestone. Today’s main analysis: Millennials prefer auto, personal loans to credit cards. Today’s […]

Prosper

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

South America

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Prosper Performance Update: July 2017 (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Today we are sharing performance data from the Prosper portfolio for July 2017.

Our risk team implemented a credit tightening in July aimed at removing certain populations of borrowers from originations on a go-forward basis. As a result of this credit tightening, the overall distribution of the book shifted slightly towards lower risk loans. This slight shift resulted in an overall portfolio coupon decrease of 45bps and an overall return estimate decrease of 26bps.

Additional highlights from the July Update include:

  • Charge-off levels in 2016H2 vintages continue to show meaningful improvement compared to 2016H1 vintages.
  • Periodic delinquencies moved higher for 2016 and 2017 vintages.
Source: Prosper

The Top Executives Of Former Fintech Unicorn Mozido Have Quietly Left The Company (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The top two executives of Mozido, a financial technology company that raised some $300 million to develop a mobile payments business, have quietly left the company.

On its web site, Mozido currently lists Todd Bradley as its CEO, but Bradley said in a brief interview that he left the company in June. Bradley’s departure appears to have left Mozido without a chief executive officer. Bradley has also left Mozido’s board but the company’s web site still lists Bradley as a director.

Scott Ellyson, Mozido’s chief financial officer who is listed on Mozido’s web site as its second-most senior executive, has also left the company, according to Bradley. Ellyson’s LinkedIn page currently does not mention his time at Mozido. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Three weeks ago, Michael Liberty, the founder of Mozido, was sentenced to four months in prison and a $100,000 fine by a federal judge. Liberty pleaded guilty in November 2016 to making illegal campaign contributions.

Digitalization Among Factors Pushing Millennial Credit Preferences Toward Auto and Personal Loans (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

As the first generation to be fully immersed in mass-market digitalization, Millennials are slowing their credit card usage while increasingly using other credit products such as personal loans. A just-released TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy found that Millennials are carrying on average two fewer bankcards and private label cards than Generation X (“Gen X”) consumers at the same respective ages. Conversely, Millennials’ appetite for new auto and personal loans has grown at a faster rate than Gen X borrowers at the same age points.

Credit Cards Out of Fashion; Cars and Personal Loans in Style

The study found that, in addition to carrying fewer credit cards than Gen X consumers, Millennials also are maintaining lower balances on those cards. TransUnion analysts believe that this is partly driven by the CARD Act of 2009, which limited the marketing of credit cards on college campuses. The increased use of debit cards also plays a role in this shift. The study pointed to recent Federal Reserve data, which found that debit card transactions grew from 8 billion in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015. In contrast, credit card transactions only increased from 16 billion to 34 billion in that same timeframe.

Source: TransUnion

Millennials and Mortgages

Among all major credit products, the mortgage market has been the slowest to recover from the Great Recession, with home ownership rates still below levels observed in 2009. Overall, homeownership is down 0.8% since the Recession, but this number grows to -1.6% for 35-44 year olds and -2.1% for those under 35.

As a result of credit access being limited and, per the U.S. Census Bureau, affordability being affected by income gaps between the two generations, TransUnion’s study found the percentage of Millennials opening mortgages between the ages of 21-34 (5%) is nearly half of the Gen X group (10%) when they were that age. TransUnion observed a smaller but still material gap (13% for Millennials vs. 16% for Gen X) within the Super Prime risk tier, suggesting that this dynamic is not driven solely by credit supply.

TransUnion’s study found that access to mortgages has declined dramatically for 21-34 year olds. In 2000, 39% of mortgage originations in this age range were comprised of non-prime borrowers.  In 2016, non-prime borrower originations declined to 20%.

Further impacting mortgage originations to Millennials are lower income levels. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income of consumers ages 25-34 declined from $60k in 2000 to $57k in 2015.  The impact can be seen in the housing status of these consumers: a larger portion of younger adults ages 25-29 are living with their parents, rising from 15% in 2000 to 25% in 2014.

Despite these challenges, a TransUnion survey of 1,340 consumers in July 2017 found that nearly 75% of Millennials ages 23-37 said they plan on purchasing a home in the future.

White House OKs DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: AAA

The Office of Management & Budget of the White House has approved the Department of Labor’s request to push back the final implementation date of its fiduciary rule — originally scheduled for January — to July 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Banks Send Warning Signs for Economy (WSJ), Rated: A

Being a key transmission mechanism for savings, investment and spending, the banking sector is worth watching as a barometer for the health of the overall economy. Lately it has been acting as one would expect toward the end of an expansion phase.

Most glaringly, after strong lending growth for several years, momentum clearly is slowing. In its quarterly report on the sector, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found that total loans and leases by banks and other insured institutions rose by just 3.7% from a year earlier at the end of June. That is the third consecutive quarterly deceleration and is down from a 6.7% pace of growth a year ago.

After a period of strong lending, it is also typical for defaults to start ticking up as levels of indebtedness rise and bills come due. This is indeed happening, at least among consumers. Credit-card charge-offs soared by 24.5% in the second quarter, according to the FDIC, marking the seventh straight increase. Charge-offs on loans to commercial and industrial borrowers, however, declined by 9.7%, possibly due to a recovering energy sector.

‘Madden fix’ bills are a recipe for predatory lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Currently pending in both houses of Congress are versions of the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act of 2017 — bills that would “fix” the 2015 appellate court decision in Madden v. Midland Funding LLC. Unfortunately, these so-called legislative solutions are based on a faulty reading of case law.

The Madden case held that National Bank Act preemption of state usury laws applies only to a national bank, and not to a debt collector assignee of the national bank. The decision has potentially broad implications for all secondary markets in consumer credit in which loan assignments by national banks occur: securitizations, sales of defaulted debt and rent-a-BIN lending.

Unfortunately, the “Madden fix” bills are overly broad and unnecessary and will facilitate predatory lending.

The actual “valid-when-made” doctrine provides that the maker of a note cannot invoke a usury defense based on an unconnected usurious transaction. The basic situation in all of the 19th-century cases establishing the doctrine involves X making a nonusurious note to Y, who then sells the note to Z for a discount. The discounted sale of the note can be seen as a separate and potentially usurious loan from Y to Z, rather than a sale. The valid-when-made doctrine provides that X cannot shelter in Y’s usury defense based on the discounting of the note. Even if the discounting is usurious, it does not affect the validity of X’s obligation on the note. In other words, the validity of the note is a free-standing obligation, not colored by extraneous transactions.

Recovering Non-Performing Loans: Better Options (Lend Academy), Rated: A

A small business lender knows that a certain percentage of loans will become NPLs and typically has parameters the business must stay within to remain profitable. The lender may pursue NPLs on an in-house basis indefinitely past the charge-off date or turn them over to a collections agency at some point. Both options create problems in the fintech business model.

The best recovery option for online small business lenders is to manage NPLs in-house until they become charge-offs, then use the services of a reputable commercial debt buyer. This is how it works.

  • The lender works with the commercial debt buyer on a one-time basis, periodically, or in a forward-flow relationship where NPL information is sent regularly to the buyer.
  • A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is signed and the lender provides information to the buyer on the pool of non-performing assets. This includes the number of accounts and amount of outstanding balances.
  • Buyer assigns a value to the NPLs and offers a price.
  • Lender signs the purchase agreement. Typically, buyers in forward-flow relationships will send payment within 24 hours.
  • Reputable buyers then work to collect the debts over time, without using the lender’s name and in a sensitive manner, and without reselling the debt.

TEN-X PARTNERS WITH MONEY360 TO OFFER FINANCING SERVICES FOR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION MARKETPLACE (Money360), Rated: A

Ten-X Commercial, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, today announced that it has partnered with Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender focused on commercial real estate (CRE), to offer financing for properties available for sale. The partnership will expand the investor pool for commercial properties listed on Ten-X by giving prospective buyers assurance they will be able to procure the necessary financing to fill the deal’s capital stack, while providing sellers and their brokers increased confidence that once terms are agreed upon, buyers will be able source a loan and close the deal.

Under the agreement, Money360 will work with Ten-X to determine which commercial properties listed on the Ten-X platform are appropriate for pre-arranged financing, and will then pre-underwrite bridge and/or permanent loans for qualifying properties. The lender’s offers will be listed on the Ten-X property detail page, informing prospective buyers about the available financing terms. After the property trades, Money360 will work with buyers to underwrite, process and close the loans to facilitate the transaction.

Non-Prime Boomers Struggle Financially, but Less So Than Other Generations (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Despite the widespread perception that Baby Boomers (ages 51-64) are struggling to make ends meet more than any other generation, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class has found that Baby Boomers are actually struggling the least. In fact, Baby Boomers are the most likely to have steady employment and run out of money less often, compared to data from previous studies.

“These findings come as a surprise, as they are counter-intuitive to many of the trends we have seen widely covered around Baby Boomers,” said Jonathan Walker, executive director of Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class. “Recently, it was reported by the Federal Reserve that Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce in such large droves that they are skewing employment numbers, but we’ve found that 60 percent of non-prime Boomers have had no employment change in the last 12 months, compared with 59 percent of Gen-X and 43 percent of Millennials.”

But even though they struggle less than other non-prime generations, they are still facing challenges in the new economy, especially when compared to their prime counterparts. Non-prime Boomers are more likely to hold more than one job and are 10 times more likely to run out of money every month.

Additional key findings include that – compared to their prime cohorts – non-prime Boomers are:

  • 2.2x as likely to say that their finances cause them significant stress
  • 4x as likely to live paycheck to paycheck and 1 in 6 use payday loans
  • 14x as likely to express difficulty predicting monthly income and are 2.5x more likely to overdraft on bank account
  • 3x as likely to take a loan against their 401k
  • 46 percent less likely to go on vacation
  • More likely to be living in households with 3 or more working adults

How Gen Z Will Affect The Future Of The Peer To Peer Economy (Forbes), Rated: A

Born in the mid-1990s to late 2000s, Gen Z accounts for one-quarter of the U.S. population. They are considered the most diverse and most multicultural generation the U.S. has ever seen. The highly influential Gen Zers are the first digital native generation. They are already impacting the current peer-to-peer (P2P) economy and will have an enormous effect on how this economy evolves.

Gallup study found that about 8 in 10 students in grades 5 through 12 reported that they wanted to be their own boss rather than work for someone else.

Additionally, a millennial branding studyreported that 72% of high school students and 64% of college students want to start their own business.

PUBLIC COMPANIES MAKING ICO-RELATED CLAIMS (Investor.gov) Rated: A

The SEC may suspend trading in a stock when the SEC is of the opinion that a suspension is required to protect investors and the public interest.  Circumstances that might lead to a trading suspension include:

  • A lack of current, accurate, or adequate information about the company – for example, when a company has not filed any periodic reports for an extended period;
  • Questions about the accuracy of publicly available information, including in company press releases and reports, about the company’s current operational status and financial condition; or
  • Questions about trading in the stock, including trading by insiders, potential market manipulation, and the ability to clear and settle transactions in the stock.

The SEC recently issued several trading suspensions on the common stock of certain issuers who made claims regarding their investments in ICOs or touted coin/token related news.  The companies affected by trading suspensions include First Bitcoin Capital Corp.CIAO GroupStrategic Global, and Sunshine Capital.

RealtyShares Reports: $ 10.3 Million Raised for Industrial Real Estate Deals in San Francisco and Boston MSA (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online real estate marketplace RealtyShares announced on Tuesday the closing of two industrial real estate financing transactions in San Francisco and Boston MSA. The amount raised between the deals was $10.3 million.

RealtyShares stated it secured  $8.7 million industrial debt loan for a San Francisco located mixed-use, industrial warehouse and office space in the city’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood.

Westlake Financial Services Embraces Clarity Services’ Clear Fraud to Enhance Its Auto Lending Nationwide (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Following impressive results using Clear FraudTM to mitigate losses in targeted auto lending transactions, Westlake Financial Services has expanded its relationship with Clarity Services to strengthen its auto portfolio nationwide.

Westlake, which has a network of more than 50,000 new and used auto and motorcycle dealers throughout the United States, began testing Clear FraudTM a year ago in select markets. The California-based finance company has enhanced its profitability by using Clear FraudTM to provide loan terms that are more attractive to both consumers and dealers.

By incorporating Clarity’s credit data, Westlake is able to more accurately price and structure deals with profitable loan terms, and determine down payment requirements. Westlake’s use of Clear FraudTM helps the lender evaluate subprime applicants with credit scores below 600. Clear FraudTM also makes it easy to integrate scores into Westlake’s existing scorecard.

AirFox Closes $ 6.5 Million AirToken Pre-Sale Weeks Ahead of Schedule (News BTC), Rated: A

AirFox, the company making mobile data and the internet more affordable for millions of people, today announced it closed its $6.5 million ICO pre-sale weeks earlier than scheduled. The ICO will open at 10 a.m. ET on September 19, 2017. AirFox will use the ICO funds raised to further develop and launch its new blockchain consumer platform, AirToken (AIR), in order to tokenize mobile access by unlocking mobile capital from the smartphone for the underserved and underbanked prepaid mobile subscribers in emerging markets.

FinTechs Give Banks A Wake-Up Call With Loan Disbursements (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Not too long ago, when small- to mid-sized business (SMB) Orion First, a business credit ratings firm, needed a loan, its only option was to visit a local bank, fill out myriad application forms and wait several weeks or months to (maybe) get approved. Fast forward to today, and the small business lending process has undergone a significant overhaul.

With a growing number of FinTech players competing in the lending space, small businesses now have improved access to a range of loan options — and, in most cases, funds are disbursed in as little as 24 hours.

New services that can expedite the lending process for companies like Orion First are already gaining popularity with SMBs and consumers who need short-term loans. The Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), a trade organization representing several companies in the space — including prominent players like small business loan provider Kabbage and financial consultant and insights provider PayNet — says its member companies have distributed more than $14 billion in capital loan disbursements to small businesses to date.

The millennial population is estimated at roughly 83 million, and a recent survey found almost half of millennials (49 percent) plan to start their own businesses within the next three years.

recent survey by YouGov found 81 percent of both retail consumers and SMBs who turned to digital lenders said the ease and speed of completing a loan application were the reasons they made the switch. In the same survey, 77 percent of respondents cited the rapid pace of loan decision making as the key appeal for these platforms.

3Q 2017 PitchBook Fintech Analyst Note: Marketplace Lending (PitchBook), Rated: B

Key takeaways & highlights:

  • Online lenders have faced increased competition from other more established fintech companies. Furthermore, banks such as Goldman Sachs have started their own lending arms
  • Publicly traded firms have made great strides in improving financials; the analyst consensus has Lending Club moving into positive GAAP earnings by year end in part driven by securitizations as a lower-cost source of capital
  • SoFi has made strides towards becoming more bank-like after adding mortgage loans, wealth management services and acquiring (and subsequently shuttering) online bank and money transfer service Zenbanx

Online Lenders Gain Traction By Partnering With Incumbents (ValueWalk), Rated: B

As the latest PitchBook fintech analyst note points out, some of the most notable companies are becoming more like banks, with SoFi the most prominent example, as it expands from student loan refinancing into unsecured consumer credit, wealth management and more. Yet as some online lenders establish a foothold, there are still significant hurdles to overcome.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle is kicking off a £12 million marketing bonanza with a Great British Bake Off TV ad (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Funding Circle is kicking off a £12 million ($15 million) marketing campaign with a prime-time TV advert during the Great British Bake Off.

A 30-second TV spot of a woman drumming will run during the premiere of the smash hit baking show on Channel 4 on Tuesday evening.

Singapore Fintech Hub LATTICE80 Announces UK Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a fintech hub owned and operated by Singapore-based private investment firm Marvelstone Group, announced on Monday it is set to open a fintech hub in London as part of its global expansion. The organization revealed that as of August 2017, its UK entity has been registered, but a suitable hub space remains to be found. It is currently in talks with relevant parties in the private and public sectors, with plans to secure and open a hub by 2018.

The evolution of the UK receivables market (AltFi), Rated: A

In particular, the UK market has lots of new entrants (now in excess of 100 providers) but the number of clients seems to be static at about 40,000-45,000. In order to remain competitive, lenders are required to compete on price and terms, which increases their risk and often reduces their return.

Customers also have more choice in the market, in that they have access to working capital both from banks and alternative lenders such as peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the non-traditional players in the market that are harnessing technology. The new generation of borrowers is more tech-savvy and more comfortable embracing P2P capabilities, which makes new players more attractive.

The funding pitfalls a small business owner needs to know (RealBusiness), Rated: A

Richard Spielbichler, ABL director North West, Independent Growth Finance

“The main pitfall to consider is whether the business has a USP that will protect their position in the market. Many businesses suffer from ‘me too’ syndrome, where their USP is very similar to an existing organisation.”

Angelika Burawska, COO, Startup Funding Club

“It depends on the type of financing. In the case of loans and various types of trade finance, the main pitfalls lie in payment terms, such as how much and when, late payment fees and what happens if a company fails to pay.

“In the case of equity funding, businesses have to pay attention to the valuation they raise which may be too high or too low; and the control rights they give to investors.”

China

There Is a Major Tech IPO Boom Happening, Just Not in the United States (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

In the first half, a total of 59 Chinese technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) companies sold shares through initial public offerings (IPOs), a surge from 10 a year ago.

In value, the firms raised a combined 25.8 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) in the first six months, five times the amount a year earlier, said the accounting firm in Shanghai.

The trend is a continuation of a boom that began in the second half of 2016, when there were 58 IPOs of such companies raising a total of 33 billion yuan.

Embracing Auto Finance Wave, Zhushang Financial Raised Tens Million RMB in Series A (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 25th August, Zhushang Financial, a P2P lending platform specialize in providing auto financing services, announced the closing of Tens million RMB in series A funding. Toulang Capital led the round, with participation from Cailang Capital. The “Zhushang Financial” brand has been upgraded from the “Zhushang Dai” brand and announced with this round of financing.

Zhushang Financial is based in Chengdu, a developed city in west China, providing P2P auto financing services for small companies and individuals. Currently, it has established branches in many western cities, including Chongqing, Guizhou Province, Kunming, Xi ‘an, Taiyuan and Lanzhou. Also, the company has signed agreements on depository with both Zhejiang Mintai Bank and Hunan Rural Commercial bank (Youxian Branch). Up to now, the total volume of the platform has reached over 500 million RMB.

According to the report of Central Bank, China’s auto financing market reached 700 billion RMB in 2016 and may exceed 1.85 trillion RMB in 2018. Its rapid growth comes not just from the wave of “car service”, but also from the policy support. Actually, according to the policy issued last year, the net loan assets must be small and dispersed, and since then auto finance has become a new hotspot of P2P lending industry.

sources said the SFC on the ICO advice Jianzhao pyramid schemes (Yicai), Rated: A

August 29, the first financial reporter from a block chain technology business executives were informed that the China Securities Regulatory Commission recently to some of the block chain enterprises on the ICO (Initial Coin Offering, virtual currency initial public offering) for advice, the current In the stage of collecting comments and discussions, the SFC expressed particular concern about ICO projects for pyramid schemes in the name of virtual currency.

Net mass transfer will go to the US IPO official response (01Caijing), Rated: B

According to Bloomberg News, Fintech Quantifiers currently selected JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley as US financial adviser to the US IPO, the IPO size of about 200 million US dollars.

European Union

Profits Up More Than 130 percent In Klarna’s Half-Year Report (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Klarna, the online payments firm based in Sweden, and one of the unicorns that came of age with a more than $1-billion valuation, posted results Friday detailing growth for the first half of the year.

The company said that net profit came in at 228 million crowns, or about $28.4 million, up 138 percent year over year, on sales of 2.05 billion crowns.  Sales were up 21 percent.

Klarna Celebrates Year-Over-Year Sales, Profit Gains (Finovate), Rated: A

On Friday the company reported sales and profit results for the first half of 2017 that represented gains of 21% and 138%, respectively. The strong financials come amid a series of headlines that show the Swedish payments company making strides on a number of fronts. This includes rumors that Klarna is partnering with Stripe to better access the U.S. market. Such a partnership would make Klarna the only non-credit card option available on the platform, and enable customers to take advantage of Klarna’s signature “pay after delivery” service. A deal between Klarna and Stripe also would provide what an anonymous source quoted in Nordic Business Insider referred to as “potentially an important piece of the puzzle” of Klarna’s plan for expansion in the U.S.

Swedish Tech Bank Klarna Launches ‘Smoooth’ Brand (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Last year, Klarna launched the “Smoooth” campaign with a series of award winning and critically praised advertisements showing just how smooth payments should be. Now Klarna takes the next step by fully implementing the concept of “Smoooth” across all aspects of the brand. This includes not only a new logo, graphic identity and checkout touch-points but towards a completely new user experience – transforming rational payment transactions into an emotional shopping experience for consumers.

Ice-cream melting on warm car hoods, shampooed long-haired dogs and pencils being pushed into huge jelly pastries. Klarna`s new identity is definitely not your average bank speaking.

“We are on a journey to transform Klarna from a traditional payment provider to a stronger consumer brand. Our new identity is more modern and expresses our focus on the consumer experience, innovation and simplicity in payments. It’s time for a new kind of bank.” Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna

This is not only an update of the visual identity of Klarna but also changing the way consumers interact with the company. The concept of “Smoooth” will be evident when watching an ad or pushing a button to pay in the Klarna app. Every Klarna touchpoint has a new unique graphic and will be smarter and more intuitive. That will ensure a better user experience for consumers, but will also support in driving growth, conversion and consumer loyalty for all  Klarna merchants.

There are three intuitive ways to shop with Klarna:

  • Pay now. – Pay directly at checkout. No credit card numbers or passwords to remember.
  • Pay later. – Try first, pay later. Klarna lets you have 14 days or more to decide if you want to keep your goods or not.
  • Slice it. – Get all your payments on one invoice and choose how much to pay each month.

As of today, Klarna has released all touchpoints that can be updated automatically, and over the coming months will continuously roll out “Smoooth” updates to the touchpoints of all merchants.

PitchIt @ LendIt Europe 2017 (LendIt), Rated: B

Submit your application to PitchIt, a competition for fintech startups, taking place at LendIt Europe–one of the largest international lending and fintech conferences in Europe. This exclusive programme will nurture emerging talent throughout the competition, provide selected finalists with unparalleled access to industry expertise as well as invaluable exposure, branding and more at the event.

Deadline for applications is 4 September 2017.

International

NEW REPORT: Faster Disbursement Services From Alt-Lending Players Put Banks On Notice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The August edition of the PYMNTS.com Disbursements Tracker™, powered by Ingo Money, highlights several notable developments that explain the waning influence of the paper check, and how new disbursement tools could impact the workplace, pension systems and mobile payment options.

The August edition of the PYMNTS.com Disbursements Tracker™, powered by Ingo Money, highlights several notable developments that explain the waning influence of the paper check, and how new disbursement tools could impact the workplace, pension systems and mobile payment options.

Hike recently added a digital payments wallet to its app, allowing money transfers between customers using the country’s United Payments Interface (UPI) service. Skype is another messaging service helping users quickly send money to one another using popular payment option PayPal. The partnership between Skype and PayPal enables users to send money to fellow Skype users in 22 countries, including the U.S., Canada and more than a dozen nations in Europe, through PayPal in the Skype mobile app.

Australia

Australian SMEs are turning to alternative sources of funding (Finder.com.au), Rated: AAA

Australian businesses are turning to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and online loans for finance, according to new research from Businessloans.com.au. The Small Business Credit Surveyconducted by ACA Research, found that the most sought-after alternative funding source was equity finance (34%), followed closely by online lenders (30%) and P2P business loans(21%).

However, while small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are embracing alternative sources of capital, not all of them are receiving the loans they hope for. The survey revealed that while 84.1% of businesses were successful in their applications, less than half of those (38.9%) of those were approved for all of the credit they applied for.

It is interesting to note that the number of businesses which were declined a loan is only 1.6% of respondents. The remaining 14.3% of the “unsuccessful applicant” group was approved for less than half of the loan they had asked for. Over one-third of this group (35%) had applied for more than or equal to $250,000.

The survey found that a rejected application seriously affects a business. Respondents that did not receive the full amount applied for delayed or could not expand their businesses (34%), delayed or were not able to fulfil existing orders or contracts (27%) or did not hire new employees (17%).

 

P2P lender reaches 2,000 brokers (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has accredited 2,000 brokers on its lending platform, amidst a rise in P2P popularity within the general public.

Lending volumes through the broker channel, especially in auto and home improvement loans, are doubling every six months, according to the lender’s most recent settlement figures.

Across the direct and broker channels, RateSetter has also passed $150m in lending facilitated since 2014. In the last five months alone, lending grew 50% across both channels, passing the $100m milestone in March.

Source:: BrokerNews.com
India

‘Future-ready’ Industrial Policy to be out in October (The Hindu), Rated: A

The other “illustrative outcomes” are developing alternatives to banks and improving access to capital for MSMEs through ‘Peer to Peer Lending’ and ‘Crowd funding’, providing a credit rating mechanism for MSMEs to provide them easier access to funds, addressing the problem of inverted-duty structure and also balancing it against obligations under multilateral or bilateral trade agreements, studying the impact of automation on jobs and employment, ensuring minimal/zero waste from industrial activities and targeting certain sectors to radically cut emissions.

Asia

Dianrong and FinEX Asia Launch Asia’s First Fintech Asset Management Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Dianrong and FinEX Asia today announced the launch of Asia’s first financial technology (fintech) asset management platform. FinEX Asia was established in 2017 to connect Asian investors with US consumer lending assets, such as credit card loans.

FinEX Asia combines its risk management expertise with Dianrong’s advanced fintech capabilities to give Asian investors access to a diverse and attractive portfolio of U.S. consumer lending assets. FinEX Asia’s fintech solutions offer advanced risk modeling capabilities, blockchain data security, performance monitoring, and secondary marketplace liquidity.

Seminar: Regulating Peer-to-Peer Lending to SMEs (Asian Development Bank), Rated: B

Event | 12 September 2017ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

This seminar looks at the regulation of P2P lending in the US, People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the UK, and discusses how regulators can help develop P2P as a safe and effective source of financing for SMEs.

Register here.

South America

Top VC funds in Fintech in Argentina (TechFoliance), Rated: A

Currently, Argentina has four major investment funds that have Fintech companies within their portfolios.

  1. NXTP
  2. Kaszek – Founded in 2011, it recently announced the release of a third fund of $200 million to be used for young technology throughout the region. To date, Kaszek has invested USD 1.4 billion in 43 companies, including Nubank, Brazil’s largest digital bank.
  3. Wayra
  4. Incutex
Canada

RBC WANTS TO USE AI TO GIVE CUSTOMERS FINANCIAL ADVICE (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Canada’s largest bank has announced that its mobile banking app will soon provide users with “actual insights about our client’s financials and a fully automated savings solution that uses predictive technology to identify money in a client’s cash flow that can be automatically saved.”

Dubbed ‘NOMI Insights’ and ‘NOMI Find and Save,’ the services are currently in a pilot release. A full launch is expected later this fall.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Three and Six Month Period Ended June 30, 2017 (Newswire), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses, announced today its results for the three and six month period ended June 30, 2017.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Loan originations for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 were US$26.2 million versus originations of US$31.8 million for the same period last year. Loan originations decreased by 17.8% due to changes made to the Company’s lending policies in response to increased delinquency levels. We anticipate that these changes will have a positive impact on our loan portfolio over the course of 2017. For the first half of 2017, loan originations amounted to $48.2 million, representing a decrease of 15.7% over the origination of $57.1 million for the same period last year.
  • As of June 30, 2017, IOU’s total loans under management amounted to approximately $65.7 million as compared to $79.6 million in 2016. On June 30, 2017, the principal balance of the loan portfolio amounted to $41.6 million compared to $35.5 million in 2016. The increase is consistent with the Company’s strategy to retain more loans on its balance sheet. The principal balance of IOU’s servicing portfolio (loans being serviced on behalf of third-parties) amounted to approximately $24.1 millioncompared to $44.1 million in 2016.
  • IOU recorded gross revenue during the second quarter of $4.4 millionversus $3.5 million for the same period last year, representing a 24.5% increase. The increase in gross revenues was primarily driven by a 55.3% increase in interest income from $2.4 million in 2016 to $3.7 million in 2017, as a result of an increase in the size of the loan portfolio. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, gross revenues improved to $8.7 million compared to $6.8 million for the same period in 2016.
  • Interest expense during the three-month period ended June 30, 2017increased by 44.3% to $1.0 million, up from $0.7 million over the previous year. The increase is attributable to an increase in borrowings under the credit facility partially offset by a reduction in the cost of funds borrowed versus the previous year. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, interest expense amounted to $1.9 million compared to $1.3 million in 2016.
  • Provision for loan losses (net of recoveries) increased to $2.4 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017, up from $1.2 million for the previous year. The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in defaults by borrowers and partially due to an increase in the size of the loan portfolio. To improve loss performance, IOU Financial has made changes to its lending policies and deployed its next generation proprietary IOU Risk Logic Score. In addition, the Company has implemented certain process changes to improve its servicing and collections which includes an aggressive litigation process against businesses who intentionally default on their loan obligations. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, IOU recorded a provision for loan losses of $4.3 million compared to $2.0 million in 2016.
  • Excluding non-recurring costs, operating expenses decreased 18.1% to $2.5 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017 as compared to $3.1 million for the previous year. During the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the Company adopted a plan to reduce operating expenses. The Company is on track to achieve its target of quarterly operating costs of $2.0 million to $2.2 million on a normalized basis in the third quarter. In the second quarter, IOU recorded non-recurring costs of $0.5 million related to vendor contract cancellations and impairment of intangible assets. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, operating expenses amounted to $4.9 million, excluding non-recurring costs, compared to $6.0 million in 2016.
  • IOU closed its second quarter 2017 with a net loss of $2.1 million, or $0.03per share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million or $0.02 per share during the same period of 2016. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, the net loss amounted to $3.1 million versus $2.8 million in 2016.
  • IOU closed its second quarter 2017 with an adjusted net loss of $1.3 million, which excludes certain non-cash and non-recurring items, compared to an adjusted net loss of $1.1 million in the second quarter of 2016. For the first half of 2017, the adjusted net loss was $1.9 millioncompared to an adjusted net loss of $1.6 million for the same period in 2016. Assuming the cost reduction plan was fully implemented on January 1, 2017, IOU’s pro forma adjusted net loss for the three-month and six-month period ended June 30, 2017 would have been approximately $0.8 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
Africa

Should established banks fight or assimilate to tech? (African Business Magazine), Rated: AAA

The same quandary that now faces established banks stood before landline telecoms operators 15–20 years ago. In terms of fintech, it seems likely that the answer will become clear over the next few years, as different banks adopt different strategies.

Global consultancy Accenture calculates that fintech threatens more than a third of traditional banks’ revenue. Due to the march of technological innovation and the emergence of more attractive investment regimes, the challenge posed by fintech is only likely to grow.

Fintech is not just a threat to established banks but also to other companies in the financial services sector. Visa, for instance, is built on technology developed during a previous financial technology revolution, and should be able to capitalise on the fintech boom.

Other attempts to integrate the two worlds include PayDunya, an online payments system that allows African e-businesses to accept payments from credit and debit cards, as well as mobile money wallets. Similarly, Yoco provides retailers with an integrated card acceptance and point-of-sale solution, incorporating a mobile app, and either wireless or plug-in card reader.

Some established banks have sought to compete by becoming incubators for fintech. Standard Bank and Barclayshave both launched startup support programmes, with the most successful companies taken under their wing at the end of their periods of support.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor