Thursday March 14 2019, Weekly News Digest

GreenSky

News Comments Today’s main news: FTC makes final decision on SoFi. OnDeck extends two revolving credit facilities. LendingPoint sees drop in debt management loans, increase for new purchases. LendInvest to float 500M GBP. Lufax hits $39.4B valuation. Klarna adds GooglePay as payment option. Today’s main analysis: Unemployment rate and GreenSky’s earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Earnest vs. SoFi for student loan […]

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News Summary

United States

Deal Final in FTC’s Action Against Online Lender (Manatt), Rated: AAA

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finalized its deal with SoFi, an online lender that the agency had accused of making false statements about student loan refinancing.

According to the FTC, the California-based personal finance company misrepresented how much money student loan borrowers have saved or could save by refinancing.

Read the FTC complaint here.

Read the FTC decision and order here.

OnDeck Announces Extension of Two Revolving Credit Facilities With Credit Suisse & Deutsche Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

OnDeck, a small business online lending platform, announced on Wednesday extensions to its existing credit facilities with Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank on improved terms.  According to OnDeck, the amended facilities provide an aggregate of $360 million of committed funding capacity and are available to finance OnDeck’s term loans and revolving lines of credit. The scheduled maturity dates for the facilities were extended three years to March 2022.

Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.8%; GreenSky’s Strong Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The unemployment rate dropped to a near five decades low of 3.8% even as nonfarm payrolls only rose by 20K. Average hourly earnings rose by 3.4%, above economists’ expectations.

Source: WSJ
Source: Deutsche Bank Research, WSJ

GreenSky’s Strong 4Q2018 Earnings

GreenSky’s 4Q revenue grew by 22% YoY to $109 Mn, although net income fell by nearly 43% YoY to $23 Mn. The stock rose by ~6% post earnings.

  • Transaction volume increased by 23% YoY to $1.3 Bn.
  • Loan servicing portfolio increased by 36% YoY to $7.3 Bn.
  • GSKY had aggregate commitments of $11.8 Bn from its nine bank partners, of which $4.8 Bn were unused.
  • 30+ DQ rates rose slightly YoY from 145 bps to 148 bps.
  • GreenSky now has nearly 12 k home improvement merchant partners and nearly 3 k elective healthcare partners.
Source: GreenSky, PeerIQ

How to Decide Between Earnest and SoFi for Student Loan Refinancing (Credible), Rated: AAA

Earnest and SoFi are two of the best student loan refinancing companiesout there. They both offer fixed as well as variable rate loans, a 0.25% autopay rate discount, and certain unemployment protections to help in the event of involuntary job loss, but they also have their differences.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of both lenders to help you make an informed decision.

Source: Credible

The rate of borrowers using loans for debt management drops; growing proportion of borrowers use loans for new purchases (LendingPoint), Rated: AAA

It turns out that, over the past two years, the proportion of our borrowers who say they are earmarking their loans for debt consolidation has decreased markedly, from about 60% in 2017 to about 54% in 2018. The percent using loans to pay for new merchandise or services has grown during those two years. Home improvement jumped from 6% to 8%; loans for medical expenses rose from 2% to 7%.

In 2017, the percent of millennial consolidators was about 61%. In 2018, that dropped a full 10%, down to 51%, a bigger decrease than any other age cohort.

Source: LeningPoint

What Do Millennials Want From Banks? Non-Financial Products (Forbes), Rated: AAA

If they haven’t, then why are 56% of Millennials giving megabanks (the four largest US banks) their 

Source: Cornerstone Advisors

The “Millennials hate banks” meme is a myth.

Millennials’ Access to Subscription Services
Percentage of Millennials that…
Don’t have the service but would like to Have the service, and pay for it directly Have the service, but don’t pay for it directly Don’t have or want the service
Identity theft protection 31% 20% 29% 21%
Personal/family data storage 29% 20% 19% 31%
Child identity theft protection 27% 15% 16% 42%
Rx, vision, hearing discounts 26% 31% 25% 18%
Travel/trip insurance 26% 18% 19% 37%
Roadside assistance 19% 40% 26% 15%
Cell phone damage protection 18% 42% 20% 19%
Source: Cornerstone Advisors

Green Dot targets social media influencers in banking-as-service push (American Banker), Rated: A

A new affinity banking service developed by Green Dot proposes to tap one of the most potent — and controversial — sources of distribution in the digital economy: social media influencers.

The digital banking and payments provider is developing what it calls Bank OS, a simpler version of its enterprise banking-as-a-service platform already used by the likes of Intuit, Stash, Uber and Walmart. It would enable partners to develop their own financial products just as those brands do, including offering credit cards, debit cards with loyalty programs or even a mobile app.

How online lenders attract and service the evolving SMB borrower (Tearsheet), Rated: A

But while small businesses still struggle with cash flow, how they shop for loans and their level of financial education about their options are changing. On Tearsheet’s recent webinar with leaders at Kabbage, BlueVine, and Intuit’s QuickBooks Capital, we discussed the changing nature of the SMB borrower and how their firms have evolved to keep up.

Pay Yourself First? Last Is How Small Biz Often Works (Newsmax), Rated: A

Everyone knows the Golden Rule of business is to pay yourself first. But more than half of small business owners are going months without pay – if they are taking any at all.

About a quarter of these entrepreneurs go two to six months without pay, and another quarter have gone more than six months without salary, according to a recent survey from Kabbage (), a cash flow optimization platform.

PAYNET STRATEGIC INSIGHTS MARCH 2019 (PayNet), Rated: A

The PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) rebounded with a 17.2 point jump to 150.7 in January, climbing to its second-highest level ever. On an annual basis, the SBLI increased 4.9%. The SBLI 3-month moving average also rose in January and currently stands 1.5% above its year-ago level.

Source: PayNet

The PayNet Small Business Delinquency Index (SBDI) 31–90 Days Past Due edged up one basis point to 1.45% in January, and is up six basis points on an annual basis — its 33rd consecutive year-over-year increase. The SBDI 91–180 Days Past Due was unchanged at 0.38% but is three basis points above its year-ago level.

Less Than Zero? This Proposed ETF Would Pay Investors, But There’s A Catch (Benzinga), Rated: A

Salt Financial, which currently offers one ETF, has filed plans with regulators to launch a low volatility that would pay investors, but there’s a catch.

Equifax Deleted Key Data Breach-Related Docs, Senators Say (Law360), Rated: A

Equifax Inc. failed to preserve key internal discussions over its massive 2017 data breach, U.S. senators said Thursday at a hearing where elected officials grilled the credit reporting giant’s CEO and the…

Home Equity Line of Credit Providers Face Growing Threat from Alternative Lenders, J.D. Power Finds (JD Power), Rated: A

Despite record-high levels,[1]new home equity line of credit (HELOC) originations have been steadily declining[2] as a perfect storm of rising interest rates, new tax laws and growing competition from alternative lenders has crimped traditional HELOC growth. According to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Home Equity Line of Credit Satisfaction Study, released today, HELOC customers are more likely than ever to shop for alternative sources of funding and HELOC providers are falling short on digital offerings.

This week in Chicagoland real estate: One Chicago Square, Woodlawn and more (Chicago Agent Magazine), Rated: A

New York-based DDG, Chicago-based Marc Realty and Ruttenberg Gordon announced plans for a 13-story hotelwith 250 rooms in Fulton Market. The developers are raising $55 million to fund the project through Prodigy Network, a New York-based real estate crowdfunding platform. The hotel will be located at 1234 West Randolph Street and will be operated by New York-based Standard Hotels. It’s set to be completed within two years.

PeerStreet Expands Executive Leadership with Two Senior Hires in Finance Team (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet has announced the hiring of two executives with extensive experience in the financial services and real estate sectors: Ellen Coleman and Bob Brown. Ms. Coleman joins as Executive Vice President of Finance, and Mr. Brown joins as Executive Vice President of Finance & Corporate Development.

CoreLogic : Introduces Verification of Employment and Income Solution to Expedite Borrower Verification Process (MarketScreener), Rated: A

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released an enhanced Verification of Employment and Income(VOE/I) product. The comprehensive new VOE/I product takes time, touch and cost out of traditional employment and income verification through a three-step ‘waterfall workflow’ process, ensuring that every mortgage applicant can be verified.

The enhanced VOE/I product features a three-step ‘waterfall workflow’ that ensures each borrower’s employment and income is verified as efficiently as possible.

  • Step One: Instant verification via a direct integration to The Work Number (TWN)
  • Step Two: Automated verification leveraging dozens of third-party data sources
  • Step Three: Manual verification by a team of dedicated CoreLogic verification experts

CORELOGIC INTEGRATES CONDOSAFE WITH THE ELLIE MAE ENCOMPASS ALL-IN-ONE MORTGAGE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION (CoreLogic), Rated: B

CoreLogic today announced the integration of its CondoSafe product with the Ellie Mae Encompass® all-in-one mortgage management solution. CondoSafeis a one-stop condo project review tool that enables lenders to have a single, consistent, standardized review process, allowing them to determine eligibility earlier in the process, resulting in quicker approvals.

ArborCrowd Announces New Equity Offering in 707-Unit Multifamily Portfolio (AP News), Rated: B

ArborCrowd, the first crowdfunding platform launched by a real estate institution, today announced a new offering that allows investors to acquire equity interests in the Sioux Falls Multifamily Portfolio, a collection of class-B apartment communities located in Sioux Falls, S.D. The properties exhibit strong upside potential due to Sioux Falls’ sound multifamily real estate fundamentals and notable lack of professionally managed workforce housing product.

The investment has a targeted internal rate of return (IRR) of 12 to 14 percent over a three- to five-year hold period. Tzadik has budgeted $5.2 million to perform a comprehensive capital improvement plan that will include upgrades to all renovated units, common areas and public spaces.

LendPro’s Female Leaders Celebrated on International Women’s Day (LendPro Email), Rated: B

As the financial technology (fintech) industry continues to grow, innovators are increasingly looking for leadership and expertise to grow their companies and stand out from competitors. LendPro, a Lending-As-A-Service (LaaS) fintech company, prides itself in hiring strong talent.  Women make up 50% of staffing at LendPro’s Charlottesville corporate office, versus 37% female staffing at most fintech companies.

United Kingdom

Property finance hub Lendinvest plots £500m London float (Sky.com), Rated: AAA

The online property finance hub Lendinvest is plotting a £500m stock market flotation that will provide a fresh test of investors’ faith in a fast-growing but volatile area of the non-bank lending market.

Sky News has learnt that Lendinvest, which was set up in 2008 and has so far lent roughly £2bn to help buy, build or renovate British homes, has appointed Lazard, the investment bank, to advise on its strategic options.

Lending revolution: fintechs vs banks (Raconteur), Rated: AAA

Eight out of ten SME loan applications were approved by banks in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest figures from trade association UK Finance. While this is a far cry from the days of the global financial crisis, when SME lending all but dried up in part due to regulatory pressures to shore up capital, smaller companies are still citing challenges in securing funding from traditional players, according to Stuart Chalmers, commercial banking lead for Accenture UK.

Alternative lenders understand the hunger for a seamless customer experience and have built credit journeys that align to business expectations

Almost 30,000 companies used non-traditional channels over the year, with peer-to-peer lending and equity-based crowdfunding now established investment vehicles for seed, startup, early-stage and fast-growth companies seeking capital. In fact, CCAF estimates that 29 per cent of all new loans issued in 2017 to small businesses with annual turnovers less than £2 million came from alternative finance.

Source: Raconteur

Burnham residents are the most thrill-seeking in the UK according to new study (Windsor Observer), Rated: A

It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but according to research from Zopa, Burnham has been revealed to be the most thrill-seeking town.

Peer-to-peer firms told to improve wind-down arrangements (Out-Law), Rated: A

In a letter to chief executives (4 page / 352KB PDF) sent last week, the FCA said a recent supervisory review of firms’ current arrangements against current requirements “strongly suggests” some P2P firms were falling short of the standards required by its rules.

Augmentum Capital signs up to Innovate Finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

AUGMENTUM Capital has joined Innovate Finance as its first investor member.

It is currently planning to issue extra ordinary shares in its investment trust as it looks to fund around £300m of potential opportunities in the sector.

PEER TO PEER LENDER RELAUNCHES PRODUCTS (Insider Media), Rated: A

A South West-based peer to peer lender is to re-launch its lending products aimed at individuals and businesses.

Folk2Folk is to offers 9 per cent interest rates for investors with a loan to value ratio of up to 60 per cent.

The business has so far brought £275m into rural businesses in Britain over the past six years.

Wonga compensation claims four times higher than expected (TechRound), Rated: A

It has been recently revealed that the number of compensation claims made against the failed payday lender Wonga, which filed for administration in August 2018, has ended up increasing four-fold. The initial figure given by the Financial Ombudsman Service in a Treasury Committee in January this year suggested that there were around 10,500 customers who had open complaints with the short-term credit, high-interest company.

Now, it turns out that the number of redress claims that have been made against Wonga is considerably higher, totalling over 40,000. It is potentially the case that these people will not end up getting their money back after having been mis-sold loans.

The IFISAs you can open for £100 or less (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

According to the most recent HMRC statistics, overall ISA savings fell from £79.8bn in 2015/16 to £61.5bn in 2016/17. Meanwhile, Bank of England statistics found that the amount of money that Brits were saving (both within and outside of the ISA wrapper) fell by £7bn in 2018 alone.

  • Abundance

Minimum investment: £5

  • Assetz Capital

Minimum investment: £1

  • Crowd2Fund

Minimum investment: £10

  • RateSetter

Minimum investment: £10

  • Octopus Choice

Minimum investment: £10

Environmental benefits of ISA investment (The Ecologist), Rated: A

Crowdfunding and peer to peer lending grew out of the banking crisis of 2008. According to the European Central Bank, the availability of bank loans to SMEs declined 23 percent immediately following the crash, causing a devastating impact on the economy.

Over 100 Finastra customers upgraded trade software in time to meet new SWIFT standards (RealWire), Rated: B

Over 100 Finastra customers were upgraded to the latest compliant versions of its transaction banking software, Fusion Trade Innovation, ahead of the new SWIFT standards deadline of 17 November 2018. The new ‘Standards MT Release’ included significant changes to category 7 messaging standards used in trade finance – the most significant set of changes to the SWIFT trade finance messaging interface in over 30 years.

China

China’s Lufax hits huge $ 39.4bn vaulation thanks to Primavera Capital-led Series C (Alt Assets), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lending business Lufax has confirmed it has reached an enormous $39.4bn valuation thanks to a Series C round led by private equity house Primavera Capital.

Chinese fintech unicorn Lufax in no rush to IPO (Technode), Rated: A

Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Lufax is not in a hurry to list on the stock markets, said an executive of its biggest shareholder, Ping An Insurance, during its earnings call, Chinese media reported (in Chinese) on Wednesday.

Ping An Insurance Group deputy CEO Jessica Tan said after Lufax’s latest round of funding, Ping An still holds approximately 41% of its shares.

European Union

Google Pay Added to Klarna’s Bank of Payment Options (WWD), Rated: AAA

Today, Klarna, the global payments provider “smoothing” out kinks in the checkout process for retailers, announced a partnership with GooglePay. Available for Klarna customers in Sweden, the intention is to make mobile payments “even easier and more secure.”

CreditEase Invests in wefox Group, the European Largest Insurtech Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced today that its direct investment arm, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (CEFIF), participated in wefox Group’s $125 million USD Series B, a fast-growing Berlin-based insurtech firm together with Mubadala’s newly created European Ventures Fund. The investment is the largest Series B round for a European insurtech and Goldman Sachs International is acting as the private placement adviser to wefox Group in connection with the transaction.

The investment will help spearhead the company’s expansion into the European broker market. It also paves the way for wefox Group to accelerate growth and create the world’s most innovative product and engineering team applying advanced data analytics to create an all-in-one insurance platform in which all interactions are personalized. The company, which was founded in 2014, has grown its revenue to around $40 million USD, while serving more than 1500 brokers and over 400,000 customers, making it Europe’s number one insurtech platform.

Luna Connect: A new digital disrupter in the lending landscape (Irish Times), Rated: A

Luna Connect is a new digital lending platform primarily aimed at those lending to SMEs. It is designed to fit into the rapidly evolving financial services ecosystem and its founder, Brian D’Arcy, drew the inspiration for his business from the disruption currently underway in the financial services sector.

The company’s target market are lenders offering loans of under €200,000, whose borrowers typically require a fast decision on their application and want a more transparent lending process. The initial focus will be on Ireland and the UK with Europe and the US to follow. Investment in the project to date has been around €120,000 which was self-funded with support from the NDRC and Enterprise Ireland through the competitive start fund.

Australia/New Zealand

New US ambassador warns of China’s ‘payday loan diplomacy’ (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

The new U.S. ambassador to Australia said Wednesday that he’s concerned about the way China lends money to developing Pacific nations in what he describes as “payday loan diplomacy.”

China categorically rejects accusations that it uses loans, grants and other financial inducements to extend its diplomatic and political reach, saying it is merely acting in the best interests of both sides in such transactions.

New way to borrow takes Australia by storm (Mozo), Rated: A

As distrust of the nation’s big banks and mortgage brokers swells amongst the wreckage of the banking royal commission, online lenders are emerging as real challengers in the home loan, business loan and personal lending markets.

NAB’s UBank launches ‘green’ deposits to chase Millennials’ savings (Financial Review), Rated: A

The CEO of National Australia Bank subsidiary UBank, Lee Hatton, says future retail depositors will want more control over where banks lend their money, prompting it to launch a “green” term deposit targeting environmentally concerned Millennial customers.

How marketplace lending meets investor needs (Cuffelinks), Rated: A

However, it’s also true that today’s investors face a risk environment of unprecedented complexity. In 2018, the S&P/ASX200 declined by 6.8%. Residential property values are falling and bank deposit rates fail to match inflation. In the last year, the Australian media landscape was dominated by the findings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, with its revelations of duplicitous lending practices, improper fees, and general misconduct that, by the banks’ own admission, fell far short of community expectations.

Financial Markets Authority executive steps down over employment matter (NZ Herald), Rated: B

Financial Markets Authority (FMA) executive Garth Stanish left the investment watchdog at the end of last month over an internal employment matter, a spokesman for the authority said.

Stanish was also a director of markets oversight, a group that includes oversight of NZX, crowd-funding/P2P lending platforms and frontline supervisors.

India

P2P startup PaisaDukan raises 1st round of investment from JITO (UNI India), Rated: AAA

Vivriti Capital raises second round of funding of Rs 110 Cr from Creation Investments (YourStory), Rated: A

Vivriti Capital, a Chennai-based lending platform for corporate entities, secured Rs 110 crore worth of equityin an additional round of funding from its existing investor Creation Investments.

This comes just within two months of the Series A funding closure in December 2018, in which the company raised Rs 200 crore from Creation Investments. With the current equity infusion, Vivriti’s overall capital stands at approximately Rs 320 crore.

MSME Lending fuelled by Digitisation (Free Press Journal), Rated: A

MSMEs play a major role in Economic development of India. There are around 63.4 million units and they contribute to 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the GDP from service activities and 33.4% of India’s manufacturing output. They have been able to provide employment to around 120 million persons and contribute around 45% of the overall exports from India. The sector grows at a rate faster than the large ones at more than 10% pa.

About 20% of the MSMEs are based out of rural areas.They provide employment to more than 130 million people and contribute to 45% of exports. MSMEs are also the largest employment generator every year. As of Sep18, the total credit in India was Rs 105.5 Lakh crores and MSMEs had borrowed Rs 24.7 cr. Large and Mid Caps borrowed Rs 44.4 cr. Year on Year the growth of overall commercial credit was at 13.5%.

Micro loans which are less than Rs1 cr grew 22.2% year on year and SME loans between Rs1 cr – Rs 2.5 cr grew at 18.3%.The growth was faster than the overall growth. Share of NBFCs in SME credit increased from 13% in Sep 15 to 17% in Sep 18. The number of NBFCs lending more than Rs 100 cr to MSMEs stood at 77 at the end of Sep 18.

Asia

Investment Task Force suspend operation of 168 illegal fintech firms (Antara News), Rated: AAA

The Investment Alert Task Force has suspended the operation of 168 entities allegedly running peer-to-peer lending services without a legal business license from the Financial Service Authority (OJK).
The task force has also suspended the operation of 47 illegal investment entities which has the potential to harm the public.
“Based on the monitoring on website and application in Google Playstore, the Investment Alert Task Force has stopped the operation of 168 entities that have violated OJK regulation no. 77/POJK.01/2016 on fintech peer-to-peer lending services, which has the potential to harm the public,” head of the task force Tongam L Tobing said in a statement here on Wednesday.

Fintech group to help develop P2P lending (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

A group of financial technology (fintech) lenders wants to help develop a healthier lending industry and protect consumers by setting out a strict code of conduct for its members.The Indonesian Fintech Lenders Association (AFPI) will help stimulate the industry, which only gained government recognition three years ago, by providing risk management certification, public education campaigns and a compulsory code of conduct, which should be uploaded to the AFPI website soon.AFPI chairman Adrian Gunadi said the association had been established to ease the Indonesian Fintech Association’s (AFTECH) workload in dealing with fintech companies that provide lending services, including peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, crowdsourcing and digital credit cards.Such lenders account for 30 percent of all licensed fintech companies, whereas the remaining 70 percent are companies engaged in, among other thing…

Government moves to legalise P2P lending (Vietnam Vet), Rated: A

During a recent meeting with relevant ministries and agencies to discuss P2P lending, Hue instructed that during the pilot operation, P2P lending would be restricted to connecting lenders and borrowers as currently being run by most P2P lending companies in Viet Nam. P2P lending companies would not be allowed to mobilise capital, but act as intermediaries to connect lenders (investors) and borrowers.

The development of P2P lending will also create a new capital supply channel. Research conducted by Transparency Market Research showed that P2P lending would surge by 48.2 per cent annually in the 2016-24 period, while Morgan Stanley forecast the business model would reach a growth rate of 53.5 per cent globally by 2020.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 14 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday February 26 2018, Daily News Digest

bank accounts

News Comments Today’s main news: Revolut breaks even, prepares for global expansion. RateSetter finances divorces. Which Isas pay 6% or more. Half of all employers offer financial advice. CoAssets increases revenue by 471% in half a year. Today’s main analysis: Do Americans really want a bank branch? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Ron Suber, Godfather of Fintech. Unscrupulous banks fueled the rise […]

bank accounts

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United Kingdom

China

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International

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India

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United States

How Helping Your Employees Improve Their Credit Helps Your Bottom Line (Forbes), Rated: AAA

One possible cause of an employee’s poor attitude is that he or she has looming debts or is attempting to climb out of a credit score canyon. Workers facing these challenges are often unable to completely focus on their job responsibilities. It’s no surprise that constant stress over meeting financial obligations leads to a loss of focus and time dedicated to work obligations. And because employees work for paychecks that go toward their debts, it makes sense that they begin to associate the two.

Defeating Debt-Fatigue

About 

Giving the middle class credit: New bill a step in right direction (The Hill), Rated: A

Consumers need access to credit, and bank-fintech partnerships are one way to meet their needs. Indeed, bank-fintech partnerships are good for both consumers and banks.

As I noted, consumers benefit because banks can use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower-cost and more convenient financial products and services over the internet and mobile devices.

Banks benefit because fintech companies can leverage big data and technology, offering the infrastructure banks need to serve and welcome more people into the financial system.

An excellent example of community banks using fintech to compete with the Wall Street banks is Radius Bank, a $1-billion asset institution in Boston, which according to news reports is establishing “long-term relationships” with fintech providers, and is finding them to be “mutually beneficial.”

Ron Suber, the Godfather of Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Ron’s background and how he became interested in marketplace lending.
  • Why he saw a big opportunity for Prosper back in 2012.
  • What was behind Ron’s decision to leave Prosper last year.
  • What rewirement means to Ron and why it is important.
  • How the typical work week looks today for Ron.
  • Highlights of some of the trips he has taken recently.
  • What it was like doing the road show for the Credible IPO in Australia.
  • Details of the meeting Ron recently had with the Australian Treasurer.
  • What Ron is doing at Prosper these days.
  • Knowing what he knows now, what he would have done differently at Prosper.
  • What the marketplace lending industry still needs to improve upon today.
  • What inning the industry is in today.
  • What Ron looks for when he considers a new investment.
  • Why he pulled the trigger on some of his recent investments.
  • Ron’s view on Marcus and its impact on the online lending space.
  • What area of fintech Ron is most excited about today.
  • How he is able to maintain so many connections in fintech.
  • What is next for Ron Suber.

 

Chris Larsen Of Ripple (XRP) @Google (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Fed Minutes (PeerIQ), Rated: A

The Fed released the minutes of the January FOMC meeting and provided a bullish outlook to the economy with upside risks due to tax reform. The committee indicated that they were on track to raise interest rates in the March meeting, and market participants are expecting 3 rate hikes in 2018.

Meritize Raises $ 6.8M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Meritize, a Frisco, Texas-based student lending platform, raised $6.8M in seed funding.

Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures and Cube Financial Holdings led the investment round with participation from ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared and Meritize management.

LendingPoint Co-founder Weighs in on Lending Club’s Earnings Report (deBanked), Rated: B

“In my view, [Lending Club’s] underlying problem is that they don’t have alignment of interest between their stakeholders,” Tavares said. “At LendingPoint, we have a different approach. We look at it really as a balance sheet model, which means that we put everything on our books. We use our own equity. We leverage other investors’ capital, but we’re not an origination platform…Lending Club’s model primarily is that they have to continue feeding the beast, so to speak, in order to continue making their revenues. They don’t have inventory to continue generating assets or to monetize going forward. That’s a significant shortcoming in their model,” he said.

Bay Area Man’s Opportunity Fund Giving Small Businesses A Leg Up (CBS Local), Rated: A

About 8,000 small business loans are denied every day in this country, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. It’s a story Alicia Villanueva knows all too well.

So in 1992, Weaver founded Opportunity Fund, launched with a consortium of 15 banks. But although the San Jose-based non-profit works with traditional lenders, its business practices are a bit different. Weaver says Opportunity Fund delves into an applicant’s financial picture and character.  And since it lends to people with bad or non-existent credit, a granted loan comes with an automatic offer of hands-on financial management support, and a hefty dose of financial responsibility.

Today, Opportunity Fund loans about $5 to $7 million a month to small business owners in California and 13 other states. The money comes from business and private donations. An average loan can range from $2,600 to $250,000. Under Weaver’s leadership, 6,200 businesses have received loans.

Opportunity Fund, along with other partners like Lending Club, is set to expand into other parts of the U.S. later this year.

A Look at CUneXus’ Strong Growth in 2017 (Finovate), Rated: A

Lending automation company CUneXus published some impressive growth stats today. Here’s a quick overview of a few of the California-based company’s success metrics:

  • Grew from 45 FI clients to 72 over the course of one year, from 2016 to 2017, a 60% year-over-year increase
  • Reaches more than 6.5 million potential end consumers across the U.S.
  • Averaging more than $6 million in new loan requests per day
  • Generated more than 140,000 loans totaling more than $2.5 billion with its 1-click borrowing solution

These and other FI clients have reported that CUneXus has helped contribute to their own success, including:

  • Loan processing times cut in half
  • A 110% increase in pre-approved lending activity
  • A 135% spike in funded loan amounts

3 Ways Technology is Bringing in New Real Estate Investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: A

Today, in addition to teaming up with development companies, many investors are using technology solutions to research options remotely. Here are the three trending ways technology is revolutionizing how new investors step into the real estate market space.

Mobile apps like Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb have become popular and more people are now looking to invest in such short-term rentals.

Big data is now a critical offering for the public, and the real estate niche is looking for ways of gathering and presenting the information for driving purchase behavior.

Following the success of the customer-centric applications, it’s clear to see that the industry holds a huge potential if technology is leveraged to bring in new investors. Real estate is the largest global economy asset with figures hinting at $217 trillion – surpassing the world’s GDP of $80 trillion! This is a clear indicator that there is a huge potential for financial freedom creating entrepreneurs looking to tap into the real estate market.

New York Federal Reserve: Fintech Has Improved the Mortgage Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The New York Federal Reserve has published a staff report pertaining to “The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending”.

While still relatively small, this segment of onlien lending has grown annually by 30% from $34 billion of total originations in 2010 or 2% of the market, to $161 billion in 2016 or 8% of the market.

The Fed research finds that Fintech lenders reduce mortgage processing time by about 10 days, or 20% of the average processing time.

Additionally, default rates tank by a whopping 25% indicating the credit process is superior to the antiquated analog method of traditional banks.

 

 

Do the Majority of Americans Really ‘Want’ to Use a Branch? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

According to research conducted by Novantas, 60% of Americans said they would rather open a new checking account in person at a bank branch than on a phone, tablet or desktop computer. Reinforcing this finding is the reality that most consumers still only use digital channels for the most basic banking functions, such as checking account balances and transferring funds. For more complicated issues, like problems with an account or advice, most consumers prefer human contact.

The reliance on branches in North America is almost double other countries, where better digital offerings have been introduced. In fact, according to Novantas, 75% of consumers in Australia report visiting the branch less than once per month, or even less! The UK is very similar while, interestingly, only about half of US consumers exhibit the same behavior.


The banking industry has seen the closure of 1,700 branches in the 12 months ending in June 2017 – the largest one-year decline on record. Capital One Financial Corp. has cut 32% of its branches from mid-2012 to mid-2017, while SunTrust Banks Inc. cut 22% and Regions Financial Corp. has cut 12%.

U.S. Bank Offers New Online Tool to Help Consumers Get Fast, Convenient Car Loan Approvals (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Working with financial technology startup AutoGravity, U.S Bank created a new platform on USBank.com that provides a simplified, streamlined loan application process for users that typically takes just minutes to receive a loan decision.

Car buyers using the new U.S. Bank tool simply:

1) Pick their car and select a dealership online

2) Apply for a pre-approval for a U.S. Bank loan online

3) Close the loan at the dealership and drive off in their new car

When Weak Bank Lending Is a Good Sign (WSJ), Rated: A

Total commercial and industrial loans extended by U.S. banks were up just 1% from a year earlier on Feb. 7, according to weekly Federal Reserve data. For the month of January, C&I loans were down an annualized 10.8% compared to December, according to calculations by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

Asked how demand for loans has changed over the past three months from large and medium-sized firms, 84% said it was “about the same” or “somewhat stronger,” while just 16% said it was “moderately weaker.” For small firms with annual sales of less than $50 million, 88% of bankers said loan demand was about the same or better, while only 12% said it was weaker.

Financial incumbents are starting to care about financial education (Tearsheet), Rated: A

On Wednesday, Greenlight Financial Technology — the creator of a smart debit card for kids, teens, and college students — closed $16 million in a Series A funding round. Its investors went beyond your traditional venture capital firm, including a disparate coalition of  financial services bigwigs like SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial as well as the Amazon Alexa Fund, among other VCs. Greenlight, whose mission is to help strengthen financial literacy among kids and give parents a platform to raise “financially smart kids,” will use the new funds to develop its products.

That coalition of Greenlight partners signals a renewed understanding of the reality of most Americans’ financial lives — 57 percent of Americans are financially unhealthy according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation — by legacy financial services companies coming to terms with the fact that they need to be in the business of financial health in order to keep customer relationships in tact over the long term.

Don’t be THAT credit union. Offer short-term loans to your members. (CUInsight), Rated: B

CashPlease is an innovative new short-term, small-dollar loan solution that allows credit unions to implement a consumer loan product efficiently and compliantly.  Here’s how:

  • No additional loan officers or other additional staff needed
  • Underwriting technology that is automated and proven
  • Assistance with compliance best practices
  • Data-driven marketing to educate consumers about the availability of lower-cost loans

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING OBTAINS FULL RESTITUTION FOR CUSTOMERS OF ONLINE LENDER (Virginia.gov), Rated: A

Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that his office has reached a settlement with eight affiliated online lenders and debt collectors to resolve allegations that the companies offered unlawful open-ended credit plan loans and engaged in unlawful debt collection practices including contacting borrowers’ employers and implementing wage garnishments. As a result of the settlement, borrowers will receive nearly $150,000 in restitution and forgiven debt.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to loans made by the lenders during the period from January 2015 through June 19, 2017:

  • The Lenders agree to refund all interest and fees paid by consumers in excess of 12% of the loan amount, totaling approximately $85,000;
  • The Lenders agree to forgive all outstanding remaining debt of Virginia consumers, totaling over $63,000;
  • The Lenders agree to a permanent injunction against consumer lending activity in Virginia;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to a permanent injunction against all debt collection activity in Virginia;
  • The Lenders agree to pay $10,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to pay $75,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.

The companies include six lenders (Field Asset Service Team, LLC; VIM Holdings, LLC; MR Capital Group, LLC; Nascent Holdings, LLC; B Financial, LLC; and DTS Capital, LLC, collectively “the Lenders”) and two debt collectors (Bradley Goldberg & Miller, LLC and U Solutions Group, LLC, “the Debt Collectors”) that acted in concert to provide and collect open-end credit plan loans made over the Internet to Virginia consumers.

The Lenders offered open-end credit plan loans and imposed “service fees” as high as $160 per month. The Debt Collectors then emailed consumers in an effort to collect on these loans and contacted the consumers’ employers to implement wage assignments and collect money directly from the consumers’ paychecks.

CFPB Drops Lawsuit Against Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: B

The CFPB has dropped a recent lawsuit against a payday lender accused of charging up to 950% interest.

The case is CFPB v. Golden Valley Lending, Inc., et al., Case No. 17-cv-02521 (District of Kansas).

United Kingdom

Difficult divorce? RateSetter can help (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender has been offering a family finance product for a number of months, whereby individuals can apply for a loan to pay for their divorce litigation.

The P2P platform offers personal loans ranging from £500 to £35,000, with terms between one year and five years, according to its website. Borrower rates range from 3.9 per cent to 29.9 per cent.

Unscrupulous banks have fuelled rise of alternative lenders (RealBusiness), Rated: AAA

Now it emerges that one bank was actively working against small businesses in its greed-fuelled quest for profits and bonuses. RBS has been exposed for making up fees, imposing punishingly high interest rates, acquiring equity and property from failed businesses – and pocketing huge bonuses off the back of it.

As a result, it is alternative lenders that are now the go-to for independent businesses in need of assistance when it comes to growth. Take, for example, the business cash advance, which is sometimes referred to as a merchant cash advance. This funding can be from as little as £500 up to £300,000 and is advanced to the business against future credit and debit card turnover.

These Isas pay 6% and more – but should you invest? (Which?), Rated: AAA

Last week, Ratesetter launched an Isa paying a top rate of 5.8%, while yesterday (24 February), Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou launched an tax-free account aiming to pay 4.05% per year.

Other innovative finance Isas are currently paying returns as high as 16% a year.

Zopa is currently paying between 4% and 4.6%. Zopa primarily lends to individuals, Ratesetter lends to both individuals and businesses whereas Funding Circle lends exclusively to small businesses. The latter’s innovative finance Isa is only available to existing customers, but is projecting an annual return of 7.5%.

EasyMoney launches Innovative Finance ISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

EASYMONEY, part of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s ‘easy’ family of brands, has launched in the UK with an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) offering a target rate of 4.05 per cent a year.

Jacob Rothschild-backed firm plans £100m float (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Augmentum Fintech, which is preparing to float next month, has unveiled plans to issue a target of 100 million ordinary shares at a price of £1 each, with a maximum issue size of 125 million shares.

FCA seeks feedback on its ideas for a global sandbox (Mondaq), Rated: A

The FCA’s new webpage contains its ideas for a global sandbox [14.02.02]. Its current sandbox only allows firms to test their ideas in the UK.

It highlights three areas:

  • addressing “pre-identified challenges” in areas known for “regulatory problems that cross jurisdictional boundaries” e.g. AML and KYC on-boarding.;
  • enabling firms wishing to expand in different markets to “bring their ideas to market more quickly and easily, creating more effective competition.” The FCA asks for firms who could benefit from testing out their ideas in a number of markets to get in touch; and
  • policy and regulatory challenges – the FCA suggests the sandbox could be used to convene “joint events and papers on emerging trends and challenges” using the experiences of the range of firms and regulators taking part to develop “consistent approaches”.

Brexit to shut the door on lengthy London house price boom (Euronews), Rated: A

British inflation will outstrip gains in house prices this year and next, particularly in the capital, as uncertainty over Brexit and weak consumer spending power hits demand, a Reuters poll found on Friday.

Next year, house prices will rise 0.9 percent in London and 2.0 nationally, still both below the 2.1 percent expected inflation rate. In 2020, London prices will increase 2.0 percent and by 2.3 percent nationally.

“Quite simply, with loan-to-income ratios for first time buyers sitting at around four times, average salaries of 33,000 pounds ($46,000), and your average flat in London costing over 500,000 pounds, it’s extremely difficult to see how London can be viewed as anything but very expensive,” LendInvest’s Lockhart said.

China

Hang Seng Bank deploys fintech to simplify mobile banking, mulls use of facial recognition at ATMs (SCMP), Rated: A

Hang Seng Bank plans to expand the use of fintech to mobile banking services and is also toying with the idea of incorporating facial recognition, after initial success with iPhone X, to allow customers to withdraw cash from its ATMs across the city, according to its chief executive.

The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth US$6.5 billion by 2021, up from US$2.3 billion in 2016, according to estimates from research company Technavio.

European Union

Klarna Bank AB appoints Niklas Savander to Board of Directors (LeapRate), Rated: B

Klarna Bank AB has announce the appointment of Niklas Savander to the Board of Directors with effect from Thursday 22nd of February 2018. Niklas Savander will replace Niklas Adalberth.

International

Digital banking start-up Revolut breaks even as it prepares global expansion (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Revolut said Monday that it had broken even for the first time in December, and that its monthly transaction volume surged to $1.5 billion, an increase of over 700 percent in the last 12 months.

The start-up has signed up a total of 1.5 million users to its mobile app, up 50 percent from a figure it achieved in November.

Cryptocurrency A Risk Factor, Bank Of America Says In Annual SEC Filing (International Business Times), Rated: A

The 10-K filing referred to cryptocurrencies, without naming any specific one, three times under a subsection titled “Risk Factors” and described three different ways in which they could pose problems for the bank’s business.

The first reference was under geopolitical risks, with the bank talking about international money-laundering.

The third reference was along similar lines, with BoA saying: “The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions,” adding it “might not be successful in developing or introducing” competing products at lower prices.

 

Australia

SPOTCAP AWARDS SCHOLARSHIP TO ASPIRING FINTECH ENTREPRENEUR (Global Banking & Finance), Rated: A

Spotcap today announced Vishal Uppal as the winner ofthe Fintech Scholarship 2017. The first of its kind in Australia, the scholarship awards one aspiring graduate with an interest in fintech $10,000 towards the cost of their tuition.

India

Guide to smart banking: Why P2P lending is an ‘interest’ing idea (Business Line), Rated: AAA

P2P lending, on the other hand, is a completely tech-driven investment, which gives a net annualised return of 18-22 per cent to lenders, who start earning their principal and interest back from the very first month. The returns are higher because you can lend directly to the borrower and the intermediary costs are drastically reduced.

A majority of investors on these platforms are salaried professionals aged between 20 and 35 years looking for additional sources of income.

On Faircent.com lenders can invest as low as 750 per loan size or choose tech-enabled processes like auto-invest to save time. These features are a major attraction for millennials and, in fact, according to the last Research and Analytics report on P2P lending published by Faircent.com, 64 per cent of lenders are below 35 years of age.

Retirement plan: How real estate investment can help millennials secure their future (Financial Express), Rated: A

A growing number of millennials are also opting for investments into commercial real estate, as opposed to investments into residential properties made by their parents.

Commercial real estate: better yields for better financial security

Leases on these properties are usually taken out for multiple years by blue-chip companies, thus ensuring that steady rental income is assured for a specific duration of time. With India’s rise as a prominent international business destination, the sector is also witnessing remarkable growth; the country’s 537 million square feet of rent-generating commercial real estate inventory is currently estimated to be worth nearly $70 billion.

How technology is enabling millennials to make high-value real estate investments

The investments can start as low as Rs 5 lakh, making the entire process extremely affordable for millennial buyers whilst also allowing them to make multiple investments to diversify their portfolio, increase rental incomes, and minimise risk. Average rental returns to the tune of 7%-8% are quite common, while the overall returns can be as high as 22%.

India is projected to become the youngest country in the world by 2020, with a median age of 29.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [19-24 Feb 2018] (Inc42), Rated: B

BigWin Infotech, a government recognized fintech startup has appointed Suneel Mohnot a the Director on its board.

BigWin Infotech is a self-funded startup who has recently forayed into P2P lending business through its solely owned market place PaisaDukan.com post revised RBI guidelines for NBFC-P2P and one of the strong contenders for NBFC-P2P license.

APAC

CoAssets Reports Half-Year Results With 471% Increase In Revenue (AsiaOne), Rated: AAA

CoAssets Limited (“CoAssets” or the “Group”) (ASX: CA8), a leading crowdfunding platform and Fintech lender specialising in facilitating funding for businesses reported its financial and operating results for the half year ended 31 December 2017, together with an update on the Group’s growth and capital strategy to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 22 February 2018.

Total reported revenue increased by 471% from S$446,040 in 2016 to S$2,547,554 in 2017. Group’s profits in year 2017 was S$2,046,013, from a loss of S$3,899,325 in 2016. This increase in profits was due to business activities as well as investment gains. Operating expenses decreased from S$3,570,287 in 2016 to S$2,577,013 in 2017. This represents about S$1million or 28% in cost savings. Registered investor base reached 433,805 as at 31 December 2017. This represents an 88.17% increase from 30 June 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets Pte Ltd (“CAPL”)

After receiving the Capital Market Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in June 2017, the company crowdfunded more than S$5.11million worth of deals from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets International Pte Ltd (“CAI”)

The company disbursed more than S$6.65million worth of loans over the last 6-months, with its loan book growing to more than S$16.21million as at 31 December 2017.

China — CoAssets China

This represents the Group’s fastest growing market, achieving remarkable growth in registered user base of more than 117% (from 173,000 to more than 375,000 members) from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. The CoAssets platform in China funded more than RMB28.15million (S$5.94million) worth of crowdfunding projects over the last 6-months in 2017.

Hong Kong — Fintech Pte Ltd

In April 2017, the Group acquired Fintech Pte Ltd, an online corporate cash management platform called “PiggieBank ” in Hong Kong.  Since then, PiggieBank has successfully managed funds flow of more than S$21. 39million as at 9 February 2018.

Hong Kong — Brighten Finance Limited (“BFL”)

As at 31 December 2017, BFL’s loan book was worth HK$36.91million (S$6.27million).

EF, KoinWorks Serve Online Loans for Courses (netral english), Rated: A

English First, an English Education Institute signed a joint venture with KoinWorks – a Indonesian Peer to Peer Lending Platform – that serves investments and online loans without collateral for various productive loans.

Africa

Blockchain and financial services disruption (Punch), Rated: AAA

Key areas of the financial services that are most likely to be affected by blockchain include transfers, payment and lending. We have seen different start-ups such as OneFi, Inspire, Upstart, and Funding Circle, playing critical roles in peer- to -peer lending and services to individuals.

The closest we have seen so far is what VoguePay, a leading online payment start-up, has done.

It recently launched a multi-currency payment platform to enable businesses to send and receive payment from local and international customers, allowing merchants to accept payment in dollars, Euros, Rands, Cedis, Naira and Bitcoin payment.

The average Nigerian bank pays about five per cent interest rate on fixed deposits while requesting for two-digit interest rates on loans from customers. Economically, this does not make much sense because the margin is too wide when compared to what they offer for holding customers’ fund. Many people are tired of the highly monopolistic nature of banking.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Loan Charge Rates

News Comments Today’s main news: Cross River Bank, PeerIQ partner on loan data.Coinbase to offer crypto payments service to compete with PayPal.Better Mortgage hits $1B in mortgage loan funding.LendingClub updates Truth in Lending Statement.Zopa to launch a credit card.Funding Circle plans IPO at $2.1B valuation.Prospa ranked #1 among high-growth firms in APAC. Today’s main analysis: […]

Loan Charge Rates

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International

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News Summary

United States

Fintech-friendly Cross River Bank partners with PeerIQ on loan data (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank in Fort Lee, N.J., has entered into a partnership with PeerIQ, a provider of consumer loan data analytics, in an effort to streamline capital sourcing between online lenders and institutional loan buyers such as small banks.

Coinbase Now Powering Payments in Digital Currency (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has launched Coinbbase Commerce, a payments platform that allows merchants to accept digital currency anywhere, anytime.

Millennials SME Owners Prefer Online Alternative Lenders to Tradtional Ones (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

According to Mercator’s report, Business Banking Services: Keeping Up with Millennial Owners, 27% of total U.S. SMEs have used online alternative lenders (P2P lenders or marketplace lending platforms) in 2017.

Of this number, 48% of millennial owners (aged 18–34), currently have a loan from an alternative lender compared to 25% of SMEs run by owners over 35 years of age. Further, these millennial owners said they are twice as likely to use alternative lenders than their older counterparts.

Source: Bank Innovation

P2P lending soars but SMEs generally wary of finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The 2018 Small Business Finance Markets report, released on Tuesday, found that P2P business lending rose by 51 per cent in 2017. In contrast, bank lending to UK small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fell to £700m in 2017 from £3bn the previous year.

Despite increased demand for alternative finance, the report found that 70 per cent of smaller businesses would rather forego growth than borrow. The BBB’s analysis found that only 1.7 per cent of small firms sought new loans over the last 10 quarters – a record low since its index began in 2011.

Less than half (43 per cent) of businesses surveyed were confident they would get a loan if they applied, even though most new loan applications (72 per cent) are approved.

Better Mortgage Hits $ 1 Billion Dollars in Mortgage Loans Funded after Launch in January 2016 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, announced that it has funded over $1 billion dollars in mortgage loans to date. Better launched in January 2016, making it the third fastest online lender to reach this $1B milestone — per research published by Lend Academy in July 2017.

The Case for M&A (Why Banks Should Buy Online Lenders) (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Tech firms have already demonstrated they can open these markets. The largest money market fund in the world, Ant Financial’s four-year-old Yu’e Bao, was built on a sweep from the AliPay payments product. Intuit can utilize proprietary accounting and tax data to underwrite (and acquire) borrowers in novel ways. Amazon can underwrite small businesses using inventory turnover and reams of customer data.

“Big Tech” firms also have proprietary platforms and channels – in-home (think ‘Alexa’), apps, in-car, and mobile to name a few.  However, in the US – at least for now – Big Tech firms lack a regulatory “swimlane” to compete with banks in lending and payments on a national scale. Their non-bank and commercial status confines their activities to narrow forms of lending, affinity partnerships, and lead generation. Until that impediment is dissolved, “Big Tech” firms need to partner with national banks with unsecured lending capabilities to fully unlock these markets.

Our argument is that banks without an unsecured lending capability risk losing long-term customer relevance. Banks that do not have an unsecured lending business do not have a seat at the table.

Source: PeerIQ

Which Banks are the logical buyers?

Banks that have the following characteristics would make a short-list of likely acquirers:

  • Are active in lending, but have a gap in unsecured consumer loans
  • Banks with asset management or structured products arms that can package loans into new products (e.g., ABS offerings, investment vehicles, etc.). Also, banks that have aspirations to develop a robo-advisor
  • Banks that have a demonstrated history of partnering with FinTechs
Source: PeerIQ, SEC filings, bank corporate websites

We assume underwriting and loan terms similar to those today (e.g. ~700 credit score, 15% coupon, $15k principal, 3 to 5 year term). We assume annual charge-off rates of 5%. We assume a 1.5% deposit funding charge and a leverage ratio of 15%.

We find that a bank can generate 10% NIM, 2 to 3.5% ROA, 15 to 20% marginal-ROE during good times.

Update to Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

As of Friday, February 23, 2018, recent updates made to the Truth in Lending disclosure statement for unsecured consumer loans will take effect. The forthcoming Truth in Lending disclosure statement is available here.

Will LendingClub Turn a Corner in 2018? (Guru Focus), Rated: A

LendingClub has a market cap of about $1.6 billion, which makes it one of the biggest players in the peer-to-peer lending market.

The company’s stock price has plunged nearly 40% over the last four months and this could continue unless the upcoming earnings call changes investor sentiment. LendingClub was valued at about $9 billion in late 2014 but it has dropped to about $1.6 billion.

Source: Guru Focus

Pricey personal loans would be outlawed by bill that would reshape state lending industry (Los Angeles Times), Rated: AAA

A bill introduced Thursday by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) could dramatically reshape California’s lending industry by capping interest rates at roughly 20% for consumer loans between $2,500 and $10,000. Since rate caps were removed by the Legislature in the 1980s, there’s been no limit to the amount of interest lenders can charge on those loans.

That has led to startling growth in the market. In 2016, more than half of the loans between $2,500 and $5,000 and about 21% of larger loans charged interest rates of 100% or higher. In all, Californians in 2016 — the most recent year for which state data are available — borrowed $1.1 billion at triple-digit interest rates.

But Kalra’s bill would do much more than ban lenders’ priciest offerings. The bill would extend an existing set of rate caps that now apply to loans of less than $2,500 to all loans of up to $10,000. That would cap interest rates at roughly 19% for loans up to $10,000.

Had the caps been in effect in 2016, 98% of loans between $2,500 and $5,000 and 95% of loans up to $10,000 would have been outlawed. Only about $91 million of the $2.7 billion in loans made in those sizes in 2016 had rates below 20%.

BFS Capital Announces New 5 Million Credit Line (BFS Capital Email), Rated: A

BFS Capital, a leading small business financing platform, today announced it is has received a new $175 million revolving credit line provided by funds managed by Ares Management, L.P. BFS Capital will use the new facility to accelerate the growth of its lending business, following a record year where the company generated more than $300 million in originations, a new annual high.

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 7 Million Equity Raise (Braviant Email), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that uses advanced analytics and proprietary technology to make smarter lending decisions, has raised $5 million common equity from Loom Capital, LLC. Alongside the equity investment, Braviant has entered into an exclusive partnership with a subsidiary of Trend Capital, a tech-enabled digital marketing platform affiliated with Loom.

VPC’s portfolio sales drag on performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments has reported a total net asset value (NAV) return of 3.07 per cent for 2017 – below its target return levels.

PeerStreet Review (Benzinga), Rated: A

In addition, “accredited investors” need only apply. Investors must have a net worth greater than $1 million in liquid assets (meaning the equity in your home doesn’t count) or you need to earn more than $200,000 per year or make $300,000 jointly.

PeerStreet’s minimum investment is $1,000 and account fees range from 0.25% to a 1% setup fee. The investment length ranges from six to 24 months.

Marla Blow of FS Card (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Marla’s time at the CFPB indirectly led to the founding of FS Card.
  • Why creating a new credit card company is so complicated and challenging.
  • What their Build card is and who is their target market.
  • How they are able to offer an secured credit card to people that banks reject.
  • The types of data they use to find stable customers in the subprime segment.
  • The typical size of the credit line they provide to these customers.
  • The profile of their target customer and how they are using the credit card.
  • How they are providing financial education to these people.
  • How FS Card is acquiring these credit card customers.
  • The percentage of their customers who have qualified for credit line increases.
  • Why improving credit scores of their customers is a key metric.
  • How they are able to issue these cards through their partner bank.
  • How FS Card makes money.
  • What regulators could be doing to help subprime consumers get more access to responsible credit.
  • What more should fintech companies be doing to help these underserved people.
  • The biggest challenges that FS Card has to overcome to become a large and successful credit card company.

How does real estate investing benefit from technology (Realty Biz), Rated: A

Buying and selling property has already become much more accessible due to technology, and this trend is only going to speed up. While historically, real estate professionals, investors, and landlords have been reluctant to pay for technology, and the data available has been spotty, the tide is turning as more wake up to the opportunities. Investment values are shooting up in many places due in a large part to technological advances, including the ability to market real estate to audiences beyond the immediate community and to close deals securely, quickly, and remotely with investors.

BBVA taps digital start-up Azlo to target US freelance market (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

BBVA has partnered with digital business account provider Azlo to target the freelance market in the US.

According to BBVA, by 2020 in the US alone, 43% of workers will be employed in freelance capacities – a trend that is expected to continue to grow.

Goldman Sachs and rivals home in on risky consumer banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

Lloyd Blankfein was a breezy opening act at a big industry event this week in Key Biscayne, Florida. On stage at the Ritz-Carlton the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs was talking about Marcus, the bank’s new online savings and lending platform, which is targeting borrowers with scores as low as 660 on the 300-850 Fico scale. Goldman calls such people “creditworthy”; others call them subprime.

Banks Urged to Take On Payday Lenders With Small, Lower-Cost Loans (WRAL), Rated: A

Those who find themselves pinched for cash often turn to high-cost payday lenders. But traditional banks and credit unions could serve that role for borrowers and do it at much lower rates, according to a new proposal from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

B of A’s Moynihan: Big banks are ‘fine’ with Dodd-Frank (American Banker), Rated: A

While small and regional banks are pushing for a rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act, big banks are largely supportive of the 2010 financial reform law, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said Thursday.

African-American Entrepreneur Launches Innovative Mobile Tax Refund Loan App to Revolutionize the Tax Industry (Black News), Rated: B

Good news for Americans struggling with income tax returns given the recent changes in the tax laws with the enactment of The PATH ACT. A visionary African-American entrepreneur, Marshawn Govan, has come up with an innovative mobile tax refund loan app that is all set to revolutionize the tax industry and make tax returns simpler for Americans.

Titled as MKG Tax Refund, the state of the art program is a patent pending mobile tax refund Collateral Driven Interest & Investment (SaaS) Software-as-a-Service (FOF) Fund-Of-Fund multi-manager investment application.

Add Another Bank to Fintech Roostify’s Roster of Investors (Bank Innovation), Rated: B

If there’s any question that digital mortgage firms are gaining attention from larger fintech players and investors, then look no further than venture capital firm Santander InnoVentures‘ investment in Roostify, a startup that digitalizes the mortgage application process.

French asset manager signs record deal in the Meatpacking District (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Tikehau Capital, a Paris-based firm with $15.6 billion in assets under management, signed a lease for the top two floors at Rockpoint Group’s new development at 412 West 15th Street, sources told The Real Deal.

The 11-year lease covers nearly 10,000 square feet on the top two floors of the 18-story building, which offer sweeping views of the Hudson River.

Lawmakers highlighted that H.R. 3299 — the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 — clarifies current law to ensure innovative marketplace lending remains in-tact while simultaneously providing safe consumer protections.

H.R. 3299 passed through the House by a vote of 245-171 and went on over to the Senate, which received it, read the measure twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

United Kingdom

Zopa on hiring drive to support credit card launch in 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to develop its new credit card, which it plans to launch later this year as a feature of its digital bank.

Temasek-backed Funding Circle plans IPO at .1b valuation (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lender in the UK, is planning to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) that will see it float at an estimated valuation of £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion), according to a report by Britain’s Sky News.

Funding Circle set to hire Morgan Stanley to lead London flotation (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FUNDING Circle is reportedly poised to hire Morgan Stanley to lead a flotation on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of this year.

The largest P2P platform by loan book size in the UK is expected to hire the US bank in the coming weeks, according to Sky News.

Lendy reports 224% turnover increase (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Lendy has revealed a 224% turnover increase in 2016 (to £29.2m), compared with the previous year (2015: £9m).

The P2P lending platform has published its audited accounts for 2016, which also showed that profits before tax increased to £3.3m, compared with the £53,000 reported in 2015.

Lending Works chooses Credit Kudos to power new Open Banking initiative (Finextra), Rated: A

Credit Kudos, a challenger credit bureau, and Lending Works, a fast-growing peer-to-peer (P2P)  lending platform, are partnering to enable customers to benefit from the UK’s Open Banking  initiative, a secure way for banking customers to take control of their financial data. Credit Kudos  and Lending Works’ partnership is one of the first initiatives to use Open Banking to improve  customer experience in the finance industry.

Currently, approximately 60% of Lending Works’ borrowers are provided with  instant and automated credit decisions, whereas the remaining 40% require some manual  processes. Within the new world of Open Banking, Lending Works expects to increase that figure  to up to 90% of credit decisions being fully automated.

Small businesses look to specialist lenders for loans (Financial Times), Rated: A

British small businesses are diversifying their sources of funding away from big banks, as a growing number turn to specialist asset-backed lenders, peer-to-peer finance sites, private equity and venture capital investors.

Fewer small businesses are applying for loans than in the past five years and more of them fear that if they did they would be rejected, according to the latest report into small business finance by the British Business Bank, a government-backed development bank.

Out of the UK’s total of 5.7m small businesses, only 1.7 per cent applied for a loan or overdraft last year, the fifth consecutive year of decline since 2012.

There’s never been a better time to seek alternative finance (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

There are also several privately funded lenders (with a local presence in the province through brokerages) such as Atom Bank, Relendex, Thin Cats and Dunluce Capital which have all completed a number of deals in Northern Ireland from cash flow loans to property development finance.

The Access to Finance initiative supported by Invest Northern Ireland offers a variety of support including start-up funding, loans and equity investment.

WhiteRock Capital Partners manages the £50m NI Growth Loan Fund (Access to Finance) which offers loans from £50k to £1.25m to local SMEs. With an extensive network of funding partners, we work hard to deliver the most appropriate support for local businesses.

ArchOver readies for IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ARCHOVER is planning to launch its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in the next few weeks.

Crowdfunding Comes of Age (moneyexpert), Rated: A

Crowdfunding is gaining serious traction in the UK market, with the sector pushing past the £10 billion milestone in 2016. While, most people will probably still associate the idea of ‘crowdfunding’ with websites like Kickstarter or early stage equity investments, the reality is that 97% of the market is debt-based – either P2P lending or Crowd Bonds.

Both P2P lending and Crowd Bonds are also making big strides into the mainstream thanks to their inclusion in the new(ish) Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), which allows investors to earn interest tax free on their investments.

It’s time to get clear on the Innovative Finance ISA (moneyexpert), Rated: A

With the birth of the Lifetime ISA (LISA) for 18-39 year olds on 6 April 2017, the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) is no longer the baby of the ISA family. But it is perhaps still the least well understood.

The peer-to-peer lending industry celebrates its 13th birthday this year. Has it finally grown up? (Verdict), Rated: B

Whether that’s Paypal in the US or the start of the peer-to-peer lending industry (P2P) in the UK, financial services were changing long before the global recession hit.

The P2P industry is celebrating its 13thbirthday this year. With big changes afoot in its major players such as Zopa, as well as Funding Circle, what is next for P2P lending?

China

China Gets Pushback on New Rules to Curb Lending Practices (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Chinese regulators and commercial banks are butting heads over new rules Beijing is rolling out to tackle off-the-books lending that’s compounding China’s debt woes.

Particularly targeted are practices banks use to move loans off their books by repackaging them as investments. Banks transfer the loans—mostly corporate and local government borrowings—to brokerages and other types of shadow lenders, which then peddle the rebundled investments to investors. Such maneuvers accounted for $3.5 trillion in off-balance lending as of last year.

European Union

Online Lending Market Growth Continues With Spanish Purchase (Prague Post), Rated: AAA

Wonga’s latest acquisition is Spanish company Credito Pocket, who was a lending company based in Barcelona. This is aimed to boost the visibility of their Wonga.es domain.

BinckBank and Raisin double up for Dutch savings market (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

BinckBank says it will be the first in the Dutch banking sector to offer its clients access to European savings products via its cooperation with Raisin.

Augmentum Fintech to raise £100mln to cash in on Europe’s financial disruption (Proactive Investor), Rated: A

A new trust aimed at Europe’s fast-growing fintech sector is looking to raise £100mln ahead of a float in London.

Augmentum Fintech PLC said the financial services sector is ‘ripe for disruption and disintermediation’ but, unlike other sectors such as retail and travel, this has yet to happen.

ING Diba Buys Lendico (P2P Banking), Rated: A

Bank ING Diba acquires p2p lending marketplace Lendico. According to Finanz-Szene.de the transaction was reported to the German Federal Cartel Authority last week. The bank has confirmed the acquisition.

International

Digital Identity Pioneer IdentityMind Global Lands $ 10M (Coverager), Rated: AAA

IdentityMind Global, the leader in Digital Identities You Can Trust, today announced that it has closed a $10M Series C round of financing. In addition to all existing investors, the round was co-led by Benhamou Global Ventures and Eastern Link Capital and included Hanna Ventures, Overstock.com, and Zanadu Capital Partners.

Coin-backed P2P platforms shrug off crypto volatility (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum suffered from price falls in January but many firms are still seeing the benefits of creating their own cryptocurrency to use for P2P lending. One provider, SOFIN, is currently looking to raise up to $1m (£720,000) to create a token that can be used as a tool to bypass high exchange rates so loans can be funded internationally.

FintruX’s whitelist closes in 11 days (AMBCrypto), Rated: B

The global P2P lending ecosystem, FintruX backed by Ethereum and No-Code development has reopened the Token Sale, FTX which is used to power the FintruX network and is set-up as a mean to reward or get rewarded for participating in the marketplace. The token’s minimum per transaction at present is 0.1 ETH.

Harnessing the Full Potential of the $ 600 Billion Crypto Network (NewsBTC), Rated: B

Gluwa and Aella Credit are the two fintech companies that have come together to create a blockchain based protocol that will allow investors to lend in any crypto.

These two companies plan to launch Creditcoin, which will operate across blockchains in the P2P lending market.

The Gluwa platform, to be powered by Creditcoin, will address the issues of accessibility of the crypto market by those in the fiat world by seamlessly connecting them with cryptocurrencies.

GISC LoanCoin Network (NewsBTC), Rated: B

GISC LoanCoin Network is a utility token based lending and borrowing platform that allows users to leverage their blockchain assets to secure cash loans. The network is optimal for P2P and B2B credit financing on a global scale.

iP2PGlobal Announces Its Pre-ICO Crowdsales For Its TWQ Token On Feb 19 (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

The TWQ (Tawarruq) is an ERC20 token that confer the right to the token holder to submit an application for a personal financing based on a Commodity Tawarruq Trading program, through the iP2PGlobal platform and have it listed in the platform for prospective lenders to view and choose to finance.

10TWQs are needed to apply for a personal financing of up to 5ETH.

Australia

Australian Online Lender Prospa Ranks #1 in List of High Growth Firms in Asia Pacific (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, a Sydney based online lender servicing the SME market, has received a nice recognition as it took the top spot for a high growth firm in Asia Pacific. According to a recent ranking of the top 1000 firms in Asia-Pacific by the FT, Prospa ranked number one having experienced revenue growth of 1600% during the time period of 2103 to 2016.

Payday lender Nimble Money up for sale, bids due this week (Financial Review), Rated: A

Privately owned personal loans company Nimble Money is on the block, with its two founders believed to be seeking an exit.

Street Talk can reveal Melbourne-based Baillieu Holst has been hired to find a buyer for the business and has been marketing the short term loans provider to financial services industry players and private equity firms in recent weeks.

Interested parties have been told Nimble Money is on track to make about $15 million in earnings this year, following significant growth in its loan book over the past 12-months.

It’s expected to be worth about $100 million.

Loans.com.au slashes variable rates for home buyers (Canstar), Rated: B

Online lender loans.com.au has cut interest rates on its variable rate home loan to just 3.52% (3.56%* comparison rate).

Comparatively, the next lowest variable home loan for owner-occpupiers at the time of writing sits at 3.54% (3.55%* comparison rate).

Over $ 11.5 million lent by payday loan alternative (finder), Rated: B

BaptistCare has approved 16 loans per week to some of Australia’s most financially vulnerable people.

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILs), a microfinance program aimed at providing small no- and low-interest loans to financially vulnerable people, has this week announced it has surpassed $11.5 million lent in NSW. The loans are designed to help people on lower incomes purchase essential goods and services.

The loans are provided through BaptistCare with the scheme run under Good Shepherd Microfinance in partnership with NAB and the NSW Office of Fair Trading.

India

Financial services execs invest in fin-tech startup Fincash (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based personal finance startup Fincash.com has raised Rs 1 crore ($150,000) in a fresh funding round from a group of angel investors from the financial services sector, a company statement said.

The startup will use this money to build its team, expand its product line, acquire customers and make its services available across more cities and towns, the statement added.

Fintech startup Aye Finance raises Rs 25 cr from Vivriti Capital (Economic Times), Rated: B

Fintech company focussed on the MSME sector Aye Finance has raised Rs 25 crore through a securitisation deal facilitated by Vivriti Capital.

APAC

Lendit’s accumulated volume of loan tops W100b (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

Lendit, a peer-to-peer lending platform operator in South Korea, has extended a combined 101.8 billion won ($95.4 million) in nearly 7,300 consumer loans as of Monday to midrange borrowers seeking lower interest rates, according to the fintech startup Monday.

How VC Firm Magma Partners is Tapping Into the Untapped Chilean Fintech Market (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

With government-backed initiatives and a finite business of copper export, Nathan Lustig, co-founder and managing partner at Magma Partners, saw huge potential in the Chilean fintech market.

Lustig points out that only 30% of Chileans have credit cards, while only 50% have bank accounts, “and that’s the more advanced population,” he said. Additionally, consumer experience is “pretty horrible for about 80% of this population,” he said.

One area within the fintech space that Magma has been particularly interested in is invoice-based lending, also known as factoring. In its portfolio is Portal Finance, a startup that provides SaaS for the factoring industry.

Portal Finance earns between 0.5% to 1% for every deal the bank accepts.

Talad platform offers SME loans based on invoice collateral (The Nation), Rated: B

Talad Invoice, a lending platform initiated by a fintech startup, is expected to grow at an exponential rate this year, following two years of peer-to-peer lending using invoices as loans collateral, said Watewiboon Pumipue, chief executive officer of D90 Capital Co, which operates the financial platform.

Finda envisions online financial marketplace (The Korea Herald), Rated: B

Finda operates an eponymous web portal that provides information about over 7,000 financial products — ranging from personal and mortgage loans, investment instruments, credit cards to insurance products — standardized in Finda‘s own format. Users can be offered easy-to-understand and up-to-date information about products online, she said.

Finda gathers information primarily from an open API by the Financial Supervisory Service, but since the FSS’ database provides data, including interest rates, of the previous months, Finda reflects updates directly from sellers — banks, insurers, credit card firms and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Africa

Global Startups Boot Camp Coming To Rwanda (KTPress), Rated: A

Rwanda will next month host a continental Startup boot camp (SBC) that will source innovative and top startup talents in the country and across the globe.

SBC is a global family of industry-focused accelerators, which last year launched its first-ever Africa-based programme.

Canada

KiWi’s marketplace loans set for imminent Canadian debut (Financial Post), Rated: A

The next stage in the development of Canada’s first credit fund that invests in marketplace loans — unsecured consumer and small business loans provided by online lending companies — is set to play out over the next month.

The gang behind KiWi Private Credit Fund — formed last summer with $30 million of contributions from institutional and high-net-worth investors — is planning to meet the Canadian platforms.

Russia

Microfinancers warn Central Bank of return to 90s (Realnoe Vremya), Rated: A

The regulator has been fighting against expensive and very risky loans for several years already. Last July it tightened reserve requirements for MFO again: they must add 100% interest for payday loans with a delay of more than 90 days.

Firstly, the regulator is going to restrict the size of payday loans to 10,000 rubles, secondly, to reduce the biggest term of such loans to 15 days, thirdly, to reduce interest rates to 1,5% in 2018, to 1% in July 2019 a day. Now the largest payday loan is 45,000 rubles. The maximum term is 2 months, while extra payment on such loans is limited to a threefold size of a loan.

Payday loans account for 57,6% of all loans that MFOs granted in the second quarter of the last year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

News Comments Today’s main news: Spreads narrow on SoFi’s SCLP 2018-1 consumer loan ABS. DiversyFund raises $1M. Ranger Direct Lending sees arbitration delay. Klarna partners with Maplin. BNI Europa partners with Funding Circle on German SME lending. Western Union opens tech center in India. Today’s main analysis: Banco Popular reboots Eloan. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Marketplace Lending Association executive director’s testimony […]

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

Spreads narrow on SoFi’s 1st consumer loan ABS of 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Strong demand and higher credit enhancement allowed Social Finance to offer lower spreads on its first consumer loan securitization of the year, even after upsizing the deal to $850 million from $650 million originally.

Four tranches of rated were issued, resulting in an advance rate of 91%, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The amount of overcollateralization in the deal will gradually build from 9% to 16%.

Two senior tranches of notes rated AA + by KBRA were issued. The Class A-1 tranche, which has a shorter expected life, pays 50 basis points over the Eurodollar synthetic forward curve, in from 57 basis points on the comparable tranche of the previous transaction. The Class A-2 tranche pays 75 basis points over the interpolated swaps curve, in from 90 basis points on the previous deal.

 

Ranger Direct hit by arbitration delay and manager uncertainty (Citywire), Rated: AAA

The New Year rally in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) shares has come to an abrupt halt after the listed loan fund, which is backed by fund manager Mark Barnett, said arbitration to settle the legal dispute between it and Princeton Alternative Finance had been extended by around two months.

The £119 million investment trust has been locked in an argument with Princeton, a New Jersey-based investment fund in which it is the leading investor, over its exposure to Argon Credit, a US peer-to-peer lending platform that collapsed in December 2016.

Uncertainty over the exposure to Argon – which represents 14% of its £217 million net assets – and doubts over the due diligence by its adviser Ranger Alternative Management (RAM) have hobbled the shares. They fell over 23% last year but had rallied since the end of December when they hit a record low discount of 32% below net asset value. From 704p at the start of the year they recovered to 767p last week but have dropped 4% or 31p today after yesterday’s announcement. Although still wide, the discount has narrowed to just under 13%.

Relx pays £580m for digital identity company (Financial Times), Rated: A

Relx, the UK-listed information and analytics group formerly known as Reed Elsevier, has struck its biggest deal in a decade with the £580m purchase of ThreatMetrix, an online identify verification business.

ThreatMetrix has one of “largest repositories of online digital identities”, according to UBS analysts, and has built a database containing 1.4bn unique online digital identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

GLI Finance scores £50m funding line from HoneyComb fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The funding line has a term of 3 years and comprises a £50m revolving credit facility, of which £20m will be drawn and deployed immediately.

Ezbob Raises £15M in Expansion Capital (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ezbob, a London, UK-based E-lending company, raised £15M in funding.

Da Vinci Capital Management Ltd. reportedly made the investment at a post money valuation of £100m.

Meet The Lenders That Need Your SME’s Money More Than You Need Theirs (Forbes), Rated: A

in particular, the UK’s peer-to-peer lending platforms are now crying out for new customers.

Today, however, more than 30 lending platforms, including all the large small business lenders, offer their own IFISA or are on the verge of launching a product. For investors, moreover, the returns available from these schemes looks very attractive: annual yields of 10 per cent or more in some cases look phenomenal when set against the backdrop of bank and building society accounts typically paying less than 0.5 per cent a year, even if there is a risk of losses on IFISAs if borrowers default.

Augmentum Capital to seek public listing to back fintech start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: B

Augmentum Capital, the venture group backed by Lord Rothschild, is planning to list a financial technology investment fund in what would be one of the sector’s biggest initial public offerings in a decade.

It is understood to be applying for admission to London’s main market in March and will seek to raise up to £125m with the sale of new shares.

China

China’s financial risk worse than in US before financial crisis, says former finance minister (Today Online), Rated: AAA

The level of risk facing China’s financial system could be higher than was seen in the United States before the global crash, according to a former Chinese finance minister.

“China’s ratio of M2 [a broad measure of money supply] to gross domestic product has surpassed 200 per cent, which is more than twice that of the United States, yet the average Shanghai interbank offered rate is 4.09 per cent, far higher than the 1.1 per cent in the US.”

According to official figures, the M2 money supply at the end of December was 167.68 trillion yuan (S$34.75 trillion), or 203 per cent of China’s nominal GDP in 2017.

Chinese P2P lending platform Senmiao Technology sets terms for $ 14 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday.

The Chengdu, China-based company plans to raise $14 million by offering 3.3 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Senmiao Technology would command a market value of $109 million.

European Union

Klarna signs Maplin for online pay-later (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Today, leading payments provider Klarna has announced a partnership with Maplin – the UK’s number one specialist technology retailer. Maplin customers will now be able to use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice It services, allowing them to order online and receive the very latest Smart Home tech, security/CCTV products, top quality drones and so on, and then pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time.

Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.

BNI Europa to fund German SME loans via Funding Circle (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The Portuguese online bank Banco BNI Europa and Funding Circle have entered into a strategic partnership to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Germany.

Investment will support the funding needs of c. 600 companies and thereby help to create c. 1,500 new jobs

Banco Popular reboots Eloan for new era in online lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular is relaunching E-loan (it dropped the hyphen from the name) to serve as its “fintech arm,” a stand-alone brand offering solely digital products.

Launched in 1997, Eloan re-enters a market where fintechs now account for over 30% of personal loan originations, according to TransUnion. The brand will compete for clients alongside well-financed upstarts like LendingClub as well as new offerings from banks such as Marcus from Goldman Sachs.

 

Spendesk Raises €8 Million to Expand Its Platform for All Company Purchases (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Spendesk, a fintech solution that helps businesses manage their spending, has raised an €8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and expand across Europe.

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank hit by cyberattacks (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Three Dutch banks, ABN AmroING and Rabobank, suffered a series of DDoS attacks last weekend (27 and 28 January).

During the attack, internet banking, mobile banking, its website and Ideal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 8pm to 12.15am CET and on 28 January from 12pm to 2pm CET and after 7pm CET.

International

 

CHECQIT, the P2P Lending Platform Aiming to Empower the Unbanked (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, nearly 2 billion adults and 160 million small businesses from all over the world do not have bank accounts. Efforts to approach them to traditional financial institutions have not been enough, limiting their economic growth potential.

Only 14% of adults living in the Middle East hold a bank account, opposed to the 94% of citizens from first world western countries that do. Developing regions with underserved communities such as India and sub-Saharan Africa comprise, when combined, nearly 32% of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

As a response to this issue, Nassim Benzekri and his team developed CHECQIT, an Ethereum-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer lending platform that allows users to grow their collaterals against a fast-guaranteed loan.

Finastra acquires Olfa Soft SA (Realwire), Rated: B

Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its cutting edge FX e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The move enables Finastra to deliver a unique end-to-end real-time eFX trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.

India

Western Union Opens Tech Center In India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Cross-border payments company Western Union is opening a technology center in India, which will focus on biometrics, machine learning, and robotics, the company announced yesterday.

The center, located in Pune, Maharashtra, will have over 1,000 employees all focused on building these “innovative digital and retail customer experiences globally,” the company said in a press release.

Rubique announces strategic partnership with Optacredit (Outlook), Rated: AAA

Rubique, a marketplace lending platform for individuals and SMBs, entered into a strategic partnership with OptaCredit, an Artificial Intelligence-powered, data-driven online lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to salaried professionals across India.

With its Online PLUS technology led model and proprietary matchmaking algorithm, Rubique will enlist the company on its online marketplace for applicants to avail viable loan products from OptaCredit’s offerings.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders. The NBFC-P2Ps will act as an intermediary to provide an online platform to lenders and borrowers to transact on mutually agreeable terms. RBI has defined P2P lending as a form of crowdfunding that entails issuing unsecured loans to borrowers via an online portal in its 2016, ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’. However, P2P lending is different from other crowdfunding activities in being a purely debt product, in which multiple lenders fund borrowers as personal loans or small business loans. Most of the P2P platforms in India such as IndiaMoneyMart curate their borrowers after conducting KYC checks, credit assessment, and due diligence before listing them on their loan exchanges.

On the positives, the regulation has made P2P lending platforms accountable to furnish credit repayment/non-repayment information to all 4 credit bureaus, thereby increasing transparency in the credit rating system. The credit rating agencies have records on about 150 million population but P2P lending platforms are also going to bring customers hitherto relying on private money lenders. This presents a huge opportunity to close the credit information gap. It will also reward sub-prime borrowers with a better credit score for showing improvement in loan repayment behaviour.

As many first time or retail borrowers take loans from money lenders or payday companies which charge interest as high as 5% to 20% per month, P2P platforms like IndiaMoneyMart are bridging the gap by making credit not only accessible but affordable. Bangalore-based IT consultant, Tanmay Thorat* (name changed) was paying over 300% interest to payday loan companies and approached IndiaMoneyMart for a small ticket size loan of INR 1 Lakh secured at rate of 13% annualized interest in March 2016required to settle his credit card debt and pay rent deposit.

The expectation from the Union Budget 2018 is immense in the BFSI segment, especially after RBI regulation. Experts hope that essential financial services will have GST rates revised from 18% to 5% or nil.

Budget 2018: how can we enhance the growth of startups in India? (YourStory), Rated: A

Most importantly, the fund of funds for startups (FFS) has begun to take shape with as much as Rs 1,100 crore being disbursed to SIDBI for allocation to venture funds. As of September 15, 2017, 17 venture funds have raised Rs 605 crore from SIDBI and as many as 72 startups have received about Rs 318 crore funds. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has also recently announced that this number will be increased to Rs 2,400 crore by the end of the next fiscal.

For instance, the startup space has reportedly seen a decline of 53 percent in seed funding and 25 percent in venture funds in 2017.

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

  1. Abolish angel tax
  2. Encourage Indians to fund India
  3. Extend tax holiday
  4. Standardise and simplify   

10 things FM Arun Jaitley can do to boost access to capital via digital lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

  1. Allow a lower MHP for servicing short-term needs of MSMEs
  2. Raise rate caps under MUDRA scheme: The RBI currently has capped the final rate that can be charged above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA at 3% for banks, 6% for NBFCs and 10%-12% for MFIs, depending on portfolio size. Since most of the new lenders incur high opex, this cap should be increased in the Budget 2018 to 10-12% in line with MFIs, for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs, and 8-10% for loans from Rs 5-25 lakh value.
  3. Extend the SIDBI net
  4. Make P2P platforms more attractive: A cap of 5% of net worth for lenders and a maximum individual loan amount of Rs 25 lakh for the borrowers would make these platforms attractive for both lender and borrower.
  5. Expand access to MSMEs
  6. Introduce PSU Banks turndown program
  7. Raise eKYC-based lending limit: The cap for lending through OTP based eKYC should be increased from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  8. Promote eSign
  9. Mandate eMandate
  10. Increase the flow of data for lending
APAC

Lancers raises $ 9.2m venture round (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Tokyo-based Lancers, which operates a crowdsourcing platform under the same name, has closed a JPY 1 billion ($9.2 million) round from Tokyo-listed enterprises Persol Holdings and Shinsei Bank.

The investment sees Lancers concluding business partnership contracts with both companies concurrently and will also see it commence its new financing business targeting freelance workers, which the company claims comprise 17 per cent, or 11.22 million workers of Japan’s entire working population.

The addition of Shinsei Bank as an investor will see Lancers, Persol and Shinsei collaborate to develop and provide a new loan service to individual workers who need equipment investment or education/training upon starting a new business.

Crowd Realty closes $ 5.2m Series A (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based property crowdfunding portal Crowd Realty has closed its Series A round at JPY 580 million ($5.2 million) from Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi Estate, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Shinsei Bank, and Mizuho Capital, based on an account from The Bridge.

The Series A round saw two tranches: a follow-on investment of JPY 230 million subsequent to a JPY 350 million investment from Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Kabu.com Securities.

SSC warns against investing in cryptocurrencies (Viet Nam News), Rated: B

In a notice issued on its website on Monday, SSC said that the market now had companies operating in fintech, including cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and blockchain. These were new products that had not been regulated, SSC said, thus posing high risks.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor