Thursday October 10 2019, Weekly News Digest

Lend Academy

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm debuts shopping app. Zopa profits tick upward. RateSetter recovering from loan scandal. PPDAI stock rises 7% with lift in institutional-funded loans. Oportun ends Nasdaq debut with 8% gain. Australia: RBA cuts interest rates, online lenders follow. Today’s main analysis: The Future of Finance: Marcus, Neobank, and fintech. (A MUST-READ) […]

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United Kingdom

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

OnDeck Survey: Economy is Top Concern for Small Businesses Ahead of 2020 Election (New Kerala), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced the results of a national survey of U.S. small business owners that finds economic issues are the most important factors in determining their choice for president in 2020.

  • Economic concerns arise in several dimensions, including tax policy, job growth, support for small businesses, government spending and the overall economic climate. These issues were cited as the top concerns of more than 33% of those surveyed;
  • Immigration was an issue of interest for 11.3% of small business owners surveyed, ranking second behind the economy as a concern.
  • 57% of small businesses surveyed said they were either Very Optimistic or Somewhat Optimistic about the economic outlook for their businesses;
  • 93% of those surveyed said they plan to vote in the 2020 election.
  • 60% of small business owners surveyed said they already know who they plan to vote for in the 2020 presidential election.

Affirm debuted a new app encouraging customers to start their shopping journeys with it (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The point-of-sale (POS) financing provider 

Source: Business Insider

Affirm ships new shopping and bill splitting app (Finextra), Rated: A

Affirm’s app also allows consumers to pay at any brick-and-mortar store that accepts Apple Pay or Google Pay, which is increasingly important as 24% of consumers want the flexibility to look online and shop in-store.

Those with Apple Pay or Google Pay enabled have also seen up to 14% of transactions driven in-store, making the Affirm app a rare omnichannel solution for customer acquisition.

Max Levchin On The Future-Present Of Everywhere POS Lending (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Since Affirm’s launch, the landscape in the POS space is radically different than it was when Affirm entered. It is, first and foremost, a much bigger and more populated space than it once was. Other startups have come to the field — AfterpayUplift and Sezzle for example — but also bigger and more established names in financial services. In the last 12 months alone SquareMastercardPayPal and Chase have all rolled out POS installment lending products or enhancements as the market continues to pick up popularity among consumers, particularly younger ones.

Latest Macro; latest from Marcus; Oportun goes IPO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Q4 is off to a brisk start. The jobs report released this past Friday shows 114K in net new jobs (vs expectations of 120K), generally flat wages, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.5%.

On the one hand, the US economy is near ‘stall speed’ – around 1 to 1.5% growth rate.

Source: PeerIQ, The Daily Shot, Conference Board

House prices are expected to rise 5.8% over the next year due to low mortgage rates.

Two major financing announcements this week. FinTech lender, Oportun, led by CEO Raul Vazquez, ends its Nasdaq debut with an 8% gain. The debut is notable as it represents a positive shift in the sentiment to the reception of lenders to the IPO market.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q2 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The upward trend in my returns continued in Q2, making it the fifth quarter in a row with increasing returns. My preliminary return for the 12 months ending June 30, 2019 is 6.20% (one investment is still not final), the best I have achieved since Q3 2017.

Source: Lend Academy

The Maybe-Dubious Rise of the Loans-for-Sneaker Business (GQ), Rated: AAA

Afterpay is one of a number of platforms that have sprouted up over the past couple years that are willing to float customers a couple hundred or thousand dollars to shop. In addition to it, there are Affirm, Sezzle, Klarna, and Quadpay. They are positioned as a more consumer-friendly option than credit cards, a whole host of services bent on—because this is 2019—disrupting the powers that be.

Globally, Afterpay, which launched in Australia, has over 4.6 million customers and 35,000 retail partners. In the U.S., where Afterpay only launched in May of last year, it has two million customers and is available at 6,500 retailers. Over three million people use Affirm, while another 500,000 have shopped with Sezzle.

Silicon Valley promises aside, Afterpay is, at best, a platform that allows you to take out what amounts to a small loan on an item. After an approval process—Afterpay does not check a credit score; others like Affirm do—the customer pays a fourth of the price upfront and the rest is paid off in three equal installments every two weeks.

Also new is the $1,500 limit, up from $500, that Afterpay raised after Hyde-McCormick proved himself a responsible shopper and the $87.50 payments currently due every two weeks.

What Happened to Borro? (deBanked), Rated: A

In 2013, Borro, an innovative online lending company that was poised to disrupt pawn shop lending forever, invited me to their stylish offices at 767 Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Borro made $50 million worth of such loans in 2013 and doubled that number in 2014.

Auto, home equity are soft spots in consumer lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In its quarterly report that tracks consumer delinquency trends, the American Bankers Association said that 30-day past-due rates ticked up in eight of 11 categories in the second quarter when compared with the first quarter, but stressed that delinquencies remain well below historic norms.

Finally! Maker Offers Multi-Collateral DAI Lending (Cryptovest), Rated: A

Maker DAO, the most active decentralized finance app on the Ethereum network, has announced a date for its long-awaited multi-collateral DAI generation. According to observers, November 18 may be the date MKR starts accepting other assets as collateral.

Multi-collateral DAI creation has the potential to be riskier in comparison to ETH-based models. Currently, Maker is deliberately over-collateralized at above 300%, with the minimum at 150%, due to the high volatility of crypto assets.

A $ 40 Billion Pile of Leveraged Loans Is Battered by Big Losses (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Loans tied to more than 50 companies have lost at least 10 percentage points of face value in just three months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Some have dropped a lot more, with lenders lucky to get back just two-thirds of their investment if they tried to sell.

It’s hardly a full-blown apocalypse for the junk-rated leveraged loan market, which totals $1.2 trillion.

Energy is the hardest-hit sector on the list, with more than $12 billion of loans falling more than 10 cents on the dollar. Consumer and health care follow, comprising around $8 billion and $5 billion of loans outstanding, respectively.

Source: Bloomberg

Ruling cuts short debt collectors’ victory lap over CFPB proposal (American Banker), Rated: B

Under the CFPB’s May proposal, debt collectors could have unlimited contact with debtors through email and text messages, though consumers could opt out of such communications. Additionally, collectors could satisfy disclosure requirements with a hyperlink embedded in an email that takes consumers to a description about how they can dispute a debt.

The SEC is hiring a chief data officer (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Securities and Exchange Commission is hiring its first chief data officer, according to a job posting for the role.

Voyager Selects Celsius Network to Manage Certain Assets (AP News), Rated: B

Voyager Digital, LLC, a subsidiary of publicly-traded Voyager Digital (Canada) Ltd (Ticker VYGR.CN), an industry-leading best execution crypto asset broker, today announced a partnership with Celsius Network, in which Celsius will manage a portion of Voyager’s digital assets.

United Kingdom

Zopa’s P2P profits tick up but group losses widen due to heavy investment in bank (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Zopa Group – which incorporates the P2P platform and upcoming digital bank – reported a pre-tax loss of £18.295m for the year ended 31 December 2018, compared to a pre-tax loss of £5.536m the previous year.

Zopa: nine in 10 shoppers confused by car finance options (Verdict), Rated: A

In a survey of 2,000 consumers, 47% of people who had recently bought a car with finance are unable to identify which type of finance deal they signed up for. Zopa estimates that the average car buyer could save up to £11,000 over the course of their lifetime by working out the best finance deal available.

Ratesetter recovering from loan scandal (The Times), Rated: AAA

One of Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lenders appears to be recovering from a toxic loan scandal after its latest results showed it edging towards breaking even.

Accounts for Ratesetter, which links 56,000 ordinary investors with consumer and business borrowers, show that pre-tax losses narrowed by 69 per cent in the year to March.

Wonga customers’ average compensation payout may be just £118 (The Guardian), Rated: A

Customers who were mis-sold loans by the collapsed payday lender Wonga are expected to receive less than 10% of what they are owed in compensation after administrators revealed that only £41m will be put aside for claimants.

Payday loan alternative Savvy secures £20 million funding facility (Finextra), Rated: A

Stockport and Wilmslow based fintech company Savvy.co.uk is to create 25 jobs after securing a £20 million investment.

The funding, from London-based Cairn Capital, will increase lending capacity for the company who provide an ethical alternative to pay-day loans.

MEET THE FRENCHMAN WHO WANTS TO SOLVE THE UK’S HOUSING CRISIS (Business Leader), Rated: A

WHY DID YOU START BLEND NETWORK?

I started working in the financial industry as an FX trader before moving to trading gold and copper, both much more inefficient markets than FX. I realised that the UK property market was a hugely inefficient market in the sense that lenders and borrowers are not meeting. On the one hand, you have very experienced property developers across the country who are trying to access funds to build homes but traditional lenders are no longer active in providing development finance.

Instead, we lend in places such as Coventry, East Anglia, Doncaster, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a very good example of our strategic approach to lending. Last year, we did around 80-85% of our business in Northern Ireland.

Crowdfunding a start up options explained for businesses and investors (What Investment), Rated: A

Crowdfunding a start up brings to mind the statement ‘Nothing worth having comes easy’, never truer than in the case of launching a start-up. Getting a new business off the ground will often require capital. Something which a lot of people don’t know how to go about getting.

These are:

  • Reward based crowdfunding;
  • Equity based crowdfunding;
  • Debt based crowdfunding, and
  • Donation based crowdfunding.

Landlords wary of tax changes (Money International), Rated: A

Half of the 200 landlords approached agreed tax changes and tougher mortgage borrowing criteria have thwarted their plans to buy more properties, while 15% admitted they had been put off buying homes to rent.

A third who still wanted to invest are considering a switch from buy to let to peer-to-peer lending secured against property, while 8% have already done so.

China

PPDAI Stock Soars 7% on Increase in Institutionally-Funded Loans (Capital Watch), Rated: AAA

The stock in PPDAI Group Inc (NYSE: PPDF) closed 7% higher on Wednesday, at $2.83 per American depositary share, after it announced a positive trend in funding of loans by its institutional partners and increased loan origination volume.

For the third quarter, the Shanghai-based company, which operates an online consumer finance marketplace, said in a statement on Wednesday that the volume of loans facilitated by its institutional funding partners jumped to $2.64 billion, up 91% from the second quarter. Total loan origination volume was above PPDAI’s guidance, it said, as it reached $3.51 billion, up 14% from the previous quarter.

European Union

What we learned at this year’s LendIt Fintech Europe (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

At the conference, Business Insider Intelligence identified four emerging themes that we expect to set the tone for the space for the next year: further proliferation of partnerships between banks and fintechs, increased focus on digital banks’ sustainability, accelerated innovation and disruption from small- and medium-sized business (SMB) lenders, and more challenges ahead for the UK’s P2P lenders.

  • CYBG bank and price comparison site GoCompare recently partnered to offer an energy compare and switch service for all of CYBG’s B customers.
  • Barclays bank partnered with SMB finance fintech MarketInvoice last year to give Barclays’ SMB clients access to MarkeInvoice’s solutions. 
  • French Banking-as-a-Service platform Treezor was acquired by Société Générale last year, as the bank looked to enhance its ability to innovate and decrease time to market.
Source: Business Insider

Linked Finance launches ‘Beyond Brexit’ business loans (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The new 18-month loan period will allow borrowers to access working capital facilities of up to €300,000 (approximately £265,194) in just 24 hours.

ID on track to double revenues as it eyes €300m+ of revenue within 2 years (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue growth of over 100% in the first 9 months of 2019 and is on track to double its revenues to €90m revenue this year. The data science, credit scoring and digital finance company is now planning its first equity crowdfunding round via Crowdcube as it targets €300m+ of revenue within 2 years.

Binance Launches New Lending Program Phase (CoinCodex), Rated: A

The Binance cryptocurrency exchange has launched the latest phase of its relatively new lending program. For the program’s eighth installment, Binance is sticking with the model of short-term loans, as users only have to commit their crypto for 14 days.

International

A Guide to What’s Happening in the Fintech Revolution (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

These underbanked markets, led by countries in Asia and Africa, have inspired fintech innovation that’s leapfrogging the technology available in the developed world. Ant Financial Services Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay in China, Paytm in India, and Safaricom’s M-Pesa in Kenya are some well-known examples.

Source: Bloomberg

Take Facebook Inc.’s plan to launch a digital currency called Libra in 2020. The social network’s gigantic reach—more than 2.4 billion active monthly users—could draw a much wider audience to Libra than has used previous cryptocurrencies. For instance, global remittances by migrants reached a record $689 billion last year, according to the World Bank.

Source: Bloomberg

San Francisco-based 500 Startups staked 43 such companies in the 12 months ended June 30.

Goldman’s $ 1.3B Marcus burn, Neobank £200MM loss; plus 14 short takes on top developments (Lex), Rated: AAA

Goldman is losing $1.3 billion on Marcus, trying to build a Fintech leader. Etrade is going to lose $75 million from cutting trading fees to $0 to keep up with Robinhood. Revolut is losing £35 million on £60 million in revenue, with another £140 million burned by Atom, Monzo, Tandem, and the rest.

Source FT Research and Future of Finance

Generally speaking, from a deposit point of view, these are still all small businesses at £1 billion in assets (e.g., Betterment manages $20 billion).

Source: ARK Invest and Future of Finance

The first is that the Robinhoods and Monzos of the world are 10x overpriced relative to the payments apps. I can sort of buy this — though money in motion is way easier to capture than money at rest. The second is that venture investors think a finance user is worth $1,500 in a digital bank.

Source: Future of Finance

Blockchain: the future of finance (Financier Worldwide), Rated: A

Recent examples of blockchain’s impact on financial markets go well beyond these initial applications or P2P lending or crowdfunding.

The first wave of applications in finance and banking is being driven by easily achievable gains in actively traded assets.

MasterCard incorporated a blockchain payment system providing vendors real time, lower cost settlements on cross-border transactions. Representing a consortium of more than 40 of the world’s largest banks, fintech firm R3 launched a payment system built on DLT platform Corda, to expedite intra-bank transfers.

St. Regis Aspen, a Colorado resort, is a partnership formed with a crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, that in lieu of a traditional IPO completed a private placement via DLT financing real estate. This sale of ‘tokens’ – fractional interests in the underlying property – raised $18m, compliant with securities laws.

Australia

Hot home loan rates starting with a 2 (mozo), Rated: AAA

The RBA has cut official interest rates for the third time this year, and already a handful of lenders have responded by slashing rates across their range of variable rate home loans. Right now, if your home loan doesn’t have a ‘2’ in front of it, you’re missing out.

loans.com.au jumps on October RBA home loan rate cut party (mozo), Rated: AAA

The online lender has announced its response to the 0.25% drop in the official cash rate though, with loans.com.au taking 0.15% off a number of variable rate home loan offers for both owner occupiers and investors.

The changes, which come into effect on October 17, will have an impact on a number of  loans.com.au home loan offers including:

• Essentials Variable loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 3.04% (3.06% comparison rate*).

• Smart Home Loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 2.88% (2.90% comparison rate*).

• ZIP Home Loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 3.08% (3.10% comparison rate*).

• Offset Variable loan – reduced by 0.15% with rates now as low as 3.12% (3.14% comparison rate*).

OnDeck appoints Robbie Fidler as new national broker chief (IT Wire), Rated: B

Online SME lender OnDeck Australia has appointed experienced commercial lending operator Robbie Fidler as its national broker channel manager.

Asia

SPV 2030: Sharing of risks and reward (The Malaysian Reserve), Rated: A

The growth and success of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a testament of the viability of risk-sharing contracts, where the investors take on some risks (for higher return) from the ventures they are financing. This way, finance will be grounded in the real economy, which is another core principle of Islamic finance.

MENA

Beehive funds first SME in Bahrain (Arabian Business), Rated: AAA

Dubai-based Beehive, the region’s first regulated peer-to-peer lending platform, has funded its first SME in Bahrain.

Canada

BFS Capital Opens New Data Science and Engineering Hub in Toronto (Financial Post), Rated: B

BFS Capital, a leader in small business lending, has officially launched a data science and engineering hub in Toronto as the company accelerates its plans to develop best-in-class digital financial products for small businesses across the globe.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday October 10 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Buying and Selling Cars Through a Mobile App

car selling

The first-ever mobile application making automobile transactions possible at the touch of a screen, Blinker eliminates the role of the middleman in the car buying, selling and financing process. How Blinker Works Blinker‘s focus is on facilitating a hassle-free experience for all stakeholders involved in an auto purchasing transaction. Blinker uses a lot of dealer […]

car selling

The first-ever mobile application making automobile transactions possible at the touch of a screen, Blinker eliminates the role of the middleman in the car buying, selling and financing process.

How Blinker Works

Blinker‘s focus is on facilitating a hassle-free experience for all stakeholders involved in an auto purchasing transaction. Blinker uses a lot of dealer tools used to execute trades, but it has leveraged technology to enhance the experience and create a solution that is executable online without any middlemen driving fees. This allows users to buy and sell cars for free on the platform.

The downloadable app simplifies the process of getting approved for credit, and all the user has to do is upload a picture of his driver’s license. Documents are signed with Docusign. The user posts a picture of the car she is selling and the fund transfer is done online, which eliminates the need for any physical interaction as the entire transaction takes place on users’ smartphones.

All transactions start with one picture of the car and, in less than three seconds, the company can find out all the details about the car from the year to the make, model, approximate value, and the number of miles it has been driven. The company has partnered with Carfax and Blackbook for these reports.

Blinker has its own patented technology. Out of 17 patents filed with the U.S. Patent Office, 13 have been issued.

The Blinker Team and Platform

The Blinker platform has the same credit requirements for auto finance as any other bank. It gives instant pre-approvals with a picture of a driver’s license and, upon authorization, for a soft credit pull. The idea is to have the customer approved first followed by the car. Customers have access to unique offers on each vehicle based on credit score, income, and their ability to pay. The platform does not see the seller, the buyer, or the car.

Currently operating in four states, Blinker’s model is able to generate great auto finance deals for its users. Blinker took its own equity to create a loan portfolio to prove the viability of the model. The business caters to a full spectrum of borrowers having FICO scores between 560 and 800. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is usually 20% less than the average dealer offer. The portfolio has faced no delinquencies, highlighting the success of the company’s lending algorithms.

The company has raised a total of $51 million in funding and onboarded 65 professionals in its Denver office, out of which 30 are engineers on the lending side. The company’s president was in senior management at Americredit, a giant in auto finance solutions. All of the above has given birth to a company that is rapidly capturing market share and mind share in the auto industry.

Blinker is now entering into a relationship with Allied Bank and talks are going on with other customers and member groups to expand its reach. Its foundation is to be a fee-based company. It wants to follow an asset light model with no inventory or loans on its books.

Blinker’s Selling Process

The car prices and terms of sale are displayed in the mobile app for full transparency. Car shoppers can set a filter for distance/location, and more, as they search for the perfect vehicle. The average price of cars available on the app is $14,000, but it is not restricted to any particular segment and has even sold a $105,000 Ferrari. Blinker has also partnered with Manheim Auctions, the largest car auctions company in the world, to sell its inventory directly to individuals. The company is extending into selling rental cars and partnering with OEMs to sell cars not picked by dealers.

On average, a Blinker seller gets $2,500 more on a trade than they do through a dealership. Buyers save an average of $2,000 as compared to buying from a dealer. Refinancing from Blinker helps the average customer save $130/ month.

The app has been able to garner a lot of support in a short time since launch. There have been over 175,000 downloads, and Blinker has been successful in generating $44 million in sales. That includes about 3,500 vehicles, 8,000 listings, and the funding of about 650 to 700 loans.

The Changing Auto Industry

Although there are a lot of companies in the market like Shift, Carmax, and Carvana, they are hampered by a model that charges 8%-10% of the sale price, serves only metros and/or focuses only on one part of the trade. There are no players in the market, like Blinker, that facilitate the entire transaction from listing and pricing to car finance. Blinker is able to execute transactions anywhere and anytime. All that is required is access to an internet connection and Blinker will be able to complete a car trade.

Currently, the company is completely operational in Colorado, Texas, Florida, and California. Six more states are ramping up for service. It is looking to expand across the U.S. soon and, by the end of 2018, Blinker hopes to be in all 50 states. The platform will ensure that it is free for buyer and seller. Its model is to generate fees via loans originated.

Target Customers and the Blinker Roadmap

When Blinker entered the marketplace, it had expected that the majority of its clients would be millennials. However, it realized that clients are of all ages and are buying and selling all types of cars. But to ensure optimum portfolio for its loan partners, Blinker does not finance cars below $8,000 in value or over 10 years old.

Blinker is on a mission to empower dealers and customers to transact through their smartphones. It is getting a lot of attention from national strategic partners that love the technology. Its main focus is on acquiring customers as its technology is completely built out. It will tie up with strategic partners to provide complete end-to-end transactions for members and provide revenue share opportunities to make it a win-win proposition. The aim is to become the pre-eminent platform for buying and selling used cars in the U.S.

Blinker’s Founder

Rod Buscher founded the company in 2013. He was into the brick-and-mortar auto space, operating in the industry since 1973. As cofounder of the John Elway dealership, partnering the legendary quarterback until selling the dealership in 2013 to launch Blinker, he has inside knowledge of how dealerships operate and cars are sold.

With deep domain expertise in the space, Buscher realized that people usually do not like what they get for their car trades through the dealer and are not satisfied with the financing experience. Using Craigslist for selling cars is not secure, and selling cars with liens is another headache. Blinker was born to solve this gap in service and provide an app which would “put people in control of buying, selling and financing cars.”

Buscher is out to revolutionize the car selling industry. He’s off to a good start.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Loan Supermarket: Taking on LendingTree

SuperMoney personal finance

The traditional bank with limited financial products has given way to a financial supermarket where consumers are spoilt for choice. But hundreds of options also leave them feeling clueless. When it comes to financial decisions, it becomes imperative to have in-depth knowledge about the pros and cons of all the products that are available in […]

SuperMoney personal finance

The traditional bank with limited financial products has given way to a financial supermarket where consumers are spoilt for choice. But hundreds of options also leave them feeling clueless. When it comes to financial decisions, it becomes imperative to have in-depth knowledge about the pros and cons of all the products that are available in the market. Though there are many platforms focused on selling financial services and products, few concentrate on truly helping people make better financial choices. Sensing the opportunity, Miron Lulic launched SuperMoney with the goal of helping “people make smart financial decisions.”

SuperMoney was launched in 2013 in Santa Ana, California. Lulic, founder and CEO, is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about technological innovation. Prior to this, he founded LoanNow and Swagsy and worked as VP at a tax resolution firm. SuperMoney has no outside investors. Lulic himself has pumped almost $1 million into the business. He does not want to raise capital until the company achieves meaningful scale.

SuperMoney’s Humble Beginnings

When Lulic started SuperMoney, it was nothing but a small personal finance blog. Taking a cue from the Yelp business model, he built a similar platform for personal finance. Using an advanced algorithm, it ranked financial products and companies on multiple parameters. But by 2016, the platform started generating serious traffic, especially for personal loans. Then, in 2017, SuperMoney launched a loan offering engine.

The underlying principle behind SuperMoney is to provide financial transparency and help people make better financial decisions. It has partnered with a handful of lenders, and by using real-time APIs the company scores and rank products offered by those lenders on various parameters, such as origination fees, repayment costs, APR, and more.

SuperMoney’s Technology and Business Model

Since startup, SuperMoney has diversified into several verticals including personal lending, auto loans, student loans, and business lending. It sells clicks as well as leads, but it’s mainly focused on a performance-based advertising model. As such, it only gets paid when advertising partners are successful. The company charges by the loan.

The underlying technology is developed in-house and uses a proprietary segmentation system. SuperMoney has built its own weighted sorting algorithm based on attributes such as user review score, average revenue, and more. This means it is able to store tons of attributes from different lenders and help narrow the target audience for each loan offer. Its partners do not influence ratings and offering decisions. Rather, SuperMoney provides data that helps consumers make better financial decisions for their situation.

With the help of a soft credit pull that does not affect the consumer rating in any way, SuperMoney pre-approves the consumer for multiple offers they can then compare, and pick the best one.

What Differentiates SuperMoney From the Competition

Most consumer finance platforms providing similar services make a profit selling leads to the highest bidder. SuperMoney is more transparent. Instead, it calculates the total repayment cost, interest expense, origination fees, and other lending parameters for the consumer. It directly integrates with all its partners via APIs, which helps give consumers a better perspective in terms of cost associated with each product. This ability to offer apples-to-apples comparison in a clear and transparent manner is the hallmark of the marketplace.

The platform has tasted major success in recent years, and its organic search results have grown exponentially. SuperMoney currently witnesses nearly 1 million visitors per month.

Last April, it launched its personal loan engine and has received financing requests topping $400 million, with close to 1,000 personal loan applications per day. The personal loan has quickly become its biggest vertical. In August 2017, SuperMoney ventured into auto loans. It is also looking at the mortgage space and other niche verticals for future expansion.

Comparison to LendingTree

LendingTree is SuperMoney’s biggest competitor. An online lending exchange that connects consumers with multiple lenders, banks, and credit partners, it is not a direct supplier of loans, but a broker. Their core business model is selling leads to lenders. Lulic believes this is bad for consumers as they are deluged with dozens of tele-callers hawking their products.

SuperMoney is different. It does not let lenders contact the borrower unless the borrower has moved ahead with an offer. Its performance-based model enables them to align interest with end users and partners in a more fruitful manner. Even its marketing strategy is different from other platforms; SuperMoney concentrates on content marketing believing in “quality over quantity.”

Future Trends in Consumer Lending

Lulic believes the industry will witness a prolonged consolidation phase in order for market dynamics to settle. Strong performance of platforms like Golman Sachs’ Marcus will give the banking community self-belief to bring their own direct ventures into this space.

Moving forward, the big solution will be focusing on underserved niches. One such initiative is a dealer financing solution. Lately, a lot of traction has been witnessed in home improvement loans. SuperMoney wants to focus on individual contractors like roof installers, pool installers, and other service providers who do not have good financial solutions at their disposal.

Specialty financers available in the consumer lending space charge high discount rates from contractors, and that has had a ripple effect on contractor’s charges inching higher. To tackle this problem, SuperMoney tweaked its loan offering engine framework to launch a dealer-financing solution with a co-branded landing page. This will help contractors receive multiple competitive offers. It has tested the prototype with 100 dealers and further plans to move into other verticals like elective medical, funeral homes, legal service providers, and more.

SuperMoney also wants to strike additional partnership with banks, add more partners to its marketplace platform, and include dealers for the home improvement space. It is looking to collaborate with a wide variety of financial institutions and financial service providers. If everything goes according to plan, it will raise fresh capital in 2018 to fuel its growth.

Conclusion

The company has laid the blueprint to become one of the leading financial service research tool providers. By venturing into a variety of verticals, SuperMoney has made clear it has big ambitions and wants to become the premier go-to-resource for personal and business finance decisions.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Thursday December 21 2017, Daily News Digest

PBC interest rates

News Comments Today’s main news: SoftBank leads $120M funding round for Lemonade. Shareholders file class action against Qudian. RateSetter looks to cautious growth in car financing. LoanBook rakes in 650K GBP on Crowdcube. Prospa planning a 2018 IPO. Today’s main analysis: Muddy Waters goes cold on China Internet Nationwide Financial Services Inc. (CIFS). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Two big banks […]

PBC interest rates

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoftBank leads a $ 120 million round for insurance startup Lemonade (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The SoftBank Group has finally made a good tech investment around real estate.

After investing $4.4 billion in what is essentially a bespoke office space rental business (WeWork) and another $450 million in Zillow for rich people (Compass), the gargantuan Japanese tech investor is leading a $120 million round of funding for Lemonade, a startup providing renters and homeowners insurance.

Additional investors in the round include previous backers Alphabet’s investment firm, GV, General Catalyst and Sequoia Capital.

Shareholder Class Action Filed Against Qudian Inc. – QD (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

The law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announces that a shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against Qudian Inc. (NYSE: QD) (“Qudian” or the “Company) on behalf of investors who purchased the Company’s securities between October 18, 2017 and November 20, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

Qudian shareholders may, no later than February 12, 2018, petition the Court to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class through Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, or other counsel, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

Two Big Banks Set to Launch Their Own Online Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A little over a year ago Goldman Sachs launched their consumer lending platform Marcus as part of a digital strategy to move into the retail banking segment. They have since grown faster than any online lending platform with originations approaching $2 billion. Goldman Sachs now believes revenues from online loans will equal that of trading in the near future.

U.K. based Barclays has been increasing their footprint in the U.S. the last few years through the Barclaycard brand. They are now one of the top 10 credit card issuers in the US.  News broke last month that Barclays would be launching a digital bank in 2018 and rebranding from Barclaycard to Barclays in the US.

Pittsburgh based PNC Financial Services Group is one of the top 10 largest banks in the US with $371 billion in assets. They are looking to launch their online consumer lending product in new branches and through their mobile wallet product.

From On Fire To Under Fire: Marketplace Lending Enters 2018 Taking On Flak (ValueWalk), Rated: A

After a meteoric rise, marketplace lending has had its share of challenges and scrutiny, but the future should still be bright for such an industry on the forward edge of technology and consumer needs. Yet marketplace lending seems to be ending 2017 under an unwarranted attack from regulators and commentators determined to find similarities in marketplace lending to the subprime mortgage market in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

EquityMultiple CEO Charles Clinton Highlights Real Estate Opportunities & Disruption, Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CEO Charles Clinton and CIO Marious Sjulsen co-founded EquityMultiple with a shared vision of transforming real estate investing through tech and by providing new access to private transactions while streamlining the investment process.

Erin: Please share EquityMultiple’s latest stats.

Charles: We’ve funded 32 investments to date and are expecting to hit around 100% year-over-year growth in dollars invested. For investments that have fully repaid or are currently cash-flowing to investors, we’re averaging around a net 9% annualized dividend.

Erin: What sets EquityMultiple apart from its industry peers? How will EquityMultiple continue to differentiate itself?

Charles: We’ve taken a different path from most of our direct competitors and I suspect that will continue. This started at the very beginning – rather than look for venture capital financing, we sought out a real estate firm to partner with and found that in Mission Capital, a national capital markets firm that has done over $70 billion of business in its 15-year history.

Erin: Earlier this year you stated that individuals made up 100% of EquityMultiple’s investments. Has institutional money entered into this investment flow?  Why or why not? What are your methods of tapping into new investors?

Charles: We are still 100% focused on individual investors by design. We feel that individual investors are the customers that we provide the most value to. For institutional investors, there often is no real accessibility issue for getting into commercial real estate. Individual investors, on the other hand, are significantly under-allocated into real estate by comparison.

Krawcheck expands Ellevest robo to three service levels with more human advice (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Investors can access the robo-adviser by itself for 25 basis points (formerly 50 basis points), which includes algorithmic portfolio construction, tax minimization strategies, and now support from human advisers via email and text.

For 50 basis points and an account minimum of $50,000, investors can access Ellevest Premium, which includes the technology platform as well as personalized goals-based planning from an adviser with certified financial planner credentials.

Why Employers Need To Help Workers Deal With Income Volatility (Forbes), Rated: A

Roughly a quarter of American families suffer a major disruption to their income each year, according to the Urban Institute. Nearly one in five of those families suffer an income drop of 50% or more: a potentially catastrophic shock for low-income families.

But it’s not just these one-time shocks that affect families’ ability to plan and save — it’s the month-to-month fluctuations, as well. The JP Morgan Chase Institute foundthat, between 2012 and 2015, 55% of the bank’s customers regularly experienced more than a 30% change in income — up or down — from one month to the next.

BankMobile deploys AI, alternative data to lend to FICO-poor students (American Banker), Rated: A

BankMobile has become the first bank to start using online lending software developed by Upstart, which is designed to use artificial intelligence and alternative data to determine the creditworthiness of consumers with thin or no credit files.

BankMobile, the digital-only subsidiary of Customers Bank in Wyomissing, Pa., which is due to be spun off and merged with Flagship Community Bank in mid-2018, is planning to use the software to offer its first credit product to the students it reaches through relationships with 800 universities.

 

Merrill Lynch Fined $ 1.4M Over Supervisory Failures (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Finra has fined Merrill Lynch $1.4 million for alleged supervisory failures related to extended settlement transactions, the industry’s self-regulator says in a press release.

From April 2013 through June 2015, the wirehouse allegedly didn’t collect enough margin to offset credit, market and exposure risk presented by the longer time period between trades and settlements inherent in such trades, Finra says.

‘Banks can’t attract the talent they want or need’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banks have always proclaimed themselves as technology companies with banking licenses. But culturally, banks are still banks: conservative. Innovation teams can only innovate so much before someone in legal or compliance tells them no; they can only move so fast before someone tells them to slow down.

In this installment of Confessions, in which we trade anonymity in exchange for honesty, we spoke with an analyst at a startup attached to a large bank about internal innovation, attracting strong talent and why alternative bank service companies should get serious about becoming or partnering with a bank.

10 who had a rough year in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: A

Move over Wells Fargo, another prominent financial firm has taken your place as the poster child for bad behavior.

Equifax, the credit reporting agency whose primary responsibility is to protect consumers’ personal information, became public enemy No. 1 this year when it revealed that thieves hacked into its database and stole the personal information — birth dates, credit card data, Social Security numbers — of some 145 million consumers.

Runway Growth Credit Fund Successfully Closes $ 275 Million Equity Offering with Increased Investment from Oaktree Funds (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Runway Growth Credit Fund Inc. (“Runway Growth Credit”), a provider of term debt to fast-growing companies seeking an alternative to raising equity, today announced the successful closing of its $275 million initial equity capital raise with an increased commitment to $139 million from OCM Growth Holdings, LLC, an entity owned by certain investment funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), along with commitments from other investors.

Investors Commit 0 Million to tZERO ICO (Coindesk), Rated: A

As reported by CoinDesk, the first leg of the sale – in which the firm is selling Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs) that will later be redeemed for tokens by accredited investors – began yesterday, albeit a bit laterthan planned. Hiccups aside, Byrne told CoinDesk the sale ultimately attracted a big crowd – some 2,000 accredited investors.

As such, he indicated the company may move to shorten the initial two-month timeframe for the token sale.

Some of the offers, he said, were as high as $5 million or more for single token allocations.

OCC’s Otting sees future for fintech charter, CRA reform (American Banker), Rated: A

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a press conference Wednesday morning that there is a place in the banking world for some kind of fintech charter, though the exact parameters of such a charter are still unclear and have to be worked out.

“I’m not sure what it looks like, and how it’s funded, but I do think there’s a space there that a technology solution can solve,” Otting said when asked whether he sees a future for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s nascent fintech charter.

BLACKSTONE LOOKS AT THE SECONDARY PRIVATE EQUITY MARKET (All About Alpha), Rated: A

An October paper put out by Strategic Partners Fund Solutions, of Blackstone, argues that (despite risks and drawbacks) investing in the secondary private equity market  can still be a smart play, offering “accelerated returns with lower volatility, lower loss rates, and greater downside protection” than the primary market.

How the digital community is supporting small business (Rapid Growth Media), Rated: A

The 2016 Small Business Credit Survey, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reports that startups are more likely than their mature counterparts to be undergoing growth and planning to add jobs. The report shows 70 percent of startup applicants are in need of funding to support this growth, versus 60 percent of mature applicants. Additionally, in 2016, 52 percent of startups applied for financing.

The Credit Survey highlights that only “31 percent of startup applicants were approved for the full amount of financing sought”.

Debt crowdfunding: Peer-to-Peer lending

Lending Tree was a revolutionary option for individuals to secure financing when they simply wanted to compare options or if they may not have been bankable. Kiva, for example, allows lenders to contribute small amounts, sometimes as little as $25, to help fund requests.

As of October 2017, Kiva reports funding over 1M loans resulting in $1 billion being lent.

Equity crowdfunding

Now, instead of searching for affluent individuals looking to invest in a business, entrepreneurs can turn to sites like MicroVentures. MicroVentures is a public, online venture capital investment bank. Investors have the opportunity to invest as little as $100, which opens up the market to a much larger pool of potential investors. This option is best suited for established companies with strong historical performance and larger financial needs. Since their launch in 2011, MicroVentures reports facilitating over 160 investments, resulting in over $100M in capital investment to date.

Mayor Kasim Reed Announces Bank on Atlanta Initiative (AJC.com), Rated: B

Bank on Atlanta, a financial access program that will focus on providing free or low-cost banking products, along with financial education and financial counseling, to unbanked and underbanked residents in the city of Atlanta has been created.

Research shows that relying on alternative financial service providers such as check-cashing or payday lending establishments makes it hard for residents to rise out of poverty in our city.

9 Holiday Gift Cards That Give You Something for Nothing (TheStreet), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU.com studied the most sought-after gift cards and listed them in descending order: Amazon (AMZN – Get Report) , Walmart (WMT – Get Report) , Target (TGT – Get Report, Best Buy (BBY – Get Report) , and Subway. But these cards sold for only 2% to 5% less than face value, compared with 1-800-Flowers (FLWS – Get Report) , H&M or Dress Barn gift cards which offered, on average, 30% off face value on their sites. Even Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN – Get Report) and Godiva mark down their gift cards by 25%.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Credit Karma adds Gannesh Bharadhwaj as General Manager, Credit Cards (Credit Karma), Rated: B

Credit Karma, the leading personal finance technology company in North America, today announced it has appointed Gannesh Bharadhwaj as general manager of credit cards. Previously president of Renew Financial, Bharadhwaj brings a strong background in financial institutions as Credit Karma remains focused on using innovative technology to bridge the gap between banks and consumers.

The Small Business Benefits of Being Charitable (Business2Community), Rated: B

Entrepreneurs can make charity a part of their approach to business, and in a variety of ways. A survey by Funding Circle revealed some interesting figures, as reported by Joshua Sophy last December for smallbiztrends.com.

  • Of 1,400 small business owners polled, 52 percent said they were donating or had already donated to charity.
  • 46 percent planned to donate “up to $1,000.”
  • 44 percent preferred to donate cash.
United Kingdom

RateSetter plans ‘cautious growth’ in car finance market (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is planning to grow its motor finance division to take advantage of the huge opportunities it sees in the market.

The peer-to-peer lender entered the consumer hire purchase industry in May when it acquired Vehicle Credit Limited out of its parent company’s administration as part of its wholesale lending “interventions”. Vehicle Credit Limited has now been integrated into the group as part of RateSetter Motor Finance.

Chip, the chatbot savings app, raises over £1M in crowdfunding with plans to apply for a banking license (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chip, the chatbot app that plugs into your bank account and lets you automatically save for a rainy day, has raised nearly £1.1 million on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The fund raise, which is part of a larger £2.4 million funding round, forms part of plans for the London-based startup to apply for a banking license so that it has more flexibility regarding the kinds of products it can offer in the future. The app currently claims 30,000 active users “who are collectively saving millions a month”.

China

Muddy Waters Is Short China Internet Nationwide Fncl Srvcs Inc (CIFS) (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

We conclude that China Internet Financial Services Inc. (NASDAQ:CIFS) is a King Zero – just another worthless China fraud, says Muddy Waters Research.

  • Every one of the purported borrowers to which CIFS disclosed having made loans (accounting for 84.2% of loan balances) appears to be a sham counterparty.  (The purported borrowers of the remaining 15.8% of reported loan balances were not disclosed; however, we strongly suspect that most – if not all – of these loans and associated income are also fabrications.)
  • CIFS’s recently announced “big data” company purchase also appears to be a lie.
  • 47.3% of CIFS’s reported 2016 net income purportedly was generated by its Kashgar subsidiary; however, that subsidiary existed for only two days in 2016.
  • CIFS is too good to be true – claiming to turn a seeming commoditized business model into an overnight juggernaut with purported gross margins over 97% and net margins over 70%.
Source: ValueWalk

Read “The Farce Awakens: CIFS” in full here.

China Ripe for Auto Finance Boom as Consumer Penetration Rate Rises (Auto Finance News), Rated: AAA

Since 2009, China has surpassed the United States as the largest market for new-vehicle sales, according to Deloitte Consulting LLC. And now, auto finance is starting to catch up.

For many years, the Chinese automotive market has been propped up by government incentives like tax breaks, which encouraged customers to purchase cars. So far, this incentive has led to more than 2 million cars being sold a month, with growth running up 15% last year, the Wall Street Journal reported in March. But as the tax breaks are expected to wind down, auto lenders have a greater opportunity to step in and capture marketshare in China, where penetration rates remain lower than other developed nations.

In the U.S., for instance, 84% of new cars in the U.S. were financed in 2014 compared with 20% in China, according to Experian. The Chinese auto finance rate rose to 38% in 2016, and is expected to rise steadily in the next few years; reaching an estimated 55% in 2021, according to ReportLinker.

Debtors in China are placed on a blacklist that prohibits them from flying, buying train tickets, and staying at luxury hotels (Business Insider), Rated: A

China maintains a public blacklist of debtors that effectively restricts their movements and their spending habits.

The country’s highest court publishes the names and ID numbers of “dishonest people” on its website and restricts those people from flying domestically, using high-speed trains, or enrolling their children at expensive private schools.

Defaulters are also prevented from staying at hotels with three-stars or more. They also face tougher exams if they want to join the civil service, and are charged higher fees for booking cars. The bans work by linking to a person’s ID number. Some people used their passport when travelling to circumvent the ban, but that loophole now appears to be closed.

European Union

Spanish Marketplace Lending Platform LoanBook Secures £650,000 Funding Target on Crowdcube (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LoanBook, a Spanish marketplace lending platform, has successfully secured its initial £650,000 funding target from more than 200 investors through equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Founded in 2013, LoanBook claims to be Spain’s largest marketplace lending platform, with a 4-year track record of working capital lending to Spanish SMEs and 40% market share.

Two Additional Ways to Improve API Security for Fintech startups (Finextra), Rate: AAA

It’s simple: the probability of being under cyber attack is 100%.

With high probability and high impact, the risk is very high that API’s in the PSD2 era will enable a New Normal in Bank Robberies. Not IF, rather WHEN and WHO.

1. Consider new AI-based approaches in vulnerability scanning.

2. Know what’s under the hood

Think of the Infineon-developed RSA Library version v1.02.013, which lead to Estonia having to reissue over 750,000 certificates, part of their National ID scheme. Or the 2014 GnuTLC bugwhich allowed a Man-in-the-Middle attack due wrong behavior during a TLS handshake.

My advice is to keep track of all dependencies and track vulnerabilities in all underlying components. OWASP has a project calledDependency-Check aimed to do just that.

5 hugely successful Nordic entrepreneurs share their advice to young people (Business Insider), Rated: A

iZettle CEO Jacob de Geer says you should team up with peers – and experiment.

“Apart from getting the business started, is to experiment with whatever idea you have. Most of your trials will fail, but one in 100 will work. If you view problem solving as a way of increasing the value of the company that you are building, then you are off to a good start.”

Klarna co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski thinks it’s important to have a holistic approach to problem solving.

When I advise young entrepreneurs, I tell them, “It’s not about figuring out the best business ideas, and it’s not about solving problems theoretically, but it’s about testing your ideas. It’s about coming up with an idea, and then trying it and learning from it.”

A small fintech company surges 250% after launching a blockchain-focused business unit (Business Insider), Rated: A

Australia

Online lender Prospa joins the 2018 IPO pipeline (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Investment bankers lining up for a stronger 2018 pipeline of initial public offerings have online business lender Prospa in their sights.

Street Talk understands a handful of banks have pitched their wares to Prospa’s chief executives Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli in recent weeks ahead of a planned run at the local bourse some time next year.

India

“Five best alternative investment strategies to consider in 2018” (Business Today), Rated: AAA

Alternative investing is as much a mindset, as it is about specific investments. Here are some alternative investments approaches culled from our members around the world that are applicable to any investment decisions.

Invest in markets or assets that your analysis leads you to believe will do well; don’t invest in a product just because it’s likely to (or, worse, has in the past) “outperform the market”.

Understand that returns are one-dimensional, risk is multi-dimensional

You should constantly revisit your assumptions of the return drivers of the investment (much more so than its price performance), in case they change and you need to rethink your investment.

When we’re asked to define alternatives, we often end up saying “well, anything that’s not traditional”. Actually that’s not quite such a lame definition; alternative investment practitioners know that the best opportunities are usually those that are yet well known or exploited, and hence the field of “alternative investment” is one populated by investment ideas that may not be immediately obvious.

Diversification is the only free lunch – make sure you are diversified

Alternative asset classes: P2P lending emerges as viable option in India (Financial Express), Rated: A

India has a unique problem of too much money chasing too few customers. So at one end, we have traditional salaried class getting loan offers and at the other end, people are left at the mercy of hawkish money lenders ever-more resembling Shakespeare’s Shylock. Clearly, P2P lending and borrowing is the disruption that was waiting to happen as banks and NBFCs have successfully struggled at twin accounts of making credit affordable and accessible in a credit-hungry nation.

Regulations helped fintech mature in 2017; yet 2018 may prove challenging for cos to navigate (Economic Times), Rated: A

If 2016 saw demonetisation change India’s fintech ecosystem forever, this year will be remembered for the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) multiple regulations aimed at organising the sector. Recognition of peer-to-peer lending startups, revised guidelines for digital wallets, finalising charges for digital payments—the second half of the year saw it all, setting the template for a more mature yet challenging 2018.

Meet The Top 20 Finalists Of The 5th Edition Of Wharton India Startup Challenge (Inc42), Rated: B

The 22nd Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) has announced the finalists of the Yes Bank – Wharton India Startup challenge.

Perpule: Perpule’s 1Pay is a self -checkout app for express checkouts and easy payments in Perpule’s partnered stores like Hypercity, Spar etc.

Capzest: Capzest is a digital lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to individuals for income generation purposes. It secures partnerships with income generation service platforms and provides short term capital to their various stakeholders. It was founded in October 2015 in Mumbai by Rohan Adlakha andSayantan Sarkar.

Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Based in Hyderabad, Luharia Technologies owns and operates peer-to-peer platforms for businesses and individuals. Founded by ISB alumni Keerthi Kumar Jain, Luharia’s flagship solution is Vote4Edu, which is an online peer-to-peer lending platform for K-12 education loans. The company also runs Vote4Cash, a P2P marketplace where borrowers can avail cash loans. Machine Bank, an infrastructure ecommerce platform, and P2P lending platform SMEBank are also owned by Luharia Group.

Asia

Cyberattack brings a cryptocurrency exchange to its knees (Business Insider), Rated: A

A South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange was brought to its knees by a cybersecurity attack.

Yapian, the operator of crypto-exchange Youbit, halted trading of cryptocurrencies on its venue Tuesday and filed for bankruptcy after a hack, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported the exchange had 17% of its digital currency holdings stolen.

How to get a personal loan without a credit score? (Asianet Newsable), Rated: B

Your credit score reflects how well you have treated your credit in the past. It is one of the most important factors that lenders consider while evaluating a loan or credit card application. But what if you don’t have a credit score?

  1. NBFCs

If your bank has rejected your personal loan application, approach NBFCs. Since they usually target customers with low or no credit score, they are more flexible with credit scores than banks.

  1. Peer to Peer Lending

Since P2P platforms connect borrowers and investors online, they run with lower overheads and resultantly offer services cheaper than what traditional financial institutions have to offer. There are over 40 peer-to-peer lending platforms in India that are helping a large section of people who have been failed to qualify for loans from banks.

Canada

RATEHUB REPORTS GENERATIONAL DIVIDE WHEN IT COMES TO TRUST IN FINTECH (Betakit), Rated: A

A RateHub report examining FinTech trends in 2017 found that there is a generational divide when it comes to trust in the emerging technology.

Nearly twice as many millennials (44 percent) and Generation Xers (42 percent) said they trust robo-advisors, compared to baby boomers (23 percent).

Forty-seven percent of millennials and forty-eight percent of Gen Xers trust marketplace lenders, compared to 23 percent of boomers.

Online banking and contactless payments were the two most trusted FinTech offerings this year, capturing the trust of 85 percent and 62 percent of Canadians on average.

Access the full report here.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

What is the Auto Loan Crisis?

auto loan crisis

The auto loan market has become a big bubble waiting for a small needle. In this report, we will answer the questions: How big is the bubble? How will we know it is ready to burst? What are the best ways to capitalize on what comes next? Anytime a central bank lowers interest rates to […]

auto loan crisis

The auto loan market has become a big bubble waiting for a small needle. In this report, we will answer the questions: How big is the bubble? How will we know it is ready to burst? What are the best ways to capitalize on what comes next?

Anytime a central bank lowers interest rates to nothing, creates $4 trillion out of nowhere, and does “whatever it takes” to re-inflate the world economy, there is bound to be a credit bubble somewhere.

Last decade it was housing. This decade it’s the auto industry.

Once the dust settled on the mortgage crisis of 2008, lending standards for loans on new homes tightened. Banks, desperate to start lending money, looked for places where standards hadn’t been touched.

They found autos. Armed with low interest rates, and tons of quantitative easing the Federal Reserve was force feeding the banks, securing an auto loan became easier than ever. Over 86% of Americans commute to work by car, so this proved to be a good market. Include the 1 million Americans who want to keep working in a buoyant auto industry, and you have the making of a new credit bonanza.

Starting in 2010, sales for both new and used vehicles hit new records. They have broken yearly sales records ever since. Auto manufacturers are producing more cars and trucks than before, riding the great recovery of the past half-decade.

But it is all based on financing. Auto leasing, where the buyer puts some money up front, pays a monthly amount for a number of years, and then returns the car to the dealership, has also reached record numbers. Since 2008, the percentage of auto purchases based on leases has doubled.

The total amount of auto loans outstanding has reached over $1.2 trillion, roughly the same amount of money lent out for student loans.

Given that stock markets are at record highs, interest rates are low, unemployment is at historical lows, and America is enjoying a pro-business president, what could go wrong? We may be reaching our limit. Warning signs are getting louder that the credit system in the auto industry has reached a speculative frenzy.

It all began right after the crisis when interest rates dropped to almost nothing. Normally, an auto loan would be given based on the lender paying a 6% interest rate on the money they lent. By 2010, that rate dropped to 2%.
As a result, the banks ceased to be the only lenders. Car dealerships began to issue loans. The car manufacturers expanded their finance arms, making more money available. Then came the venture capitalists, setting up auto loan lending businesses.

The more players in the field, the more they compete for new business. Prospects, or potential borrowers, were given a lot of leeway in securing new car loans. In short time, having a prime grade credit score (over 620) was no longer necessary. Eventually, having a credit score at all was no longer necessary. Subprime lending in the auto industry has sunk to dangerous levels.

The Latest Entry to the Race Soups Things Up for Everyone

As auto loans became a rare diamond in the ruff of a slowly recovering economy, lenders entered the market from outside the traditional banking system. Nonbank lenders like credit unions, or independently funded loan originators, started to issue loans, often with little to no lending standards.

As banks evaded subprime lenders, nonbank lenders came in to fill the gap. They were able to borrow money at 2%, then offer it to borrowers at well over 10% to get a car. This gave the nonbanks every reason to dole out money to subprime borrowers like it was water. A note from UBS put it all into perspective, “Greater regulation of banks coupled with excessive liquidity supplied from monetary policy has triggered an unsustainable surge in nonbank lending as lenders ease underwriting standards to boost market share.”

Nonbank lenders went from obscurity to controlling over 45% of the auto loan market. Subprime lenders now make up over a quarter of all auto loans. Weak borrowers are why default rates are skyrocketing, so much so that a New York Federal Reserve Bank warned that the problem was of “significant concern.”

Crossing the Wrong Line

The danger for subprime excess is twofold.

The first risk is credit quality. If people who cannot afford a loan get financing, eventually they will default. This is basic arithmetic we learned from the mortgage fallout. Without proper due diligence on the borrower, issuing a loan is like throwing money down a black hole.

Today, over 6 million Americans are delinquent on their car loans.

The second risk is fraud. Borrowers are now able to get financing right at the dealership. The loans require little research. Quite often, the borrower doesn’t have to produce a credit score to get a loan. Even if they have a history of defaulting on previous debts, they get financing right away. After all, the people issuing the loan are the ones selling the merchandise. If the loan doesn’t go through, the dealership doesn’t sell the car. What reason do they have to exercise caution or due diligence?

This poses a major risk for fraud.

One example is Santander Bank. They verified income on just 8% of their borrowers, then packaged all the loans into a security they sold to an investor.

According to UBS, as many as one in five auto loans may have occurred as a result of fraud.

This has not been priced into the market, which makes it especially dangerous. Markets price in everything that is known, and expected. The real shocks come when something unexpected suddenly occurs. Even if people doctor the numbers to get the loan, if they don’t have the money to make their next payment, the loan goes to default and their car gets repossessed.

If we don’t have exact figures on the extent of the fraud, we don’t know how bad things can get once people start to default en masse. This is exactly what led to the 2008 meltdown in home loans.

Santander Bank settled with Massachusetts and Delaware for issuing “unfair and unaffordable” loans to the tune of $26 million. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said, “These predatory practices are almost identical to what we saw in the mortgage industry a few years ago.”

According to Experian, almost 15% of all auto loans have been issued to borrowers with credit scores ranging from 300 to 500.

What to Watch For

As the undercurrents intensify, it takes a lot less to topple the ship. As the auto loan bubble expands, it takes much less pressure to pop it. The following are the fundamentals which set the environment for free money. If one of these assumptions were to suddenly change, you could see sudden and violent movements in the value of all auto loans.

Unemployment. Rising unemployment means more people will not be able to make payments on their loans, and default rates will rise. It also means more people won’t be able to take out new loans. This means lower sales for car manufacturers, and lower cash reserves to handle all the loans they underwrote but cannot collect.

Interest Rates. The past 5 years have made the auto industry doubly sensitive to interest rates. 80% of auto sales are made on credit. If rates go up, and the Fed has signaled at least 2 rate hikes in 2017, the terms for auto loans deteriorate and less people take out new loans. Current auto loans pegged to general interest rates will demand higher monthly payments from borrowers, adding to already high loan default rates.

Another big sensitivity to interest rates is duration. The length of the average car loan is longer than it has ever been, 70 months. The longer the loan, the more sensitive it is to interest rates. Even small movements can have huge impacts on credit quality. A couple of rate hikes in this environment can have a greater impact than a big rate increase just 10 years ago.

Another worry is “delinquencies.” Auto loans at least 90 days delinquent rose to 7.5% during the first quarter of 2017. A loan can be delinquent for a number of months before it goes into default. The ballooning number of loans that are late in payment implies a sharp rise in defaults in the coming months. A quarter of banks are forecasting a rise in delinquencies for 2017, an unprecedented event.

Of lesser import are trade issues and commodities. If President Donald Trump implements a 35% tariff on Mexican made goods, prices for cars will rise, requiring car manufacturers to up their prices, and consumers to take out more debt. If Mexico were to retaliate and a trade war ensues, the cost of producing a car can continue to rise, along with the price manufactures will have to charge to maintain profit margins. Oil and gas prices are low. However, if the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the second largest oil producer, and Iran, the world’s fifth largest producer, were to move from Syria to their own countries, the price can go up very quickly.

Is a Collapse Imminent?

While subprime auto loans amount to over a quarter trillion dollars, the entire auto loan portfolio amounts to over $1.2 trillion. Car loans, unlike mortgages, can be paid off quickly. They are shorter loans. If a borrower defaults, it is easy to repossess the car and sell it.

Interests rates are low, inflation is in check. The economy is still expanding, and unemployment is low. In 2008, the total amount of consumer debt was 100% of household income. Today, it is only 80%. The auto industry is a lot smaller than housing, and most analysts maintain that an implosion of subprime auto loans is not big enough to expand beyond autos. In the US, $1.1tn in car-loan debt is less than 10% of the $14tn in home mortgages.

We may be seeing a slow deflating of the bubble rather than a quick pop. Defaults are rising. Less money is being invested into assets backed by auto loans. The amount of subprime auto loans has also plateaued, and even begun to decline. The money invested in nonbanks is “fickle” money. If things no longer look good, they will quickly move their money elsewhere.

As more and more cars are repossessed, used car lots are filling up. Prices for used cars are falling. 2017 saw a 5% decline in used car prices, the biggest decline ever. Used car dealers who have been in business for over 20 years are closing their doors due to too much inventory. This year, 4 million cars are coming off their lease.

This is having an impact on car sales, which are down 2% for the year.

These indicators show a definite slowdown in the auto sector, but not necessarily a crash. The situation is very serious, but not yet critical.

Echoes of Housing 2008

How does the auto loan market compare with conditions right before the 2008 credit freeze? How close are we to the edge of the cliff?

More than 1 million Americans are delinquent on their car payments. The last time the number was so high was in 2008.

Due to a glut of new cars coming on the market, and a rapid fall in car prices, most leased or credit financed cars are underwater. The loan is higher than the value of the car. Even if the car is repossessed, the borrower will have to make payments on a car they no longer have.

According to Morgan Stanley, the share of auto securities holding a bundle of auto loans with a FICO credit score below 550 has risen from 5.1 percent in 2010 to 32.5 percent today. Credit spreads are 40% higher today than right before the crisis.

Subprime delinquency rates are creeping up while the subprime market is ballooning in size. 3% of auto loans default without a first payment being made. That’s on par with the level in the mortgage market before the financial crisis

Here’s what Morgan Stanley said:

Across prime and subprime ABS, [60-plus-day] delinquencies are currently printing at 0.54% and 4.51%, respectively, with the latter approaching crisis-era peak levels (4.69%). Default rates are also picking up in similar fashion (prime: 1.52%; subprime: 11.96%), printing close to crisis levels.

U.S. vehicle sales have lagged behind 2016 levels every month this year. If that performance continues, this year will mark the first since 2009 that industrywide sales declined.

How to Play It

The obvious choice would be to short subprime auto debt. Based on packaged securities by banks, nonbank entities, and the financing arms of the major automakers, you can find the right securities and sell them short.

A great value play is to find the asset securities you believe will be paid off regardless of the financial environment and buy them at a deep discount. As the full portfolio of loans is paid off in half a decade, you will quickly see a rise in the value of your holdings, and a return of at least your investment. It’s possible to buy debt at $.30 to the dollar, only to see 75% of the money paid off.

The Equity Play

Automakers stand to lose the most from a meltdown in subprime loans.

  1. A huge portion of car loans come from the majors themselves. GM, Ford, and others all have financing arms which originate auto loans to help people buy their cars. If defaults rise, these companies stand to have huge write-offs.
  2. Lease expirations and repossessions create an inventory glut. As more cars return to the lots, prices decline. There is also a less need for new cars to be produced. Major automakers generate less by producing less and making less for each sale on depressed auto prices.
  3. Lending standards for autos will tighten. This will create a long-term ceiling on auto sales by tightening the limits on how many people are eligible for a new car loan.

The fact that 2017 has seen a slowdown in sales, even as the number of units delivered rivals record breaking years of the past means that dealerships are offering big discounts to customers to buy their car. This indicates that the auto industry is “buying” sales for this year at the expense of sales in future years. This implies a cyclical downturn for the auto industry right on the eve of a possible credit implosion.

Shorting the automakers is a practical play. You can short the big ones, like GM (ticker symbol GM), Ford (ticker symbol F), or Fiat Chrysler (ticker FCA). Fiat has more debt than cash on hand. GM also has huge amounts of debt, well over their current cash reserves. Their debt is so big, their cash flow after debt service last year was negative.

Ford has more debt than the size of the economy of Hungary.

You can short any of these, or short all of them. The auto ETF, ticker symbol CARZ, is tied to a basket of the major automakers.

The Great Hedge

Install an Airbag on the Fast and Furious Auto Loan Market

If car values become less than the loans, or interest rates make the monthly payments too prohibitive, borrowers may decide to stop paying. Even if they lose their car, they may decide it’s worth it just not to have to make the next payment.

This can put severe downward pressure on most bundled car loans. A credit crunch will depress all values for asset backed car loans.

Even if auto loans are unsecured, some loans are more reliable than others.

The best solution for investors of securitized debt is a portfolio heavy on cosigned loans. Cosigned loans require a lower interest rate, giving the borrower more reason to keep paying. It also puts and additional borrower on the loan. With cosigning originators like Backed, Inc., the cosigner is alerted the moment a payment is missed, enabling the cosigner to make payments before the loan goes into default.

The collateral of a cosigned loan is not just the car. It’s the relationship between the borrower and someone who put their credit on the line on their behalf. A cosigner can be a father, a brother, a friend, boss, or an army buddy. The borrower has far less reason to destroy a relationship he has his life invested into, than to let the loan go into default.
Using relationships as the ultimate human collateral is the surest investment in a volatile environment. Cosigned loans will have a higher paydown rate than all other types of auto loans. A great play is to invest in cosigned loans at depressed prices, if money leaves the entire auto market and the prices for all loans sell cheaper than a 1983 Chevy.

Author:

Gilad Woltsovitch is the Co-Founder and CEO at Backed Inc., responsible for designing the company’s first-class platform, UX and UI. Before Backed, Gilad co-founded iAlbums, a semantic curation engine for media players in 2010 where he served as the company’s CEO from 2011-2014. In 2013, Gilad also served as the entrepreneur in residence for Cyhawk Ventures and joined the Ethereum project, establishing the Israeli Ethereum meet-up group. Gilad holds a Masters of Art Science and Bachelors in Sonology from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands in The Hague, University of Leiden.