Tuesday November 28 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate and value of loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to sue Santander. Welendus surpasses 150K GBP fundraising target. Klarna’s profits increase. The CFPB leadership fight migrates to email. Chinese regulator looks at online lender custodian banks. ETHLend, Brickblock partner on blockchain lending. Today’s main analysis: Everything you need to know about the P2P lending market in New Zealand. Today’s […]

interest rate and value of loans

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

CFPB Set To Sue Santander Over Auto Protection Product (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)  is gearing up to sue Spain-based Santander Bank, claiming the bank has overcharged its car loan customers.

Citing sources familiar with the CFPB’s plans, Reuters reported that the CFPB suit could happen as soon as Monday (Nov. 27). The lawsuit is focused on Santander’s guaranteed auto protection financial product that protects car buyers from a portion of the cost if there is a serious crash.

Auto lending is big business for Santander, representing $38.5 billion of the bank holding company’s $137 billion in assets.

Cards, Bank Loans And AltFin Easing SMBs’ Search For Financing (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

New reports from Biz2Credit, Reliant Funding and Mercator take a look at how small businesses are accessing external financing towards the end of the year as the holiday rush descends.

25 percent of SMB loan applications at large banks were approved in October, according to the latest research from Biz2Credit. That means large banks (with $10 billion-plus in assets) have boosted their SMB loan approval rates to a new post-recession high, researchers said.

56.8 percent of SMB loan applications were approved by alternative lenders, according to Biz2Credit.

12 percent of SMB owners told Reliant Funding they are aware of alternative lending and have used it. Nearly half said they are at least familiar with alternative lending. 39 percent of SMB owners told Reliant that they have never even heard of alternative lending.

42 percent of SMBs that use alternative finance say they use it to buy inventory, while more than one-fifth said they use it to replace or buy new equipment. One-fifth also said they use it for marketing initiatives, Reliant Funding found.

Workers Get Faster Access to Wages With These New Apps (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Uber Technologies Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Bloomin’ Brands Inc.’sOutback Steakhouse are among a growing group of employers giving workers near-instant access to their wages through payday apps.

New tools that allow people to spend the money they just earned have provided some workers an alternative to short-term, high-interest loans, say the technology startups offering the services. The payment plan also can boost employee attendance and tenure, managers say.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Daily payments could help some workers smooth out the financial volatility of fluctuating work schedules and income, economists say.

Mulvaney Shows Up For Work At Consumer Watchdog Group, As Leadership Feud Deepens (NPR), Rated: A

President Trump’s pick to lead the consumer watchdog, Mick Mulvaney, arrived at the office early Monday morning with a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts in hand. Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, is the acting director of the group until Trump can get a permanent leader through the Senate confirmation process — at least, according to the Trump administration.

But the former head of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, appointed Leandra English to lead the group following his departure. English has since filed a complaint in U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to block the Trump administration’s rival appointment.

On Monday morning, English was communicating with CFPB staff through an all-staff email — a Thanksgiving message expressing gratitude and saying it was an “honor” to work with her colleagues.

Mulvaney, meanwhile, sent a competing all-staff, advising staff to “please disregard” messages from English in her “presumed capacity as Acting Director.”

Picking the best gift card this holiday season (Consumer Affairs), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU has ranked the best gift cards, pointing out the attributes that make one gift card a better choice than another.

According to LendEDU, roughly $1 billion in gift cards sold last year were not redeemed.

“The most important question to consider when buying a gift card is this: Is it versatile?” he told ConsumerAffairs.

Another important consideration, Brown says, is a gift card’s resale value. The recipient might rather sell the card for cash on one of the many gift card exchanges. The most popular gift cards often sell for 80 to 90 cents on the dollar, while less popular cards can go for half their face value or less.

A LendEDU poll of consumers found that 78.7 percent of consumers plan on giving at least one gift card this holiday season and 75.6 percent of consumers would rather receive a gift card than an actual gift.

Immigrant lending clubs provide capital, at a cost (Marketplace.org), Rated: A

When Chinese immigrants in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park have problems — legal, financial, marital — they come to see John Chan.

Lately, they’ve been coming to John Chan about money — specifically the collapse of informal lending clubs known as “biao hui.”

Biao hui are essentially informal banks made up of immigrants lending money to each other. A group — in China, this would traditionally be a group of close friends or relatives —gets together and throws money in the pot. One person acts as the organizer or banker and the money is then lent out on a rotating basis, with varying interest rates depending on how much money is needed, and when a person needs it.

But in New York City this year, two  biao hui worth a combined $22 million collapsed.

MERTON ON FINTECH, RETIREMENT, MORE (Top 1000 Funds), Rated: B

“Fintech will do a lot of good things, and help us, but it won’t do many of the things people are talking about, or it’s not going to do them well.”

United Kingdom

Short Term P2P Lender Welendus Surpasses £150,000 Funding Target Through Latest Seedrs Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a week after launching its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, short-term peer-to-peer lending platform Welendus has successfully secured its initial 150,000 funding target from more than 100 investors. 

One in five save less because they can’t get advice (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

More than one in five are saving or investing less because they cannot access advice on how to handle their money, research for the Nottingham Building Society has suggested.

The study found 21 per cent of adults believe they are not saving as much as they could and would be able to put away an extra £134 a month on average if they could get financial advice – the equivalent of more than £1,600 or three weeks’ average earnings before tax.

The research showed younger savers and investors were affected most by this, with nearly one in three (30 per cent) of under-35s believing they were not saving enough because of a lack of advice compared with just 12 per cent of over-55s.

P2P Lender Lendable Signs £300 Million Loan Deal With Castle Trust (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Lendable has entered into £300 million loan deal with investment and mortgage firm Castle Trust.

According to AltFi, the agreement with Lendable is Castle Trust’s second major transaction in the alternative finance industry this year.

City veterans aim for ‘Google of finance’ with new digital bank (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Three senior City bankers are masterminding the launch of a new digital bank focused on shaking up the UK savings market.

The trio is led by Huy Nguyen Trieu, a fintech entrepreneur who led a capital markets team at US bank Citi in London until quitting last summer. He is working on the project with his former colleague Lionel Durix, who remains in a senior Citi role, and Paul Hanks, the former chief technology officer of UK digital bank Atom.

They plan to launch a mobile savings app that uses artificial intelligence to give savers tailored advice and offers “risk-free” products such as Isas and high interest rate savings accounts to help them reach their financial goals.

Open Banking Will Unlock the Door for Digital-Only Banks (AltFi), Rated: A

Yet in parallel to this, there is a growing cohort of digital-only banks that are bucking the trend – the most famous of which include MonzoAtom Bank and Starling Bank. Not only do they have different client service delivery models, they have cultivated a customer base that is highly supportive and engaged.

But while Monzo has acquired over 400,000 customers for its pre-paid card since 2015, as Barclays has seen over 142,000 customers switch from its current account over a similar period – digital-only banks still remain relatively unknown.

Yet Open Banking – set to launch on January 13th – stands to change this.

Addressing the housing shortage is not someone else’s problem (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Last September we launched our first LendInvest Property Development Academy. A year on, it’s fair to say that the response has been overwhelming.

For too long, the housebuilding crisis has been someone else’s problem. It’s been up to the big builders to get on with, or whichever ambitious politician has been handed the housing brief this week. And let’s be honest, that strategy has been an abject failure, lacking in direction and impetus.

No, if we are going to tackle the shortage of homes across the UK, we need to recognise that it is something we can all play a part in. So if the big builders on their own are unable to build the homes the nation needs, we must do more to cultivate a generation of smaller builders, taking on more modest but no less meaningful projects. A wider source of housing developers will inevitably mean more homes are built.

London’s Startups Stress Out Over Brexit—and Ping Pong (Bloomberg), Rated: A

For all of the cheer and hip-hop thumping throughout the hall, there was an unmistakable undercurrent of anxiety this year as London’s tech community reckoned with the coming of Brexit.

“It isn’t just that we’re at risk of losing our engineering talent,” Meekings said, half-joking. “We might lose our ping-pong stars as well.”

More than 30 percent of Funding Circle’s London employees are non-British EU nationals. Ever since the company was founded in 2010, many have gravitated to the ping-pong table that co-founder Samir Desai set up in its lobby, next to a cabinet that has steadily filled up with trophies. Funding Circle is one of four companies Bloomberg is following through the Brexit process.

The deals showed that even as Brexit dents the U.K. economy, the fledgling online-lending industry continues to grow. In the third quarter, Funding Circle arranged 114 million pounds in net lending to its borrowers. That surpassed comparable loans by U.K. banks, on a combined basis, for the first time.

China

Regulator Assessing Custodian Banks for Online Lenders (Caixin), Rated: AAA

A national inspection team, led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has recently asked local authorities that supervise online lending to assess commercial banks appointed by P2P platforms to provide custodian services for investors’ funds, multiple bank employees told Caixin.

Credit information platform will lift safeguards (China Daily), Rated: A

The National Internet Finance Association of China recently passed a resolution to jointly launch a personal credit information platform with eight third-party credit service agencies.

The NIFA will hold a 36 percent stake in the forthcoming platform, which is expected to have registered capital of 1 billion yuan ($152 million), and it will invest no more than 360 million yuan in the platform within five years.

The platform will mainly serve online personal lending institutions, in addition to other market players including traditional commercial banks, regulators and third-party credit service agencies.

Chinese Online Lender’s IPO On Shaky Ground (PYMNTS), Rated: A

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., operator of China’s leading online lender Fenqile, was slated to meet with advisers over the weekend to decide if it will go ahead with a proposed initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S.

According to Bloomberg reports, the company is expected to decide soon if it should launch a roadshow for its IPO or wait until a later time to go public.

European Union

Swedish payment services firm Klarna posts profit rise (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Swedish online payment services firm Klarna, one of Europe’s highest-valued tech startups, on Monday reported sharply higher revenues and earnings for the first nine months of 2017.

Klarna said in a statement its sales rose 24 percent year-on-year to 3.16 billion Swedish crowns ($382 million) in January through September while net earnings climbed 75 percent to 349 million.

New EU rules increases competition and security between banks and fintech (Independent), Rated: A

The European Commission approved rules on Monday to increase competition and toughen up security in how people pay for goods and services across the European Union, pitting banks against financial technology firms.

The rules flesh out an update to the bloc’s payment services law and are among the most disputed in recent financial regulation, sparking intense lobbying as banks and fintech firms clashed over access to customer data.

The revised law comes into force on 13 January, though some of the security elements approved on Monday won’t be binding until September 2019 to give banks and fintech firms time to adjust.

Irish P2P Flender Close to Raising Over €2 Million Through Latest Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Irish peer-to-peer lender Flender has reported attracted close to more than €2 million through its latest funding round. This news comes less than a year after the lending platform secured £501,700 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.

International

ETHLend and Brickblock team up for lending on the blockchain (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ETHLend and Brickblock are announcing a strategic partnership to explore the possibilities of lending with Blockchain technology.

A primary focus will be on the tokenization of assets to simplify lending and bring secure real-world assets into the lending procedure as collateral.

The application is ideal for token holders who are in need for liquidity and those who want to participate in a free lending market. Instead of selling and closing a token position, a borrower can easily pledge digital tokens to receive Ether. Moreover, ETHLend is introducing token lending, which enables profiting from down market by enabling short selling market.

Tokenizing real-world assets such as real estate achieves three disruptive objectives:

  1. A strong collateral that can be expected to keep its value for a short-medium time period.
  2. An opportunity for people to collateralise their property with Brickblock, and then using it to secure their loan.
  3. New investment opportunities for downside market by enabling short selling for tokenized real assets.
Australia/New Zealand

Everything you need to know about the P2P lending market (Interest), Rated: AAA

Nearly nine in every 100 loans written through New Zealand’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are in arrears, according to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Borrowers responsible for 1,469 loans, worth more than $20 million, are overdue on their loan repayments.

While the bulk of lenders are investing smaller amounts of money (IE under $5,000), 48 have lent an average of $1.54 million each. Totalling $73.84 million, this is equivalent to a quarter of the $289.10 million of loans outstanding (loans that were still within their specified term at the end of the reporting period).

Harmoney – the first P2P lender to launch in New Zealand in 2014 – is also the largest, with 83% of outstanding loans in the market written through its platform.

The FMA’s data also shows there are 207,230 borrowers registered with P2P platforms, 843 of which are repeat borrowers, who have repaid their loans and taken out new ones.

Source: Interest
Source: Interest

FMA publishes benchmark P2P lending, crowdfunding figures (Scoop), Rated: A

The figures show individuals took out $121 million of new loans in the year ended June 30 through P2P platforms and businesses borrowed $31.5 million with total loans outstanding at $259.6 million and $29.6 million respectively as at June 30. Meanwhile, crowdfunding platforms raised $74.2 million from retail and wholesale investors, with 34 successful offers out of 50 in the year.

The data show peer-to-peer lending still pales in significance to the established lending channels, with $10.89 billion personal consumer loans with banks as at Sept. 30 and a further $6.88 billion with non-bank lenders. Business loans with banks totalled $101.61 billion as at Sept. 30 and$4.59 billion with non-banks. Peer-to-peer lenders had 16,977 outstanding personal loans and 92 business loans as at June 30. In terms of asset quality, 1,469 P2P loans worth $20.4 million were in arrears, or 8.61 percent of total loans outstanding, while 833 loans worth $8.5 million were written off.

Fintech firm to undertake study into financial advice (SMSFAdviser), Rated: A

Fintech firm Valuiza will conduct an Australia-wide study of the state of financial planning by gathering feedback from existing clients of practices to measure their experience and intentions. It is currently inviting advice practices to participate in the study.

The data for the report will be collected during January and February next year with practices able to review the results in real time, he said. The results for individual practices will be confidential.

 (The Australian), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platforms RateSetter and Bigstone both called for better disclosure of rates and fees, which are currently expressed in a variety of different ways by industry players. RateSetter chief executive Daniel Foggo said borrowers should be told the cost of the loan expressed as an annual …
India

Are You a Credit Risk? Indian Banks Dig Deep in Your Phone to Find Out (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Indian banks have started mining data on customers’ smartphones for fast loan approval, testing out cutting-edge but controversial technology in what is potentially a huge market for such products.

Long hampered from lending to the hundreds of millions of Indians without credit histories, banks are hoping to slash risk-assessment costs and trigger a new wave of consumer lending with apps that look at everything from Facebook connections to online shopping habits to rate potential borrowers.

India’s most sophisticated banks are working with local and international fintech startups to develop, test and launch a version of a technology used by microlenders in Africa, China and elsewhere.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Commercial banks had around $1.09 trillion of loans outstanding in September, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Of that, about $270 billion were personal loans, a portion whose growth is outpacing the overall loan market.

But about 40% of HDFC’s 8 million and 12 million loan applications a month are from people without credit histories. Most Indians have never had a credit card or taken a home loan.

What does India’s fintech leader of the year have on her mind? (YourStory), Rated: A

Before she co-started one of India’s few digital EMI startups, Lizzie served as the India head for Wonga, the British payday loan company.  She then joined Development Bank of Singapore to help launch ‘digibank’, the new mobile-only virtual bank of India. Very recently, the India FinTech Awards 2017 named her Woman Leader in the Fintech category.

“I think fintech, especially in India, is one of the most exciting and biggest opportunities in the world. The opportunity here is not just to build huge valuable businesses, but also make a real impact on people’s lives and the economy. I think fintech is taking off in such a big way because the timing is right. It’s such a HUGE problem to solve, and we finally have all the pieces of the puzzle in place – whether it is KYC, mobile adoption or digital payments,” she added.

“I am biased of course, but I expect to see a lot more focus on payments coupled with credit in the form of ‘Paylater’ solutions, EMI solutions and all things related to transactional credit. This is such a great solution for this market where credit cards don’t make sense but consumers are keen to shop,” Lizzie said.

Asia

Japan insurer Sompo sets up fintech base in Tel Aviv (Reuters), Rated: A

Property-and-casualty insurer Sompo Holdings Inc (8630.T) has set up a fintech hub in Israel, becoming the first Japanese insurer to do so in a country where it hopes to tap local expertise in digital and cyber-security technologies.

Africa

Fintech firm Ovamba moves into African commodities exports (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Ovamba, a fintech firm that uses blockchain and other new technologies to connect investors with African SMEs, has facilitated a €30mn deal for the purchase and export of cocoa for Cameroonian commodity marketing company Producam.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday May 26 2017, Daily News Digest

Friday May 26 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Bank Q1 earnings increase by 13% to $44B while loan origination slows down. SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin exits company. OnDeck extends $100M credit facility. Prosper closes $495M securitization transaction. RateSetter confirms IPO. BBVA launches open API market. Today’s main analysis: Alt finance in Americas grows to $352B last year. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China Rapid […]

Friday May 26 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

  • BBVA launches open API market. GP:”Very interesting. BBVA is pioneering what we think all banks will eventually have to do by law or to remain competitive. “AT: “Initially open only to Spanish businesses, but eventually to be rolled out internationally.”

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

News Summary

United States

Bank 1Q earnings jump to $ 44B, while loans fall: FDIC (FDIC Press Release), Rated: AAA

  • FDIC-Insured Institutions Earn $44 Billion in First Quarter 2017
  • Community Bank Net Income Rises to $5.6 Billion
  • Quarterly Net Income Is 12.7 Percent Higher than a Year Earlier
  • Community Bank Net Income Rises 10.4 Percent from a Year Ago
  • Annual Loan Growth Rate Slows to 4 Percent, On Par With Nominal GDP Growth
  • “Problem Bank List” Falls to 9-Year Low

“Revenue and net income growth were strong, asset quality improved, and the number of unprofitable banks and ‘problem banks’ continued to fall,” Gruenberg said. “Community banks reported another quarter of solid revenue and net income growth.”

Gruenberg continued: “In the past two quarters, the industry has seen a slowdown in loan growth that is broad-based across major lending categories. This slowdown has occurred as the economy approaches the end of the eighth year of a relatively modest expansion. Still, loan growth has remained at or above nominal GDP growth.

Highlights from the First Quarter 2017 Quarterly Banking Profile

Quarterly Industry Net Income is 12.7 Percent Higher than a Year Earlier: Quarterly earnings were 12.7 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2016 due to growth in net operating revenue. Net operating revenue – the sum of net interest income and total noninterest income – was $183.6 billion, an increase of $10.9 billion (6.3 percent) from a year earlier. Loan-loss provisions totaled $12 billion, a decline of $541 million (4.3 percent) compared to first quarter 2016. Noninterest expenses of $109.2 billion were $4.5 billion (4.3 percent) higher than a year earlier, as a 2 percent year-over-year increase in employment was reflected in higher payroll expenses. The improvement in revenue also caused the average return on assets to rise to 1.04 percent from 0.97 percent a year earlier.

Community Bank Net Income Rises 10.4 Percent from a Year Ago: The 5,401 insured institutions identified as community banks reported a $522.9 million (10.4 percent) increase in net income in the first quarter. Net operating revenue was $1.5 billion (7 percent) higher, as net interest income was up $1.2 billion (7.1 percent), and noninterest income rose by $304.4 million (6.8 percent). Loan-loss provisions increased by $32.7 million (5.2 percent), while noninterest expenses were $721.9 million (5 percent) higher.

Annual Loan Growth Rate Slows to 4 Percent: Total loan and lease balances increased $358.1 billion (4 percent) during the 12 months ended March 31, compared with a 5.3 percent growth rate over the 12 months ending in March 2016. The slowdown in loan growth occurred across all major loan categories. During the first three months of 2017, total loan balances declined by $8.1 billion (0.1 percent) from the fourth quarter, as borrowers reduced their credit card balances by $43.7 billion (5.5 percent). Community banks increased their loan balances by $16.7 billion (1.1 percent) during the quarter and by $109.9 billion (7.7 percent) over the past 12 months. Still, loan growth has remained at or above nominal GDP growth.

“Problem Bank List” Falls to 9-Year Low: The number of banks on the FDIC’s Problem Bank List fell from 123 to 112 during the first quarter. This is the smallest number of problem banks since March 31, 2008, and is down significantly from the post-crisis peak of 888 in the first quarter of 2011. Total assets of problem banks fell from $27.6 billion to $23.7 billion during the first quarter.

Deposit Insurance Fund’s Reserve Ratio Remains at 1.20 Percent: The Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) balance increased $1.8 billion during the first quarter to $84.9 billion at March 31, largely driven by assessment income, including surcharges on large banks. Estimated insured deposits increased 2.3 percent in the first quarter. The DIF reserve ratio remained unchanged from year-end 2016 at 1.20 percent, due in part to strong insured deposit growth.

SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin is leaving the company (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Another one of the co-founders of online lending startup SoFi is leaving the company, the company has confirmed to TechCrunch. Dan Macklin, who served as VP of Community and Member Success at SoFi, announced internally that he’ll be stepping down from his position on June 6th.

Most recently, Macklin was charged with managing the community and customer success at SoFi, which sees its member meetups and community events as a key differentiator against more traditional financial services businesses. Prior to that, he served as the company’s first VP of Business Development.

After six years, SoFi now has more than 300,000 members and has underwritten more than $20 billion in loans, according to a person familiar with the business. It’s also raised nearly $2 billion in outside funding and has about 1,000 employees.

Of course, it’s not unusual for founders to leave after a period of several years, but Macklin’s departure leaves Cagney as the last remaining co-founder at the company.

OnDeck Announces Extension of $ 100 Million Credit Facility with SunTrust Bank (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK) announced today that it had extended its current asset-backed revolving credit facility with SunTrust Bank.

As a result of the transaction, OnDeck extended the maturity date of its $100 million credit facility with SunTrust Bank to November 2018 and decreased funding cost by 50 basis points.

Loans will continue to be made to Receivable Assets of OnDeck, LLC, or RAOD, a wholly-owned subsidiary of OnDeck, to finance RAOD’s purchase of small business loans from OnDeck. The revolving pool of small business loans purchased by RAOD serves as collateral under the SunTrust facility.  OnDeck is acting as the servicer for those small business loans.

Prosper Closes $ 495 Million Securitization Transaction (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a leading marketplace lending platform for consumer loans, today announced the closing of the first securitization from the Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2017-1, “PMIT 2017-1.”

Approximately $495 million of notes were issued, increasing from an initial $450 million. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Jefferies LLC served as joint bookrunners on the transaction, which was rated by Fitch Ratings, Inc. and Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc.

LendingTree Launches Life Insurance Comparison Platform Powered by PolicyGenius (Marketwired), Rated: A

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, announced a new partnership today with PolicyGenius, a fast-growing consumer insurance startup, that will bring PolicyGenius’ term life insurance comparison shopping platform to millions of LendingTree customers.

Since the launch of its intuitive insurance shopping platform in 2014, PolicyGenius has helped hundreds of thousands of customers shop for over $100 billion in term life insurance coverage. The companies both plan to use the partnership to continue to bring choice, transparency and convenience to a traditionally convoluted and complex shopping process.

PolicyGenius empowers customers with accurate quotes, side-by-side comparison of insurance policies from dozens of the country’s top-rated insurance providers, and independent advice. The company’s proprietary tech delivers the most accurate quotes available online by evaluating a shopper’s health and lifestyle factors and matching to insurers’ underwriting rules.

The LendingClub iOS mobile app has  arrived (LendingClub Email), Rated: A

We are excited to announce that we have launched the LendingClub Invest app on iOS.

We’ve heard the feedback from our investors and have been hard at work building out a mobile experience. You can download our new iOS app here.

With our new app, you’ll be able to:

  • check your account summary
  • invest in Notes
  • move money back and forth
  • adjust Automated Investing strategies and more

LendingClub, ex-CEO must face U.S. shareholder litigation (Reuters), Rated: A

A federal judge on Thursday rejected efforts by LendingClub Corp (LC.N) and former Chief Executive Officer Renaud Laplanche to dismiss shareholder litigation accusing them of concealing material weaknesses in the online lender’s ability to monitor its operations.

The decision by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco lets shareholders pursue most of their claims over the contents of LendingClub’s registration statement for its December 2014 initial public offering.

With $ 25 million in funding, Prumentum Group is building a “hybrid robo” wealth manager (TechCrunch), Rated: A

A new wealth management startup called Prumentum Group is coming to market with a unique value proposition, looking to combine the technology chops of a roboadvisor with the human touch of a registered investment advisor. To do so, the company has built a tech platform, raised $25 million in funding, and acquired a minority stake in a financial advisory firm.

On the one hand, the company has been working on a tech platform called BrightPlan, which is set to compete with the likes of Wealthfront and Betterment in the robo-advisory game. That platform was built by a team comprised of former employees from Silicon Valley firms like Salesforce and Cisco.

According to Prumentum co-founder and CEO Marthin De Beer, the company has taken an initial 40 percent stake in Plancorp, with the option to purchase up to 100 percent of the company through an equity exchange later.

Robo-adviser takes a stake in Plancorp (Investment News), Rated: A

Financial advice firm Plancorp has attracted a novel investor. The 34-year-old advisory firm is now partially owned by a fintech firm launching a digital advice platform later this year.

The St. Louis, Mo.-based registered investment advisory firm, which has $3.6 billion in client assets, will become the live adviser component for the hybrid robo to be known as BrightPlan.

Plancorp, which has 55 employees, has a $5,000 annual fee minimum for clients. It was one of the nation’s first fee-only advisory firms when it was founded in 1983 by Jeff Buckner, who is still one of the firm’s 14 employee shareholders that control the other 60% of Plancorp.

A Look Back at Lending Club’s 10 Years as an Online Lender (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Lending Club launched a marketing campaign and website celebrating their 10-year anniversary and outlining the major milestones for the company. What started out as a Facebook application has morphed into one of the largest online consumer lenders in the US.

In 2008, Lending Club entered a quiet period where it worked with the SEC to come up with a path to move forward. Coming out of the quiet period Lending Club began to offer its loans as securities and remains one of the few platforms open to retail investors.

The company had its first $10 million origination month in 2010. The company now originates nearly $2 billion per quarter. To put the growth into perspective, the company reviewed on average four loans per day in 2007 and it took two weeks to facilitate their first $100,000 in loans. The company now reviews around 1,700 loans daily and facilitates $100,000 in loans every six-and-a-half minutes. Originations now top $26 billion.

Other major milestones include the IPO in December of 2014 as well as product expansions into small business loans and more recently, auto refinance. As of Q1 2017 the company has successfully brought a significant amount of banks on the platform which now represent 40% of loan funding.

Venture Funds Flood Startups With Cash (WSJ), Rated: A

Investors injected $14.5 billion into U.S. venture-backed startups in the first quarter, up 37% from the previous period, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

Recipients of venture funding included financial services, which saw a 15% bump in investment to $913.1 million, compared with the $792.4 billion raised in the prior quarter. Fintech startup Social Finance Inc. hauled in a big chunk of that in the latest round, raising $500 million in the period.

After a cooling period the past year, information-technology investment edged higher, hitting $3.05 billion in the quarter, up 13% from the $2.7 billion in the prior period. A slice of that, investments in software, returned to favor as well, as investors put to work $2.14 billion, up about 13% from the $1.9 billion unlocked in the previous quarter.

Understanding Online Real Estate Lending As An Investment Strategy (Forbes), Rated: A

I’ve been working in the field of online real estate investing for several years now, and the good news is that today’s technological innovations have made investing in real estate online a newly viable way to access secure, short-term investments.

For first-time investors, you should be looking for the following in any platform you consider investing your money in:

  • Lower investment minimums: In this era of peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, online lending platforms provide investors with access to investments at minimums as low as $1,000.
  • Risk management through quality underwriting: Before a loan is listed, online platforms should run detailed underwriting reviews on the loan offering by looking at borrower bank statements, running credit checks, reviewing asset purchase contracts, underwriting the renovation budget, etc.
  • Secure monthly income: Lending money on house flips typically comes with a lien on an asset.
  • Investment management: Online platforms don’t just help get access to investments, but also manage the same for individual investors.

A few important points to consider:

  • Illiquid investment: There doesn’t exist a secondary market today where individuals may liquidate an online investment, at will.
  • Limited correspondence with borrower: Online platforms create a barrier to direct communication with the borrower.
  • Industry maturity: The biggest unknown today is how the young industry’s underwriting guidelines will hold, should there be an economic correction.

PeerStreet partners with top-tier originators across the country and makes their loans available to registered investors. What makes PeerStreet unique is its ability to onboard partners who underwrite deal flow, allowing PeerStreet to serve as a liquidity portal for originators.

AlphaFlow is another interesting platform that diversifies a $10,000 investment from an investor across 75-100 loans originated by other platforms in the space, yielding returns from 8-10%.

Since its founding in 2004, BiggerPockets has turned into the LinkedIn for real estate investing.

Five Technology Tools And Apps That Are Reshaping The Real Estate Industry (Forbes), Rated: B

Streak CRM is a Chrome app that integrates into Gmail. This makes it a seamless integration with your existing email, which eliminates all the data entry overhead that kills your flow when you’re working your lead funnel.

RealTelligence is launching a mobile app that scores all real estate agents based on their probability of success for home sellers and buyers in their area of town and price range.

Wholesaledealslist.com is a brand new web and app platform where real estate investors can find and sell wholesale deals.

Keep an eye out for Point. They’re trying to disrupt the home mortgage by offering to buy equity in a home.

MoneyLion enhances product line to help consumers manage and improve their financial health (MoneyLion Email), Rated: B

Mobile personal finance and consumer lending platform, MoneyLion, today launched new features designed to make the financial goals of its 1 million-plus users easier to achieve. As part of the launch, MoneyLion also redesigned its website and mobile app.

MoneyLion is launching its new features to address the financial challenges consumers face today. A Federal Reserve study showed that 46 percent of Americans don’t have $400 saved for an emergency, and two-thirds of Americans were unable to pass a financial literacy test according to another study. MoneyLion’s new features have been designed to help users overcome these challenges by simplifying their day-to-day relationship with money and making it easier to build positive, sustainable financial habits.

MoneyLion has introduced the following new app features in a refreshed interface to help reduce the friction consumers face when it comes to their finances:

  • Simple, data-driven advice, wherever you go: From the moment users open the MoneyLion mobile app, they receive personalized recommendations that encourage positive financial behaviors based on their individual spending habits and credit profile. These recommendations are refreshed daily with the user’s latest data to ensure they remain aligned to their current financial situation and objectives.
  • Streamlined borrowing experience: MoneyLion’s personal loan process has been streamlined to improve speed, convenience and lower the cost of borrowing. Customers can receive a loan offer in as little as 15 seconds, access funds as quickly as the same business day, and now have even more options for reducing their interest rates.
  • New ways to improve credit health: In addition to the free credit score already available to every user, MoneyLion now offers full credit reports from TransUnion® and Equifax, and access to credit counseling and repair options. Customers can also avoid credit surprises with expanded push notifications alerting them to changes to their credit.

These latest updates build on the financial progress and behavioral changes users have already made with MoneyLion. According to data collected in 2016, MoneyLion has helped its users improve their financial health in the following ways:

  • Customers have earned over $5 million in savings via MoneyLion’s rate reduction and rewards program, which enables users to earn points for demonstrating good financial behavior.
  • Loan takers who make use of the platform’s free credit monitoring tools were 28 percent less likely to default.
  • MoneyLion’s platform and products have helped customers save on average about $46 per month on overdraft fees. It’s estimated that these fees cost American consumers about $11 billion every year according to Banks.org.
  • Users enrolled in MoneyLion’s credit health tools were 6 times more likely to see an increase in credit score than a decrease.

MoneyLion is available on Android and iPhone from Google Play and the App Store.

SimpleLoanGuide Helps People Find the Best Loan Solution (Digital Journal), Rated: B

SimpleLoanGuide (simpleloanguide.com) is based in Starkville, Mississippi. They offer matching services only but are not in any way acting as a representative or agent of their partner companies. Except for Arkansas, New York, Vermont, and West Virginia, other states may avail of their services. Completing an online form on the website does not guarantee a successful match with a lender, an offered loan with satisfactory rates or terms, or granting of the loan amount requested. Partner lenders may still verify information and compare it with national databases. A user who sends their information on the website signifies their compliance to credit check and verification.

Distributed Ledger Consortium R3 Closes Record $ 107 Million Funding Round (Coindesk), Rated: B

Global banking consortium R3 has closed the largest funding round in the history of distributed ledger technology.

Revealed today at Consensus 2017, over 40 financial institutions participated in the $107m round, including top member investors SBI Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC. Additional major investors include ING, Banco Bradesco, Itaú Unibanco, Natixis, Barclays, UBS and Wells Fargo, plus more from around the globe.

The funds are expected to be deployed as part of plans for global technological development and, eventually, a push to bring what the firm calls Corda Enterprise to institutions around the world.

United Kingdom

RateSetter boss confirms IPO hopes and plans to increase asset-based finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S chief executive Rhydian Lewis (pictured) has confirmed the peer-to-peer platform is eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) as a pivotal step to solidify its position as an “investor brand”.

He also said the business and consumer lender would not expect or be interested in any takeover approaches from banks as it focuses on floating the business.

Meanwhile, the firm said it is looking to step up its asset-based lending, increasing the portion of loans that are secured against tangible assets or other type of securities as opposed to personal guarantees.

Zopa to revamp peer-to-peer lending model (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the world’s first peer-to-peer lending company, plans to revamp its offering to investors as it launches its new Isa.

The company currently offers investors access to a “safeguard fund”, a pool of cash intended to protect investors partially from loan defaults, but will jettison this as part of its new Innovative Finance Isa offering.

The new product, to be made available from June — more than a year since the government legislated for the new Isa structure — makes it possible for investors to hold their peer-to-peer loans within a tax-efficient Isa wrapper. Investors will be offered a target return of 3.9 per cent after fees, compared to the 3.7 per cent offer on Zopa’s current “classic” investment product.

UK businesses turning to alternative finance as Brexit tightens credit conditions (The Investment Observer), Rated: A

UK businesses are turning to alternative finance to seek funding for expansion, as credit conditions tighten in the face of Brexit uncertainty.

With the UK in the early stages of Brexit and now facing a General Election, new research conducted by RateSetter Business Finance found that 32 percent of SMEs that had considered raising finance said that it was now harder than six months ago.

Peer-to-peer lending services are becoming the go-to choice for many small businesses seeking finance.

Secondary Markets Bring Promise of Efficient Markets (AltFi), Rated: A

Private transactions, both private equity and debt, have been inefficient and littered with information asymmetry due to the way the transactions have been made. The emergence of public distribution of information on private transactions seeks to change that and the quickly arriving secondary markets for private transactions can bring liquidity and efficiency to typically cumbersome asset classes.

Recently Seedrs announced the establishment of a secondary market for equity crowdfunding transactions in the UK. Private companies are among the most inefficient as an asset class, given the apparent lack of information, information asymmetry and long lock in periods. The situation in the US is no different, where private companies are even more private compared to the UK with publicly reported information even on private companies.

Private equity is however not the only sector that benefits from liquidity. From private loans in peer-to-peer markets, a liquidity offer through a secondary market offers shorter cycles in the market and more trust in the underlying asset class. Many peer-to-peer or marketplace lenders globally run internal secondary markets, as yet there is no overarching liquidity destination for the sector. Both Lending Club and Prosper have offered secondary markets in the US, but only Lending Club’s remains open for business. Last October Prosper announced the closing of its secondary market, which the company said was underutilized by investors.

City slickers (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Institutional money already dominates the US peer-to-peer lending market and now it’s making waves in the UK. Is this a natural evolution or is it eroding the true essence of P2P?

There was a time when marketing peer-to-peer lending was straightforward – the solid certainty of a mass of consumers standing on both sides of a P2P platform was enough to make its bank-disruption mission a success story.

People lending to people was a healing and redeeming message at a time when banks were still cleaning up the mess they had scattered around the globe by mixing consumers’ savings and investors’ bets.

But then the idealism of youth needs to make room for the pragmatism of maturity, and an insidious realisation started to cloud P2P’s coming of age: retail money alone is not enough to keep the ball rolling and let platforms become believable competitors of traditional lenders.

However, justifying such a shift in the UK may prove a tougher job, as the P2P sector here is still split by the burdensome dilemma of whether to welcome money from institutional investors with open arms or relegate it to a ‘diversification allowance’ pot.

The largest US P2P lender was running a 70 per cent ratio of institutional funds when its corporate governance scandal started to unfold.

According to an industry source, the mix-up of retail and institutional money could be the main hurdle standing between some of the UK’s largest platforms and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval.

In the not-so-distant future, regulators could go as far as requiring a clear separation of retail and institutional investments through P2P platforms, the source says.

It’s time to stop robo-advice mislabelling (Citywire), Rated: A

It is time that we question robo-advice. Not the concept, but the name which has been used to describe any company that offers something related to investment management, online.

The label ‘robo-advice’ is misleading for a number of reasons. There are no robots who give advice, but also, most of the firms that have been described as such do not even offer advice.

‘We prefer online or digital wealth manager,’ said Ella Rabener, UK co-founder at Scalable Capital.

Meanwhile, Nutmeg CEO Martin Stead, echoing Rabener, said: ‘We prefer to call ourselves an “online investment manager”, rather than a “robo-adviser”. We find the term robo-advice to be misleading. It evokes images of robots offering face-to-face advice and making decisions for people.

Robo-advice is a term that came out of the US and unfortunately, because of the differences in how the advice market actually functions, while it makes sense to use it there, it does not in the UK.

Talking Heads: Are you warming up to P2P? (Professional Adviser), Rated: B

Peer to peer (P2P) lending is often considered risky business, but as the industry and regulation have moved on, have advisers become more willing to recommend the products to clients?

In March, Orca CEO Iain Niblock said there has been “virtually no uptake” by financial advisers since the products were brought under the regulatory investment advice rules. At the same time he estimated 2.7 million people would be investing in the booming market by 2020.

“We Infrequently Recommend P2P To Clients” – Dennis Hall, managing director, Yellowtail Financial Planning

‘We Want It To Be Protected Under The Compensation Scheme’ – Patrick Connolly, financial planner, Chase de Vere

“An Area We Have No Intention Of Getting Into” – Ricky Chan, director, IFS Wealth and Pensions

China

China Rapid Finance Reports Unaudited First Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF), a leading online consumer lending marketplace in China, today reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. The Company will hold a conference call at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on May 25, 2017, or 8 p.m. China Time on May 25, 2017. Dial-in details are provided at the end of this release.

First Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Total gross billings on transaction and service fees[1] in the first quarter of 2017 increased by 13.1% to US$16.8 million from US$14.8 million in the prior year period.
  • Gross billings from consumption loans increased by 336.8% to US$6.7 million in the first quarter of 2017 from US$1.5 million in the prior year period. Gross billings from consumption loans increased to 39.9% of total gross billings on transaction and service fees in the first quarter of 2017 from 10.3% in the prior year period.
  • Gross billings from lifestyle loans were US$10.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, as compared with US$13.3 million in the prior year period. Gross billings from lifestyle loans were 60.1% of total gross billings on transaction and service fees in the first quarter of 2017, as compared with 89.7% in the prior year period.

First Quarter 2017 Operating Highlights

  • Number of new borrowers added in the first quarter of 2017 was approximately 545,000. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had reached approximately 2.0 million unique borrowers on its marketplace since inception, and the total number of loans facilitated on the Company’s platform grew to approximately 15.0 million.
  • Total loan volume facilitated on the Company’s marketplace in the first quarter of 2017 increased to US$485.0 million, primarily driven by the rapid expansion of consumption loans, which accounted for US$405.0 million of the total loan volume, while lifestyle loans accounted for US$80.0 million.
  • Total number of consumption loans facilitated in the first quarter of 2017 was 4.0 million, while total number of lifestyle loans facilitated was 6,000.
  • Repeat borrower rate[2] on the Company’s marketplace accounted for 73% of the total borrowers as of March 31, 2017.

Ant gold clothing announced to the insurance industry to open the first “auto insurance points” (01Caijing), Rated: B

May 25, the ant gold clothing announced to the insurance industry to open the first “auto insurance points”, the mass “from people” information through artificial intelligence and other technologies to dig, the owner of the portrait and risk analysis, quantify the 300-700 And so on to enhance the risk identification ability of the insurance industry.

The first batch of insurance companies, including human security, PICC Property Insurance, China Life Insurance, China Union, Taiping property insurance, land insurance, sunshine property insurance and Huaan property insurance, Ansheng balance auto insurance, follow- , The ability to use car insurance to enhance the risk of identification of the company open.

China Merchants Bank announced the use of annual profit of 1% set up Fintech special fund to support in vitro incubation (01Caijing), Rated: B

Recently, China Merchants Bank, an internal innovation fund has been in place, the amount of 790 million yuan, for the internal business units and all employees apply for financial technology innovation projects.The scope of innovation includes mobile interconnection, large data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, security control and block chain and other fields.

According to the relevant person in charge of China Merchants Bank, “pre-tax profit of 1% of the fund is entirely incremental, for in vitro incubation, and will not squeeze the original investment in science and technology investment.”

European Union

BBVA launches Open API marketplace (Finextra), Rated: AAA

BBVA is making eight of its APIs commercially available to companies, startups, and developers worldwide, enabling the integration of customer banking data with third party products and services.

The launch of BBVA API Market comes after the Spanish bank spent more than a year working with developers and businesses to fine-tune the way the Open API service would be delivered. During this time, over 1500 businesses and developers registered with the experimental portal.
Initially only Spanish customers of BBVA will be able to benefit from the market – but the bank intends to roll the programme out to its US customers later this year, before expanding it further to include Turkey, Mexico, Latin America and beyond.
The bank says companies will be able to use the APIs to create new value added services, deliver better user experiences by improving conversion and onboarding processes, manage payments, verify identities, forward notifications or analyse consumer habits and commercial behavior, among other things.
International

Americas Alternative Finance Grows to $ 35.2 Billion in 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Booth School of Business Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago have revisited the alternative finance market once again with a benchmark study. The research which covers the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) showed continued growth in alternative finance across the region as total market volume rose to $35.2 billion in 2016 – an increase of 23% versus year prior. The report noted that the prior Americas benchmarking report had been adjusted down due to changes in the research methodology. While total volume grew the pace of growth and entry of new platforms both slowed during the year.

The research found that the United States continues to be one of the world’s top markets for Fintech including online alternative finance channels and instruments. The 2016 US market volume of $34.5 billion marked a 22% year-on-year increase from 2015. The US sector was dominated by online lending both Marketplace and Balance sheet iterations.

LAC alternative finance markets grew by 209% to $342.1 million in 2016. LAC, collectively as a regional market, surpassed Canada’s national market in 2016. The growth was mainly led by high volume markets in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil.

Canada’s alternative finance market increased 62% to $334.5 million driven by both organic growth and expanded survey coverage included in the research.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • The US, Marketplace/P2P Consumer Lending continued to account for the largest share of market volume with $21 billion recorded in the US in 2016 (up 17%).
  • Balance Sheet Business Lending became the second largest model in the US in 2016 with $6 billion originated, surpassing Balance Sheet Consumer Lending which had $3 billion.
  • Equity crowdfunding in the US, not including real estate, declined marginally in 2016 versus 2015.
  • For LAC, Marketplace/P2P Business Lending remained the largest alternative finance market segment with $188.5 million registered in 2016, an increasing of 239% over 2015.
  • In Canada, Donation-based Crowdfunding remained the top alternative finance model with $105.9 million, but balance sheet business lending became a close second, rising at a rate of 282% to $103.3 million in 2016.

See the full report here.

Australia/New Zealand

RateSetter matches investors with borrowers for clean energy (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Investors will be able to lend to residents to install clean energy in their homes, such as solar panels, after a tie-up between peer-to-peer lender RateSetter and the government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

He expects rates for investors and borrowers in the green loan marketplace to be around 7 per cent a year for loan terms of between three and seven years.

Loans facilitated through RateSetter will fund individual and business loans for a wide range of “green” purposes, including the purchase of solar panels and battery systems.

Government invests $ 20m in P2P RateSetter’s green lending initiative (Finder), Rated: AAA

Australian peer-to-peer (P2P) lender RateSetter has today announced the launch of a Green Loan lending market which will allow investors to fund the purchase and/or installation of clean energy products.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), an Australian government body, has invested $20 million in the market to help kickstart the project.

Green Loan lending market (RateSetter), Rated: A

Lending market summary

  • Investment amount: From $10
  • Indicative term: 7 years, though loans may be 3 – 7 years in term
  • Purpose: finance for purchase of Approved Green Products
  • Loan repayment profile: monthly repayments of principal and interest

Invest through the Green Loan lending market to finance the purchase of:

  • Solar panels and batteries
  • Solar water heaters
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Energy efficient air conditioning
  • Low emission cars and trucks
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Power factor correction
  • Variable speed and frequency drives

Five tech trends changing financial advice (Bluenotes), Rated: B

While many financial advisers have already embraced it, the use of the “cloud” will continue to expand as advisers seek to have more of their business operations and applications hosted there.

Automation has already begun to reshape financial services. Especially in the areas of regulation, financial risk management and compliance, automation is going to have a big impact. Imagine an automated program that could identify and explain alterations in risk exposure and calculate business-related and data-related causes for such changes.

With advisers holding sensitive data as well as increasing regulation around the security of customer data and communicating breaches, maintaining data security will remain a growing priority and focus.

Roboadvisers have had a contentious start in Australia, though they’re unlikely to fade away as technology advances. In fact, according to BI Intelligence, it is predicted by 2020 roboadvisers will manage around 10 per cent of the total global assets under management, equating to around $A8 trillion.

Today consumers have access to almost the same information as advisers, and in real-time from almost anywhere.

No longer are investors bound to advisers for financial information as they once were and do-it-yourself investing is becoming more popular.

This means advisers have to continue to add value by providing expert analysis and advice.

Asia

Indonesia: Govt extends P2P lending license application deadline (e27), Rated: AAA

OJK extends P2P lending license application deadline

The Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) announced that it has extended the deadline for P2P lending startups to apply for a license, from the previous deadline of June 29.

Secured P2P Lender Silver Bullion Reports Topping S$ 30 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Silver Bullion reports it has now facilitated S$30 million in peer to peer loans secured by precious metals like gold and silver. The Singapore-based platform expects to pay out S$1 million in interest as the loans mature.

Lenders are receiving an average return of 3.83% p.a for SGD loans and 4.1% p.a for USD loans. Tenures of loans range from 1 month to 24 months. Silver Bullion reports there have been zero defaults to date.

Japan Lender Mizuho to Launch Fintech Venture (US News), Rated: A

Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group will start a venture next month to create new businesses using “fintech,” an executive said, joining a global race in financial technology that threatens to unsettle traditional players.

Japan’s second-largest lender by assets said there were already 20 projects in the pipeline for the venture, utilizing blockchain technology and artificial intelligence programs in areas such as farming and travel.

For that reason, he said the bank would limit its stake in the yet-to-be named venture to less than 15 percent, though Yamada would be its president and the bank would send staff.

Yamada did not elaborate on the projects in the pipeline but said the venture planned to conduct an export trade transaction next month using blockchain technology, allowing all parties to exchange necessary documents online instead of waiting for hard copies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 15 2017, Daily News Digest

funding circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Enter the bear market in bonds? D+H launches cloud-based small biz lending platform for banks. Over 50K investors register with RateSetter. Revolut partners with Lending Works to offer cut-price instant credit. Blender procures Electric Money Institution license. Blackmoon partners with ID Finance. Today’s main analysis: Fundbox study reveals impact of late SMB payments. The British Business Bank […]

funding circle

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

MENA

News Summary

United States

Enter the Bear Market in Bonds? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Stocks and bonds struggled while the dollar climbed Tuesday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note on Monday rose to 2.609%, the highest since September 2014. That’s up from 1.867% on Election Day, and nearly double the all-time low of 1.366% hit last July.

Bill Gross, the famed bond investor, underlined the 2.6% yield in January as the pivot point that will usher in the long-anticipated bear market in bonds. Mr. Gross warned that, should yields march above that threshold, it would indicate a “secular bear market has begun.” A break above 2.6%, he observed in chartist vernacular, would break a downward trend line that has been in place for the past three decades.

 

Fundbox Study Reveals Impact of Late SMB Payments (Fundbox Email), Rated: AAA

Late and unpaid payments cripple small businesses (SMBs) and it’s something they have to deal with on a daily basis. In fact, 64% of SMBs are affected by late payments on open invoices. I would like to give you an early look at a new Fundbox study, which dug deeper to understand the microeconomic impact that takes place when a business is paid late.

Key findings include:

  • Hiring freeze – 23% can’t hire new employees
  • Owner pay cuts – 79% of SMB owners said they can’t pay themselves
  • New equipment gets the squeeze – 23% can’t invest in new equipment
  • Can’t advertise – 20% can’t spend on marketing efforts
  • Reduced Payroll – 18% hold back on pay increases or bonuses for employees
  • Inventory freeze – 17% can’t build up inventory

If paid on time, Fundbox estimates that these SMBs across the U.S. could hire an additional 2.1 million employees, which would reduce unemployment by 27%.

Fundbox helps SMBs overcome cash flow gaps by funding outstanding invoices. Attached please find the infographic. Would you like to also see the release? I can also connect you with Prashant Fuloria, Chief Product Officer at Fundbox who can discuss the critical need for services that solve cash flow gaps.

 

D+H Launches Cloud-Based Small Business Lending Technology (D+H Email), Rated: AAA

DH Corporation (TSX: DH) (“D+H”), a leading provider of technology solutions to financial institutions globally, today launched Total Lending™ Small Business, a new digital, mobile-first lending solution designed to boost profitability of financial institutions and improve the lending experience for small business owners across the United States. Now, banks and credit unions can deploy an intuitive, online loan application for small businesses, enabling more application throughput than the traditional paper-based branch model.

Total Lending™ Small Business is designed to empower financial institutions to build a more profitable small business loan portfolio. By bringing the loan process online, banks will benefit from reduced overhead and greater scale. An improved application process will also attract more loan requests from new and existing customers who prefer the convenience of the online or mobile experience.

New Data Shows C&I Lending Can Bring Higher Profitability to Community Banks in 2017 (PayNet Email), Rated: AAA

At $4.4 trillion in trade payables, term loans, and working capital loans, private-company credit represents one of the largest credit markets in the U.S. Today, C&I lending represents about 25% of all loans, down from over 40% in 1950. According to a new study by PayNet, Inc. banks can look to higher profitability in 2017 in their core franchise credit C&I business.

PayNet’s study shows that between 2008 and 2016, banks could have achieved $2.6 billion in additional net income, at a higher risk-adjusted return, had they maintained their share of C&I lending.

Banks can find financial technology useful to reduce the time to underwrite a loan from 50 hours to just over 2 hours. In addition, banks can further utilize technology to lower the cost of loan review by 40% while at the same time increasing the frequency of the loan review cycle from once per year to four times per year for the highest risk accounts.

‘Car vending machine’ firm Carvana hires banks for IPO (Reuters), Rated: A

U.S. used-auto retailer Carvana LLC, which allows customers to pick up cars they buy on the internet from vending machine-like towers, has tapped investment banks for an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Carvana has hired Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) to lead its IPO, the people said this week.

Carvana sells cars through its website and operates automated towers that store cars in U.S. cities such as Austin and Dallas in Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee.

This Insurance Startup Wants to Cover Tomorrow’s Self-Driving Cars (Backchannel), Rated: A

Now an auto insurance startup called Root is taking that conclusion to the bank, so to speak. It believes that the investigation, as well as its own studies on the matter, make a strong case that Teslas with Autopilot are safer than just plain humans. So confident is Root about this that, starting today, it is charging Tesla drivers lower fees if they turn on and use the controversial Autopilot feature.

The Tesla discount is a natural outgrowth of Root’s business model, which is based on using technology to identify safe drivers and offer them low rates. If you suck at driving, you don’t get a policy. Before getting coverage, customers must submit to a two-to-three-week testing period, downloading the Root app to their phones, which will use the sensors in the device to track location, speed, acceleration, and whether they are weaving recklessly between lanes at 2 a.m. after leaving a taproom. Or whether they are using the actual phone measuring their driving skills to text while in motion. This actually happens, says Timm, because after a few days drivers forget that they are being monitored and revert to bad habits.

According to Timm, about 70 percent of those who undergo this process will be deemed safe drivers, whereupon the company will offer them a low rate, with the entire transaction done on the phone. (Even your proof-of-insurance card will be stored on the device.) The other 30 percent have to get insurance from Root’s competitors.

One might think this will be a boon for insurers, who will see claims drop dramatically. Timm argues otherwise: The paucity of accidents and claims will drop the real cost of insurance so low that the established companies, stuck with high overheads, won’t be able to cut their prices enough. They will thus be subject to Uber-level disruption from newcomers who will be able to charge fees as low as $30 every six months.

Root has not contacted Tesla directly, but says that even without the car manufacturer’s help, the Root app can figure out when a Tesla owner is using Autopilot. Timm hopes that in the future, the company can work directly with Tesla to get better data.

SmartBiz Loans Adds Former SBA Head of Capital Access to Board of Directors (SmartBiz Loans Email), Rated: B

SmartBiz Loans, the first SBA marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced the addition of Ann Marie Mehlum to the company’s board of directors, a former Small Business Association (SBA) associate administrator and seasoned banking industry veteran, with more than 30 years’ experience.

As former associate administrator for the SBA’s Office of Capital Access, Mehlum directed the government agency’s flagship credit programs including the 7(a) general business loan guarantee program, the 504 program for real estate and long term asset financing, and the microloan programs, with a combined portfolio of more than $100 billion. The SBA is a federal agency that encourages lenders, typically banks, to originate loans to small businesses by providing a guarantee for these loans.

SmartBiz Loans’ SBA marketplace automatically connects small business owners with the right bank which helps to increase loan application approval rates and speed. SmartBiz®bank partners utilize the SmartBiz software platform to increase their efficiency in processing SBA loans by up to 7­0 percent. SBA loans are widely considered the best type of loan for many small businesses because of their low rates and long repayment terms.

Fintech firm relocating to Orlando and creating high-wage jobs (MRINetwork), Rated: B

Financial tech firm Finexio is moving its hub from Silicon Valley to Orlando – a move that will open up 10 high-wage jobs, the Orlando Business Journals reported. The startup, which offers a business-to-business commercial payment network, recently decided that the relocation is necessary in order to support its growth.

The company chose Orlando because of its growing reputation as an innovative city, drawing in professionals particularly in the financial technology industry. This move echoes that of other industry giants such as Deloitte and KPMG, which have ramped hiring in Central Florida.

At its new Orlando-based location, Finexio will be looking to hire professionals to work in its corporate headquarters and engineering department.

According to the Orlando Economic Partnership, another reason Finexio chose Orlando is because of the resources available in the area for hiring software engineers. For example, the University of Central Florida is located nearby, which offers a top-tier engineering school.

United Kingdom

Over 50,000 investors register with RateSetter (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter has announced it now has over 50,000 investors.

This was just one of a number of milestones that RateSetter has recently reached, including collecting £1bn of repayments, investors having now earned more than £60m in total interest and more than £1.75bn of loans being delivered to borrowers across the UK.

Revolut partners with P2P lender to offer customers cut-price instant credit (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Revolut has today announced a partnership with peer-to-peer (P2P) loan firm Lending Works to provide instant credit at half the cost of UK banks.

In just two minutes, Revolut customers can now apply for credit from anywhere in the world via their smartphone and receive funds instantly to their Revolut account.
This process cuts out the banks entirely, meaning that Revolut customers are charged just £52 on average to borrow £1,000 over a 12 month period, with a representative APR of 9.9%. In contrast, a recent survey of five major UK banks, whose personal loans are notoriously expensive with time-consuming application processes, showed that consumers are charged £120 on average to borrow the same amount over a 12 month period, with a representative APR of 23.8%*. Credit card rates are also sky-high, reaching a record average purchasing rate of 21.6 per cent APR in March 2016 (Source: moneyfacts).
The new credit features mean Revolut is the first company to approve and pay out P2P loans instantly.
The Revolut app currently offers UK users credit from as little as £500 to a maximum of £5,000, and users can adjust their repayment period between 12 and 60 months. In contrast to many banks, there are no fees to repay the loan early.

The British Business Bank invests £135m in P2P platforms (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Since it was established in November 2014, the British Business Bank has invested £135m in peer-to-peer platforms.
Following a freedom of information request submitted by Bridging & Commercial, it was also discovered that in the calendar year 2016, £11.5m was drawn down for participation in loans generated by peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Investment Platform CapitalRise Launches Innovative Finance ISA For Residential Property (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CapitalRise, a London-based property investment platform, announced on Monday it is launching an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) wrapper for residential property. According to the platform, the new IFISA allows savers to invest a minimum of £1,000 and up to £15,240 in the current tax year (rising to £20,000 in the 2017-2018 tax year) in residential property, targeting tax-free returns between 10-14% per annum.

Digging into the data: How investor returns change over time (Funding Circle), Rated: A

We used five full years of historical loan performance data to simulate how the returns in a typical investor’s portfolio can change over time. In our example, an investor lent £10,000 across all the loans originated through Funding Circle in 2012. Each month, the loan repayments and interest received were lent to new borrowers.

The below chart shows the annualised return, after fees and bad debt but before tax, earned by the example investor over a five year investment period.

For the first few months the investor’s annualised return is at its highest, at approximately 7.8% after the 1% annual servicing fee is deducted. This is because the investor has typically yet to experience any borrowers being unable to repay their loans.

Bad debts generally start to occur approximately six months after the loans are made. This is reflected in the chart above, where our example investor’s return starts to dip after six months. This trend then naturally decreases over time as the rate at which businesses run into difficulties tends to decrease.

After 18 months the example investor’s return stabilises, then generally increases as recovery payments start to arrive. As of 1st February 2017, 44% of the value of loans defaulted between 2010 and 2014 has been recovered. This trend typically continues for the rest of the investment period, with the example investor ending the five year investment period having earned an annualised return of 6.5% after fees and bad debt.

London Independent Financial Advisor launches robo advice for clients (AltFi), Rated: A

A London-based financial advisor has launched a robo advice like service for its clients. FOL Wealth, began offering its automated service at the end of February to give customers access to low-cost advice.

The wealth manager charges an annual fee of 0.90 per cent with a minimum investment of £1,000.

Nicola Horlick: Why P2P can prove a haven in stormy times (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Events abroad meanwhile are dominated by what is happening in the US, where the volatility of change and the frequency of significant news events – what journalists call ‘story burn’ – are increasingly alarming.

In the case of Money&Co, the company I founded and of which I am CEO, we bring individuals looking for a good return on capital together with carefully vetted, well-established and profitable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking funds for growth. We have also recently introduced property lending.

As a P2P business lender, Money&Co does what the banks cannot or will not do – we fund SMEs and we provide a gross yield of nearly 9% a year to the lenders, who extend credit via our platform.

To be fair, banks have baggage we do not – for example, headcount, bonus culture and general institutional sclerosis.

The IFISA was launched almost a year ago, but most P2P lending platforms are still unable to offer it, as they require full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval in order to do so. Money&Co has full FCA approval and so we can now offer the IFISA.

Money&Co’s loan book is currently generating an average gross yield of 8.95%. Investors can choose to either roll up the interest in their ISA account or pay the interest out monthly. We take a fee of 1% a year and so the net yield is 7.95%.

We will also be offering asset-backed loans for inclusion in the IFISA.  They will yield slightly less – at around 7% a year net of fees – but I would expect them to be particularly popular with ISA investors.

Fintech firm launches fund due diligence platform (Citywire), Rated: B

Fintech firm Door has launched a digital platform to streamline the fund due diligence process between fund investors and asset managers.

The information will be used by professional fund investors when monitoring and screening funds.

Door is registering fund investor users in groups of 100.

For asset managers, Door is used to reduce the repetitive nature of responding to due diligence requests and help to improve their responsiveness to client requests.

Earn 7% lending cash to strangers: Peer-to-peer trounces the pitiful rates being offered by banks… but there are risks (This Is Money), Rated: B

Yet while the average rate on an easy-access account stands at just 0.37 per cent, the rates on so-called peer-to-peer lending range from 2.6 per cent to 7.2 per cent.

Zopa was the first UK firm to set up in 2005 and now has 75,000 investors on its books.

It was swiftly followed by RateSetter and Funding Circle, which together with Zopa now account for two-thirds of the UK’s peer-to-peer market.

RateSetter alone lent £668 million to individuals and businesses across the UK last year.

It offers three accounts. There is a rolling account — which means your money is not tied in for any length of time — paying 2.6 per cent, a one-year fix at 3 per cent and a five-year deal at 4.8 per cent.

Zopa has three deals on offer, paying 2.9 per cent, 3.7 per cent or 6.1 per cent.

European Union

Blender Procures Electronic Money Institution License in EU (Finance Magnates), Rated: AAA

Blender, an international consumer e-lending platform, has garnered a new license to operate as a financial institution in the European Union – the license recognizes Blender as an E-Money Institution, which includes a range of banking activities for the group, per a company statement.

In particular, Blender can now grant loans, transfer funds between customers and service the platform to other companies. Moreover, the licensing agreement also allows for the execution of most banking activities, except leveraging deposits.

Online Lender Blackmoon Partners with ID Finance to Offer Loans to Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

ID Finance has integrated with Blackmoon and is now executing investment transactions via the Russian online lending platform. ID Finance is a data science, credit scoring and “nonbank digital lending as an application” provider. ID Finance has is currently operating in Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Poland, Spain and Brazil.

Under the arrangement, loans are screened and scored by ID Finance’s advanced risk assessment system. Blackmoon investors may benefit from interest rates higher than traditional investment tools. If the issued loans meet the strategies of investors that deal with Blackmoon, the system registers the fact of sale, the investor’s funds are transferred to the creditor and the transaction is deemed closed. ID Finance registers the profit by the securitised portfolio and continues servicing borrowers who are redeeming the loans now to the benefit of Blackmoon investors. In this case, Blackmoon ensures execution of transactions, analysis, accounting and investment process management for the investor and lender.

Intel buys Mobileye for .3 billion, fintech funding and acquisitions in Europe, and the EDF Pulse Awards (Tech.eu), Rated: A

On this episode of the Tech.eu podcast, we talk about European fintech funding rounds and an acquisition, Intel’s purchase of Israel’s Mobileye and more.

Listen to the podcast here.

MENA

10 FinTech Firms to Watch in 2017 and Beyond (Tech Financials), Rated: A

These include AimBrain, which has developed a multi-modal mobile biometric authentication platform.

Another two on the watch list are EZMCOM, a developer of a technology that identifies users with their passphrase, voice modulations and facial authentication, with advanced liveness detection features such as movement of lips and blinking of eye, and Crowd Valley, a technology platform that can create, operate and manage online investing or a lending marketplace.

Qumram made their regional debut at Meftech 2017 when showcasing technology that ensures compliance, aids fraud detection and improves customer experience by recording, analysing and replaying every digital interaction – on web, social and mobile.

The Personal Financial Management innovation of Strands is also on display, while White Label Crowdfunding won the delegates over with their online marketplace lending solution that connects credit demand and supply in a transparent and efficient way.

Software company Leveris was also a highlight with their solution that promises to bypass the ‘spaghetti junction’ of IT legacy architecture with a modular banking-as-a-platform (BaaP) solution.

The BlinkID real-time ID scanner by MicroBlink was another star of the show. And making up the impressive list is a platform developed by Agreement Express that allows financial institutions to on-board new clients without requiring paper or ink signatures; and a dynamic Enterprise Planning Platform for Financial Institutions by Inplenion.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor