Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck prices $225M securitization. Prosper is looking for new whole loan contributors for securitizations. Funding Circle lends 123M GBP to businesses in March. Funding Circle SME considers new equity raise. Ant Financial to raise $9B. Today’s main analysis: Competition among lenders worth $27K to borrowers last week. The grad degrees that deliver more debt than […]

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

On Deck Capital (ONDK) Prices $ 225 Million Securitization (Street Insider) Rated: AAA

OnDeck announced today that it has priced $225 million initial principal amount of Series 2018-1 Fixed Rate Asset-Backed Notes (the “Notes”) in a private securitization transaction. The Notes, which will be issued in four classes, were priced with a weighted average fixed interest rate of 3.75% per annum. It is expected that DBRS, Inc., in satisfaction of one of the closing conditions, will rate the Notes at closing. The anticipated DBRS rating for the Class A Notes would be the highest rating ever for a class of notes in an asset-backed securitization of small business loans in the online lending industry.

The Notes will be issued by OnDeck Asset Securitization Trust II LLC (the “Issuer”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of OnDeck. The Notes will be secured by and payable from a revolving pool of OnDeck small business loans. The Issuer will be the sole obligor of the Notes; the Notes will not be obligations of or guaranteed by OnDeck or any of its other subsidiaries. OnDeck will act as the servicer of the loans securing the Notes.

The net proceeds from the Notes offering will be used by the Issuer together with other available funds to optionally prepay in full a prior notes issuance (the “Old Notes”) that had a weighted average interest rate of 4.7% at December 31, 2017.

Prosper to keep PMIT shelf, but seeks new blood as loan agreement winds down (GlobalCapital) Rated:AAA

Prosper will continue to issue ABS from its long standing PMIT shelf, but is looking for new whole loan contributors for its securitizations as it eyes the end of a loan consortium agreement inked last February.

Prosper’s securitizations will retain the multi-seller deal format, in which whole loan investors contribute collateral to the securitizations, said three people speaking with GlobalCapital on the sidelines at the LendIt Fintech USA 2018 event in San Francisco.

Anthony Noto on leaving Twitter for SoFi, and what comes next (Axios) Rated: AAA

Former Twitter chief operating officer Anthony Noto just finished his first month on the job as CEO of SoFi, the “unicorn” financial services company whose former CEO was booted late last year after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Axios spoke to Noto about the new job, growth plans, recruitment and that long-rumored IPO. The quick read:

  • He had always wanted to be a CEO, and felt he had accomplished what he set out to do at Twitter.
  • He believes SoFi is a cultural reclamation project, but that the core business is strong.
  • SoFi wants to launch a membership-type credit card.
  • The firm has no plans to either IPO or fundraise in 2018.
On joining SoFi as CEO, after stops at Twitter and Goldman Sachs:

“This opportunity leverages all of my professional background as a tech person, as a consumer-facing person and from a financial industry perspective.

Heard at LendIt Fintech 2018 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Scott Sanborn, CEO of LendingClub:

“A reckoning is coming. The US is ground zero.There is a 37 trillion dollar shortfall in the retirement sector. This is coming and we cant just think we have 32 years to solve this problem.”

Omer Ismail, Chief Commercial Officer of Marcus:

“Since we launched 18 months ago we have done $3 billion in loans and we have $20 billion in deposits and about 500,000 in customers.”

Max Levchin, CEO and founder of Affirm:

“There are 10 to 15 million people in this country who need money and can probably borrow responsibly yet they end up at payday lending.”

Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans:

“If a mortgage can be done in 10 [days] a personal loan can be done in 1 [day]”

In a Bad Month for Public Equity Markets, Local Isn’t Spared (Street Fight) Rated: AAA

Source: Street Fight

Coming off one of the worst months in recent memory, March saw big declines in the public equity markets. The SCP SMB Index was the least impacted, retreating 4.1% compared to all other major indices, which declined more than 5% during the month.

The SCP SMB Index declined 4.1% in March. The S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones all experienced losses during the month of 5.1%, 5.2%, and 6.1%, respectively.

Returns since inception (indexed at Jan 4, 2016)

Since the inception of the SCP SMB Index in January 4, 2016 (where 100% is no change), here are the returns through March 29, 2018:

  • SCP SMB Index : 144.47%
  • S&P 500: 129.43%
  • Nasdaq : 141.73%
  • Dow Jones : 139.07%

Competition Among Lenders Worth Over $ 27,000 to Borrowers Last Week (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

We calculate the Mortgage Rate Competition Index weekly as the median spread between the lowest and highest APR offered by lenders in our marketplace. By calculating this spread, we hope to show consumers how much they stand to save by comparing rates during the lending shopping process.

Purchase loans

  • Across all purchase loan applications on LendingTree for the week ending April 8, the index was 0.59, up 0.03 from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to nab a mortgage rate that’s 0.59% lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $27,339 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).

Refinances

  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 0.65, up from 0.63 the prior week.
  • Borrowers shopping for refi loans could have saved $30,329 by shopping for the lowest rate.

Which Graduate Degrees Deliver More Debt than Income? (Credible) Rated: AAA

Credible’s analysis of student loan debt levels and salaries across 16 graduate school majors shows that the most important consideration isn’t how much debt you’ll take on to obtain an advanced degree — or how much you’ll earn after graduation — but achieving the right balance between the two.

Key highlights

  • A Credible analysis of more than 91,000 graduate degree holders with student loans found significant debt and income differences across 16 graduate degree majors.
  • Dentists, optometrists, and veterinarians tend to have student loan debt that’s the most out of balance with their earnings soon after graduation.
  • Even years out of school, optometrists, veterinarians, physician assistants, dentists and pharmacists devote more than 10 percent of their monthly income to their student loan payments.
  • Computer scientists, MBA holders, people with masters in finance degrees (not MBA) and nurses allocate the smallest proportion of their monthly earnings to pay down their student loan debt (between 6.4 and 7.1 percent).

AUTOGRAVITY EXPANDS VEHICLE FINANCING OPTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS THROUGH A NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH WESTBON (Lendit) Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer that empowers car shoppers to buy and finance any new or used car in minutes from their smartphone, today announced a partnership with Westbon, the first lending platform for international students in the U.S. Through this unique partnership, Westbon financing options are now accessible to international students who use AutoGravity to finance their vehicle in the United States.

FINITIVE LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE LENDING INVESTMENT PLATFORM WITH $ 1.3 BILLION OF INITIAL TRANSACTION VOLUME (Lendit) Rated: A

​Finitive LLC (www.finitive.com), a financial technology platform providing institutional investors with direct access to alternative lending investments, announced today the launch of its zero-fee platform.

Finitive, which commenced operations in August 2017, has received commitments for transactions with an aggregate capacity of $1.3 billion. Several asset managers and banks have committed capital for transactions in the consumer, renewable energy and commercial real estate lending sectors.

NSR Invest secures growth financing with FinSight Ventures (Lendit) Rated: A

Lend Core Inc., parent company to NSR Invest and LendingRobot, announced today the close of its first external financing round with FinSight Ventures. The investment will help the company expand its investor outreach, accelerate product development and strategic partnerships. FinSight Ventures General Partner, Alexey Garyunov, and Investment Director, Maxim Nazarov, will join Lend Core’s Board of Directors.

The company’s core technologies drive innovation through interactive analytics, custom modeling, algorithmic investing, order execution, portfolio management, and transparency through blockchain application.

Alchemy Peer-to-Peer Lending Will Help Millennials Dominate the Future of Finance (TechBullion) Rated: A

One blockchain startup, Alchemy, is using the technology to create a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending system that ensures transparency and guarantees security to its participants.

Alchemy works by matching lenders and borrowers for the requested amount of capital. Because of the instant, global, and secure peer-to-peer interactions that blockchain facilitates, costs of service are kept incredibly low. Interest rates are kept as close to a free market determination as possible, ensuring a fair consumer experience that often eludes customers of big banks.

Quovo Launches New Products to Improve Lending Value Chain (Lendit) Rated: A

Quovo, a data platform that provides connectivity to consumer financial accounts, announced today at LendIt Fintech USA, new products that equip lenders with insights to streamline and improve key processes in the lending value chain, adding to Quovo’s ability to assist with underwriting, funding, and ongoing servicing workflows.

Income + Expense analyzes and summarizes recurring and irregular income and expense streams, creating a fuller picture of cash flow in linked accounts. Balance Estimator uses historical cash flows to predict future account balances up to 30 days in advance, giving loan servicers a key perspective on when customers can most
effectively meet their payment obligations.

Income + Expense and Balance Estimator provide valuable cash-flow-based insights that can be combined with Quovo’s core data products—such as Aggregation and Authentication—to create end-to-end solutions for lending, from the first loan application to the last servicing event.

MoneyLion Announces the Big Alternative to the Big Bank (Business Wire) Rated: A

MoneyLion today announced that it will be expanding its popular MoneyLion Plus membership with a full suite of checking and savings capabilities. With these additions, the new MoneyLion Plus membership will provide a comprehensive banking option for anyone with access to a smartphone, becoming the one and only financial membership consumers need to build wealth, improve credit and manage day-to-day spending.

DebtBench Consolidates The Business-to-business Loan Marketplace Into One Place (Benzinga) Rated: A

DebtBench: We are creating an Open Banking marketplace structure where business borrowers can connect and gain access to capital at lower rates, in far less time, than they would by going to a brick-and mortar institution. According to our estimates, banks, credit cards and other lending institutions generate $870B+ each year in fees and interest from over $3.2 trillion in lending activity. The interest rate spreads gained by financial institutions can be minimized.

Intrinio to Release API v2, Making Financial Data Even More Accessible (Lendit) Rated: B

Intrinio, a fintech company providing access to over 200 financial data feeds, will be releasing their API v2 this quarter.

Intrinio’s API v2 is built on the OpenAPI specification, which is a community-driven, open source, standardized API spec within the OpenAPI Initiative (OAI), a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. This allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of a service without requiring access to source code, additional documentation, or inspection of network traffic.

OCC Gearing Up To Publish Position On FinTech Charter (PYMNTS) Rated: B

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is getting ready to release its position on a proposed charter for online lenders and other FinTech companies in the next three months.

AI and the next step in financial management tools (Venture Beat) Rated: B

An Aite Group study finding has the answer. More than 75 percent of 22- to 49-year-old consumers are interested in this kind of advice and guidance around reducing debt, achieving savings goals, and tracking their finances, as well as optimizing their overall financial health.

Funding Your Dream: Financial Tips for Startups (Axcess News) Rated: B

 

Small Business Loans

Companies like the Lending Club, make it easy for you to apply for small business loans online. You can receive several thousand dollars towards your business expenses.

 

Building a Strong Credit History Without Using Credit Cards (Analyst of Finance) Rated: B

Although many people turn to credit cards to help them build credit, there are other tools individuals can use to improve their credit scores. Since some people have trouble managing credit card debt and do not want to pay high-interest rates, they often turn to alternatives to help them build a solid credit history. Here are a few of those alternatives.

Loans to Help Build Credit
Some banks and credit unions will offer their members what are known as credit builder loans. The goal is to pay off the loan before the maturity date.

Peer-to-Peer Lending
Instead of going through a traditional financial institution, borrowers can apply for loans offered by individual investors. Known as peer-to-peer loans, consumers can apply using a reputable P2P lending website or service. The loans typically offer reasonable interest rates, and this type of financing is completely legitimate.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle lends £123m to businesses in March (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

The figure represented an increase on the £113m lent in February.

The company announced in its monthly review that in March it provided 1,831 businesses with access to finance and created 4,670 jobs (directly and indirectly) via its platform.

Funding Circle lent over £701m from September 2017 to March 2018 and more than 10,500 small businesses accessed finance through the platform in the same period.

Funding Circle SME fund considers new equity raise (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

THE FUNDING Circle SME Income Fund is considering a potential equity raise as it assesses its growth options.

Any issue of shares or sale from treasury would be priced at NAV plus a premium to cover all issue costs, the fund said in a stock exchange announcement on Monday.

MarketInvoice joins NatWest Capital Connections panel (Finextra) Rated: A

NatWest has added invoice finance platform MarketInvoice to its Capital Connections panel, which helps SMEs unable to borrow from banks get access to alternative sources of money.

Liberis raises £57.5M to offer finance for small businesses paid back via customer card transactions (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Liberis, the London-based fintech that provides finance for small businesses, has raised £57.5 million in new funding to help support the company’s growth. The alternative finance provider makes loans against a company’s future credit and debit card sales.

The majority of the new capital being raised by Liberis  is debt, which in turn will enable it to issue more loans. The facility is being provided by British Business Investments (the commercial arm of the tax payer-funded British Business Bank), Paragon Bank, and BCI Finance.

In addition, Blenheim Chalcot has made an equity investment into Liberis. The so-called “digital venture builder” also previously backed Clearscore, the credit scoring startup recently acquired by Experian.

As good as it ap(peer)s? (Metro) Rated: A

■ Peer-to-peer lending is becoming popular in low interest times, but it’s controversial

Peer-to-peer remains controversial, especially since the government approved a new type of Isa, the Innovative Finance Isa (Ifisa), in April 2016 that allows customers to receive income from the peer-to-peer loans they make free of tax.

There are many questions you will need to ask before lending your cash. Here are some of the most important:

What returns can I really get?

When faced with the best-buy rate on an instant access current account (around 1.3 per cent according to Moneyfacts), or on a five-year, fixed- rate bond (2.75 per cent), it’s hard not to find the headline rate you would receive from a peer-to-peer lending site very attractive.

Is the platform a member of a reputable association?

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association is the main trade body, though not all companies involved are members. Check membership at p2pfa.org.uk. Robert Pettigrew, director of the association, says: ‘Investors should understand the nature and level of risk to which they are exposed, so that they can ensure that it is commensurate with their individual risk appetite.

 

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial to Raise $ 9 Billion, Become World’s Biggest Unicorn (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services Group, carved out of his e-commerce giant Alibaba Group HoldingLtd. BABA -0.52% seven years ago, is preparing to raise $9 billion in a private funding round, according to people familiar with the matter. That ups a previous fundraising target of $5 billion.

Ant, which owns popular mobile payments network Alipay and is one of China’s largest non-bank lenders, is currently in talks with potential investors and demand for its shares has so far been strong, the people familiar said.

The latest funding round could value Ant at close to $150 billion, according to the people, making it by far the world’s largest unicorn—a term used to describe private companies valued at over $1 billion.

X Financial Provides a Chinese Fintech Perspective at LendIt USA (Markets Insider) Rated: A

“Fintech is playing animportant role in China. Given the demands for consumer finance are not yet fully satisfied and credit system is not perfect, financial technology has a golden development opportunity in Chinawhich leads the world in data mining and processing capabilities in the mobile Internet market.” said Simon Cheng, President of X Financial, a leading fintech company in China at LendIt USA recently.

International

Is the Banking System Up for Disruption? (GURUFocus) Rated: A

The popularity of blockchain technology has grown over the last several years as the hype surrounding the cryptocurrency market has thrived. Nearly every industry is currently exploring options on how they can use this disruptive technology to make a difference in the market. Its impact on various sectors has attracted big technology companies like Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM). They ventured into distributed ledger technology architecture to augment their existing businesses while simultaneously trying to exploit emerging opportunities in the industry.

Over the last two decades, the financial services sector has experienced a major technological shake-up, with emerging industries like fintech playing a vital role. PayPal Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) disrupted the payments industry by introducing online methods of payment. While some said credit cards and checks would be phased out in due time, they are still crucial products. It remains to be seen how long they will last, though.

On the other hand, peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub Corp. (NYSE:LC) and Zorpa reinvented lending and, in the process, sparked debates on whether they could eventually overtake traditional lending in the credit market. Nothing of the sort has come to pass, yet. In fact, after peaking in the first half of the current decade, peer-to-peer lending may have started to experience a slowdown in growth.

RESPONDING TO TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION IN WHOLESALE BANKING (International Banker) Rated: A

In this article, we explore two areas that have attracted significant interest by FinTech innovators:

  • Marketplace lenders (MPLs) that are disrupting traditional credit-underwriting models with lower overhead, higher transparency, faster loan approval and higher returns on capital.
  • Blockchain-based supply chains with the potential to disrupt entrenched payments and credit processes by managing the physical and financial flows associated with commerce. In addition, we discuss approaches to IT spending and innovation that banks can take in response.

Ezira – The distributed social media and business platform (AMBCrypto) Rated: A

Ezira will utilize the delegated proof of stake decentralized consensus algorithm used by Bitshares, EOS, and Steem. Ezira will operate on a new public blockchain, will provide a flagship user application, and a multi-token circular economic model. It will have a fairer token distribution and will share drop 10% of the EZIRA asset onto the cryptocurrency community.

The Ezira network will offer users access to a suite of cryptocurrency and social media features during its release.

Content Rewards

Users will receive content rewards for posting according to the number of votes and views that each post receives. Once per day, a content reward payment will be distributed according to the stake weight of the accounts that upvoted and viewed the content.

Ezira Cryptocurrencies

Payments using Ezira currencies will have zero transaction fees and will receive confirmation within the 3 second block time. Users send EziraCoin to a stealth address and send payments using a ring signature, and use ring confidential transactions to conceal the payment amount.

Decentralized Exchange

Users will be able to use peer to peer lending to earn interest by lending their funds to other users, based on collateral, independent verification processes, and established creditworthiness.

Australia

Online lender Prospa challenges Australia’s big banks (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Last year Prospa passed a milestone of providing more than A$500m ($385m) in loans to 12,000 businesses.

The company offers loans of between A$5,000 and A$250,000, over a term of three to 24 months, with no security required for amounts of up to A$100,000. Its platform enables business owners to apply within 10 minutes, receive approval on the same day and funding within 24 hours.

Annual interest rates on Prospa loans vary depending on risk but typically start at roughly 12 per cent and stretch into the mid-20s.

Prospa’s growth has been supported by venture capital backers, with AirTree leading a A$25m funding round last year that valued Prospa at A$235m. The funds enabled the lender to boost its staff to 165, build a direct distribution channel and sign up 7,000 intermediary partners.

Australia lags on digital banking revolution: Oracle survey (The Sydney Morning Herald) Rated: A

New survey results from US technology firm Oracle suggest Australians are less open, compared with consumers in other large economies, to engaging with the fintech revolution.

The survey, released on Wednesday, shows only 6.25 per cent of Australians regularly use a “fintech” bank, compared with 10 per cent in the United States, 12 per cent in Britain, and 40.5 per cent in India.

Despite a growing number of digital “robo advisers”, 9.75 per cent of local respondents said they used fintech wealth advisers services frequently, compared with 16 per cent in Britain and 21.5 per cent in United States.

India

P2P lending company Faircent.com launches its open API platform (ETRise) Rated: AAA

P2P lending firm Faircent.com will soon be opening its API platform for developers. The move will enable new fintech entrants and offline businesses to leverage the company’s technological infrastructure to build new digital lending products, as well as to integrate existing solutions into their offerings.

Faircent.com’s technology stack offers a wide range of solutions pertaining to online lending such as borrower and lender verification, credit evaluation and underwriting, and payment collection and recovery, among others.

Kae Capital infuses funds in P2P digital lending startup Loanzen (ENTracker) Rated: A

Loanzen, a peer to peer business loan marketplace startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of sum from Kae Capital. The Bengaluru-based digital lending platform had earlier raised an undisclosed seed funding from Angels through TracxnSyndicate.

The fintech firm will deploy fresh funds to expand operations. It also holds NBFC licence by RBI.

Asia

How is Fintech Making Credit Cards and Personal Loans Easier to Get? (TechWorm), Rated: AAA

Fintech firms have exploded onto the financial scene in Singapore and other mature markets in Asia in recent times. Focusing on disruptive technologies like peer-to-peer lending, affordable digital payment solutions, and more accurate risk analysis among other things, these startups are winning over customers by replacing the service delivery model used by traditional banks with user-friendly technologies.

Fintech Companies Are Changing the Process of Loan Offtake

Have you ever heard about Crowdo, Capital Springboard, FundedHere, or MoolahSense? These are peer-to-peer online lending sites through which you can raise funds by sharing your story. These crowdfunding sites are revolutionising the alternative lending space through disintermediation, cost optimisation, quicker delivery, and technology modernisation.

Players like Skolafund provide deserving students a chance to get funded by potential funders for pursuing education in an affordable manner. They can match profiles and ensure that the right student meets the right funder.

SMEs, often ignored by traditional banking channels, have found their go-to source for funds. Crowd Genie, which started in 2016, is helping SMEs get loans through crowdfunding.

MENA

Start-up crowdfunding: Window of opportunity (Arabian Business) Rated: A

After witnessing the 2011 Egyptian revolution, former journalist Ahmed Moor decided to launch Liwwa, a peer-to-peer funding platform that would address the MENA region’s $240bn SME funding gap by lending money to growing businesses.

Together with co-founder and CTO Samer Atiani (former senior software developer at New York-based online retailer Etsy), Moor has managed to lend over $8m to SMEs across the region since the establishment of the Amman-based firm in 2013.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday Match 23 2018, Daily News Digest

ifisa

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper changes pricing. Revolut launches disposable virtual cards. OakNorth reports annual profit. Lufax delays IPO. eToro raises $100M for blockchain development. Today’s main analysis: Isas that pay up to 16%. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is personal service getting lost in digital? What makes big data BIG? How quantum computing can change financial services. Can the blockchain prevent bank […]

ifisa

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United States

Prosper Announces Pricing Changes (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week in anticipation of the Fed Rate hike, we discussed Prosper’s approach to portfolio pricing in a rising rate environment. Our goal with rate-setting is to deliver value for both sides of the Prosper platform by providing a fair price for borrowers and a reasonable return for investors.

In order to deliver on this objective, the borrower rates offered in our marketplace must react to rate changes in the economy at large.  Today, the Federal Reserve announced a 25 basis point (bps) increase in the Fed Funds rate.  In light of this development, the rates offered to borrowers through the Prosper platform are being modified.

Pricing Change Impact Simulation

The table below summarizes the simulated impact of the rate increase on the portfolio originated through the Prosper platform in March month-to-date (MTD) 2018.  Overall borrower rates on the platform are increasing by 26 bps.

Source: Prosper

 

Is Personal Service in Fintech Getting Lost Amid the Digital Mindset? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Profitability of digital-only businesses can be astounding because the model is so cost-efficient. Some just don’t want customers with “high maintenance” needs such as human customer support.

The best overall answer is to offer all options. Enable customers to interact solely in a digital way or with live support to guide through the process, answer questions and solve problems. Make it easy to use both, such as Amazon does. Online ordering is usually a breeze. But when a problem or concern arises, they have caring and competent live human beings to help.

Ways To Show That You’re Invested (Or Want To Be) In Human Caring

  1. Check in with your world.
  2. Beat your “human caring” drum.
  3. Extend human touch company-wide.

WHAT MAKES BIG DATA SO … BIG? (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: AAA

A Paper from Citi

A new paper by Citi Business Advisory Services throws a lot of light on where Big Data stands.

The paper argues that due to Big Data, “the innovation seen in systematic trading models over the past decade could accelerate” and (a closely related point) the “differences between what used to represent quantitative versus qualitative research” could disappear.

Not all Roses and Plush Toys, Though

The process by which the new data capabilities and principles get internalized by the swifter funds, those that want to be on the winning side of the arb plays, isn’t a painless one. There are “integration and cultural challenges” that have to be overcome. After all, the experts that an aspiring arbitrageur would hire come from “internet firms, gaming companies, the military” and consumer research. The world of asset management will be new to them, so everyone on the developing teams can “work effectively together.”

2017 Digital Lending Fraud Report (Mitek), Rated: A

The explosive adoption of the digital channel is changing the nature of lending. Consumers are coming to expect the kind of convenience and speed that a digital experience can deliver, and lenders are increasingly looking to oblige. Although many of the consumer benefits of digital lending are clear, certain complications related to fraud arise when lending goes digital. This is a function of the degree of separation and anonymity in the digital lending process. Building on these factors, today’s fraudsters are relying on a diversified playbook of schemes and techniques to commit loan fraud in digital channels, including the use of synthetic identities, volumetric attacks, and technology designed to disguise their digital footprint. In this report, Javelin explores how these issues have come to unfold and the steps that lenders must take if they want to effectively resist this growing epidemic of digital lending fraud.

Key questions discussed in this report:

  • What effect has the use of digital channels had on the lending space?
  • How has fraud changed as a result of lending going digital?
  • What are the technology factors affecting the risk of lending fraud in digital channels?
  • What are the fraud risks specific to each type of loan product?
  • How are different segments of consumers affected by digital lending fraud?
  • What are the steps that FIs and other lenders can take to effectively prevent new account fraud?

Foolishness Versus Fintech: Foolishness Wins Again (Lexology), Rated: A

A recent decision from a federal district court in Colorado, Colorado ex rel. Meade v. Avant, strikes another blow against many of the financial technology firms that are revolutionizing the way consumers and businesses access credit. Joining what is now a line of decisions, the court limited the valid-when-made doctrine, which provides that a loan that is valid when it is made does not become invalid (i.e., usurious) when it is sold or assigned to a third party.

2nd Colo. ‘True Lender’ Case Sent Back To State Court (Law360), Rated: A

A Colorado federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Act doesn’t so completely preempt a state financial regulator’s claims against nonbank lender Marlette Funding LLC that they have to be heard in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer remanded the case from Julie Ann Meade, the administrator of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code, making it the second such “true lender” action to get kicked back to Denver state court this month.

CFPB handled over 84K debt collection complaints last year: Report (American Banker) Rated: A

In a joint annual report to Congress released Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission about debt collection practices, the CFPB said it had initiated four enforcement actions last year, had resolved one case and has five others pending related to unlawful debt collection practices.

Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney has indicated that debt collection will be a top priority for the agency. About 26% of consumers with a credit file have debt that is being collected by a third party, the CFPB said.

The CFPB recovered $577,000 in consumer relief from its enforcement actions while $78,800 was paid into the civil penalty fund, which is used to provide relief to eligible consumers who otherwise would not be compensated.

 

United States: Taking Stock Of Washington State’s New Student Education Loan Bill Of Rights (Consumer Protection), Rated: A

On March 14, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed the Washington Student Education Loan Bill of Rights. This law had been in the works since 2017 when a report, released by Attorney General Bob Ferguson in December, documented significant disparities across gender, income, age, and race in student loan borrowing and highlighted a handful of the hundreds of complaints the office received from student loan borrowers about their student loan servicers. Providing strong protections for Washington’s more than 730,000 student loan borrowers, whose debt now totals $22.9 billion, the law changes Washington’s regulatory schematic for lenders and servicers operating in the student loan marketplace in the following ways:

  • It creates the position of “Advocate” within the Washington Student Achievement Council to assist student education loan borrowers with student loans, akin to the position off “ombudsman” under proposed and enacted servicing bills in other states.
  • It requires servicers to obtain a license from the DFI.
  • Per this law, all student loan servicers, except those entirely exempt from the statute, are made newly subject to sundry statutory duties.
  • It imposes several requirements on third-parties providing student education and loan modification services.
  • It compels institutions of higher education to send borrower notices regarding financial aid.
  • It calls for the establishment, by rule, of fees sufficient to cover the costs of administering the program that it itself creates.
  • Lastly, the statute provides for a complete exemption for “any person doing business under, and as permitted by, any law of this state or of the United States relating to banks, savings banks, trust companies, savings and loan or building and loan associations, or credit unions.”

Upstate N.Y. popular for millennial home buyers, study says (Rochester Business Journal), Rated: B

Upstate New York is a popular place for millennials to buy houses, according to a national survey by online lender Lending Tree. For home buyers 35 and under, Rochester ranks 16th among the nation’s 100 largest cities for home mortgage requests and offers from borrowers between Feb. 1, 2017, and Feb. 1, 2018.

STUDY: FRESNO SMALL-BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AMONG BEST IN NATION (The Business Journal), Rated: B

LendingTree, an online lending exchange company, released a study listing the best and worst cities for a new small business, and Fresno ranked ninth for best cities to start a new small business.

Ranking at first is Sacramento.

To conduct the study, LendingTree used data from over 80,000 queries submitted by new small-business owners seeking loan offers through their small business loan marketplace to find out where businesses tend to perform the best.

 

Even Financial Announces Expanded Partnership With Credit.com; Will Power Personal Loan Marketplace (Benzinga), Rated: B

Fintech service provider Even Financial has announced an expanded partnership with Credit.com that will make it the sole provider of Credit.com’s personal loan marketplace.

The change will allow Credit.com users to get matched with personal loan offerings that can be pre-approved in real-time without leaving the site thanks to Even’s technology. Previously, users looking for personal loans on the site were referred to individual lender websites.

Roostify Adds Mark McLaughlin as Vice President of Business Development (Business Wire), Rated: B

Roostify today announced the addition of Mark McLaughlin as the company’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. McLaughlin will be responsible for formulating the company’s overall partner strategy, creating a scalable operational model, and further developing an ecosystem of technology partners and strategic alliances.

Citi sets restrictions on gun sales by retail clients (KFGO), Rated: B

Citigroup Inc added restrictions on firearms sales for new retail-sector clients, the Wall Street bank said on Thursday, the strongest move to date by a major U.S. lender following last month’s high school shooting in Florida.

In an emailed statement Citi said it will require those clients only sell firearms to customers who have passed a background check, restrict firearms sales for buyers under 21, and not sell so-called “bump stocks” or high-capacity magazines.

United Kingdom

Revolut launches disposable virtual cards (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

In an effort to stay one step ahead of the game at all times, digital banking app Revolut is set to launch disposable virtual cards next week to help users of its Premium service protect themselves against online card fraud.

Revolut users will be able to create disposable virtual cards for online purchases in seconds, with card details that automatically regenerate after each transaction. This will also protect users from inconveniences like chargebacks from sites on one-off purchases, as well as preventing fraudsters from tracking bank account information.

The virtual cards will work alongside existing Revolut security features, such as location-based transaction security, the familiar “freeze/unfreeze” physical card ability, as well as being able to disable swipe and contactless payments.

OakNorth becomes first UK digital bank to report annual profit (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

UK based digital bank OakNorth reported an annual profit of $149mn, becoming the first digital bank to do so; in their second year of full operations the bank has seen their loan book triple in size and deposits double in size; Rishi Khosla, OakNorth chief executive, told the Financial Times, “we build them for profit and on strong foundations so as you grow you’re scaling a real business rather than what happens to a lot of fintech where you just keep building for top-line or number of customers, but don’t necessarily have the strongest business model.”

These Isas pay up rates of up to 16%: what’s the catch? (Which? News), Rated: AAA

See the table below to see what Ifisas are on the market, what industry they invest into, the minimum investment amount and what kind of returns you can expect.

Source: Which? News

Among the highest rates, FundingSecure offers up to 16% on investments from £25. However, as a peer-to-peer ‘pawnbroking platform’ borrowers are looking for urgent loans to be given within 24 hours, which are secured against their assets. Borrowers are not required to pass any credit checks. Ablrate offers variable rates up to 16%, but they’re set by the borrower and you have to decide if the return is worth the risk. Past funded loans include units for a film studio, a waste management company and a modular building company.

Where else can I find high interest rates? They may not offer 16% interest, but there are a number of current accounts that pay up to 5% – and they don’t come with the associated risks of a Ifisa.

  • Nationwide’s FlexDirect account offers 5% AER on balances up to £2,500 when you pay in at least £1,000 a month. This is only for the first 12 months, however.
  • The TSB Plus account offers 3% AER on funds up to £1,500 as long as £500 is paid in each month and you register for online and paperless banking. There’s also the opportunity to earn up to £10 cashback a month, for a limited time.
  • The Tesco Bank current account also offers 3% AER on balances up to £3,000. You need to pay in £750 a month and set up at least three direct debits.

Tide gets FCA-authorised, launches new card and integrations (AltFiNews), Rated: A

From today, digital business bank Tide has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an electronic money institution (EMI), which according to Bevis will give Tide “the option to access the same banking infrastructure as older banks”. Since the bank launched last January, 1 in 12 of all business accounts opened in the UK has been with Tide.

Now managing the accounts of over 30,000 businesses, Tide has today also launched a new vertical card and updated app design, and an integration with online accounting provider FreeAgent, which will automatically upload Tide transaction data into the software for easy expenses tracking.

Tide’s recent partnership with iwoca for business lending is also proving fruitful, with the fastest rate of service from first click to credit in the user’s account sitting at 6 minutes and 1 second.

China could snatch the crown of fintech capital, Britain is warned (The Times), Rated: B

Mark Tucker, chairman of HSBC, Britain’s largest bank, and Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, the insurer, said that there was no room for complacency in Britain’s so-called fintech industry.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, told an industry conference yesterday that the UK was the “global capital of fintech” and that the emerging industry contributes £7 billion to the economy.

China

Lufax Delays IPO Amid Regulatory Crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

One of China’s largest online lenders has shelved their IPO because of the regulatory crackdown on online lending; the FT reports that Lufax is waiting until the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) required online lenders to apply for a license; the current thinking is the government will approve licenses in April, though the time frame could be a bit longer; Lufax wants to ensure they get it right instead of rushing to be first.

Small Business Confidence in Mainland China Booms, Driven by Technology, E-commerce and Social Media (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Seventy-eight per cent of small businesses in Mainland China expect to grow in 2018 and 97.5 per cent of small business are confident that the local economy will remain the same or improve in the next 12 months. These are the best survey results for MainlandChina since 2014.

“The high rates of technology use among Mainland China’s small businesses is one of the key drivers of growth, with over 80 per cent of businesses in Mainland China earning more than 10 per cent of revenue from online sales — ranking MainlandChina at the top of the surveyed markets.

European Union

Will PSD2 Open up New B2B Lending Opportunities? (Payments Journal), Rated: A

This referenced posted blog is a good question and likely the answer is ‘yes’, but also we need to wait and see how effective.  Since PSD2 is a legal imperative, one key question posed by the author is whether or not end user companies (the client buying or using a particular financial services product) wishes to share actual bank or account data with the 3rd party vendors for which API-based sharing was designed to assist.

‘When it comes to new services around B2B and working capital, I believe like any good market hypotheses to test, we need to understand a basic question when it comes to corporates – will they provide third party vendors this access?   I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know it comes down to trust and value proposition.  Certainly making sure vendors have the security around your bank data will be important in this age of constant hacking threats’. 

Cerberus Capital Management Appoints Roberto Nicastro as Senior Advisor in Europe (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. and its affiliates (“Cerberus”), a global leader in alternative investing, announced today that Roberto Nicastro has become a Senior Advisor to the firm. In this role, Mr. Nicastro will consult with Cerberus as it continues its focus on investment opportunities and strategic partnerships in the European financial services sector.

International

eToro raises $ 100m Series E to fund blockchain effort (AltFiNews), Rated AAA

The raise is set to support eToro’s expansion as it heads into new markets, and continued research and development of blockchain technology and digital assets. The round brings the platform’s total capital raised to $162m, following a signficant period of growth for the business driven in part by its foray into cryptocurrency investments.

eToro added Stellar as its eighth cryptocurrency asset listed on its Crypto Copyfund in February, joining fellow cryptos Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereuem and Ripple amongst others. The trader launched its Crypto Copyfund in July 2017, which uses CFDs to enable investors to diversify across all available cryptocurrencies (weighted by market cap) with just one click.

How quantum will change everything (including banking, money and security) (The Financier), Rated: AAA

Basically, a quantum computer doesn’t work with bits but with qubits using particles that can be in superposition (two or more quantum states added together to create another state). This is why particles can take on the value 0, or 1, or both simultaneously. The reason that this is important is that it will allow computers to process and store far more information with far less energy and far more speed than current state computers. For example, in 2016, a team of Google and Nasa scientists found a quantum computer was 100 million times faster than a conventional computer. Elsewhere, in a step towards quantum computing, researchers have guided electrons through semiconductors using incredibly short pulses of light. These extremely short, configurable pulses of light could lead to computers that operate 100,000 times faster than they do today.

This is important in banking because it could displace blockchain, ledger and digital identity developments within a decade. This is because the quantum internet would excel at sending information securely through what is known as quantum encryption. This technology enables banks and businesses to be able to send “unhackable” data over a quantum network. This is because quantum cryptography uses a mechanic called quantum key distribution (QKD), which means an encrypted message and its keys are sent separately. Tampering with such a message causes it to be automatically destroyed, with both the sender and the receiver notified of the situation.

Australia/New Zealand

Cash, crypto and crowdlending: meet New Zealand’s rising FinTech future (The Spinoff), Rated: A

It’s this hassle that Hnry (pronounced ‘Henry’) wants to help resolve, doing away with the need for spreadsheets, software and even costly accountants. Whether it’s income tax, GST, ACC or student loan repayments, Hnry will calculate and pay all of these for you. Same goes for your tax returns, which Hnry will complete on your behalf. It’ll also handle all your invoices, regardless of whether you work for a single client or multiple clients at the same time.

Source: the Spinoff

Jrny

Born from a desire to change how enterprise companies and individuals interact with one another, Jrny uses AI and conversational interfaces to create more relevant, two-way channels of communication. Jrny allows businesses to handle thousands of messages instantly in an effort to build a closer relationship between company and customer.

India

Could blockchain tech help prevent bank fraud? (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A massive fraud that cost India’s second-largest bank at least $2 billion is highlighting concerns about vulnerabilities in institutions’ internal controls and spurring some to claim that blockchain could have prevented the crime.

In a recent incident at Punjab National Bank, a deputy branch manager and his subordinate allegedly falsified 150 letters of undertaking directing other banks to give loans to a group of jewelry companies, with PNB providing surety for those letters. Virtually all of them defaulted, causing PNB to be on the hook.

What made the fraud so difficult to detect was that, as far as its internal systems were concerned, the transactions didn’t exist. The letters of undertaking were sent using the Swift network, but none were recorded on PNB’s internal record-keeping software, which wasn’t linked to the Swift system.

Source: American Banker

That’s why some are arguing that bockchain, or distributed ledger technology, could have prevented the fraud. Because immutable records are kept on a decentralized database that multiple parties can view, it’s possible that the fraud either wouldn’t have happened or could have been detected sooner.

Now here’s a crypto bank you can grow with (The Economic Times), Rated: A

In this virtual bank, your savings are stored in crypto format on a blockchain, and instead of interest on your savings, you get a virtual share in the revenue of the bank.

This is an unconventional concept developed by Mumbai-based entrepreneurs Varun Deshpande, Ratnesh Ray and Siddharth Verma, whose product Nuo Bank went live this week.

Afica

Naspers To Sell $ 10bn Tencent Shares To Invest In Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Naspers, the most valuable listed company in Africa, will be selling $10-billion of its shares of Chinese messaging giant Tencent to invest in fintech, classified and online food delivery businesses.

Naspers announced it will sell up to 190-million Tencent Holdings Limited shares, or  2% of Tencent’s total issued share capital. Naspers is reducing its stake in the maker of WeChat and QQ – which is worth an estimated $545-billion – from 33,2% to 31,2%.

Canada

Royal Bank of Canada Launches API Developer Portal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced it has opened its very own API developer platform. According to the bank, the RBC Developers platform will allow eligible external software developers, industry “innovators,” and clients to access select RBC APIs. While sharing more details about the platform, Sumit Oberai, Senior Vice President of Digital Technology at RBC, stated: “Across other industries we’ve seen the transformational effects of APIs. By providing external developers, industry innovators, and clients with access to select RBC APIs, we have the opportunity to increase connectivity, create new tools and experience for clients, and enable open and innovative collaboration to improve the future of banking.”

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor