Monday April 30 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky files for IPO. LendingTree hits $181M consolidated revenues. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Morgan Stanley resecuritization. Zopa says savers are abandoning cash ISA. KBRA assigns first European ratings. Today’s main analysis: FTC vs. LendingClub, dueling unicorns. Today’s thought-provoking articles: JD Supra on LendingClub’s FTC issues. Aussie borrowers should embrace for rate hike. Brazil’s amended payment […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files for IPO (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky Inc., a provider of point-of-sale financing and payments technology, disclosed plans to go public.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, filed preliminary documents Friday for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FTC Sues Lending Club For Deceptive Advertising (JD Supra) Rated: AAA

According to the FTC, this deception is made worse by the fact that Lending Club never adequately discloses the up-front fee to consumers during the entire online application process.  The fee is only mentioned once—inside an explanatory “pop-up bubble” that only appears if the applicant happens to click or tap on a relatively small and inconspicuous icon. Because applicants are not required to click or tap on the icon in order to move forward with their loan application, many applicants never saw the disclosure at all.

LendingTree’s 1Q consolidated revenue grows to record $ 181m (Mortgage Professional American) Rated: AAA

Online loan marketplace operator LendingTree saw its consolidated revenue rise to a record $181m during the first this year – up 37% from the same period in 2017, according to a financial statement released Thursday.

January to March revenue from mortgage products stood at $73.5m, up 17% from the first three months of 2017. In particular, purchase and refinance revenues went up 13% and 18%, respectively. Citing the Mortgage Bankers Association, LendingTree said originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through 2018-SC1 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to one class of notes issued by Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through Trust 2018-SC1 (“MSRP 2018-SC1”). This transaction represents the securitization of the consumer loan asset-backed trust certificates issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2015-1 Trust (“SCLP 2015-1”) and supported by a portfolio of prime unsecured personal loans (“Underlying Loans”) that were originated by SoFi Lending Corp (“SoFi”).

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Morgan Stanley Resecuritization Pass-Through 2018-SC1

Class Preliminary Rating Initial Class Principal
B BBB (sf) $36,700,000

 

Diversify Into Real Estate With Your IRA Or 401(k) (Forbes) Rated: A

The IRS does allow 

Navient Reports Greater Earnings and Fewer Student Loan Charge-Offs (Lend EDU) Rated: A

On April 24, Navient stated from its earnings report in the first quarter that it had $500 million of originations in private education refinance loans, a 43 percent fall in private education loan charge-offs and a 32 percent jump in business processing fee revenue year over year, according to a press

Business processing earnings: Earnings were $10 million in the first quarter, compared to $3 million in 2017’s first quarter.

Consumer lending earnings: Earnings were $50 million in the first quarter, up from $38 million in 2017’s first quarter. This jump came from a $7 million increase in net interest income, an $18 million decline in loan losses provision and a $9 million fall in income tax expense.

Federal Education Loans earnings: Earnings were $141 million, up from $129 million in 2017’s first quarter.

Unitus Ventures Marks The First Close Of Its $ 45.2 Mn Fund II With $ 15 Mn (Inc42) Rated: A

Unitus Ventures (formerly known as Unitus Seed Fund), an impact venture fund investing in early-stage startups, has announced to have raised $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) towards the first close of its $45.2 Mn (INR 300 Cr) Unitus Ventures Fund II.

The fund will be utilised for onward investing of $753K – $2.2 Mn (INR 5 Cr -INR 15 Cr) each to 25 to 30 startups specialising in education, healthcare and inclusive fintech.

Yolande Piazza of Citi Fintech (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Citi Fintech and the goal of their group within Citi.
  • How they have created a new and innovative culture within Citi Fintech.
  • Why Citi Fintech released a global open banking API.
  • Citi’s Canvas platform that is their internal sandbox product.
  • How they create these products hand in hand with their customers.
  • Why this is about more than just creating mobile offerings.
  • What Citi’s newly announced national digital bank means for the overall bank.
  • How Citi will help non-bank customers as well as their own customers.

 

Mastercard: Serving The Financial Needs Of The ‘New Middle Class’ (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Whether an applicant has recently immigrated and lacks the background data to be approved, or is recovering from a drastic life event such as a divorce or death of a spouse, demonstrating their creditworthiness is often impossible by traditional means – i.e. the FICO score – leaving as many as 160 million Americans up the creek with no paddle.

Haymond said Mastercard has already put its philosophy into practice by partnering with CreditStacks, a FinTech that focuses on providing credit to new Americans, as well as launching its Inclusive Futures Project in December 2017 to address the needs of gig and on-demand workers.

Mastercard Meets Elevate

Some of the features of the new product will include purchase and fraud alerts, credit score monitoring, a full-service mobile app and on/off functionality for the credit card. Cards will be awarded based on the analysis of data from alternative sources, Haymond said, which can fill in the blanks to evaluate a customer’s creditworthiness when traditional data points are not present or don’t meet requirements.

Millennials now more bullish about finances than baby boomers — study (Spears Magazine) Rated: A

Almost nine in ten (88 per cent) HNW millennials feel more confident about their finances than a year ago- but less than half of baby boomers (47 per cent) shared the same sentiment.

A new study from SunTrust Bank also found that millennials are more confident than their generation X counterparts, of whom 66 per cent are more confident than last year.

Some 16 per cent of those surveyed attributed their increased optimism to ‘having a great investment firm’, while 13 per cent cited increases in income and assets.

Possible Finance launches with small, short-term loans designed for low-income borrowers (Geek Wire) Rated: B

Tony Huang was inspired to create Possible Finance because “it’s so damn expensive to be poor.”

Possible Finance customers can apply for small loans and receive approval quickly using a mobile app. Customers can build credit when they make payments, unlike traditional payday loans, which typically do not report to credit agencies unless a borrower misses payments.

LendingPoint is the fastest-growing company in metro Atlanta (Atlanta Business  Chronicle) Rated: B

Being a successful financial technology (fintech) lender requires focusing more on the lender portion of your business than the fintech portion. That’s the way Tom Burnside, CEO and founder of LendingPoint, runs his company, the number-one overall fastest-growing private company in the metro area.

 

 

United Kingdom

Zopa executive: “Savers are abandoning the cash ISA en masse” (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

SAVERS are “abandoning the cash ISA en masse”, as the personal savings allowance (PSA) makes the tax-free wrappers less relevant for consumers, a Zopa executive has said.

New data from UK Finance showed that investment in cash ISAs fell from £773m in March 2017 to just £332m in March 2018 – a decrease of 42 per cent.

Immigration rules ‘could choke fintech’, says lobby group Innovate Finance (The Times) Rated: A

The prospect of tighter immigration rules after Brexit risks choking off a boom in Britain’s burgeoning fintech industry, according to a new study by lobby group Innovate Finance.

The report says the financial technology sector is on course to top 100,000 employees by 2030, with 30,000 jobs set to be created.

The result would be a shortfall of 3,200 highly skilled workers by 2030, at a cost to the fintech sector of £361m, the report said.

Investment trusts back “substantial opportunity” in alternative lending (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Victory Park Capital Specialty Lending (VPC) and P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) released their annual reports on Friday morning, insisting there were still opportunities for online lending and consumer credit as banks continue to scale back.

VPC reported a NAV return of 3.07 per cent for 2017, up from 0.95 per cent in 2016 but below its eight per cent target.

Similarly, P2PGI posted NAV total returns of 3.03 per cent for 2017, down from 4.1 per cent in 2016 and below its target of six to eight per cent.

Is there still life left in P2P investment trusts? (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But four years on from the launch of P2PGI, the investment trust has admitted in its 2017 annual report that historic performance was ”more volatile than we would like.”

But P2PGI still sits at a discount to NAV of 17.5 per cent and VPC is at 12.5 per cent.

Putting Your Bitcoin Investments to Work (Coinspeaker) Rated: A

One pioneer in the field to consider is Nebeus, a crypto bank that brings together cryptocurrency opportunities and a standard bank service. Its Nebeus trading platform supports peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and a multi-cryptocurrency wallet. The platform enables customers to buy, sell, store, remit, lend and borrow cryptocurrency funds.

Nebeus offers two cards that allow holders to spend their cryptocurrency at their convenience online, offline, or to get cash at ATMs, and the convenience and protection this card offers is hard to beat.

The Nebeus Exo Card lets users top up their card with all major cryptocurrencies and spend that money with over 30 million merchants online. Users can make $1,500 ATM withdrawals per day, worldwide. And they get 3% cashback In NBTK tokens monthly. There is no monthly fee for the card for NBTK holders.

China

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On April 23, China’s leading financial inclusion platform FINUP filed a listing application for the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).

Ant Financial Invests in Bangladesh-based Fintech Startup bKash

On April 26, Bangladesh-based mobile financial service provider bKash and Ant Financial jointly announced a strategic partnership to promote the development of financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked communities in Bangladesh.

NIFA Establishes e-Contract Standards for Online Lending

On April 23, the National Internet Finance Association of China released a draft of standards on “Safety Regulations for Internet Finance Contracts”.

With $ 1.9 Billion Investment, Former Baidu Unit Challenges Fintech Rivals (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Baidu Inc.’s former financial-services unit has attracted a $1.9 billion investment from firms including U.S. private-equity giants TPG and the Carlyle Group, giving it fresh ammunition to compete in China’s increasingly crowded financial-services space.

Chinese VC Firm Sky9 Capital Reaches Final Closing Of $ 200M For New Fund (China Money Network) Rated: B

Sky9 Capital, a venture capital firm founded by a former partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, announced today that it has completed the final closing of a new fund with total commitments of US$200 million.

Sky9 Capital Fund III, L.P. will invest mainly in China-based businesses with a focus on early-stage companies in the Internet, enterprise, and deep technology sectors.

European Union

KBRA Issues First European Ratings (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) is pleased to announce its first published European Structured Finance ratings. KBRA issued its inaugural published European ratings on Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”), a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralized by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”). This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”). The full rating report can be accessed here.

This is KBRA’s first publicly rated European ABS securitisation after being registered as a Credit Rating Agency by ESMA in November 2017.

International

The FTC vs LendingClub, Banking through the Post Office, Dueling Unicorns (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, Amazon reported $3.27 EPS earnings well above the $1.26 estimates. The stock jumped 7% to record highs in reaction to the beat. The news comes just days after Amazon invested $22mm into Capital Float, India’s self-proclaimed largest online lender. We recently discussed Amazon’s path to the banking sector via its reported partnership with JP Morgan.

The lines between tech and banking continue to blur. Square announced the acquisition of Weebly for $365 Mn.

Dueling Unicorns

Source: PeerIQ, Company Websites, Crunchbase

FTC vs LendingClub

On Wednesday, the FTC charged LendingClub with deceiving borrowers.

In response to the lawsuit, LendingClub posted a detailed rebuttal, refuting the FTC’s claim. As seen in the image below from LendingClub’s blog post, the company believes they provide borrowers multiple opportunities to understand the Origination Fees mentioned in the FTC’s lawsuit. LendingClub goes on to refute each claim made by the FTC individually.

Source: LendingClub

In a post on Lend Academy, Peter Renton questions the cause of this lawsuit, and points to the fact that only two of the five FTC Commissioner seats were occupied at the time of the complaint, and one of the two left on Friday. Renton’s understanding is that LendingClub and the FTC were cooperating and this lawsuit “came out of left field.”

Are You Ready To Give Fintech A Try? (Forbes) Rated: A

In just three years, Germany’s 

Blockchain Startup ShareRing is Facilitating the Adoption of Cryptocurrency (Coinspeaker) Rated: A

ShareRing will achieve this by employing a dual-coin mechanism through its own ShareLedger blockchain that will operate with two distinct tokens. The first – ShareToken (SHR) – will be the utility token of ShareRing. SHR will drive the consensus algorithm and act as a tradable coin on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The second currency, SharePay (SHRP) will be pegged to fiat and can be purchased directly from the ShareRing app using a credit card. A user can then use their SHRP to buy sharing services within the ShareRing application. ShareRing foresees a wide range of partners for the platform, sharing not just apartments and cars, but time, labor, as well as peer-to-peer lending and group tours.

FintruX Network (FTX) Will Be Listed In 3 Exchanges in their first week of token unlock (satPRNews) Rated: B

Qryptos exchange was the first exchange to list FintruX (FTX) On April 22, Bancor network quickly followed suit by listing Fintrux on April 24.

Potential investors, who missed their ICO, will now be able to buy the tokens on Qryptos, Bancor Network and HitBTC as well.

Australia

Borrowers should ‘brace’ themselves for rate hikes (The Adviser) Rated: AAA

After online lender ME claimed that it was “forced” to hike interest rates on its owner-occupier and investor loans as a result of increased funding costs, comparison site finder.com.au asked a panel of economists whether they believed other banks would follow.

According to the finder.com.au survey of 17 economists, 78 per cent said that they expected more lenders would raise their rates out of cycle as a result of rising US interest rates.

 

India

Fintech Startup Rubique Raises Fresh Round Of Funding (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Kalaari Capital-backed online lending marketplace Rubique has raised fresh funding led by Japan’s Recruit Group and Russian venture capital management company Emery Capital.

Blacksoil and existing investor Kalaari Capital also participated in the funding round. Apart from this round, the startup is also in the final stages of closing another tranche’ of funding, to be led by a couple of marquee investors

The startup plans to use the funds to hire more data scientists, enhance technology and reach a monthly revenue of $1.8 Mn (INR 12 Cr) by September.

Crowd Genie Opens India Office to Expand Asia-Pacific Asset Exchange (BC Focus) Rated: A

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte. Ltd. is incorporated in Singapore and was granted a “Dealing in Securities” license by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in March 2017. This makes Crowd Genie one of the handful licensed platforms in Singapore.It is a peer-to-peer lending online platform that lets Singapore-based SMEs obtain financing from investors.

Crowd Genie is contemplating to establish a blockchain based Asia-Pacific asset exchange. It recently started an office in Bangalore, India and named Kunwar Singh as its Chief Technology Officer. The company completed its CGCOIN token sale in March this year. It intends to work on the regulatory elements to drive India centric assets onto its exchange.

A primer on crowdfunding (The Hindu BusinessLine) Rated: A

P2P lending is when individuals lend to small businesses/individuals for either a social or a commercial initiative. P2P lending can also be for non-income-generating activities. The consideration here is the interest on the amount lent. The return varies with the risk associated with the business and the individuals running the business — higher the risk, higher the return. Some of the prominent P2P platforms include Milaap, Kiva, Faircent and Cashkumar.

P2P platforms insist on KYC fulfilment for both lenders and borrowers. Diligence exercise is done on borrowers to assess credit-worthiness, genuineness and repayment capability.

Crowdfunding for non-financial consideration is of two types — social lending/donation crowdfunding and reward crowdfunding. Here the return or consideration may or may not be commensurate with the money raised.

 

Latin American

Brazil: Amended payment method regulation (IFLR.com) Rated: A

On March 26 2018, the Brazilian Central Bank enacted amendments to the existing regulation on payment methods, proposing more flexible rules on payment arrangements, payment institutions and on interchange fees charged to issuers of debit cards. The Central Bank expects these changes to foster competition among market players and as a result provide reduced debit card costs for end users.

This new regulation follows an international trend already observed in several developed and developing countries. In the US and Mexico, for instance, maximum limits for interchange fees charged in debit cards transactions led to average cost reductions on such fees of 40% and 50%, respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 28 2017, Daily News Digest

artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Blend lands $100M investment. Funding Circle achieves ISA manager status. Hive raises over $8M. Innovate UK invests 700K GBP in Paybase. China Life, Baidu launch $1B internet fund. Klarna’s profits increase 138 percent. Today’s main analysis: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to implement AI. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Congresswoman asks FDIC to hold public hearing on […]

artificial intelligence

News Comments

United StatesFlipkart, Amazon pose new competition for fintech lenders.

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Hit with Lawsuit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has been hit with a lawsuit that names former CEO Renaud Laplanche alongside current and former board members and former CFO Carrie Dolan. The complaint, filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, states;

“Throughout the period December 11, 2014 and continuing through May 9, 2016 (the “Relevant Period”), the Individual Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to LendingClub by failing to institute adequate internal controls regarding financial disclosures, related party transactions, and data integrity and security, all while causing LendingClub to represent in the Registration Statement and a series of subsequent filings that such controls were sufficient.”

The suit has been filed by two shareholders; Kelvin Farley and Jay Fink.

Waters Calls on FDIC to Hold Public Hearing on SoFi’s Application for Bank Charter (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling for the FDIC to hold at least one public hearing on Social Financial, Inc.’s (SoFi) application to establish an Industrial Loan Company (ILC).

In the letter, Ranking Member Waters states that changes in the financial services industry and financial regulation necessitate a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (fintech) company like SoFi.

I am writing to request that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) hold at least one public hearing on Social Finance, Incorporated’s (“SoFi”) application to establish an industrial loan company (“ILC”) to provide FDIC-insured Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (“NOW”) accounts and credit card products. As you know, because de novo ILC formations have been affected by regulatory and statutory moratoria for several years, the FDIC has not approved a deposit insurance application for a new ILC charter for some time. Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), changes in the financial regulatory regime and financial services industry justify a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting Federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (“fintech”) company like SoFi, a number of which I will discuss in more detail below.

Appropriate regulatory oversight of any ILC is an essential prerequisite to approving any application for deposit insurance backed by taxpayers. The FDIC has previously acknowledged the importance of strong oversight of any insured bank and its parent company when discussing oversight of ILCs.[1] In reaction to a number of concerns previously raised on the regulation of ILCs, the FDIC even went so far as imposing several moratoria on its ability to approve ILC applications for deposit insurance in 2006 and 2007 to, in the words of former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, “allow the FDIC to carefully weigh the safety and soundness concerns that have been raised regarding commercially-owned ILCs. At the same time… the moratorium provides an opportunity for Congress to consider the important public policy issues regarding the ownership of ILCs by commercial companies.”[2]

While some experts have touted the possibility that fintech firms can help promote financial inclusion, others have underscored the challenges posed for our current regulatory regime to oversee these types of companies and have underscored the need for policymakers to carefully evaluate the consequences of allowing them access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve discount window.[11] Thus, Federal regulators have taken a varying degree of actions focused on fintech companies and services. For example, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), under its “Responsible Innovation” initiative, has proposed a Special Purpose National Bank Charter for fintech companies (“fintech charter”)[12] questions have been raised about whether the benefits to consumers for this new charter will be widely and fairly shared, and whether there is adequate legal authority, let alone a clearly defined and modern regulatory framework, for such a fintech charter.[13] Indeed, a lawsuit has been filed by state banking regulators challenging the OCC’s authority.[14] As should be the case with the OCC and its proposal to use its authority to federally charter fintech companies, the FDIC should thoroughly consider the implications of offering access to the deposit insurance fund for ILCs that will result in expanding the type of institutions to it, like fintech firms. Fintech firms, whose operations cross state and international boundaries, and may exist entirely online, were undoubtedly beyond original congressional intent in permitting ILCs to access deposit insurance and it is appropriate for stakeholders to weigh in on whether it is appropriate for these firms to have this access without proper oversight of their parent companies.

The chartering of a fintech company as an ILC also raises a number of consumer protection concerns that the FDIC should consider. For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”) has opposed SoFi’s application on the basis of concerns with the institution’s Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) plan, as well as its intended approach to financial inclusion, fair lending, and consumer protection.[17] CRC notes that SoFi’s business model targets “students from elite universities that have strong earnings and wealth potential,” and offers products and services “designed to exclude working class households.” CRC also notes that SoFi’s CRA plan is grossly inadequate, considering that: (1) SoFi’s assessment area will be limited to areas in Utah, but the company will accept deposits and operate nationally; (2) SoFi’s current core products are not designed to serve the “convenience and needs” of low- and moderate-income (“LMI”) communities in which the bank would operate,[18] but rather are focused on serving SoFi’s members; and (3) SoFi’s CRA plan does not encompass measurable commitments to lending, investments, and services for LMI communities.

The full letter is here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the latest bank to implement AI (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has 

Bo Brustkern and Emmanuel Marot (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On this episode of the Lend Academy Podcast I brought together both CEOs to talk about this merger; what it means for their respective customers as well as the industry as a whole.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The original idea that led to the founding of both companies.
  • The strengths of both companies and why they are a complementary fit.
  • Why they decided to come together and merge companies now.
  • The scale and profitability of the combined company.
  • The unique aspects of the LendingRobot Series investment offering.
  • The platforms that the LendingRobot Series invests on.
  • The different funds that make up the Lending Robot Series.
  • The choices for non-accredited investors on the combined platform.
  • Their value proposition today for investors.
  • Who the target customer is today for the combined company.
  • How the two brands will operate going forward.
  • What the combined company will look like in 12 months time.
  • Where marketplace lending is going in the future.

LendKey, Earnest Alter Student Loan Refinancing Rates (LendEDU), Rated: A

Two student loan refinancing companies, LendKey and Earnest, have changed their student loan refinancing interest rates in recent weeks, according to LendEDU.

Effective August 10th, LendKey’s variable interest rate range for their student loan refinance product was altered slightly. LendKey, a leading lending partner of both banks and credit unions, now offers a variable rate range between 2.67 and 6.31 percent for student loan refinancing.

This new variable rates for LendKey mark an increase on both the low and high ends of the range. Previously, the online lending partner offered a variable interest rate range between 2.52 and 6.16 percent since June.

Online Mortgage Lender Blend Lands $ 100 Million Investment Led by Greylock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Blend has landed a significant funding round to the tune of $100 million. The funding was led by Greylock Partners with participation by Emergence Capital. Existing investors joined in the round as well.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp Turn to Startup to Speed Up Mortgage Applications (WSJ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp have signed deals with mortgage-software startup Blend Labs Inc. to move more of their loan applications online.

Ethereum-Based Invoice Finance Platform Hive Raises Over US$ 8 Million (Coin Journal), Rated: A

The Hive Project, which intends to build the world’s first cryptocurrency-based invoice financing platform, has raised 2,087 BTC, or over US$8.9 million, from 2,234 investors through its initial coin offering (ICO).

Using invoice finance, the business “sells” its outstanding invoices at a small discount to a financier. The business immediately receives up to 85% of the value of the invoice instead of having to wait the usual 30 to 90 days to get paid by customers.

Hive uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to assign a unique fingerprint to every invoice issued. These invoices are then tokenized and published on a blockchain, and made available as a shared source of liquidity for factoring and invoice financing.

Debate on Regulatory Reform (PeerIQ), Rated: A

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual letter would agree that the banking system is safer and stronger today. Nevertheless, Mr. Dimon believes that economic growth and lending is below potential. For instance, JPM estimates $1 Tn in loans could have been generated in recent years generating an additional 50 bps in annual GDP growth thru regulatory reform.

The specific regulatory reform areas Mr. Dimon identified include:

  • Simplification of the annual stress-testing process
  • Release or enable banks to deploy excess capital towards small business loans, lower middle market, and near-prime mortgages
  • Rationalization of supplementary leverage ratios and operational risk capital
  • National servicing standards for the mortgage servicing market
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform
  • Complete securitization standards to encourage private capital and reduce exposure to taxpayers

Role for 3rd party risk infrastructure to strengthen markets

Large banks are increasingly playing the role of financial intermediaries that connect non-banks to the capital markets. Banks are providing liquidity facilities (“lending to the lenders”) and capital-light securitization programs. Although Yellen is right that lending continues to grow, critically, the nexus of credit formation–including for a majority of personal loans, auto loans, student re-fi loans, and even mortgages–now takes place between a consumer and a non-bank.

Under this new landscape, the soft underbelly of the credit markets has shifted from bank wholesale funding to non-bank wholesale funding. And when investor confidence seizes, the transmission mechanism connecting policy to the real economy can break down. Spreads widen, funding costs increase, and markets freeze exactly when policymakers seek to ease financial conditions.

Q&A with Head of Alternative Lending at Fintech Marqeta (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Recently, Crowdfund Insider published an article about Marqeta signing a partnership with Visa on payments and loans. The marriage is designed boost innovations in commercial and consumer payments and online lending. Visa also made a strategic investment in Marqeta at that time to the tune of $25 million. Total investments in Marqeta now stand at over $70 million.

Isn’t this just all about borrowers getting a better interest rate [and investors earning more]?

Candace: Lenders are looking to increase renewals (repeat borrowers are easier to sell than new borrowers), beat out the stackers (top of wallet, top of mind) and decrease risk (new data on spending reduces risk for future loans). On the heels of 2016, these have become as important as the interest rate for the lender.

For the borrower, speed to funds has become increasingly important, and distributing loan funds to a  card allows a way to immediately spend the funds without waiting for the funds to be deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

If Credit Cards drop their rates then they can become competitive. For Visa to partner with Marqeta – isn’t it just how the debt is carried? For the consumer / business, they are indifferent?

Candace: The rates apply to the underlying loan per the agreement between the lender and the borrower, not to a prepaid card that is used to assist with making purchases. The prepaid card bears no interest charge. The terms for the loan (from which the loan proceeds are distributed to the card) continues as agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. That debt does not change.

How Riskalyze Won The Hearts Of Financial Advisors And Upgraded The Advice Industry (Benzinga), Rated: A

Ahead of Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein’s speaking engagement at the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco, Benzinga caught up with him to learn more about how the company is upgrading financial advice.

BZ: How did you go about identifying this need for financial advisors? What kind of research did you do?

What’s interesting is that we invented a new space. There was no risk-alignment platform that helped advisors do that. There were questionnaire products that answered half the question, there were a few portfolio analysis tools that would answer the other half, but we invented the concept of the risk number. We can help advisors pinpoint the client’s risk number and then we score portfolios using that number.

Klein: I’ll talk about the two different sides of the coin. A lot of the innovation was figuring out those sides of the coin and bridging the two together. On the one hand, we took some concepts that had really never made it out of academia and into everyday use. They’re centered around the economic framework called prospect theory, which won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. We took prospect theory and built a bunch of proprietary technology on top of it to understand how to move up and down a client’s personal financial spectrum to understand when they prefer risk and when they prefer certainty.

Once we do that, we built a mathematical formula behind the scenes that lets advisors turn that into the client’s risk number. That’s how the client-side works.

On the flip side, we need to match that up with a portfolio. So, the inputs for that piece of the technology are largely market data. We effectively take daily pricing data for nearly a quarter-million securities — every U.S. stock, ETF, mutual fund, variable-annuity sub accounts, SMA third-party money managers, proprietary non-traded strategies, all kinds of different products. We take all the data for those, we have new data streaming into our systems every night on those securities.

 

This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch salesU.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

  • $240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round
  • $96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers
  • $200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans

5 Trends That are Changing the Millennial Economy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

According to statistics from the U.S. census bureau, Millennials make up about 83 million of the nation’s current population. The unique experiences of the Millennials will shape the way we buy and sell, forcing companies and businesses to adjust their business strategy for decades to come.

For example, a growing number of Millennials are choosing to live with their parents. They have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Luxuries that used to be important for previous generations are not as important for Millennials. They are reshaping the real estate market and are responsible for the growth of the sharing economy.

A recent survey of Interns conducted by Goldman Sachs in 2013, found out that 30% of millennials do not intend to purchase a car in the future. 25% said they will only buy one if there is a need for it, otherwise they are indifferent. Another 25% said buying a car is important but not a big priority. 15% said purchasing a car is extremely important. And the last 5% do not feel strongly about it.

recent report shows that student loans have increased by 84% over ten years with an average student having a loan balance of $29,000.

How to choose and switch to a better bank for you (WPXI), Rated: B

Online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?

To give you some context, online bank ally recently increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.15% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.01%.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle receives ISA manager status (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has received ISA manager status from the HMRC, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal.

Approval was granted in July, less than two months after the platform won full FCA authorisation.

However, the platform has no immediate plans to launch its IFISA product, telling customers earlier this week that it intended to roll out the tax-free investment wrapper “before the end of the tax year.”

How Funding Circle is helping small businesses face the challenges of Brexit (Prospect Magazine), Rated: A

Fast forward to today, we’ve originated over £3.2 billion worth of loans through the platform. In the UK, that lending has helped create about 60 thousand jobs, and the £2.5 billion of loans has created about £5 billion of GDP or gross economic value added, according to an independent survey by the Centre for Economics Business Research.

In fact, we think we make up about 2 per cent of the total money that’s going to gross-lending small businesses. And if you actually look at the money going into the economy, we make up about a third of net new lending— which is the preferred Bank of England measure. We did about 300 million versus 600 million in the entire banking system in the first half of this year.

Say a small business decides to come to you: what is it they’re getting that they don’t get with a bank?

We turn around loan applications specifically within 24 hours. We are better in that we give better service; everyone can find an account manager.

We’re cheaper, in that our prices are very, very competitive, and often we’re often providing cheaper loans than businesses would be able to get at the bank. We also don’t have the overheads that banks have.

We all know that Brexit is going to shake up the financial sector. What can Funding Circle do to help businesses rise to the challenge?

Net lending by banks fell by 220 million in Q4 last year. Ours actually rose to 167 million.

On top of that, we’ve also had large insurance companies like Aegon, which is a big Dutch insurer, commit to fund £160 million in year one, but actually committed over a four-year period to purchase our loans. The fact a large foreign insurer would want to do that shows that actually, despite Brexit, there’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy, particularly in small business.

FinTech startup Paybase gets £700,000 from Innovate UK (UK Tech), Rated: AAA

London-based FinTech startup Paybase has received a grant of almost £700,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK.

Expected to launch later this year, Paybase has developed an ‘end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk’, which can be accessed through a unified API.

Why P2P is still the crowd despite passive lending (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s been much collective gnashing of teeth over the last few months at the evolution of peer to peer lending, as practised by ZopaRatesetter and most latterly Funding Circle. The big bone of contention has been a shift amongst all three – with FC falling into line just a matter of days ago – to a passive lending model. This means that lenders on said platforms now lend passively to a full slice of borrowers rather than picking their borrowers individually. To the critics this implies that the traditional peer to peer (P2P) model is slowly dying out. If you’re not lending to your peers, don’t you just sound like any other finance business such as a bank?

I’m not convinced by this criticism. Collectively a crowd – many peers – are still lending to another crowd, but just in a format that looks closer to a passive, collective fund basis rather than one on one. There is no bank balance sheet lurking around and the ‘crowd’ still sets the rate at which it’s happy to lend. Credit scoring has always been a feature of all the platforms, whether they be ‘pure’ P2P or passive P2P. Someone, somewhere at the centre of the online marketplace needs to set the lending criteria and make decisions about who to lend to.

What about peer to peer? (Library of Things), Rated: A

In this week’s bonus episode co-founder Emma looks at the sharing economy, peer to peer lending, and explains why Library of Things have chosen to operate from a physical space.

Listen to the podcast here.

How Risky Is Borrowing Money Online Through Peer-to-peer Lending (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

It is almost true that borrowing money from traditional financial institutions is a thing of the past.

It has been observed that P2P online lending platforms are not the source of the problem or the risk. However, it seems to be the ease with which loans are available that causes the problems.

Online P2P lenders also offer student loans. It is very important to realize that student loans these days are available everywhere. But what is ultimately the truth is that the loans are burdensome. Any student that avails of such a P2Ponline student loan emerges as a graduate burdened with a heavy debt.

If an individual wants to apply for a P2P online loan, it is best to start with checking credit reports. It is a good idea to fix any errors that may be found on these reports. Otherwise, the interest rates may be hiked up. It is also a good idea to do some research prior to applying for the loan. It is worthwhile to find out as to which lender offers a lower rate of interest even if they fall outside the ring of online P2P lenders. Never decide on which loan to pick up by looking at the monthly amount to be paid. The total amount that you are going to repay and the time period of the repayment are the more important factors to be considered. This gives the total cost of the loan.

China

Big banks strike partnerships with technology companies as part of fintech wave (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth biggest lender, joined with Suning Holdings and its financial affiliate Suning Finance as strategic partners last week, the latest of the big five banks to ally with internet firms.

So far, all big-five banks, accounting for more than one-third of China’s banking assets, have allied with technology giants.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China allied with e-commerce major JD.com for cooperation in sectors including fintech, retail financing, corporate credit and asset management. Agricultural Bank of China agreed to work together with dominant search engine operator Baidu. Bank of China and Tencent Holdings jointly set up a fintech lab, focusing on cloud computing, big data, block chain and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, mid-sized Industrial Bank and JD.com’s financial affiliate JD Finance launched a debit card in Beijing and most cities in affluent Zhejiang province.

China Life and Baidu to launch $ 1 billion internet fund (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Life Insurance Group Co and Baidu Inc will form a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund, targeting internet and other technology investments, China Life’s listed arm said on Thursday.

The Baidu Fund Partnership will be capitalized by China Life through a special partnership, which will contribute up to 5.6 billion yuan, China Life Insurance Co Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement.

Baidu, the Chinese language internet search provider, will contribute as much as 1.4 billion yuan.

Ant Financial’s “TechFin” vs JD Finance’s “FinTech” (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and JD Finance are at loggerheads in the Chinese, and increasingly, global e-commerce scene. In 2015, JD Finance recommended the use of “FinTech.” In December 2016, Ma Yun coined the ”TechFin” as a rebuttal, and as a show of thought leadership.

Ant Financial’s unveiling of “TechFin” shows the firm’s focus on building technology rather than financial products.

Critics believe there is not much difference between TechFin and FinTech. Critics believe Ant Financial coined TechFin to gain a foothold from the conceptual standpoint; a counteroffensive to JD Finance’s aggressive marketing of FinTech. This is inevitable considering “FinTech” as a term already achieved credibility within the finance and other related industries.

Ant Financial and JD Finance are more complementary than competitive

Onlookers see Ant Financial and JD Finance as longstanding rivals. JD.com’s recent sale of JD Finance for US$2.1 billion in cash was seen part of a deal to spin off its burgeoning finance arm and raise its game against Ant Financial.

Ant Financial focuses on the traditional model of the Internet while JD Finance focuses on product innovation, for a start. Each business model has its advantages.

Ant Financial also seeks to leverage on Ant Check Later (花呗), a virtual credit card, to open up a whole new road map for credit distribution in Internet finance. In contrast, JD Finance aims to boost user’s consumption through its products. Its Jingxiaodai (京小贷) appeals to merchants who need fuss-free and almost instant access to credit.

European Union

Klarna just posted some impressive half-year figures — profits soar by 138 percent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-invoicing giant posted 2,05 billion Swedish crowns ($254,2m) in revenue for the first two quarters of 2017. Meanwhile, operating profits jumped to 228 million ($28m) from last year’s 96 million ($11,9m), reports tech site Di Digital.

Yesterday, Breakit reported that the company is teaming up with Stripeto boost growth in the U.S.

Credit Suisse Eyes 2018 Launch for Blockchain Loans Platform (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

A group of banks led by Credit Suisse is eyeing the launch of a commercial platform for blockchain-based syndicated loans, according to reports.

The group involved finished the second phase of their testing in March.

Using smart contracts to reduce those turnaround times could increase the market’s appeal to potential lenders and investors, according to Aidoo.

Worldcore Payment Institution Announces ICO (Coin Idol), Rated: A

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans.

The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase.

Corlytics named by Allen & Overy in its regtech programme (Finextra), Rated: B

Magic Circle law firm, Allen & Overy, has named Corlytics as one of the eight companies selected to move into its Fuse programme. Fuse is a newly launched innovation space where its lawyers and technology firms team up to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related improvements.

International

Ten Fintech Conferences to Attend This Fall (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

FinovateFall

When: Sept 11-14, 2017
Where: New York City Hilton Midtown
Link:  /> Discount code: F17FALLLAT

LendIt Europe 2017

When: Oct 9-10, 2017
Where: London
Link:  /> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

American Banker’s Digital Lending & Investing

When: November 2-3, 2017
Where: New York, NY
Link: 

AltFi Global Summit

When: November 7, 2017
Where: Amsterdam
Link: 

Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit 2017

When: December 3-5, 2017
Where: Dana Point, CA
Link: 

This event is put on by the Opal Group and is the only west coast event this fall. This is its second year and while I did not attend last year I heard it was a good event with a focus on the investor side of marketplace lending.

Digital Banking – Old Wine in New Bottle? (Fintech Weekly), Rated: A

There was a time when digital banking was perceived as synonymous with online banking and mobile banking. Financial services industry, along with other sectors, is experiencing an explosion of digitization thanks to smartphones, tablets and access to affordable high-speed internet. The number of smart phone users is expected to equal the number of bank accounts in near future as all mobile users link their bank accounts to their smart phone and get onboard with mobile-based digital wallets and savings platform.

Given this, it is imperative to take a fresh look at whether digital banking means the same as it did a decade ago – both for banks as well as customers – especially since there does not seem to be a consensus on the definition of ‘digital banking’.

Customers today do not have the patience to navigate through multiple screens. They do not want to fill the same KYC details over and over for each product. Presenting paperwork at the branch to support an online application is a big no-no. They expect to resume the application they started on Smart phone on their home computer and may want to talk to the customer care executive on phone while doing that. They do not want to be bothered with cold calls and random sales pitches; they prefer to see only personalized and contextual cross-sell offers with direct purchase links. In short, digital customer today wants one-touch, one-click, personalized and integrated user experience across channels.

On the flip side, while customers enjoy the convenience of digital banking for routine tasks, they also want to continue using the branch when they need some face time with a seamless switch between digital and personal interaction. They do not want to forego the privilege of walking into the local branch despite being able to do all their banking via the web or smartphone.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup shares $ 7m of investment (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

Since its launch in June, fintech startup Ilumony has reported more than $7 million in financial investments. Of the $7 million, it has charged no fees for advice on $1 million worth of customer KiwiSaver money.

India

Fintech lenders have new competition: Flipkart and Amazon (The-Ken), Rated: AAA

Though Flipkart launched in 2007, it was only in 2013 that e-commerce really took off in India. That was the year Amazon entered India through a marketplace model, and Flipkart too launched its own marketplace model.

From selling smartphones, books, and apparel to customers, the two of them now started offering warehouses, packaging, and logistics to sellers.

No Flipkart or Amazon for EzCred; this startup wants to pursue offline shoppers (India Times), Rated: A

When ecommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon wanted to expand to the nooks and corners of the country, they borrowed the idea and recently started offering “No cost EMI” option on selected products. Taking a step further, you now have many fintech companies that have lined up on ecommerce platforms to offer loans to consumers.

Launched in January 2017, EzCred is an alternate lending startup which offers loans to consumers who walk into shop at offline stores.

“Offline is a much larger play than online. A majority of transactions are still done offline,” says Maheshwari.

The startup now has plans to roll out an app for customers to enable them to apply for loans directly. The platform has a credit assessment system which enables the startup to assess the borrowers’ repayment capabilities. This involves various data sources like the borrowers’ CIBIL score, bank statements, information provided by customers, which are then matched with the credit policy of EzCred.

India’s draft data protection law to hinge on user consent; will be ready only next year (Factor Daily), Rated: A

A draft data protection law, which is at the core of the Indian government’s stance that Aadhaar does not violate citizen privacy, will have user consent as its mainstay with a few exceptions.

The draft legislation is expected to be ready in about a year.

This was revealed in interviews with a member of the committee set up by the government to come up with the draft framework — B N Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge who is heading it, and a second person with knowledge of the committee’s thinking.

P2P lenders may be allowed to operate offline (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: A

In a bid to impart vibrancy to the fledgling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space and also further the cause of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is believed to be looking at allowing players in the sector to have an offline presence besides an online one.

On-the-ground presence may help the platforms reach out to those who are currently not being served by banks/non-banking finance companies and also help break the vice-like grip of money lenders on local lending, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Asia

Why e-commerce firms could replace banks as the region’s leading lenders (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending (P2P lending) first entered the wider public’s consciousness when it rose from the ashes of the global financial crisis in 2007. By cutting out traditional intermediaries, such as banks, the lending platforms, were able to offer borrowers lower interest rates and lenders higher returns. They were populist alternatives to the casino capitalism that had brought Wall Street to its knees.

According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand there exists “a clear disparity between what SMEs want and expect from banks and what the banks can deliver”. In Indonesia, the report found as few as 6% of SMEs were able to access bank loans.

Recent statistics from the Asian Development Bank show that the situation is similar in Myanmar, which the bank says suffers from a $2 billion shortage in available credit, a shortfall that Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, attributes to the country’s excessively cautious banking regulations.

According to data from Singapore-based venture capital fund Dymon Asia Ventures, less than 0.1% of loans in the region currently originate from P2P lending sources, compared with 10% in China and 2-3% in the UK and US. There is, therefore, sufficient growth potential for the Southeast Asian P2P lending market.

Peer-to-peer lending bears risk of bad debt (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Despite the rising trend of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia, an economist believes that online-based businesses have increased risk of bad debt if the lenders ignore the importance of supervision.

The credit application mechanism in P2P lending is risky. There is no integrated costumer blacklist data-base like in the banking industry, said Samuel Aset Manajemen economist Lana Soelistianingsih said in Jakarta on Friday.

Moreover, she said P2P lending offered annual interest rates of up to 18.5 percent to investors, adding that such aggressive offers could increase the risk of business failure.

Canada

FLINKS PARTNERS WITH MERCHANT ADVANCE CAPITAL (Betakit), Rated: B

Flinks, a financial API for banks and credit unions, announced a partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, an online lender for small and medium-sized businesses.

Merchant Advance Capital partnered with Flinks to reduce loan approval time for its customers. Flinks will allow Merchant Advance Capital to connect its app directly with customers’ banks, allowing the company to validate account ownership, account balances, and transaction histories.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 26 2017, Daily News Digest

banks stress test

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub on its latest securitization. Atom Bank gets 30M GBP from UK government. Yoyo raises 12M GBP. ArchOver, Escalate partner. Stripe enters 6 new markets. TD Bank opens new branch in British Columbia. Today’s main analysis: Banks pass stress test. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC advises fintechs, MPLs. Congressman launches alt lending investigation. BNP Paribas startup camp the […]

banks stress test

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Middle East

Canada

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First Self-Sponsored Securitization to Expand Investor Access (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today closed its inaugural self-sponsored securitization deal. The Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) NP Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (CLUB 2017-NP1) issued $279.4 million in notes backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform. The transaction marks the start of LendingClub’s securitization program as Sponsor, Servicer and Administrator. LendingClub expects to sponsor programmatic securitizations and to use the CLUB structure for future transactions. This is the fifth securitization backed by consumer loan assets facilitated through the LendingClub platform and the third rated securitization of such assets overall.

LendingClub anticipates that programmatic use of the CLUB structure could provide institutional ABS investors with consistent access to securitized assets facilitated through its platform, standardization, consistency, and a more efficient means of financing for the long-term. The transaction was rated by Kroll and includes $162.4 million of Class A notes rated “A- (sf)”, $41.2 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $75.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)” backed by approximately $337 million of collateral. Each tranche of notes was oversubscribed by a diverse set of investors, most of whom were new to investing in assets facilitated by LendingClub. Citi and JP Morgan acted as lead underwriters. BNP and Jefferies acted as co-managers.

“I’m very pleased with our execution. We’re broadening our platform to tap into a large and liquid ABS market and with this deal we’ve reached 20 new investors, including insurance companies and large asset managers who are looking for new ways to access the platform,” said Patrick Dunne, Chief Capital Officer of LendingClub. “This transaction also demonstrates a capital markets financing alternative for the portfolios of our existing investors, which may provide better pricing transparency and enhanced liquidity.”

Bank Stress Tests Pass, True Lender Contest in CO, GS Marcus hits $ 1 Bn (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, major banks passed their Comprehensive Capital Adequacy Review (CCAR):

Source: Bloomberg, Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

One bank that has recently entered the lending market, GS Bank, reports they have achieved a $1 Bn lending milestone and remain on track to generate $2 Bn in loans by year-end – amongst the fastest growth rates we have seen across the PeerIQ data & analytics platform.

In the wake of emerging bank competition in the prime & super-prime category, non-banks are applying a few strategies:

  • Focus on underserved credit segments where traditional banks outside of a few specialists will not compete (e.g., Fair Square Financial, Loan Depot, various non-QM lenders)
  • Compete on brand and service, rather than rate, by offering a better customer experience and integrated product mix to a targeted customer segment. (e.g., SoFi)
  • Lending-as-a-Service models that enable banks and credit unions to compete with licensed technology (e.g., Upstart, Avant, LendKey)

On the securitization front, three deals from non-bank lenders priced this week including Springleaf ($650 MM), Lendmark ($350 MM), and Marlette ($323 MM).

OCC Offers Advice on Fintechs, Marketplace Lenders (Lexology), Rated: AAA

Defining a third-party relationship as “any business arrangement between the bank and another entity, by contract or otherwise,” the OCC explained that it can include activities that involve outsourced products and services; use of outside consultants, networking arrangements, merchant payment processing services, and services provided by affiliates and subsidiaries; joint ventures; and other business arrangements in which a bank has an ongoing third-party relationship or may have responsibility for the associated records.

Whether or not a fintech company arrangement can be considered a critical activity depends on a number of factors, such as whether significant bank functions (payments, clearing, settlements and custody, for example) are involved or other activities that could have a major impact on bank operations if the bank has to find an alternative third party or if the outsourced activities have to be brought in-house.

The bulletin also clarified that no requirement exists that a third party must meet the bank’s lending criteria in order to establish a relationship.

Banks must also establish appropriate processes and systems to effectively monitor and control the risks inherent within the marketplace lending relationships, the OCC said, from adequate loan underwriting guidelines to cover credit risk management to ensuring the marketplace lender has adequate compliance management processes in place to satisfy compliance risk management concerns.

To read Bulletin 2017-21, click here.

Congressman Cleaver Launches Investigation into Fintech Lending (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II launched an investigation into small business FinTech lending, including online companies that offer payday loan-like products for small businesses and individual consumers.

In a letter from Congressman Cleaver to the Chief Executive Officers of several rapidly emerging FinTech small business lenders, the executives were asked to share information about their company products, fees, and methods when it comes to disclosures and potentially discriminatory practices. The letters were sent to Lending Club, Biz2Credit, Fora Financial, Prosper, and Lend Up. Companies are expected to respond by August 10, 2017.

How To Fix And Flip A Property While Wearing Your Bathrobe (Forbes), Rated: A

In the first quarter of 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, there were 43,615 single family homes and condos flipped. These types of transactions accounted for 6.7% of all homes sold in Q1. Across all markets, flippers averaged a $64,284 gross profit, according to ATTOM.

This other way to invest has to do with another statistic in ATTOM’s report: “Flippers” borrowed an astounding $3.5B in Q1 to facilitate property acquisition and repairs. What’s not widely known is that a majority of this capital comes not from banks, but from private investors.”

  • The platforms source projects from real estate flippers through digital and boots-on-ground marketing.
  • Each platform has underwriting criteria that helps to determine which projects will be selected for funding. Our firm requires the flipper to have completed at least three projects in the last 12 months.
  • If everything checks out, the platform will fund the project and secure a first-position mortgage on the house.
  • Most platforms are “pre-funding” the loan, meaning they’re using their own capital to originate the loan.
  • For your investment, you can earn anywhere between 7-12% annualized return.

However, there are still some limitations.

  • Accredited investors only
  • Startup risk
  • Lack of control

Online Lender Accused Of Linking With Tribe To Get Immunity (Law360), Rated: AAA

A group of Virginia residents filed a proposed class action in federal court Thursday alleging that an internet lending company engaged in a “rent-a-tribe scheme” to allow it to charge illegally high interest rates on its loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit.

Lula Williams and four other plaintiffs claimed in their complaint that Big Picture Loans LLC purported to be owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

CHOICE Act Helps Sharing Economy and FinTech, but a Senate Bill May Harm It (CEI.org), Rated: A

The U.S Senate should get to work on passing portions of the CHOICE Act, particularly regarding the sharing economy and FinTech. It should also shelve legislation that would harm those sectors.

One example of the latter is a terrible bill from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) that would shove any “issuer, redeemer or cashier” of a “digital currency” into the same anti-money laundering regulations as those that govern the big banks. This bill is called the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017.

Small Business Financial Stability: What is the Role of Mission-Based Lenders? (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Small business ownership’s promise of long-term asset generation is not without tradeoffs. Unexpected shortfalls in revenues or increases in expenses can be devastating to a young business, and recent research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute reveals that small businesses operate with tenuous cash reserves to cover these costs. In fact, the typical small business could only cover expenses for 27 days in the case of a financial emergency. For businesses in low-wage industries, that time window drops to 19 days.

Business cash flow volatility often has consequences for household finances. Most small business owners (76%) respondto cash flow challenges by using personal funds. This could mean drawing from personal savings, foregoing a personal salary or maxing out credit utilization limits, which can damage one’s credit score and impact opportunities to secure future sources of financing. (The majority of small business owners use personal credit scores to apply for business capital.) Accion and Opportunity Fund borrowers generally re-invest business profits into the business rather than the household – 55% of study respondents experienced an increase in business profits in the previous six months but only 30% increased their household savings over the same period.

Often, small business owners find themselves in a cycle of debt after taking out a high-cost loan. In fact, approximately one in four small business loan applicants cite refinancing existing debt as their main reason for applying. Recognizing this trend in their own applicant pool, Opportunity Fund analyzed alternative loan contracts for 104 small business owners seeking relief from high-cost loan debt. Their analysis found that the average loan imposed an annual percentage rate (APR) of 94%. Further, the average monthly loan payment for business owners was nearly double their net income.

What is the role of mission-based lenders?

  • Lending innovation: alternative finance products fulfill an important demand—to keep the doors open in the case of a pressing financial need. Mission-based small business lenders must better meet that immediate need before entrepreneurs turn to costlier options.
  • Financial advising: Among those who participated in Accion and Opportunity Fund’s study, just over a half (54%) used a business financial plan. This illustrates the imperative of increased investment in financial advising that better equips business owners to plan for and manage financial emergencies while building long-term stability.
  • Education: The financial landscape is convoluted and ever-changing, and entrepreneurs need support in navigating their options. Accion publishes 90+ online resources per year to help business owners build their business and financial skills. Opportunity Finance Network’s Venturize campaign, which helps small business owners understand their financing options, generated over 73 million impressions in its first year.
  • Leadership: Advancing responsible lending practices is not just a moral imperative. It’s also a business imperative to ensure client satisfaction and business survival.

Robo-advice and payments are counterrevolutionary, but not fintech lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Worse: because it can easily be adopted by incumbents, robo may not just be un-revolutionary but actively counterrevolutionary, claims a new report by Silicon Valley think tank the Christensen Institute.

Payments is put in the same boat, noting it requires close cooperation with powerful businesses who control important infrastructure. And cooperation means large chunks of fees collected from merchants must be shared.

The report reserves higher praise for the marketplace lending which, it claims, has enormous potential and could even undermine banking majors’ ability to set interest rates.

Nevada Imposes Fiduciary Obligations on Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers (National Law Review), Rated: A

Broker-dealers and investment advisers with clients in Nevada should review the fiduciary obligations contained in new amendments to the Nevada financial planner statute that go into effect on July 1, 2017.

As a result of the June 2017 Amendments, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and their representatives will now be classified as “financial planners” for purposes of the Nevada Securities Act and will become subject to the following provisions of the financial planner law:

  • Duties—A financial planner has the duty of a fiduciary toward a client. Accordingly, a financial planner shall disclose to a client, at the time advice is given, any gain the financial planner may receive, such as profit or commission, if the advice is followed.
  • Liability—If loss results from following a financial planner’s advice under any of the following circumstances, the client may recover from the financial planner in a civil action the amount of the economic loss and all costs of litigation and attorney fees.[2] The circumstances giving rise to liability are that the financial planner (1) violated any element of his or her fiduciary duty;[3] (2) was grossly negligent in selecting the course of action advised, in light of all of the client’s circumstances known to the financial planner; or (3) violated any law of Nevada in recommending the investment or service.

However, there are still some uncertainties that arise from this determination by Nevada to apply a statute intended for financial planners to broker-dealers and investment advisers. These include the following:

  • Duties—The June 2017 Amendments could be read to create a continuing fiduciary duty after delivering a financial plan. Registered investment advisers now deliver the plan and state that delivery ends the relationship (i.e., no continuing duty).

  • Delivery of Compensation Information—Delivery timing may be slightly off from Form ADV delivery. Form ADV is delivered to a client at or before the opening of the account, while the June 2017 Amendments call for delivery at the time advice is given.

  • Point of Sale Disclosure—It is not clear if the point of sale disclosure of compensation is intended to be different from the level of disclosure currently provided. In this regard, use of the term “gain” can be viewed as involving a different calculation than fees charged.

  • Broader Inquiry—The obligation under the June 2017 Amendments to “keep currently informed, concerning the client’s financial circumstances and the client’s present and anticipated obligations and goals for his or her family” arguably is a greater burden than is currently required.

Reg CF Portal Pivot: DreamFunded Abandons Startups for Real Estate Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DreamFunded, a FINRA approved Reg CF portal, has pivoted from its original model of providing access to capital for early stage companies. Today, instead of the next cool startup gracing the pages of DreamFunded there are single family homes up for investment.

Currently, they are in the legal process of getting our 1st Title III real estate debt deal approved, which expects to go live on July 5th, 2017.

Edward Jones Tops Internet Search Ranking (Barrons), Rated: B

The 15,000-advisor firm is dominating its rivals when it comes to pulling those searchers to its sites, InvestmentNews reports, citing a new study from Hearsay Systems and Moz.

Edward Jones spends nearly half of its media investment on digital marketing, Olsen tells the publication. Most of that is geared to the local digital space. Each advisor and branch has a custom microsite—a separate site outside the main company homepage.

Morgan Stanley ranked second in overall click share percentage. It also came out on top in paid searches, or ads. Wells Fargo Advisors and Fidelity Investments came in second and third on that list.

Lendy Expands: Appoints Three New Senior Hires to Team (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy recently announced it has appointed three new senior hires to its growing team. Shane Lewin was named compliance officer, while Shaun Reynolds was appointed development finance support manager, and Pamela Guillamon was appointed international marketing manager.

United Kingdom

Atom Bank gets £30 million from the government as Philip Hammond pledges investment boost (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the BBB, announced it has agreed a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility with Atom, a digital-only bank founded in 2014. The facility, effectively a loan to Atom, will allow the Durham-based bank to lend out more money to small businesses.Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

Yoyo raises £12m as fintech defies Brexit fears (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Yoyo Wallet, the fast-growing British mobile payments app, has raised £12m from investors including the German retailer Metro Group and fund manager Neil Woodford to finance its expansion in Europe and the US.

Yoyo, which recently passed the milestone of processing more than 1m monthly payments for its 400,000 registered users, has grown rapidly since its creation four years ago as a mobile app to pay for goods in university student unions.

The app is used to handle payments in 1,700 outlets, including over 60 UK and Irish universities; the canteens of several big companies such as JPMorgan Chase; and retailers such as Caffè Nero and Planet Organic.

The latest fundraising, which takes the total Yoyo has raised in three rounds to over £20m, will be used to finance the company’s expansion in the US.

ArchOver partners with Escalate (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform ArchOver has become the first UK lender to partner with commercial dispute resolution service Escalate.

The partnership will increase ArchOver’s ability to provide loans for the SME market, as well as helping borrowers collect disputed payments and enhancing security for lenders.

Escalate will enable ArchOver to recoup any disputed assets being used as security for loans over the ArchOver platforms.

WiseAlpha Set to Complete Crowdcube Round With More Than £1.1 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WiseAlpha, a UK online lending platform that gives everyday investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, is set to close its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube with more than £1.1 million secured from nearly 1,000 investors.

The new ISA that pays 6.1% interest on your money – everything you need to know (Mirror), Rated: A

The average interest on a cash ISA is running at 0.4% according to recent figures.

So the news that a new ISA is paying 6.1% is bound to make people’s ears prick up.

Customers can put as much as £20,000 into a Zopa innovative finance ISA.

There are two rates on offer – a “Core” deal paying 3.9% returns and a “Plus” offering that pays 6.1%.

So far this year just 0.08% of loans have defaulted, although in the worst years of the credit crunch as many as 4.21% did.

Most of the time, fewer than 2% of loans actually default.

Investec Wealth launches ‘robo advice’ platform offering active management (AltFi), Rated: A

Investec Wealth & Investment has launched a new online investment platform called Click & Invest, aimed at competing in the fast growing ‘robo advice’ market.

The firm, which is one of the larger wealth management firms and part of the wider Investec group, has more than £32.5bn of client funds under management.  Its new platform aims to differentiation from the majority of robo-platforms “by going beyond algorithms and offering an actively managed investment strategy”, selecting from over 300 actively managed funds.

Individuals are not charged for setting up and creating a portfolio, commission, transferring in, withdrawing money or closing an account. Fees for Click & Invest are 0.65 per cent on the first £100,000 invested, 0.50 per cent on the, £10,000 invested and 0.35 per cent on any amounts invested over £250,000.

Fintech LendInvest’s growth slows due to ‘challenging’ property market and investment (Business Insider), Rated: A

Online mortgage marketplace LendInvest saw revenue growth slow and profits dive last year as it invested for growth and dealt with “challenging” market conditions.

Accounts seen by Business Insider show LendInvest’s revenue grew from £18.6 million to £22.1 million in the year to March 2017. That’s a significant slowdown on the prior year when revenues jumped to £18.6 million from £7.2 million in 2015.

The company made a loss of £1 million in the year to March 2017, down from a pre-tax profit of £2.4 million in 2016. Operating profits shrunk from £3.3 million to £52,000.

Linked Finance talking to AIB about lending deal (Independent.ie), Rated: A

Irish online lending company Linked Finance is in talks with AIB and other major Irish banks about future collaborations, its founder said.

Serial investor Peter O’Mahony, who founded the peer-to-peer lending platform, said the firm had been approached by AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

Talks with all three banks are still at an early stage, but O’Mahony said there were a number of possibilities for collaboration.

China

Tencent and Bank of China jointly set up a joint financial and technical laboratory (01Caijing), Rating: AAA

Recently, the “Bank of China – Tencent Financial Technology Joint Laboratory” was established. Bank of China and Tencent Group will focus on cloud computing, large data, block chain and artificial intelligence and other aspects of deep cooperation, build Pratt & Whitney Finance , cloud finance, smart finance and technology finance.

Credit Insurance Meets Fintech: Hong Kong’s Atradius Launches New Digital Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based credit insurance provider Atradius announced on Thursday the launch of its new digital fintech platform, Atrium. The company describes the portal as an innovative tool that provides customers and distribution partners with real-time data to better understand buyers, credit limits, and risks a company poses.

Chinese acquirers face tougher due diligence (Financial Times), Rated: A

A regulatory probe announced by China into the “systemic risk” of some of its biggest overseas acquirers is both welcome and troubling. Welcome because Beijing is raising a red flag over corporations long known for high leverage and opaque operations. Troubling because it creates big uncertainties, both for the future of Chinese outbound investment and for the several notable US and European brands snapped up in recent years.

The companies included so far in what is being called a “fact-checking” initiative are Dalian Wanda, the property-to-entertainment company, Fosun International, the consumer group, HNA, a diversified conglomerate, and Anbang, an unlisted insurer. Together, these four have bought $56bn-worth of companies in the past five years.

DCM Ventures leads $ 10m Series A in Chinese real estate crowdfunding platform (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

DCM Ventures has led a $10-million Series A round in Duocaitou, a crowdfunding platform for accommodation industry, according to a company announcement.

Shunwei Capital, which is co-founded by Xiaomi’s chief executive Lei Jun, also joined this round.

To date, it claims total fundraising on the platform has reached RMB4.6 billion ($670 million) from more than 10,000 individual investors.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Jiangsu Suning Bank Co., Ltd., a private online bank backed by Suning Commerce Group Co., Ltd., officially launched last Friday.

Like many of its peers, Suning Bank aims to create an online-to-offline bank driven by technology and taking advantage of its 1,576 offline direct-sale stores and thousands of franchise stores to offer payment and banking services to customers. Suning Commerce and Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy contributed CNY 1.2 billion and CNY 944 million to the new bank, holding a 30% and 23.6% interest respectively, and the total valuation of the bank exceeded CNY 4 billion.

On June 12th 2017, in presence of the Prime Ministers of both countries, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) and Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), providing a framework to intensify the cooperation between both countries in the area of digitalization of financial services.

Shenzhen Futian district has announced that it is forming a Fintech advisory committee to conduct industrial policy research, giving advice on investment promotion and gather input on regulation issues and industry trends. The committee will include 30 experts and representatives from various sections of the fintech industry.

Additionally, Futian district and Shenzhen Stock exchange also announced the launch of the first FinTech Index in China, which provides a benchmark to track the performance of companies engaged in financial technologies. The index includes all technologies applied to financial services as blockchain, digital payment and P2P online payment. It is based on May 26, 2017, and the base points are 3000.

On June 14, China Asset Management Co., Ltd. (China AMC) and Microsoft Research Asia jointly announced that the two sides will carry out strategic and cooperative research on the application of artificial intelligence in financial services and promote the intelligent transformation of the asset management industry.

On June 14, the Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, Hong Kong’s Internet Professional Association (iProA) and Singapore’s FinLab announced the establishment of the Shenzhen-Singapore-Hong Kong Fintech Hubs Federation.

China’s biggest dairy firm, Yili Industrial Group plans to invest CNY 300 million to set up a small-loans lender in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Personal credit card issued by the “letter” or will be established (iFeng), Rated: A

Phoenix WEMONEY news on the evening of June 22, Phoenix WEMONEY was informed that the personal credit card issued by the suspension, a number of third-party institutions or will initiate the establishment of “letter of the Union.”

April 20, the central bank credit management bureau director Wan Cunzhi in the “personal information protection and credit management” international seminar, for the first time announced, including sesame credit, Tencent letter, including the first batch of eight pilot personal credit card Of the credit business without a qualified.

Should You Worry About Baidu’s Fintech Move? (Madison.com), Rated: A

About 160 million people in China took out 1.2 trillion yuan ($180 billion) in online loans last year, according to iResearch. The firm sees that figure growing at an annual rate of 50% over the next three years.

iResearch reports that the average overdue rate ranges from 10% to 20%, and is the “main factor that prevents online lending from becoming a mainstream channel in China’s financial industry.”

Baidu’s Financial Services Group (FSG), which was officially formed a year ago, had 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) in assets at the end of its last quarter, which accounted for 12% of its total assets.

Fitch believes that Baidu’s credit risk is higher than Alibaba and Tencent’s, since those two companies are more profitable and have stronger cash flows.

But even if Moody’s downgrades Baidu’s debt from A3 to Baa1, or Fitch cuts its current rating from A to A-, the bonds would still be well within “investment grade” parameters.

European Union

BNP Paribas to Setup a 1,000-Startups Campus in Paris, France (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

There are nowadays gazillions of accelerators, incubators and startup labs, but no one comes close to Station F. Here is why:

  • The sheer size of the campus: 34,000 square meters, 310 meters long (the size of the Eiffel tower!), 1,000 startups, 3,000 startup workstations, and a total capacity to host 9,000 people. The building also houses 8 event spaces and many recreational areas, including a tennis court. More than 250 million euros are invested in its construction.
  • More than 17 big brand incubators. Next to BNP Paribas, HEC Business School, Facebook, China-based Serrinnov, online retail group Vente-Privé, VC firm Daphni, industrial group Thalès, South-Korea’s Naver, and more than a dozen other companies from all sectors will run their innovation lab or startup accelerator from Station F to benefit from the emulation and the synergies that the space offers.

For its Station F program, BNP has chosen to partner with a global partner, Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-headquartered innovation platform with 22 locations around the world. Plug and Play prides itself with a track record of more than 2,000 backed or accelerated startups, including well-known brands like DropBox and SoundHound, and Fintechs like PayPal and Lending Club. Plug and Play invests in over 100 companies every year and connect startups to corporations.

The partnership between BNP Paribas and Station F will extend beyond hosting the accelerator. BNP Paribas will also become a reference bank for the startups and digital workers of Station F. Depending on their needs, these young companies will be able to draw on the wide range of services of the group which covers the whole spectrum from corporate finance and private equity to mobile personal finance.

Stripe refocuses European effort with 6 new markets and expanded payments platform (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Stripe has announced a handful of tidbits that underscore the fast-growing fintech startup’s aspirations in Europe.

Thus far, Stripe has only been fully available to businesses in the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. But as of this week, another six markets have been added to the mix: Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Sarego, a New Crowdfunding Platform for Real Estate, Starts with Large Housing Project in Vienna (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

German real estate crowdfunding platform Sarego that uses platform technology from CrowdDesk, private investors may now invest in the first real estate project on the platform. The project  is for the development company Vermehrt GmbH who is crowdfunding one million euros for the energy-efficient renovation and modernization of Gründerzeit-old building in Vienna.

International

FinTech VC Funding Slowing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

US VC funding for Fintech was down by 13% to at $6.2 billion in 2016, much of this attributed to poor performance of lending platforms and a contraction of investment as VCs re-examine where the money is going to be made in FinTech moving forward. It was noted that there were virtually no new entrant digital banks in the US.

The UK attracted $834 million of investment in 2016, down by 38%, mainly attributed to Brexit, though a bumper venture round following the referendum delivered 8 of the top 20 deals attracting $368 million.

New digital challenger banks Atom and Monzo jointly attracted over $150 million in the first half of 2017 highlighting some of the differences between US and UK FinTech when it comes to lending platforms and digital banks.

FinTechs across the payments space continue to grow and MortgageTech / RealEstateTech is emerging and is being watched closely.

Though later stage valuations have appeared to come down, they still look high, and “flat” appears to be the new “up”.

Of the many attributes that VCs look for in startups: market, product fit, disruption and innovation, the key one critical to success is talent:  the founder / CxO and team:

  • Repeat entrepreneur?
  • Domain expertise?
  • Do strategy within a complex highly regulated ecosystem?
  • Marry strategy with detail and execution?
  • Recruit outstanding people that follow?

EY Fintech Adoption Index: China Leads the Pack. USA is Just Average (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EY has published the “Fintech Adoption Index 2017” that grades the various markets where EY operates so just about most of the developed world. When you think about the giant internet firms in China, and the ubiquity of mobile internet, it just makes sense that China leads the way.

 

Australia/New Zealand

ASIC permanently bans former AMP Financial Planning adviser from financial services (Leaprate.com), Rated: A

ASIC announced that has permanently banned Perth man, David Fong, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities after it was found that he acted dishonestly in the course of providing financial services and failed to comply with the ‘best interests’ duty.

ASIC decided to ban Mr Fong permanently after finding that he:

  • engaged in dishonest conduct relating to client records and applications for financial products;
  • provided advice to clients that did not comply with the best interests duty, was not appropriate and did not leave them in a better position having received the advice.
Asia

Itochu partners with Sinar Mas on Indonesian fintech (AltFi), Rated: B

Itochu, Japan’s second-largest trading company, has bought a US$50 million stake in an Indonesian P2P lending company as it views Indonesia’s weak financial infrastructure as a fertile harvest for fintech credit services, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

Middle East

A deeper look at the Middle East’s FinTech market (ITP.net), Rated: A

Despite a record-setting 2015 year that saw total global funding to Fintech companies reach $46.7bn, 2016 saw a decline in Fintech investment by 47.2%.

The quarterly report noted that despite VC investments slowing down in the second half of 2016, the year concluded with $2bn invested in Q416 across 200 deals. As a result, VC funding to Fintech companies reached a record of $13.6bn in 2016, up from the $12.6bn reported the year before.

KPMG also highlighted that corporate VC investment in Fintech rose for the seventh year in a row, reaching 145 deals and a total of $8.5bn in 2016.

Canada

TD opens new branch in Richmond, B.C. at Gilbert and Lansdowne (Newswire), Rated: AAA

TD opened a new concept branch in Richmond’s Cadence by Cressey community that marries environmental sustainability and legendary customer service in a uniquely inviting space. The branch, at the corner of Gilbert Road and Lansdowne Road in Richmond, is conveniently located in the new Cadence community which is walkable and close to the waterfront and Richmond’s Olympic Oval.

More comfort, convenience and sustainable attributes include:

  • An inviting, open concept feel encourages collaboration and conversation so customers can get the meaningful, personalized advice they need. When customers come into the branch, there is a mural of the Lansdowne Park Race Track circa 1928.
  • Energy-efficient design sustainably-sourced finishes help reduce the branches environmental footprint and reinforce our commitment to the environment.
  • A customer lounge offers a comfortable space to gather or wait for an appointment with access to tea and coffee.
  • Free Wi-Fi access for customers to use while they wait or to use during an appointment.
  • Digital displays throughout the branch offer customers access to current information, advice and tips to help manage their finances while they wait to see a customer service representative.
  • Sustainable interior elements like responsibly sourced wood finishes, recycled materials and low-energy LED lighting.
  • A flexible, scalable design allows the branch to easily grow and adapt along with the needs of the community.

The branch is also designed to be a full-service advice centre with employees to meet all its customers’ financial needs in multiple languages, including English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

As part of TD ‘s extended hours, the branch is open seven days a week – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 11:00 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Fintech Sandbox expands to Canada (Finextra), Rated: A

Today Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and Boston-based FinTech Sandbox, signed an historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate and expand the FinTech Sandbox model into Canada, starting in Ontario.

FinTech Sandbox will open its program in Ontario, which will provide quality data products from 32 industry-leading partners, to qualified start-ups in Ontario.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 23 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech Australia

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-4. Lending Club closes $279.4M self-sponsored securitization. Wellesley directors paid over 900K GBP last year. Renren’s Q1 results. Harmoney hits $500M. Vindi, Smartbill merge. Today’s main analysis: Recent Fed credit survey exposes clear small business financing opportunities Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the P2P sector has fared […]

fintech Australia

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Africa

Latin America

News Summary

United States

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-4 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to two class of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-4 LLC (“SCLP 2017-4”). This is a $499.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is closing on July 5th, 2017.

Initial credit enhancement levels are 22.69% for the Class A Notes and 12.77% for the Class B Notes. Credit enhancement consists of overcollateralization, subordination (in the case of the Class A Notes), excess spread and a reserve account funded at closing.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loans Program 2017-4

Class Preliminary Ratings Principal Balance
A AA (sf) $443,000,000
B A (sf) $56,500,000

LendingClub Closes $ 279.4 Million Self Sponsored Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has announced its first first self sponsored securitization deal had closed. Announced after the market closed, Lending Club issued $279.4 million in notes backed by consumer loans originated on the LendingClub platform. The Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) NP Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (CLUB 2017-NP1) was described as marking the start of LendingClub’s securitization program as Sponsor, Servicer and Administrator.

Kroll rated the securities that included $162.4 million of Class A notes rated “A- (sf)”, $41.2 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $75.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)” backed by approximately $337 million of collateral.

In a separate note, LendingClub also announced that Brad Coleman, Principal Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller, will be resigning from his position as Principal Accounting Officer to pursue other opportunities, effective on August 10.

There’s A New Way To Pay For IVF, But No Guarantee It’ll Pay Off (BuzzFeed), Rated: AAA

Future Family, which officially launches on Thursday, aims to make the complicated, expensive, and emotionally fraught world of fertility treatments “accessible and affordable,” in the words of CEO Claire Tomkins, a former SolarCity executive. “We think of it as modern insurance for a woman,” she told BuzzFeed News.

Because most insurance plans don’t cover these services, fertility patients tend to have high incomes to begin with. In one survey by FertilityIQ, an online advice resource for patients, 42% reported yearly earnings between $100,000 and $199,999. But not everyone has necessarily saved enough to comfortably afford IVF, which costs around $20,000 on average, according to FertilityIQ. In a 2015 Prosper-commissioned survey of 213 US women, 84% said they had financial concerns about their treatments, and nearly half said that those concerns affected how much treatment they pursued.

Future Family’s standard IVF plan, which covers one cycle, is $250 a month, with no down payment. Customers can sign up for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years, making the total cost at least $15,000. That would be cheaper than the national average cost of $20,000. The top-tier plan, which covers one cycle as well as egg storage, costs as much as $33,000 ($275 a month for up to 10 years).

Meanwhile, Future Family’s top-tier egg-freezing plan costs as much as $21,000, at $175 a month for up to 10 years of storage. FertilityIQ’s Anderson-Bialis estimates that, nationwide, egg retrieval and freezing costs average $16,000, while storage costs about $3,700 for five years.

Two years ago, Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending service, purchased, for $21 million, a lender with loans for fertility and other non–insurance-covered medical procedures. And in 2014, LendingClub spent $140 million on a similar acquisition. Its fertility loans range from $2,000 to $50,000, while Prosper’s go as high as $100,000.

One year in: How JPMorgan is transforming small-business lending (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For JPMorgan Chase, small business is big. The bank is among the third top lender of Small Business Administration loans by unit in the U.S.

As of May, Chase approved 2,375 loans in 2017 for a total $679 million. But beyond SBA loans, the bank also extended more than $24 billion in credit to 4 million small business customers in 2016 through its business banking, Ink from Chase credit card and commercial term lending. In each of the last four years, it’s extended more than $19 billion in new small business loans.

After the recession, the largest U.S. banks, Chase itself included, halted most of their small business lending, later creating the opportunity for online lenders to enter the market — like Bond Street or OnDeck. Last year, JPMorgan began using OnDeck’s technology for its Chase Business Quick Capital product, a  short-term, quickly funded small business loan. It was one of the first banks to embrace a partnership-type relationship with a fintech startup, at a time when the industry narrative still focused on startups’ potential to displace banks.

Lending Club Decision Provides Guidance For Bringing Section 11 Claims Based on Weaknesses in Internal Controls (National Law Review), Rated: A

We have been following defendants’ motions to dismiss in the In re Lending Club Securities Litigation class action, No 3:16-cv-02627-WHA, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (“the Lending Club Litigation”).

As the Supreme Court noted in Omnicare, generally a plaintiff pursuing a claim under Section 11 “need not prove . . . that the defendant acted with any intent to deceive or defraud.”  However, defendants in the Lending Club Litigation argued that plaintiffs’ claims under Section 11 sounded in fraud because they employed the same factual allegations to allege fraudulent conduct under Section 10(b), and therefore needed to satisfy the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b), which requires plaintiffs alleging fraud to state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud.

Plaintiffs argued that their Section 11 claims were not grounded in fraud and therefore did not need to satisfy the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b).

Despite this holding, the Court found that lead plaintiff had “met that heightened pleading standard with respect to three of its Section 11 claims.”  Id.  In particular the court held that lead plaintiff adequately pleaded its Section 11 claims relating to representations at the IPO regarding (1) the strength of Lending Club’s internal controls and financial reporting, (2) its relationship with Cirrix, and (3) its data integrity and security.[1]

Henry W. Ramsey Acquires 9,500 Shares of Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Stock (Transcript Daily), Rated: A

Elevate Credit Inc (NASDAQ:ELVT) insider Henry W. Ramsey purchased 9,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, June 2nd. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $7.17 per share, for a total transaction of $68,115.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now owns 9,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $68,115.

Banks Going Digital – Transforming Branches, Apps and a Focus on Customer Experience (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The big banks have all started to understand that the traditional way of banking is a thing of the past. Keynote speaker Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi Fintech talked about disrupting from within, changing how they operate to enable the customer and move to a mobile first approach. She explained how this approach is radical for a bank and the layers of compliance did not make the transition smooth. They have completely rethought how they hire, 50 percent of their fintech talent is from outside the company.

Other interesting areas to note while at the event were BioCatch’s innovations in cyber security with keystroke and mouse analysis along with behavioral biometrics. New payments provider Zelle launched with 40 partners, including 34 top level banks, to allow consumers to send and receive money in minutes. Banks are starting to become innovation hubs and fintech companies, once seen as competitors in the past, are helping the banks make this transformation.

Leading fintech companies like SoFi, Lending Club and OnDeck provide a template for a better customer experience and banks are taking notice.

Recent Fed Credit Survey Exposes Clear Small Business Financing Opportunities (Forbes), Rated: A

The Federal Reserve just published its 2016 Small Business Credit Survey examining the current small business conditions and credit environment. The Fed found that although big banks are still the major lenders, small business owners are having trouble accessing credit and are therefore looking elsewhere. However, while many small businesses are turning towards online lenders, SBA loans are largely underutilized.

Overall, 10,000 surveys were completed by employer firms across all 50 states. Of those surveyed, roughly half were profitable and almost two-thirds expected their revenues to grow over the coming year. Even job growth looked good, with 39% of small businesses expecting to add jobs within the next year.

PayPal has jumped into the alternative lending game and now finances as much as $3 billion in total small business capital. What’s more, PayPal recently increased its maximum financing limit to $125k, meaning that a majority of small businesses who applied for credit in 2016 could fulfill their financing needs with PayPal.

Online lenders like SmartBiz have a 62% approval rate, on average.

The Fed’s survey found that CDFIs had a 77% approval rate and small banks had a 67% approval rate. Both of these rates higher than many online lenders that are known to typically have some of the easier qualifications.

By comparison, the overall approval rate among larger banks is 54% and 46% among credit unions.

Banks should avoid replicating their millennial strategy for Gen Z (American Banker), Rated: A

Facebook chatbots (kids love messaging apps!), smartphone-enabled ATMs (they spend so much time on their smartphones!) and an on-demand ATM on wheels that will come to you (Uber is the only way to get around!). Not only are these investments failing to resonate with millennials, but the money spent is also failing to plan ahead for the next generation: Generation Z.

Born between 1995 and 2010, Gen Z consumers are looking for something more than simple digital updates: They are looking for a partner that offers them solutions for all pieces of their financial life, including their pressing concern over mounting college debt. In fact, offering “digital” solutions to traditional banking products will not be enough to impress Gen Z, as they are the first to grow up in the post-digital era, giving them high standards for technological capabilities.

Gen Z is also a highly skeptical generation with little brand loyalty; if they see a well-researched, proven option available to them, they will have no hesitation jumping ship or avoiding traditional providers altogether. Whereas 45% of millennials favor loyalty programs, only 30% of Gen Z consumers do. In fact, 41% of Gen Z say they would consider banking services from digital power players like Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook because they are brands that they interact with daily and trust.

Acting comptroller’s wish list echoes long-held demands by banks (American Banker), Rated: A

In his first testimony to Congress, acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika is set to submit a laundry list of detailed proposals to loosen regulatory restrictions on financial institutions of all sizes — recommendations that appear to jibe with those made by the Treasury Department this month.

Noreika is offering 17 specific legislative proposals that echo the banking industry’s wish list for regulatory reform.

LendingTree Subsidiary Purchases MagnifyMoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) announced on Tuesday its subsidiary, LendingTree, LLC, has acquired the company behind consumer-facing media property platform, MagnifyMoney. This news comes just days after LendingTree announced it acquired DepositAccounts.com.

According to LendingTree, the acquisition purchase has a possible total consideration of $29.5 million, which consists of 29.5 million in cash at closing, and contingent consideration payments of up to $10 million.

A former cohead of tech at Goldman Sachs has joined a startup that wants to be the iOS of Wall Street (Business Insider), Rated: A

Paul Walker, the former cohead of technology at Goldman Sachs, has joined the board at OpenFin, a startup that helps electronic-trading firms build their desktop applications.

Bain Capital Ventures, Pivot Investment Partners, and Nyca Partners have already invested in OpenFin, as have the likes of Cris Conde, former CEO of SunGard, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters.

Walker retired from Goldman in 2016 after 15 years with the Wall Street titan. Walker joined the firm in 2001 as a vice president in FICC strategies. He made partner at the firm in 2008.

OpenFin is looking to become Wall Street’s version of what the iOS and Android platforms are to the mobile application space.

Orchard Platform Pivot? Not So Fast. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Earlier this week there was note circulating the Orchard was in the midst of a pivot.  Specifically, the report said Orchard was pivoting from a data/analytics platform to a loan trading platform. This was interesting as the secondary transaction platform for securities based on online loans has been in the works for quite some time.

“We have wanted to have a trading platform for years now,” said Matt Burton, CEO and co-founder of Orchard. “I am not certain where that came from. We have always wanted to facilitate [secondary] transactions. We still have the same vision.”

LENDonate Changes The Game of Nonprofit Financing by Creating Swift Access to High Quality Loans (PR.com), Rated: A

LENDonate, a fintech company, today announced the launch of its distinct hybrid, online lending platform for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The first-of-a-kind, hybrid platform uses an innovative process that lets nonprofits source loans and donations simultaneously. LENDonate unites nonprofits with lenders, including financial institutions, philanthropic organizations, and accredited investors for quick funding of high-quality, low cost loans. LENDonate is the only marketplace lending platform that enables nonprofits to effortlessly expand their donor base while financing major projects or smoothing out uneven cash flow.

LENDonate was founded by Vivienne Hsu, CEO, a seasoned investment professional and nonprofit fundraiser. She was motivated by a desire to improve nonprofits’ access to the low-cost funding, while providing high-quality, socially impactful investment opportunities for banks and philanthropists.

Which Loans Can Help You Expand Your Small Business? (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Below is an exhaustive list of documents that your lender may request. Online lenders are less stringent and may ask for less, while traditional banks will want the entire suite. Also expect lenders to pull your personal credit score and your business credit score as part of the approval process.

  • Personal financial statement: This SBA form requires you to list your personal assets (cash, investments, real estate and cars) and liabilities (mortgages, other debts and unpaid taxes). Private lenders may ask for a similar statement.
  • Business certificate/license
  • Business plan
  • Loan application history
  • Income tax returns
  • Resumes
  • Business lease

The Small Business Administration (SBA)—which guarantees a percentage of the loan amount to banks rather funding directly—is particularly helpful for expansion loan options. The SBA will guarantee up to 85 percent of loans for as much as $150,000 and up to 75 percent of loans over $150,000. A small SBA loan of $25,000 or less can get an 8% interest rate with a payment term of fewer than seven years. The rate on a loan over $50,000 can drop to as low as 6.5% with the same payment terms. Some banks may offer private loans, but their requirements are even stricter than those of the SBA.

Online lenders offer loans with higher rates. But the online lenders often have a faster approval process than banks originating SBA loans.

Another borrowing source on the rise is peer-to-peer lending, or marketplace lending, for businesses.

OCC, CSBS Exchange Views on OCC’s Special-Purpose Charter (Banking Journal), Rated: A

The OCC’s proposed limited-purpose charter for fintech companies was the subject of a lively discussion at the American Bankers Association’s Payments Forum today, as regulators from the OCC and Conference of State Bank Supervisors exchanged at-times opposing views.

Margaret Liu, SVP and deputy general counsel at CSBS reiterated her organization’s view that in moving forward with the limited-purpose charter, the OCC overstepped its authority under the National Bank Act (the CSBS previously filed a lawsuit against the OCC on those grounds).

Kathy Oldenborg, director of payments systems policy at the OCC, emphasized that under the limited-purpose charter, fintech companies would be held the same high regulatory standards as banks, based on the products and services they provide to consumers. She added that while much of the focus around the OCC’s work on innovation has centered on the charter proposal, “the broader initiative was… the ability to signal to banks that it’s okay to innovate. You can work with fintech companies, you can partner with fintech companies, you can buy one if you want. There’s nothing that says you can’t work with fintech companies outside this whole chartering discussion.”

Home Point Financial Establishes Institutions Group (Marketwired), Rated: B

Home Point Financial Corporation (“Home Point”) a national multi-channel mortgage originator and servicer, today announced the formation of its new Institutions Group. This group will include Correspondent Lending, Capital Markets and Home Point’s wholly-owned warehouse lending subsidiary, NattyMac. Led by Maria Fregosi, Chief Capital Markets Officer, the Institutions Group will be able to efficiently and effectively serve correspondent clients with services and products that capitalize on the financial resources, technology and expertise of Home Point Financial.

Cross River on OCC Comptroller’s testimony calling on clarification of the applicability of the “Valid when Made” doctrine (Cross River Bank Email), Rated: B

Cross River Bank, a marketplace leading originator and pioneer in the banking financial technology space, released the following statement on the recommendation by acting OCC Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika to clarify the applicability of the “Valid when Made” doctrine.

It is of the utmost importance to deliver regulatory certainty and foster innovation while providing access to credit to all consumers in a compliant, safe, and sound environment. We commend Comptroller Noreika for his testimony this morning recommending clarification of the applicability of the “Valid when Made” doctrine. Cross River remains a steadfast supporter of the Comptroller’s, and the entire regulatory agency community’s, efforts to bring clarity to the regulatory framework and advance the interests of the consumers while ensuring their protection.

Aspire Retains SenaHill (Aspire Email), Rated: B

“Aspire Financial Technologies Inc. (“Aspire”) is announcing today that it has retained SenaHill Advisors LLC (

Crowdfunding Becoming Viable Way to Fund Real Estate (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

It’s estimated that by 2025 the crowdfunding real estate industry will be worth more than $300 billion. One of the reasons for this prediction is that it provides individual investors the opportunity to participate in large real estate deals even if they only have a small amount of capital to invest. Just a few years ago things were very different as crowdfunding had yet to gain traction. In 2010 the crowdfunding industry was worth $880 million but is now worth $34.4 billion which is an incredible rate of growth.

CFPB details complaint process at Comply2017 Conference (JD Supra), Rated: B

At the Comply2017 conference held earlier this week in New York City, Scott Steckel, a member of the CFPB’s Office of Consumer Response, gave a presentation in which he detailed the CFPB’s complaint process and how the CFPB shares complaint data through its complaint database.

United Kingdom

Wellesley directors were paid more than £900,000 last year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELLESLEY & Co’s directors collectively pocketed £923,000 last year, while the property lender reported a full-year loss of £210,288.

Chief executive and founder Graham Wellesley was awarded the highest salary of £342,000, while co-founder Andrew Turnbull took home £244,000, according to the latest annual report filed with Companies House earlier this month.

Former Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Eric Daniels, who stepped down as non-executive chairman at the end of May 2016, received £50,000. Daniels has now joined the board of Funding Circle.

How has the P2P sector fared in the year since the Brexit vote? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, which received full FCA authorisation last month, has seen new lending grow each quarter since the referendum, from £151,803 lent in the second quarter of 2016 to £182,854 in the third and £305,970 in the fourth. It lent £328,059 in the first three months of this year.

Similarly, Zopa, also now fully authorised, has seen lending increase each quarter, from £154m in the second quarter of 2016, to £175m in the third. There was £194.3m of lending in the fourth quarter and £246.4m at the start of the year.

RateSetter, the last of the big three still awaiting full FCA approval, has seen both consumer and business lending increase.

New business lending was at £59.8m in the second quarter of 2016, rising to £73.8m in the following three months before dropping to £60.5m at the end of the year. It bounced back to £72.5m at the start of 2017.

Landbay has been more mixed, with new lending dropping from £5m in the second quarter to £282,820 in the third and £193,800 in the final three months of the year. New lending was back up to £833,300 at the start of the year.

RateSetter has seen the biggest increase, taking on 9,573 up to the first quarter of 2017 to 44,402.

Funding Circle was a close second, taking on 8,604 to 59,740, while Zopa took on 6,091, taking the total number of lenders to 60,755.

Only MarketInvoice saw a drop by 47 to 220.

Zopa has taken on the most new borrowers at 41,310 since the referendum to 171,607 while RateSetter has taken 30,286 to 203,994.

Landbay and Thincats have taken on the least, at four and 34 respectively.

The FCA received 77 submissions for the second phase of the regulatory sandbox, more than applied for cohort one. 31 applications met the sandbox eligibility criteria and were accepted to develop towards testing. The current cohort consists of the 24 firms that are ready to begin testing shortly.

AssetVault

AssetVault enables consumers to catalogue all of their assets in a secure online register and better understand their total value. AssetVault then works with insurance providers to protect the consumer and their assets with appropriate insurance products.

Beekin

Leverages artificial intelligence and data sharing to build transparency and liquidity in alternative assets (real estate, angel investments), and offers risk management and analytics services to small investors.

Experian

A mortgage eligibility tool that can be used to help consumers who are in the research phase of buying a home by increasing awareness of their eligibility, based on the lender’s affordability criteria.

FloodFlash

FloodFlash provides event-based flood insurance, even in high-risk areas.

Insure A Thing

An alternative insurance business model where the consumer makes payments at the end of the month, based on the exact cost of claims settled during that period.

Nimbla

Nimbla provides flexible trade credit insurance and credit and invoice management tools to UK SMEs, via an online platform

Paylinko A DLT-based payments solution enabling users to send and receive payments using a link.

We are now accepting applications from firms to be part of our third sandbox phase. Firms have until 31 July 2017 to submit their applications.

Departing Bank of England rate-setter takes swipe at Mark Carney in final speech (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

A departing rate-setter at the Bank of England has taken a final swipe at dovish Governor Mark Carney, saying record-low interest rates are no longer justified.

In her final speech as an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Kristin Forbes questioned the continued need for “emergency” level interest rates, as well as the “substantial amount of stimulus” rolled out in the wake of the Brexit vote, stressing that forecasts for a recession and higher unemployment after the referendum have failed to materialise.

No sign of decreasing P2P appetite, claims lender (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

There has been no sign of a decrease in demand for peer-to-peer finance, online platform RateSetter has told Bridging & Commercial.

“…We’ve seen steadily increasing demand from advisers, and the value of IFA-administered accounts on our platform has doubled over the last year.

“Although there are clearly hurdles – for example, direct investments in peer-to-peer lending are not currently available through investment platforms commonly used by IFAs to buy products on their clients behalf – we see no signs of decreasing appetite.”

Jane Dumeresque, CEO at Folk2Folk, explained that the FCA process was extremely tough and was not too surprised that some had withdrawn.

Peter McDermid: help to build (The Scotsman), Rated: A

Today marks the Scottish launch of the LendInvest Property Development Academy, an adult education course that puts development skills at the fingertips of aspiring house builders.

The first London course was ten times oversubscribed and to date more than 120 “students” have completed our courses. Now we’ve rolled out countrywide to satisfy demand.

Sessions are led by experienced and, as importantly, local advisers who know what it takes to get small-scale property developments delivered on time and on budget.

Development issues

Access to finance continues to be the biggest hurdle. A severe lack of lenders in Scotland is problematic.

Any experienced developer knows that applying for and awaiting planning permission can be a long, exhausting and expensive process. This is where it pays to do your research.

Structuring a professional team is one of the most important aspects of planning for a development, and a task that can be more complex than it first appears. There are various questions that a developer needs to ask: what are the key development costs? How long will a project take?What consultants are involved in a development project and how should they all work with one another? How do developers insure their teams against delays and accidents?

Sales and marketing are commonly regarded as an afterthought, something to worry about “later”, when in fact marketing needs to be in the forefront of a developer’s mind from the very beginning.

Three out of four investors refuse to pay for financial advice (Money Observer), Rated: A

A survey conducted by investment management company Legg Mason has found that only 24 per cent of investors would be prepared to pay the typical hourly fee for financial advice – which works out on average at £150 per hour, according to unbiased.co.uk.

Just 10 per cent of those who answered said they would be willing to pay £150 or more, while an additional 11 per cent agreed that they would pay between £50 and £149.

Over a third of respondents (36 per cent) said they would refuse to pay for financial advice outright, while 15 per cent said they were unsure what they would be happy to pay.

Why Financial Advisers Won’t Succumb To The Robots Any Time Soon (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Add to this, low levels of financial education, low levels of trust in financial services generally and overwhelming product choice (e.g. 2,000+ investments) and engaging customers without a human adviser is tough. That’s why, according to the industry’s regulator the FCA, of the £208 billion invested by consumers last year 78% was through advisers.

The vast majority of investment advice consumers now get from advisers is supported by online, model driven, financial technology (FinTech) which helps advisers more scientifically assess their risk profile and develop probability based investment strategies which give them a higher chance of meeting their goals at an acceptable risk level.

There are four developments now emerging, which will almost certainly change the game:

  1. Simple, automated advice
  2. Account aggregation
  3. Social networks
  4. Artificial intelligence
China

Renren Announces Unaudited First Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

  • Total net revenues were US$20.9 million, a 94.3% increase from the corresponding period in 2016.

    • Advertising and IVAS net revenues were US$11.6 million, a 90.2% increase from the corresponding period in 2016.
    • Financing income was US$9.3 million, a 99.7% increase from the corresponding period of 2016.
  • Gross profit was US$6.4 million, a 172.6% increase from the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Operating loss was US$17.6 million, compared to an operating loss of US$19.2 million in the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Net loss attributable to the Company was US$16.2 million, compared to a net loss of US$23.2 million in the corresponding period in 2016.
  • Adjusted net loss(1) (non-GAAP) was US$11.0 million, compared to an adjusted net loss of US$15.9 million in the corresponding period in 2016.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

Internet Finance Giants Ant Financial, Baidu etc., working with bank for new opportunities on fintech. 

It seems a trend that internet financial giants working with traditional banks in China. Recently, Baidu built a strategic partnership with Agricultural Bank of China (ABC). The cooperation focuses on fintech areas, including co-building of financial brains and portraits of clients , precise marketing, customer credit evaluating, risk monitoring, robo-advising, etc.

Previously, both Jingdong Finance and Ant Financial Services Group have announced partnerships with banks. On 16th June, Jingdong signed a framework agreement on financial business cooperation with ICBC, planning to conduct cooperation in fintech, retail banking, enterprise credit, etc. While in the late of March, the CCB has signed a tripartite cooperation agreement with Alibaba and Ant Financial. According to the agreement, Ant financial would help CCB to boost the online credit card business. They are going to strength cooperation in offline & online channel and electronic payment business, so as to open up the credit system.

Bank of China Set Up the Inclusive Finance Division

On 20th June, the Inclusive Financial Division of BOC was founded officially. The new division aim at providing financial services in comprehensive coverage of rural and urban. According to reports, China Construction Bank (CCB), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) have all set up their Inclusive Financial Division at the general bank level.

Baidu and the Agricultural Bank reached a strategic cooperation in the layout of intelligent finance (Sina), Rated: A

In accordance with the strategic cooperation agreement, the cooperation mainly focused on the field of financial technology, including the construction of financial brain and customer portrait, precision marketing, customer credit evaluation, risk monitoring, intelligent investment, intelligent customer service and other specific applications, Around the financial products and channel users and other areas to start a comprehensive cooperation.

Bank of China Begin Fintech Move (AI Topics), Rated: B

Bank of China (BOC) and Tencent have established a joint financial technology laboratory, the lender said in a statement this week. The lab will work on cloud computing, big data, blockchain and artificial intelligence to promote financial innovations.

European Union

IDA ‘confident’ of Brexit investments pipeline, banking event told (Irish Times), Rated: A

IDA Ireland’s head of international financial services, Kieran Donoghue, has said he is “confident” that the Republic will secure a number of wins as his organisation “aggressively” pursues the opportunity to lure financial activity from London following Brexit.

Luxembourg’s politicians pin economic hopes on fintech drive (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s planned departure from the EU has provided policymakers with an incentive to build a fintech hub in Luxembourg that could attract UK technology companies looking to maintain a foothold in the EU.

Prime minister Xavier Bettel has made the country’s digital transformation a priority since succeeding the long-serving Jean-Claude Juncker in December 2013. Mr Bettel launched the Digital Lëtzebuerg [Luxembourg] initiative the following year as a platform for encouraging new technology in the financial industry as well as society as a whole.

The flagship project to encourage fintech is the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, opened with much fanfare in April with backing from the government and business groups.

Its focus is on insurance, banking and fund technology in areas such as digital investment and portfolio management, blockchain applications, payment platforms, data analytics, artificial intelligence, security and authentication.

International

How Fintech is Disrupting Banking for Businesses Around the Globe (Due), Rated: A

Same day bank transfers were rolled out in the United Kingdom almost a decade ago. NACHA, the regulatory organization responsible for the ACH system, announced efforts for faster transfers two years ago. However, very few banks are actually implementing faster transfers.

Digital wallets are a key concept in bringing financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.

Multiple large banks have added bot features to their customer service toolset, and there is no limit to how far it can go. Just a few months ago at LendIt I captured a video of someone asking a computer for help picking a credit card.

Over $36 billion were poured into FinTech ventures in 2016 alone, and about a quarter of that went to banking related ventures. Payments, investments, and wealth management were other major categories for 2016 FinTech investment.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney’s Marketplace Hits $ 500,000,000 (Scoop), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending marketplace Harmoney announced today that $500,000,000 in lending has been transacted through the platform in just under three years of operation. 30,000 Kiwis have made the choice to join the Harmoney community with additional support from two challenger NZ owned banks TSB and Heartland.

Kiwis have borrowed for all sorts of reasons;

  • 12,000 to pay off debt, mainly expensive Credit Card debt
  • 4,000 have completed home improvements and renovations
  • 3,000 have taken a special trip or holiday
  • Almost 2,000 have upgraded their car and;
  • 10,000 have borrowed for a vast array of other reasons, from dream weddings, book publishing to achieving their dreams at the Paralympics.

Consultation on personalised robo-advice (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

There is a clear demand, from both industry and the regulator, to allow personalised robo-advice to be provided ahead of the FAA reforms. As a result, the FMA is consulting on an exemption to allow this to happen – the exemption consultation can be found here.

The exemption will be subject to conditions but these are very similar to those that regulators have imposed in other jurisdictions (such as Australia) where our offices have been advising on for some time. We don’t expect there to be too much objection to these.

Limits:

  • Service: The exemption will be limited to financial advice or investment planning services and won’t cover the provision of DIMS under the FAA or the FMCA.
  • Product type: The robo-adviser will be limited to advice on financial products that are highly liquid or easily transferable. The FMA’s over-riding concern here is that consumers should be able to easily unwind their holdings if the robo-advice is poor or unsuitable. The proposed product list for robo-advice will be:
  • KiwiSaver and managed funds that are continuously offered and redeemed at a price based on the value of the scheme property
  • Listed equities and listed debt
  • Government bonds
  • General insurance products (home, contents and vehicle) and
  • Savings products and credit contracts (other than mortgages).

Conditions: 

  • Pre-notification procedure: A robo-adviser will need to give prior notice to the FMA setting out ‘good character’ declarations in relation to senior managers and directors and giving details of any criminal convictions in New Zealand or overseas. The FMA will need to issue a no objection confirmation in relation to the good character declarations before the robo-adviser starts business.
  • Status disclosure: The robo-adviser will need to clearly disclose that it is relying on the exemption and that the FMA has not in any way endorsed, approved or reviewed the service.
  • Disclosure: Before giving advice to a client, the robo-adviser will need to give the client sufficient information to make an informed decision, including:
  • The nature and scope of the service and whether the service is limited to a particular range of products. This will need to include:
  • Clarification of the extent of human involvement
  • Clarification that the advice provided will depend solely on the information provided by the client
  • An explanation of any limits on the advice or portfolios generated by the algorithm
  • A concise explanation of the benefits and risks of the service.
  • An explanation of the fees that must be paid.
  • Details of how the robo-adviser is paid and disclosing any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may influence the services provided.
  • An explanation of how complaints can be made.

Regulator seeks feedback on robo-advice exemption (NZ Adviser), Rated: A

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is seeking feedback on its proposals that would enable entities to provide robo-advice.

The current law, passed in 2008, did not contemplate digital advice, meaning that personalised advice, or advice that takes into account an individual’s financial situation or goals, can only be given by “a natural person”.

The purposes of the Financial Advisers Act (‘FA Act’) are aligned with the Financial Markets Conduct Act, which include “promoting innovation and flexibility in financial markets.”

Global Credit Investments gives OnDeck Australia A$ 22.5m financing (AltFi), Rated: A

Asset manager Global Credit Investments has hit up its network of rich Australian families and raised A$22.5 million to refinance OnDeck Australia’s small business loan book.

A press release issued by both companies said the capital raise was “significantly oversubscribed”, with wealthy Australians attracted to the returns offered by OnDeck‘s loans, typically in the high-single-digits.

FinTech Australia releases fintech ecosystem map (Fintech Australia), Rated: A

Australia’s fintech industry body today released its first member ecosystem map, which helps build domestic and international understanding of the nation’s fintech strengths and diversity, particularly in wealth generation and lending.

The ecosystem map shows that wealth and investment, and consumer and business lending, are Australia’s two largest fintech sub-sectors – an outcome that is consistent with findings from last year’s.

Online Lender Prospa Appoints Damon Pezaro as Chief Product Officer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Prospa, an Australian online lender for small businesses, has appointed Damon Pezaro as its first Chief Product Officer.

Pezaro joins Prospa from Domain, where as CPO he led major transformation across the business and, apparently, a dramatic period of growth.

Asia

Asian Fintech Scene ‘Leapfrogging’ Over US In Innovation (Benzinga), Rated: A

While fintech companies proliferate in the United States, driving the expansion of a well-established financial sector with flourishing credit card and personal banking industries, Orchard Platform CEO Matt Burton is turning an eye to the east.

“In a lot of Asia, that doesn’t exist whatsoever,” Burton said at Benzinga’s 2017 Fintech Awards. “The population there are getting loans for the first time ever. There’s no credit bureaus there, so any data set that you’re able to acquire is completely proprietary.”

Matt Burton, CEO of Orchard Platform, at the 2017 Benzinga Global FinTech Awards

Africa

End of the road for mobile money loan defaulters (Standard Media), Rated: AAA

Credit reporting firm TransUnion yesterday said it had introduced into the Kenyan market a mobile score card that profiles borrowers using mobile lending platforms, which it will be sharing with banks and other lenders.

TransUnion Kenya Chief Executive Billy Owino said the Mobile Score Card would enable lenders access predictive and customised risk views while offering consumers alternative access to credit and an opportunity to build a positive credit score.

This wil be made possible by making use of mobile lending platforms. He added that the mobile money ecosystem has outgrown necessity-based transactions and peer-to-peer lending and is now transiting into mobile credit and loans.

Latin America

Two Brazilian Companies Merged to Create a Super Fintech (Crossroads Today), Rated: AAA

Vindi, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based provider of subscription/recurring billing and payment solutions, merged with Smartbill, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based provider of a subscription management system.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the merger of the two companies aims to consolidate the market of payments focused on the service sector in Latin America.

Companies like Thomson Reuters, Movile, B2W, Empiricus, Serasa Experian, Buscape, Smartfit, Editora Abril and the most important subscription businesses are using Vindi and Smartbill solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 16 2017, Daily News Digest

Indonesia fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi wants to steal banks’ most coveted customers. Biggest online lenders don’t always check key borrower data. Fed issues FOMC statement. RateSetter puts aside George Banco partnership. Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong. Investree enters Vietnam. Today’s main analysis: How fintech startups are transforming banking in Indonesia (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Real estate […]

Indonesia fintech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Wants to Steal Your Most Coveted Customers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Don’t look now, but the ‘in your face’ fintech firm, SoFi, is moving from offering just student and personal loans to providing wealth management and opening checking accounts. And their target market is one of the most coveted by banking … the educated, affluent, digital-first Millennial.

In an interview with Mike Cagney, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said, “If Bank of America or Citi had the Internet when they were forming, this (the SoFi model) is what they would have started.” Cagney responded saying, “Absolutely. I think what’s going to happen is the banks are going to move toward our model over time. And we certainly don’t have the hubris to expect that we’re going to change all of banking, but we are going to drag them into a different kind of service model. One that’s a lot more aligned to the customer.”

The company is also developing financial planning services, which it expects to launch this summer. These include joint financial planning for couples and first-time home buying.

“If you look at SoFi, we run over 65 percent contribution margin across our three lending businesses. We’re the most profitable fintech company in the marketplace. And there’s huge opportunity to expand from that, and it comes down to cost of acquisition. If you build really strong brand, really strong evangelism, really strong what I call ‘cross-buy,’ you can drop that cost of acquisition significantly and that drives margins,” Cagney said.

When fintech meets CRA: SoFi bank bid draws activists’ ire (American Banker), Rated: A

In its early days, Social Finance made loans only to borrowers who had attended name-brand universities. Graduates of elite colleges were paying relatively high interest rates on federal student loans even though they represented a low risk, and the Silicon Valley startup saw in that mispricing a chance to make money.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney noted in a 2013 interview that traditional banks were aware of this opportunity but were unwilling to pursue it.

Real Estate Lending: The Investment Bankers are Coming (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Back in 2012, I borrowed money to purchase a house I planned to fix-and-flip. I contributed 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. For the privilege of borrowing the other 80%, I paid a local “hard money lender” a 3.5% origination fee plus interest only payments at a 13% APR.

I started doing some more research into the market that was originating a majority of these types of fix-and-flip loans, which is called “hard money lending”. There were a few things that became quickly apparent to me.

  1. The market was highly-fragmented. There wasn’t a single lender that controlled any significant amount of the national market.
  2. The use of technology was virtually non-existent. The ability to apply online for a hard money loan didn’t exist. The lender I borrowed from didn’t even have a website.
  3. Capital formation was very analog. This put them in a perpetual cycle of originating new loans to keep their funds working while also raising additional capital to meet the demands of their borrower base.
  4. Hard Money Lenders, generally speaking, had a very negative reputation among the borrower community. This was in part due to the high interest rates. However, upon further digging, the real cause of dissatisfaction among borrowers was the lack of service and transparency.

Much like the early days of peer-to-peer lending, the new online real estate originators won business by providing a better borrower experience. Online applications with instant feedback on pricing and terms provided better transparency to borrowers. Quick funding decisions that are augmented by large data sets, rather than relying 100% on appraisals, allows these new lenders to provide more certainty around closing. Online dashboards where borrowers can order construction draws and make interest payments make the loan servicing experience easier for the borrower. Regardless of the financial innovation that is to follow, these technology platforms have improved the level of service provided to borrowers.

That said, the five largest online originators still only write between 5-8% of the total loan volume in the fix-and-flip market. We are still in the very early days of what is likely to be a massive consolidation of a previously fragmented market.

Biggest Online Lenders Don’t Always Check Key Borrower Data (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. doesn’t verify key information like income and employment for around a quarter of the loans it makes, according to documents tied to bonds that Prosper sold last month. LendingClub Corp. said it only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, according to company data seen by Bloomberg. If either lender finds mistakes in a borrower’s application, such as overstated income, they may still go ahead with the loan, according to disclosures linked to bond sales from the companies, including documents for securities that LendingClub is offering now.

Online loans usually don’t have collateral, so when they go bad, investors can lose out. Traditional consumer finance companies and banks tend to check incomes and employment on closer to 100 percent of new customers before making these kinds of loans, according to industry executives. Online lending competitor Social Finance Inc. checks income on 100 percent of its borrowers, according to a report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Investors in LendingClub loans earn average annual returns of around 4.3 percent, about three percentage points higher than the yield for two-year U.S. Treasuries. Those kinds of returns helped nonbank startups arrange more than $36 billion of loans in 2015, mainly for consumers, according to a report from KPMG.

LendingClub verified income on 35.6 percent of one of its most popular types of loans in 2016, according to company data obtained by Bloomberg. That figure has bounced around over time: it was 16 percent in 2008, and 47 percent in 2013.

LendingClub has had to write off a growing percentage of its loans — 8.5 percent, annualized, in the first three months, compared with 5 percent the same quarter a year ago.

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement (Federal Reserve), Rated: AAA

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have moderated but have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has picked up in recent months, and business fixed investment has continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, inflation has declined recently and, like the measure excluding food and energy prices, is running somewhat below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent.

SEC: RIAs Are Worse Than BDs at Cybersecurity (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The SEC says many financial advice firms are falling short when it comes to cybersecurity, with investment advice firms being less prepared than broker-dealers, Reuters writes.

As part of its second stage of cybersecurity exams initiated in 2014, the SEC analyzed 75 firms and found that 26% of the companies don’t conduct risk assessments on a continuous basis and 57% of the firms fail to carry out vulnerability and penetration tests with simulated attacks on critical systems, according to the newswire.

The SEC has concluded that investment advice firms have had more issues with cybersecurity than broker-dealers, according to the newswire. On the other hand, the SEC learned that almost all investment advisors practiced regular system maintenance as part of their cybersecurity process, namely by consistently installing security patches, Reuters writes.

Only 4% of the companies examined were missing essential patches or updates, according to the newswire.

Marlette Funding Depositor Trust (SEC), Rated: A

On June 2, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to 29,806 unsecured consumer loans (the “Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 125 unsecured consumer loans (the “Initial Sample Loans”) from the Initial Statistical Loan File using the following criteria provided to us by the Company:
(i)
3 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #1” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(ii)
21 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #2” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iii)
1 unsecured consumer loan with a seller identified “Seller #3” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iv)
23 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #4” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(v)
15 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #5” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(vi)
62 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #6” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
In addition, on June 13, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to an additional 4,203 unsecured consumer loans (the “Subsequent Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 8 unsecured consumer loans from the Subsequent Statistical Loan File with an origination date (as set forth on the Subsequent Statistical Loan File) on or before March 31, 2015 (the “Subsequent Sample Loans”).  The Initial Sample Loans and the Subsequent Sample Loans are collectively and hereinafter referred to as the “Sample Loans”

Fintech Ingo Money raising $ 12M in venture capital, plans to add up to 100 jobs (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Ingo provides risk-management services to financial institutions, such as banks and payment networks. Investors include Baltimore-based Camden Partners, Philadelphia-based MissionOG, and Bethesda, Md-based CNF Investments.

Notice of Class Action Settlement (Google AdWords Email), Rated: A

In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD
U.S. District Court Northern District of California
A $22,500,000 class action settlement has been preliminarily approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in the case In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD.  Your rights may be affected and you may be entitled to a portion of this settlement if you are an eligible Class Member.
Who Is Included in the Settlement?
You may be a Class Member if during the period of July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008, you: 1) were a U.S. resident; 2) had a Google AdWords Account; and, 3) were charged for clicks on advertisements appearing on parked domains or error pages.
What Is This Case About?
This case alleges that Google failed to disclose to its AdWords customers that it placed ads on websites known as parked domains and error pages.  The lawsuit alleges this conduct violates California laws against unfair competition and false advertising.  Google denies these claims.
How Do I Ask for Payment?
To receive payment, you must submit a claim form no later than June 21, 2017 and have spent at least $1.00 on AdWords served on parked domains or error pages between July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008.  You may complete the claim form online at June 21, 2017. If you do not want to stay in the Class, you must submit a request for exclusion by June 21, 2017. If you exclude yourself, you cannot get a payment from this settlement, but you will keep any rights to sue Google for the same claims in a different lawsuit. The detailed notice explains how to exclude yourself, object, and request to appear.
The Court’s Fairness Hearing.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on July 27, 2017 at 9:00 am PST at the following location: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, Courtroom 4 – 5th Floor, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether: 1) the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; 2) to approve the service awards to the class representatives; and 3) to approve the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to the attorneys for the class.
Where Can I get More Information?

SEC heightens exam focus on robo advisers (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Under newly confirmed Chairman Jay Clayton, the SEC is setting its sights on expanded protections for retail investors, planning a series of RIA sweep exams exploring areas like robo advisers and money market funds.

Slated to launch this year is an exam sweep looking at how firms are deploying robo advisers, or using automated services to augment the provision of investment advice.

Levine said that the sweep will likely run along the lines of the guidance on digital advice platforms that the SEC issued in February, when it affirmed that robo advisory services still have a fiduciary duty, and warned of potential issues around disclosure and client communications.

Also this year, the SEC is planning to launch a sweep looking at how firms that traffic in money market funds are incorporating the rules the SEC adopted to shore up that sector following the destabilizing run in 2008.

As part of a broader focus on retail investors saving for retirement, the commission is also planning to launch a sweep exam looking at how firms are adhering to the schedules laid out in the disclosures of target-date funds, and another probing the controls advisers have in place on fixed-income cross trading relating to retirement accounts.

Initiative invests $ 5M to help more educators access Landed (Landed Blog), Rated: A

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), has invested $5,000,000 to create a Landed down payment support fund that will make it easier for educators in the Redwood City, Ravenswood City, and Sequoia Union High School districts in California — districts which face some of the highest housing costs in the country — to buy homes.

  • Eligibility: Any district or public school employee within the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District, Redwood City School District and Ravenswood City School District.
  • Support: Up to half of a down payment (max $120,000), for the purchase of a primary residence.
  • Terms: Participants share up to 25% of the appreciation (or loss) in the price of the home upon sale, or after 30 years, whichever is sooner. There are no monthly payments.
  • Other: Participants can choose to end their relationship with Landed at any time. Financial coaching support will also be made available to participants.

Fletcher Jones Auto Group Partners With AutoGravity To Bring Financing Of Real Time Inventory To The Smartphone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, has announced the launch of real-time inventory on the Fletcher Jones Drive (FJ Drive) smartphone app powered by AutoGravity. Car shoppers now have access to the largest selection of Mercedes-Benz inventory in the nation, a seamless auto financing application and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services offer presentment – all in the palm of their hand through the AutoGravity powered FJ Drive app for iOS and Android.

AutoGravity joined forces with the Fletcher Jones Auto Group to launch FJ Drive, the nation’s first and only mobile app that allows customers to secure financing for any new Mercedes-Benz right on their smartphone. Real time inventory extends the partnership by empowering users to shop for specific vehicles sitting on the dealership lot. Guests can choose any Mercedes-Benz model and browse all available cars for their store of choice. Easy to use filters, including model year, body type and color, make finding cars simple and intuitive. Guests apply for financing and review their lease or loan offer in the app before picking up their car at the Fletcher Jones showroom.

Venture fund seeks fintech ‘workhorses’ (American Banker), Rated: A

Since its beginnings in 2015, Centana has invested in four companies, including the insurance technology company One and digital identity management firm Jumio. The New York-based limited partnership says it is hunting for other investment candidates and that it expects to put $5 million to $30 million into as many as 15 investments.

Centana is hoping to differentiate itself from other venture capital firms by pursuing “workhorses” — essentially, companies that will help incumbent companies improve on existing business models, Cukier said.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Announces Luxury Condo Give-a-way (Benzinga), Rated: A

Wealth Migrate, an online real estate investment marketplace, announces the global opening of its #LikeAMillionaire luxury condo give-a-way. The competition, which is open to all new users who sign up on the WealthMigrate.com platform, is another example of how Wealth Migrate is putting quality real estate within reach of middle class investors throughout the globe, who typically do not have access to these types of deals.

The Zero-2-One Tower, standing 42 stories tall, is set to be the tallest building in Cape Town upon completion in 2020.

FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises and payment solutions enabler BPP create Handy U (Crossroads Today), Rated: A

The FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises (IATAI), which specializes in making mobile transactions, communications and other interactions quicker and easier across platforms, has joined forces with the payment solutions enabler BPP to develop Handy U, a universal and customizable payment, rewards and insurance solution for consumers, businesses and merchants.

Handy U is a reloadable Visa virtual/digital account that enables IATAI’s travel and insurance clients to instantly make and receive payments, access benefits and redeem rewards generated by their loyalty programs. Handy U is hosted on IATAI’s digital wallet, onepocket, which lets users combine several payment methods in a single transaction, both online and in-store.

First Foundation to acquire Community 1st Bank for about $ 50 mln (Reuters), Rated: B

* First Foundation – deal is valued at approximately $50.4 million in aggregate

* First Foundation – at closing, transaction is expected to be about 2.5% dilutive to co’s tangible book value per share with an estimated tangible book value earn-back period of 3.6 years

“Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” Now On Demand (Benzinga), Rated: B

This Financial Poise webinar series explores the purchase of ownership shares in private companies via crowdfunding websites.

Episodes in the series address

  • the modes of angel investing in a company during its early stages,
  • the opportunities and perils of crowdfunding real estate investments,
  • the money-raising entity’s perspective and
  • a close look at crowdfunding options under federal and state law.

The 3rd episode of the “Equity Crowfunding” series is available now on demand! “Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” (Register Here) features Moderator Chris Cahill of Lowis & Gellen. Chris is joined by Jordan Fishfeld of CFX Markets, Marty Coyne of Connected Investors Inc. and Lynda Davey of Avalon Net Worth.

Boston’s FinMason Announces New Fintech Accelerator Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinMason, a Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, announced on Thursday the launch of its new fintech accelerating program, FinSpring, which is described as an initiative that will provide free access to FinRiver, a set of flexible and lightning-fast investment analytics APIs.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Update: Decides to Not Go Ahead With George Banco Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last month, RateSetter announced it was entering a partnership with George Banco and acquiring an equity stake in the personal loan provider company. Unfortunately, RateSetter revealed earlier this month that it has decided to pull out of the partnership after all.

“We have subsequently decided not to go ahead with this new arrangement with George Banco. After further examination of the infrastructure required to do this, we concluded there were better uses of our development resources which may be deployed more effectively to source other borrowers. Therefore, we will not facilitate lending directly to George Banco’s customers, and accordingly we have updated our Principles of Lending document which sets out our lending criteria. The existing wholesale loans to George Banco will continue to be repaid in accordance with the schedule of the existing loan contracts. The total of these existing loans currently stands at £31.5 million.”

To see the updated Principles of Lending document, click here.

BTL index: Nothing to choose between Tory and Labour-voting regions (Letting Agent Today), Rated: AAA

The top ten buy-to-let postcodes in England and Wales are evenly split between locations that voted for the Conservatives or Labour.

Luton has been identified as the best buy-to-let investment location across England and Wales, with an average yield of 4.54% and rental price growth of 7.37%.

According to LendInvest, which analyses data from Zoopla and the Land Registry to compile its Buy-to-Let Index, Stevenage is the best performing buy-to-let postcode out of areas that voted Conservative last week.

The Hertfordshire town has recorded capital gains of 11.64% and rental price growth of 7.5% over the last quarter.

Luton is the top performing Labour-voting postcode.

Top 10 buy-to-let postcodes

Yield Capital gains Rental price growth Transaction volume growth
Luton 4.54% 12.83% 7.37% -10.40%
Stevenage 4.05% 11.64% 7.47% -9.40%
Rochester 4.55% 12.34% 5.45% -9.40%
Colchester 4.29% 14.14% 4.14% -11.16%
Dartford 4.37% 13.61% 3.92% -10.94%
Peterborough 4.71% 9.04% 6.98% -10.67%
Southend-on-Sea 4.30% 12.37% 3.89% -10.26%
Manchester 6.11% 7.58% 7.53% -12.41%
Canterbury 4.36% 9.34% 6.62% -11.49%
Romford 4.81% 14.42% 1.28% -11.67%

MoneyThing posts record month ahead of 2017 IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MONEYTHING is on track to boost its loan origination ahead of an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) launch later this year, after delivering its highest new loan monthly level to date in May.

The peer-to-peer lending platform launched £7.7m of new loan opportunities last month, which marks its strongest result since it launched in February 2015, and £3.7m more than its previous record.

It now aims to roll out the tax-free wrapper by the end of the year, although the launch will not be imminent, a company representative told Peer2Peer Finance News.

Irish fintech firm Assure Hedge receives UK regulatory boost (Irish Times), Rated: A

Assure Hedge, a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations, has received a boost from the UK Financial Conduct Authority under a programme aimed at drawing financial technology (fintech) under its regulatory oversight.

China

Meet Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Aiming to fix cash flow issues for companies operating in Hong Kong, Andy Chan along with his partner Winston Wong, set out on a mission to craft Hong Kong’s first invoice trading platform, Qupital.

Since its inception less than a year ago, the company has started to gain attention from companies including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In terms of generating revenue, Chan shares that when an invoice is purchased, Qupital would take between 25-75 basis points of the total invoice value. Moreover, the company would take 20% of net gains made by funders.

With fresh capital from high-profile backers, Chan has his sights on deepening his business in Hong Kong with an eye on expansion to other markets in 2018 such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Baidu, With a Move Into Fintech, Gets Wary Credit-Ratings Look (WSJ), Rated: A

Baidu Inc. is among China’s tech giants looking to get a leg up in the competitive financial-services market. Credit-rating companies aren’t so sure it’s a good idea.

Fitch recently placed Baidu on negative watch, citing “significantly higher” business risks as it moves into making unsecured consumer loans and selling uninsured investments known as wealth-management products, which Fitch said are “part of the shadow banking system in China.”

Moody’s decided last month to place Baidu’s bond ratings on review for a downgrade, citing concerns over the firm’s short history in the financial-services business.

Baidu’s financial services, which also include its mobile payment platform, now account for about 12% of its assets, or 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion)—representing rapid growth for a firm that formed its financial-services group only about a year ago. That has significantly changed Baidu’s credit profile, said Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer Lina Choi.

International

Transforming banking with fintech (HSBC), Rated: A

HSBC has its own tech teams designing new platforms and products, and they are absolutely brilliant. But we need to be humble and recognise that we don’t have all the answers. We invest in and work with fintech start-ups where we think they can help.

Our partnership with Tradeshift is making it easier for business customers to manage their accounts and their relationships with suppliers online, saving time and cutting down paperwork.

Retail customers in the UK can now download an HSBC SmartSave app, developed in partnership with a start-up called Pariti. It helps them save money without even having to think about it.

We have invested in a start-up which is developing technology that can sift through large amounts of financial transactions to pinpoint suspicious patterns. This will help us tackle financial crime more effectively, and, ultimately, keep our customers safer.

Australia

ZipMoney eyes profitability, partners with NAB (AltFi), Rated: A

ASX-listed fintech zipMoney has put the finishing touches on its A$260 million debt warehouse with big four bank NAB and could become one of the few all-Australian fintechs to make a profit.

The money raised will go to the “immediate refinance of $70 million of existing receivables”, ZipMoney told the ASX, resulting in lower interest rates across the board. It will also allow the company to increase volumes and hire more staff.

ZipMoney provides a ‘buy now, pay later’ service, offering shoppers loans between $1000 and $10,000 for up to eight months.

ASIC permanently bans Perth financial adviser (Professional Planner), Rated: B

An ASIC investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Mr Hutchison dishonestly:

  1. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account, when he knew he was obliged to remit or report them to RI Advice. Mr Hutchison then deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice; and
  2. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

Mr Hutchison misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees. He also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees policies and procedures.

India

SMC Capital, REPL launch Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund (India Times), Rated: A

SMC Capital and EPC developer REPL group have come together to launch a Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund, SMC IM Capital. The fund has already got commitments from global investors based in the US and Middle East and will look at a first close by end of this month.

The fund will invest between Rs 50 crore and Rs 80 crore in the middle segment affordable housing projects in tier I and II cities.

In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture, and is slated to grow at 30% over the next decade. The real estate sector comprises four sub sectors — housing, retail, hospitality, and commercial.
Asia

Indonesian P2P lending site Investree to enter Vietnam, launches sharia-based service (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Investree announced on Thursday that it is set to begin expansion to Vietnam in 2018, DailySocial reported.

The Jakarta-based startup said it is currently undergoing the process of setting up a joint venture with an undisclosed local financial institution.

Investree also announced that it is going to launch a sharia-based lending service in July; the startup is currently on the process of applying for certification from the National Sharia Board (DSN).

Gunadi cited strong demand from both borrowers and lenders to set up a lending practice based on the Islamic law, and by far three small businesses from Jakarta and Surabaya have agreed to join in the pilot project.

How FinTech Startups Are Transforming The Way Banks Function In Indonesia (inc42), Rated: AAA

India, November 2016. PM Modi launched a demonetisation drive to eradicate black money, fostering a new wave of digitisation in India. Consequently, there was a tremendous rise in the adoption of e-wallets, launch of new fintech startups, and the average Indian became familiar with a new financial entity, bitcoin.

From local grocery shops to petrol pumps to movie theatres, digital wallets have captured each and every day-to-day business which requires payments. Not only this, digital wallets have even seen a massive adoption for payment chores like booking air tickets or buying movie tickets or paying bills (DTH, Water, Electricity).

Be it digital payments, online lending, or remote banking, Indonesia has seen a surge of startups that have developed products to solve the current needs of the population.

At the same time, the country remains a challenging market for fintech industry to grow with only 40% of adults in the country having access to banks. 49 Mn SMEs unit are still not bankable, because of low credit score and little or no financial history.

It is estimated that only 40% of Indonesia’s 250 Mn populationcurrently have access to services provided by banks.

Secondly, Indonesia is a country of SMBs. These enterprises account for 99% of the total amount of enterprises that are operating in Indonesia and they create a total of 107.6 Mn jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest emerging economy, as per a Deloitte report. Moreover, Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium-sized companies contribute 60.6 % to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Thirdly, due to Indonesia’s peculiar geography, its traditional banking system suffers. The number of bank branches, which is estimated at 10 banks (branches)  per 1,000 square kilometersis far too low to serve Indonesia’s vast geography.

The major areas that startups are capturing and disrupting are payments, insurance, stock markets, investments, PoS, comparison, and online lending. Major startups in the payments sector include Mandiri, T-Cash, PayPro, IPayMu, Xenditi among others.

Digital payments have become so big in the archipelago that the total transaction value in the “Digital Payments” segment amounts to $18 Mn in 2017. Additionally, the total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 18.4 %, resulting in the total amount of $36 Mn in 2021. Popular fintech categories in Indonesia are lending platforms, capturing 17% and marketplaces for financial products that have occupied 13%.

Deposits, Lending, And Capital Raising

The online lending space is dominated by players included Modalku, Taralite, and Investree. The online lending segment has a huge market demand in the country, owing to the fact that a major population of the country has a low credit score and SMEs can benefit from these alternative services.

Taralite: Launched in 2016, the startup sanctions financial loans with relatively low interest, starting from 1%, for education, marriage, childbirth, house renovation, vehicle purchase, property & housing. It also provides loans without collateral. It recently secured $6.3 Mn from Japanese financial services provider, SBI Group.

MODALKU: Founded in 2016, it is an online lending platform, that provides loans up to IDR. 2 Bn, with relatively affordable interest. Its focus areas are SMEs looking for working capital, with minimum one year of operations.

Market Provisioning

Cekaja.com: Launched in 2013, the platform allows users to compare various financial products at one place.

Investment & Risk Management

JOJONOMIC: JOJONOMIC digitises the entire employee reimbursement process for an employee.

RajaPremi:  Founded in 2014, RajaPremi is an online insurance marketplace.

Bareksa: Founded in 2016, it is an online and integrated marketplace for mutual funds.

Digital Payments

Kudo: Launched in 2014, the startup has a website and a mobile application that enables anyone to be an online entrepreneur without having to personally stock the items.

DOKU:  A 2007 founded startup, Doku is the biggest player in the Indonesian payments scene. Functioning as an online and offline payment gateway for businesses and individuals, DOKU is an e-wallet equipped with links to credit card and electronic money.

t-cash: Founded in 2011, it is an electronic money service provided by Telkomsel (a telecom giant). Users are required to install the T-Wallet app on their mobiles and equip their mobiles with the t-cash stickers.

Ayopop: Launched in 2016, Ayopop is an app that specialises in bill payments.

POS (Point-Of-Sales Startups)

Pawoon: Launched in 2013, Pawoon is a cloud-based Point of Sales (POS) application for SMEs.

DealPOS: DealPOS is a cloud-based point-of-sale ( POS ), inventory and accounting software for business which was also launched in 2013.

A Year Ago… (LinkedIn), Rated: A

A year ago, I found myself on stage in Hong Kong, China speaking on “How Fintech Companies Can Differentiate Themselves and Build Special Competitive Advantage“.

Wondering in the halls of an incredible conference in Shanghai a few days later at LendIt Conference China, I was consumed with anxiety. Every platform I saw in China easily had 30 million plus active users. Whether it was credit, payment, insurance or investments, the conference in China was filled with eager entrepreneurs, seasoned executives and hunger investors.

Out of necessity, with a series of coincidences and a ton of luck I founded a company called MaxDecisions, Inc. with an old colleague and friend Henry Wang. We didn’t think too much of it and we didn’t really know where we will end up with it.

In the same month, I founded another company called Kuber Financial, LLC. and later Kuber Inc. with two other co-founders. Both of them left in the middle of the project, one early on and one late later year.

Fluid App came to me because I wanted to build something that’s truly different from all other platforms. A fun, mobile only, credit building product that could truly change lives of millions of young Americans. A FinTech, AdTech mesh up, that a lot of people are now starting to understand and appreciate my vision for this product.

With our 10th employee coming onboard at www.maxdecision.com next week, we’ve officially broke our first million dollars in sales.

Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established (01Caijing), Rated: B

June 14, Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, THE FINLAB PTE LTD and the Hong Kong Internet Professional Association in the World Youth Entrepreneurship Forum officially signed a tripartite cooperation memorandum, at the same time announced at the forum, Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established.

Africa

Payment Startups Lead Way In Africa’s Booming FinTech Scene (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Payments and remittances startups account for the majority of Africa’s over 300 fintech startups, though blockchain companies are the more likely to secure funding.

Payments and remittances is the most populated of nine sub-sectors addressed in the report, with 125 startups across the continent focused on making the process of sending and receiving money easier. Lending and financing – with 65 startups – is the next most popular category; indeed, over 60 per cent of all Africa’s fintech startups are focused on these two crucial spaces.

African blockchain startups are the most successful in percentage terms, with almost 40 per cent of the blockchain-focused startups on the continent securing funding.

The continent’s fintech startups have secured over US$92.5 million in investment since 2015, the report finds, while the data shows fintech startups are spread across the African continent. Southern Africa and West Africa are fintech leaders – with 34.2 per cent and 34 per cent respectively based in those regions respectively. South Africa has the most fintech startups (94), followed by Nigeria (74) and Kenya (56).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 21st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments A lot of news today, and today we have an especially good international section. Please do pay attention to the Australian, Singapore and China sections in particular. (And Lending Times technical team reports that yes, Mailchimp has not answered any of the multiple requests for support from a paying client in 17 hours. […]

News Comments

  • A lot of news today, and today we have an especially good international section. Please do pay attention to the Australian, Singapore and China sections in particular.
  • (And Lending Times technical team reports that yes, Mailchimp has not answered any of the multiple requests for support from a paying client in 17 hours. We will send today’s newsletter by hand again using the older design template.)

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Switzerland

India

Singapore

Australia

China

News Summary

 

United States

The marketplace lending market has received an influx of positive news recently, (Peer IQ), Rated: AAA

The WSJ reports that Moody’s removed Class C mezzanine bonds issued by CHAI 2015-PM1, 2015-PM2, and 2015-PM3 from downgrade review and confirmed Ba3 rating.

At the time of downgrade review in February, Moody’s cited a faster build-up of delinquencies and charge-offs than expected. Moody’s also increased the expected cumulative lifetime net loss from 8% to 12% (bringing revised estimates in-line with platform and market expectations).
As of the June 15, 2016 distribution date, losses on the CHAI 2015-PM1, 2015-PM2 and 2015-PM3 pools have reached 3.6%, 1.5% and 0.5%, respectively.
Improvement in Credit Spread on MPL ABS bonds
The ratings action was presaged by the ABS market which showed spread tightening from 1000 to 400 bps. Readers may seek to review the May month-end newsletter to see the analysis cited in the WSJ report:
PeerIQ credit spread on MPL ABS bonds
Leading up to the CHAI 2016 PM-1 offering in April, the culmination of ratings actions, regulatory chatter, delinquency fears, and volatile credit markets created an inhospitable environment for new deals. The auction resulted in limited participation and wide initial pricing–10.26% coupon priced to 12.5% yield on the CHAI 2016 PMI-1 C tranche.
Investors that bought the CHAI C tranche at new issuance without any leverage would have seen about 15% price appreciation in 3 months. Investors that performed the up-front credit work and applied analytics to separate the signal from headlines were able to earn outsized returns.
Dislocation creates opportunity
Ironically, the dislocation in recent months has created substantial investor interest in MPL ABS and whole loans. The CHAI 2016-1 PM1 offering prompted investors that were historically dismissive of marketplace lending to do a double-take
Repeat ABS investors are now looking upstream to capture additional whole loan economics.
Large asset managers with double-digit return objectives in a negative to low rate world are looking to strike bargains with platforms. There is still much more to be done. Nevertheless, the climate for establishing relationships with platforms may be as good as ever.

Little Change in LendingClub Loans Since Madden Decision, (BNA), Rated: A

So far, LendingClub loans haven’t changed in average interest rate or risk, either in the 2nd Circuit or nationwide.

Both the total number and value of loans and the amounts arranged through the company have only grown, not diminished, while average FICO scores measuring a borrower’s credit rating remain consistent, and internal loan grades have remained the same. One exception is that the average value of borrowers’ previously requested FICO score did increase steadily since the decision, even though FICO scores at the time of loan issuance did not.

LendingClub has also continued to arrange loans to borrowers in the 2nd Circuit that surpass the interest rate caps in those states. The Madden decision does not prevent national banks from providing loans above a state’s interest rate cap. Instead, it applies to debt collection agencies that purchase those loans.

Lending club changes after Madden vs Midland

As a result of the court’s decision, LendingClub in February renegotiated terms with WebBank—the Utah bank that originates all of the loans through the online service (40 BBD, 3/1/16)

Under the new arrangement, WebBank maintains ongoing accounts for the borrowers and receives regular payments from LendingClub—called “loan-trailing fees”—rather than a single lump sum fee on every loan it originates. The loan trailing fee is based on the total amount serviced by the bank and a “loan fee factor.” A LendingClub representative told Bloomberg BNA that the company does not publicly disclose the amount of the loan fee agreement with WebBank.

Different picture for Prosper

Prosper loan volumes

Representative for Prosper attributed any changes in lending to general market fluctuations but would not comment further for this story.

A 2009 paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said that loans sold into the secondary market through originate-to-distribute underperformed other loans by 9 percent. A 2010 academic paper funded by the FDIC’s Center for Financial Research also implicated the originate-to-distribute model in the subprime crisis.

Author and University of Michigan Finance Professor Amiyatosh Purnanandam told Bloomberg BNA that part of the problem with the originate-to-distribute model is that once the debt is sold, the originating bank has nothing at risk and the debt buyers don’t always have the skill in evaluating good borrowers as national banks do.

Jefferies revives stalled Lending Club bond: sources, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Comment: We covered these news last week as well. At that time it was more of rumor. It seems it’s real news now.

Jefferies has revived its stalled Lending Club loan securitization in a club-style deal it has begun to pre-market to only a few select investors, two buyside sources with knowledge of the trade told IFR.

The bank is now looking to sell a two-tranche trade that could offer yields in the 4.25%-7% range, one of the investors said.

The top class of notes of slightly less than one-year were about 60% subscribed, while a longer 2-year tranche was already fully covered, the investor said.

The near-prime loan securitization was shelved after Lending Club said it had repurchased a US$22m pool of loans sold to Jefferies under Laplanche’s watch that included falsified documentation.

Goldman Sachs also hit pause on its potential bond sale of prime Lending Club loans.

But bankers told IFR that Goldman could now look to revive its bond deal, if the Jefferies trade finds favor with investors.

Goldman Sachs Sets Its Eyes on Retail Banking (GS), (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Fast Start
According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 20,000 new customers have opened internet bank accounts with the Goldman unit since it launched three months ago. Unlike other Internet-only retail banks that tend to offer a wide range of services, Goldman’s products are geared towards long-term savings, and it solely offers its customers the option to open traditional savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. As of July 20, 2016, the bank’s interest rate on online savings accounts was 1.05% while its interest rate on a 5-year CD was 1.85%. In many cases, these rates are a lot higher than what traditional banks pay their customers. For example, Wells Fargo (WFC), Citibank (C), Bank of America (BAC) and Chase (JPM) all pay less than 0.03% APY on regular savings accounts. GS Bank can offer above-average interest rates to its depositors because they do not have the overhead expenses of a typical brick and mortar bank. (See also, The Pros And Cons Of Internet Banks.)

Retail Diversification
For Goldman Sachs, savings accounts may not be as exciting as the main investment banking business. Yet, the company still benefits from expanding into retail banking, enabling Goldman Sachs to diversify its customer base and tap into a segment of the market, retail investors, that they have been unable to serve in the past. GS Bank will also help boost Goldman’s overall liquidity, and keep the company compliant with new regulations calling for more liquidity from financial institutions. Around the same time GS Bank was launched, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) proposed new rules that would require banks to own sufficient ‘‘easy-to-sell’’ assets that would be able to cover any and all liabilities coming due within a one year period. (See also: The History Of The FDIC.)

The Realities Of Alt-Lending Regulation Begin To Set In, (Pymnts), Rated: A

Comment: we covered this yesterday as head news. However it is so important that we would like to remind our readers just in case.

“I suspect more regulation will come to the space, and I think that will suit us well,” said PayPal VP and General Manager of Small Business Lending Darrell Esch in an interview with Forbes last year.

When asked by PYMNTS whether he was concerned about incoming regulation on the space, OnDeck Vice President of External Affairs and Associate General Counsel Daniel Gorfine simply stated, “No, not concerned.”

Reports from Bloomberg BNA this week, however, could signal a shift in how alternative lending players are reacting to the incoming threat of regulation.

“Strong evidence indicates that small business loans under $100,000 share common characteristics with consumer loans yet do not enjoy the same consumer protections,” the Treasury stated in its May report. “Treasury is willing to work with members of Congress to consider legislation that addresses both oversight and borrower protections.”

“I would have to do everything differently,” said CAN Capital Chief Legal Officer Parris Sanz in an interview with the publication. “I can’t give you a rundown of all the various moving parts that would be affected, but I can tell you for sure that it would be significant.”

In a separate interview with Bloomberg BNA, Richard Eckman, a partner at Delaware-based Pepper Hamilton LLP, said alternative lenders are probably wise to pay attention to this possibility.

REFILE-Marlette gets second ever online loan ABS over the line, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Marlette Funding got its second-ever bond backed by personal loans easily over the line on Wednesday, but investors said the primary market was still wary of deals from the online lending industry.

Marlette’s deal narrowed its pricing from guidance, but investors said global low rates had turned all types of US consumer debt-related assets with yield into a hot commodity.

And similar deals from a year ago were pricing far tighter.

Marlette priced its top US$149m of 1-year Single A (rated by Kroll) notes at 225bp over EDSF, tighter than a 235bp-250bp area guidance, two investors said.

Last July, Citigroup cleared its top class of A3 (rated by Moody’s) bonds – one notch lower – of Prosper Marketplace loans at 140bp over EDSF, according to IFR data.

Riskier Ba3 notes from Citigroup priced at 385bp over interpolated swaps, whereas Marlette’s BBs Wednesday printed at a whopping 825bp over swaps.

By another measure, the BBs were about 75bp more than a deep subprime auto ABS sold this week by lender Consumer Portfolio Services, according to IFR data.

“Marlette’s business model ensures an alignment of interests among the company, the originating bank and institutional loan buyers,” Kroll Bond Ratings wrote in its presale report.

The hunt for yield, meanwhile, has prompted two banks with exposure to online loans to revive postponed deals in the primary market, buyside sources said.

Non-bank Jefferies has rekindled a roughly US$140m bond deal of near-prime Lending Club loans, which was shelved for two months after Laplanche stepped down from Lending Club.

Bankers said that Goldman Sachs could also look to bring out its paused prime-quality Lending Club deal after Jefferies.

United Kingdom

Oxford economist John Kay: Where the opportunities are for fintech, (Alt Fi Credit), Rated: A

Large scale financial services firms are still ripe for disruption, according to the economist John Kay, who believes the City of London and other major financial centres have taken a wrong turn.

Kay explains that he sees four main ways that fintech can be successful and help the real economy by disrupting financial services.

These are firstly; the payments system This is the system that enables the payment of wages and salaries as well as bills. Secondly; capital allocation. This how peoples’ savings become invested in the physical assets and infrastructure of a country. Risk management is third, i.e mitigating the risks of everyday life such as insurance. Lastly is wealth management in a broader sense.

Technology will take over a lot this spectrum and he argues wealth management “is an area of major disruption”, encompassing P2P lending/investing, robo-advice and other discretionary investment services. However, he says payments is the one that will most clearly disrupt things and change our lives. He thinks cash will “seem crazy” in 20 years’ time.

Kay has a sizeable investment in online investment management firm Nutmeg, however, which is one of the dominant players seeking to disrupt the fund management and wealth management industries although they have yet to announce a P2P/market place lending function.

City regulator warns on peer-to-peer lending, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Chris Philp, a Conservative MP on the Treasury committee, said many consumers do not understand the dangers they are exposed to through P2P.

He said the way P2P sites are paid fees without taking on the risk of loans on a balance sheet is akin to the securitisation of subprime loans before the financial crisis.

Mr Bailey said in response, “I agree with you on the risks”.

Mr Bailey noted that although some platforms have so-called reserve funds to pay out to investors in the event that borrowers default, there is “no guarantee in that fund”.

European Union

Renowned investor Peter Thiel increases investment in leading European fintech, Deposit Solutions, (Press Release), Rated: AAA

Prominent venture capital firms today announce they have invested €15 million in European fintech company Deposit Solutions GmbH, a fast growing fintech innovator operating in the €9 trillion market for retail deposits in Europe.

The key highlights include:  PayPal co-founder and Facebook’s first outside investor, Peter Thiel, and German leading fintech investor FinLab jointly increase their share in the company  US investor Greycroft Partners, the global growth fund of e.ventures as well as Valar Ventures come on board as three new partners  The funding round increases the valuation of Deposit Solutions to €110 million.  This is the second successful investment round for Deposit Solutions within a year, following last year´s investment into the Company of €6.5 million. Since then the valuation of the company more than quadrupled.  The funds raised will be used to further develop the proprietary technology platform and continue Deposit Solutions´ international expansion, having already recently expanded to the UK and Switzerland.  Deposit Solutions will increase the number of employees at its UK HQ in the City of London and is expected to launch its retail platform in the UK in 2017.

“We are seeing substantial demand from banks looking to offer their clients attractive deposit products under the existing account relationship. As a result we have gained access to millions of clients and billions of deposit appetite in a very short amount of time. This in turn is very attractive to banks wanting to raise deposits through our platform.”

Max von Bismarck, Chief Business Officer and Managing Director of Deposit Solutions, said: “We address an important structural problem in European banking today for banks and retail customers: Many banks are unable to offer attractive interest rates to their clients. At the same time other banks find it difficult and costly to gain access to retail deposit funding. Our platform provides a solution for both while savers find it easier to get access to better rates.”

ECrowd! Spanish Crowdlending Platform Receives License by the CNMV, (Crowdfunding Insider), Rated: A

Debt-based crowdfunding platform ECrowd! is one of the first Spanish sites to receive a formal operating license from the Comision del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), the securities regulatory agency in Spain. ECrowd!, based in Barcelona, has joined Crowdcube Spain, Lendix and MyTripleA in receiving official approval as a Collaborative Finance Platform under regulations enacted in 2015.

They were on track to achieve 100% growth during 2016. [Comment: Some authors have issues with important verb tenses, it is unclear if the author meant they are or they were.]

Switzerland

The era of Crowlending opens new market for startups, (Startup Ticker), Rated: AAA

In Switzerland significant growth in Crowdlending was achieved in the previous year. The Crowdfunding monitoring report 2016 published by theUniversity of Applied Sciences Luzern early this year reported a significant increase in the total amount of money raised through Crowdlending in the year 2015. A total sum of CHF 7.9 Million was collected through crowdlending with a growth rate of +126%. 266 campaigns were financed. Crowdlending has continued to become more popular not only among start-ups but also among investors.

The crowdlending market in Switzerland is booming and has opened new opportunities for entrepreneurs. New startups operating crowdlending platforms are been established and many projects have been successfully financed. Today, there are 7 crowdlending platforms: the pioneer Cashare for both SMEs and private ventures, CreditGate24 for private and institutional investors, creditworld for both private and on SME loan, Lend, splendid that is specifically focusing on education loans,swisspeers for SMEs and Wecan.fund for SMEs. Other platforms – such as Miteinander-Erfolgreich and Raizers – also operate alongside other models as crowdlending platforms.

India

India’s Mywish Marketplaces raises $ 15 M to expand to new financial products, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

This isn’t a huge round compared to what other companies have closed, but it is entirely strategic. The capital was proved by Franklin Templeton, the U.S. banking giant with more than $700 billion in assets under management. Puru Vashishtha, who is board director at Mywish Marketplaces, told me in an interview that the company didn’t need to raise the funds and it wasn’t short of interest, but it did so for growth opportunities and was very deliberate with the capital that it did close.

“We were chased by a lot of venture capitalists and investors globally,” Vashishtha said. “Because we were profitable, we did not need to raise a lot and didn’t want to dilute too much too soon — that’s one of the reasons we chose Franklin Templeton. Also, Franklin Templeton has built a very big emerging market business, we want to leverage the experience and leadership of their team.”

To backtrack a little, Mywish Marketplaces operates Deal4Loans, a price comparison and loan aggregation website in India. Its products include credit cards, home loans, business loans and personal loans.

Like Credit Karma in the U.S. and countless others worldwide, it works with banks, credit card companies and other financial institutes to help drive customers, while for its users, it tries to provide a holistic look at financing option and which one suits best for each case. The Deal4Loans site claims to have served more than 6.3 million “satisfied” customers, while the company says it has dispersed a total of $2 billion loans in the last six years at a current rate of $400-$450 million per year.

So why is this profitable company — profitable from day one, it claims — raising money?

I hinted at it earlier, but Mywish Marketplaces wants to expand into more verticals with new financing products for Indian consumers.

P2P lender Faircent makes strategic C-suite appointments, (Economic Times), Rated: B

India’s largest peer- to- peer (P2P) lending marketplace, Faircent.com, on Wednesday announced the appointment of Shivam Gupta, who was a part of the global risk management team of Standard Chartered Bank based in Singapore, as chief risk officer and Karun Thareja, who was a part of the leadership at an analytics startup called WyzMindz, as head of marketing.

Thareja, on the other hand has extensive experience in Marketing, Sales and Business Management spanning more than 20 years. His domain expertise includes Analytics, Enterprise Systems, Contact Center Management and Process Management. In his prior roles he has led multi-fold growth in business units at companies like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Dassault Systems and NIIT.

Singapore

Online lending platform to offer investor insurance, (Straits Business), Rated: AAA

Online peer-to-peer funding platform Validus Capital has partnered home-grown insurance provider EQ Insurance to offer investor protection on some of the financing it provides to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

It will be the first platform in Singapore to provide investor insurance on its invoice financing services, the company said.

The platform, which was founded last year, has had a zero-per-cent default rate to date thanks to its “rigorous due diligence”, the company said. In the last few months, the company has had 27 SMEs approved for invoice financing services, each with an average revenue of $5 million.

Mr Prakash Somosundram, co-founder of Pealo – an aggregated marketplace for SMEs to access working capital – said the firm is looking into investor protection products. “This will definitely help us to attract more investors, and more people will see this form of investing as an asset class,” he added.

Pealo’s platform was launched in January – 300 SMEs have signed up and there are 46 live campaigns under way.

Mr Brian Teng, chief executive of InvoiceInterchange – which allows SMEs to put up their unpaid invoices for auction – also said the platform hopes to eventually make insurance available to investors.

Mr Teng declined to reveal how many SMEs have used the platform, but said there is significant room for invoice financing to grow as a source of funds for SMEs here.

“The penetration rate of invoice financing in Singapore is still low when compared with nations like Britain and the United States,” he noted. The company has funded $4 million of invoices since its launch in 2015.

Mr Roger Crook, chief executive of Capital Springboard – which runs a crowdfunding platform for invoice financing – said more than 100 SMEs have used the service.

The platform has funded over $85 million worth of invoices over the past year, with over 50 accredited and institutional investors taking part.

Australia

Online home loan marketplace exceeds billion in loans, (Broker News), Rated: AAA

HashChing, an online home loan marketplace, has surpassed $1 billion of home loans as momentum builds for the Sydney fintech company. The platform officially launched in August 2015 with just a few brokers on board across Australia. Now, more than a billion dollars’ worth of loans have been received and more than 1,200 mortgage brokers across the country have signed up. The platform works as an online marketplace connecting consumers to mortgage brokers.

“Customers aren’t just looking to save time. The key to our success is that our offer extends far beyond convenience. We’re able to offer pre-negotiated home loan deals from different lenders with equal features, the same products, but with an even better rate,” Sodhi, co-founder and CEO said.

Narang, co-founder and CIO added: “Our broker registration process has been automated to make it really easy and quick by allowing them to digitally sign the contract which instantly activates their account and saves the paper clutter at both ends.”

As the platform continues to build momentum, Sodhi and Narang have welcomed Claire Wivell Plater of The Fold Legal to their advisory board. Wivell Plater is a long standing member of the Business Advisory Committee to ASIC’s Licensing Division and was recently appointed to the Treasurer’s Fintech Advisory Group.

Narang explains HashChing 2.0 will involve more intelligent use of analytics for a better consumer experience.

China

How Chinese Search Giant Baidu Is Getting Deeper Into Banking, (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Chinese search giant Baidu is investing more deeply in financial technology startups as it seeks to expand its own lending efforts.

On Monday, Baidu announced an investment in ZestFinance, a startup taking on the credit scoring industry by using machine learning and a wide variety of data about borrowers to rate their ability to repay loans.

While the amount of the backing was not disclosed, Baidu also invested Bitcoin payments startup Circle Internet Financial last month, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Wednesday.

Both investments followed Baidu’s decision last year to form an online bank in partnership with Citic Group’s banking unit. The new bank would be the first in China that “truly understands both the Internet and financial services,” Baidu CEO Robin Li said at the time.

Baidu had also made several notable hires from the finance sector, the Nikkei paper reported, including executives with experience from American Express , online financial marketplace Lufax, and Everbright Bank in China.

While online lending sites like Lending Club LC -0.22% have faltered in the United States, the market is strong in China. The peer-to-peer lending market reached almost $67 billion last year, the largest in the world, Nikkei reported citing data from Citigroup.

Baidu will use ZestFinance’s credit rating technology to assess the creditworthiness of its own users. Unlike the U.S., China lacks centralized credit bureaus, and only a small portion of the population has a credit card.

Author:

George Popescu
George Popescu

July 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Dear readers, today I was traveling all day for my other company Lampix (www.lampix.co) . Unless I am traveling, I aim to send the daily Lending Times at 1pm EST. I was able to do so reliably for sometimes and will continue to aim towards 1pm EST daily. United States Lending Club’s CEO, Scott […]

July 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Dear readers, today I was traveling all day for my other company Lampix (www.lampix.co) . Unless I am traveling, I aim to send the daily Lending Times at 1pm EST. I was able to do so reliably for sometimes and will continue to aim towards 1pm EST daily.

United States

United Kingdom

  • A very long and complete article on the FCA, crowdfunding, and p2p lending. This article comes in the recent context of the FCA conducting a new review of the space. A learned a lot from this article.
  • Crowd2Fund launches their own auto-investing tool. A must have for all p2p companies to make sure their lenders deploy capital easily, fast, often, and that they are diversified enough not to hurt themselves.
  • In the UK’s version of today’s comedic note: JustUs is attempting to raise £5.35m, and a Chinese group GuanQun has plowed in …….drumroll….£50k. Yes, 50 thousand GBP. I think this piece of news hurts more than it help.

Australia

India

News Summary

 

United States

Lending Club’s CEO Scott Sanborn’s response to Wall Street Journal’s article on July 12th, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

We respectfully disagree with your characterization of charge-off rates on the LendingClub platform in “Online Lender’s New Issue: Bad Loans” (Money & Investing, July 12). The article fails to note that lower-graded loans, which have experienced higher charge-off rates, represent just 25% of the company’s standard program loan volume, while 75% of standard program loan volume has exhibited stable performance.

We believe the single most critical factor in the discussion of performance is net returns to investors. Our expectation of performance on the loans you have singled out is a net annualized return of roughly 5%. Based on the steps we have taken to improve performance, which aren’t mentioned in the article, we anticipate the performance of any future loans in this subset to be more than 8%. We believe that in the current low-yield environment, LendingClub platform performance continues to compare very favorably with available alternatives. For example, the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index returned 1.96% for the year ending March 31.

Scott Sanborn,CEO, LendingClub,San Francisco

 Student loan platform CommonBond raises 0M and M in equity, buys Gradible, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Today, CommonBond, a platform that specializes in loans and refinancing for students, is announcing that it has raised $300 million in debt to loan out to prospective borrowers; and a further $30 million in a Series C equity round to continue building out its platform.

On top of this, the company has acquired another startup, Gradible, for an undisclosed amount to add new services to its business, specifically providing a facility for future employers to contribute to student loan payoffs. (Think of it as a 401k for student loans.)

The funding comes as NYC-based CommonBond says it’s passed the half-billion dollar mark for funds lent on its platform since going national three years ago. David Klein, the company’s CEO and co-founder, told TechCrunch that the company is profitable on a per-loan basis and projects that it will be fully profitable as a business in 2018.

CommonBond is not disclosing its valuation with this round. “We have strategically decided not to play the unicorn game,” Klein said in an interview. “But what I can tell you is that if we were a private company when you bought our stock and were now going public, you’d be happy with the return.”

He also described it as an “unstructured upround”, in reference to situations where a valuation is tied to complex terms that might be seen as a down-round in another light. As a point of reference, one of CommonBond’s competitors, Social Finance (SoFi), raised money last year at what was thought to be a $4 billion valuation.

The $30 million in equity funding takes the total raised by CommonBond to date to just under $80 million, while the $300 million being announced today looks like the closing out of a round that was first reported unconfirmed earlier this year at a lower value. Taking equity and debt funding altogether, the company has raised around $1 billion.

Klein said that the funding his company is announcing today is the first major round of financing raised by an online loan platform this year in the U.S. (The UK’s Future Finance, a would-be competitor that also focuses on students, raised $171 million earlier this year.) So what is CommonBond doing right, exactly, that others are not?

In the case of CommonBond, he said that some of the important factors are the fact that it targets higher education students, who will be earning more over the years when they are working, and it’s also seeing a growth in its loan volumes, which are double what they were a year ago — although the company is not disclosing actual numbers.

That is where the Gradible acquisition comes into play, too. The company — which had raised funding from the likes of AngelPad, 500 Startups and Kima Ventures — will help CommonBond differentiate itself from SoFi and others by giving it an extra set of services to offer to students not just during periods when they are in school, but beyond. The Gradible deal — terms of which were not disclosed — will also mean that CommonBond can tap further into the loan refinancing market as well, competing more against the likes of Earnest.

Baidu invests in ZestFinance to develop search-powered credit scoring for China, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Baidu, which operates China’s dominant search platform, took part in a $60 million round for payments firm Circle in June. Baidu’s search engine has around 80 percent marketshare in China.

“ZestFinance’s unique ability to analyze and process complex, disparate data to make accurate credit decisions is very valuable to the Chinese credit market, where a centralized credit scoring system has yet to emerge,”

ZestFinance was founded by ex-Google CIO and VP of engineering Merrill, and it uses machine learning and big data to transform information into measurements and signals for credit scoring. It has raised nearly $100 million from investors, with its most recent raise a $20 million Series C round in July 2013. JD.com also put money in as part of its strategic partnership last summer.

Alibaba and Tencent both operate digital banks and micro-loan programs, while Baidu stepped into the banking ring via a partnership with brick and mortar bank CITIC. ZestFinance previously partnered with JD.com, Alibaba’s closest rival in China’s e-commerce space, to power the credit service run by its financial arm, which is valued at more than $1 billion. Then there are multi-billion dollar payment services like Alipay (Alibaba) and WeChat Pay (Tencent), too.

Can SoFi Be New School And Old Fashioned At The Same Time?, (Pymnts), Rated: AAA

The firm is much beloved of investors, having snapped up a cool $1 billion in Series E Funding in a round lead by SoftBank. The firm is currently valued at $4 billion and has loaned out over $10 billion for student loans. According to its CEO Mike Cagney, he would like to see the company grow to a value of $100 billion someday.

But SoFi, despite its slightly different business model than its marketplace lending fellows (SoFi does not sell off loans in their entirety, and holds on to a percentage of all of them) and fairly rarified customer-base (SoFi’s initial and current focus is on millennial borrowers with debt from elite universities) is still feeling the tidal pressures that are pulling the rest of its segment around.

And, it seems in SoFi’s case, it is being pulled in two nearly opposite directions.

Being Even More Alternative

Whatever else can be said of SoFi – if recent reports in CNN Money about the lengths they go to help their users meet and mingle are accurate – they definitely take the “social” part of Social Finance seriously.

Over 8,000 borrowers have met up at the 300 or so (mostly fully booked) SoFi events held nationwide over the last year. Events include social mixers full of free food and alcohol, yoga classes and the chance to meet other young, upwardly mobile professionals.

“You meet a lot of interesting, like-minded people,” New York-based SoFi Customer Elsa Yan noted of the four different SoFi events she has attended.

Getting Into Traditional Banking

While SoFi may seem to be doubling down on the alternative path by developing their answer to Tinder for the financially responsible – recent reports indicate that SoFi is also moving toward being much more like one of those traditional banks whose methods it has historically eschewed.

And the Super Bowl ad worked a little too well and flooded its website with far more traffic than it was ready to handle. Days passed – customers waited, got mad, and turned to Twitter and online review sites to blast SoFi for being inept.

Then it came out that the firm just plainly didn’t have the capital reserves necessary to meet the surge in loan demand – which didn’t help the PR situation – and had their growth happy CEO singing a slightly different tune.

On the table: SoFi could seek regulatory approval for a state banking charter in Utah. This has the upside of adding the sort of stability lenders would like to see – but comes with the miles of red tape SoFi has built a reputation for speedily avoiding. Also possible options are credit cards and deposit accounts. Finally, partnerships with big financial institutions seem very much in play. That last option has seemed increasingly likely since the former co-chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank AG, Anshu Jain, announced his intention to join SoFi’s board of directors. Cagney also met extensively with JPMC’s Jamie Dimon earlier this year.

So far, SoFi is doing somewhat better than its peers. In May, SoFi received a triple-A rating from Moody’s on a $380 million deal that repackaged loans into bonds. It was the first securitization by an online lending startup to get the top rating from Moody’s.

Untangling The Marketplace Lending Mess, (New York Financial Press), Rated: A

“I foresee a heightened period of FinTech innovation, where new technologies and platforms will emerge to overcome these recent challenges, and help the industry scale,” Dara Albright says.

“Just this month, Prosper launched a revamped user experience for its retail investors,” explains Albright. “Another online lending product, American Homeowner Preservation 2015A+ LLC, received SEC approval to use Reg A+ to bring a higher-yielding, fixed-income alternative to retail investors, and more and more platforms are incorporating IRA Services’ ISCP™ technology into their platforms in order to help retail investors facilitate tax-deferred P2P investing.

PTIN Directory Selects Bizfi to Provide Access to Funding for Hundreds of Thousands of Accountants and CPAs and Their Small Business Clients, ( Business Wire), Rated: A

The National Directory of Registered Tax Return Preparers & Professionals (PTIN) has selected premier fintech company Bizfi to provide its tax professionals, accountants, CPAs and their small business clients with access to funding through its aggregation marketplace via a custom referral process.

PTINdirectory.com is the first comprehensive national online directory of federally registered tax preparers. It is independently owned by the National Directory of Registered Tax Return Preparers & Tax Professionals, Ltd. and has no affiliation with the Internal Revenue Service or any government agency.

The partnership gives PTIN’s hundreds of thousands of members access to the full range of Bizfi’s funding products, including lines of credit, short-term financing, equipment and invoice financing, medical financing, franchise financing, medium-term loans and even long-term loans backed by a guarantee from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Members are able to leverage these solutions for their own businesses as well as refer their small business clients to Bizfi to speed the process of applying for and receiving capital.

Bizfi is a fintech company combining aggregation, funding and a participation marketplace on a single platform for small businesses. Founded in 2005, Bizfi and its family of companies have provided more than $1.7 billion in financing to more than 31,000 small businesses in a wide variety of industries across the United States.

Is Online Lending Doomed? 5 Predictions for the Future of the Industry, (Forbes), Rated: A

1. Lending Club will survive. The fall was great, but it is not a death knell.

2. There will be shake-out and consolidation.

3. Banks will “play ball.” Recently, big names like Wells Fargo and American Express have launched online, fast-decision loan products with a small-business focus. One way or another, we can expect to see more banks looking for a piece of the pie, and it will be interesting to see how Bank of America and others will respond.

4. (More) Regulation is coming — but how much is unclear.

5. Online lending is here to stay.

Online Marketplace Lending — Recently Misunderstood?, (Forbes), Rated: A

It’s true that charge-offs are ticking up for some consumer credit lenders. As of May 2016, Prosper had charged off, from year-ago loans, about 4.2% of loan principal amounts; at LendingClub, gross charge-offs of its top-graded loans ticked up to 1.51% from 1.46%, while charge-offs of its lower-graded loans went to 6.31% for year-ago loans from 4.58% on loans that had been originated in 2013. These numbers are nowhere near the double-digit charge-offs seen during the financial crisis, but the trend has caused institutional purchasers to re-think how these loans compare with some popular bank offerings, even though banks’ charge-off rates have also ticked higher in 2016 versus their low in 2015.

In the real estate sector, there are additional differences, since loan underwriting turns more on the nature of the underlying property (asset) than the credit worthiness of the borrower. By taking a mortgage on the property, lenders on real estate provide themselves with some level of security – a feature of real value if the borrower turns out to be less than reliable. Because real estate loans are secured by the subject property, they typically involve significantly less risk compared to unsecured consumer loans, at least in the eyes of most sophisticated investors. There’s never any assurance against a widespread drop in asset prices, which would adversely impact asset-backed loans, but the relative infrequency of such events, together with the presence of a significant equity “cushion” on most individual loans, generally acts to mitigate such risk.

Nasdaq and KBW launched a new fintech index on July 18, 2016, ( Business Insider), Rated: A

The index will track the performance of companies that leverage technology to deliver financial products and services and represents approximately $785 million in total market cap. The index has 49 fintech companies including major data, exchange, trading and payments companies. Their distribution is nearly exclusively electronic.

In May, SoFi received a triple-A rating from Moody’s on a $380 million deal that repackaged loans into bonds. It was the first securitization by an online lending startup to get the top rating from Moody’s. The deal likely presages the continued normalization of the markets.

Myth Busting: Are Online Lenders Shadow Banks?, (Benzinga), Rated: A

As non-bank lending institutions, alternative lenders have occasionally come under fire for acting as “shadow banks,” a term coined to describe the subprime lenders that led to the 2008 financial crisis. However, the term is a misnomer when applied to innovative lenders, according to an industry expert.

“As each day, week and month goes by, we are looking at new ways of making data, information, trends, ideas, concepts more available, more transparent, and [bringing] the industry to welcome a very open and robust dialogue,” Goldman said.

However, there’s a lot of work to be done to get to that point, Goldman said, as different loan originators will have different data points and metrics.

Goldman sees standardization of what data originators should provide as a top priority to enforcing true transparency in the industry. He sees Orchard Platform’s work in creating a lending exchange as “[getting] to the heart of that” priority.

KBRA Announces Addition of Xilun Chen to ABS Team, (Press Release), Rated: B

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) announced today the appointment of Xilun (Xi) Chen to the role of Senior Director within the Commercial ABS group. Xi will be reporting to Anthony Nocera, Managing Director and head of Commercial ABS. Xi joins from Standard & Poor’s where he spent the last 6 years focusing on various esoteric ABS assets.

As Marketplace Lenders Offer Less, LoanMart Offers More Opportunities for the Credit Challenged, (Business Wire), Rated: B

LoanMart, one of the nation’s premier financial technology companies, is excited to introduce a new type of loan to meet the significant demand of its customers: an Unsecured Personal Loan.

LoanMart will now offer Unsecured Personal Loans in 8 states including California, Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota, Georgia and Indiana. LoanMart will also continue to offer vehicle secured loans in 11 states and small business loans for self-employed consumers in another 14 states.

Starting in 2002, LoanMart offers both vehicle secured and personal loans.

United Kingdom

A Case of Regulatory Evolution: A Review of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Approach to Crowdfunding, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The United Kingdom is the leader in online alternative finance in the European market, accounting for just under 75 percent of all transaction volumes in Europe. In 2015, online alternative finance in the United Kingdom grew to GBP 3.2 billion, increasing by 84 percent from GBP 1.74 billion in 2014.

The FCA defines crowdfunding as an umbrella term to capture various “categories” of activity, some of which are regulated whilst others are not.

This broad term includes four sub-categories:

  • Donation-based crowdfunding: people give money to enterprises or organisations whose activities they want to support.
  • Pre-payment or rewards-based crowdfunding: people give money in return for a reward, service or product (such as concert tickets, an innovative prod- uct, or a computer game).
  • Loan-based crowdfunding: also known as “peer- to-peer lending”, this is where consumers lend money in return for interest payments and a repayment of capital over time.
  • Investment-based crowdfunding: consumers in- vest directly or indirectly in new or established businesses by buying investments such as shares or debentures (FCA 2016a).

The first two categories are exempt from regulatory oversight from the FCA.

Investment Crowdfunding

In 2015, equity-based crowdfunding experienced 295 percent growth compared to the previous year.

The FCA defines the instruments traded on investment-based crowdfunding as “non-readily realisable securities” that are not listed on regulated stock markets, and are distributed and sold over the internet.

At the time of the February 2015 review, the FCA publically acknowledged the full authorisation of ten firms as of 1 April 2014, with an additional four platforms receiving authorisation by the end of 2014. While the FCA has yet to release a 2016 crowdfunding review, our assessment is that as of March 2016, a total of 24 crowdfunding platforms have permission to function as an investment-based crowdfunding business in the UK. Additionally, a closer examination of the FCA’s registry indicates that at least 12 platforms are operating an investment-based crowdfunding business as an appointed representative.

At the end of 2015, investment crowdfunding raised GBP 337.8 million.

Investment Crowdfunding Risks

In addition to use of social media for financial promotion, equity crowdfunding platforms must also navigate potential additional supervision of the “online forums” typical for most crowdfunding campaigns. While the existing guidance does not specifically discuss how online forums should be supervised, this is probably an area that will attract attention in the future.

Another potential area of risk may relate to the required due-diligence that platforms must undertake before allowing businesses to raise equity on their platform

Loan-based crowdfunding

In March 2016, the FCA indicated that a total of eight firms (only an additional seven in the course of a year) had received full authorisation to operate as a P2P platform, with a further 86 firms awaiting a decision.5 Of these 86 platforms, only 44 have interim permissions related to their previously held OFT license (FCA 2016c).

Interestingly, it seems as though one particular firm, Resolution Capital (FCA 2016d), is “currently attached to” approximately 25 businesses, including several firms operating in the P2P lending space. As such, it seems like a considerable number of appointed representative firms are using the Resolution Capital license.

Loan-based platforms rules

The FCA implemented prudential requirements (FCA 2015a), which reflect the standardised capital reserves that a platform must comply with.

Utilising the GABRIEL portal, platforms are expected to report to the FCA on a quarterly basis, with monthly reporting of any information relating to the holding of client monies (FCA 2016e). Although prudential rules are not easy to generalise, as they are based upon the individual permissions and activities of each platform, P2P lending firms do have a base capital requirement of GBP 50k, with a GBP 20k requirement during the transition period.

At present, firms are obliged to meet minimum capital requirements only upon authorisation, with a transitional period until April 2017 (FCA 2015a). A platform operating in the P2P space is also required to notify the FCA should the value of their loans outstanding increase by 15 percent or more, thus necessitating a recalculation of any prudential requirements. In addition to financial reporting, platforms are required to report any disputes between consumers and the platform.

In addition to capital requirements, platforms are obliged to conform to Client Money Rules, as outlined in the FCA Handbook in the section relating to their Client Asset Sourcebook rules (or CASS) related to “adequate protection”– i.e. no co-mingling of client monies, clear and transparent holding of client monies, etc. (FCA 2016f). Rules related to client money were further modified in 2016, following the Consultation Paper entitled: “Loan-based Crowdfunding Platforms and Segregation of Client Money”.

Loan-based crowdfunding platforms must comply with disclosure requirements, where all communications are “fair, clear and not misleading”.

The FCA’s approach to crowdfunding is often lauded as the “gold-standard” for crowdfunding regulation. With regulation now having been in place for over a year, it is interesting to note the high levels of satisfaction registered by crowdfunding platforms.

Of the P2P Lending (loan-based crowdfunding) platforms surveyed, 91 percent regarded the current regulatory regime as “adequate and appropriate” to their activities, with only 5.66 percent suggesting that “tighter or stricter” regulation need to be implemented. A mere 3.77 percent viewed regulation as “excessive and too strict”.

Crowd2Fund Launches New Investment Feature Smart-Invest, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowd2Fund announced on Monday the launch of its new intelligent investment feature known as Smart-Invest, which will reportedly allow investors to automate their crowdlending investments.

Earlier this spring, Crowd2Fund was approved for IF ISA and promoted higher interest rates for investors.

Chris Hancock, CEO and founder of Crowd2Fund added: “The combination of Smart-Invest and the IF ISA government scheme continues to demonstrate our commitment in helping our investors grow their savings whilst supporting great British businesses.”

Chinese financial group backs Alderley Edge lender JustUs, ( Bdaily), Rated: A

In June, JustUs embarked on a drive to raise £5.35m, with the bulk (£4m) sought from institutional investors and a further £1m via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The fundraising, which will value JustUs at £26m, will allow the firm to recruit over 100 new staff and launch a new media campaign.

Since its inception, the company has secured around £2m in investment.

Peer-to-peer consumer lending firm JustUs has received backing from a Chinese financial group, giving a boost to its £5m fundraising goal.

Four representatives of GuanQun Investment, which has already ploughed £50k into the Cheshire-based firm, are heading to JustUs’ Alderley Edge headquarters next week (July 29) to discuss ramping up investment and explore strategic global partnerships.

Based in London, GuanQun Investment (GQI) forms part of Beijing-based Guanqun Chicheng, which has supported around 200k SMEs since it was established in 2009

Australia

Cloud SMSF administration software provider, Class, has collaborated with peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, to provide self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) accountants and their clients with a direct-connect date feed.  This would allow for automated data entry and transactions processing within Class.

RateSetter [Australia] has facilitated more than $50 million in loans through its platform since it launched in 2014, with SMSFs providing the funds for close to a quarter of the loans.

India

Lending marketplace Deal4Loans raises fifteen million dollars from Franklin Templeton, (Tech Circle), Rated: AAA

Mywish Marketplaces Pvt. Ltd, which operates retail loans marketplace Deal4Loans.com, has raised $15 million from Franklin Templeton International Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. The development comes after VCCircle first reported in May that the company was looking for a big-ticket investment in its first institutional round of funding.

The company had in April raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a bunch of high-profile investors, including Ram Shriram, founding board member and one of the first investors in search engine giant Google; WhatsApp’s global business head Neeraj Arora and Puru Vashishtha, a former Wall Street hedge fund investor.

Founded in 2009 by Durham University MBA alumnus Rishi Mehra, Deal4Loans offers comparison of retail loans across six different categories – home loan, personal loan, car loan, credit cards, loan against property and education loan. The platform has 50 lending partners (a mix of banks and non-banking financial companies) and 7 million registered customers. The marketplace uses algorithms to acquire customers for the participating banks’ loan products and to match customers with products.

According to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, Deal4Loans earned a net profit of Rs 78.5 lakh on net sales of Rs 7.7 crore for the year through March 2015.

RBI more open to experimentation at early stages of a product or method of service: Raghuram Rajan, (Live Mint), Rated: A

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan on Monday said that the Indian central bank is more open to experimentation at the early stages of a product or method of service but at the same time will have to be more conscious of the risks to stability.

“Non-bank entities are providing innovative payment products and services, forcing banks to reflect upon their strategy—to compete or to collaborate? Banks may not have the wherewithal to compete effectively if they have not been investing in technology and associated personnel. However, if they collaborate without building these capabilities, they may be left with crumbs from the client while their partner take the whole client cake,”

Rajan said RBI welcomes both competition and collaboration.

Author:

George Popescu