Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle debuts U.S. ABS platform for small biz loans. LendingClub to pursue national bank charter, reports Q2 losses. SoFi sues unnamed defendants over Consumer Loan Program 2015 Trust. DigiFi launches first open-source loan origination system. BlockFi raises $18.3M for crypto lending. Funding Circle posts higher revenues, bigger pre-tax losses. […]

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LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle debuts ABS platform for U.S. small-business loans (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle is securitizing its first pool of U.S.-based small business loans.

According to Kroll Bond Rating Agency, the online business-loan lender is marketing $198.45 million in notes backed by loans made to small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. Funding Circle has previously issued notes for asset-backed pools of small-business loans in its native UK.

The transaction consists of four classes of notes, including a $142.8 million Class A tranche with an initial A- rating from Kroll, and benefiting from 32.5% credit enhancement.

LendingClub Discusses National Bank Charter, GreenSky Exploring Sale (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A topic that has been coming up more often is the potential of a national bank charter. Last week we learned that small business lender OnDeck was pursuing a charter and LendingClub is doing the same.

Today LendingClub reported their Q2 2019 earnings. Highlights include record loan originations of $3.1 billion, up 11% from the prior year period and record net revenue of $190.8 million, up 8% year over year.

Source: LendingClub and LendAcademy

GreenSky Q2 2019 Earnings

David Zalik, GreenSky Chairman and CEO included this statement in the press release:

Notwithstanding the Company’s solid operating results, in light of the complexity of the Company’s operating model, we do not believe that the Company’s current market value is reflective of the Company’s strong record of cash flow generation and intrinsic value. Accordingly, GreenSky’s Board of Directors, working together with its senior management team and legal and financial advisors, has commenced a process to explore, review and evaluate a range of potential strategic alternatives focused on maximizing stockholder value. In connection with this review, GreenSky has retained FTP Securities LLC (“FT Partners”) and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as its financial advisors, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP as its legal advisors.

The news sparked Christopher Donat, an analyst Sandler O’Neill to speculate that Square or Goldman Sachs could be potential buyers according to this article in American Banker.

LendingClub envisions a ‘marketplace bank,’ seeks charter (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform LendingClub is exploring the possibility of obtaining a national bank charter as it adjusts its strategy following a $10.6 million loss in the second quarter.

Digital Banking: LendingClub Gets Some Fintech Love as it Pursues National Bank Charter (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Shares in LendingClub (NYSE:LC) are rising during another down market day as the trade war with China has no end in sight and political tempers flare. Shares are currently trading over 10% higher following yesterday’s Q2 earnings report where LendingClub said it expected to finally report a positive net incoming in Q3 following years of losses.

Second, LendingClub has hardened its lending model with years of fine-tuning. Unlike some other digital-only banks, LendingClub has been providing credit to consumers for more than a decade having originated over $50 billion in loans.

LendingClub Logs Lower-Than-Expected Losses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

By the numbers, net loss came in at $10.66 million or $0.12 per share — a lower loss than last year when Lending Club reported a loss of $60.86 million or $0.72 per share. Adjusted loss per share narrowed to $0.01 from $0.08 a year earlier.

Net revenue increased 8 percent from year-ago revenues of $176.98 million in 2018 to $190.8 million in 2019, driven by the higher volume of loan originations Sanborn mentioned.  Loan originations during the quarter were at $3.1 billion, up 11 percent year over year. While the revenue number is an improvement, it came in very, very slightly below analysts’ estimates.

LendingClub posts smaller-than-expected loss on loan originations (Nasdaq), Rated: A

LendingClub said it now expects smaller loss for the year than it had previously forecast. Adjusted net loss is expected to be between $5 million and $20 million, from $9 million to $29 million.

P2P lender LendingClub increases credit access with Select Plus Platform (Verdict), Rated: B

LendingClub, a US-based P2P lending platform, has introduced the Select Plus Platform to offer borrowers access to sophisticated investors.

LendingClub: America Does Not Need Another Credit Card, Apple Card Spells Disaster for Consumers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Apple Card, a “new kind of credit card” launched by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in partnership with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is expected to be made available to the public within the next few days. In fact, it has been reported that invitation emails have already gone out to a small group of iPhone owners. More will follow during August.

One detractor is LendingClub.

Anuj Nayar: Americans don’t need another credit card. They need the right tools to help them build their financial futures and pay down debt without the opportunity to accumulate more at high-interest rates. Goldman Sachs tried to pursue building a helpful consumer tool with Marcus but now has slipped back into its old ways, looking to make money by getting consumers hooked on revolving, high-interest debt on Apple’s credit card.

Court activity on July 12: Sofi Lending Corp. vs Jaime Daric (Northern California Record), Rated: AAA

The Superior Court of California for San Francisco County reported the following activity in the suit brought by Sofi Lending Corp. against Jaime Daric and other unnamed defendants on July 12: ‘Declaration Of Non Service (transaction Id # 63543270) Filed By Plaintiff Sofi Lending Corp., As Attorney In Fact For Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Trustee Of Sofi Consumer Loan Program 2015 Trust’

Rate cuts (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, we discuss the Fed rate cut to the 2 to 2.5% target range, and provide market color on OnDeck earnings.

Fun fact #1: It has been 3,878 days (10.5+ years) since the FOMC last cut rates.

This is the second longest streak on record behind the 4,115 days that passed between cuts in the discount rate since 1954. Markets are speculating on additional rate cuts before year-end although Fed Chair Powell positioned the rate cut as an “adjustment” rather than a change in trend.

Source: Chicago Fed PeerIQ

DigiFi Launches the World’s First Open-Source Loan Origination System (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

DigiFi, an enterprise SaaS company building the future of lending technology, announced today the launch of its open-source loan origination system (LOS). The free-to-use platform, which was built over 45,000+ development hours and has been operating in-market with top lenders since late 2018, provides an end-to-end suite of modular capabilities that can be used individually or together to drive digital transformation.

DigiFi’s open source release underscores the lending industry’s dissatisfaction with the closed-loop systems available from existing LOS providers, which force lenders into onerous long-term contracts for inflexible systems.

Bitcoin and Ether Lender BlockFi Raises $ 18.3 Million Series A (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Crypto lending startup BlockFi received $18.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Valar Ventures, the company announced Tuesday.

Valar, which was founded in part by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, was joined by Winklevoss Capital, Galaxy DigitalConsenSys, Akuna Capital, Susquehanna, CMT Digital, Morgan Creek, Avon Ventures and PJC. Valar’s investment was its first in the cryptocurrency industry following prior investments in other fintech firms like Transferwise, a press release said.

Want to Hire Millennials? Better Help Repay Student Debt (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Like millions of her peers, Nicole Read graduated with thousands of dollars of debt. Unlike most of them, she’s getting direct help from her employer to pay it back.

In Read’s case, it’s $100 a month.
Such plans are spreading. They were on offer to staff at about 8% of U.S. employers in 2019, more than double the 2015 level, according to an April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Another study by business adviser Willis Towers Watson found that 32% of firms are considering introducing a similar benefit by 2021.

Source: Bloomberg

Verishop Inc. is excited to announce a partnership with financial technology company Affirm Inc., giving customers more choice at checkout to pay for their purchases over time.

To see if they qualify, customers only need to provide five simple pieces of information2 and a credit decision is made within seconds. Monthly payments are shown in real dollars instead of hard-to-calculate percentages so customers will know exactly what they owe with no hidden or late fees. Customers never pay a dollar more than they agree to at checkout. The pay-over-time option is available for purchases ranging from $50 to $17,500 with a 30-day payment deferral available for smaller amounts.

Klarna offers payment installments to Toms, Asos US customers (Retail Dive), Rated: B

  • Klarna, an alternative payment platform, announced Monday that Asos shoppers in the United States will now be able to use its services, according to a press release. The announcement comes after Klarna also publicized its partnership with Toms on Thursday.

Lendio Surpasses $ 1.5 Billion in Small Business Loans Facilitated (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio today announced it has facilitated more than $1.5 billion in financing to small businesses across the U.S.

According to the Federal Reserve Banks’ 2019 Small Business Credit Survey, “applications to online lenders continued to trend upward” last year, with 32% of applicants turning to online lenders, up from 24% the previous year.

Lendio’s 15-minute online application gives business owners access to multiple lenders with offers suited to meet their capital and business needs.

Behind the growth of PayPal’s SMB lending business (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In just a few years, PayPal’s business financing solutions has serviced over 225,000 small businesses around the world with funding. Between PayPal Working Capital and PayPal Business Loans, the company has recently surpassed $10 billion of capital it’s leant out to SMBs

Online lender backed by Nas says it was hit by security breach (New York Post), Rated: A

Earnin, which is also backed by tech investor Andreesen Horowitz, discovered in February that a third-party security firm had accessed customers’ bank transactions — including all their debit card purchases and payment statements going back for months, the company confirmed to The Post.

Small Business Loan Approvals at Banks Hit Record Highs (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Approval rates for small business loan applications rose to another post-recession record (27.7%) at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets), while also climbing above 50% at small banks in July, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released today.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications inched up one-tenth of a percent to 50.1% from 50% in June.

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders dropped three-tenths of a percent to 56.8% from 57.1% in June.

What business does a crowdfunding fintech have with banks? (American Banker), Rated: A

Krista Morgan, the founder and CEO of the crowdfunding fintech P2Binvestor, always understood that funding small-business loans through investors would be challenging. But when the firm launched in 2014, she quickly recognized it wasn’t lining up the investors or capital that was the difficulty.

“Finding capital through our investor platform has been relatively straightforward,” she said. “Finding businesses and winning the business and being competitive in market and building the technology that supports the lending has been the harder side of the marketplace.”

Fox Corp. Buys 67% Stake In Consumer Loan Marketplace Credible Labs (Stock News Press), Rated: A

Citing reports, as per the terms of the deal, the shareholders of Credible Labs will reportedly receive A$ 2.21 in cash per CHESS depository interest (CDI), representing A$55.25 per share of common stock of the company.

Fox says it will commit up to $USD 75 million ($AUD110.8 million) of growth capital to Credible over the next two years.

Cross River — A Regional Bank Providing Specialized BaaS Services (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Who we spoke to: Gilles Gade (Founder and CEO) and Phil Goldfeder (SVP and Communications)
  • Establishment year: 2008
  • Bank license: Yes
  • API documentation

Al Goldstein of Avant and Amount (Lend Academy), Rated: A

We last had Al Goldstein, the CEO and Chairman of Avant and Amount, on the show back in 2015. So much has changed since then not just in the personal loan space but in the banking space as well. And Avant has evolved to meet those challenges.

Mall landlords weigh becoming lenders to blunt retail crash (American Banker), Rated: A

Mall landlords accustomed to offering rent reductions to ailing retailers are mulling a new strategy to forestall the industry’s collapse: positioning themselves as lenders to tenants struggling to stay afloat.

The boutique bank PJ Solomon has organized discussions with several mall owners about pursuing such a strategy with the troubled retailer Forever 21, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what could serve as a model for future transactions within the sector.

This woman paid off ,000 in credit-card debt with a personal loan, but her first attempt landed her in the red again (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Rogers is far from the only person to have used this debt-consolidation strategy with success. At the end of 2018, nearly 11% of adults in the U.S. held a personal loan, according to data from ExperianEXPN, +1.84%.   The number of personal loans has risen 42% since 2015, making them the fastest-growing category of debt in the country.

Around 61% of personal loans are used for debt consolidation, said Ezra Becker, senior vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion.

An update on credit access and the Bureau’s first No-Action Letter (CFPB), Rated: AAA

For some consumers, the use of unconventional sources of information, or “alternative data,” to evaluate creditworthiness may be a way to increase access to credit or decrease the cost of credit. Alternative data includes information not typically found in core credit files of nationwide consumer reporting agencies and may indicate a likelihood of meeting obligations on time that a traditional credit history may not reflect.

The Bureau remains committed to using all of the tools at its disposal under the Dodd-Frank Act to help address these important issues around access to credit.  Toward that goal, the Bureau is currently reviewing comments to its proposed No-Action Letter, Trial Disclosure, and Product Sandbox policies.

Don’t let AI trigger a fair-lending violation (American Banker), Rated: A

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning poses both opportunities and risks for financial institutions.

While using such predictive techniques may mitigate consumer lending credit risk, financial institutions should be cognizant of the potential impacts of bias and its implications on fairness.

Peer-to-peer crypto lending startup Dharma pauses new deposits and loans (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

Dharma, the San Francisco-based crypto lending startup behind the open-source protocol of the same name, has announced via Twitter that it is “pausing new deposits and loans” on its platform.

I quit my job at 34 with $ 3 million—here are my 5 biggest regrets about early retirement (CNBC), Rated: AAA

And in 2012, I finally retired at 34. By the time I quit my job, I had amassed a net worth of about $3 million that generated roughly $80,000 in investment income per year.

If I worked a few extra years before retiring, I would have had the financial confidence to buy more real estate in 2012, right before prices began to take off. (A rental property in San Francisco that cost $900,000 in 2012 would be worth roughly $1.6 million today.)

Source: Bay Area Market Reports, Compass

I also could have leveraged my interests in real estate and technology to start a real estate crowdfunding company — or, at the very least, join one. I still believe that real estate is one of the most straightforward ways most Americans can build wealth over the long term.

OppLoans Review: Installment Loans for Borrowers with Bad Credit (Money Check), Rated: A

One such lender that is looking to capitalize on this space is OppLoans. The US-based lender offers loans to those with poor credit, ranging from $500 up to $5,000.

Galaxy Digital Makes Its Next Move in Crypto Lending Markets (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: B

DrawBridge Lending (DBL), a digital asset loaning, borrowing and investing company, has received an investment from merchant bank Galaxy Digital with the aim to greatly expand DBL’s institutional investment and lending capacity.

Minneapolis-based Digital Finance Startup DeFiner.org Wins 2019 Detroit Fintech Challenge (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Less than two years after being conceptualized, Minneapolis-based digital lending & borrowing platform DeFiner.org has beat out 17 other Fintech startups to win one of the industry’s most coveted prizes.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle adds to August ABS supply with first US deal (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

UK-based marketplace lender Funding Circle is set to issue its first US securitization, a $198.45m deal backed by loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Funding Circle posts higher revenues but pre-tax losses widen (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has increased its revenues but widened its pre-tax losses, according to a half-year report which echoed last month’s results preview.

The FTSE 250-quoted firm posted a 29 per cent jump in revenue to £81.4m but pre-tax losses widened to £30.8m from £27.1m in the first half of 2018.

Adjusted core earnings fell year-on-year to £1.2m from £3.3m.

Tide, Starling Ramp Up Rivalry Over SMB Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rivalry between U.K. challenger banks Tide and Starling continues to heat up as Tide signs on its 100,000th small business customer.

Reports in The Telegraph on Monday (Aug. 5) said the companies continue to compete for the small business customer base. Tide has on-boarded 100,000 small business customers, described by the firm’s chief executive Oliver Prill as a “very significant milestone.”

Young SMEs and companies that have recently switched banks are prime UK neobank targets (Business Insider), Rated: A

1 in 4 UK robo-advisors shuttered in two years (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital wealth management, or robo advice as it used to be called, has been around for more than a decade and launched into the UK in 2011 with the arrival of Nutmeg. Things started to get really interesting around 2016 and 2017 when a flurry of companies were founded to attack the space dominated by traditional wealth management, an industry looking after £1trn of investors’ assets.

OakNorth strengthening leadership team with appointment of Jackson Hull as CTO and COO (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth has today announced the appointment of Jackson Hull as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). With over 15 year’s C-suite experience in London and San Francisco, Jackson is a leading expert in building high-volume eCommerce applications, global SaaS platforms, mobile and IoT platforms, as well as award-winning products and services in finance, fintech, travel, accommodation and retail.

China

Jiayin Closes Cases Against 12,000 Debtors Online (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group Inc. (Nasdaq: JFIN), China’s online lending platform, announced it has solved more than 12,000 cases of overdue payments and attempts to escape debt as of May.

Shanghai-based Jiayin runs a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, known as Niwodai, which connects borrowers and investors. The company has established a tailored legal department for post-loan management to handle online arbitration. As it reported on its website, as of the end of May, it has closed more than 12,000 cases in more than 30 provinces in China.

European Union

Swedish fintech Klarna valued at $ 5.5 billion in funding round (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online payments firm Klarna, which has attracted a growing following with its “buy now, pay later” service for shoppers, said on Tuesday it had raised $460 million in a funding round that makes it Europe’s most valuable fintech startup.

Investors led by San Francisco-based Dragoneer Investment Group put new money into the Swedish company, giving it a valuation of $5.5 billion and additional financial firepower to expand in the United States.

Video: What’s next for Klarna, the most valuable EU fintech (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro, Julie Hyman, Rick Newman, and Scott Gamm join Klarna Co-Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Penta, the German business banking startup, raises €8M additional funding (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Penta, the business banking provider for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that was recently acquired by fintech company builder Finleap, has raised “over” €8 million in new funding.

The startup raised a €7 million Series A round in late 2018, and is thought to have had more than €18 million investment since being founded in 2016.

Two Issues Currently Evolving on P2P Lending Marketplaces (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

This week some investors on the p2p lending marketplaces ViventorGrupeer and Mintos are affected by issues that hinder the normal procedures on these marketplaces.

(Screenshot from Viventor.com)

Update 14:02: Apparently Mintos has now suspended trading of Aforti loans on the secondary market.

EstateGuru, a Marketplace for Short-Term, Property Backed Loans, Launches in Portugal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EstateGuru, an online marketplace for secured, short term loans, has launched in Portugal, according to a note from the company. EstateGuru is now providing crowdfunding services in six different countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, and Spain. EstateGuru said by opening in the Portuguese market the company had achieved its next milestone in its long term strategy.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes July 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintos leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 611 million Euro.

Source: P2P-Banking

Ethereum’s Latest Milestone — 200,000 Smart Contracts (Crypto.IQ), Rated: A

DeFi protocols such as Compound, Dharma, and Uniswap are among the most advanced tools of Ethereum-based P2P lending solutions. Another interesting use case built on Ethereum is the decentralized prediction market platform Augur (REP).

Crowdfunding: alternative ways to find a community of impact investors (Specialist Banking), Rated: B

At the same time, there’s been a remarkable increase in the impact investment market — investments made with the intention to generate positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return — with the Global Impact Investing Network valuing the global market at $502bn.

Australia/New Zealand

CommBank Invests US$ 100 Million In Fintech Klarna As Digital Transactions Continue To Grow (Which-50), Rated: AAA

Commonwealth Bank has invested in Klarna, a Swedish rival to Afterpay, and will bring the European buy now, pay later provider to Australia. The deal accompanies the bank’s continued investment in its digital capabilities.

CommBank invested US$100 million in the fintech’s US$460 million funding round, announced yesterday, which values the company at $5.5 billion. The bank will also become Klarna’s exclusive partner in Australia and New Zealand.

Prospa Establish NZ Warehouse Facility, Shares Rise on ASX (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Prospa Group Limited (ASX: PGL) has established its first warehouse facility specifically to fund New Zealand small business loans. According to a note from Prospa, the 3-year facility has an initial capacity of NZ $45 million.

Judo bank breaks Aussie record with $ 400m round (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Australian challenger, Judo Bank, has completed the biggest single funding round in the country’s history by raising $400 million, writes Jane Connolly.

StartupSmart reports that the finance – which is double Judo’s original target for the round – came from new institutional investors, including Bain Capital Credit and Tikehau Capital, along with existing investors.

India

India’s Indifi raises $ 21M to expand its online lending platform (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Indifi, a Gurgaon-based startup that offers loans to small and medium-sized businesses and also operates an online lending marketplace, has raised 1,450 million Indian rupees ($21 million) in a new financing round to expand its business in the country.

Indifi, which has raised about $34 million in venture capital to date, has also relied on debt to grow and finance loans on its platform. Currently, it’s in about $21 million in debt, Alok Mittal, co-founder and managing director of Indifi, told TechCrunch in an interview.

A typical loan processed by Indifi is of about $7,000 in size. Overall, the startup offers between $1,400 to  $70,000 in capital to businesses.

Asia

65% of Singapore Customers Interested in Digital Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a recent survey, in Singapore digital banking has some pent up demand. JD Power has published a brief retail banking satisfaction study and, according to their numbers, 65% of consumers are interested in opening digital bank accounts. This is an increase from the year prior where 52% of surveyed individuals expressed similar digital banking interest.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday August 1 2019, Weekly News Digest

Consumption loans

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck, Chase divorce; OnDeck to pursue bank charter. DBRS assigns provisional ratings to Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2. RateSetter ISA passes 250M GBP in subscriptions. Iwoca doubles lending, turns first annual profit. Nubank raises $400M. Elevate Credit CEO resigns. Today’s main analysis: What the Fed rate cut means. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

The post Thursday August 1 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Consumption loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Pursuing Bank Charter, Loses Chase (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

OnDeck had some pretty interesting updates in their earnings release which took place earlier today (Editor: July 29).

Probably the biggest shock was that Chase is concluding their partnership with OnDeck.

Chase will stop originating loans through OnDeck and OnDeck will continue to service the loans for two years.

You can view OnDeck’s Q2 earnings press release here.

Source: Lend Academy

What’s next for OnDeck after breakup with JPMorgan? (American Banker), Rated: A

In retrospect, Jamie Dimon’s comment that his bank could duplicate the capabilities of online lenders might have served as a warning.

“Can we do something like that? Of course we can,” the JPMorgan Chase Chairman CEO 

OnDeck shares slide 22% (Biz2Credit Email), Rated: B

Shares of OnDeck (According to industry expert Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora, OnDeck spent a lot of money marketing when they should have focused more on managing risk and developing technology – the two most important things in today’s small business lending environment.

“Their gross write-offs were 15%… and that is in an economy that is doing very well,” Arora said.

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes (collectively, the Notes) to be issued by Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (UPST 2019-2):

— $230,208,000 Class A Notes at A (low) (sf)
— $61,558,000 Class B Notes at BBB (low) (sf)

Source: DBRS

Read the DBRS Presale Report here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (“UPST 2019-2”). This is a $358.4 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on August 7, 2019.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2

Class

Preliminary Rating

Expected Initial
Class Principal

A

A- (sf)

$230,208,000

B

BBB- (sf)

$61,558,000

C

BB- (sf)

$66,617,000

Europe’s startup banks are coming to America. Can they succeed? (CNN), Rated: AAA

Two of Europe’s most popular online banks are making a big push into the United States. But they may struggle to win over consumers.

Berlin-based N26 and its UK rival Monzo have signed up millions of young professionals in Europe by offering free accounts that can be opened in minutes via smartphones.
Critics say the startup European banks remind them of American online-only banks that sprang up and then disappeared during the dot-com boom.

Netflix for banking; Equifax settles (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

But first, in industry news, Equifax settled $700 million with state and federal authorities due to the 2017 security breach. Investors are looking past the incident. Equifax’s stock price is within earshot of an all-time high.

“Netflix” Model for Banking

MoneyLion’s “all-you-can-eat” membership pricing model has distinguished itself from the pack. MoneyLion provides customers access to financial advice, loans, and other banking service. Customer’s can enjoy the lion’s share of offerings all at a bundled rate $20/month.

The near-Unicorn FinTech announced a roaring $100 M funding round led by Edison Partners and Greenspring Associates, bringing PIC to ~$200M. MoneyLion is looking to invest in broker dealer, training, and stock-investing capabilities and further distance itself from potential copycats.

Series Money Raised Valuation Services Provided
MoneyLion C $200M ~$1B Financial advice, loans, integration of other bank accounts
Chime D $309M $1.5B Debit, checking, and savings accounts with no fees
Acorn E $270M $860M Rounds up purchases and invests the change, financial education
Betterment E $275M $800M Robo-advising, savings, checking (soon), debit cards

Source: PeerIQ

Here’s what that Fed rate cut means for you (CNBC), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates 25 basis points for the first time in over a decade marked a dramatic shift in monetary policy.

Now, interest rates are historically low, which leaves the central bank with little wiggle room in the event of a recession or if the economy stumbles. The current target range for its overnight lending rate is 2% to 2.25%.

In the past five years, the average interest rate charged on credit card debt has increased 35%.

Considering that the average household currently owes $8,390, credit card users would save roughly $1.5 billion in interest as a result of a quarter-point rate cut, a separate report by WalletHub found.

Elevate Credit CEO Resigns as Q2 Revenue Misses, Guidance Cut (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit (NYSE: ELVT) announced the exit of CEO Ken Rees today a Q2 earnings release missed on top-line numbers and the Fintech lowered guidance for Q3. Current COO Jason Harvison was selected to be interim CEO as the firm seeks a full-time replacement. Rees will remain on the Board of Directors.

Japanese Online Retailer Rakuten Seeks U.S. Bank Charter (WSJ), Rated: A

Japanese online merchant Rakuten Inc. wants to open a bank in Utah to offer loans, credit cards and other financial services to customers of its existing U.S. cashback-shopping business, the company said Friday.

“We’re going to focus on that customer base we already have,” said Lee Carter, the new head of banking development at Rakuten and a former UBS Group AG executive. “That’s really the community that we want to extend additional financial services to.”

My Company Surpassed $ 7 Billion in Business By Investing in This 1 Thing (Inc.),Rated: A

In the early days of my company, Kabbage, we struggled against requests from some potential partners. They wanted customers to be able to upload traditional loan paperwork like bank statements and tax returns.

By insisting on data connections, which in 2008 was usual, we lost some potential upfront revenue but prioritized a unique customer relationship and experience that would make us a more than $7 billion lending platform just a few years later.

Online bank Green Dot reveals savings account with a rate 30 times the national average (CNBC), Rated: A

Branchless bank Green Dot is launching the highest yielding bank account in the industry.

The Pasadena, California-based bank, which gained traction with prepaid cards in the dot-com era, launched a new bank account Tuesday with 3% annual interest on savings, and 3% cash back on all online debit card purchases. The average rate for savings accounts, according to Bankrate.com, is 0.1%.

The 3% rate on a savings account is the highest for any bank in the country, according to Bankrate.

The Story of Rocket Loans and the Rebirth of Detroit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

I was in Detroit recently at the invitation of Rocket Loans CEO, Bill Parker. I do visits to fintech companies quite regularly but usually in the big hubs of New York, San Francisco or London. This was my first visit to Detroit for a couple of decades so I was excited to see how the city had changed. And you can’t really tell the story of Rocket Loans without also talking about the city of Detroit.

Quicken Loans is the crown jewel of the financial component of Rock Ventures. It is now the largest mortgage lender in the country, bigger than even the largest banks. They seem to be slowly moving away from that brand, though, and moving to Rocket Mortgage which has a much more modern and innovative feel.

BofA terminates First Data partnership (Finextra), Rated: A

Bank of America is to terminate its merchant services partnership with First Data when the ten-year contract expires in June 2020.

The news came within hours of Fiserv acquiring control of First Data, sending its shares downward.

BofA says it expects to incur an impairment charge of about $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion in Q3 2019 due to the termination of the partnership, which started in 2009.

Open Banking Takes On Bad Rap Of Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The merchant cash advance is considered the payday loan for many in the small business lending market — and that’s not necessarily a good thing. While designed to connect small business owners to quick capital for a boost to their cash flow, the MCA has earned a reputation for some predatory behavior, like sky-high interest rates and fees.

Man Repeller and Klarna Collab on “Dream Closet” Pop-Up at Showfields (Sourcing Journal), Rated: A

Fashion and lifestyle blog Man Repeller is taking operations offline through a pop-up retail collaboration with Klarna. Opening at Showfields in New York on Monday, the “highly instagrammable” retail space was crafted to represent a shopper’s “dream closet,” Man Repeller said in a statement. Curated by the Man Repeller team, the temporary store includes offerings…

Visa pitches a program offering fintechs faster market access through an ecosystem of partners (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Visa is pitching a new way for startups in the fintech space to get to market faster by using its rails and a group of pre-approved partners.

Chiefly, the process makes it easier to integrate with Visa. It’s an attempt to put the payment processor’s network, VisaNet, at the center of a vast array of services ranging from payroll to business to business payments and online banking, online lending and even digital wallets.

The Most Exciting Piece Of Opportunity Zone Investing Is Still Being Defined (Benzinga), Rated: A

Despite the enthusiasm they have received from the private equity world and the billionaire hedge fund set, a majority of investors have been mostly shut out of the conversation surrounding the Opportunity Zones initiative included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Although there is already a flood of capital being funneled into qualified funds (upward of $40 billion according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ Opportunity Zone Fund Directory) Opportunity Zones remain an ongoing experiment in maximizing the benefit to both investors and the communities in which they invest.

According to Thomas McDonald, Investment Product and Portfolio Manager of the online real estate investing platform CrowdStreet, the new language is a critical move for the program.

Real estate lending platform Groundfloor raises $ 3 million through crowdfunding (Housingwire), Rated: A

Groundfloor, a real estate lending platform that raises its loan funds via crowdfunding from the public, announced Wednesday it raised $3 million from 1,580 investors, while also doubling its annual revenue in the second quarter of 2019.

Groundfloor is taking private real estate lending public (Groundfloor Email), Rated: B

As we close out the first half of the year, we’re excited to report accelerating growth and strong financial results for the quarter. Once again, GROUNDFLOOR more than doubled its year-over-year revenue for the quarter to $1.6 million, 1H revenue to $2.6 million and trailing 12-month revenue to $4.4 million.

OCC’s innovation pilot gets little love from banks (American Banker), Rated: A

The OCC received 19 comment letters on a pilot program announced in April meant to provide supervisory clarity as national banks pursue “novel activities” in which regulatory uncertainty is perceived to be a barrier to development.

Melissa Koide of FinRegLab (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Melissa Koide, the founder and CEO of FinRegLab. They have just published their first research report this week on the use of cash flow data in underwriting. It is the first independent research done on this topic and it is milestone for both FinRegLab and the fintech community.

Zerocard aims to reduce overspending with “debit-style” credit card and rewards (CNBC), Rated: A

Fin-tech company Zero announced on Tuesday, July 30, the public release of Zerocard, a credit card providing a “debit-style experience” issued by WebBank and backed by Mastercard.

Zerocard aims to be an alternative to credit cards from big banks that make money off cardholders who fall into debt.

Genesis Reports $ 746 in Crypto Lending/Borrowing Originations in Q2: Best Quarter Ever (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Genesis, a digital asset trading and lending platform that is also a broker-dealer registered with FINRA, and a BitLicense holder with the New York State Department of Financial Services, reports that its services are booming.

According to a release from last week, Genesis’ Q2 performance was the best over as it topped $746 million in loans/borrowing – a 48% quarter over quarter increase.

Genesis states that total active loans increased to $454 million – a 149% increase over Q1.

Northwest Community Credit Union Short-Term Loans, Powered by QCash Financial’s Platform  (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, Northwest Community Credit Union (NWCU) launched two new products earlier this year called Northwest Cash and Northwest Cash Plus, offering short-term loans from $150 to $700 and $701 to $4,000, respectively. Both products are designed to help their members deal with unexpected cash needs with an easy to use application process.

Using QCash Financial’s white-label, digital lending platform, NWCU automated the loan process using the member’s credit union relationship to make the lending decision rather than credit history.

Kony Secures $ 37 Million in Financing from BMO (Finovate), Rated: B

An infusion of $37 million in debt financing from BMO will help cloud-based digital banking and low-code platform company Kony “accelerate growth” in its two signature solutions: Kony DBX, the company’s digital banking technology, and Kony Quantum, its low-code development platform. The financing, courtesy of BMO’s Technology and Innovation Banking Group, adds to the more than $115 million in funding Kony has raised to date.

White Oak Commercial Finance Responds to Increasing ABL Demand with New Key Hires (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, announced today the addition of two new professional underwriters, further increasing the company’s originations presence across the United States. Mr. Sudhir Chaudhry joins White Oak’s Los Angeles office bringing nearly 25 years of structured finance and underwriting experience. Mr. Kevin Maitland joins White Oak in Boca Raton with over 14 years of asset-based lending and commercial banking experience.

FINICITY INTEGRATION WITH ELLIE MAE ENCOMPASS DIGITAL LENDING PLATFORM NOW LIVE  (Finicity), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, and Ellie Mae, the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, today announced that Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution is now available through Ellie Mae’s Encompass Digital Lending Platform.

United Kingdom

RateSetter ISA passes £250m in subscriptions (LoveMoney), Rated: AAA

But by investing within a large, diverse portfolio of loans (RateSetter’s portfolio is currently £875 million with 250,000+ loans) investors get the stability of scale and this makes for steady and predictable returns.

And putting this inside the ISA tax-free wrapper, it’s no wonder that in less than 18 months since launch, RateSetter’s Innovative Finance ISA has attracted more than £250 million of investments from people looking to put their money to work.

Platforms may be forced to favour high net worths due to incoming 10pc rule (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RETAIL investors are at risk of being shut out of the peer-to-peer lending sector due to the so-called 10 per cent rule that will come into force this December.

However, a number of P2P lending platforms have a minimum investment of £1,000, which would mean that individuals must have at least £10,000 in total to invest across a variety of asset classes. Official statistics indicate that most UK adults do not have this amount of money to invest, which could effectively bar them from certain platforms.

P2P lenders such as Zopa, Funding Circle and ThinCats require a minimum investment of £1,000, but the FCA’s latest financial lives survey shows that 49 per cent of UK adults, equating to 25 million people, either have no such assets or have less than £10,000 in value.

Iwoca doubles lending, turns first annual profit (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Iwoca almost doubled its loans last year, leading to its first annual profit since the small business platform was founded eight years ago.

The London-based fintech, started by chief executive Christoph Rieche (pictured, centre) and James Dear in 2012, said loan originations jumped by 91 per cent to £325m, as its lending hit the equivalent of 12 per cent of the UK’s small business overdraft market over the last year.

Former RateSetter executive to launch new P2P platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RATESETTER’S former chief technology officer John Gillespie is preparing to launch a “next generation” peer-to-peer consumer lending platform.

After raising money from family and friends, SquareDeal.Finance has opened pre-registration for a funding round on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

Gillespie has described the platform as “the next generation P2P consumer lender”, although he said there would be scope to expand into other types of finance in the future.

Digital asset lending platform outlines new framework in a bid to resemble securities market (The Trade Crypto), Rated: A

A digital asset lending platform is looking to set new industry standards with the launch of a framework using master agreements typically seen from incumbent capital markets bodies.

The Global Digital Assets Lending Agreement (GDALA) was developed by Lendingblock, with legal counsel and support from Norton Rose Fulbright.

The platform, targeting institutional investors, will use master agreements framework similar to ISLA’s Global Master Securities Lending Agreements, ICMA/SIFMA’s Global Master Repurchase Agreements and ISDA’s Master Agreements.

What to Know About Alternative Lending (Nav), Rated: A

Alternative lending includes business lenders that exist outside of the traditional lending space. The different types of alternative lending these lenders provide include short-term business loans, medium-term business loans, lines of credit, invoice financing, equipment financing, merchant cash advances and more. They don’t typically include bank loans or SBA loans.

ARBUTHNOT SPECIALIST FINANCE STRENGTHENS TEAM WITH TWO NEW APPOINTMENTS (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance (ASFL) announces the appointment of Chloe Skae and Molly Markey to the relationship management team.

OakNorth completes loan to Kexgill for latest student accommodation development at the University of Hull (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Fintechs invited to enter £2m affordable credit challenge (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

THE TREASURY and innovation foundation Nesta Challenges are offering £2m in prize money to encourage fintechs and community lenders to work together on affordable credit solutions.

Over 5.4 million high-cost short-term credit loans were made in the year to 30 June 2018, according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consumer credit data.

China

China’s Generation Z Is Hooked on Credit (Bloomberg Businessweek), Rated: AAA

At one point in June last year, Zeng Jinpeng was more than 10,000 yuan ($1,500) in debt to a smartphone app.

Formal household borrowing rose to 54% of gross domestic product in the first quarter, up more than 4 percentage points in a year. China’s ratio is still lower than that of the U.S. (66%), Hong Kong (72%), or South Korea (100%), according to S&P Global.

Source: People’s Bank of China

Regulators last year launched a crackdown on peer-to-peer lending, which besides being a source of easy credit had also become a popular investment vehicle. The sector has shrunk to less than half its peak size as a result of forced shutdowns. Official data showed that almost 70% of China’s 50 million P2P investors were younger than 40.

New era of technological finance faces spectrum of challenges (Global Times), Rated: A

Online attacks against China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms have been rising. An industry report released on Wednesday shows that more than 10 million malicious attacks were encountered by the online financial sector in the first half of 2019, and gambling-related attacks accounted for over 56 percent.

China Lending Arranges Partnership With Zhong Lian in Consumer Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: A

China Lending Corp. (Nasdaq: CLDC) announced Monday its five-year strategic partnership with Zhong Lian Jin An Insurance Brokers Co. Ltd. in the development of consumer financing and litigation guarantee business, sending its shares up 4 percent intraday to 88 cents apiece.

European Union

Is ‘Hodling’ the Future of Cryptocurrency Lending? (150sec), Rated: AAA

The nascent cryptocurrency sector is renowned for its volatility.  It’s very early days in the development of the industry and with that, various niches are emerging within its overall purview.  DeFi or decentralised financing is one such area.  Over many years, the world of retail and business sector lending has seen little in the way of disruption.  However, that may be in the process of changing.

Firms like Ripio Credit Network (RCN), Salt Lending, EthLend, and WeTrust are emerging, providing their unique twists on financing with blockchain as a basis to their respective propositions.  Within Europe too, the market is innovating. Hodl Finance is one such entity – which is harnessing this newly emerging economy to provide its unique take on financing.

Engaging shoppers is hard. Keeping them is harder. (Candy Industry), Rated: A

New research from Klarna, a Swedish firm that offers interest-free installment payments among other payment solutions, suggests shoppers will only tolerate such aggravations for so long.

Through a survey of 2,065 shoppers conducted in May and June, Klarna found 55 percent of consumers say one bad retail experience would stop them from returning to a brand. Nearly 30 percent of consumers said they don’t find shopping as fun as it used to be.

Klarna also noted 39 percent of the 250 retailers surveyed realize shopper loyalty isn’t just driven by rewards programs. Nearly 70 percent understand they have to do more to retain customers, but just over a third of retailers are struggling to keep up with changing consumer expectations because of outdated technology and a short-term emphasis on sales.

International

The Fintech Revolution: Who Are The New Competitors In Banking? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

In Asia, Africa and Latin America, the percentage of unbanked people exceed 60% in all cases. However, people in this segment of the population do own a mobile device.

The massive use of mobile phones has allowed great successes, such as that of M-Pesa in Kenya and ten other African countries, which over the past decade has enabled more than 30 million users to transfer money, take out loans and make deposits using mobile phones, from the remotest rural areas.

The Pulse of Fintech H1 2019 (KPMG), Rated: A

Both the number of global fintech deals and the total global investment in fintech dropped in H1’19, raising $37.9 billion across 962 deals, driven by the lack of  mega deals seen in 2018.

Source: KPMG

Catching attention in marketing (Business Daily Africa), Rated: A

Kiva, with its African headquarters in Nairobi, thrives as a peer-to-peer lending website whereby millions of US dollars get lent from around the world at zero percent interest rates. In 2009, dozens of competitors of Kiva emerged based largely off their business model: get generous individuals to lend their money for a few months up to a few years all while earning no interest return as long as the funds go towards helping entrepreneurs.

Australia

4 small business tips to kickstart the 2019/20 financial year (Mozo), Rated: A

And Australian businesses have access to a number business loan sources including traditional banks and online lenders, although according to online lender OnDeck, some small businesses can have trouble securing funding from traditional sources.

New research from the lender found that nearly 25% of small to medium enterprises (SME’s) that have applied for business finance with a bank have been rejected – a figure that rises to 37% of SMEs which have been operating for less than five years.

India

P2P Lender Rupeecircle launches Affordable Credit Products for Rural Tamil Nadu (IndianWeb2), Rated: AAA

Digital lending marketplace RupeeCircle has set up a segment-wise model of credit disbursement through its P2P platform. Deserving Individuals and families belonging to certain communities who were hitherto declined loans from banks and NBFCs due to lack of sufficient credit history or lack of a proper bank account can now avail loans on the P2P platform.

Asia

Vietnam tech company NextTech pledges US$ 10M fund for early-stage startups (e27), Rated: AAA

Vietnam-based tech company NextTech announces a total of US$10 million injected into Next100, a fund dedicated for backing early-stage startups.

Recently, Next100 invested in VayMuon.vn, a P2P lending platform based in Vietnam, Heyu.asia, a startup that provides order consolidation and shipper services, and Teky.edu.vn, a tech academy for kids.

Latin America

Fintech decacorn Nubank raises $ 400M led by TCV (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Brazil-based Nubank, which offers a suite of banking and financial services for Brazilian consumers, announced today that it has raised a $400 million Series F round of venture capital led by Woody Marshall of TCV. The growth-stage fund is best known for its investment in Netflix but has also made fintech a high priority, with over $1.5 billion in investments in the space. According to Nubank, the company has now raised $820 million across seven venture rounds.

Shares in Brazil’s Banco Inter surge as it lures SoftBank (Business Recorder), Rated: A

Shares in Banco Inter SA surged more than 20% on Tuesday as the Brazilian online lender raised 1.25 billion reais ($329.73 million) in an offering largely sold to Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, boosting pressure on traditional banks.

Africa

Reaching the unbanked — MTN to shake up Nigeria’s fintech sector (the africa report), Rated: AAA

In the latest bullish development, OPay, founded by Norwegian browser company Opera and which includes lead investors such as Sequoia China, raised $50m to partly fund its expansion in Nigeria.

While sub-Saharan Africa’s number of adults with a bank or other financial account increased to 43% in 2017, up 9% from 2014, Nigeria’s banked population dropped to 40%, down 4% from 2014. Over half of Nigerian adults — 60 million people — lack access to financial services.

Under the new mobile-money framework, MTN will drive user acquisition with its large existing subscriber base and powerful agent network. With a 42% market share of Nigeria’s 163m active voice subscriber accounts, MTN has a huge pool of untapped demand as each voice subscriber represents a potential new mobile money account.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 1 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest

Digital-only banks U.S.

News Comments Today’s main news: N26 raises $170M at $3.5B valuation for U.S. launch. OnDeck, Upserve partner on restaurant financing. Quicken Loans has best quarter in history. Curve raises $55M at $25M valuation. Lufax to bow out of P2P lending. Goldman funds Lendable. Today’s main analysis: Is America ready for challenger banks? (A MUST-READ) Today’s […]

The post Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Digital-only banks U.S.

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Thiel-Backed Bank Valued at $ 3.5 Billion Amid U.S. Launch (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A German smartphone bank backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Li Ka-shing has raised new funds at a valuation of $3.5 billion, making the company one of Europe’s highest valued non-listed fintech firms.

N26 GmbH extended its Series D funding round by $170 million to a total $470 million, the Berlin-based company said on Thursday.

OnDeck And Upserve Partner To Speed Financing To Restaurants (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (ONDK) and Upserve today announced a partnership to provide Upserve’s restaurant customers with online financing options from OnDeck. Over 10,000 restaurants currently use Upserve’s restaurant management platform and Point of Sales (POS) software to manage relationships with more than 57 million active diners.

Quicken Loans Has Best Quarter in Company’s 34-Year History (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Detroit-based Quicken Loans, America’s largest mortgage lender, today announced that the second quarter of 2019 was the best in the 34-year-old company’s history.

The second quarter of the year was the first three times the company has originated more than $10 billion in a single month, with each month setting a new record for the highest closed loan volume – culminating in June being the best month in Quicken Loans history. In June, the company closed nearly $11 billion in mortgage volume, contributing to the $32 billionoriginated for the quarter.

Over 57% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 4.25% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Mortgage Rate Distribution

  • For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, approximately 56.8% of purchase borrowers received offers of 4.25% or less. That is down from 60.1% of borrowers the previous week. A year ago, 0.07% of offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, 4.0% was the most common interest rate. This rate was offered to 15.4% of borrowers.
  • Of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers, 70.6% received offers of 4.25% or less, which is down from 72.8% the previous week. A year ago, no refinance offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 4.0%, offered to 17.95% of borrowers.

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the index was 0.99, down from 1.19 the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to get a mortgage APR that’s 0.99 percentage points lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $47,073 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).
  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 1.10, down from 1.35 the previous week. Refinance borrowers could have saved $52,554 by shopping for the lowest rate.

Rate Cuts; Digital Banks (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Source: PeerIQ, WSJ

Digital Banks – The Future of FinTech Lending?

FinTechs lenders meanwhile are white-labelling banking services to complete the customer product roadmap while awaiting a charter. SoFi Money, WSFS, Radius Bank and its deposit partnerships with FinTechs are great examples of this.

This week, Boston-based Radius Bank is looking to adopt the user-friendly style set forth by the aforementioned European banks.

European Challenger Banks Launch U.S. Invasion – Is America Ready? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

At a time when U.S. consumers are increasingly becoming comfortable with branchless banking and alternative financial providers, is there room for alternative digital-only banks with zero name recognition? Recent announcements by Germany-based N26 and U.K.-based Monzo that they will be entering the highly competitive U.S. in the next few months will provide a good test of the viability of foreign-based banking competition.

N26 Invites 100,000 Wait-Listed U.S. Consumers To Open Accounts

According to N26, there will be a staged rollout beginning immediately, with the 100,000 people on the U.S. wait list being invited to sign up and have full access to the product.

Is Monzo the ‘Bank of the Future’?

Referring to itself as the “bank of the future,” Monzo has also begun marketing efforts in the U.S., hoping to disrupt the traditional banks and credit unions in a way similar to what they have done in the U.K. Valued at more than $1 billion, Monzo has a mobile-only customer base in the U.K. of 2.2 million customers.

Varo files application for bank charter that will differentiate it (Business Insider), Rated: A

Challenger bank Varo, which has raised $179 million from Warburg Pincus and TPG, just took a big step that might separate it from competitors like Chime and Monzo.

In the past year Varo has tripled its customer base and is expected to reach 750,000 registered customers this month, Walsh said.

Moven’s Plan B after buyout bid stalls: Expansion into lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Obstacles remain in Moven’s path to a charter in the U.S., even as its private-label banking offering expands across Africa and Asia.

JPMorgan Chase’s Dimon: Finn app was not a failure (bank innovation), Rated: A

Specifically, Dimon said the bank learned how to conduct digital account openings through Finn and that the process was shaved down to just a few minutes. CFO Jennifer Piepszak added that 25% of new account openings at Chase are now digital signups rather than through a bank branch. The bank reported it has opened 2 million accounts digitally.

The bank had pulled the plug on the digital-only offering in June, just a year after its launch, and rolled some of Finn’s most popular features into Chase’s main mobile banking app.

JPMorgan warns that lending income will fall in the second half (American Banker), Rated: A

The largest U.S. bank on Tuesday reported a drop in bond trading and cut its full-year outlook for net interest income — revenue from customers’ loan payments minus what the bank pays depositors — by $500 million. NII accounted for about half the New York-based company’s revenue last year.

Navient plans full-Earnest loan pool in $ 535.2M student-loan ABS (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Navient Solution’s next securitization of private student-loan refinancing will involve only loans primarily issued to advanced-degree professionals by online lender Earnest – which Navient acquired in 2017.

The $535.2 million Navient Private Education Refi Loan Trust 2019-E will include two tranches of Class A notes with preliminary triple-A ratings from DBRS and S&P Global Ratings. The Class A-1 fixed-rate notes total $263 million, while the $228 million in Class A-2 notes will be divided into fixed- and variable-rate tranches.

Technology’s Inescapable Impact on Real Estate Investments – (MarketCurrents Wealth Management), Rated: A

Research-driven, professional investments in real estate have traditionally been reserved for family offices and institutional investors. Now, a swathe of new technology platforms and consumer products are revolutionizing the industry, opening up access and shifting valuations.

Millennials say real estate investing is one of the best ways to build wealth (Business Insider), Rated: A

According to a new survey from Bankrate, over one-third of millennials say real estate is the best way to invest money they won’t need for at least 10 years, more than the share of millennials surveyed who prefer stocks, savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs), gold, bonds, and cryptocurrency.

Real Estate Investing in a “1-Click” World (Propmodo), Rated: A

The plain truth is that there will never been such a thing as “Amazon 1-Click for real estate.” The end-to-end logistics solution for buying and managing property has not yet been perfected. Whilst there are a lot of great technology solutions being developed for the property industry they typically tackle just one or two specific pain points in a broader transaction. In isolation, these solutions have less impact on the overall customer experience because their piece is just one of a much larger puzzle. As an example, there’s not much point streamlining the purchase itself if the legal documents and mortgage approval take weeks of frustrating back-and-forth, duplicating much of the same process and paperwork.

Krista Morgan of P2Binvestor Overcomes Naysayers To Fund Growing Small Businesses (Forbes), Rated: A

With all the attention given to angel and venture capital, you might think that these financing options are the most likely to be used. To the contrary, debt is by far the dominant form of outside funding used: for example, 86% of $1 — $10 million companies seeking outside financing applied for a loan compared to 5% seeking equity financing, according to The 2018 Small Business Credit Survey.

However, since the late 1990s, as banks have consolidated and sought out more profitable sectors of the credit market, they have been shifting activity away from the small business credit market, according to Why Small Business Lending Isn’t What It Used to Be.

Lendbuzz, AI Auto Startup That Steps in When FICO Fails, Raises $ 150M (Xconomy), Rated: A

The Boston-based software company announced Monday it has raised $150 million in new funding to expand its team and issue more financing backed by its machine learning algorithms.

Most of the cash—$130 million—for Lendbuzz is in the form of debt financing from four banks and an insurance company to fund car loans through the startup’s platform. The rest is an equity investment led by venture capital investor 83North.

Soros, Innovation Endeavors Provide Fresh Funding for AlphaSense (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

AlphaSense has attracted $50 million from investors including Soros Fund Management and Innovation Endeavors, in a fresh round of funding that will help the company expand its artificial-intelligence-powered offering for asset managers.

House Democrats draft bill to keep big tech out of financial services (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

According to the draft bill, titled “Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act,” companies in violation would face a $1 million daily fine.

The legislation would apply to companies with $25 billion or more in annual revenue.

As the draft stands now, it would prohibit Facebook (FB) and other tech companies with at least $25 billion in revenue from becoming a financial institution or issuing a cryptocurrency.

San Jose payday-advance startup faces racial discrimination, retaliation lawsuit (The Mercury News), Rated: A

A former manager at PayActiv, a San Jose startup that provides payday advances, is accusing the company of racial discrimination and questionable business practices.

Ibarra said in his lawsuit that he was the only Hispanic employee when he was hired in 2014, the year the company was founded. The co-founders are of Pakistani descent, the suit said.

Pedro Ibarra said he was fired because he complained about being harassed by the company’s founders over his ethnicity, and because he raised concerns about PayActiv’s handling of user data and whether the company is acting like a regular payday lender and therefore should be classified as a creditor.

New apps competing for your money can have hidden costs (ABC Action News), Rated: A

A new crop of digital wallets, apps and financial tech companies are fighting for customers’ banking business. The push comes as federal data shows the Tampa Bay region hit a six-year high for the number of people living without banking accounts or easy access to credit.

CrediVia Brings New Experience to Multifamily Financing (BusinessWire), Rated: A

CrediVia launched last fall as a hospitality financing marketplace intent on driving smarter decisions and stronger engagement in the loan process. Today the company has announced expanded platform capabilities to execute multifamilydeals as well, part of its ongoing mission to become the preferred source for more effective and transparent commercial real estate lending.

SEC Posts Final Judgement in Enforcement Action Against Founders of iFunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has posted final judgments in the case of real estate crowdfunding platform iFunding and co-founders William Skelley and Sohin Shah.  The two founders were charged last year by the SEC Enforcement Division regarding allegations of fraud in the misappropriation of over $1.17 million from investors. The final judgments against Skelley and Shah were obtained this month.

Lending Express evolves into Become (Become email), Rated: B

Lending Express has rebranded to This transition comes at a pivotal point in the company’s growth and highlights its dedication to providing businesses withopportunities to improvfundabilitysecure funding, and ultimately become more.

Cross River Names Global Finance Veteran Melissa Ballenger As CFO (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”) today announced that it has appointed Melissa Ballenger as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.

SecurCapital Acquires Breakout Capital Finance’s Lending Business (PR Newswire), Rated: B

SecurCapital Corp, an expanding supply chain and financial services provider headquartered in California, today announced the acquisition of the lending business of Breakout Capital Finance, a fintech company and nationwide small business lender. SecurCapital is also providing additional equity capital to drive growth in Breakout Capital Finance’s two primary lending products: its highly regarded and innovative term-loan product and its FactorAdvantage lending solution for small businesses that utilize factoring to finance their business. The acquired lending business assets will be operated by a subsidiary of SecurCapital that will conduct business as Breakout Capital.

CheapAir.com Expands “Travel Now, Pay Later” Option (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Online travel agency CheapAir.com today announced an expansion of its travel budgeting tool in partnership with Affirm, giving customers the opportunity to prequalify for a travel budget and then book and pay for all elements of their trip over time.

Sokolov-Miller Family Center again recognized as leader in financial education (PSU), Rated: B

Each year the online loan marketplace LendEDU ranks programs based on its 50-point scale. This year, the Sokolov-Miller Family Center moved up two positions, tying for 13th place.

Community Capital Appoints New Board Member, Camden R. Fine (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Community Capital Technology Inc. (“CCT”), a digital loan transaction marketplace for community banks, regional banks, and other non-bank originators and credit investors, today announced the appointment of Camden (“Cam”) R. Fine, former President & CEO of the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA), to its Board of Directors.

United Kingdom

Curve raises $ 55M at a $ 250M valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Curve, the London-based “over-the-top banking platform,” has raised $55 million in new funding. The startup lets you consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve  card and app to make it easier to manage your spending and access other benefits.

Curve’s Series B round is led by Gauss Ventures, the London-HQ’d fintech investor, alongside Creditease, IDC Ventures and previous backer Outward VC (formerly Investec’s INVC fund).

What will the appropriateness test actually look like? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

IT’S OFFICIAL – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will soon make it mandatory for all peer-to-peer platforms to introduce an “appropriateness test” for new investors.

The purpose of the test will be to weed out any unsuitable lenders, and any potential lenders who do not fully understand the risks associated with P2P.

Uber, Lyft share prices: as tech IPOs disappoint, how can investors spot winners? (CMC Markets), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle [FCH], an online lending platform that enables individuals and companies to lend to small businesses, is the latest example of a hyped IPO from a business yet to turn a profit. A few lacklustre earnings announcements later, it appears the stock was indeed overvalued.

What metrics can traders look out for when weighing up a stock amid such an increasing amount of cash-burning companies looking to go public?

Lendy administrator outlines the state of collapsed P2P lender’s loanbook (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDY investors are likely to receive an average of 57p on the pound for development finance and 58p for every pound from bridging loans funded on the collapsed peer-to-peer lending platform.

The document shows that 22 of the 29 bridging loans made via the platform are in insolvency proceedings, with 14 out of 25 development loans in the same situation.

The document reveals the outstanding value of the bridging loans is £36m, secured against assets historically valued at £81m.

Rishi Khosla of OakNorth (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The incident that was the seed of the idea for OakNorth.
  • Why fast growth companies have trouble raising debt capital.
  • The range of loan sizes, terms and interest rates that OakNorth offers.
  • Why they started with building a tech platform first.
  • How their underwriting process works and what they have automated.
  • Rishi’s thoughts on defaults and his famous “zero defaults to date” quote.
  • How they are funding their loans in the UK.
  • Why the US is a core market for OakNorth’s international expansion.
  • Who they are offering the platform to in the US.
  • Why the “ai” in Oaknorth.ai stands for analytical intelligence.
  • The geographies where they are live today.
  • Why they will not be getting a banking license in markets outside the UK.
  • Why OakNorth launched a mortgage product for UK entrepreneurs.
  • How SoftBank is helping OakNorth beyond providing capital.
  • How OakNorth is attacking the Chinese market.
  • How Rishi is spending his time these days.

OAKNORTH LENDS £19.5M TO CARE CONCERN GROUP TO SUPPORT ALPHA REAL CAPITAL OPERATING CARE HOMES (Business Leader), Rated: B

OakNorth Bank has provided a £19.5m loan to Care Concern Group, a UK-based care home operator.

$ 2.9 Billion in Deals in 2019 on Track to Top Year Prior (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Innovate Finance has just published its Q2 UK Fintech investment report tallying activity for the first half of 2019.

The most recent report from Innovate Finance, covering Q1 of 2019, indicated that overall investment into Fintech, including venture capital, angel investing, private equity etc., topped $1 billion. In brief, Fintech boomed in Q1 as the industry experienced a 41% growth versus the prior quarter (Q4). Comparing to Q1 of 2018 it quadrupled.

Latest UK fintech investment figures reflect the evolution of the sector (ComputerWeekly), Rated: A

Investment in UK fintechs in the first half of this year was £2.9bn, which is 85% of the total invested in 2018, according to figures from fintech industry body Innovate Finance. It is also 45% higher than the same six month period last year. London based companies took 90% of this.

For example challenger banks including OakNorth ($440m), Monzo ($147m) and Starling Bank ($98m) got the most significant investments. In payments and foreign exchange sectors Checkout.com ($230m), WorldRemit ($175m) and GoCardless ($76m) were major recipients.

Could ‘bad credit’ credit cards be more expensive than a payday loan? (Which?), Rated: A

Around four million people in the UK have subprime credit cards, charging interest ranging from 30% to 70% – compared to the average 20% APR on mainstream deals.

P2PFA looks to woo intermediaries (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER Finance Association (P2PFA) is looking at ways of boosting distribution for members.

LendIt Fintech Europe 2019 Preview (Lend Academy), Rated: A

LendIt is returning to London again for the sixth annual LendIt Fintech Europe event. It will be held on 26 – 27 September at the same location as last year, the Business Design Centre. We are expecting well over 1,000 people at the event this year.

Some of the featured keynote speakers this year will be:

  • Rishi Khosla – CEO, OakNorth
  • Jaidev Janardana – CEO, Zopa
  • Anne Boden – CEO, Starling Bank
  • Rhydian Lewis – CEO, Ratesetter
  • Husayn Kassai – CEO, Onfido
  • Tamaz Georgadze – CEO, Raisin

How Jules B uses tech to stay ahead online (Essential Retail), Rated: B

Independent luxury fashion retailer Jules B has six stores across the Lake District an Newcastle, as well as a strong online presence.

To that end it has been working with fintech company Klarna to provide more payment options, which he says allows it to “compete in that marketplace for the younger generation.”

China

Ping An-backed Lufax to ditch P2P lending on regulatory woes (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Lufax, one of China’s largest online wealth management platforms that is backed by financial giant Ping An Insurance (601318.SS), plans to exit its once-core peer-to-peer lending (P2P) business, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

China slowdown, trade dispute hurt global carmakers (DW.com), Rated: A

The Chinese auto sector has been under a lot of pressure over the past 18 months, hurt by an economic slowdown that has dented consumer confidence, the ongoing trade dispute between Beijing and Washington, and the government’s crackdown on peer-to-peer lending. Looming stricter emissions rules are also causing Chinese buyers to wait to buy new cars.

China rich with opportunity for fintech talent (China Daily), Rated: A

China is on the cutting edge of the fintech industry and promises great opportunities for fintech talent, fuelled by a rising demand for financial services and technology professionals, according to Hays plc, a global professional recruiting group.

European Union

Bitcoin Suisse Applies for Banking License with Swiss Regulators (BTC Manager), Rated: A

As stated in its press release, the leading Swiss-based regulated cryptocurrency broker and financial services provider, has applied for a banking license with FINMA, following the Swiss Banking Act Art. 1a.

The firm claims it has also achieved several significant milestones in recent months, including the expansion the number of tradable digital assets, with more than 6,000 trading pairs, as well as the provision of a large scale collateralized crypto lending service to its institutional clients.

International

Goldman, UK’s Lendable Strike £200M Deal (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs and personal loan startup Lendable from the U.K. have reached a £200m deal, in a sign of Goldman’s confidence in the startup, according to a report by the Financial Times.

A conversation with Zac Prince, Founder, CEO, BlockFi (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

Zac Prince is CEO of BlockFi, which helps crypto investors manage digital assets and grow their net worth through services such as Bitcoin loans. Frank Chaparro and Ryan Todd discuss the complexity of crypto loans and the future of the industry.

Australia

P2P lender joins another aggregator’s panel (Australian Broker), Rated: AAA

RateSetter’s personal loans and secured automotive offering will be made available to Australian Finance Group’s (AFG) broker network of over 2,900 from 22 July.

The P2P lender provides risk-based pricing for its personal loans, with interest rates starting at 5.49%. The loans range from $2,001 to $45,000 for terms between six months to five years. Creditworthy borrowers typically gain access to finance within 24 hours of filling out the five-minute application.

SME lender expands presence within Australia (Australian Broker), Rated: A

OnDeck Australia has joined the lending panel at Finance & Systems Technology (FAST), in an arrangement that will help facilitate more opportunities for FAST brokers interested in expanding into the SME lending channel.

X factor mortgages: The lenders offering more than just hot rates (Mozo), Rated: A

With the official cash rate sitting at just 1.00% following two RBA rate cuts, you may have noticed a flurry of home loan rate drops, with some lenders slashing rates towards the 3.00% mark and below.

Asia

Smaller Banks in Singapore Are at Risk As Fintechs Eye Digital Banking License (Fintech News), Rated: AAA

Competition is heating up in Singapore’s digital banking landscape as an increasing number of fintechs including e-wallet operators and payment services providers are looking to apply for when applications open in August.

Strong contenders for the Singapore’s digital bank licenses

Liquid Group, Xfers, MatchMove Pay, FOMO Pay, Razer and Singtel would be competing against the likes of Grab, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant and the region’s first “decacorn,” Validus Capital, a peer-to-peer lending platform, and InstaReM, a remittance startup, which are also eyeing a digital bank license.

In June, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that it will issue up to five new digital bank licenses, comprising up to two digital full bank licenses and up to three digital wholesale bank licenses.

Accountants have critical role in helping businesses fight cybercrime (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Finally, accountants should also focus on financial crime compliance, which must evolve to keep up with new business models such as peer-to-peer lending, the minister said.

Canada

Give your BBQ the royal treatment (The Daily Courier), Rated: AAA

Ramsey will also introduce HousingHub, a new initiative for B.C. Housing to provide more affordable rental and ownership housing for middle-income individuals and families.

Small businesses can apply for a short-term loan of up to $250,000 online, and if they qualify, the funds can be delivered electronically to the business in as little as one business day.

The agreement will use OnDeck’s data analytics and digital technology to make real-time lending decisions and Coast Capital Savings to provide the financing.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday March 21 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintechs and personal loans

News Comments Today’s main news: BlockFi hits $25M in deposits in 2 weeks. Cash-back ETF injects trouble into ETF market. PeerStreet expands product line. Funding Circle fund higher impairments drag returns. Dianrong blames Chinese regime for troubles. Today’s main analysis: New home equity loans do not significantly alter credit scores. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi Money review. Can Citi, JPMorgan beat […]

The post Thursday March 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintechs and personal loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

Other

News Summary

United States

BlockFi Receives $ 25 Million in Crypto Deposits in Just 2 Weeks After Launching Lending Products (CryptoGlobe), Rated: AAA

BlockFi Lending LLC, a New York-based “secured non-bank lender” that provides cryptocurrency-backed loans in USD to digital asset investors, has revealed that its interest-generating deposit accounts have received over $25 million in cryptocurrency.

SoFi Money Review: Online Checking (Nerdwallet), Rated: AAA

SoFi Money is an online checking account by SoFi, a company best known for its student loan refinance loans. SoFi’s account has a top-of-the-line interest rate and no monthly or overdraft fees. There’s no free ATM network, but SoFi reimburses many third-party ATM fees and doesn’t charge its own. SoFi also boasts unique perks: free career counseling and financial planning sessions.

Can Citi and JPM beat FinTech Personal Loans? (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

The personal loan market has grown rapidly since 2010 and the growth has been driven by FinTechs. 

Source: TransUnion, PeerIQ

“My Chase Plan” and “My Chase Loans” – a point-of-sale financing alternative and a personal loan product respectively – that will be offered to its existing credit card customers.

LendingTree Study Finds New Home Equity Loans Do Not Significantly Alter Credit Scores (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Home prices in the United States have rebounded to new highs since the financial crisis. As a result, American homeowners are sitting on the largest amount of home equity in history — at just over $15 trillion dollars, according to the Federal Reserve.

  • The decline in scores averaged just 13 points. At the high end, scores declined by 24 in San Jose,Calif. The smallest decline was 5 points in San Diego. Borrowers had an average score of 735 to start, so the declines are quite negligible in terms of access to credit and may have marginal impacts on the cost of credit. The highest starting credit score was 752 in San Francisco, while the lowest was 712 in Indianapolis.
  • The decline took an average of 158 days to reach bottom, which is just over five months. St. Louis homeowners saw their credit scores reach their lowest points in an average time of 101 days (3 months), while the longest decline was for homeowners in Dallas at 211 days (7 months). Loans do not appear on credit reports immediately after closing. Typically, the lender starts reporting to the credit bureaus after your first payment, depending on the lender’s reporting cycle. Thus it may take about 60 days after closing or even longer for it show up and start affecting a score.
  • Scores recovered over an average of 163 days. This is also just over five months, so the time to fall and recover are about equal. The quickest time to recover was 102 days, or slightly over 3 months, in Cincinnati. Borrowers in Chicago had the longest recovery time of 243 days, just over 8 months.
  • Scores recover within a year and begin to move higher. The complete cycle to return to the credit score prior to the home equity loan takes 321 days, less than 11 months. The shortest cycle was in St. Louis at 211 days and the longest in Chicago at 443 days, about 15 months.

As Cash-Back ETF Hits Market, Signs of Trouble Start to Mount (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Last week, one ETF upstart created a minor splash by doing what was once unthinkable — offering to pay investors to buy into its exchange-traded fund. That comes on the heels of eight fund providers — including JPMorgan Chase, Vanguard and BlackRock to name a few — all slashing fees in one of the industry’s most aggressive rounds of price cuts to date.

The sub-zero fee giveaway by Salt Financial, which previously ran a single $11 million ETF, is widely seen as a marketing gimmick to drum up a little PR, get customers in the door and increase its assets under management. During the first year, investors will receive 50 cents for every $1,000 in a new low-volatility stock ETF — until it grows to $100 million. After a year, a management fee of 0.29 percent, or $2.90 per $1,000, could kick in.

The race to zero, however, is very real. Fidelity Investments jump-started the no-fee push in August by offering index funds for free. In February, SoFi said it would waive charges on two planned ETFs for the first year. Last week, JPMorgan started selling America’s cheapest-ever ETF for the princely sum of 20 cents for every $1,000 invested. And BlackRock unveiled plans Wednesday to cut fees for large clients in one of its S&P 500 indexed mutual funds.

PeerStreet Expands Product Line with Residential for Rent Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet, a platform for investing in real estate backed loans, today announced the launch of a new loan product for private lenders: Residential for Rent loans. Residential for Rent loans have a 30-year term so borrowers can secure long-term financing for residential rental properties. This launch is in response to key market conditions: as more people struggle to finance buying a home, the rental market has continued to grow.

3 Big Reasons To Fill Out The FAFSA (Even If You Think You Earn Too Much) (Huffington Post), Rated: A

One-quarter of families don’t complete the FAFSA, according to Sallie Mae’s 2018 How America Pays for College survey. Of those that don’t fill it out, 48 percent say it’s because they don’t believe they’ll qualify for financial aid.

But they’re often wrong: An analysis by NerdWallet found that in 2017, students left an estimated $2.3 billion in federal financial aid on the table by not filling out the FAFSA.

According to Elaine Rubin, senior contributor and communications specialist at private student loan marketplace Edvisors, most Americans are eligible for some type of federal aid. In fact, it’s available to anyone with a household income below $250,000 per year, CNBC reported.

Madden lawsuit nears end, but online lenders still seek fix from regulators (American Banker), Rated: A

An 8-year-old class action that wreaked havoc on the online lending industry is finally winding down, but the lobbying push in Washington to undo its impact shows no signs of abating.

Lawyers in the case have filed a proposed settlement that would provide $9.8 million in cash and debt relief to as many as 58,000 consumers, setting up the final chapter in a lawsuit that is likely to be remembered best for the legal precedent it established.

The State of Digital Engagement for Online Lending (LendIt), Rated: A

A recent trend report by Clarity Services, a credit reporting provider, showed that online funded loan volumes grew by almost 500% between 2013 and 2017.

How Far are Most in their Digital Transformation Strategy?

  • 54% of financial institutions have developed a digital strategy, but have not yet implemented it
  • 29% of financial institutions are currently developing a digital transformation strategy
  • Only 14% of financial institutions are in the process of implementing a digital transformation strategy

How Much Will They Be Investing In Digital Transformation in the Next 12-18 Months?:

  • 65% are planning to increase spending by 10%
  • 26% are planning to increase spending by 1-9%
  • 6% have no plans to change spending

What will They be investing in over the next 12-18 Months?

  • Replace or upgrade legacy IT systems — 88%
  • Reduce operational inefficiency — 76%
  • Improve customer experience — 74%

X Financial’s Fourth Quarter Results Take Stock 5% Higher (Capital Watch), Rated: A

The stock of X Financial (NYSE: XYF) jumped more than 5 percent Tuesday morning, to $6.55 per American depositary share, after the peer-to-peer lending marketplace announced improved revenue and profit for the fourth quarter, as well as a dividend for 2018.

The Shenzhen-based company, which connects borrowers and investors on its platform, reported in a statement Monday evening that its revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year to $125.5 million during the three months through December.

Its net income, X Financial said, was $35.2 million, or 22 cents per share, at a 53 percent increase from the same period of 2017.

Why Corporates Cant Fund Early Pay Programs (Dynamic Discounting + SCF) (Spend Matters), Rated: A

If you look at the graph below, 5% of S&P 500 companies hold more than half the overall cash; the other 95% of corporations have cash-to-debt levels that are the lowest in data going back to 2004, according to Wells Fargo research. We know who those 5% are — they are the GAFA companies: Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

Source:

ZestFinance Using AI To Bring Fairness To Mortgage Lending (Forbes), Rated: A

Discrimination in lending has long been a problem, shutting minority groups out of the home buying process.

ZestFinance, the artificial intelligence software company focused on the credit market is trying to change that with ZAML Fair, a new software tool that aims to reduce the instances of biases and discrimination in lending.

CoreLogic Launches PanoramIQ to Provide More Accurate and Complete Property Insights (CoreLogic), Rated: A

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today announced PanoramIQ, an intelligent property solution that delivers a more complete view of property data with more current and reliable sources than public-record data alone. Utilizing a combination of public and proprietary property datasets, a unique property ID, machine learning and advanced analytics, PanoramIQ provides lenders, mortgage industry professionals and government entities with deeper, more accurate and complete property insights, allowing clients to make better decisions in a timely and efficient manner.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Launches Real Estate Investment Vehicle with New Hires (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC announced it will broaden its product offering and enter the healthcare real estate investment market.  White Oak hired Jeff Erhardt, Paul Nevala, Mike Treiber and John Brussard to build out the vehicle, which will initially invest up to $500MM and will focus on investments in seniors housing and skilled nursing properties using triple net leases and joint-venture RIDEA structures.

Banks seek Congress’ help to block fintech path to ‘industrial’ charters  (Roll Call), Rated: A

A bank industry group is lobbying Congress to block financial technology firms, such as online lender Social Finance Inc. and payment processor Square Inc., from obtaining an obscure form of a state bank charter that would let them operate nationally with little federal supervision.

The Independent Community Bankers of America last week distributed a policy paper around Washington calling for an immediate moratorium on providing federal deposit insurance to industrial loan companies, or ILCs, which are chartered by only a few states — most notably Utah.

Form S-3 Senmiao Technology Ltd (Street Insider), Rated: A

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: From time to time after this registration statement becomes effective.

Debt Securities. We may offer debt securities, which may be secured or unsecured, senior, senior subordinated or subordinated, may be guaranteed by our subsidiaries, and may be convertible into shares of our common stock. We may issue debt securities separately or together with, upon conversion of or in exchange for other securities. It is likely that any debt securities issued will not be issued under an indenture.

Figure Technologies, Inc. Expands Leadership Team as It Builds Out Financial Empowerment and Wealth Offerings (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Figure Technologies, Inc., a fintech company in both the home equity and blockchain space, announces that John Sweeney has joined the company as the head of Wealth and Asset Management, along with Dr. Michael Dooley, who joined as chief economist. These hires reflect Figure’s commitment to empowering consumers and building out products to improve their financial well-being.

LendPro Hires Belinda Kelton as Vice President of Sales (LendPro Email), Rated: B

LendPro LLC, a provider of Lending-as-a-Service (LaaS) products and platforms for retailers, has hired retail industry veteran Belinda Kelton as its Vice President of Sales, the company announced today. Kelton is the latest of many new hires for the fast-growing fintech company, which recently moved to a new location to accommodate new staff members and provide the best service possible to customers.

Corporate Counsel, Commercial (Go In House), Rated: B

Affirm is looking for a business-minded Corporate Counsel, Commercial with broad expertise in complex commercial transactions. This role will report to Affirm’s Associate General Counsel.
United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund sees higher impairments continue to drag returns (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The Funding Circle SME Income fund saw just a marginally positive performance in February with Net Asset Value growth of just 0.05 per cent as impairments continued to hurt performance.

Impairments reduced NAV returns by 0.7 per cent in February, said analysts at Liberum, in line with the average monthly impairment rate of recent months.

Revolut Is Testing the Limits of Finance (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Storonsky is getting a taste of the scrutiny that lies ahead as he tries to upend the world of banking with Revolut, his 3-1/2 year-old startup. The U.K.’s financial regulator is examining why the digital bank last summer temporarily turned off a system designed to automatically block suspicious transactions.

It was valued at $1.7 billion at its last fundraising and now has over 4 million customers after new accounts tripled in 2018. That’s about three times more than the two lenders combined and the same number of customers as foreign-exchange business TransferWise, which is four years older.

Source: Innovate Finance

CrowdProperty launches equity sale after increasing loan book by £100m (PlaceTech), Rated: AAA

The specialist peer-to-peer lender has secured £100m of loan capital as it launches a public crowdfunding campaign, already oversubscribed, that values the business at more than £15m.

Having raised £100m from an unnamed “major institution”, CrowdProperty will use the funds to expand the number of property projects it backs over the next 12-24 months.

OakNorth reports £33.9m profit for 2018 and commits to donating 1% of all future net profit to charitable causes and social entrepreneurship (OakNorth Email), Rated: A

IFISA Guide: SME loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Ablrate’s IFISA offers returns ranging between 10 and 15 per cent, enabling investors to fund asset-backed loans to UK businesses.

ArchOver’s IFISA enables investors to fund secured business loans and enjoy tax-free returns of up to 10 per cent per year.

MoneyThing’s IFISA is one of the highest-paying tax wrappers that invests in secured business loans, offering annual returns of up to  13 per cent.

Assetz Capital

Returns vary depending on the account, going from 4.1 per cent to 6.25 per cent on its auto-invest products, and up to 15.5 per cent with its manual lending option.

Funding Circle

The minimum investment in this flexible IFISA is £1,000.

LendingCrowd

The Growth and Income ISAs automatically spread investors’ money across a range of loans and have variable target rates of six per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively.

Specialist lender funding will be the key issue for 2019 – LendInvest (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

The situation is a big reminder to lenders that it is crucial to concentrate on building a diverse range of funding sources, rather than just one single route.

It’s something that we have put a lot of work into at LendInvest, as it allows us to lend with confidence, knowing that the funds we have promised to a borrower will be there.

The firm sent out an email on 24 January 2019 suggesting that recipients should have a “stockpile ready” as some believe Brexit “could affect the amount of food available,” while offering a £5 promotional discount on a loan.

Why investors are fleeing the ‘fear and greed’ of stock markets for peer-to-peer loans (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Investors are ditching the stock market in favour of bundled loans sold by fledgling platforms that are yet to be tested by a financial crisis.

The top 20 UK places for high net worth earners (Citywire), Rated: B

Nearly two fifths of the UK’s top earners now live in London, according to research from peer to peer lending platform easyMoney.

China/Hong Kong

China’s Online Lender Dianrong Blames Chinese Regime for its Woes (NTD), Rated: AAA

Dianrong, one of China’s biggest peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, is laying off staff and shutting stores. The company blamed the Chinese regime for its troubles and said the absence of clear-cut policies was proving to be a heavy burden.

Dianrong shut down 60 of its 90 offline stores and laid off an estimated 2,000 employees, Reuters reported in early March.

Pintec’s Stock Rises on Steady Results During Quarter of IPO (Capital Watch), Rated: A

Pintec Technology Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: PT) gained 15 cents in trading by midday after reporting a slight increase in revenue and narrowed losses for the fourth quarter.

The Beijing-based tech platform facilitating financial services said on Wednesday that its revenue in the three months through December was $32.9 million, 2 percent higher year-over-year. Its net loss was $1.2 million, a 10 percent decrease from the same period of 2017. Loss per share was 1 cent.

For the full year, Pintec reported revenue of $153.1 million, 85 percent higher from the preceding 12 months, and profit of $1.1 million in contrast to a loss in 2017.

KKR Raising First Asia Real Estate Fund, Targeting $ 1.5 Billion (U.S. News), Rated: A

Global investment powerhouse KKR & Co Inc is raising its first Asia-focused real estate fund, targeting $1.5 billion as it looks to deepen its real estate portfolio in the region, said people with knowledge of the matter.

Investment firms raised $18.6 billion in 26 Asia-focused real estate funds last year, the highest since 2008, according to data provider Preqin. KKR’s U.S.-based rival Blackstone Group raised the region’s biggest real estate fund last year at $7.1 billion.

China and distressed debt top DB’s hedge funds tastes test (City Wire Selector), Rated: A

Alternative investors are increasingly drawn to Asian hedge funds and distressed strategies, according to the latest Alternative Investment Survey from Deutsche Bank.

The 2019 survey canvassed the views of 425 asset allocators running $1.7 trillion of hedge fund assets in 28 countries.

European Union

Finnest and Invesdor Merge to Combine Debt and Equity Operations in Europe (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Finnest, an Austria based Fintech that provides debt capital to small and medium-sized firms, has announced a planned merger with Finland based Invesdor Oy. The newly formed company will see the combination of a leading Nordic equity crowdfunding platform and a top online lender serving the DACH region (Deutschland, Austria, Switzerland). The two companies will now be able to offer a full stack of debt and equity services and investments across Northern Europe as well as more numerous options for investors.

Invesdor claims over 50,000 registered users as well as a MiFID II license for 28 European countries – the first crowdfunding platform to receive approval. Invesdor reports investors, both institutional and individual, from over 150 different countries. Invesdor currently offers a unique financing portfolio in the market, from equity to loans and bonds to IPOs.

Bitbond to Work with BitGo for Germany’s First Security Token Offering (Bitbond), Rated: A

Bitbond has launched Germany’s first Security Token Offering with a BaFin approved Prospectus and will be using  BitGo’s Business Wallet. The STO has a hard cap of EUR 100 million (~USD 113 million) and will conclude in May. Thousands of investors have already joined to take advantage of early bird discounts.

The STO marks a significant milestone for the crypto asset industry, not only because it has an approved prospectus, but also because it offers tokenized debt with a predetermined maturity. Bitbond Token (BB1) holders will receive quarterly and annual payments for 10 years, after which Bitbond will buy back the token at its original value of EUR 1 per token.

India

Top 5 sectors that need upskilling: How to stay relevant in age of disruption? (Indian Express), Rated: A

The banking sector is witnessing a massive growth owing to the launch of connected products and services, business innovation and the rise of the middle class along with the emergence of new fintech areas of mobile payments, digital wallets and P2P lending. Technologies such as chatbots, blockchains and automation through robotics powered by AI are transforming the sector.

CRYPTO EXCHANGE COINDCX RAISES SEED FUNDING FROM BAIN CAPITAL VENTURES (Coin News Span), Rated: B

Bengaluru-based client leasing startup RentoMojo has raised $10 Mn serial B funding from Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche.

Asia

Look out for 2019’s top 7 lending startups (e27), Rated: AAA

As of 2019, there are still 2.45 billion underbanked and unbanked people in the world. The more innovative lending companies there are, the faster this market will be covered and served.

October.eu (formerly Lendix) is an innovative, easy-to-use, and intuitive peer-to-peer platform for lending and investing.

The Dharma team works on a platform that lets businesses build lending products on the Ethereum blockchain.

The governing idea of Kabbage is that funding shouldn’t be complicated for businesses. So, the company makes an effort to provide entrepreneurs with up to US$250,000 in loans for which you can allegedly qualify for in just 10 minutes or at most, a day.

Founded in 2014, TurnKey Lender has already become the market’s leading intelligent all-in-one lending automation platform.

The name SoFi comes from social finance and it’s another great example of a successful peer-to-peer lending operation. Founded in 2011, the company is already a huge market player with US$30 billion worth of funded loans and 600 thousand members.

Affirm goes a different route than most alternative lenders. The idea behind it is enabling in-house financing for retail businesses. So, the store’s customers get an instant loan with zero to 30 per cent interest rates.

With quite a unique approach, Lendio offers small business an opportunity to get services and credit products from lenders with the best conditions. It’s a marketplace with more than 75 lenders on board.

Vietnam is the region’s fintech hub (The ASEAN Post), Rated: AAA

Vietnam’s strong economic growth in recent years has led to the flourishing of the nation’s digital economy. The country’s economy in 2017 was deemed to be one of the best performing in the region. Its economy saw a 6.8 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) – higher than the government’s initial target of 6.7 percent – making it one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam currently has 54 percent of its population on the internet and the number is expected to grow further in the coming years.

Data from Vietnam Briefing shows that 39,580 start-ups entered the Vietnamese market in just the first four months of 2017, a 14 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016. Within the start-up scene, the fintech sector has become the most attractive for investments, receiving US$129 million in 2016.

Travelstop Targets Fintech SMEs with Business Travel Management Platform (Fintech News), Rated: A

Co-founded by former Expedia employees, Singapore-based Travelstop is a modern, artificial intelligence (AI) powered SaaS platform that simplifies business travel, automates expense reporting for businesses in Asia, and offers insights to business owners.

The platform is quickly gaining traction from the region’s startups and fintech community, helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and high-growth organizations including Funding Societies, Fintech News Network, RedDoorz, S P Jain School of Global Management and Dot Property better to manage their business travels.

Asia has the largest share of mobile internet traffic, with 61% of its population using mobile devices to go online.

How Ovo Has Grown to be Indonesia’s Largest Digital Payments Platform (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

After online stores, Indonesia’s leading digital payments platform Ovo has been making strides into offline stores, increasing the number of merchants that accept the payment method.

OVO has reportedly acquired local peer-to-peer lending company Taralite, a move that will pave the way for OVO to branch out into the lending business which is seen to be a potential profit-generator for the company.

TurnKey Lender Opens a New Office in Kuala Lumpur (Digital Journal), Rated: A

TurnKey Lender, a provider of intelligent lending automation, decision management, and risk mitigation solutions, announces the opening of a new office in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Its main goal will be to physically represent TurnKey Lender and support the company’s operations in Asia.

With internet penetration at 85.7% in 2018, the country is perfectly positioned for the rapid growth of alternative lending initiatives in areas like peer-to-peer lending and in-house financing.

Golden Gate Ventures ties up with Hanwha to invest in Asian startups (SDF-KH), Rated: B

Golden Gate and Hanwha will focus on startups that are raising fund for ‘Series B’ stage.

Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures confirmed on Tuesday that it has teamed up with South Korea-based Hanwha Asset Management to invest in Southeast Asian technology startups.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday September 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR by Credit Score Range

News Comments Today’s main news: Varo Money gets preliminary approval for bank charter. SynapseFI raises $17M for banking platform. RateSetter ISA gets 130M GBP inflow in 8 months. Ex-Lloyds Banking boss set to make 3.3M GBP from Funding Circle float. LendInvest hits 1B GBP total lending. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for August 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Purchase APR by Credit Score Range

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

Varo Money wins preliminary approval for US national bank charter (FinExtra) Rated: AAA

San Francisco-based fintech startup Varo Money has been granted preliminary approval for a national bank charter by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), paving the way for the creation of the first fully-licensed mobile-only bank in the US.

Co-founded by former Wells Fargo executive Colin Walsh, Varo Money has raised $79 million in funding over the past two years and currently provides a range of savings, loans and account-based services through a relationship with The Bancorp Bank.

The approval for a Federal banking charter will enable the firm to expand its portfolio of millennial-friendly financial products on a national scale, providing a wider range of services in all 50 states.

Four Things for FinTechs to Consider Before Filing a Bank Charter Application, says Auriemma Consulting Group (PR Web) Rated: A

Each FinTech now finds itself at a regulatory Rubicon: To either take control of its destiny by embracing one of the available bank charters, with all of the attendant compliance and regulatory challenges; or to remain a non-bank technology company, dependent on a bank partner or subject to multi-state laws.

Here are four of the most important factors for FinTechs to consider now:

  1. Determine the importance of interest rate exportation to your business.
  2. Consider the need for deposit funding.
  3. Consider the requirements of equity investors – now and in the future.
  4. Weigh the risk represented by a Bank Partner.

3 best pieces of career advice for young people from ex NFL and Twitter exec (NBC) Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto has had a star-studded corporate career.

He has been the chief operating officer of Twitter, the co-head of telecommunications, media and technology investment banking at Goldman Sachs and the executive vice president and chief financial officer of the National Football League. And currently, he is the chief executive officer at the online personal finance company SoFi, short for Social Finance.

  1. Fix problems, don’t pass the buck
  2. ‘Be a truth seeker’ so you can make the best decisions possible
  3. Focus on making your whole team better

SynapseFI raises $ 17M to develop its fintech and banking platform (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

SynapseFI, a startup that helps banks and fintech companies work together to develop technology, has announced that it raised a $17 million Series A funding round.

The funding actually closed at the back end of last year, but CEO Sankaet Pathak said the company has been so busy developing new products, hiring and more than that it is only getting around to disclosing the deal now. The investment was led by Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital, with participation from other unnamed backers.

The San Francisco-based startup has sat under the radar for a while now despite starting up in 2014. Its core product is a platform that helps banks and developers work together. That involves developer-facing APIs that allow companies to connect with banks to offer services, and also bank-facing APIs that allow banks to automate and extend back-end operations.

The LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report contains data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders.

  • APR: Actual APR offers to borrowers on our platform
  • Down Payment: Though analogous to the LTV, we find that borrowers identify more closely with the down payment. Academic studies have also found that the down payment is the primary concern for homebuyers and one of the main impediments to entering the home buying market.
  • LTV: Actual LTV offered to borrowers on our platform
  • Loan Amount: The average loan amount borrowers are offered
  • Lifetime Interest Paid: This is the total cost a borrower incurs for the loan, inclusive of fees.
Source: Lending Tree

Credit unions split on potential threat posed by OCC’s fintech charter (Credit Union Journal) Rated: A

With the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency having approved a national bank charter for fintechs this summer, a host of insiders have weighed in on potential pros and cons, and how OCC’s move might ultimately impact credit unions.

“The threat to any financial institution, including credit unions, would be around the prospect of a fintech with compelling, modern technology and innovative approaches to traditional banking services becoming regulated and competing with CUs and banks,” said Michael Carter, EVP of digital practice for the Memphis-based Strategic Resource Management (SRM).

Ted Bilke, president of Symitar and VP of Jack Henry & Associates, said one charter “negative” could be enabling large players like Walmart and Amazon to “provide traditional depository and lending services” that compete directly with traditional credit union business.

Should You Take Out a Loan for Payroll? (NAV) Rated: A

When cash flow slows, becomes stagnant, or is otherwise disrupted (large purchases, overdue accounts, etc.), business owners can become vulnerable to a variety of financial woes. Bills can go unpaid, vendor relationships can become strained, and, if the problems persist, your credit can take a quick slide downward. Unfortunately, cash flow problems can also impact another essential part of your business – payroll.

Aside from leaving employees disgruntled, failure to meet your payroll obligations is considered a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which can result in penalties handed down from the Department of Labor.

Why can’t you make payroll? 

Though the exact reason for payroll problems can vary from business to business, there are typically two primary circumstances that leave business owners frantically trying to make good on this obligation:  changes in cash flow or unexpected expenses.

Americans Are Planning to Spend Less on Fashion This Fall; Many Are Embracing Alternatives to Cash or Credit Cards (Business Wire) Rated: A

Affirm, Inc., the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest alternatives to traditional credit, today announced the “Shop with Affirm” fall fashion campaign and released the findings of a new survey revealing how Americans plan to shop and pay for apparel purchases this fall.

Starting in September, Affirm will feature fashion and apparel brands that partner with Affirm across Instagram and Affirm.com, showing consumers where they can buy now and pay for purchases over time with Affirm. Many fashion brands now give customers the option to use Affirm to buy items with no interest, repaid in three easy monthly installments.

The campaign was designed to make great brands accessible to more customers, offering a transparent payment option that better aligns with shoppers’ cash flows and helps them budget for fall purchases.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes $ 20 Million Financing For Fox Rehabilitation (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $20 million asset based senior credit facility for Fox Rehabilitation, Inc. (“Fox”). The funds were primarily used to refinance existing indebtedness and support continued growth.

Fox provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services to help geriatric patients regain a better quality of life. “We are excited to partner with a practice that is so highly focused on clinical outcomes. By investing in people and processes, Fox has demonstrated the unique ability to maintain continuity of care while expanding throughout the country,” said Ross Eldridge, Managing Director at White Oak.

United Kingdom

RateSetter ISA sees £130m inflows in eight months (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has seen a inflows of more than £130m into its Innovative Finance ISA in just eight months.

The firm, one of the three largest P2P lending platforms in the UK, launched its IFISA to existing customers in February and new customers in March. Like its peers Funding Circle and Zopa, the platform was fully regulated and therefore able to launch an IFISA later than many of its smaller peers.

John Battersby, head of communications at the firm, says that demand has been higher than expected for Ratesetter’s ISA.

Disgraced ex Lloyds Banking boss set to make £3.3m when web-based lender Funding Circle floats (This is Money) Rated: AAA

The disgraced former boss of Lloyds Banking Group could make millions of pounds when fintech darling Funding Circle lists on the stock market in the coming weeks.

Eric Daniels, who orchestrated Lloyds’ disastrous takeover of rival HBOS during the financial crisis which left the bank in need of a £20billion taxpayer bailout, is an investor and director at the peer-to-peer lender.

He owns a 0.2 per cent stake in the business, which looks set to be worth £3.3million when it joins the stock market.

Funding Circle “Go further” by Lucky Generals (Campaign) Rated: A

Funding Circle, the small business loans platform, breaks the functional conventions of most financial services advertising in its second TV campaign.

 

LendInvest’s Total Lending Capital Hits £1 Billion as Fintech Raises £150 Million in Residential Development Funding in New JV (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

LendInvest, an online property finance platform, reports it has secured £150 million of “initial funding” in a new joint venture with Nomura, a global investment bank,  and Magnetar, an alternative investment manager. This new capital infusion now places LendInvest’s total capital for lending at around £1 billion. The JV with LendInvest will see the funding used for residential development finance.

Nomura is a Japan headquartered financial services group with an integrated global network spanning over 30 countries. Magnetar, based in the US, is a $13.7 billion investment manager that seeks to achieve stable risk-adjusted returns by opportunistically employing a wide range of fixed income, energy, quantitative and fundamental investment strategies.

Proposed investor restrictions threaten P2P sector’s growth (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER lending industry has blasted the City watchdog’s proposed investor restrictions as unfair, costly and damaging to the sector’s future.

P2P platforms have been busy digesting the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) long-awaited post-implementation review of the sector – released over the summer – and while most are happy with plans for heightened transparency and loanbook disclosure, there are concerns over proposed marketing restrictions and appropriateness tests  for investors.

These proposals would make P2P lending platforms become the preserve of sophisticated, high-net-worth or ‘restricted’ investors, akin to crowd bond providers like Abundance and alternative investment firms such as Goji.

WELENDUS LAUNCHES INDUSTRY-FIRST 15% RETURN ISA PRODUCT (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

Welendus, the FCA-approved Peer-to-Peer (“P2P”) lender, today announces the launch of an industry-first; it’s HMRC-approved Innovative Finance ISA (“IF-ISA”), which will allow investors to invest their annual ISA allowance in a flexible high return investment product, with no income tax on the interest earnings. This product will be the first ISA product on the market with up to a 15% return.

The UK’s short-term lending market is now worth £3.7 billion per year[1], however new innovative products have been few and far between, leaving great opportunity for disruption and innovation. In addition, the UK’s P2P lending market is expected to exceed £10 billion this year, and up to £19 billion by 2020.

Buy to let Britain: A divided nation sell or stay? (Property Reporter) Rated: A

Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are divided over their future, in light of tax and market changes – according to latest research from property-backed P2P lending product, Octopus Choice.

While three in five buy to let investors (56%) want to keep or buy more rental properties, two in five (44%) are looking to sell. The majority of UK landlords still view it as a money-making asset class but think it will be on the decline in the future. As the market consolidates, buy to let owners are polarized across the country, with tough decisions to make on whether to stay or leave the sector.

For those looking to exit the market, nearly a quarter blame falling yields (24%) and tax changes (23%), while a fifth blame cooling house prices (19%). Three in five (60%) say that property management had become a burden and 61% undervalued the costs involved.

Charlotte Rogers: The demise of Wonga shows toxic brands will always fail (Marketing Week) Rated: A

At one point Wonga was the UK’s biggest payday lender and tipped for a $1bn listing on the New York Stock Exchange, but it collapsed under the weight of compensation claims from customers who had been mis-sold loans and has not done enough to repair the damage.

Some 200,000 customers who owe an estimated £400m in short-term loans are still being asked to make repayments to the company, despite the fact compensation claimants are unlikely to ever receive a full pay-out.

The current reality is a world away from 2008, the year Wonga launched. The company positioned itself as a flexible digital alternative to banks and as an option for people looking online for a financial fix in 15 minutes.

Taking a cheeky and brash tone, the loans firm invested heavily in marketing to raise its brand awareness. Wonga’s advertising spend rocketed from £22,000 in 2009 to £16m by 2011, according to estimates by analysts AC Nielson MMS.

In 2010, Wonga made its first high profile move into sponsorship, teaming up with Transport for London to sponsor five hours of free late-night travel on New Year’s Eve. That same year the company made its first foray into the world of sports through a shirt sponsorship deal with Blackpool FC, which it would continue until 2015.

The PRS in a divided Nation – 44% say sell and 56% stay (Property 118) Rated: A

Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are divided over their future, in light of tax and market changes with 56% buy to let investors wanting to keep or buy more rental properties, and 44% are looking to sell. This is according to latest research from property-backed P2P lending product, Octopus Choice.

The majority of UK landlords still view it as a money-making asset class, but think it will be on the decline in the future. As the market consolidates, buy to let owners are polarized across the country, with tough decisions to make on whether to stay or leave the sector.

Meet the Wonga wannabees: Britain cheered when its biggest payday lender went bust last week… But beware its rivals still out there (This is Money) Rated: A

Wonga is no more — but there are still dozens of other payday loan firms out there.

So who are the Wonga wannabes?

SUNNY LOANS

Borrowers can apply for a loan of between £100 and £2,500.

The standard representative APR is 1,293 per cent, with risky borrowers charged up to 1,617 per cent.

QUICKQUID

Owned by parent firm Cash- EuroNet UK, QuickQuid has been trading since 2007 and offers loans up to £1,000 for new customers — £1,500 to those returning.

PEACHY

It offers loans of between £100 and £1,000 for between one and 12 months.

MR LENDER

It offers loans of between £200 and £1,000 over a term of six months.

Its typical APR is 1,256 per cent and maximum is 1,462 per cent. Borrow £1,000 over six months at the standard rate and you would repay a total of £1,815.

MYJAR

Based in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, Myjar launched a decade ago and offers loans of between £100 and £7,200 over three, six, 12 or 24 months, with a maximum interest rate of 1,326 per cent.

China

Slow-Motion Crash Sees Chinese Auto Stocks Skid 40% This Year (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

A plan by Great Wall Motor Co. GWLLY -4.12% to offer discounts of between 11% and 27% on its cars has helped trigger a round of selling this week, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dongfeng Motor Group Co. DNFGY 8.84% Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. GELYY -0.90% andGuangzhou Automobile Group Co. 2238 -2.97%—among the largest Chinese auto makers listed in Hong Kong—have each dropped by between 4% and 7% in the last two days of trading.

Combined, the trio have lost nearly 194 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$24.8 billion) in market capitalization this year, Datastream shows, while a Thomson Reuters index of Hong Kong-listed auto and truck manufacturers is down 39%.

Vehicle purchases are on the decline: In July, new car sales were 5.5% lower than in the same month last year. Sales of insurance policies are also falling. Peer-to-peer lending for car purchases had become increasingly popular, but after a series of lending scandals the government has cracked down.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes August 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Source P2P Banking

Startup Influx into Fintech: Is There Still Space for Growth? (Equities) Rated: AAA

We need to understand that the fintech industry is extremely broad, and the user base does not fit into a single category. Therefore, the applications of financial technology will find relevance in many spheres. This is one of the factors that have accounted for a massive growth in the number of fintech startups across the world. It is estimated that the number of startups in the fintech space has increased 8-fold; from an estimated 1000 companies in 2005 to more than 8000 companies in 2016.

Source: Equities

The fintech industry is still in a growth phase and therefore there is every possibility that we will continue to see an increase in the number of startups jumping into the fintech space. However, the emerging markets will see more of the increase in the number of startups due to the underserved nature of these markets.

ACORN OakNorth Holdings closes $ 100m round as business continues to grow ahead of plan (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

ACORN OakNorth Holdings has today announced that it has secured $100m from the EDBI of Singapore, NIBC Bank, Clermont Group, GIC, and Coltrane Asset Management. The $100m represented 4.3% of the company. The capital will be used to accelerate the growth of ACORN machine and enable OakNorth to continue scaling its lending efforts in the UK.

Meanwhile, ACORN machine has opened offices in New York and Singapore to service clients across multiple continents and will have over $5bn of assets under service on its platform by year end. NIBC Bank is the platform’s first client in the Netherlands. ACORN machine’s team now consists of almost 100 people and in the short term expects to add another 50 people across growth and operations, engineering, machine learning and data science.

Biz2Credit Launches New Virtual CFO for Small Businesses (Crowfund Insider) Rated: A

Biz2Credit announced on Wednesday the launch of its BizAnalyzer Virtual CFO, which is described as an advanced software tool that enables business owners to make smarter financial decisions about their companies. According to Biz2Credit, the virtual CFO software is available to clients of Paychex Promise, a subscription-based service from Paychex, a provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

Australia

Lender produces guide to business loans (Broker News) Rated: A

An online lender has released a free eBook to help brokers move into writing unsecured online business loans.

The ‘Guide to Online Business Loans’ is the first comprehensive guide to alternative lending produced by a fintech lender in Australia.

It was created to overcome barriers such as a lack of education and knowledge of the industry, to help brokers diversify.

India

P2P lending: How the Rs 10 lakh cap will affect small businesses? (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

If you are salaried and earn up to Rs 20,000 every month, cold calls and emails from banks for pre-approved personal loans is a regular thing. But for someone planning to open a franchise store or start a catering business, getting an unsecured loan is not easy. Banks and NBFCs are reluctant to fund businesses or expansion plans of MSMEs/SMEs or proprietors.

This could be due to factors like lack of credit data, remote location or poor education. Banks and financial institutions require an individual to display established source of income, thus leaving about 80 percent of the population with no access to credit.

The Peer-to-peer (P2P) online platform aims to bridge the gap between people who can lend and those who want to borrow without any security. The P2P industry took its first baby step in October in the form of RBI regulations which allows high-end investors to lend their money to low-end borrowers.

Asia

The evolution of sme financing (The Business Times) Rated: AAA

This gap in payments in certain industries can be up to several months, such as in the construction sector. When unexpected crises hit, such as late payments by customers or budget overruns during projects, businesses without adequate financing can be left high and dry.

With so much at stake, SMEs need to ask themselves if their current financing facilities are adequate for their needs and future expansion.

While the SME Financing Survey suggests that SMEs do not have a serious problem with getting external debt financing as 90 per cent of SMEs were successful in securing loans in 2017, other SME surveys indicate that financing is still a top concern by this particular segment. In a separate SME Development Survey 2017 by DP Info, 35 per cent of SMEs cited facing financing concerns – up from 22 per cent in 2016 and 14 per cent in 2015.

Kristine Ng: Fundaztic’s SME Lifeline to Plug the RM80 Billion Funding Gap (Awani Review) Rated: A

Kristine Ng understands very well the struggles SMEs go through to obtain financing. She spent a decade in the banking sector – five with Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC), which was set up with the sole objective to help SMEs obtain credit facilities by providing guarantee schemes.

Recognising the need to plug the funding gap, particularly among smaller and micro enterprises. Kristine left her corporate career to start to start peer-to-peer (P2P) platform Fundaztic with a team of senior level ex-bankers.

Hard cash (Business Times) Rated: A

Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment company GO-JEK is expanding its financial technology services through partnerships with three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firms: Findaya, Dana Cita and Aktivaku.

GO-JEK’s payment system GO-PAY launched last year, accounting for more than half of the startup’s transactions. The company integrated GO-PAY into the GO-JEK app, enabling customers to store money on their mobile phones — similar to a digital debit card. Adding to the GO-PAY account can be done from a bank account or ATM. If customers don’t have a bank account, they can hand cash over to GO-JEK’s drivers, and it will be transferred immediately to their account.

MENA

New Report Trails the Rise of Israeli Fintech (C Tech) Rated: AAA

Over the last 18 months, 16 multinational financial firms started operating in the Israeli tech system, or increased their local footprint through strategic partnerships and investments, according to a new report by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), a nonprofit working to promote Israeli tech.

Newcomers include French insurance firm AXA SA, Bank of Montreal, Fosun, TD Bank, AmTrust, and Mastercard.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 27 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s new CEO wants to get the company ready to go public. Revolut’s transaction volumes increased 700%. China to crackdown on non-bank lending. Blender raises $16M. Today’s main analysis: Stay away from LendingClub’s notes and shares. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Legacy banks, digital startups see opportunity to go beyond storing money. LendingBlock aims to mainstream […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

Other

News Summary

United States

Anthony Noto’s Mission as SoFi CEO: Get the Startup Ready to Go Public (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto, the new chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is looking to steer the company out of crisis and get it in shape for a potential initial public offering.

The vision for SoFi outlined by Noto didn’t stray far from the one set by his predecessor Mike Cagney, who was ousted after accusations of sexual misconduct inside the company. Noto wants to create a broad online financial-service company, adding checking and savings accounts and wealth management to the main business of refinancing student loans.

SoFi’s new CEO says bank charter remains an option (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview during his first day on the job, Anthony Noto did not promise any big course changes, though he did leave open the possibility that SoFi will revive its quest to get a banking license.

LendingClub’s Underwriting: Stay Away From The Notes And The Shares (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

I bought my first batch of $25 notes on April 22, 2016. Now, it is important to note that LendingClub is very clear in its advertising that “99% of portfolios with 100+ Notes have seen positive returns.” So I suppose I added a level of risk by not having a portfolio worth at least $2500. But even still, returns can be .1% annualized and count as ‘positive’, but that is not an acceptable return by anyone’s standards given the risks involved in lending to strangers.

My Portfolio

To date, I have received $436 in payments, $96 of which is interest. I have lost $100 on notes that have charged-off, meaning that there is zero expectation of future payment and LendingClub collectors have stopped attempting to reach the borrower. I also have a note that is late, and based on how things have gone so far, I fully expect that to charge-off too and will lose the $11.50 still owed. In short, I have already lost almost 20% of my initial investment, crossing my fingers that none of the 14 notes I still have that are current don’t enter a late status with more than a year to go before the oldest reaches full term. My results have been dismal.

Source: Seeking Alpha

LendingClub’s ratings are A-G, with A being the safest. As you can see, the vast majority of my portfolio sits in A-C, with one E and one G note (LendingClub did away with F and G notes last year).

Source: Seeking Alpha

Legacy Banks and Digital Startups See a Big Opportunity to Move Beyond Simply Storing Money (AdWeek), Rated: AAA

Change can be hard for the financial industry, which is dominated by decades of processes and internal systems. But with a slew of upstarts making their way into the trillion-dollar industry, the old guard is finding innovative ways to beat these challenger brands at their own game.

“A lot of these companies have what we call ‘technical debt’—very expensive mainframe systems that are very difficult to change, run [and are] expensive and obviously that limits their ability to innovate,” said Oliwia Berdak, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “The biggest challenge is often culture … In banks the attitude has always been to perfect [products] before it’s unleashed on customers and [technology] is a big change where you’re working with a certain degree of uncertainty and risk.”

According to data collected by Accenture, 90 percent of banking executives said that their companies needed to “innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to remain competitive,” but only 47.8 percent say that they are actually “investing comprehensively” in digital.

Another challenge: For all the talk about slick mobile banking apps and services, consumers—gasp—still like going to physical banks to manage financial decisions. Eighty-seven percent of customers enjoy going to a physical bank and prefer to interact with a human while there, per Accenture.

Source: AdWeek

Retail Banks Are Missing Opportunities to Give Digital Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Most customers who received face-to-face financial advice from their retail bank felt their needs were completely met (58 percent), but satisfaction drops when advice is delivered by other means, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Sales Practices & Advice Study. Only 45 percent of customers who received digital advice through their bank’s website or mobile app felt their needs were met and only 33 percent felt their needs were met via email.
The majority of customers surveyed for the study (58 percent) said they want to receive advice through their bank’s website and mobile app, but only 12 percent said they received advice in that manner.

Why neobanks need to find a niche offering (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Customers still aren’t excited about digital-only banks. Less than 10 percent of Americans looking to open a checking account would consider doing so at a digital bank, according to a new report by Cornerstone Advisors.

For example, San Francisco-based neobank Chime’s customers are mostly middle-income millennials, with a median age of 29 and incomes between $45,000 to $65,000. Chime says it caters to a gap in the market for younger customers who felt larger institutions weren’t meeting their needs.

Neobanks should focus on a “clear, differentiated value proposition” for the customer, but too many of them are just adding a little technology to a customer experience that’s not terribly different from what the big banks offer, said Satya Patel, a partner at Homebrew, a seed-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco and an investor in Chime.

How Capital One is rethinking its approach to products (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For the past year, Capital One has been rethinking how it can get out of the too-common approach of “innovating” by layering new technology on top of an old product — it’s realized it needs to entirely reconsider the customer’s interaction with it.

Are banks too blasé about mobile security? (American Banker), Rated: B

About a third of companies have knowingly sacrificed security for expediency or business performance, according to a newly published study, and researchers said that bankers’ responses were consistent with the group as a whole, which included health care and other sectors.

Bringing Credit Invisibles Into Focus with Alternative Financial Data (LendIt), Rated: A

Ten percent of the U.S. adult population do not have a credit score or history with any of the big three credit bureaus.

That’s 1 in 10, or roughly 26 million people who are considered “credit invisible.”

But the financial underserved market spends $173 billion in fees and interest to use $1.94 trillion in financial services, according to the 2017 Center for Financial services Innovation study.

There are four basic categories of people who fall under the credit invisibles umbrella:

  • Millennials: People between 18– 34 and have not yet borrowed money or gotten a credit card.
  • Low-Income: People who don’t make enough money to gain access to credit.
  • Recent immigrants: People who recently moved to the U.S. but haven’t established credit.
  • Mass-affluent: People who earn more than $100,000 per year and pay with cash instead of credit.

Mobile Payments In US To Reach $ 3 Trillion Within Two Years (Payment Week), Rated: A

in 2015, mobile payments in the US represented $550 billion. That’s good by most any standard, but the growth expected is staggering. By 2020, that number is projected to hit $2.8 trillion. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 percent, which is far beyond most any but the most unlikely investments.

China represents $5.5 trillion in mobile payments use as of right now, a combination of various societal factors like a comparative eschewing of the personal computer in favor of the mobile device, as well as a near-ubiquity of locations that accept the system.

BREAKFORM | RE Closes a Small Lot Subdivision Development in Record Time Via Crowdfunding (PRWeb), Rated: A

BREAKFORM | RE closed its latest small lot subdivision development project in the prime West Hollywood adjacent neighborhood in record time using Equity Multiple, one of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms. The offering was 145% subscribed in 72 hours.

Credible Appoints Chris Bishko as Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Chris Bishko as chief financial officer. Mr. Bishko will report to Credible’s founder and CEO Stephen Dash.

New York Lawmakers Open to Revisiting the BitLicense (CoinDesk), Rated: B

A bill to reform the regulation could be introduced “very soon,” State Senator David Carlucci told CoinDesk.

But what is likely to remain is the animosity toward the BitLicense, as evidenced by the small but dedicated protest gathering outside just before the roundtable began, not to mention the grievances aired by the two dozen or so attendees.

United Kingdom

Transaction volumes increase 700pc at fintech firm Revolut (Independent.ie), Rated: AAA

Fintech start-up Revolut has seen its monthly transaction volume increase by over 700pc in the last 12 months to $1.5bn (€1.2bn).

Lendingblock Aims to Popularize Crypto Lending in a Secure and Transparent Way (cryptovest), Rated: AAA

Lendingblock aims to become the first to build a marketplace where cryptocurrency lenders meet borrowers, and can exchange their assets across blockchains. The platform aims to bring securities lending to the crypto economy. The current estimates of the market paint a picture of enormous potential for development: in 2017, $2 trillion of assets on loan in traditional securities lending brought approximately $4 billion in revenue. Replicating this in crypto could generate up to $300 million within 3 years as the project notes in its white paper.

 

Britain’s big banks play catch up with fintech with new apps (Reuters), Rated: A

British retail banks are poised to introduce money management apps to compete with those already launched by financial technology start-ups, betting their trusted brands, broad client base and deep pockets will help them make up lost ground.

NatWest sets up network of fintech accelerator hubs (Finextra), Rated: B

The UK’s NatWest is launching four specialist fintech accelerators based in its Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester sites.

China

Screws to tighten further on non-bank lending (The Standard), Rated: AAA

China will tighten its crackdown on illegal fundraising to fend off financial risks, according to an inter-agency meeting.

European Union

European Fintech Alliance raises bank API fears (Finextra), Rated: A

The European Fintech Alliance has fired another broadside in its tussle with the financial services establishment over PSD2, raising fears that banks will develop substandard APIs as a way to fend off competition.

Specifically, the alliance of 74 fintechs, challenger banks and fintech associations is unhappy that the Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2 allow banks the possibility to be exempted by their National Competent Authority from having to accommodate licensed Third Party Payment Services Providers (TPPs) to access accounts via the so called fallback option in case of malfunction of the API.

International

Marketplace lenders worldwide raised nearly bn last year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL marketplace lending sector saw nearly $9bn (£6.45bn) invested across 233 deals last year, marking a new funding record for the industry.

Consultancy firm Fintech Global, who compiled the data, found that equity investment in the sector rebounded to $8.9bn last year after a slowdown in 2016. The total was boosted by the top 10 deals, which raised a combined $4.4bn.

The second half of the year was strongest for funding, with the largest deal of the year closing in the fourth quarter when Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender Lufax raised $1.2bn.

Online lender ID Finance bolsters security with beahvioural biometrics (Finextra), Rated: A

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, is incorporating behavioural biometrics into its AI-based fraud scoring engine to eliminate fraud, boost loan approvals and reduce the incidence of non-performing loans.

The behavioural biometrics system studies the unique typing and behavioural patterns users display during the loan application process to capture a range of patterns. These include mouse movements, to how fingers interact with a keyboard. The biometrics record patterns such typing speed, typos, flight time between keys, keystroke depressions, as well as the patterns from actual input.

Celsius: Get Dollars When You Need Them or Get Paid to HODL (cryptovest), Rated: A

The global financial system is wobbling. Banks and other traditional financial institutions have so far managed to survive the crisis resulting entirely from their errors, greed, and arrogance. Now, many believe, they won’t live through the crypto revolution unless they embrace it.

Meet the Celsius Wallet – a combination of a digital wallet and a peer-to-peer lending platform where members can earn passive interest on their crypto holdings and use them as collateral to get loans in fiat currencies.

Australia

‘Essential’ brokers advising Xinja on mortgage strategy (TheAdviser), Rated: A

The chief executive of banking disruptor Xinja has revealed that mortgage brokers have been involved in the group’s home loan plans and will be “essential” to its strategy.

The crowdfunded online lender recently received an Australian credit license (ACL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and plans to utilise the broker channel to facilitate its digital home loan approval process.

Mortgage franchise sees decline in loan settlement (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

Mortgage franchise Yellow Brick Road posted a 2% decline to $7.74bn in loan settlement volume in the first half of FY18 over the previous period as it reduced its number of branches.

Overall, the company delivered 85% growth in profitability, with net profit before tax increasing to $0.53m in the first half of FY18 over the same period of FY17. It cited higher revenue – up by 5% – and lower costs – down by 4% – as drivers of its result.

The company also expects the addition of a small business lending product through its partner Prospa to provide additional revenue opportunities for its network and support growth in commercial lending.

India

P2P platforms as NBFCs gaining popularity in small cities, but there’s a catch (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

P Kanwal is from Punjab’s Bhatinda. He has a furniture business which mainly deals in cash, because of which it was difficult for him to get a secured loan from the formal banking system. For him, a Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform came as a rescue, which got him an unsecured loan for his kid’s education and expanding his business.

This not just the story of Mr Kanwal, but many more small entrepreneurs who are operating their businesses in Tier-1, Tier-2 cities and far-flung areas, some not even on Google map, who are getting financial support through P2P lending.

The pattern that emerges currently from the P2P lending is that borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed through the platform. The new-to-credit borrowers comprise 35% of fulfilled borrowers, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number.

MENA

Peer-to-Peer Lending Startup Blender Raises Million in Debt Financing and Equity (CTech), Rated: AAA

Israel-based peer-to-peer lending startup Blender P2P Israel Ltd. has raised $16 million in equity and debt financing, the company announced Monday.

Latin America

Airfox Launches Mobile App in Brazil, Giving Unbanked Access to Financial Services (PRWeb), Rated: A

Airfox, a mobile financial services company, today launched its free Android app in Brazil, giving millions of people unprecedented access to much-needed financing solutions.

More than 44 percent of Brazil’s population is unbanked, another 30-44 percent lack sufficient access to mainstream financial services, and those with credit cards face interest rates upwards of 200 percent (sources: World Bank, Bloomberg).

Canada

Big banks strive to give better digital financial advice (BNN), Rated: AAA

CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid discusses the Canadian banks’ quest to deliver quality online financial advice in an effort to catch up with the digital age.

Africa

PayJoy Partners With Vodacom & CBA to Bring Smartphone Financing to Tanzania (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced this week it has teamed up with Vodacom and CBA to bring smartphone financing to the country of Tanzania.

PayJoy Teams Up With Allied Mobile to Bring More Smartphones to Africans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced on Friday it has teamed up with mobile distributor Allied Mobile to bring affordable smartphone payment plans to markets across the continent of Africa. According to the duo, Allied Mobile will use PayJoy Checkout, an instant paperless finance system for customers without access to formal credit, and the patented PayJoy Lock which enables “pay-as-you-go” access to the phone. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday November 6 2017, Daily News Digest

SoFi CLP 2017-6 structure

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club considering bid for bank charter. N26 to launch in the UK. TransferWise hooks $280M investment for APAC expansion. Zopa vows rate hike won’t impact loan performance. Hexindai debuts on NASDAQ with 60% increase. Westpac profits AU$7.99B. Kaodim raises $7M. Today’s main analysis: SoFi’s latest consumer lending deal. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How payment tech is […]

SoFi CLP 2017-6 structure

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

News Summary

United States

Lending Club eyes charter as landscape evolves (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

Lending Club is exploring the idea of operating as a bank or obtaining a fintech bank charter in order to keep pace with a changing lending and regulatory landscape, an executive from the marketplace lender said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Digital Lending + Investing conference in New York, Valerie Kay, Lending Club’s head of institutional investor group, said that the platform is considering both pathways as the business grows.

How payment technology is being disrupted (The Next Web), Rated: AAA

One of the earliest changes involving the payment industry is how banks and customers behavior is shifting with one another. Quite simply, people have different expectations with how money should move, as well as how quickly. This is a cross-generational phenomenon and something that banks are trying to keep up with.

According to Bank Innovation, approximately 70 percent of millennials now do their banking online.

According to Business Insider, peer-to-peer payments alone are on pace to be worth $86 billion by 2018. And with the popularity of apps like VenmoPayPal, and even Square Cashcontinuously on the rise, this trend doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.

CurrencyPay, an online payment system that not only finances major equipment for businesses, but extends online payment methods from credit and debit cards to include ACH or wire, all the while reducing fees across the board.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, President Trump announced his nomination of Jerome Powell to succeed Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the central bank.

Also on Thursday, President Trump rolled out his new tax plan which reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four and cuts the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%. Relevant to marketplace lenders, the tax plan reduces the mortgage interest deduction cap by half.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal

SCLP 2017-6 is the largest deal on SoFi’s shelf, and the first since SCLP 2017-5, which priced concurrently with Mike Cagney’s resignation. As we discussed in our previous blog post, SCLP 2017-5 priced slightly wider on the news (10 to 15 bps). SoFi’s latest consumer lending deal, SCLP 2017-6, is the first deal from SoFi with borrowers living in FEMA declared disaster areas, comprising approximately 12% of the deal.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, S&P

SCLP 2017-6 Structure
Although it may seem that SoFi is structuring deals more aggressively, the A and B classes have higher initial CE when compared to SCLP 2017-5 by 2.38% and 0.76% respectively.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, S&P

Square’s Jack Dorsey: We’re moving as fast as we can with bank application (Fast Company), Rated: A

“I think the [regulatory] environment really changes depending on who you’re talking about,” says Dorsey, who traveled to New York this week for the unveiling of Square Register, a new hardware device. “There’s a lot of appreciation for the fact that we’ve spent eight years serving an underserved customer, an underbanked customer, both on the seller and the individual side.” Before Square unveiled its signature card reader, he adds, micro-merchants “couldn’t participate in the economy in the way that the economy was moving.”

Investors see “perfect storm” in marketplace loan ABS (Global Capital), Rated: A

An investor roundtable at the Digital Lending + Investing conference in New York on Thursday highlighted developments in the securitization of marketplace loans over the last 12-18 months. The transition to a hybrid funding model for lenders, in addition to the emergence of more sophisticated deal structures, have …

MoneyLion takes on America’s savings crisis with the launch of MoneyLion Plus (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Despite solid economic and wage growth in the U.S. since the 2008 crisis, a host of studies point to critically low rates of savings and widening income inequality among American consumers. In the face of this savings crisis, mobile consumer finance platform, A monthly subscription gives MoneyLion Plus members access to the following benefits:

  • Guided savings: MoneyLion Plus makes it easy and convenient to save $50 or more per month. MoneyLion’s technology analyzes each member’s cash flows to determine when to set aside and save money from their checking account. Via the MoneyLion mobile app, members are provided with personalized daily budgeting tips to help them optimize their spending and increase their savings even further.
  • Fully-managed investment account: The funds saved are automatically invested into a fully-managed investment account featuring a diversified portfolio of ETFs built to suit the financial needs and life stage of each member, all without any additional trading or management fees. These portfolios are based on simple investment strategies that will help members grow their wealth.
  • Low-cost access to credit: Unexpected expenses can reset savings back to square one, preventing longer-term growth of wealth. Access to personal loans with APRs of 5.99% or less, regardless of credit score, offers MoneyLion Plus members an affordable means to manage their cash flow needs and avoid costly overdraft or late payment fees. 
  • Cashback bonus: MoneyLion Plus offers its members additional rewards, including an instant $1 cashback bonus deposited into a member’s investment account each day they log into the MoneyLion app. Members also earn rewards based on their investment account balance.
  • MoneyLion mobile app: Members can access all of their benefits on-the-go via MoneyLion’s mobile app, including viewing their savings progress, getting personalized tips and offers for saving more, and accessing their loan funds in just a few taps.

Credit Karma Launches Online Vehicle Center (Finovate), Rated: A

Consumer credit monitoring and financial health startup Credit Karma has launched a new offering today that changes those routines. The company’s new automotive information center is a one-stop shop for helping consumers to manage and organize their vehicle-related finances and information. Included among the capabilities are an overview of the user’s DMV profile, with vehicle and drivers license information, vehicle value estimations, and manufacturer recall notices.

The two most notable capabilities are the auto insurance score and comparison tool and the vehicle refinancing decision tool.

Fintech Lenders Are Holding Larger Portion of the Personal Loan Market (Lend EDU), Rated: A

During the Digital Lending + Investment Conference in New York, the consumer credit reporting agency Transunion released the results of a study called ”Fact versus Fiction: FinTech Lenders.” In a nutshell, the study concluded that fintech lenders were not riskier than other lenders, and they are starting to represent a more significant part of the loan industry in the USA.

By the end of the year, the fintech lenders comprised 30 percent of outstanding personal loan balances which is up from four percent in 2012. Up through June in 2017, fintechs represented 32% of the personal loan market.

In the second quarter of 2016, 14.8 million people had a personal loan; after one year, that number increased to 16.1 million. Additionally, the total outstanding personal loan volume more than doubled from $45 billion in Q2 2012 to $106 billion by Q2 2017.

Wells Fargo Launches New Banking App “Greenhouse” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Banking giant Wells Fargo announced on Thursday the launch of its new banking app, Greenhouse. The company described the app as a new mobile banking experience that provides tools to help consumers manage their money and know where they stand financially. 

According to Wells Fargo, consumers using the Greenhouse app will be able to have money management with two accounts that work together, immediate access to their Greenhouse account, and the ability to send and receive payments.

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – November 4 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group Sells Stake to Dundon Capital Partners (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC (“Redpoint Capital”), a leading alternative credit manager, announced today that it has agreed to sell a stake in its affiliated General Partner and Management Company to an affiliate of Dundon Capital Partners, LLC (“DCP”). DCP is led by Thomas (“Tom”) Dundon, one of the founders and former CEO and Chairman of Santander Consumer USA (“SCUSA”), a leading publicly-traded non-captive finance company.

As part of the transaction, both Tom Dundon and DCP Partner, John Zutter, will sit on Redpoint Capital’s Board of Directors along with Redpoint Capital Managing Partners Alex Dunev and Andy Thomas.

Digital Lending Innovation Starts with the Simple Things, Bank of America Says (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Financial services should focus on “making the easy stuff really easy,” Schleck said yesterday during a panel discussion at the American Banker Digital Lending and Investing conference in New York.

Schleck was the sole representative from a traditional bank during the discussion, with fellow panelists hailing from alternative fintech companies and lenders  – Lending Club, Funding Circle, and Varo Money.

The key to BofA’s innovation in this space was a cross between data (also highlighted by others on the panel) and simplicity, Schleck said, pointing to the bank’s success with mobile direct deposit as an example.

Citizens Digitizes SMB Lending Process With Fundation (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Citizens Bank is enhancing its small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending offering by digitizing the loan application process, according to a press release published by the financial institution (FI) on Thursday (Nov. 2).

The bank is launching a new platform, built in collaboration with alternative online lender Fundation, allowing SMB customers of the bank to apply for a loan or line of credit and receive an approval online.

BlackRock pivots to US west coast as part of tech push (Financial Times), Rated: A

BlackRock is pivoting its business to the US west coast, moving Mark McCombe, head of Americas, to San Francisco as part of a broader plan by the world’s top asset manager to step up its focus on technology and innovation.

More than 40 per cent of BlackRock’s $5.9tn in client assets are managed from San Francisco, which accounts for a third of group revenue.

New Online Portal Offers Loans Up to $ 500,000 to African American Entrepreneurs in Chicago (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

The national advocacy group Small Business Majority, national online lender Fundera, and micro-lender Accion have developed SimpleGrowth, a new online lending marketplace. Calling SimpleGrowth a first-of-its-kind local lending portal, officials say the platform will allow African American entrepreneurs in Chicago to connect with area lenders via a website.

Individuals can seek loans ranging from $500 to $500,000 at various rates, depending on the business owner’s readiness and other factors.

There are 230,000 small businesses in Chicago, but an unusually high percentage of those businesses are owned by African Americans. Cook County, Illinois—which includes Chicago—has the most African American-owned small businesses of any county in the country at 110,000, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 analysis of small businesses reports.

The financing will come from Chicago lenders including Accion, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Small Business and the Women’s Business Development Center, all Community Development Financial Institutions that support small business entrepreneurship. Businesses can apply for the loans for free.

LoanDepot Starts JV (Orange County Business Journal), Rated: B

LoanDepot LLC, the nation’s second largest non-bank consumer lender, announced a joint venture with OfferPad, a real estate investment company, to speed up the process of mortgage approval.

The joint venture will be a stand-alone mortgage broker with LoanDepot acting as the wholesale lender, Calle said. It is expected to launch in the first quarter and will be based in Phoenix.

Online Lender Better Mortgage Names Jeff Corbett New Director of Business Development (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company working to improve access to home financing through transparency, honest guidance, and zero loan officer commissions, announced on Friday it has appointed Jeff Corbett as its Director of Business Development and adding him to its growing Strategic Partnership team.

Silicon Valley Start-ups Join the Line-up for Blockchain Expo North America (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

Amongst those speaking is Karma – a cross-border peer-to-peer lending platform, working to eliminate inefficiencies in the P2P lending industry. Karma will be taking to the stage in the ICOs, Tokens and Cryptofinance conference track on November 29, to introduce their service to delegates ahead of their closed ICO sale later this month.

Goji Appoints Peter Breitstone As New CEO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Specialist provider of P2P and marketplace lending products and services, Goji, announced on Friday it has appointed Peter Breitstone as its new CEO. According to the company, Breitstone has over 20 years of senior executive leadership experience at several global insurance companies, including Insureon, Zurich, and Aon. Breitstone also built and ran Environmental Partners, an insurance brokerage specializing in Environmental Risk and Insurance Management, which he sold to Aon.

Weekly WealthTech Report: The First CEFEX-Certified Robo (Wealth Management), Rated: B

PlanCorp is putting its experience and research into a new hybrid robo advisor called BrightPlan, which it says is the first of its kind to be certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence for providing prudent fiduciary practices to clients. The online service offers goals-based financial planning without requiring users to invest.

Clients can choose either a digital-only service, or tap into Plancorp’s team of wealth managers.

United Kingdom

European Fintech N26 to Launch in the UK in Early 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

N26, a digital-only challenger bank based in Germany, announced on Friday it is launching its services in the UK in early 2018. This news comes after the fintech startup announced plans to launch in the U.S. next year. UK customers may now get early access by signing up directly on the company’s UK homepage.

TransferWise announces $ 280m investment round as company looks towards APAC expansion (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The international money transfer service raised $280m in a Series E round as it plans for global expansion and challenge to banking disruptors.

The round was led by asset management firm Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI), investing funds managed by its small and mid-cap UK equities desk, and Silicon Valley venture capital firm IVP.

Zopa says rate hike will not impact loan performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has reassured investors that the Bank of England’s interest rate hike will not impact the performance of the peer-to-peer platform’s loans.

On Thursday, the central bank raised the base rate from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent – the first increase in a decade.

LendInvest to enter BTL market after securing new funding line (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

LendInvest has agreed a long-term financing facility with Citi which will help the lender enter the UK’s £40bn buy-to-let market.

LendInvest now manages over £500m of lending capital on behalf of its institutional investors.

UK interest rates rise for first time in 10 years (Growth Business), Rated: A

For the first time in more than ten years, the Bank of England has raised interest rates. The official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, the first increase since July 2007.

The hike has divided opinion and it is yet to be seen how severely the impact will hit the UK. Mr Carney expects banks to pass on the rate rise to savers, but said many mortgages, loans and credit cards would not see an immediate impact.

With an alternative outlook, Giles Cross, CMO at FOLK2FOLK, says, “For years low interest rates have been bad news for consumers wanting a positive return on their money in real terms. So today’s announcement may come as a small relief to many people who are looking for an increase. Whilst the reality is that consumers may not see the outcome passed on from their financial services provider or bank for a long time.

British fintech lender Cashplus seeks licence (Times of Malta), Rated: A

Cashplus said yesterday it will soon apply for a UK banking licence as part of the British fintech firm’s plan to step up its challenge to traditional banks.

The move will allow Cashplus to convert the £200 million of customers’ funds it holds into bank deposits, its chief executive Richard Wagner told Reuters.

Volkswagen explores obtaining UK banking licence (Financial Times), Rated: A

Volkswagen is preparing to apply for a UK banking licence so it can carry on providing finance to motorists after Britain leaves the EU.

Lendy considers offering auto-invest products (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDY is seeking views from investors on the introduction of an auto-invest product.

The peer-to-peer property lender has issued a survey to its customers to find out their views on a product that would self-select loans for lenders.

Simon Champ of P2PGI and Pollen Street Capital (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Simon first became interested in the online lending space.
  • Simon’s original goal when he started P2PGI.
  • What it was like trying to raise the initial capital for the fund in 2014.
  • How many platforms they launched with initially.
  • The scope of the fund: both lending verticals and geographies.
  • How Brexit and the currency challenges of the British Pound has impacted the fund.
  • How the fund has evolved from P2P to a broader direct lending focus.
  • The main challenge of pure peer to peer lending platforms.
  • How they are using leverage today at P2PGI.
  • The P2PGI approach to due diligence and how they decide to make an investment in a new platform.
  • The historical returns of the fund and Simon’s views of the challenges here.
  • His view on the poor performance at US consumer platforms in 2015 and 2016.
  • Why P2PGI left Marshall Wace and merged with Pollen Street Capital.
  • Simon’s view on the evolution of the lending space and where it is going.

CoInvestor Provides First Digital Access For Advisers Into LendInvest’s Real Estate Opportunity Fund (MondoVisione), Rated: A

CoInvestor, the alternative assets platform, has been chosen by LendInvest Capital as a preferred method for UK advisers to invest in its Luxembourg-domiciled Real Estate Opportunity Fund.

Interview with Stuart Law, CEO and co-founder of Assetz Capital (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Assetz Capital is now the UK’s second-largest peer-to-peer business and property lender and also the second largest in Europe.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Firstly, we only lend to businesses who we assess as credit worthy businesses with tangible assets.

Secondly, we cater for all types of investors.

Thirdly, we are also the only major UK P2P platform to still offer a manual investment option.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

Rather than being just a website with automated credit assessments, Assetz Capital is run by finance, banking, credit and lending professionals with huge industry experience, alongside our large UK-wide network of employed Regional Relationship Directors who visit potential borrowers and help structure the loans.

We’re also a lean business, and as such we have lower overheads than traditional lending institutions.  Coupled with the fact that we only lend to credit worthy businesses holding tangible assets, this means our cost of borrowing for businesses is kept low.

Assetz Capital has succeeded in growing loan originations sharply in the past 12 months. How did you achieve that and were intermediaries like brokers a major factor?

To date, more than 350 successfully funded projects have come through brokers, and we predict that this will grow to approaching 1,000 by the end of the 2018 year.

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund piles into OakNorth fundraise (AltFi), Rated: A

Challenger bank OakNorth entered into the UK’s stable of unicorns in October when it raised £154m.

The £154m round valued OakNorth at £934m (approximately $1.3bn). The money came from three investors, The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane, which collectively took a 16 per cent stake in the company. Today, the trio has been joined by a fourth investor: GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Anyone for a Crowd VCT? (AltFi), Rated: A

Currently the excellent Wise Alpha is plastered all over the Waterloo and City line. And in recent months Crowdcube has also been blasting out adverts at the Waterloo train station. Not to be outdone, Seedrs is making a regular appearance on the London tube as are a whole number of digital banking apps. Even Abundance in recent years has been making an appearance on billboards at railway stations as far away as Winchester. Now we’re seeing Funding Circle blasting out its message nationwide as part of its multi-million-pound advertising campaign.

This is all very welcome, but I think it poses some broader questions about what the alternative finance space needs to make itself seem more mainstream. I see no reason why a big player such as Funding Circle shouldn’t use big national brand advertising, but I doubt its overall effectiveness.  My sense is that much smaller, baby steps are needed to mainstream the sector and originate new customers – and, crucially, build brand acceptance amongst investors.

Three alternative reasons to consider peer-to-peer investing (Your Money), Rated: B

However, any investment where capital is at risk – such as alternative lending – is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and should not be considered as a substitute for cash deposits. So, why should investors look at the burgeoning alternative lending sector? There are three possible reasons:

  • Diversification
  • Funding your income needs
  • Managing pension allowances – Alternative lending certainly offers attractive returns relative to other investment options, as well as against cash at the bank. ThinCats has achieved average returns for investors of 7%-8.5%(as at 11 Oct).

Hello Soda Raises £5.5M in Funding (FINSMES), Rated: B

Hello Soda, a Manchester, UK-based international big data and text analytics company, raised £5.5m in equity and debt funding.

China

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Hexindai shrugs off tighter scrutiny concerns, rising more than 60pc on Nasdaq debut (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Shares in Hexindai, China’s fifth biggest P2P lender, surged more than 60 per cent on its Nasdaq debut on Friday, shrugging off looming concerns of possible tighter scrutiny on P2P lending platforms by Chinese authorities.

Shares in the company traded up 65 per cent to US16.50, just 20 minutes into the listing under the symbol HX, from its offering price of US$10 per American depositary share. The company aims to raise up to US$88 million through the flotation.

China’s unicorns face questions over fundraising (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Jianpu Technology, the Chinese financial comparison site poised to list later this year, has been stripped of its status as a “unicorn” worth $1bn after regulatory filings revealed it had inflated the funds raised from investors.

Peer-to-peer lender Ppdai’s fundraisings detailed in its filing also fall short of earlier disclosures, according to calculations by Crunchbase, which collates its data from a variety of mostly publicly available channels, including US Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

Qudian’s initial public offering prospectus put its bad-loan ratio at 0.5 per cent — an unusually low but not impossible figure, especially if was selling off bad debt to third parties, which is a common practice among online lenders.

Source: Financial Times

Qudian’s prospectus did not advertise a clear pre-IPO fundraising figure. However, Crunchbase says the company raised about $873m from a number of investors before it went public.

Source: Financial Times

Chinese auto-trading IPO may prove to be a lemon (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Yixin could raise more than $800 million in a Hong Kong float. The Chinese firm wants to be to cars what Ctrip has become for mainland travellers: a one-stop online shop. It is well-positioned for China’s car boom and changing attitudes towards borrowing, but a punchy valuation means it could struggle after listing.

China’s car market is booming. And Yixin smartly targets people born from the 1980s onwards. They are more open to borrowing than their thrifty parents, and many don’t have credit scores, making it tricky for them to borrow from banks instead.

Yixin Group, an online auto-trading and financing company backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, is planning to raise up to $867 million through an initial public offering in Hong Kong, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported on Nov. 2.

IDG Capital, CreditEase help retail investors tap new economy (China Daily), Rated: B

Leading venture capital firm IDG Capital and Credit Wealth Management, an independent wealth management arm of CreditEase Group, has formed a comprehensive strategic partnership at the latter’s 2017 private equity investment forum held in Beijing on Friday.

The system enables analysis of 20,000 institutions via 60 dimensions such as styles of their management teams, when they exit from companies they have invested in and who buy into these companies.

European Union

Early Facebook Backer Tied to Russia Bank, Kushner Platform (Bloomberg), Rated: A

A prominent Silicon Valley investor who was an early backer of Facebook Inc.partnered in two investments with the Russian state-controlled bank VTB Bank PJSC before it was sanctioned, his spokesman confirmed Friday.

Yuri Milner, the Russian-born founder of DST Global, also invested $850,000 of his personal money last year in Cadre, a real-estate investing platform co-founded and partially owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Milner’s spokesman said that VTB played no part in his Cadre investment, which was done solely on the business merits of Cadre.

You too can become an investor in exciting new Irish innovation (Independent), Rated: A

Backing young companies sounds expensive and risky but it doesn’t have to be either. Today with no more than €50 you can start lending to fledgling Irish businesses through a peer-to-peer platform like Linked Finance. The same €50 could back numerous new ideas on a crowdfunding platform like Fund It.

Today there are 17,000 people lending a total of over €35m through Linked Finance alone but there’s €99bn more sitting in Irish deposit accounts, according to the Central Bank’s July 2017 figures.

International

An Acceleration in Fintech Capital Raising (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The recent CB Insights Fintech Trends Briefing points to the rise in fintech financings as Q3’17 saw 278 deals to VC-backed fintech companies, the largest quarter since Q1’12. While total capital invested is down 25 percent from Q2’17 to $4bn the pace of the deals show investors appetite for fintech companies is still very strong.

Facial recognition startup Megvii Face++ raised $460mn in their most recent investment round led by China State-Owned Venture Capital Fund and the China-Russia Investment Fund.

German based online lender Spotcap raised $26mn in equity and debt funding.

Credit Sesame, a San Francisco and Mountain View, Calif. – based personalized credit service and financial wellness company, raised over $42mn in funding.

FS Card Inc., a Washington, DC-based financial services company focused on underserved consumers, raised a $150mn credit facility.

Finova Financial, provider of fair and affordable digital alternatives for Americans underserved by the traditional banking system, secured $102.5mn in equity and credit facility funding.

LendingHome, a San Francisco, CA-based real estate marketplace lender, raised $457mn in capital, which includes both permanent equity and the launch of LendingHome Opportunity Fund II.

BlueVine, a Redwood City, CA-based provider of working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses, secured up to $130mn in debt capital financing.

OakNorth, a London, UK bank that provides debt finance to fast-growth businesses and established property developers, received a $202mn investment.

SalaryFinance, a London U.K.-based innovative financial wellbeing employee benefits company, completed a $52mn funding round.

How banks can use ETHLend to reduce interest rates globally (TechBullion), Rated: A

P2P platforms are great for smaller loans (i.e. paying off credit cards or repairing a damaged car), but they might not be as affordable and available for larger purchases (i.e. a home purchase or a new car). Especially in developing markets, such larger finance goals might be out of reach due to the lack of credit scoring systems or access to capital in the first place.

Now, how could ETHLend be used to fulfill this market? Let us imagine that a bank or an institutional financer is looking to finance asset backed loans. They have a minimum loan amount of $100,000, and because of this they will be unable to accept loan terms for smaller loans. These banks and institutional financiers would be able to go onto the ETHLend platform, and offer their liquidity to another investor (wholesale borrower) who has large amounts of digital tokens (cryptocurrency) to pledge as collateral.

The investor (wholesale borrower) can then take that $100,000 they got from the bank and turn around and offer loans on a smaller scale to people on the platform or in their local markets, whom do not need to pledge collaterals.

Lendoit – The Decentralized Marketplace Lending Platform Where Everyone Benefits (Chipin), Rated: A

Current P2P platforms are not really P2P because they need to have intermediaries like issuing banks or trust accounts for the system to work. This is a problem as intermediaries usually lack transparency and are also restricted geographically.

For instance, the annual interest of a loan in Brazil may be more than 50% while it is only 1% in Japan.

Source: Chipin

Lendoit is a decentralized peer-to-peer lending marketplace platform that connects borrowers and lenders globally in a fast, easy, and extremely secure manner by using the blockchain and smart contracts.

With the blockchain, Lendoit is able to automate all of the processes required in P2P money lending without sacrificing anything. Instead, everything will be much cheaper and more efficient which is exactly the solution to problems of cross-border loans.

Smart Loan Contracts contain the borrower’s details including his or her score as well as containing the conditions of loans and their respective tenders.

The Smart Reputation Contract works similarly to credit score; in Lendoit, they act as the global score of an Ethereum address and can be utilized for other purposes other than credit transactions.

The Smart Conversion Contract is responsible for converting currencies into the LOAN token when it comes to making transactions on the platform.

Lendoit Global Payments will launch a token for sale for the aptly named LOAN token.

  • Token name: LOAN
  • Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20 compliant)
  • Token supply: TBA
  • Token sale duration: December 13th, 2017

P2P Lending Offers Participants More Efficiency and Convenience in the Financial Services Sector (NewsBTC), Rated: B

The global lending marketplace market is projected to reach $290bn. by 2020, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 51% from 2014-2020.

Colombia Fintech Startups Alegra and Bankity to Compete for Funding at Finnosummit in Miami Next Week (Finance Colombia), Rated: A

Later this month in Miami, a group of 10 Latin American fintech startups will gather in Miami to compete. Two companies, Alegra and Bankity, are from Colombia and will be vying against peers from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile for the $50,000 USD prize.

The competition is part of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative and will be taking place within Finnovista’s larger Finnosummit on November 9 in Florida’s largest city.

Bankity offers the first intelligent banking card in Latin America.

Alegra, founded by Santiago Villegas and Jorge Soto, is also great because it aims to help small business owners with tedious tasks like invoicing and reporting with its cloud-based accounting software.

Blockchain is bringing the sharing economy to everyone (VentureBeat), Rated: A

The sharing economy relies on a distributed workforce, shareable assets, and peer-to-peer transactions and contracts. Companies in these emerging marketplaces handle payments through smart contracts and blockchain technology. This greatly lowers costs, improves trust and transparency with the community, and simplifies transactions at a global scale by making them near-instantaneous, even when distributing payments to thousands of digital wallets at once.

One of the biggest markets for data is social media and online retail. DataWallet, based in San Francisco, helps users download their digital identity and upload it to a blockchain-powered data exchange where companies can purchase it, with payments made to users through the blockchain.

Ride-sharing company LaZooz, based in Tel Aviv, is building a decentralized, Uber-like app that uses blockchain to pay drivers and other community participants. WeTrust, in Fremont, CA, is doing something similar in the peer-to-peer lending space, charging only a max fee of .3 percent instead of 1 percent, like LendingClub.

Australia

Westpac posts AU$ 7.99b yearly profit, sends digital Customer Service Hub live (ZDNet), Rated: AAA

Westpac has processed its first live home loans through its new technology platform, the Customer Service Hub, with the bank saying the initiative aimed at speeding up and simplifying the home loan process as its largest transformation program to date.

For the 2017 financial year, the bank reported AU$7.99 billion in after-tax profit, on revenue of AU$21.8 billion, an increase of 4 percent year-on-year.

As of September 30, 2017, Westpac boasted 13.8 million customers; 4.53 million were considered digitally active, with 72 percent of them using a mobile platform.

Additionally, through its AU$100 million venture capital firm Reinventure, Westpac has made 16 investments covering areas such as blockchain and digital currencies, payments, peer-to-peer lending, as well as big data and data analytics.

The bank also this year entered into a “strategic” relationship with Australian-listed payments firm Zipmoney, investing AU$40 million by way of a private share placement in August to allow the integration of the fintech’s products and services across Westpac’s network throughout Australia, as well as other initiatives including the provision of in-development business-to-business products and services.

In April, the bank went live with Samsung Pay, opening up the phone-based wallet to debit and credit card cardholders across both Mastercard and Visa. This came a year after it launched Android Pay, in addition to Westpac’s own tap and pay function, which was unveiled to customers in 2014.

Banks wealth models are ‘unravelling’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

Independent investment and superannuation platforms like Hub24 and Netwealth are readying to reap the rewards of the “unravelling” of the bank’s traditional wealth management models.

The best interest duty is a key plank of a package of financial advice reforms, known as the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA), introduced in July 2013. This was tested with the corporate watchdog recently ordering Melbourne-based financial planning firm to pay $1.1 million in fines and costs as part of the first civil penalty imposed for breaching its duty to act in the best interest of its clients.

Last week, BT Financial Group (BTFG) said it would expand its life insurance APL from its sole in-house product, adding a minimum of three alternative insurers by March next year.

Increasingly, these platforms are snaring a fair whack of adviser business in the $750 billion platform market, which is growing at 10 per cent a year.

Netwealth has about $16 billion in funds under advice and more than 2000 financial advisers and planners using its services. When it lists on the ASX with an $879.2 million market capitalisation late next month, it will be the second biggest IPO of the calendar year to date

Australian FinTech SelfWealth IPO Offering Self Directed Investors Alternative to Traditional Broker Trading (BusinessWire), Rated: A

SelfWealth Limited (“SelfWealth” or “the Company”), an Australian FinTech business offering a flat fee brokerage service and social portfolio construction network for Australian investors, is pleased to announce the opening of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise up to A$7.5 million (with a minimum subscription of A$5.0 million).

SelfWealth is offering for issue 37.5 million shares priced at A$0.20 per new share; the indicative market captialisation of SelfWealth will be approximately A$26.1 million. The Company’s ASX ticker code will be SWF.

India

Here are four lending platforms that are helping unbanked SMEs (The Hans India), Rated: A

Despite being a major part of the Indian economy, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India face multiple challenges.

From inadequate banking to lack of constant cash supply, these SMEs are deprived of the smooth and consistent growth factors

These four SME lending platforms are bridging the requirements digitally:

  1. Lendingkart – The company aims to transform small business lending by making it convenient for SMEs to access credit easily.
  2. CoinTribe – Another online loan disbursement platform, CoinTribe provides quick and easy collateral-free loans to small businesses and individuals.

    It is the only online lending platform which has back-tested its credit model with large banks.

  3. Faircent – Largest peer to peer lending website, Faircent caters to retail and business loans.
  4. TAB Capital – The platform has commissioned an advanced proprietary algorithm that leverages big data and analytics to simplify and accelerate loan application, verification, approval and disbursement.

China’s Fosun leads $ 10 million round in fin-tech startup Kissht (VC Circle), Rated: A

OnEMi Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs lending startup Kissht, has raised $10 million (Rs 67 crore) led by China’s Fosun International, a report in a financial daily stated.

In June this year, the startup raised $2 million (around Rs 13 crore) from Endiya and Ventureast.

India’s Largest Bank Goes Big on Blockchain (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

The State Bank of India is gearing up to implement blockchain solutions in a number of financial processes including the management of its Know Your Customer (KYC) system.

SBI is now pressing ahead with its first implementation of the decentralized technology by using an enterprise blockchain solution for managing its Know Your Customer (KYC) system, via a new partnership with Intel that sees the technology giant become the consortium’s official technology advisor.

Asia

Square Peg, SIG Asia lead $ 7m round in SEA service marketplace Kaodim (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Southeast Asian service marketplace Kaodim Group has raised $7 million (MYR 29.5 million) in a funding round led by Australia venture capital firm Square Peg Capital and Shanghai-headquartered SIG Asia Investments.

A clear path to transforming Singapore’s financial services sector (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Monetary Authority of Singapore board member Ong Ye Kung unveiled the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the financial services sector on Monday (Oct 30).

The ITM outlines key growth strategies for the financial sector that aim to generate greater productivity, attain higher growth rates, and create 4,000 jobs each year up to 2020.

These include strengthening financing channels for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), simplifying the regulatory framework for venture capitalmanagers, introducing dual class share structures for high-tech companies, and encouraging other sources of private sector financing for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

According to a Deutsche Bank report released last year, debt burdens have risen from less than 240 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 265 per cent in 2015. This is largely due to Singapore’s high levels of private sector leverage, for which there are limits to greater growth.

Singapore plays fintech evangelist on global mission (Business Times), Rated: A

IN TWO short years, Singapore has zipped into pole position in the fintech space, challenging rivals such as London in drawing intellectual and funding capital into the city-state with its open adoption of new technology and more broadly, innovation.

The strategy, led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is now widening to a regional and global endeavour, as MAS expands into cross-border projects that could pay significant digital dividends in time.

This will chiefly include blockchain experiments, with MAS now looking at ways to expand an inter-bank payments pilot to create a cross-border payments system between two countries, Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, said in a wide-ranging interview with The Business Times.

Middle East

Seven in ten UAE residents unsure how to achieve their financial goals (The National), Rated: AAA

Seven in ten UAE residents are unsure of the steps needed to achieve their financial goals, a poll by National Bonds revealed on Monday, as the UAE investment company launched a new campaign to encourage better saving habits.

According to the poll of almost 400 residents conducted in the first nine months of the year, 69 per cent of respondents lack awareness about financial planning.

Despite the lack of clarity on how to save and invest their money, 53 per cent were most interested in receiving financial advice related to retirement planning. This was consistent among Arabs, Asians and Western expats, according to National Bonds, while Emiratis are more concerned with advice on financial health.

Authors:


George Popescu


Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 29 2017, Daily News Digest

Global fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: Has Float shut down? Ford to use alternative data for credit scoring. OnDeck Capital, Scale Operations Management finalize partnership. Money Dashboard raises 1.33M GBP. Mintos adds Georgian ID Finance loans. Today’s main analysis: HNA raises billions from shadow banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi personal loans help people pay off over $5B in credit card […]

Global fintech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

Asia

Middle East

News Summary

United States

Rumor: Online Lender Float Has Shut Down (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending platform Float has allegedly shut down. Crowdfund Insider has heard from several different sources the digital platform has called it quits. Earlier today, Crowdfund Insider attempted to contact the platform but no response has been forthcoming.

Ford to Look Beyond Credit Scores in Sales Push (Fox Business), Rated: AAA

The company says it is looking at ways to increase loan and lease approvals for applicants with limited credit histories. These consumers are often denied credit because they lack a history of managing debt and as a result have low credit scores. Ford’s credit division plans to review new data to try to determine whether these customers, as well as those with more robust borrowing histories, are likely to repay their loans.

Ford’s U.S. sales are down 4.3% during the first seven months of the year compared with the same period a year prior, while total U.S. new auto sales are down 2.8%, according to Edmunds.com. Wells Fargo & Co.’s auto lending volume fell 45% in the second quarter from a year earlier due to tightening underwriting standards. Ally Financial Inc.’s auto loan originations fell 8.5% for the same period.

Ford Credit is among the largest U.S. lenders to say that it is looking at using alternative methods of underwriting, beyond the traditional factors that are mostly centered around credit reports.

SoFi Personal Loans Help People Pay Off More Than $ 5 Billion In Credit Card Debt (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today SoFi announced its members have cumulatively paid off over $5 billion dollars in credit card debt using SoFi Personal Loans, getting them out of debt faster and at lower interest rates.

Members who used SoFi Personal Loans to pay off credit cards reduced their effective interest rate by 42% on average. They also saw their credit scores rise by 17 points on average due to reduced credit utilization, a key component of credit scores.

Credit card utilization has been steadily rising since the 2008 financial crisis. Americans’ credit card debt eclipsed $1 trillion this year, according to Federal Reserve data, and the average credit card APR inched up to an all-time high of 16.14 percent, according to CreditCards.com.

SoFi offers an array of options for Personal Loans, letting members find their rate, choose their loan amount (up to $100,000), and choose their term (three, five, or seven years) through a simple, fully-online application process. Loans are funded in less than a week on average. Though SoFi Personal Loans can be used for lots of purposes, more than 70 percent of SoFi members report using them for credit card refinancing and loan consolidation.

On Deck Capital Finalizes Funding Partnership with Scale Operations Management (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

At one point in recent history – the internet was the wild west of commerce and industry. It seemed as if anyone with a computer and an idea could start a company from their home office. Two decades later, way after the dot com bubble burst; it is clear that the internet is becoming saturated and more competitive.

The competition for attention has led to increases in advertisement costs.

Doing business online went from a luxury to a necessity and budgets went from small to large.

Andrew Ukpabi, Founder of Scale Operations Management – a business management company with 15 Million in client assets under management; believes that this trend in the short term will only grow and he explains cheerfully how this has impacted the growth of his company:

“I’ve been on a signing spree lately. In the last week I’ve signed deals with CRMS’s, chargeback mitigation platforms, and processing companies.”

The partnership with On Deck Capital (ONDK) a NYSE listed company that boasts 4 Billion in funding to more than 40,000 small business customers in the US, Australia, and Canada; is the latest in his signing spree.

NEPC SURVEYS E&F MANAGERS ABOUT ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS (All About Alpha), Rated: A

NEPC, the investment consulting group that caters especially to endowments and foundations, has posted a survey about what such institutions think of marketable alternatives.

This broad category “marketable alternatives” includes direct hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, liquid alternatives, and global asset allocation.

Where are these allocations headed, near future? Not quite two-thirds of the respondents (65%) planned to maintain their current level of allocation in such investments. Sixteen percent plan to make a “modest change” increasing the allocation. Symmetrically, another 16% plan to make a “modest change” in the opposite direction. Only 3% plan to decrease the allocation “substantially,” and no respondents plan to increase it substantially.

As to what they have done over the past year: 18% have increased their allocation to such alternatives, 32% have decreased it, so the remaining half have kept it where it is.

Source: All About Alpha

There is a split on the question of the classification of marketable alternatives within a foundation or endowment’s portfolio, one that reflects a series of evenly divided binary choices. Not quite half (48%) of respondents say they have a dedicated allocation to this asset class, and that’s the end of the issue for them.

So that leaves 52% who do something else. A little more than half of them (about 28% of the whole) say that they have marketable alternatives both within a dedicated allocation and as part of an allocation to another class.

Should SoFi be granted a bank charter? Rep. Waters isn’t so sure (HousingWire), Rated: A

SoFi outlined in the application that the purpose of the charter is to provide its customers a FDIC insured NOW account and a credit card product. The bank will offer no other products or services.

In response to Waters’ comments, a SoFi spokesperson said, “We’re happy to discuss our application with Rep. Waters and other interested parties, and confident the FDIC will conduct its review of our application expeditiously and in accordance with the law.”

The Independent Community Bankers of America also sent a letter to the FDIC over the application, urging the FDIC to reject the application.

ICBA also stressed that Congress should close the ILC loophole, stating it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

1 Popular Way Millennials Are Cutting Back on Living Expenses (and Why There’s Nothing Wrong With It) (CheatSheet), Rated: A

Co-living has been a popular option among young people just out of college. And now businesses are also jumping on the co-living bandwagon, hoping to make some quick cash from this idea.

The act of sharing housing, work, and commuting space is second nature to millennials. Co-living is just one more option young people have to stretch their resources and meet new people if they so choose.

Research shows more millennials are living with their parents than with a spouse. Living with parents is the No. 1 living arrangement among millennials, according to Census Bureau research. In 2016, 22.9 million (31%) young adults lived with their parents.

One company that joined the co-living movement is WeWork, which originally started out offering co-working spaces to individuals and companies. WeWork branched out to co-living spaces, called WeLive, in 2016.

Some co-living buildings, such as PodShare, even provide free food and fully furnished apartments, further helping their residents keep costs down.

Thinking of going the co-living route? Here are some of your options in three major cities.

Chicago

Los Angeles

New York

Malkiel Provides Investment Advice For IRA Allocations (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Although the top leading robo-advisor firms grew by 65 percent in eight months to $19 billion assets under management in 2014, according to Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR), robo-advice is limited to assembling a group of stocks and bonds to avoid risk in a portfolio.

CAN WE ALL PARTICIPATE IN THE NEXT UNICORN? (All About Alpha), Rated: A

With the passage of the Title III portion of the JOBS Act, this paper tries to address a very critical question: can non-accredited investors find and invest in the next unicorn?

AltFi Data [2015], a data aggregator of equity crowdfunding, published a report on equity crowdfunding from 2011 through June 30, 2015 using the five most significant online platforms based on origination volume. These include Crowdcube, Seedrs, SyndicateRoom, CrowdBnk and Venture Funders. There were 431 investment crowdfunding rounds from 367 companies. The UK report indicates that crowdfunding has revolutionized the funding of small and medium sized enterprises involving both professional and small retail investors. It is reported that 62% of crowd funding investors describe themselves as retail investors with no previous investment experience.

3 Keys To Earning Up To 7% With Peer-To-Peer Lending (Forbes), Rated: A

Lending Club, the world’s largest P2P platform, has served over $55 billion in new loans in 2017. That’s a 40% growth in loan volume compared to last year.

Now, the likes of Goldman Sachs serve about 70% of all peer-to-peer loans.

P2P lending is still a place to earn market-beating yields of up to 7%. But private investors are now competing against the world’s biggest financial institutions.

  1. Spread Your Risk and Invest No Less Than $5,000
  2. Use Automated Rebalancing Tools – NSRInvest.com is a registered advisor that offers managed accounts to P2P investors. Investors can link their Lending Club and Prosper accounts to the website and have NSR experts invest for them based on their loan selection criteria.

Depending on the selected strategy, NSR users have outperformed the market by as much as 2.6% (average is 1.5%).

  1. Enhance Your IRA with P2P

Tell Us Who Your Favorite Fintech Companies Are: Forbes Fintech 50 Call For Nominations (Forbes), Rated: B

If you own or work at a fintech firm that you think is worthy — or if you’re a fan of one — please tell us about it. The only stipulations are that it be a venture-backed startup with operations in the United States. That means no publicly traded companies or their subsidiaries and no privately held established firms.

If you are submitting a company for which you’re an owner or employee, please use this form.

If you’re nominating a startup of whose inner workings you have no knowledge, please fill this out.

The deadline for both sets of submissions is Friday, September 15, 2017. If we have more specific questions, we will be in touch.

United Kingdom

Money Dashboard Raises £1.33M in Equity Crowdfunding (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Money Dashboard, an Edinburgh, UK-based personal finance management app, raised £1.33M in equity crowdfunding.

1708 investors have participated in the campaign via Crowdcube acquiring an equity stake of 9.55% in the company.

The company had a target of £1m at a pre-money valuation of £12.6m.

Half of UK businesses lack confidence in government’s Brexit strategy (Consultancy.uk), Rated: A

Now, a recent survey conducted by peer-to-peer finance platform Market Invoice found that 54% of 3,000 businesses polled said the government had lost its way in talks with Brussels and that Brexit Secretary David Davis lacked preparedness, while only 5% felt he was doing a good job.

Maintaining stability in the sterling was meanwhile considered important by just 7%, reversing a KPMG study of businesses performed earlier in the year. In response to the falling pound however, the UK is projected to lose as many as 40,000 investment banking jobs post-Brexit.

A total of 20% of firms voted against further financial support spent on marketing, and aim to reduce it in the nearby future. A 54% majority of small businesses have not yet witnessed Brexit leaving a negative impact on the hiring plans, as only 2% are predicted to reduce exposure to EU nationals with a further 6% being more reluctant to hire from the bloc.

Startup Accelerator Level39 Launches Cyber39 (LendIt), Rated: B

Level39 has launched Cyber39, a program focused on fighting cyberthreats in London.

China

Chinese Dealmaker Raises Billions From Shadow Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A Bloomberg News review of more than 100 investment documents and corporate filings sheds light on how HNA has financed its remarkable run of deal-making, which has included acquiring multi-billion dollar stakes in Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

The documents, pieced together from fund prospectuses and disclosures to China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce, show how HNA has employed a network of trusts and asset management products, in addition to more conventional financing, to fund everything from takeovers to day-to-day expenses. Among the key findings: Units of the group have pledged more than $10 billion of unlisted shares to non-bank lenders and, in some cases, have paid interest rates on shadow debt that far exceed China’s benchmark rates for bank loans and bond issuance.

The documents, pieced together from fund prospectuses and disclosures to China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce, show how HNA has employed a network of trusts and asset management products, in addition to more conventional financing, to fund everything from takeovers to day-to-day expenses. Among the key findings: Units of the group have pledged more than $10 billion of unlisted shares to non-bank lenders and, in some cases, have paid interest rates on shadow debt that far exceed China’s benchmark rates for bank loans and bond issuance.

HNA’s parent company said in a response to questions that financing from non-bank institutions makes up a “small” portion of the group’s overall funding and that its credit limit from Chinese banks has increased by more than 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) this year. The company said its debt-to-asset ratio has dropped for the past seven years and added that HNA Group’s profitability and asset quality have been improving.

Source: Bloomberg

Taken together, the documents suggest that HNA’s main units have increased their use of shadow financing in absolute terms over the past two years.

China’s regulators preparing new rules for digital coin offerings (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese regulators are preparing new regulations on digital coin offerings and may ban them until the rules are in place, the financial magazine Caixin reported on Monday, as interest in the new fundraising channel grows rapidly in a regulatory grey area.

Digital currencies, also called cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and a growing stream of alternatives, allow anonymous peer-to-peer transactions without the need for banks or central banks.

China’s top insurers ploughing billions into fintech (SCMP), Rated: A

China Life and Ping An Insurance, the country’s two largest insurers, have both been focusing heavily on investment in technology, and now it appears artificial intelligence (AI) may becoming more important than sales agents across the sector, as premium income continues to soar.

The nation’s largest insurer China Life still has 1.58 million agents, while number two Ping An has over 1.1 million, and both have previously made much of the fact they plan to expand those sales forces in future.

China Life said last Thursday it had teamed up with internet search firm Baidu to form a fund to invest 7 billion yuan (US$1 billion) in AI-related technology companies and internet finance operations. China Life will plough 5.6 billion yuan into the venture, with Baidu covering the rest.

European Union

Mintos Marketplace Adds ID Finance Loans Issued in Georgia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, an emerging markets focused Fintech company, is now listing investment opportunities on the Mintos marketplace incorporating prime personal loans issued under its Solva brand in Georgia. Solva is a fully owned ID Finance subsidiary in Georgia that has disbursed 28,000 personal loans worth €12 million since late 2016.

The loan originator will offer a buyback guarantee for loans that are delinquent for more than 60 days. The share of non-performing loans for Solva is said to currently be at approximately 4%. ID Finance will keep at least 10% of each loan available on the Mintos marketplace on its balance sheet so its interests are aligned with investors.

PSD2 – What will happen in January 2018? (AltFi), Rated: A

With the inception of financial digitalization, we’ve seen new firms such as Goldman Sachs adapt their strategy to cover retail and embrace fintech, firms such as Citi and BNY Mellon have ventured into open banking and finance APIs and Vanguard has created a digital behemoth of their robo-advisor.

Open Banking is still a new concept and, as new concepts go, it will be refined by trial and error. Some banks are farther along than others, with e.g. BBVA already in commercial use with several APIs. Yet the roll out of new “API Markets”, as they are often called, will see a learning experience from both the bank providers as well as those looking to utilize them.

Swiss fintech launches first-ever mobile app for alternative investments (Opalesque), Rated: A

Opalesque Industry Update – Fundbase has announced immediate availability of Fundbase Mobile, a revolutionary application for qualified investors to source alternative investment products. With Fundbase Mobile, investors will have access to a globally diversified universe of high quality alpha producing alternative investments at their fingertips.

The majority of Fundbase users expect to improve their fund sourcing process with Fundbase Mobile by spending more time logged in, searching funds. Pancho Vanhees, of TFAL Investments, a Luxembourg-based investor, believes the mobile app will improve their systematic processes and quickly identify top performing emerging hedge fund managers while on-the-go.

Why Only Initial? Worldcore Aims to Use ICO to Conquer Blockchain Competitors (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

In the past week alone, prominent investor Mark Cuban and entrepreneur Kim Dotcom have both signalled their involvement in ICOs.

Worldcore aims to undercut banks, banking disruptors such as TransferWise and FairFX, and soon the technologically innovative operators heavily involved with cryptocurrencies.

Offering both payments and consumer spending options such as a prepaid debit card, the company is already accepting Bitcoin as a funding option, the first step in a Blockchain rollout which will occur incrementally over several years as the technology improves.

Biometric account access in the form of face and voice recognition replaces passwords, while Blockchain offerings themselves will take the form of a payment gateway reminiscent of Ripple.

Worldcore’s fee structure, for example, is noticeably more complex than that of Bitcoin-based prepaid cards from Bitwala, ANX and others.

Fintech Can Contribute to the Quality of Country’s Financial Center (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Federal Council of Switzerland is out with a note regarding Fintech. Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer is apparently doing a swing through the Swiss Fintech scene to improve awareness and relationships.

Maurer is expected to visit Fintechs in Zurich and Zug – a fact finding mission to garner updates on current tech topics, risks, opportunities and challenges.

The Federal Council believes that a dynamic Fintech ecosystem can contribute significantly to the quality of Switzerland’s financial center – something that is strategically important. It can also boost its competitiveness around the world.

Credissimo – Contender for European FinTech Awards 2017’s Title of ‘European Innovator 2017’ (Digital Journal), Rated: B

Credissimo is the only Bulgarian company featured in the European FinTech Awards 2017 where it is nominated for the “Alternative Finance” category.

This prestigious nomination places Credissimo amongst lead European companies where it will compete with the largest FinTech organizations for 2017’s European Innovator award.

International

Alternative finance market in robust health, despite slight summer downturn (Opalesque), Rated: AAA

Opalesque Industry Update – The world’s first global Crowdfunding and Marketplace Finance Index (CAMFI) shows that the industry exhibited a slight downturn in July, dropping from 94.11 in June to 90.32 in July.

Key points:

  • The global crowdfunding and marketplace finance industry exhibited a slight downturn in July
  • Segment-wise, the Reward Sub-Index was the major cause of the July decline
  • Attribute-wise, the main declining driver was the market Scale measures
  • Industry Scale continued to shrink, most evidently in the Reward segment
  • Industry Efficiency improved significantly, with both Debt and Reward segments demonstrating growth
  • Industry Transparency underwent no noticeable changes
  • Debt has stayed relatively stable, which is expected given it is such a large and diverse market
  • Equity has seen had a significant downturn in trading
  • Rewards has had the biggest downturn, with significantly fewer campaigns, backers and amounts of money raised for each campaign during the July period

Despite the slight downturn demonstrated in June and July, data from TAB shows that the industry is growing rapidly year on year:

  • In 2014, campaigners in the UK raised over $2 billion via crowdfunding platforms. In 2016, they raised over $3.96 billion.
  • China is demonstrating huge growth, with companies raising $134 million via crowdfunding platforms in 2014. In 2016, they raised $2billion.
  • France is also seeing significant growth, with companies raising $70 million in 2014, and $159 million in 2017 to date.
  • In 2014, companies raised $5.4 billion in debt finance globally, increasing to $12.7 billion in 2016.
  • In 2014, companies raised $345 million in equity finance globally, increasing to $766 million in 2017 to date.
  • Rewards finance raised via crowdfunding globally has increased from $680 million in 2014 to $1.1 billion in 2016.
  • The Real Estate industry raised $1.2 billion via crowdfunding in 2014. In 2016, it raised to $3.8 billion.
  • The Capital Goods industry raised $751 million in 2014. This year to date, it has raised $1.4 billion.

Funding & Deals On Pace For A Record Year (CB Insights), Rated: A

Last quarter set a record for funding to VC-backed fintech companies, which raised $5.2B across 251 deals (as highlighted in the CB Insights Q2 2017 Global Fintech report). At the current run rate, deals are on pace to increase 5% this year, while investment dollars are on pace to grow 19%.

The quarter also saw new unicorn births, with 5 companies reaching new valuations of $1B+: online lending site Tuandaiwang (valued at $1.5B at the time of its unicorn round), invoice and payment company AvidXchange ($1.4B), online investment platform Robinhood ($1.3B), health insurance startup  Clover Health ($1.2B), and cloud-based communication platform Symphony Communication Services ($1B).

Source: CB Insights

Funding to global VC-backed fintech companies set a quarterly record in Q2’17, rising 83% to reach $5.2B. Deals experienced less dramatic growth, but still increased 2% from the previous quarter, reaching a five-quarter high of 251.

Source: CB Insights
Australia

Car finance drives P2P growth in Australia (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CAR finance is one of the driving forces behind the growth of P2P lending among brokers in Australia.

According to new research from RateSetter’s Australian business, one fifth (20 per cent) of all broker-led loans on the platform are used for car and vehicle finance, with an average loan value of AUS$13,186 (£8,077).

Meanwhile, home improvement loans account for 19 per cent of the platform’s broker-led activity, with an average loan value of $14,299, while 12 per cent of loans are used for debt consolidation, and seven per cent are used for education.

Business borrowing accounts for nine per cent of total broker loans, but has the highest loan values with an average of $28,094 per loan.

CARS AND RENOVATIONS DRIVING GROWTH OF P2P LOANS IN THE BROKER MARKET (LendIt), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending is gaining traction amongst Australian brokers, with RateSetter today announcing that it has reached the milestone of 2,000 brokers accredited with the peer-to-peer lending platform. Lending volumes through the broker channel, largely driven by car and home improvement loans, are doubling approximately every six months according to RateSetter.

Vehicle financing is the most popular reason brokers are choosing peer-to-peer loans for their clients, followed closely by funding for home improvements and loans to consolidate high-interest credit card or other bank debt.

The milestone also coincides with RateSetter passing $150 million in loans facilitated since launching in 2014. Across both the broker and direct channels, lending has grown 50% in the last 5 months alone, after passing the $100m milestone in March.

An analysis of RateSetter’s loan data found that brokers are helping their clients finance loans worth an average $16,871, with an average loan term of 44 months at an average interest rate of 8.37% p.a.

Source: LendIt
Asia

Here’s How Chinese Tech Giants Including Tencent And Ant Financial Are Plowing Into Southeast Asia (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Here’s a summary of the investment and M&A moves of the five Chinese internet giants within Southeast Asia:

Didi Chuxing: Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing was the first among the Chinese tech giants to enter Southeast Asia, when it invested in Singaporean ride-hailing startup Grab’s $350M Series E round in 2015. It invested again in Grab in 2017, in its $2B Series B round.

JD.comThe Chinese e-commerce giant made an investment in leading Indonesian travel booking platform Traveloka this past year as part of its ongoing fund-raise, participating in $150M of its ongoing $500M round, along with Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital Group, and East Ventures. Expedia contributed $350M.

TencentTencent recently invested in Indonesia’s Go-Jek, a company most widely known for its on-demand motorbike service. But Go-Jek is strategically similar to Tencent in a notable way: Like Tencent’s WeChat, Go-Jek is also developing a “super app” of sorts, which includes the ability to order food, massages, and other services, in addition to the development of its own mobile payments product called Go-Pay. In 2013, Tencent launched MNC Tencent, a joint venture with Indonesia’s MNC Media (not pictured in timeline). According to media reports, this venture was launched with the intention of pushing Tencent’s WeChat in the country. More recent reports claim that this JV hasn’t seen much traction.

Alibaba: Alibaba’s most recent investment into Southeast Asia was a $1.1B investment into Indonesian consumer-to-consumer e-commerce site Tokopedia in August 2017. This investment comes after months of rumors that JD.com was planning an investment into the company. Alibaba has also invested twice into Tokopedia’s competitor, Singapore-headquartered e-commerce site Lazada. First, in April 2016, it invested $1B in Lazada, valuing it at $1.5B. In June 2017, it upped its existing 51% stake to 83%, giving Lazada a valuation of $3.15B. It announced that this investment would leave its investments into the e-commerce site at a little over $2B.

Ant Financial: Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial investment arm, operates Alipay and has made its fair share of investments into the region, across different countries and on different terms. In 2015, it invested in Singaporean cross-border trading platform M-DAQ. In 2016, it put money into Thai fintech company Ascend Money to help grow its digital and offline payments and financial services business. 2017 brought an entrance into the Philippines, with an investment into Globe Telecom-owned fintech company Mynt, and into Malaysia, where Ant Financial set up a joint venture with CIMB Group-owned Touch ‘n Go, which operates a smart card that works on transportation payments, like tolls and public transportation. According to reports, the joint venture would allow Ant Financial to build an e-wallet for Malaysia.

Source” CB Insights

Thai proptech startup Seekster raises seed funding from Digital Ventures, 500 Tuk Tuks and dtac Accelerate (e27), Rated: A

Seekster, an alumni from the dtac Accelerate programme batch 5, announced today it has raised an undisclosed seed funding from Digital Ventures, 500 Tuk Tuks and dtac Accelerate.

The startup is a company that connects properties to cleaning and maintenance service providers. While there are many on-demand cleaning companies, Seekster targets the commercial sector and SMEs. The startup says it facilitates about 5,000 to 6,000 jobs per month in Thailand.

Furthermore, the startup also announced it has inked a deal with real estate company Ananda Development to provide maids and technicians for its condos.

Middle East

Robo-advisory: Show me the money (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

Robo-advisory services describes a range of algorithm driven models that help sift and select investment options for individuals based on the investors’ requirements and risk appetite. Similar to P2P lending, this technology platform brings the customer closer to the investment. It enriches the information available through graphic rich dashboards and content that allow the investor to see how the portfolio is performing over time as well as versus benchmarks.

Deloitte’s report, The Expansion of Robo-Advisory in Wealth Management suggests that by 2020, the assets-under-management or more simply the amount of money invested via robo-advisors will be somewhere between $2.2 trillion to $3.7 trillion. By 2025, the number is expected to rise to $16 trillion or roughly three times the amount handled by the world’s biggest asset management firm, BlackRock.

Source: Khaleej Times

What I Know about the right time to crowdinvest: Eureeca’s Chris Thomas (Wamda), Rated: A

Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, Eureeca specializes in equity investment. If crowdfunding is the umbrella term for debt funding or reward funding, crowdinvesting describes the equity side of crowdfunding. At Eureeca, entrepreneurs and investors are put through a stringent vetting process before it is determined who can join the platform. For its first class of companies, Eureeca chose 60 businesses out of 3,000 applicants. With more than 14,000 active investors, the average investment amount is $5,800.

As the first company to obtain a crowdfunding license from the Dubai International Finance Centre, Eureeca – in the person of Thomas – laid out for Wamda everything from the right time for entrepreneurs to crowdinvest to what they should expect from the process.

Crowdfunding should not be your second or third choice. It should be the first place you go to try and fix your funding requirement. In the Middle East, the concept is still being socialized. Crowdfunding is essentially the online mechanism for raising money. If you are raising $100,000 or $10 billion, join a platform to see what they can do and you’ll be surprised at the support. By bringing the fundraising online, you reduce the amount of time and effort you put in and increase your reach to potential investors, including access to crossborder investments.

It works best for businesses with a consumer-facing element. People need to have an emotional connection with your business. It’s not going to work for a steel factory in Ras al Khaimah [an outlying emirate in the UAE]. If you have a product that’s already being distributed and there are people who know and love your product, they are the ones that can be converted from lovers of your business to investors in your business.

Regular fundraising prep applies. Be sure that you have a strong network and that you are constantly building your contact list.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor