Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: 3 top execs exit SoFi. Zopa proclaims end of monogamous banking. LendInvest earnings hit the roof. Financial Conduct Authority sets new rules for UK P2P lending. Quarter of global small firms are significant fintech users. Biz2Credit raises $52M. Today’s main analysis: Alternative lenders steal business from banks. P2P lending will be […]

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Loses Three Top Executives (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Three top executives of Social Finance Inc. are leaving the financial-tech startup in the coming weeks, adding to the challenges the company faces as it moves through a tough environment for online lenders.

Marketing chief Joanne Bradford, head of risk Kevin Moss and Ashish Jain, the lender’s top capital markets executive, recently told Chief Executive Anthony Noto about their plans to step down from their roles. All three had been at the company prior to Mr. Noto taking the reins in early 2018.

Tech Driving Bank Earnings Growth (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US first quarter GDP growth was revised lower to 3.1%. There is fear that the economy is slowing due to the ongoing trade war and the length of this economic expansion. The 3 month-10 year yield curve fell to its most inverted since 2007 to -12.3 bps. Recessions have usually followed within 18 months of this curve inverting. The market is looking to the Fed to bolster economic growth with the odds of a rate cut at the September meeting now at 54%.

Source: CME, PeerIQ

Technology Driving Earnings Growth

Banks and lenders are reaping the benefits of their technology investments now. Banks like Citi have been able to offer new products and grow their deposit base, while Capital One has improved its efficiency ratio by 400 bps. Banks and lenders continue to make large technology investments for faster growth at lower cost.

Alternative Lenders Continue to Steal Business From Banks (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

What is less well known is the rapid growth of PayPal as a digital lending alternative. It may be time for banks and credit unions to wake up, however, as the company announced that they had crossed $10 billion in small business lending in only 5 years.

Amazon Joins PayPal as Top 5 Small Business Digital Lender

Amazon has joined PayPal, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square as a top 5 digital small business lender. In fact, Amazon revealed that it had made more than $1 billion in small business loans to US-based merchants in 2018.

The peer-to-peer business lender, Funding Circle, also revealed its first-quarter trading update, showing that loans under management rose by 44% compared to the first quarter of 2018, while originations grew by 23% (they have originated $9.5 billion in loans).

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Rules for Comprehensive Reform of Debt Collection Industry (Debevoise & Plimpton), Rated: AAA

On May 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM” or “Notice”) to increase regulation of the debt collection industry.1 The much-anticipated Notice is the outgrowth of the CFPB’s 2016 Outline of Proposals (the “Outline” or the “2016 Outline”), which was a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect consumers and overhaul all aspects of consumer finance (see our August 10, 2016 client alert on the Outline here). One presidential election and two CFPB Directors later, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger announced a more limited plan to put in place substantial protections, but which rejects some of the 2016 Outline’s more ambitious proposals. The NPRM would overhaul the industry by, for example, requiring that debt collectors make no more than seven attempts by telephone per week to reach consumers about specific debts, and allow debtors to opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via e-mail, text messages, or other media. However, the proposal fails to address many of the Outline’s calls for increased regulation of substantiation of debt, decedent debt, and transfer of information to subsequent collectors (among other things).

See the full report here.

Biz2Credit Raises $ 52M In Funding To Expand (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Biz2Credit, the online lending platform that helps banks and other financial institutions manage small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending processes, announced Tuesday (June 4) that it raised $52 million in venture funding.

Biz2Credit said the Series B funding round was led by WestBridge Capital.

Jared Kaplan of OppLoans (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jared Kaplan, the CEO of OppLoans.

Lighter Capital Introduces Suite of Alternative Financing Solutions to Fund More Startups up to $ 3 Million (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Lighter Capital announced today that it has launched new financing products to better match the capital needs of growing startups. To date, Lighter Capital has provided over $150 million in more than 500 rounds of financing to over 300 startups. The company has historically provided Revenue-Based Financing and has now broadened its portfolio to include lines of credit and term loans, designed to provide startups capital over time as they need it. Unlike most venture debt, startups do not need to have raised Venture Capital to qualify for funding.

1. Lighter Line of Credit – Startups have fluctuations in capital needs, to make essential payments like payroll or wait for a big customer payment. The Lighter Line of Credit is a revolving working capital line. It enables startups to draw and return capital numerous times, to even out their cash needs.

2. Lighter Term Loan – Provides startups growth capital in a traditional structure with predictable payments. Lighter Capital will also make forward commitments, giving startups the right to get additional capital for a period of time. For example, a startup could get a $500,000 loan today and a commitment from Lighter Capital to provide an additional $500,000 over the following six months.

LendPro Unveils Dynamic Routing Capability to Streamline POS Financing (LendPro Email), Rated: A

LendPro LLC, a provider of Lending-As-A-Service (LaaS) products and platforms for retailers, today unveiled Dynamic Routing —an innovative POS financing solution that automatically matches consumer credit applications with the best-available lending option.

While alternative lending software moves credit applications through a pre-defined, inflexible process, Dynamic Routing by LendPro dynamically guides borrower application data to lenders in the merchant’s financing portfolio based on the attributes of the sale. For example, if the total price for a specific purchase is too large (or small) for a lender’s target loan size, LendPro’s Dynamic Routing system can route the applicant to a different lender. This technological innovation saves time, increases simplicity, and may help the borrower avoid an unwanted credit application.

Why it’s Time to Ask Your Wealth Manager About P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Using a crowdfunding platform, however, 5,000 individuals might each invest $1,000 into the company. Each of those individual investors is exposed to a very small amount of risk, and the company is able to raise the funds without surrendering ownership.

Possible Finance lands $ 10.5 million to provide consumers softer, kinder short-term loans (TechCrunch), Rated: A

It’s one reason that venture capitalist Rebecca Lynn, a managing partner with Canvas Ventures  and an early investor in the online lending company LendingClub, has largely steered clear of the numerous startups crowding into the industry in recent years. It’s also why she just led a $10.5 million investment in Possible Finance, a two-year-old, Seattle-based outfit that’s doing what she “thought was impossible,” she says. The startup is “helping people on the lower end of the credit spectrum improve their financial outlook without being predatory.”

Santa Clarita Ranked Second Highest ‘Debt-Ridden’ City In California (Home Town Station), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, released a report this week detailing the accrued debt of all California cities with a population of at least 50,000.

Santa Clarita ranked the second highest in auto loan debt with an average of about $21,000, and second in the state for personal loan debt, excluding mortgages, with an average of just over $6,000.

Source: Home Town Station

Cities With the Highest Percentage of Black Homeowners (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Even though housing discrimination has been outlawed for 50 years, studies show that the U.S. black homeownership rate isn’t any higher than when the Fair Housing Act initially passed in 1968. In fact, the racial gap between white and black homeowners today is significant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate among white Americans is 73.2%, while the black homeownership rate stands at 41.1%. In comparison, 42% of black households owned their homes back in 1970, two years after housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin was outlawed.

According to the report, the U.S. cities that have the highest percentage of black homeowners are San Jose, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Portland. On the other hand, the cities where black homeownership is lowest relative to overall population are Memphis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, and Milwaukee, where the median household income for black residents is a mere $28,928.

See LendingTree’s report here.

Real Crowd Says HNW Investors Poised to Boost Real Estate Investments in 2019 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform RealCrowd reports that High Net Worth (HNW) investors are looking to increase their portfolio of real estate investments during 2019. According to a survey by the Fintech platform, 53% of surveyed HNW individuals expect to make “two-to-four direct real estate investments in 2019.” Specific details on the survey process were not revealed.

This is a big improvement over year prior when just 33% planned to do the same thus an increase of around 20%.

The survey also stated that 47% of respondents’ desire to allocate more than 25 percent of their investment portfolio to commercial real estate.

WealthStone – Democratizing Access to Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

WealthStone LLC announces the launch of its new website, WealthStoneLLC.com, where technology brings increased access to institutional-quality commercial real estate investments to a wider audience, while delivering the best customer experience possible for its growing global investor base.

3 Investments That Lead to Passive Income (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending is a relative newcomer to the world of investments. Lending Club and Prosper were the first institutions to offer P2P loans beginning in mid-2000, and they’ve changed the way countless loans are handled. Instead of going to the bank, borrowers apply for loans from other people. People who have been denied loans from financial institutions are often approved for P2P loans at rates that are lower than those of larger financial institutions.

Sagent Lending Technologies to Transform the Lending Experience, Powered by Microsoft Azure (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Sagent Lending Technologies announced today a strategic initiative to transform the borrower and the lender experience through Microsoft Azure. Sagent will leverage the potential of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and cognitive services available on Azure that will provide a reimagined experience for Sagent clients and their consumer borrowers.

BofA, Longtime Leader in Leveraged Loans, Warns of `Carnage’ (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The U.S. economy is on solid footing except for one potential trouble spot, according to Bank of America Corp.’sChief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan: leveraged loans — a business the bank has dominated for a decade.

Bank of America was bookrunner on some $317 billion of leveraged loans this year, accounting for 10.8 percent of the market share, the Bloomberg data show, which captures all leveraged term loans and revolver facilities that are either new or have been amended.

Moody’s Investors Service said covenant quality for 2018’s last quarter was close to a record low, and the rating company sees no signs of improvement this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the market looks a lot like the mortgage industry in the run-up to the subprime crisis.

Digital Banks Look to Attract Older Generations (LendIt), Rated: A

One of the challenges for the challenger banks like Monzo, Starling and Revolut is to go beyond the young demographic they’ve been successful at attracting to their products; not surprisingly, less than 5% of Monzo’s customers over 60; as more bank branch close they are looking to bring in older customers who are no longer being served by traditional banks; Monzo and Starling have both added the ability to make cash deposits; Starling recently partnered with the post office and Monzo partnered with a payments service which is in 30,000 shops in the UK; these digital banks and their competitors are experimenting in how they can have more physical points of contact with customers; Revolut recently shared a plain English customer contract in a move to help their customers better understand the product.

The tech banks are using to boost deposit growth (American Banker), Rated: A

First Arkansas & Trust, for example, is using Plinqit, a goal-oriented savings app from a fintech called HTMA Holdings, in the hopes of boosting deposits.

And some banks have begun to specialize in the banking-as-a-service model to increase deposits.

Following is a look at how regional and community banks are employing tech to help in the race for deposit growth:

Wharton just released an online fintech course for the masses (Technical.ly), Rated: A

On Thursday, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Online announced its new virtual fintech specialization program, “FinTech: Foundations and Applications of Financial Technologies,” for students and professionals who want to learn about the rapidly changing tech.

The four-course financial program is available via online education platform Coursera, and will detail the use of cryptocurrency, robo-advising, crowdfunding and modern investing.

BlueVine Appoints Silicon Valley Veteran Herman Man to Chief Product Officer (BlueVine), Rated: B

BlueVine, which provides small- and medium-sized businesses with access to fast and simple online financing, announced today that it has named Silicon Valley technology and engineering veteran, Herman Man, its Chief Product Officer. In this role, Man will focus on developing the next generation of BlueVine products and oversee the company’s product vision, strategy, design and execution to deliver on its mission to provide fast, fair and easy financing solutions every small business needs to thrive.

Lendio Announces New Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio announced today that Denada Ramnishta has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy.

Thomas M. Affolter Joins White Oak as Managing Director to Bolster Origination Efforts (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (White Oak) is pleased to announce that Thomas (Tom) M. Affolter has joined White Oak as a Managing Director based in Chicago. Mr. Affolter will focus on originating new investment opportunities and expanding the coverage network for White Oak’s private debt funds.

United Kingdom

Zopa says fintech revolution has killed off monogamous banking (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has declared that “monogamous banking is a thing of the past”, as new research reveals that the average UK adult has a relationship with seven different financial providers.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender, which is launching a digital bank, said that the fintech revolution has changed the shape of financial services for consumers.

It cited a survey that found 71 per cent of UK adults said they do not need a relationship with their main bank, while two thirds are actively using products from banks and financial providers other than their main current account provider.

LendInvest earnings soar as it looks to disrupt ‘slow moving’ banks (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ONLINE property lender LendInvest has reported an 82 per cent jump in core earnings, as it looks to disrupt the UK mortgage market.

LendInvest, which used to be a peer-to-peer lender before it shut its platform to retail investors, posted core earnings of £4m for the year ended 31 March 2019, up from £2.2m the previous year.

The firm, which is considering a stock market flotation, said that platform assets rose by 69 per cent to £788.3m over the same period, while revenue rose by 36 per cent to £72.7m.

FCA Announces New Rules For UK P2P Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The long awaited changes to P2P lending regulations in the UK are finally here. Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that the new rules for peer to peer lending platforms have been set and will come into effect on December 9, 2019.

  • Introducing more explicit requirements to clarify what governance arrangements, systems and controls platforms need to have in place to support the outcomes they advertise. These new rules focus particularly on credit risk assessment, risk management and fair valuation practices, especially for platforms with more complex business models.
  • Strengthening rules on plans for the wind-down of P2P platforms.
  • Applying marketing restrictions to P2P platforms, designed to protect new or less experienced investors. We have also clarified the practical implication of these new rules as they apply to P2P agreements.
  • Introducing a requirement that an appropriateness assessment (to assess an investor’s knowledge and experience of P2P investments) be undertaken, where no advice has been given to the investor. We have also provided guidance on what the assessment should include.
  • Setting out the minimum information that P2P platforms need to provide to investors

Assetz Capital hits bridging loans and small business lending milestones (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital said it has hit a double milestone, providing over £100m in bridging loans and a further £50m in small business funding, “as the appetite for alternative forms of finance continues to rise across the UK”.

The Manchester-based fintech adds that since it was founded six years ago it has lent over £780m to small firms and property developers, helping build 3,700 homes in Britain.

UK P2P sector poised for “significant further growth” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK’S peer-to-peer lending sector is set to experience “significant further growth”, according to Standard & Poor’s.

A report released by the ratings agency this week said that the growing involvement of institutional funds and increased securitisation issuance are set to boost the industry.

Santander and eBay team up on UK loans app (Techradar), Rated: A

In an effort to fend off tech giants and newer digital rivals, Santander and eBay have announced a new lending partnership for small businesses.

The Spanish bank will begin offering loans to over 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses that sell products on eBay in the UK through its financial technology app Astro.

As £165m Lendy collapses, experts warn ‘a dozen more peer-to-peer firms will follow’ (The Telegraph), Rated: A

While investments of varying risk are available, some platforms have tempted consumers with returns of more than 12pc on high-risk projects. But the collapse of one large platform, Lendy, which offered loans on property developments, has concerned investors across the sector.

Wagestream Says One Complaint Against PayDay Lenders is Resolved for Every Three Received (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Payday loan alternative Wagestream has issued a release stating the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has received 47,220 complaints against payday lenders since 2018. Yet while many complaints have been received only a fraction have been resolved. Wagestream states that only one out of three are resolved or just under 17,000.

Welendus unveils rebrand as Fund Ourselves (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has rebranded as Fund Ourselves.

ARBUTHNOT SPECIALIST FINANCE CONCLUDES FIRST LOAN COMPLETION SINCE LAUNCHING THE BUSINESS (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance (ASFL) is pleased to announce it has concluded its first loan completion since announcing its launch in late May. The deal is a 70% LTV residential product loan on a property located less than half a mile from the University of Central Lancashire campus in Preston.

China/Hong Kong

The Escalating US-China Trade War, Part 1 (In Homeland Security), Rated: AAA

China is in debt, significantly. Part of the problem is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to assign a figure to the debt. There are Chinese statistics for official debt, but following the 2008 economic crisis, China implemented new restrictions on lending. Over the past decade, those restrictions have shifted from one type of loan to another so Chinese citizens get creative with how they borrow money for business purposes or to purchase property.

Furthermore, the economic crisis took “shadow lending” to new heights. Shadow lending can include everything from organized crime to banks obfuscating the purpose of a loan or peer-to-peer lending. China cracked down on this lending practice too, but the debt amount is significant and official numbers do not typically include shadow lending.

New US Tariffs Spell Doomsday for China’s Economy (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

The additional 25 percent tariff imposed by the United States on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will trigger a new round of factory closures in China, driving economic collapse.

In the context of the blow-up of the P2P (peer-to-peer lending) and other usury, the 8.4 trillion will cause most medium and small-sized banks to fall into bankruptcy crisis.

HSBC Rolls Out Digital Wallet To Hong Kong Businesses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

HSBC has reportedly expanded its PayMe digital wallet to startups and small businesses, marking its first foray into the business payments marketplace.

European Union

ING pushes for open banking with SME financing platform and Yolt expansion (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

Firstly, ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.

International

We are “very close” to peak fintech, with more than 10,000 startups jumping into the boom (Quartz), Rated: AAA

According to Curve’s Shachar Bialick, the founder and CEO, an app that lets customers to link all their credit and debit cards to just one card, says there are more than 10,000 fintech startups around the world, and even he can’t keep track of them all. Some, or even most, aren’t going to make it.

Quartz: It’s been about four months since Amex blocked Curve. What are your plans now?

Bialick: Amex was never a critical part of Curve. It was always an opportunity to solve a big problem Amex has in the UK and Europe, which is access.

Curve has continued to grow in Europe without Amex.

Have we reached the peak in terms of new fintech startups?

I don’t know if we reached the peak, but we definitely are very close, because today there are over 10,000 fintechs globally. I don’t know over 90% of them.

Peer To Peer Lending To Be The Next $ 1 Trillion Industry (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

By eliminating the need for banks, peer to peer lending allows investors to invest in individual and company debt with 5-10% returns – a far cry from the the lowly 1.5% that you’ll received in a regular CD account.

And it works better for borrowers too. Borrowers are able to take out loans with greater ease and lower interest rates, typically offered in the region of 3-4%.

The average default rate at Lending Works is only 3.2% over the last six years. And many P2P lenders allow you to choose secured loans for additional protection.

Transparency Market Research estimates the industry be worth $900 billion by the end of 2024, with an annual growth rate of 48%, up from $26 billion in 2015.

Source: ValueWalk

One quarter of world’s small firms are ‘significant’ fintech users, says report (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Fintechs are becoming the ‘new normal’ in financial services, said a survey by professional services firm EY.

Fintech adoption is by far the highest in China, where 61 per cent of small businesses use their services, followed by the US, 23 per cent, the UK, 18 per cent, South Africa, 16 per cent, Mexico, 11 per cent, with the average set at 25 per cent.

Source: Ernst & Young

See the full report here.

Tencent, Temasek Invest $ 35 Million in U.K. Open-Banking Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Singapore government-owned fund Temasek is to invest $35 million in London-based TrueLayer.

The Fintech Bubble Floats Toward a $ 64 Billion Pin (The Washington Post), Rated: A

Trendy U.S. online payments company Stripe, worth some $22.5 billion according to private-market valuations, is joining Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. in warning about the impact of EU rules aimed at getting customers to double-check payments going out from their accounts.

Adyen trades at a gob-smacking 110 times this year’s earnings, with a market value of 20.8 billion euros. That’s almost twice the worth of Deutsche Bank AG, even though the Dutch fintech only employs the equivalent of 1% of the German lender’s staff. Stripe is the sixth most expensive private company in the world, according to researchers at CBInsights.

Australia

RBA Boss Warns Banks On Undermining The Economy (SB Dirty South Soccer), Rated: A

THE Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the cash rate to a new record low.

The online lender announced a new headline variable rate for owner-occupiers at 3.34 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Enabling Banks to Thrive at Digital Lending in a Fintech World

Thrive platform for banks

Banks have loyal customers and the cheapest source of capital in the world. No alternative lender can compete with that. But what banks don’t typically have is the tech, automation, and know-how to get the same underwriting efficiencies that online lenders rely on daily. Thrive solves that problem for thousands of institutions equipped with capital […]

Thrive platform for banks

Banks have loyal customers and the cheapest source of capital in the world. No alternative lender can compete with that. But what banks don’t typically have is the tech, automation, and know-how to get the same underwriting efficiencies that online lenders rely on daily. Thrive solves that problem for thousands of institutions equipped with capital and customers but without fintech efficiencies.

Thrive was started in 2015 as a direct lender by co-founders Kunal Sehgal (CEO) and Ke Zhu (CTO).

“We started as a direct lender focused on prime credit,” Sehgal said. “The small business line of credit was our go-to market since it’s an under-represented product in the marketplace. We spent 6-9 months building the platform to be fully-automated end-to-end. On-deck issues began emerging. We got a bird’s eye view of the structural issues online lenders have and realized that, on the direct side, the ability to attract stable debt capital to lend is very difficult and the cost of customer acquisition has not come down in a meaningful way.”

That’s when Seghal and his team decided to pivot and move into the pure technology space.

Deploying to the Cloud

Since Thrive had no existing customer base, the pivot seemed natural. Thrive began to service loans through a cloud-based platform. From there, it was a natural progression to offering the solution to banks, who need it to compete with online lenders.

“We can push out to a bank in a short amount of time because there’s no onsite or custom coding,” Seghal said. “It’s very quick and efficient. Banks don’t have internal IT teams and don’t know how to build it themselves, so they haven’t.”

One bank customer signed a contract with Thrive in February and had the software up and running by April. Traditional solutions don’t have that kind of speed to deployment.

“This new digital acquisition channel for banks can underwrite a loan in under 20 minutes,” Seghal said. “The system is fully configured for every customer.” The bank maintains control over who to underwrite and what to underwrite. The pricing is transaction- or application-based. “We wanted banks to win, not just charge an arm and a leg up front and say goodbye.”

Not Just Your Ordinary SaaS Platform

Thrive is more than a software-as-a-service platform. Seghal said his company is building the banking infrastructure of the future.

“When the bank makes money, we make money,” he said. “We want to be in partnership with the bank long-term.”

Their first bank customer loved being able to service deals directly on the platform, from origination to servicing. In fact, they were so impressed with Thrive’s product that they invested in the company. Banks are generally conservative and don’t make early-stage investments, so that alone is a testament to Thrive’s innovation capacity.

“We raised close to $800K,” Seghal said, “and there was also personal investment. Our goal now is to scale the customer base, then we’ll have the strength to raise a bigger round.”

The Thrive team witnessed a lot of pent-up demand for their product, but a year-and-a-half ago was too early, Seghal said. Today, the timing is just right. The fact that many banks are partnering with fintech companies and alternative lenders is the evidence that Seghal needs to see the opportunity.

Thrive can drive the banking experience from origination to the ways and means a borrower will interact with payment. It gives a more modern feel to the traditional bank facilitating servicing and a dashboard interface that allows banks to directly monitor loans in real time.

“Because we can automate cashflow, we have a direct link to an originating loan service account,” Seghal said. “ It can be monitored on a daily basis. You can see which loans are performing, which should be more closely monitored, etc.”

Thrive also configures the technology to be modular. They can move to consumer lending, commercial real estate, middle market lending, and more, very easily because they have central components built in. The ultimate goal is to drive efficiently beneath the hood, providing the plumbing of the system. On the front end, the applicant sees the bank’s branding, powered and enabled by Thrive, integrated into the bank’s website.”

What Thrive’s Competition Can’t Do

The depth of the platform separates Thrive from their competitors. They believe they can offer end-to-end origination, services, full experience, and risk management capabilities that their competitors don’t have. By offering pure tech as a service, they are trying to position themselves at the forefront of the game. A few years ago, fintech wasn’t on the radar and small banks didn’t focus on it. Since then, it has become clear that in order to succeed banks need to embrace the young, agile fintech companies as partners to learn from instead of treating them like hostile competitors.

“It’s very clear why they need us,” Seghal said. “Technology can help them. It isn’t a threat.” Thrive isn’t dabbling in tech plus lending. Rather, they are 100% focused on technology and have what is a clear win for both bank and customer. “We’re making banks fintech-enabled so they can provide a better customer experience and drive organizational value through the efficiency gained from technology.”

Authors:

Written with Nicki Jacoby.

Allen Taylor

Leapfrogging Legacy Core Banking Systems

Mambu banking SaaS

What do you need if you are launching a lending or banking business? You need a way to manage transactions, pricing, payments, customers, and anything else that comes up. That means you need a reliable core system, but those traditionally are built for a specific bank. They are heavy, cumbersome systems that were time-consuming to […]

Mambu banking SaaS

What do you need if you are launching a lending or banking business? You need a way to manage transactions, pricing, payments, customers, and anything else that comes up. That means you need a reliable core system, but those traditionally are built for a specific bank. They are heavy, cumbersome systems that were time-consuming to install, configure, and run. It is difficult to change them because most legacy core banking systems take many months, or years, to set up. As the financial world moves faster with more services, channels, and scoring models, it needs an agile, API-friendly core system that can leap over the barriers and grow.

A Core Banking System is Like Bamboo

“Mambu” is the original Malaysian word for bamboo, the fastest growing plant in the world. If the conditions are right, it’s very difficult to stop bamboo from spreading and growing prolifically because the roots go under and over most barriers. Bamboo is versatile in what can be done with it and obtainable to anyone who can plant it. These characteristics are what a core banking system would need for the wireless economic reality most of the world moves in.

Mambu seemed like a good name choice for a name when Eugene Danilkis, Frederik Pfisterer, and Sofia Nunes started the company in 2010. They launched in 2011.

“We saw how fast tech was growing in other industries,” Danilkis said, “and saw a huge opportunity to build a SAAS in the financial space. It started with lending in emerging countries and evolved into business lending, leasing, and banking products.”

Mambu moved away from the legacy of core banking and desktop lending to offer a cloud-based SAAS platform that is versatile and obtainable.

“The same triggers are used to create different products and workflows,” Danilkis said. “So different customers can use Mambu in different ways. It’s basically a product that works the same way as an SME loan, consumer loan, or other complex structured deal. It sets up flows and data fields such as a lending piece, deposit/overdraft piece, manages customer data, tracks transactions, and more. And it’s all wrapped up in the API so the customer has access to all the data.”

The underpinning is the cloud infrastructure. Customers refer to the core engine to design service and essential data.

What Mambu Can and Will Do

Mambu is used in 40 countries now. Their main office is in Europe with regional offices in Miami and Singapore. There are two million active customer accounts with over three million clients served. The majority of 12 million euros funding was raised in their latest series B round last year.

“Now we have north of 3 quarter billion dollars from customers managed on the platform,” Danilkis said. “It’s building steadily. We’re looking for talent to help develop the product and interact with customers on products and sales.”

Typical customers are those who want to innovate around products. An established bank or lending company may want to bring a new product to market, but the need for new technology is holding them back. New businesses, or business units, may be interested in diversifying their product base.

“On the lending side, it came from the least attractive market segments,” Danilkis said, “Challenges came from microfinance. The rise of mobile tech and fintech made it easier to go after specific market segments who may have been poorly serviced before.”

The flexibility of the platform allows tailoring for specific customers and much more streamlined offerings. It enables clients to offer a better brand and user experience that attracts more customers and retains them. The client can build out a product that supports their business the way they want it to run and be flexible in terms of types of products, workflows, or support operations on specific products.

“We are transforming the old system.” Danilkis said. “In order to integrate around customers or credit scoring, the current tech is not good enough. We want to be more lean and stay competitive. We need to move quickly with changing technology and look away from the old tech.”

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Written by Nicki Jacoby.