Tuesday August 22 2017, Daily News Digest

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments Today’s main news: PawnHero lands $9.7M financing. AltFi Data scoops equity investment, appoints advisory board. Funding Circle to launch new Autobid, Autosell lending features. SocietyOne celebrates fifth anniversary. Today’s main analysis: Peter Renton’s MPL results for Q2 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Amazon’s Alexa will upend wealth management. The future of banking investments. Will finance businesses jeopardize the credit quality […]

Peter Renton investment results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • Instant gratification and real-time vacations. AT: “In 2005, my wife and I toured Germany by train. At that time, we had our laptops and managed to book hospitality services using the public railway system’s free wi-fi. We thought it was cool that we could plan a two-week vacation on the fly and move from one city to the next with minimal planning. Today’s technology is even better and more readily available for this type of ‘vagabonding’.”
  • International REITs.

Australia

APAC

Middle East

News Summary

United States

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q2 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

One could almost say my returns are in a downward spiral. Since peaking in Q1 2014 at 12.44% my returns have decreased pretty much every quarter and for the last two years that decrease has averaged around 0.5% per quarter.

This past quarter my overall returns stood at 7.28% and the returns for my original six accounts were 5.07%. My worst Lending Club account was my original account there and it came in at 1.95% for the year. The only good news, if there was any, was that I did not have a negative quarter in any of my accounts this quarter unlike in Q1.

Source: Lend Academy
  1. All the account totals and interest numbers are taken from my monthly statements that I download each month.
  2. The Net Interest column is the total interest earned plus late fees and recoveries less charge-offs.
  3. The Average Rate column shows the weighted average interest rate taken directly from Lending Club or Prosper.
  4. The XIRR ROI column shows my real world return for the trailing 12 months (TTM). I believe the XIRR method is the best way for individual investors to determine their actual return.
  5. The six older accounts have been separated out to provide a level of continuity with my earlier updates.
  6. I do not take into account the impact of taxes.

Lending Club

While Lending Club shows an 8.19% return I ignore that number and do my own calculation. My TTM return here is at an all time low of 1.95% but at least I have reversed what happened in Q1 when I had a negative quarter.

Prosper

Source: Lend Academy

Direct Lending Income Fund

The Direct Lending Income Fund continues to be my most consistent performer returning solid double digit returns every quarter since I started investing back in 2013.

How Amazon’s Alexa will upend wealth management (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Advisors wondering how Amazon will enter wealth management should look to its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, which is pitching the natural language processing, machine-learning brain behind its voice interactive service to wirehouses, broker-dealers and robo advisors.

Already, UBS has partnered with Amazon to enable clients and non-clients of the bank to get answers to financial and economic questions through Alexa.

The Future Of Banking Investments (Modest Money), Rated: AAA

I’ve actually had this subject on my mind for awhile. In my article “Customer Experience And Retail Banking: Why Banks Need To Enter The Modern World”, I discussed a day where my district manager came to show us the ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE OF LOBBY LEADERSHIP!!!!!!! I was rather underwhelmed by its importance, but overwhelmed by the fact that the banks were all putting such a heavy focus on greeting customers at the door and making each trip to the bank “an experience”

One of the downsides of the future of banks—and one of the things that might compel someone to avoid bank stocks—is that they are slow to change. They are loathe to change.

Other businesses are trying to please their customers. Banks are trying to please their regulators. Because customers don’t issue multi-million dollar fines on banks when they don’t get what they want.

A New Challenger Has Entered The Battle!

Businesses always have competition within their field. Banks are no exception. Banks compete with other banks to provide their services to the global market.

Except now, with fintech growing at a record pace, banks face competition from small fintech companies and major technology giants such as Google and Apple.

We’ve seen companies like Lending Club take the world of lending andinvesting by storm with their peer-to-peer lending services. LendingTree has changed the way people shopped for mortgages, and LendKey is fast becoming a leader in student loans by acting as a broker for not-for-profit lenders and providing full after-funding services. I wrote a review about LendKey here.

For non-lending companies that aren’t brought to you by the letter “L”, there’s PolicyGenius (an online life insurance broker). There’s Acorns, a “micro investment” company that takes each of your debit card purchases, rounds them up to the nearest dollar, and invests the spare change into your investment portfolio. And of course, there’s PayPal, the legendary online payments/money transfer company.

Of course, the fintech firms aren’t even the largest future competitors! Ironically, it’s non-financial technology giants that pose the greatest threat to the future of traditional banks!

Why I Think Bank Stocks Are A Great Future Investment

No, I’m bullish on banks because I think that they will adapt, in their own unique way.

Read the rest of this snarky analysis.

What Key’s fintech investments say about commercial payments (American Banker), Rated: A

Last week the Cleveland-based bank announced it had taken an equity stake in the fintech firm Billtrust, which provides digitized and automated accounts receivable capabilities for companies. The investment is one of a series the $134 billion-asset Key has made in the space in the last two years.

Other banks are also making an effort to enhance commercial payments capabilities. Wells Fargo, for example, in June announced that receipt imaging would be available for commercial card customers who use the bank’s commercial card expense reporting service, which allows them to upload and manage receipts directly on mobile devices. U.S. Bank also began offering corporate clients a virtual payments service, for employees who need to make a one-off work-related payment or who make purchases rarely enough that they don’t need a physical plastic corporate card.

Key is hoping that B-to-B payment solutions will make it stand out in the competitive landscape of commercial banking.

Making Friends with Fintech: Tips for Bankers (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: A

Time and reality have since set in, and the tone of the conversation has shifted away from “compete” toward “collaborate.” Banks increasingly see the value of capabilities developed by fintech firms, and those companies in turn are becoming better acquainted with the challenges of regulation and other barriers to bringing their products to market.

For banks, the wakeup call has been the realization that customers are coming to value—and expect—a frictionless banking experience. And if banks can’t provide that kind of frictionless experience, Henrichs says, they’ll turn to alternate solutions.

Keys to building a successful fintech strategy

1. Adopt the right cultural mindset.

First and foremost, the bank must have an appetite for innovation.

For some banks, this may involve a shift away from viewing fintech companies as simply third-party vendors or service providers, and instead as collaborators working side by side to develop something new.

2. Do something.

And size isn’t an excuse to sit back and wait, Henrichs adds. Rather, it’s about choosing an area of focus that makes sense for the bank in terms of available resources. While that may not always be a big, sexy innovation, banks can start by achieving smaller, incremental change—something as simple as building and beta testing a new email delivery system can help build up the bank’s “try and fail muscle” and help lay the groundwork for future, larger-scale projects.

3. Be forward-looking.

Consumers’ demands are shifting every day, and new products will continue to hit the market at an unrelenting pace. Knowing that, bankers must be able to keep an eye on the horizon.

Will the human-robo approach to wealth management become best practice? (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

According to the quarterly Fiserv “Expectations & Experiences: Borrowing and Wealth Management” survey conducted in June 2016, 49 per cent of consumers are interested in receiving financial advice from a robo-advisor.

However, there are limits to a robo-only approach. That is why we are witnessing an increase in wealth management firms that incorporate both digital advice and human advice to create a hybrid model, which is likely to become best practice in the industry.

Property Partner adds student assets to portfolio (Property Week), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform Property Partner has added student accommodation assets to its portfolio for the first time due to its high returns.

Online financial websites abound with free information (Lebanon Democrat), Rated: B

Annualcreditreport.com is a free website and app which will allow you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company.

Nerdwallet.com is another free website and app. The site offers financial tools and objective advice to help people better understand their financial options and make the best possible financial decisions.

Mint.com is a free website and app that helps you create budgets that make sense today and set you up for success tomorrow.

Bankrate.com is a free website and app that will help you find and compare rates on financial products like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, checking ATM fees, home equity loans and banking fees.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to Launch New Version of Autobid & Autosell Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, Funding Circle announced it is set to launch a new version of its existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools. Funding Circle will be eliminating the option to manually choose which businesses an investor may lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn. This is a significant shift in operation of the peer to peer lending platform as it begins to operate more like a fund.

Funding Circle created a new section on their web site dedicated to the explanation as to why they were moving away from peer to peer lending and becoming more like a fund by eliminating manual selection.

While many investors have enjoyed manually choosing loans, there are some drawbacks to it:

  • Many investors do not currently benefit from lending to all types of businesses.
  • It can mean your lending is not spread evenly across lots of businesses.
  • It can be confusing for investors.73% of new investors who join Funding Circle choose Autobid, and 80% of Funding Circle investors* say simplicity of lending is important to them.”

Regulatory spotlight on crowdfunding & P2P lenders (Moore Stephens), Rated: A

The FCA has launched a crackdown on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, in the coming months, aiming to ensure protection for retail investors within this heavily risk-associated market.

China

Finance businesses may jeopardise credit quality of internet companies, Moody’s says (SCMP), Rated: AAA

These operations could weaken the internet companies’ credit quality, especially if their finances are consolidated on the technology companies’ accounts, Moody’s Investors Service said.

That’s because most internet companies don’t generate enough profits from operating these businesses, and they lack a track record of holding borrowers accountable for timely payments on their loans, Moody’s said.

Source: South China Morning Post

Unruly and unregulated, nation’s Internet finance sector urgently needs supervision (Global Times), Rated: A

After years of explosive but unruly growth, the online finance market requires cooling through tighter regulation.

On the contrary, there were few regulations to guide or hamper China’s Internet finance industry, with no such requirements as reserve levels or loan-to-deposit ratios. The near-absence of regulation greatly lowered the barriers to entry for the sector, which witnessed both explosive expansion and high failure and fraud rates as it grew. Take P2P lending platforms, for example. As of the end of July, 5,916 P2P lending platforms had been set up in China, but only 2,090 were operating normally, with the rest either encountering liquidity problems or simply closing, according to statistics from wangdaizhijia.com, a P2P industry portal.

Views on Yu’E Bao: easy for payment but difficult in credit! (Xing Ping She), Rated: B

Ant Financial has a big market share in the online payments industry in China. However, its ambitions go far beyond that. Recently, Ant Financial was known to get involved in the credit market.

Ant Financial seeks to merge the gap between the Yu ‘E Bao account and the general bank account through the online merchant bank. It hopes to connect the supply and demand side of the credit in its own account system, just as the bank account do.

But it won’t be easy. The biggest difference between the credit business and the payment business is that the credit business is a heavy capital business and a highly regulated licence business with a strong social spillover effect.

European Union

Sweden Cryptocurrency Boom: Top 3 Swedish Fintech Startups To Watch (IBT), Rated: AAA

The Swedish startup Klarna made waves this summer by launching its own peer-to-peer payment app called Wavy and acquiring a full banking license, which sets Klarna apart as one of the few fintech companies able to compete with traditional banks head-on. TechCrunch described it as a $2 billion startup working the  700,000 e-commerce sites. In June, Visa Inc. announced it is buying a stake in Klarna plus forming a payments partnership. Klarna is now widely considered one of the world’s most promising fintech startups.

The Stockholm Fintech Hub is less than a year old and is now reportedly home to more than 200 startups, plus representatives from a few global players like IBM and Microsoft.

There is a small but growing demand for bitcoin in Sweden. Sweden’s central bank is even considering the merits of making its own national cryptocurrency. In the meantime, Safello aims to become the “ Coinbase of Europe,” since the European bitcoin landscape is far more diverse than North America in terms of regulation and user habits. Coinbase, arguably the world’s best funded bitcoin exchange, is already available in Europe. However, Safello sets itself apart by focusing exclusively on the needs of European users, including support in nine different languages.

So far, Schuil said Safello has facilitated $10 million worth of transactions involving tens of thousands of European users.

Klarna and Safello aren’t the only Swedish startups with the potential to completely overhaul how people interact with money. Among all the startups buzzing around Stockholm, Biohax International certainly stands out. Biohax CEO Jowan Osterlund told IBT his team has implanted 3,000 microchips in people’s bodies, usually their hands, most of which happened in the past year.

These microchips can be used for purchases like train tickets and food. The Wisconsin company Three Square Market now lets employees buy office snacks with the swipe of a bio hacked hand, while also using the chip as a workplace ID for office equipment.

AltFi Data scoops equity investment, appoints advisory board (AltFi), Rated: A

The transparency agenda in online lending has taken a step forwards, as another analytics firm raises capital. AltFi Data has raised an undisclosed sum of equity funding, in tandem to forming a new advisory board.

Roger Spooner and Peter Wilson will join existing backer and executive board-member Michael Baptista on the newly established advisory board. Spooner was most recently a member of the management committee at global data firm Markit, where he was head of global client management. Following a 20 year career in private equity, Wilson was the inaugural CEO of British Business Bank Investments, where he was responsible for £1.5bn of government investment. In this role he oversaw a number of early institutional investments within the UK’s marketplace lending sector.

Funding campaign aims to establish new co-working space in Dublin (Irish Times), Rated: B

Sona 10 Newmarket, which is located next to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, is being created in collaboration with the long-established Dublin Food Co-Op and will be hosted on its premises.

The brainchild of Adrian O’Connor, a Canadian entrepreneur who has lived and worked in the area for about a decade, Sona 10 has already raised some private funding to get the building open with some tenants already coming on board.

It is now seeking to raise an additional €25,000 via the Irish crowdfunding platform Flender to kit out the premises.

International

Real-Time Vacations: The Instant Gratification Of Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Being able to transfer money between accounts in real-time has become part of our daily lives, so much so that when these automatic services do not work, it becomes a problem.

Smartphones have become global standard: ‘conventional banking meant writing traveler’s checks and exchanging physical currency ahead of a trip, both of which are very expensive for the average consumer. Since then, new fintech providers – even in emerging markets – have dramatically increased the acceptance of foreign credit and debit cards,’ Likar said.

Vacationing in real-time is here: ‘you can now rent an apartment for same-day arrival on Airbnb or HomeAway, find last-minute dinner reservations through OpenTable, borrow a car near your location with Turo, and even book by-the-minute hotel rooms through the Recharge app.

Another aim of the fintech industry, in the same vein of the eradication of cash, is helping those that are unbanked and underbanked pay for services only available for those with credit cards. ‘Most airlines today accept payments from alternatives like PayPal. Other financial services companies, such as Affirm, offer three, six and twelve-month financing plans for customers who cannot afford to pay for the flight up front.’

WeSwap is a multi-currency card that can hold up to 18 different currencies, ensuring that consumers can lock in the exchange rate upfront rather than after the purchase,’ Likar mentioned.

International REITs: An Overlooked but Surging Asset Class (Investopedia), Rated: A

In the U.S., the real estate sector is one of the smallest groups in the S&P 500, but real estate investment trusts (REITs) are popular among income investors.

As WisdomTree points out in a recent note, a massive chunk of global real estate investments are actually found outside the U.S. (See also: Eyeing Emerging Markets REITs? See These ETFs.)

Australia

SocietyOne Celebrates Five Year Anniversary Of Helping Customers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australia-based online lender SocietyOne announced on Monday it is celebrating its five-year anniversary of helping customers achieve their lending needs. This celebration comes less than two months after the lending platform surpassed $300 million in total originations. The lender revealed that more than 13,000 customers thanks to $325 million provided by its investor funders.

APAC

PawnHero bags $ 9.7m financing, partners PLDT fintech arm (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Southeast Asia’s first digital pawn shop PawnHero has closed a $9.7 million (P500 million) financing deal with a Philippine investment bank even as it signed a partnership agreement with the fintech arm of telco giant PLDT.

Middle East

Ever a lender or a borrower be… (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The key to the banks’ risk taking ability is aggregation. The bank is able to get the deposits at scale and at the same time lend to a large number of customers most of which are likely to pay back. In a portfolio of loans, historically, only a small percentage is non-performing. The individual lender has so far not had the ability to create a portfolio. The start of crowdfunding a few years ago began to change that. Crowdfunding works in the area of providing returns through some level of ownership of either the product itself or the company which is promoting it. For individual investors seeking a stream of steady income on the other hand, P2P Lending or Marketplace Lending makes more sense.

However, the speed of growth of P2P lending outstrips that of traditional banking. An excellent December 2014 whitepaper, A Trillion Dollar Market By the People, For the People published by Foundation Capital, describes the blistering pace at which P2P lending grew from a base of $870 million dollars in 2012. Estimates of the size of the industry vary from between $100 billion to $200 billion. The whitepaper predicts that the market size will be about $1 trillion by 2025.

On average, P2P lending platforms like Beehive are able to reduce interest rate spreads between sourcing and lending money by about 400 basis points (4 per cent). That’s because players in this space do not keep the loans on their balance sheets.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 5 2017, Daily News Digest

abs market overview

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to shut down Zenbanx. Red Ventures to buy Bankrate website for $1.24B. BofE to get tough on consumer lending. UK P2P lending surpasses 10B GBP. China re-thinks social credit. Korean P2P lending passes 300B won. LendInvest out of P2P lending. Today’s main analysis: US ABS market overview. Traditional wealth management challenged by robo boom. Today’s thought-provoking […]

abs market overview

News Comments

United States

  • SoFi to shut down Zenbanx. GP:”We do not know the details of the acquisition but we assume part of the due diligence SoFi was aware of this issue and therefore they didn’t purchase Zenbank for their customers or services, but perhaps for their team and know how?”AT: “I suspected this would happen. If they have the technology and the talent, what else do they need?”
  • US ABS market overview. GP:”steady growth in all segments except maybe auto”
  • How the market pushed Realty Mogul out of residential fix and flips. GP:”I continue to believe that fix and flip is highly correlated with the economic cycle and if a company relies on it there will be years with no origination in that market at some point.”AT: “Markets, and market conditions, change. This looks like a smart move for Realty Mogul. A good rationale, at least.”
  • Ally Bank online savings APY increases to 1.15%. GP:”Goldman Sachs online Bank increased it, Ally increased it… perhaps the FED rate adjustment is having an impact or perhaps the competition for savings dollars is increasing. Or both.  “AT: “If consumers can get better savings interest rates at online banks, why wouldn’t they?”
  • Inside the arms race between banks and startups. AT: “Focuses on negatives for banks. Seems a bit one sided. I don’t believe banks are out of the picture just yet, but we will likely see a steady decline soon. The survivors will be those banks that adapt and adopt the technology of online lenders.”
  • LendingTree, LeadsCon unveil first $25K startup innovation spotlight.
  • Tide raises $14M. GP:”Congratulations!”
  • Lifshitz&Miller investigate LendingClub. GP:”All public companies have an ongoing litany of lawsuits as soon as their stock does something un-usual. This is normal life for a public company in the US.” AT: “I don’t understand why now, a full year after the Renaud Laplanche issues.”
  • Red Ventures to buy Bankrate website for $1.24B. GP:”This is big news, and an amazing valuation. There is money in customer acquisition for fintech.”
  • Goldman raises $1B for real estate fund. GP:”Goldman has been in the real estate funding business for long time. focused on large commercial properties. Perhaps a good usage of the savings capital from Goldman Sachs bank could be real estate crowdfunding as well in the same way as Marcus works for unsecured personal lending? $1B for Goldman is not much money, this is not big news anyway. “
  • Suretly launched initial chocolate offering. GP:”Very amusing, but looks a little desperate.”

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Six months after acquisition, SoFi is shutting down Zenbanx (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Online lending company SoFi is closing down Zenbanx, the online banking provider it bought earlier this year. In an email sent to Zenbanx customers, the company announced that it will close all accounts at the end of next month.

According to a SoFi spokesperson, Zenbanx had a partnership with Wilmington Savings Fund Society (WSFS) that expired this month and, rather than renew it or find another partner, the company decided to just close existing accounts.

US ABS Market Overview (Finsight.com), Rated: AAA

Recent New Issue

The Market Pushed Us Out of Residential Fix and Flip (Realty Mogul), Rated: AAA

If you are like many investors, you loved our residential loan product. Short term investments with high yield (9-12%) and monthly distributions, what’s not to love? And as much as our investors love them, you will no longer find them on RealtyMogul.com. We stopped originating them.

The purely local nature of fix and flip lending changed with online lenders having nationwide reach and access to tremendous amounts of capital, either from retail or institutional investors. At one point, RealtyMogul.com had in hand nearly $1 billion in capital commitments to purchase fix and flip loans from institutional buyers – that’s a lot of homes!

In late 2015 we started to notice a market shift. Fix and flip loan pricing started to drop. First it was 11%, then 10%, then 9%, and in many major markets it dropped to 8%. Throw in the cost of servicing these loans and on an 8% loan, investors’ estimated return is 7%.

At 8%, there should be a relatively lower risk profile to a loan. But in fact, the opposite was true. The dramatic increase in capital in the market meant that riskier loans were demanding lower and lower rates. Borrowers with great experience, credit and lower leverage were able to get rates in the 4-5% range from banks, whereas the 9-12% loans were only available in markets where there were no alternatives and the risk was fairly high.

Ally Bank online savings APY increases to 1.15% (Reddit), Rated: A

Chat rep said that my account should reflect the new rate by the end of today.

Peek Inside The Fintech Arms Race Between Banks And Startups (International Business Times), Rated: A

Capital One is opening Capital One Cafes in major cities across the U.S., with hip decor and more laidback consulting vibes than traditional branches. JPMorgan is trying the same idea with its Manhattan technology hub. Bloomberg reportedthe bank’s $9.6 billion technology budget coincided with new startup-style offices featuring foosball tables, open workspaces and snacks. But it might be too little, too late.

While, money transfer apps like Apple Pay, Venmo and WorldRemit garner widespread adoption, some experts predict banks could also lose well over half their retail profits to fintech startups. Flashy offices won’t change the fact that the days of traditional banking are over.

Nubank looks beyond traditional credit scores, using cellphone data and driver’s license information to find creditworthy customers who would never meet the requirements of a traditional bank. Like SoFi mortgages in the U.S., Nubank interest rates are flexible and can change as the customer’s financial security increases. Combine that with a lack of fees plus a smooth mobile experience, and traditional credit cards seem very outdated by comparison.

According to a Gallup poll, the amount of Americans who feel confident in U.S. banks dropped from 49 percent in 2006 to just 27 percent by 2016.

A nationwide survey of 500 chief financial officers byWEX Virtual Payments found 55 percent consider mobile payment options very important, in addition to 54 percent who say to same of blockchain solutions.

53 million Americans aren’t served by the current credit score market,  but have great cash flow,” Thomas told IBT. Nubank in Brazil and the fintech startup Tala, which has distributed around 2 million micro-loans in places like in Kenya and Tanzania, prove there’s no need to restrict loan eligibility to traditional metrics.

LendingTree, LeadsCon Unveil First-Ever $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (IT Business Net), Rated: A

LendingTree, the online loan marketplace, and Access Intelligence, a business information and marketing company, today announced a new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

The “LendingTree Startup Innovation Spotlight” at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert will recognize the most innovative fintech startups across the consumer lead generation, call center and customer experience sectors. Startups around the world can apply today at  a chance to receive exposure, bragging rights and $25,000 in cash. Finalists will be announced in August and selected live on stage amid 1,000 industry executives at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert industry conference and expo, August 21-23 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Banking startup Tide raises $ 14 million to ‘give small businesses back their time (Business Insider), Rated: A

Banking startup Tide raised $14 million in one of the largest Series A funding rounds closed by a fintech company this year.

Tide, a digital-only banking app aimed at small businesses, has also partnered with online lender iwoca, in a move to allow small companies access to loans of up to £100,000.

The funding round was led by specialist fintech investor Anthemis, along with Passion Capital, LocalGlobe and Creandum, the company that backed Spotify.

Lifshitz&Miller LLP Announces Investigation of LendingClub Corporation (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lifshitz & Miller announces investigation on behalf of LC investors concerning whether LC’s former CEO, Renaud Laplanche, engaged in improper loan transactions and personal investments as a result of material weaknesses in LC’s internal controls.

If you are an LC investor, and would like additional information about our investigation, please complete the Information Request Form or contact Joshua Lifshitz, Esq. by telephone at (516)493-9780 or e-mail atinfo@jlclasslaw.com.

Bankrate website to be bought by Red Ventures for $ 1.24bn (Financial Times), Rated: A

Bankrate, the US personal finance website, is to be bought for $1.24bn by Red Ventures, a digital marketing company which is expanding its footprint in financial services.

Private equity-backed Red Ventures has agreed to pay $14 per share in cash for Bankrate, which produces online content focused on financial advice and research, such as mortgage and savings calculators and credit card and insurance comparison tools.

Goldman Raised $ 1B For A Real Estate Fund (Bisnow), Rated: B

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the investment bank has raised $1B for a new real estate fund, Broad Street Real Estate Credit Partners III. Further documents show it is on the road looking to raise more capital for the fund, with a source indicating to Bisnow that it is looking to pull in the same amount again over the coming months.

Around $600M came from U.S. investors and the rest from overseas, the documents show. Goldman typically puts around 20% of the equity into the funds it manages.

Suretly launched an Initial Chocolate Offering (Newsbtc), Rated: B

NYC-based startup Suretly, which raised $350K during preICO round this May, launched an Initial Chocolate Offering.

The event took place in Copenhagen, Denmark during Money2020 conference. All guests, who has visited Suretly’s booth, were gifted with a chocolate souvenirs shaped in SUR-token. Each token was packed in the individual memorable wrapping with the future Suretly ICO information.

United Kingdom

The Bank of England is preparing to get tough on consumer lending (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England ordered British banks and other lenders on Tuesday to prove by September that they are not taking on too much risk with their increased lending to consumers.

The BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority did not set out any new rules on Tuesday but its move was the first time it has ordered firms it supervises to apply consumer credit rule more conservatively.

The PRA said it was “requesting evidence from all firms with material exposures to consumer credit of how they will – across consumer credit portfolios- ensure” they are not taking too much risk after years of low interest rates.

Lenders will have until September to respond and could then be asked to fix any specific areas of weakness by the PRA.

ORCA celebrates peer to peer lending uk surpassing £10 billion mark (Orca Money), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending has reached a significant milestone since Zopa launched the world’s first P2P platform in 2005. Over £10 billion has been cumulatively lent across 23 UK P2P platforms. In the first half of 2017 alone, over £2 bn was invested through P2P.

Take a look at the UK alternative lending ecosystem.

Traditional wealth management challenged by robo-adviser boom (Raconteur), Rated: AAA

Survey after survey shows that millennials, and indeed most potential investors aged under the age of 60, are happy to entrust their savings to a digital platform or mobile app, so long as it’s credible, secure, trustworthy, capable of offering them a range of low-cost funds and some personal investment advice.

Of the robo-advisers in the UK, the largest is Nutmeg. Launched in 2012, it has so far raised £71 million in five funding rounds from venture capitalists and others. Nutmeg has more than £600 million under management, though it remains loss making, and escalating marketing and advertising costs meant that in 2015 its losses widened from 2014.

Other UK players include Wealthify, launched in 2015; MoneyFarm, launched in Italy in 2012, and in the UK in 2016; and Scalable Capital, launched in 2016.

Brewin Dolphin has launched a robo-adviser that allows customers with between £10,000 and £200,000 to invest in one of six model portfolios at a cost of 0.7 per cent of invested assets, plus underlying charges of between 0.11 per cent and 0.16 per cent.

 

LendInvest out of P2P sticks to managing funds (Anonymous Email), Rated: A

Our sources reported that LendInvest cancelled their FCA application due to their decision to completely exit the p2p lending space.

As can be seen on the FCA website:

Firm name: Lendinvest Limited
Interim Permissions reference number: 658890

 

Permission Description Status Limitation Against Permission Permission End Date
Consumer credit business Entering into a regulated credit agreement as lender; and exercising, or having the right to exercise, the lender’s rights and duties under a regulated credit agreement. Inactive 02/06/2017
Credit brokerage Credit broking
Or
Credit broking limited to credit intermediation
Inactive 02/06/2017
No right to canvass off trade premises

It appears that this decision was due to the 36(H) legal rules around peer top peer in the UK . It has apparently become “more difficul to stay within the new 36(H) rules without becoming a bank or fund manager”. As LendInvest was already a fund manager, the company has decided to remain a fund manager and focus on that structure as opposed to applying for FCA p2p regulation.

In a similar fashion the online lender Wellesley has taken a similar approach having ‘paused’ P2P yet still shows as active.

This change makes Assetz Capital the 2nd largest business and property lender who is P2P in Europe. See

Of £295m lent, c £290m is P2P retail investors.

Kuflink Debuts Property-Backed Innovative Finance ISA & New Investment Options (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Kuflink has launched its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and also two investment options. This news comes just a few months after the online lender received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Assetz Capital bids to lend £300m after profitable year (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has revealed that it made a seven-figure pre-tax profit during the 2016/17 financial year, while revenues have now reached over £10m pa.
The peer-to-peer lending platform saw a total of £126m lent through it to SMEs between April 2016 and March 2017 with £38m of that total being achieved in the final quarter.

Assetz Capital claimed it would lend over £60m during the first quarter of this current financial year as it bids to reach £300m of lending for the whole of the year.

It’s time to bring ghost houses back to the land of the living – Lendinvest (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

As the Council of Mortgage Lenders has previously pointed out, even if the government managed to push the building industry into producing 300,000 homes across the UK each year, 90% of the housing stock that will exist by 2025 has already been built. If we are to tackle the housing issues we face, it’s not just down to increasing the rate at which new developments spring up – we need to make far better use of the houses we already have, too.

An obvious problem with some of these ‘ghost homes’ is that in their current condition nobody would want to live in them. They may have been ignored for years, falling into disrepair to the extent that they may actually be unlivable.

But these are exactly the sorts of properties that savvy investors may be looking for, the worst house on the street which can be done up, turned into a nice, respectable home and then sold on at a profit.

Londoners Borrowed £17B in New Mortgages in 2016, Wimbledon & Wandsworth Top Borrowers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Londoners borrowed another £17 billion in new mortgages last year as the affluent southwest London neighbourhoods of Wimbledon and Wandsworth topped the borrowing league table and and 17 of the top 20 areas for new mortgage lending last year are in London, reported European P2P lending platform Lendy.

The highest non-London area among for new mortgages is Maidenhead, which placed 11th out of the 2,717 postcode areas in the study.

AI savings platform launches £700,000 crowdfunding campaign (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

AN ARTIFICIAL intelligence platform that has partnered with RateSetter to help people save and invest is looking to raise £700,000 through crowdfunding.

The fintech firm, Plum, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, to build its team and platform.

NatWest trials AI compliance tool to ensure financial advice is spot on (Internet of Business), Rated: A

The UK bank will use the Recordsure compliance tool based on artificial intelligence (AI) from regulatory risk specialist TCC Group in order to record face-to-face and telephone conversations between the bank and its customers – with those customers’ consent, naturally.

The AI technology is able to analyze an interaction and then classify sections of the conversation, according to Recordsure’s creators. For example, it could determine which aspects of the conversation were general chitchat, which involved financial advice, and what topics were discussed.

P2PFA Announces New Associate Membership, Publishes Names of First New Members (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has created a new category of membership to boost its ranks and add perspective to the association that represents the UK’s top online lenders.

These new members include:

  • Alterest – Provides non-bank lending markets with loan intelligence infrastructure that enables: seamless exchange of lending data in a secure and timely manner, and flexible analysis of performance and risk of any loan pool or exposure.
  • Altus Consulting: A specialist provider of consultancy services to the financial services sector.
  • Equifax: A global information solutions company that uses data, analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organisations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.
  • Fox Williams LLP: A City law firm with one of the leading Fintech practices in the UK, acting for over fifteen P2P lending platforms.
  • Grant Thornton UK LLP: A global consultancy that is part of a network of over forty-thousand people in 130 countries. In the UK they are led by 185 partners and more than 4,500 people.
  • Orca Money: A platform that is driving the mainstream adoption of peer-to-peer lending by providing research, analysis and tools to empower investors.
  • Simmons & Simmons: An international law firm with a Fintech team that comprises a range of multi-disciplinary lawyers from across their European, Middle Eastern and Asian offices.
  • TLT LLP: Supports large corporates, public institutions and high-growth businesses on their strategic and day-to-day legal needs.

Hive Project Launches Blockchain-Based Invoice Financing Platform, Targets SMEs (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Despite being the backbone of every economy, small and medium-sized businesses have traditionally faced challenges in securing access to short-term financing from traditional lenders. To resolve this issue, the Hive Project today announced the development of a cryptocurrency invoice financing platform to help SMEs overcome the hurdles they face when trying to get the financing they need.

WiseAlpha Founder & CEO Rezaah Ahmad Comments on Successful Crowdcube Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

WiseAlpha, a UK first online lending platform that gives investors access to high yield institutional bond and loan investments, has overfunded its £500k target on Crowdcube by 258%, raising £1.29 million.

The largest single investment was £150K.

“We’re thrilled to have overfunded our original target and glad that the 1452 people who have invested in us so far are backing our vision of a fairer investment world where everyday investors aren’t shut out from accessing the biggest and best investments.”

UK P2P Lender RateSetter Update: Targets New Business Borrowers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Now the lender is planning to boost its direct marketing methods to diversify its new business borrowers sources, according to Peer2Peer Finance News.

Lewis appointed on b2b brief for p2p lending platform (PR Week), Rated: B

Lewis has been appointed by ArchOver, a peer-to-peer lending platform for UK SMEs, to run a campaign aimed at business audiences.

China

China changes tack on ‘social credit’ scheme plan (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Beijing has pulled back on plans to license big technology companies to develop “social credit” scores for consumers, based mainly on their online activity, because of concern over conflicts of interest, industry analysts said on Tuesday.

The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, selected eight tech companies in 2015 — including e-commerce group Alibaba’s Ant Financial and game developer Tencent — to develop pilot programmes to give consumers credit scores.

The pilots, which monitored spending patterns but also personal behaviour and social media activity, initially raised concerns about consumer privacy. Some of their metrics were seen as irrelevant, including proposals to factor in exercise routines or what time of day people went online. Others were considered more sinister, such as efforts to rate “honesty” or “trustworthiness” by linking credit scores to friends’ social media posts.

Beijing has now decided not to award any licences this year after regulators expressed increasing concern about the potential for conflicts of interest.

MYbank Deepens Push for Business Big Banks Won’t Touch (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

MYbank, the two-year-old Chinese online lender that already has 3.5 million small-business customers, plans to push deeper into a segment that’s long been shunned by the country’s largest banks.

MYbank wants to capitalize on its links to billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. by offering loans to the more than 10 million smaller merchants that use the company’s e-commerce platforms, MYbank President Huang Hao said in a June 29 interview. Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, owns 30 percent of the online lender.

Formally known as Zhejiang E-Commerce Bank Co., MYbank was able to more than quadruple its lending through 2016, taking its outstanding loans to 33 billion yuan ($4.9 billion).

Its nonperforming-loan ratio was around 1 percent, Huang said, lower than the national average of 1.74 percent. The bank’s technology, which runs loan applications through more than 3,000 computerized risk-control strategies, has kept delinquencies in check, he said.

Still, last year’s lending explosion came at a cost, dragging its capital adequacy ratio down to 11.07 percent by December from 18.51 percent a year earlier.

Chinese tourists are driving mobile payments across the globe (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

The number of Chinese tourists abroad hit 122 million in 2016, with a vast majority of them paying via their mobile phones. That’s according to a new study from Kapronasia and CANCAN. The survey pool contained 1,000 Chinese consumers abroad and 60 global merchants.

While 67% of respondents reported that they use Alipay or WeChat Pay for overseas purchases. This represents about 41% of overseas consumption and tourists used mobile payments for more than 10% of total transactions.

The report also highlights how Chinese tourists are spending more and more in retail ($900 on average in 2016), instead of luxury items. Only 5.7% spent more than $6,288, with a total amount of $109.8 billion throughout 2016.

80% of merchant respondents cited consumer demand as one of the main reasons for adopting mobile payments, with 70% adding that mainland Chinese consumers were their largest source of global revenue. Clothing, makeup, skincare, food and beverages top the list of goods purchased with mobiles, with travel and accommodation not far behind.

UAV Startup Clobotics Raised its First Round of Financing from GGV Capital (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, a Shanghai-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) startup—— Clobotics finished its first round of financing from GGV Capital, the amount was not disclosed. According to George Yan, the founder and CEO of Clobotics, this round of financing will focus on developing and iterating their products and technology, expanding the marketing layout, and accelerating the development of Clobotics in the key vertical field.

Set up in November 2016, Clobotics is a provider of business intelligence (BI) and visualizing data, focus on the research of UAV machine vision, industrial big data acquisition, and cloud big data processing and analysis. Unlike many of the domestic manufacturers that focus on hardware plane, Clobotics is good at using leading software, technology and platforms to embed advanced technologies in the field of artificial intelligence, so as to fully explore the value of UAV-collected data.

Police Arrest 32 Employees of Company Behind ‘Straddling Bus’ (Sixth Tone), Rated: B

The test site of China’s fantastical traffic-straddling bus was dismantled in June, and now the peer-to-peer financing company that backed the project is being investigated for illegal fundraising.

Following reports of unlawful conduct, a total of 32 suspects at Beijing-based Huaying Kailai Asset Management Co. Ltd. have been arrested, according to an announcement Sunday by Beijing police on their Weibo microblog.

European Union

Investor protection vs Access to Finance: The Growth of Alternative Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Clearly in Europe (Brexit aside) the UK has led sector growth. A combination of a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking has combined with a supportive government and a regulatory body tasked with a mission of fostering competition – perhaps to the frustration of traditional financial firms. The rise of internet finance in the UK has engendered few occurrences of fraud to date. Growth has been sustained. Perhaps the Brits have gotten the balance right so far?

But which country has the largest alternative finance market in the world? China, of course.

Kleverlaan points to Italy as a country that has stumbled out of the gate. Something the country is attempting to rectify with recent rule changes specifically targeting equity crowdfunding.

View the full report on alternative finance here.

The European Investment Bank Pledges €18.5 million to Finance Continental European SMEs through Lendix (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) through the European Investment Fund (EIF) has announced that it will provide €18.5 million to back a joint investment fund designed to lend money to SMEs through crowdlending platform Lendix.

Swedish tech elite’s darling startup Karma just bagged $ 4 million for its hyper-growing food waste app (Business Insider), Rated: A

Swedish startup Karma has built an app that helps restaurants, grocers and cafés reduce their food waste by selling their surplus to consumers at reduced prices.

The company has now raised between 30 and 40 million SEK ($3,5 – $4,7m) to take on Europe after a booming start in its Swedish home market.

The seed round comes from Swedish investor Eequity and global VC fund e.ventures, which has also backed the hyped Swedish fertility app Natural Cycles.

P2P Lender VIAINVEST Hits €10 Million in Funded Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Newly launched peer to peer lending platform VIAINVEST has announced topping €10 million in loans. The 7 month old Latvian platform said consumer loans issued by VIA SMS Group, came from the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia and Spain.

Australia/New Zealand

Xpress Super and Australian P2P lender RateSetter announce partnership (Finder.com), Rated: A

RateSetter, Australia’s largest peer-to-peer lender, and self-managed-superannuation-fund (SMSF) administrator Xpress Super have today announced a partnership.

Through the partnership, SMSF investors will now have direct access to their RateSetter account via the Xpress Super platform, making it easier for SMSF investors to lend to creditworthy borrowers.

Introducing HashChing – an online marketplace for home loan deals (sa real estate news), Rated: A

Based in the heart of Sydney, HashChing is Australia’s first online home loans marketplace for broker-negotiated home loan deals.

All mortgage brokers are verified and rated through the website Artificial Intelligence Algorithm, selecting the brokers who offer the best services and then recommending them to borrowers in their area. Similar companies that had paved the way before HashChing had simply listed rates to the consumer through the bank or lender’s website.

Home loan rates on HashChing start from 3.59% p.a. and consumers can browse through the home loan deals page to see what offers are available.

Currently the company has helped over 14,500 borrowers with their home loan enquiries, all worth more than $7 billion dollars combined. Of which, $6 billion has come in the last 12 months alone, and the company also currently lists more than 600 verified mortgage brokers – including 30 mortgage brokers from SA.

Colliers’ alternative to bank funding (True Commercial), Rated: B

A new Colliers International service is providing an alternative to traditional bank funding by matching commercial property investors to development and investment opportunities.

The Capital Sourcing unit was established by Tim Lichtenstein, who has a track record in capital raising for commercial real estate assets.

India

UrbanClap Raises $ 21M in Series C (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

Home services start-up firm UrbanClap has raised $21 million in a series C funding round led by Internet investment fund Vy Capital. Led by Alexander Tamas, Dubai-based Vy Capital is a major investor in Zomato.

Early investors SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and series B investor Bessemer Venture Partners also participated in the round. Existing investors also spent approximately $1 million more to buy shares held by some employees and a part of stakes of angel investors Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, the founders of Snapdeal, UrbanClap co-founder Abhiraj Bhal told LiveMint.

Reliance Capital arm invests $ 1 mn in P2P lending platform Billionloans (VC Circle), Rated: A

Billionloans Financial Services Pvt. Ltd, a Bengaluru-based fintech startup that operates a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has raised $1 million (around Rs 7 crore) in seed funding from Reliance Corporate Advisory Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital Ltd.

Asia

Peer-to-peer loans pass 300 billion won for first time (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

The number of peer-to-peer loans more than doubled in just six months, going from 96.9 billion won ($84.5 million) in June last year to over 300 billion won in December.

The change represents a 220.5 percent increase, according to data provided by the Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Services Commission.

The number of users also surged 116.6 percent to 6,632 in June compared to December’s 3,062.

Singapore fintech startup Instarem raises $ 13 mn to expand payment infra (VC Circle), Rated: A

Instarem, a Singapore-headquartered cross-border payments company founded by Indian-origin entrepreneur Prajit Nanu, has raised $13 million in a Series B funding round led by Chinese venture capital firm GSR Ventures, a company statement said.

Singapore fintech startup Validus Capital raises US$ 2.9M to grow SME lending platform (e27), Rated: A

Singapore-based fintech startup Validus Capital has raised S$4 million (US$2.9 million) from Vertex Ventures.

It will use the newly-raised round to expand regionally and grow its online lending platform.

Chinese investors eye Indonesia’s P2P lending marketplace Investree for Series B (udaipur kiran), Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer lending marketplace Investree announced recently that Chinese investors have initiated discussions for an investment in the company for its next Series B round.

If successful, the deal will become one of the first international investments in Indonesia’s fintech space. Previously, the startup has raised an undisclosed Series A round in 2016 from local venture capital Kejora which typically invest US$2 to US$5 million in their portfolio firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 14th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 14th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Dear Readers, As you are probably aware Lending Times is organizing an event in New York on Monday August 15th titled “The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond”. We would like to welcome our interested readers to participate in the panel. We have 1 seat available at this time. Please […]

July 14th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Dear Readers,
  • As you are probably aware Lending Times is organizing an event in New York on Monday August 15th titled “The future of Market Place Lending – Madden and beyond”. We would like to welcome our interested readers to participate in the panel. We have 1 seat available at this time. Please contact us if you are interested in participating in the panel.
  • Thank you.
  • George Popescu

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

New Zealand

  • Lending Crowd, the 4th licensed p2p lender in NZ,  is seeking up to $5 million from financial services sector investors to help the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender build scale and grow loan volumes.  To date, Croad said Lending Crowd has received $22 million worth of loan applications and written $2.5 million worth of loans with 60% of this total comprising personal and motor vehicle loans, and 40% business loans.

 

United States

Personal loans are cheap, but can I get one?, (Bankrate.com), Rated: AAA

In Bankrate’s national survey of interest rates from banks and thrifts for July 13, 2016, the rate on personal loans remained unchanged for the 4th consecutive week at 10.94%. This week’s average rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from its 2016 high. A year ago, interest on the average personal loan was 11.12%.

There are 3 types of places where you can look for a personal loan:

  1. Banks
  2. Credit unions
  3. Finance companies (including online lenders)

As recently as a few years ago, banks dominated this space, accounting for 40% of all personal loan originations, according to the credit bureau TransUnion.

“Even though Prosper and Avant and Lending Club to a certain extent have pulled back, there are other lenders that are filling the void,” Tarkan says. “So I don’t know if there’s going to be this massive decline in availability of credit because the marketplace lending sector is contracting.”

John Ulzheimer, a credit expert who formerly worked for FICO and Equifax, says “every mainstream lender” now issues personal loans, and there are many good options, particularly for people with good credit.

To give some examples, Wells Fargo branches throughout the country offer personal loans. In Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest bank offers personal loans for as little as 9.25%, while Houston-based Integrity Bank — with 3 southeast Texas branches — charges 9%, according to the Bankrate survey.

Global M&A, PE and VC activity declines in the first half of 2016 after reaching record highs last year, (Bureau Van Dijk), Rated: AAA

View the full report here.

Both the volume and value of global mergers and acquisitions dropped significantly over the opening half of 2016, according to information collected by Zephyr, the leading global M&A database. Over the first six months this year, only 43,352 deals were announced for a combined $1.94 trillion. This is down nearly 20% in volume and over 40% in value compared to the 53,287 deals worth $3.27 trillion in the last half of 2015, and 52,637 deals worth $2.94 trillion in the first half of 2016.

The one exception was the Middle East and North Africa, where value climbed 23% to $15.7 billion over the six-month span, despite a small dip in volume. All other regions declined over the same time frame, with the steepest drop reserved for Central and Eastern Europe, which slipped 52% from $88.45 billion in H2 2015 to $42.58 billion this year. The top-performing countries by value for H1 2016 were the US, China, the UK, Switzerland, and Canada.

The Zephyr database also showed both the volume and value of global private equity and venture capital investment followed the same pattern as M&A in H1 2016, declining in the preceding six months and year-on-year. In all, there totaled 2,651 deals worth a combined $196 billion during H1 2016, a 20% decline in volume and 47% fall in value from the final six months of 2015.

Congressional Committee Reviews Marketplace Lending, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Comment: a more detailed article on the hearing from July 12th, 2 days ago.

The meeting saw the participation of several industry executives including representatives from Prosper, CAN Capital, the American Bankers Association, the law firm of O’Melveny & Myer and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. The meeting was timely as multiple regulatory agencies are moving towards applying additional regulations on online lenders – an act that may place financial innovation at risk.

The “key takeaway” offered by the Committee was that online lending may deliver access to credit to underserved or underbanked communities. For both consumers and SMEs alike. Of course, advancement by online lenders may put traditional banks under additional pressure – something the ABA representative expressed by saying regulation should be based Rob Nichols ABAon activities – in other words, banks want similar rules to apply to online lenders.

Parris Sanz from CAN Capital struggled to explain away their avoidance of using an APR and what approximately CAN Capital was charging borrowers (Ms. Levi clarified it as 36% to 60%).

A FINRA survey of US consumer financial capability, (FINRA), Rated: AAA

The US household financial picture is improving.

Financial health

  • 18% spend more than they household income, 38% spend all their household income. ( in 2009 20% spent more than their household income)
  • 21% of households have medical debt vs 26% in 2012
  • 50% of households have no rainy-day fund , also a diminishing %
  • 26% of households have used non-bank borrowing vs 28% in 2012
  • 32% of households only pay the minimum payments on their credit cards vs 40$ in 2009
  • 9% are underwater in their home equity vs 14% in 2012

Literacy

Study participants were asked five questions covering aspects of economics and finance encountered in everyday life, such as compound interest, inflation, principles relating to risk and diversification, the relationship between bond prices and interest rates, and the impact that a shorter term can have on total interest payments over the life of a mortgage.

63% of individuals got 3 of fewer basic questions correct in 2015 vs 58% in 2009

Comparison

Most Americans do not compare offers or collect information from more than one company when shopping for credit cards. This practice suggests a gap in applying financial decision-making skills to real life situations.

58% of Americans do NOT compare credit card offers before choosing a credit card to use.

 Lendio Announces Support for SMART Box Initiative Focused on Enhancing Online Lending Disclosures, (Press Release), Rated: A

Lendio (www.lendio.com), a marketplace for small business loans, announced today that it will join industry leaders as an early engagement participant in supporting the model small business lending disclosure called the SMART (Straightforward Metrics Around Rate and Total cost) Box, developed by members of the Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA).

The SMART Box is a voluntary initiative to promote transparency through standardized pricing comparison tools and explanations, including both various total dollar cost and annual percentage rate (APR) metrics to further empower a small business to assess and compare financing options.

JPMorgan had a blowout quarter in fixed income, and it’s big news for Wall Street, (Business Insider), Rated: A

JPM had a particularly strong quarter was fixed income, currencies, and commodities, or FICC, trading, which produced revenues of $3.96 billion — up 385% from the same quarter last year. Analysts had forecast FICC revenues of $3.57 billion, according to Bloomberg estimates. Those are the highest quarterly FICC revenues for the firm since Q1 2015 ($4.1 billion). You’d have to go back to Q1 2013 to find significantly better results ($4.8 billion).

Many firms have been cutting FICC headcount, including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, which cut 25% of the division last year.

“We’re investing in it,” CEO Jamie Dimon said at the bank’s investor day in February. “We’re investing in it more on the technology side.”

Now the question is whether JPMorgan was the sole firm to smash expectations or whether we’ll see comparable results across the Street in the coming days.

Jefferies in June reported trading — and fixed income — revenues that were better than normal but not by much. Goldman Sachs has previously laid out a bull case for fixed income; we’ll have a window into its FICC business when that firm reports earnings on Tuesday.

OnDeck Announces Date Of Second Quarter 2016 Earnings Conference Call, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: B

.0.0.1.2.0.1.0.0.0.0.0.0.$SideTop-0-HeadComponentTitle-Proxy.$SideTop-0-HeadComponentTitle.0">OnDeck Announces Date Of Second Quarter 2016 Earnings Conference Call, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: B

OnDeck will report financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2016, on Monday, August 8, 2016, after the market close.

United Kingdom

How are the alternative finance industry and the .6 trillion wealth management market approaching each other?, (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

If you use an independent financial adviser or wealth manager, they’ve probably never mentioned P2P lending.

This might seem strange: there’s been a lot of talk of how the peer-to-peer industry is “moving mainstream”, and volumes reflect that. In 2015, the online alternative finance industry in the UK grew to £3.2bn – an 84 per cent increase from 2014 – and alternative finance lending accounted for around 14 per cent of new loans to small firms.

And at the same time, institutional money has flowed readily into the sector. In the last six months, according to AltFi Data, it accounted for 40 per cent of involvement in the UK market – from almost nothing prior to 2014. But most of this money comes from specialist funds, and institutional money is notoriously fickle.

Financial advisers, however, still seem reticent. “They have always been very interested, but what’s needed is conversations. When we get them in a room and speak to them – show them our processes and due diligence – they become more positive on the space. That can give them the confidence to promote P2P lending to consumers,” says James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle.

Most advisers will say that, while they’re not against P2P in principle – often far from it – they want to see the sector go through a cycle before seriously considering it. As wealth management veteran John Spiers says (see below), while Zopa was around during the crisis, other major players weren’t – and 2007 and 2009 were unusual anyway because the level of bankruptcies was so low, owing to interest rates being slashed so fast.

As Spiers also points out, plenty of IFAs have been burnt in the past. Now, they have to demonstrate that they’ve done a certain amount of due diligence on each product they’re recommending and, as has always been the case, they want a fee for those recommendations. As one industry analyst bluntly puts it: “if the IFA hasn’t got a product to sell, he’s not going to recommend P2P. It comes down to whether something has a metric next to it that he can understand, then he can sell it.”

For advisers “funds are the way forward,” says Meekings. They can buy stocks, shares, and funds and manage money on behalf of clients, and their existing tools mean they can buy a fund today. “It gives them diversification and global exposure – which is important, because diversifying across platforms [which can focus on just one area, like consumer credit], rather than assets, won’t necessarily do that,” he adds.

“The industry is working to create a scoring system for returns. This should be a function of the return and the shape, i.e. volatility, of that return. If advisers can study lending performance, based on meaningful and detailed data, they can begin to perform satisfactory due diligence,” says Rupert Taylor, co-founder of AltFi Data.

The Innovative Finance Isa is already giving retail investors the opportunity to hold P2P investments in the recognizable wrapper. While many investors wait for the largest platforms to get approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (currently, only three smaller platforms have been given the okay), it has enticed big players like Hargreaves Lansdown into the ring. And it’s worth noting that investors can, even without the dedicated vehicle, populate a stocks and shares Isa or a Sipp with P2P investments.

Moreover, alternative investments heavyweight Octopus Investments launched P2P product Octopus Choice in April, enabling customers to target higher interest rates than deposit accounts, but with less risk than stocks and shares.

Head of Octopus Choice Richard Wazz says that the reception from the hundreds of financial advisers introduced to the product has been “incredibly positive. Advisers are proving themselves to be not only comfortable but excited to recommend it to large numbers of their clients – seeing it as a new and welcome way of diversifying their portfolios.”

P2P body chief denies FCA delays damaged industry, (FT Adviser), Rated: A

By the time the new Isa had launched in April, just eight out of 86 peer-to-peer lending platforms had been granted the necessary permissions to offer the savings vehicle, according to the industry body. Kevin Caley, managing director of ThinCats, said he does not expect approval to happen before the end of August, adding he guessed it “may well take quite a bit longer”.

But speaking to FTAdviser, the P2P Finance Association’s chair Christine Farnish said the delays were not such a big deal because investors’ money can be put into the Isa at any point.

“It’s just a question of a small amount of time in the overall scheme of things,” she said, adding Isas are designed to be a long-term savings product.

The delays were partly a result of the FCA being made responsible for 30,000 consumer credit firms in 2014, and Ms. Farnish said the peer-to-peer sector got “put to the back of the queue”.

AngelsDen & Funding Circle’s Alum Verto Homes Launches £1M Funding Raise on Crowdcube, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs, Tom Carr and Richard Pearce, Verto Homes stated it designs, builds, and sells intelligent, sustainable homes that produce and store clean energy from the sun. The company noted that none of their homes burn fossil fuels for lighting or heat and each is featured automation technology and  is controlled by a smartphone app, called Vesta, which was launched on iTunes in 2015.  The homes are available starting at £190,000.

Verto Homes, a London-based builder that creates sustainable homes, launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise £1 million. Within just a few hours, the initiative successfully secured 41% of its targetted goal (£415,000) from 14 investors.

European Union

Leading German Crowdfunding Platform, P2P Lender Auxmoney Powers On, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s leading lending marketplace AuxMoney reports continued strong growth. Loan volume increased from €39.3 million in the first half of last year to €79.5 million in the first half of 2016 ‒ an increase of more than 100%.

Founded in 2007, by Raffael Johnen, Philip Kamp, and Philipp Kriependorf, Auxmoney is Germany’s largest crowdfunding platform and Continental Europe’s second largest P2P lender after French Younited Credit – with whom it is now competing neck and neck. According to research institute GfK, Auxmoney is also the most famous FinTech firm in Germany, which does not come as a surprise given its 1.5 million registered members.

In 2015, Auxmoney’s growth was fueled by a spectacular commitment by Dutch insurance company Aegon, as an Institutional Investor, to lend €150 million through the platform. As for its own capital needs, Auxmoney is backed by top venture-capital firms such as Seven Ventures, Index Ventures, Union Square, Foundation Capital and Partech.

Since its beginnings, Auxmoney has originated €268 million worth of loans, out of which nearly two-thirds were originated in the past 18 months alone. Both the number and the size of loans are increasing: the number of loans originated increased by 69% from 6,337 in the first half of 2015 to 10,688 loans in the first half of 2016; at the same time the average loan size increased from €6,196 to €7,439, a 20% increase.

China

264 Peer to Peer Lenders Shut Down in China During First Half of 2016, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

During the first six months of 2016, at least 264 peer to peer lending platforms were shut down in China. This is a direct reaction to the tightening grip of Chinese regulators. The report published in ECNS, states that even tougher oversight is in store for the P2P lending industry as authorities become more vigilant in uncovering fraud and shutting down platforms that do not qualify under Chinese rules.

China published draft rules in 2015 but like many other government initiatives it was not completely clear as to how enforcement would proceed. There have been multiple high-profile P2P platforms that have collapsed. The best known is Ezubao that was described as a Ponzi-scheme months before regulators showed up to shutter the doors. Ezubao apparently fleeced investors of over $7 billion – an incredible amount. Allegedly over 95% of the projects listed in Ezubao were faked.

As of June, there were an estimated 2,349 P2P platforms in operation in China. Chinese is the largest P2P market in the world.

New Zealand

Peer-to-peer lender Lending Crowd seeking capital to help it grow, (Interest), Rated: A

Lending Crowd is seeking up to $5 million from financial services sector investors to help the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender build scale and grow loan volumes. Co-founder Wayne Croad, who majority owns Lending Crowd’s major shareholder Finance Direct, told interest.co.nz the P2P lender has hired Greg Anderson of Northington Partners to raise up to $5 million dollars through a capital raise.

Funds raised will be used to “assist with growing loan volume by extending marketing and product development initiatives.”

Lending Crowd became New Zealand’s fourth licensed P2P lender last year, receiving its license from the Financial Markets Authority. At the time Croad said Lending Crowd would facilitate secured loans of between $2,000 and $200,000 through its website for small and medium sized businesses, vehicles and personal loans for three and five-year terms.

To date, Croad said Lending Crowd has received $22 million worth of loan applications and written $2.5 million worth of loans with 60% of this total comprising personal and motor vehicle loans, and 40% business loans. He said registered non-bank deposit taker Finance Direct has participated in $900,000 of the loans on the Lending Crowd platform on equal terms with retail investors. There are 220 registered retail investors, and 165 active investors. In terms of loan security, Croad said 30% of loans are secured by cars plus a property, 50% are secured by vehicles, and 20% are secured by property only.

“The average weighted return for investors to date has been 12.50% after fees,” Croad said.

Lending Crowd has just released its first financial statements. They show fee and commission income of $18,601 up to March 31, and operating expenses of $39,748, leaving a loss of $17,450.

Author:

George Popescu