Thursday July 18 2019, Weekly News Digest

Digital-only banks U.S.

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

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Digital-only banks U.S.

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United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mortgage Rate Distribution

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

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

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

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

Source: PeerIQ, WSJ

Digital Banks – The Future of FinTech Lending?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Monzo the ‘Bank of the Future’?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this podcast you will learn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the featured keynote speakers this year will be:

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asia

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

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

Strong contenders for the Singapore’s digital bank licenses

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

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

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

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

Canada

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

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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