Tuesday November 28 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate and value of loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to sue Santander. Welendus surpasses 150K GBP fundraising target. Klarna’s profits increase. The CFPB leadership fight migrates to email. Chinese regulator looks at online lender custodian banks. ETHLend, Brickblock partner on blockchain lending. Today’s main analysis: Everything you need to know about the P2P lending market in New Zealand. Today’s […]

interest rate and value of loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

CFPB Set To Sue Santander Over Auto Protection Product (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)  is gearing up to sue Spain-based Santander Bank, claiming the bank has overcharged its car loan customers.

Citing sources familiar with the CFPB’s plans, Reuters reported that the CFPB suit could happen as soon as Monday (Nov. 27). The lawsuit is focused on Santander’s guaranteed auto protection financial product that protects car buyers from a portion of the cost if there is a serious crash.

Auto lending is big business for Santander, representing $38.5 billion of the bank holding company’s $137 billion in assets.

Cards, Bank Loans And AltFin Easing SMBs’ Search For Financing (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

New reports from Biz2Credit, Reliant Funding and Mercator take a look at how small businesses are accessing external financing towards the end of the year as the holiday rush descends.

25 percent of SMB loan applications at large banks were approved in October, according to the latest research from Biz2Credit. That means large banks (with $10 billion-plus in assets) have boosted their SMB loan approval rates to a new post-recession high, researchers said.

56.8 percent of SMB loan applications were approved by alternative lenders, according to Biz2Credit.

12 percent of SMB owners told Reliant Funding they are aware of alternative lending and have used it. Nearly half said they are at least familiar with alternative lending. 39 percent of SMB owners told Reliant that they have never even heard of alternative lending.

42 percent of SMBs that use alternative finance say they use it to buy inventory, while more than one-fifth said they use it to replace or buy new equipment. One-fifth also said they use it for marketing initiatives, Reliant Funding found.

Workers Get Faster Access to Wages With These New Apps (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Uber Technologies Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Bloomin’ Brands Inc.’sOutback Steakhouse are among a growing group of employers giving workers near-instant access to their wages through payday apps.

New tools that allow people to spend the money they just earned have provided some workers an alternative to short-term, high-interest loans, say the technology startups offering the services. The payment plan also can boost employee attendance and tenure, managers say.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Daily payments could help some workers smooth out the financial volatility of fluctuating work schedules and income, economists say.

Mulvaney Shows Up For Work At Consumer Watchdog Group, As Leadership Feud Deepens (NPR), Rated: A

President Trump’s pick to lead the consumer watchdog, Mick Mulvaney, arrived at the office early Monday morning with a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts in hand. Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, is the acting director of the group until Trump can get a permanent leader through the Senate confirmation process — at least, according to the Trump administration.

But the former head of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, appointed Leandra English to lead the group following his departure. English has since filed a complaint in U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to block the Trump administration’s rival appointment.

On Monday morning, English was communicating with CFPB staff through an all-staff email — a Thanksgiving message expressing gratitude and saying it was an “honor” to work with her colleagues.

Mulvaney, meanwhile, sent a competing all-staff, advising staff to “please disregard” messages from English in her “presumed capacity as Acting Director.”

Picking the best gift card this holiday season (Consumer Affairs), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU has ranked the best gift cards, pointing out the attributes that make one gift card a better choice than another.

According to LendEDU, roughly $1 billion in gift cards sold last year were not redeemed.

“The most important question to consider when buying a gift card is this: Is it versatile?” he told ConsumerAffairs.

Another important consideration, Brown says, is a gift card’s resale value. The recipient might rather sell the card for cash on one of the many gift card exchanges. The most popular gift cards often sell for 80 to 90 cents on the dollar, while less popular cards can go for half their face value or less.

A LendEDU poll of consumers found that 78.7 percent of consumers plan on giving at least one gift card this holiday season and 75.6 percent of consumers would rather receive a gift card than an actual gift.

Immigrant lending clubs provide capital, at a cost (Marketplace.org), Rated: A

When Chinese immigrants in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park have problems — legal, financial, marital — they come to see John Chan.

Lately, they’ve been coming to John Chan about money — specifically the collapse of informal lending clubs known as “biao hui.”

Biao hui are essentially informal banks made up of immigrants lending money to each other. A group — in China, this would traditionally be a group of close friends or relatives —gets together and throws money in the pot. One person acts as the organizer or banker and the money is then lent out on a rotating basis, with varying interest rates depending on how much money is needed, and when a person needs it.

But in New York City this year, two  biao hui worth a combined $22 million collapsed.

MERTON ON FINTECH, RETIREMENT, MORE (Top 1000 Funds), Rated: B

“Fintech will do a lot of good things, and help us, but it won’t do many of the things people are talking about, or it’s not going to do them well.”

United Kingdom

Short Term P2P Lender Welendus Surpasses £150,000 Funding Target Through Latest Seedrs Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a week after launching its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, short-term peer-to-peer lending platform Welendus has successfully secured its initial 150,000 funding target from more than 100 investors. 

One in five save less because they can’t get advice (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

More than one in five are saving or investing less because they cannot access advice on how to handle their money, research for the Nottingham Building Society has suggested.

The study found 21 per cent of adults believe they are not saving as much as they could and would be able to put away an extra £134 a month on average if they could get financial advice – the equivalent of more than £1,600 or three weeks’ average earnings before tax.

The research showed younger savers and investors were affected most by this, with nearly one in three (30 per cent) of under-35s believing they were not saving enough because of a lack of advice compared with just 12 per cent of over-55s.

P2P Lender Lendable Signs £300 Million Loan Deal With Castle Trust (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Lendable has entered into £300 million loan deal with investment and mortgage firm Castle Trust.

According to AltFi, the agreement with Lendable is Castle Trust’s second major transaction in the alternative finance industry this year.

City veterans aim for ‘Google of finance’ with new digital bank (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Three senior City bankers are masterminding the launch of a new digital bank focused on shaking up the UK savings market.

The trio is led by Huy Nguyen Trieu, a fintech entrepreneur who led a capital markets team at US bank Citi in London until quitting last summer. He is working on the project with his former colleague Lionel Durix, who remains in a senior Citi role, and Paul Hanks, the former chief technology officer of UK digital bank Atom.

They plan to launch a mobile savings app that uses artificial intelligence to give savers tailored advice and offers “risk-free” products such as Isas and high interest rate savings accounts to help them reach their financial goals.

Open Banking Will Unlock the Door for Digital-Only Banks (AltFi), Rated: A

Yet in parallel to this, there is a growing cohort of digital-only banks that are bucking the trend – the most famous of which include MonzoAtom Bank and Starling Bank. Not only do they have different client service delivery models, they have cultivated a customer base that is highly supportive and engaged.

But while Monzo has acquired over 400,000 customers for its pre-paid card since 2015, as Barclays has seen over 142,000 customers switch from its current account over a similar period – digital-only banks still remain relatively unknown.

Yet Open Banking – set to launch on January 13th – stands to change this.

Addressing the housing shortage is not someone else’s problem (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Last September we launched our first LendInvest Property Development Academy. A year on, it’s fair to say that the response has been overwhelming.

For too long, the housebuilding crisis has been someone else’s problem. It’s been up to the big builders to get on with, or whichever ambitious politician has been handed the housing brief this week. And let’s be honest, that strategy has been an abject failure, lacking in direction and impetus.

No, if we are going to tackle the shortage of homes across the UK, we need to recognise that it is something we can all play a part in. So if the big builders on their own are unable to build the homes the nation needs, we must do more to cultivate a generation of smaller builders, taking on more modest but no less meaningful projects. A wider source of housing developers will inevitably mean more homes are built.

London’s Startups Stress Out Over Brexit—and Ping Pong (Bloomberg), Rated: A

For all of the cheer and hip-hop thumping throughout the hall, there was an unmistakable undercurrent of anxiety this year as London’s tech community reckoned with the coming of Brexit.

“It isn’t just that we’re at risk of losing our engineering talent,” Meekings said, half-joking. “We might lose our ping-pong stars as well.”

More than 30 percent of Funding Circle’s London employees are non-British EU nationals. Ever since the company was founded in 2010, many have gravitated to the ping-pong table that co-founder Samir Desai set up in its lobby, next to a cabinet that has steadily filled up with trophies. Funding Circle is one of four companies Bloomberg is following through the Brexit process.

The deals showed that even as Brexit dents the U.K. economy, the fledgling online-lending industry continues to grow. In the third quarter, Funding Circle arranged 114 million pounds in net lending to its borrowers. That surpassed comparable loans by U.K. banks, on a combined basis, for the first time.

China

Regulator Assessing Custodian Banks for Online Lenders (Caixin), Rated: AAA

A national inspection team, led by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has recently asked local authorities that supervise online lending to assess commercial banks appointed by P2P platforms to provide custodian services for investors’ funds, multiple bank employees told Caixin.

Credit information platform will lift safeguards (China Daily), Rated: A

The National Internet Finance Association of China recently passed a resolution to jointly launch a personal credit information platform with eight third-party credit service agencies.

The NIFA will hold a 36 percent stake in the forthcoming platform, which is expected to have registered capital of 1 billion yuan ($152 million), and it will invest no more than 360 million yuan in the platform within five years.

The platform will mainly serve online personal lending institutions, in addition to other market players including traditional commercial banks, regulators and third-party credit service agencies.

Chinese Online Lender’s IPO On Shaky Ground (PYMNTS), Rated: A

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., operator of China’s leading online lender Fenqile, was slated to meet with advisers over the weekend to decide if it will go ahead with a proposed initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S.

According to Bloomberg reports, the company is expected to decide soon if it should launch a roadshow for its IPO or wait until a later time to go public.

European Union

Swedish payment services firm Klarna posts profit rise (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Swedish online payment services firm Klarna, one of Europe’s highest-valued tech startups, on Monday reported sharply higher revenues and earnings for the first nine months of 2017.

Klarna said in a statement its sales rose 24 percent year-on-year to 3.16 billion Swedish crowns ($382 million) in January through September while net earnings climbed 75 percent to 349 million.

New EU rules increases competition and security between banks and fintech (Independent), Rated: A

The European Commission approved rules on Monday to increase competition and toughen up security in how people pay for goods and services across the European Union, pitting banks against financial technology firms.

The rules flesh out an update to the bloc’s payment services law and are among the most disputed in recent financial regulation, sparking intense lobbying as banks and fintech firms clashed over access to customer data.

The revised law comes into force on 13 January, though some of the security elements approved on Monday won’t be binding until September 2019 to give banks and fintech firms time to adjust.

Irish P2P Flender Close to Raising Over €2 Million Through Latest Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Irish peer-to-peer lender Flender has reported attracted close to more than €2 million through its latest funding round. This news comes less than a year after the lending platform secured £501,700 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.

International

ETHLend and Brickblock team up for lending on the blockchain (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ETHLend and Brickblock are announcing a strategic partnership to explore the possibilities of lending with Blockchain technology.

A primary focus will be on the tokenization of assets to simplify lending and bring secure real-world assets into the lending procedure as collateral.

The application is ideal for token holders who are in need for liquidity and those who want to participate in a free lending market. Instead of selling and closing a token position, a borrower can easily pledge digital tokens to receive Ether. Moreover, ETHLend is introducing token lending, which enables profiting from down market by enabling short selling market.

Tokenizing real-world assets such as real estate achieves three disruptive objectives:

  1. A strong collateral that can be expected to keep its value for a short-medium time period.
  2. An opportunity for people to collateralise their property with Brickblock, and then using it to secure their loan.
  3. New investment opportunities for downside market by enabling short selling for tokenized real assets.
Australia/New Zealand

Everything you need to know about the P2P lending market (Interest), Rated: AAA

Nearly nine in every 100 loans written through New Zealand’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are in arrears, according to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Borrowers responsible for 1,469 loans, worth more than $20 million, are overdue on their loan repayments.

While the bulk of lenders are investing smaller amounts of money (IE under $5,000), 48 have lent an average of $1.54 million each. Totalling $73.84 million, this is equivalent to a quarter of the $289.10 million of loans outstanding (loans that were still within their specified term at the end of the reporting period).

Harmoney – the first P2P lender to launch in New Zealand in 2014 – is also the largest, with 83% of outstanding loans in the market written through its platform.

The FMA’s data also shows there are 207,230 borrowers registered with P2P platforms, 843 of which are repeat borrowers, who have repaid their loans and taken out new ones.

Source: Interest
Source: Interest

FMA publishes benchmark P2P lending, crowdfunding figures (Scoop), Rated: A

The figures show individuals took out $121 million of new loans in the year ended June 30 through P2P platforms and businesses borrowed $31.5 million with total loans outstanding at $259.6 million and $29.6 million respectively as at June 30. Meanwhile, crowdfunding platforms raised $74.2 million from retail and wholesale investors, with 34 successful offers out of 50 in the year.

The data show peer-to-peer lending still pales in significance to the established lending channels, with $10.89 billion personal consumer loans with banks as at Sept. 30 and a further $6.88 billion with non-bank lenders. Business loans with banks totalled $101.61 billion as at Sept. 30 and$4.59 billion with non-banks. Peer-to-peer lenders had 16,977 outstanding personal loans and 92 business loans as at June 30. In terms of asset quality, 1,469 P2P loans worth $20.4 million were in arrears, or 8.61 percent of total loans outstanding, while 833 loans worth $8.5 million were written off.

Fintech firm to undertake study into financial advice (SMSFAdviser), Rated: A

Fintech firm Valuiza will conduct an Australia-wide study of the state of financial planning by gathering feedback from existing clients of practices to measure their experience and intentions. It is currently inviting advice practices to participate in the study.

The data for the report will be collected during January and February next year with practices able to review the results in real time, he said. The results for individual practices will be confidential.

 (The Australian), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platforms RateSetter and Bigstone both called for better disclosure of rates and fees, which are currently expressed in a variety of different ways by industry players. RateSetter chief executive Daniel Foggo said borrowers should be told the cost of the loan expressed as an annual …
India

Are You a Credit Risk? Indian Banks Dig Deep in Your Phone to Find Out (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Indian banks have started mining data on customers’ smartphones for fast loan approval, testing out cutting-edge but controversial technology in what is potentially a huge market for such products.

Long hampered from lending to the hundreds of millions of Indians without credit histories, banks are hoping to slash risk-assessment costs and trigger a new wave of consumer lending with apps that look at everything from Facebook connections to online shopping habits to rate potential borrowers.

India’s most sophisticated banks are working with local and international fintech startups to develop, test and launch a version of a technology used by microlenders in Africa, China and elsewhere.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Commercial banks had around $1.09 trillion of loans outstanding in September, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Of that, about $270 billion were personal loans, a portion whose growth is outpacing the overall loan market.

But about 40% of HDFC’s 8 million and 12 million loan applications a month are from people without credit histories. Most Indians have never had a credit card or taken a home loan.

What does India’s fintech leader of the year have on her mind? (YourStory), Rated: A

Before she co-started one of India’s few digital EMI startups, Lizzie served as the India head for Wonga, the British payday loan company.  She then joined Development Bank of Singapore to help launch ‘digibank’, the new mobile-only virtual bank of India. Very recently, the India FinTech Awards 2017 named her Woman Leader in the Fintech category.

“I think fintech, especially in India, is one of the most exciting and biggest opportunities in the world. The opportunity here is not just to build huge valuable businesses, but also make a real impact on people’s lives and the economy. I think fintech is taking off in such a big way because the timing is right. It’s such a HUGE problem to solve, and we finally have all the pieces of the puzzle in place – whether it is KYC, mobile adoption or digital payments,” she added.

“I am biased of course, but I expect to see a lot more focus on payments coupled with credit in the form of ‘Paylater’ solutions, EMI solutions and all things related to transactional credit. This is such a great solution for this market where credit cards don’t make sense but consumers are keen to shop,” Lizzie said.

Asia

Japan insurer Sompo sets up fintech base in Tel Aviv (Reuters), Rated: A

Property-and-casualty insurer Sompo Holdings Inc (8630.T) has set up a fintech hub in Israel, becoming the first Japanese insurer to do so in a country where it hopes to tap local expertise in digital and cyber-security technologies.

Africa

Fintech firm Ovamba moves into African commodities exports (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Ovamba, a fintech firm that uses blockchain and other new technologies to connect investors with African SMEs, has facilitated a €30mn deal for the purchase and export of cocoa for Cameroonian commodity marketing company Producam.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Australia Peer to Peer Market

Australia alternative finance

The word “digital disruption” holds true meaning when we look at the online alternative lending sector. Marketplace lending is an amazing example of the evolution and transformation of the incumbent lending sector. Though alternative lending has been around for a decade, Australia has taken a while to embrace this revolution. Even though it is at […]

Australia alternative finance

The word “digital disruption” holds true meaning when we look at the online alternative lending sector. Marketplace lending is an amazing example of the evolution and transformation of the incumbent lending sector. Though alternative lending has been around for a decade, Australia has taken a while to embrace this revolution. Even though it is at a nascent stage in the land down under, with the recent entry of American players and big-ticket VC investments, it is a matter of time before it turns into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Australia is now ranked as the second largest online alternative finance market in the Asia-Pacific region, behind only China. According to the first comprehensive study conducted in the Asia Pacific in 2015, the Australian online alternative lending market increased by 320% with a market value of nearly USD$350 million. From 2015 to 2016, the market size grew 53.6% and is now at USD$609.6 million. The chart below represents the growth the market saw between 2013 and 2015. Lack of funding options for SMEs, missing flexibility in personal loan products, and a highly regulated banking sector are some of the reasons why Australia has emerged as one of the most lucrative untapped lending markets.

Regulatory Framework: P2P lending

It has been mandated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission that all P2P lending companies operating in Australia need to hold an Australian Financial Service License (AFSL) and Australian Credit License (ACL) to be able to engage and carry on financial services legally. In addition, P2P online platforms must operate as managed investment schemes, and that scheme needs to be registered if the investment is offered to retail customers.

Major players in P2P Lending Market

SocietyOne

SocietyOne was launched in 2012, by Matt Symons and Greg Symons. It has raised $55.24 million in various funding rounds from eight investors (Australian Capital Equity, Beyond Bank, Consolidated Press Holdings, Global Founders Capital, Justin Reizes, News Corp Australia, Reinventure Group, Seven West Media). Through its platform, SocietyOne enables savvy investors to diversify their investments based on their varying individual investment goals and degree of risk. Qualified borrowers can have access to unsecured loans ranging from $5000 to $35000, to be repaid over a loan term of 2, 3 or 5 years.

Since its launch, it has evolved rapidly and has a firm foothold in the consumer finance industry, and today the platform is among the largest provider of personal loans. Its philosophy to connect borrowers and investors through its Clearmatch technology (where a soft online credit check that does not affect the credit score is made to evaluate whether the borrower is eligible for the loan or not) platform is making a real difference in offering better deals than traditional banks. In 2015, it surpassed $50 million in total funded loans. As the chart below shows between January, 2016 and June, 2017 loan origination has increased by a staggering 345%.

Alongside such an impressive growth, it has became a popular choice among the investors as it offers a steady return of 9% and has a very low default rate of about 1.8% across the whole loan portfolio.

Marketlend

Marketlend was founded in 2014 by Leo Tyndall, a former executive at UniCredit, where he was handling securitization and capital market operations. Tyndall started the company with his life savings and in June, 2016 it raised USD $1 million from Jonathan Barlow and Mateusz Szeszkowski.

It is the first platform in Australia that facilitates combination of prompt lending with insurance and margin protection. The P2P structure of Marketlend comprises of three key strengths: providing an innovative solution for financing against unpaid invoices, improving insurance cover against risk and loss protection and ensuring securitization of loans to meet the needs of investors especially the institutional investors. It offers rate of returns upto 10.40% for investors.

Safety First

Marketlend gives top most priority to the security of its borrowers and investors. It accepts losses of at least 1% of the loan through its reserve fund and has even partnered with an insurance company to provide insurance cover under certain circumstances. Since its inception in 2014, it has funded $24 million of loans with zero default.

Bigstone

As per the study conducted by East & Partners on behalf of Western Union Business Services, it was observed that around 83% of the small and medium sized businesses are struggling to have access to credit. To exploit this opportunity, Boyd Pederson, a former managing director at Boston Consulting Group founded Bigstone in 2016. In August 2016, Bigstone raised USD $3 million from four investors (Cicada Innovations, CVC Capital Partners, Narith Phadungchai, and Paniti Junhasavasdikul). Low APR (8%-24%) makes the platform an attractive proposition in the highly competitive alternative lending market.

Bigstone provides loans ranging from $10,000-$250,000 to SME businesses with a maximum loan term of two years. The whole loan approval process is simple, easy and quick and loan is approved or rejected in minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, it enables the investors to spread risk by investing in diversified small loans offered to borrowers in real time.

DirectMoney

Online lending platform DirectMoney is Australia’s first P2P Company to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). It was launched in 2006 by Guy Baldwin and David Doust and at the time was considered a path breaker since it offered varied rates of interest to the borrowers depending upon their credit ratings whereas others provided a single rate of interest to all the borrowers. It raised an undisclosed amount as seed capital from Trevor Folsom, the co-founder of Investible.

DirectMoney connects the borrowers and investors through its pioneer platform and enables the investors to invest in secured and unsecured personal loans. Investors invest by buying the units in the DirectMoney Personal Loan Income Fund and after making deductions for loan losses and management fees, the interest charged from borrowers is the return paid to the investors.

Borrowers can apply for loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 to be repaid over 3 to 5 year with varied rates of interest applicable depending upon the credit worthiness of the borrower.

MoneyPlace

MoneyPlace is another innovative marketplace lender that develops a connection between creditworthy borrowers who are seeking to access personal loans with wholesale investor clients. This platform was launched in 2014 by Stuart Stoyan and has its headquarter at Melbourne, Australia. Investment in MoneyPlace is open only to wholesale and institutional investors who fund unsecured personal loans. Auswide Bank agreed to invest AUD $60 million over a stretch of five years and took a 20 percent equity stake in the start-up and in the beginning of this year Auswide increased its stake to 51 percent with the option of increasing it to 75%.

Risk-Based Pricing

Depending on the risk profile of the loans, investors can earn a rate of return varying from 7.7% to 15%. It offers four different investment options based on varying risk profiles namely; conservative, balanced, high yield or customized portfolio.

With a motive to minimize the risk factor involved in the loans, the loans are divided into fractions. The investors can buy the fractions of different loans and thereby spread their risk over a diversified portfolio of loans.

Conclusion

According to the research by Morgan Stanley, value of loans made by online lending platforms in Australia is expected to reach $22 billion in next five years. P2P lending to consumers is expected to reach $10.4 billion whereas P2P lending to small businesses is expected to reach $11.4 billion during the same period. These numbers clearly represents the opportunity for P2P lenders to establish a meaningful presence in the Australian market. Established fintech lenders like RateSetter (UK), OnDeck (US) are expanding operations in in Australia. This goes to show the importance of the Australian market and the potential it represents.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir and Allen Taylor

Allen Taylor

August 11th 2016, Daily News Digest

August 11th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s most interesting article is Prosper’s Transparency Report. Other interesting news : lending milestones broken by companies in Europe. Peer Street receives FCA approval. And a new Australian SME lenders raises $3mil. We practically have daily fund raising news recently. Perhaps the fintech lender investment market has also thawed. United States A useful […]

August 11th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Today’s most interesting article is Prosper’s Transparency Report. Other interesting news : lending milestones broken by companies in Europe. Peer Street receives FCA approval. And a new Australian SME lenders raises $3mil. We practically have daily fund raising news recently. Perhaps the fintech lender investment market has also thawed.

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

 

United States

Why Did Funds Appear To Have Poor Q1/Q2 Returns?, (MonJa), Rated: AAA

Most likely, it’s due to Fair Market Value adjustments.
While FMV methodologies differ, there are typically two reasons a fund would mark down the loans, independent of any actual losses:

1. Increasing primary origination interest rates: Similar to bonds, a change in discount rates will impact loan pricing. Lending Club has been increasing rates to bring investors onto the platform, making the older loans held by LCA (and everyone else) less attractive; hence the price adjustment to equalize returns.

2. Increase in forward expected losses: Lending Club has been revising the expected losses upwards, which LCA would most likely need to incorporate. Incorporating the newer loss curves will push down the NPV of the cashflow.

We estimate the spread duration of LCA’s blended portfolio is probably somewhere between 1.3 – 1.5, which means even a 50 bps in adjustments of #1 and #2 combined would mean a 75 bps return hit. If you take the adjustment all in one month, that can wipe out that month’s return entirely.

What Can Investors Expect Going Forward? Prosper Shows Case For Optimism

Moving past Q1 performance, certain funds have demonstrated performance improvement through Q2. In Prosper Platform’s June 2016 Performance Update, they highlighted an expected return of June 2016 production being just above the 7.4% on average.

Source: Prosper profitability report

For more in depth portfolio analysis, here’s the full report. In addition to the return improvements, the vintages have seen in uptick in June 2016.

Source: Prosper profitability report

Specifically, the Estimated IRR has rose to 7.42% in June, exceeding the Q2 performance 6.82% mark. Prosper’s June performance gives positive signs to investors of  future fund performance.

Conclusion:

To an outsider, marketplace lending funds may look terrible. While investors may be hesitant about marketplace lending, it’s imperative to drill down deeper in performance analysis to understand what underlies the caution. In this situation, examining fair market value explains fund performance inconsistencies. What other portfolio metrics can provide similar insights that give investors a more well-rounded perspective? It’s important investors know the full story, especially as they provide regular updates to their clients.

Comment: Very interesting comment from Jason Jones ( LendIt Founder) to this article :

“Jason Jones
I would be interested in seeing the relative weighting of three elements that are the inputs in monthly returns: 1) the monthly adjustment due to changes in interest rates, 2) the monthly adjustment allocated to forward expected losses, and 3) the “core” return that you get when you back out the previous two adjustments.

It is possible to run a simulated monthly return stream using LC’s publicly available data to show the trends in these three inputs?”

Prosper July 2016 Profitability Report, (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Prosper Portfolio Highlights:

• Estimated return on July 2016 production continues to be slightly over 7.4% on average. iii

• The origination data continues the trend towards a more conservative portfolio with a greater coupon (table on right.)

• Early delinquency for 2016Q2 vintages are below 2015Q4 and 2016Q1 levels. Prosper believes the lower delinquency in this vintage is an early, but positive, result of policy conservatism implemented throughout 2016Q1 and 2016Q2.

• All delinquency and loss patterns since 2013 remain well below the loss and delinquency levels experienced in 2012. The lower level of risk is attributed to changes made to Prosper’s credit risk program at the end of 2012. Today, early delinquency continues to be a crucial input as future policy and pricing changes for the portfolio are assessed.

• Cumulative gross charge-offs remain above 2013 trend, which we believe are a result of environmental changes observed in the broad consumer credit market at the end of 2015.

• Pre-payment patterns remain relatively stable with vintages from 2015 and 2016 tracking the early pre-payment patterns of the 2013 vintage more closely than that of the 2014 vintage.

Prosper Says Policy Changes Have Driven Lower Loan Delinquencies, ( Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Back in May, Prosper started a monthly update on performance of loans on their marketplace lending platform. The added transparency is welcomed insight – especially for smaller investors.

Today, Brad Pennington, CRO of Prosper, published the July 2016 performance report. He stated that expected returns in the first and second quarter of 2016 production are just above 7.4% on average. Their numbers also show that early delinquency for 2016 Q2 vintages are below 2015 Q4 and 2016 Q1 levels. Prosper states that policy changes that were first implemented in the third quarter of 2015 are responsible for the lower delinquency for 2016 Q2 vintages.

Other items highlighted by

  • The origination data continues the trend towards a more conservative portfolio with a greater coupon.
  • Cumulative gross charge-offs remain above 2013 trend as a result of environmental changes in the consumer credit market at the end of 2015.
  • Pre-payment patterns remain relatively stable with vintages from 2015 and 2016 tracking the early pre-payment patterns of the 2013 vintage more closely than that of the 2014 vintage.

Lending Club: After Q2, Still Not For The Faint Of Heart, ( Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Comment: article commenting on Lending Club Q2 results.

The losses are rolling in. Q2 operating income was -$85.3 million. [Comment: That is roughly about 10% of cash and equivalents available at the beginning of the period. No surprised.]

Originations declined 29% quarter over quarter, leading to lower transaction revenue. [Comment: I think the interesting story is the comparison with Q2 2015 !]

Cost cutting initiatives are working. [Comment: It is hard to control revenue, it is easier to control expenses. ]

There is no clear roadmap regarding the revival of institutional capital. [Comment: I disagree, Scott Sanborn clearly said that 75% of instit capital is again active on the platform.]

There seems to be no major problem with managed accounts, which have been quite resilient amid the funding downturn. [Comment: This is very interesting. I did not expect it  / realize it ! ]

Instant Analysis: LendingClub CFO Follows CEO Out the Door, (Motley Fool), Rated: A

The company announced that Carrie Dolan resigned from the post of CFO. The reason given was that she wanted to “pursue a new opportunity.” LendingClub did not elaborate.

Does it matter? Dolan’s departure, so close to Laplanche’s exit, doesn’t exactly build confidence in LendingClub’s business. This is compounded by the company’s Q2 results, which unhelpfully were released the same day the CFO transition was announced. [Comment: I am not sure about the timing neither. ]

Over the past week, OnDeck Capital’s share price has improved by 12%.

Reimagining Community Reinvestment Act in the Marketplace Lending Era, ( American Banker), Rated: A

Since 1977, the community responsibilities of banks have been codified in the Community Reinvestment Act, which sought to eliminate “redlining” through requirements for banks’ lending, investment and service activities in their own neighborhoods.

The CRA’s primary unit of analysis is a bank’s geographic “assessment area,” where branches, ATMs and offices are located. The objective of the law, and regulations that implement it, is to ensure banks are focused on the needs of low- and moderate-income communities as well as underserved rural areas.

But in a hyperdigital age, where technology has made the world smaller and financial services offerings are no longer correlated with geographic locations, the question is how the “good neighbor” policy of CRA can continue.

The Treasury Department provided some insight in early May in a much-anticipated white paper. The paper suggested that marketplace lenders could partner with community development financial institutions (CDFIs), which Treasury called “high-touch lenders.”

This mild recommendation was the closest the report came to ensuring or to mandating that new non-territorial lenders make good neighbors in all the areas they serve.

Small-business optimism remains flat: report, (The Hill) ,Rated: A

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said Tuesday that its latest index of small-business optimism ticked up 0.7 of a point in June to 94.5 over the January reading.

The NFIB said that the latest survey reflects a lack of enthusiasm by small businesses for making capital outlays, increasing inventories or expanding.

The index is still below the 42-year average of 98.

Four of the index’s 10 components posted a gain, three declined and three were unchanged.

More than half (56 percent) reported hiring or trying to hire, which was unchanged from earlier this year, but 48 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

Overall, 29 percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 2 points, the highest reading in this expansion.

LEND360 Announces Line-Up of Keynote Speakers, ( EIN News), Rated: A

The 2016 LEND360 keynote speakers are:

• Ron Suber, President, Prosper
• James Hobson, Chief Operating Officer, OnDeck
• Charlie Cook, Editor and Publisher, Cook Political Report
• William Phelan, President and Co-founder, PayNet

LendingHome Hires Chief Risk Officer to Form Seasoned Mortgage Risk Team, Offers Better Investor Protection, (Press Release), Rated: A

Originates $750 Million in Mortgage Loans; Over 10% Now Funded by Peer-to-Peer Investors.

Money360 Exceeds $ 100 Million Mark in Closed Commercial Real Estate Loans, ( Marketwired), Rated: A

Money360, a commercial real estate marketplace lending platform, announced today that it has surpassed the $100 million mark in closed commercial real estate loans with the completion of $15.25 million in recently closed loans that reflect the escalating growth of the marketplace lender’s portfolio.

Much of the company’s recent growth, according to Money360 founder and CEO Evan Gentry, stems from a contraction of the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market. Money360 has seen more than a 100 percent increase in applications from borrowers turned down by bank and CMBS institutions as a result of increased regulations.

Money360’s recent transactions, totaling $15.25 million, include a bridge loan for the acquisition of a multifamily property in Tucson, Arizona; a bridge loan for the renovation of a full-service boutique hotel in Aurora, Ohio; cash-out permanent financing for a single-tenant retail building in Dayton, Ohio; and a bridge loan for the refinance of an anchored shopping center containing 206,257 square feet of rentable area in Jacksonville, Illinois.

United Kingdom

Peer Funding, a P2P lending platform, obtains license from FCA, (SMN Weekly), Rated: A

Peer Funding Limited, a recently established UK peer-to-peer business lending platform, announced it has obtained full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and would start its activities in the autumn of 2016.

Currently Peer Funding is offering early bird registration on its website. The pre-launch offer applies to the first 150 qualifying registrants on a first come first served basis.

LendInvest: What landlords can learn from Brexit vote, ( Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The top 20 list of region with highest real estate capital gains is dominated by districts that voted to remain in the EU, specifically locations in Greater London: places such as the City of London, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Lambeth.

Just two of the top 20 districts for capital gains voted in favour of Brexit – Barking & Dagenham and Spelthorne in Surrey. Looking at the top 50, just 18 of these districts voted for Brexit.

European Union

 More than EUR 50 million in loans financed through peer-to-peer lending marketplace Mintos, (Press Release), Rated: A

Only a year and a half into beginning operations, peer-to-peer lending marketplace Mintos has seen investors funding already more than EUR 50 million in loans to both private individuals, as well as small and medium sized businesses. The Mintos marketplace hosts loans from 14 non-bank lenders, which have joined the marketplace from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

According to funded loan volume, to date, the most money has flowed into Latvia’s economy – 33%, Lithuania’s – 31% and Estonia’s – 23%.

This July, the investors financed EUR 7 million in loans through Mintos.

Investors have already received more than EUR 1 million in interest over the past year and a half. More than 10,000 investors finance loans on the Mintos marketplace. The average invested amount of each investor on the platform is approximately EUR 4,000.

The Mintos marketplace is used by investors from 49 countries across the globe, including Japan, Australia, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, and others; however, the most active investors are from Germany, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

EstateGuru reaches €10 million in loan volume, (Press Release), Rated: A

EstateGuru is an online peer-to-peer debt funding platform. In two years of operating EstateGuru has funded over 60 Estonian property projects with the aid of Estonian and foreign investors.

Despite low business turnover during the summer months, projects through the EstateGuru platform obtain fast financing. The existing record is €31,000 in 31 minutes! Average loan sizes through the platform are €162,227, with the LTV being 59.32% and historical average returns of 11.77%. To date €3.1 million from the loans provided has already been repaid and investors have received a total of €376,383 in interest. None of the loans have defaulted and all repayments are on schedule.

EstateGuru is an online peer-to-peer debt funding platform enabling physical and legal persons to invest in loans secured against properties, whilst obtaining capital direct from investors without the involvement of banks. EstateGuru’s mission is to become the leading cross border property secured debt funding platform with the aid of over 4300 investors. EstateGuru’s investors are from 27 countries with the majority being Estonian.

Australia

Small business lending marketplace secures seed funding, ( Inside Small Business) , Rated: A

Fintech small business lending marketplace Bigstone said it has completed a $3 million seed funding round. Proceeds from the capital raise will be used to fuel expansion, grow the marketing team, extend the reach of Bigstone’s channel partner network and further build out Bigstone’s small business loan market platform.

“The leadership team of Bigstone is what first excited us about this opportunity.”

 

 

Author:

George Popescu

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s news pour some cold water on P2P SME lending : SME securitizations and SME yield performance seem to be less than expected. See 1st article in US section and 1st article in UK section. Finova raised $52.5 mil , Mosaic $220 mil. And today’s the day : Lending Club and OnDeck release […]

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle, and other online lenders, falter in America, (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

“Our portfolio of Funding Circle US loans has continued to substantially underperform our expectations, a trend which continued during the quarter and created a drag on the overall portfolio. We stopped purchasing new Funding Circle US loans late in 2015 so the portfolio continues to amortize down.” [ Comment: see the complete VPC Q2 2016 letter in the UK section below].

That’s from VPC Specialty Lending (VSL) Investments’ second quarter letter, released earlier this week (mea culpa, we didn’t spot it at first).

VSL’s disclosure forced Funding Circle’s listed fund to issue its own filing to the market yesterday, sort of but not outright rejecting the suggestion that loans were underperforming:

The Company’s US Credit Assets are projected to return in excess of 8% per annum on a net unlevered basis – consistent with historic performance observed on the Funding Circle US marketplace.

But that might be downplaying the historic performance a little. When Funding Circle floated its fund last year, this is the US loan performance it revealed in its November prospectus (note the numbers didn’t include expected future losses and showed the to-date performance at that time):

Sachin Patel, Funding Circle’s global co-head of capital markets, said that loans originated in the first half of 2015 had underperformed and are expected to return 7.25 per cent to its large, accredited investors, rather than the 8 per cent or more that it targets.

Funding Circle launched in the US in late 2013 and is run out of San Francisco by Sam Hodges. According to the 2015 prospectus for Funding Circle’s fund, US loans originated in early 2014 also “experienced higher than expected annualised loss rates”.

Similar missteps were seen in Funding Circle’s first years of operation in the UK too:

But Funding Circle isn’t the only online lender to small businesses in the US that is disappointing investors. According to a Morgan Stanley note last month, a second securitisation of loans originated by OnDeck, which is listed, breached its loss trigger in June:

MPLT 2015-OD3 from OnDeck breached triggers in June, joining the 3 deals we had previously highlighted – MPLT 2015- CB1 (Circleback), MPLT 2015-OD1 (OnDeck) and GLCII 2014-A (Lending Club).

That makes four online lending securitisation deals that have hit their loss trigger, meaning that cashflows are diverted to senior bondholders at the expense of the lower tranche investors. Three of those four deals, as far as we can tell, were arranged by Jefferies.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on securitisations of loans from Avant, a US consumer lender that also gets a dishonourable mention in VSL’s letter (note that Victory Park is an equity investor in Avant):

We also saw a reduction in the value of three residual interests in securitizations of Avant loans that are held at fair market value. These markdowns, which flow through capital, reflect loss curves coming in slightly higher than in the first quarter. While the capital markets have recently begun to re-open for marketplace lending loans, we have no current plans to pursue additional securitizations.

FTC Announces FinTech Forum on Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer Payments, (JD Supra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

The FTC announced it will be hosting the next event in the FinTech Forum series on October 26, 2016.

BNY Mellon sees possible rise of P2P collateral lending, (Global Custodian), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending among buy-siders could emerge due to a challenging regulatory environment for sourcing and optimising collateral, according to BNY Mellon.

In the report, BNY Mellon states that institutional investors may also find further opportunities in a peer-to-peer relationship, where buy-side firms are both the collateral provider and receiver.

The report can be found here.

 Income: any Fintech to fill-in the supply shortage?, ( Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

The world still needs current [Comment: I believe most people use the word fixed instead of current] income for a variety of reasons: wage stagnation, tax overburdening, and the usual cash flows needs that are not at all well managed.

Source: Pension Partners

Challenger banks in the UK have been offering bonds (3yrs or less) to entice customers to sign up on their platforms.

Source: Daily Finance

There are two Alternative finance options that can generate income, much like high yield bonds or publicly traded REITS have been doing in normal conditions.

Investors in the UK can invest in the LE listed

Finova Financial Raises $ 52.5 M First Round For Car Equity Loans, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: A

Finova Financial has raised $52.5 million in its first institutional funding—much of it in the form of debt—for its consumer lending service that provides car owners with a line of credit.

The funding was led by MHS Capital, with participation from Refactor Capital; CoVenture; Metamorphic Ventures; 500 Startups; Funding Circle co-founder Sam Hodges; NerdWallet co-founder Jake Gibson; and Al Hamra Group, a company owned by a ruling family in the United Arab Emirates.

A “large percentage” of the round was the credit facility, the company said, but declined to give specifics.

Founded in January 2015, Finova provides loans in exchange for liens on consumers’ cars, which the company calls a “car-equity line of credit,” which resembles a home equity credit line. Its loans are typically $1,500 to $1,700.

Finova charges about 70% less than the industry average, according to Mr. Keough said.

In contrast to typical paper applications, with Finova people can apply on a website or mobile device by providing information about their cars and driver’s licenses and receive decisions quickly, Mr. Keough said. About 65% of customers apply via phones.

The car equity loan is Finova’s first product, and the company intends to launch other products for “unbanked” consumers, as the company describes its target market.

“My investment thesis is: financial services for the rest of us,” said Sheel Mohnot, the partner at 500 Startups who leads the firm’s fintech investments. “There could not be a better fit (than Finova) for working with a population who is unbanked.”

Warburg Pincus Leads $ 220 Million Round for Solar Lender Mosaic, ( Wall Street Journal), Rated : A

Private-equity firm Warburg Pincus is leading a $220 million equity investment in energy-financing startup Solar Mosaic Inc., according to two people familiar with the situation. The company, known as Mosaic, provides loans for solar installations for homeowners. It is starting to finance other energy-efficiency upgrades that are meant to reduce utility bills.

Warburg Pincus will have a slight majority control of Mosaic through its $200 million investment, one person said. Other investors in the round include financial technology venture firm Core Innovation Capital and Obvious Ventures, a firm, co-founded by Ev Williams, that seeks to invest in startups that offer a positive social impact. Andrew Beebe, managing director at Obvious Ventures, has had a long career in solar energy.

Mosaic has said that it plans to originate about $1 billion in residential-solar loans in the coming 12 months. It secured $200 million in credit from DZ Bank as the lead lender earlier this year. NY Green Bank also participated.

The company’s business model is built around allowing people to own their own solar systems. That contrasts against the predominant model of financing residential solar under lease programs in which homeowners rent the solar power their properties generate.

Privately held GreenSky LLC and Spruce Finance Inc., backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also operate in the category. Earlier Mosaic investors include Spring Ventures, Serious Change, Blue Haven Initiative and Bronze Investments.

Colorado Inquiry Prompts Avant to Rejig Bonds, Kroll Says, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Avant Inc., the online lending marketplace, removed unsecured consumer loans made to Colorado residents from a securitization deal after a state regulator sought information about its lending policies, according to Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Colorado concluded that loans mad to its residents must comply with its lending statutes, even if the debts originate through partner banks in another state, as Avant does in Utah, Kroll said in an Aug. 2 report. Such statutes include usury laws and restrictions on late fees and other charges, Kroll said in its evaluation of an upcoming $200 million securitization to be sold by Avant. “In light of the letters from the Colorado regulator, Avant has removed all loans made to Colorado residents,” Kroll said. Carolyn Blackman Gasbarra, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Avant, declined via e-mail to comment while the deal is pending. Kroll said Avant is “proactively addressing any regulator concerns.” Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and a frequent proponent of tougher regulation, was added to the company’s board earlier this year.

Inside CommonBond’s 401(k) platform for student loan debt, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

In July 2016, student loan platform CommonBond acquired online loan repayment advisor Gradible. The acquisition of Gradible, which uses an algorithm to recommend what the best repayment options are for student loan borrowers, has enabled CommonBond to roll out a new platform that it’s calling the 401(k) for student loans.

The 401(k) platform will enable employers to contribute to their employees student loans just as they contribute to their employees’ retirement. “What the acquisition of Gradible allows us to do is to marry up certain technologies that they’ve built with technologies that we’ve already built to accelerate the platform,” said David Klein, co-founder and CEO of CommonBond.

Gradible’s merger with CommonBond was two years in the works. A personal connection lead CommonBond to partner with the software company, becoming one of the refinance options Gradible offered on its platform. Eventually, CommonBond’s desire to expand its reach together with Gradible’s intention to accelerate its vision led to the merger.

Klein believes that bringing Gradible in-house will enable CommonBond to reach and meaningfully impact every one of the over 40 million Americans saddled with student debt, and to a certain extent this is true. As a student loan reassessment tool, Gradible can help students discover alternative ways to manage their debt, such as income-based repayment and public service loan forgiveness.

But the 401(k) will ultimately serve the “top talent”, who are the most likely to make it out of student debt in the first place.

CommonBond had one company ask it to implement the platform for them, and Klein has also piloted the 401(k) at CommonBond itself – much to its employees’ delight.

While the CommonBond-Gradible marriage can’t fix what’s broken with the student loan industry at large, its 401(k) product is opening up the traditional closed lender-borrower relationship to employers. So far, this threesome has benefited the entire loan ecosystem: lenders are getting repaid faster, employees are happier, and employers are meaningfully participating in their employees’ financial lives.

Online Lenders Have a Tough Job Ahead, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp. and OnDeck Capital Inc. have suffered through growing pains this year.

They each report second-quarter results Monday [Comment: today].

Jefferies closes Lending Club bonds sale, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Comment: our readers are familiar with this information from last week’s Monday Lending Times. I believe a reminder is a good idea though.

Jefferies has closed a private sale of bonds backed by personal loans originated by Lending Club, marking a step in the rehabilitation of the scandal-hit online lender ahead of its second-quarter earnings. Meanwhile, the Jefferies-led deal is “very positive” for the online-lending industry, said James Gutierrez, chief executive of Insikt, a platform that has sold bundles of Lending Club and Prosper loans to wealthy individuals.

Three months on, Jefferies has sold $105m of bonds backed by Lending Club loans, offering yields of 3.75 to 6.5 per cent.

Offers of unsecured personal loans sent out in the mail dropped 19 per cent in the second quarter from the first quarter, to 507m, according to Mintel Comperemedia, a market intelligence agency. All told, the industry has sent out 4.44bn loan offers to consumers over the past two years, peaking at 749m in the fourth quarter last year.

Goldman Sachs, which had been preparing a securitisation of prime loans from Lending Club before the scandal blew up in May, is prepared to bide its time, according to a person briefed on the bank’s plans.

MPOWER Brings on SoFi and Student-Lending Veteran Renee Suryan as Director of University Relations, (PR Web), Rated: A

Comment: Please see the Lending Times article on MPOWER here.

MPOWER Financing is pleased to formally announce the addition of Renee Suryan to its team. With more than 20 years of experience in student lending, including 10 years as a financial aid administrator, she joins MPOWER as Director of University Relations. Currently growing at a rate of 40 percent month-over-month in loan volume, MPOWER projects it will have more than 200 school partnerships and 21 state licenses by the end of 2016.

MPOWER Partners with FUTR to Support Domestic and International Student Loans, (PR Web), Rated: B

MPOWER Financing today announced that it is partnering with FUTR Corporation to provide superior loan servicing and support to MPOWER borrowers.

FUTR is a privately held and venture-backed higher education finance provider headquartered in San Francisco, with an operational hub in Bryan, Texas. FUTR is focused on bringing together modern technology and quality service to provide new levels of transparency and insight that borrowers need to optimally manage their financial future.

The Time To Start Thinking About Repaying Student Loans Is When You Take Them Out, (Forbes), Rated: B

Comment: article written for borrowers. Probably not useful to our readers.

Credible.com is a multi-lender student loan marketplace. One issue that’s underappreciated is that the time to start thinking about repaying your student loans is not when you graduate, but when you take them out.

The 27 fintech unicorns from around the world, ranked by value, (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Comment: Article would have deserved to be in an international section. However it is only marginally relevant to our readers and we prefer not focus our newsletter on this article. Hence we located it at the end of our US section.

An interesting list. Many of our own industry participants are present. However I had not heard of a few of them. Worth a read.

United Kingdom

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC, (VPC Specialty Lending), Rated: AAA

Comment: There is a disclaimer the readers must read and agree to before accessing this article.

In the second quarter of 2016, VPC Speciality Lending Investments PLC (“VSL” or the “Company”) delivered a net return of 0.33%. Although the return wasbelow expectations, it does not reflect what we believe will be the level of long-term returns for our shareholders given our existing portfolio and pipeline. There are several reasons for the decline in short-term performance, which are outlined below along with the steps we are taking to mitigate these factors in the near term.

The decision by U.K. voters to leave the European Union (“EU”) and the subsequent depreciation of the GBP had a negative impact on the Company’s performance as we had to maintain an outsized cash balance related to our currency hedge. Leading up to the EU Referendum, we took a conservative approach to our cash management and credit allocations. A substantial portion of our assets are held in USD and other currencies, which are hedged to GBP via forward currency swaps. The hedging program was put in place when the investments were made following the Company’s March 2015 IPO and September 2015 C share offering. Since then, due to the substantial depreciation of GBP against USD, the Company has had to deposit in cash up to 11.5% of the Company’s NAV. While the direct effect of the currency swings on our income has been limited because our non-GBP exposure is largely hedged, the obligation to settle the hedges upon expiration and the need to maintain additional liquidity in the event the GBP depreciates further has limited our ability to be largely fully invested, as we strive to be. The outlook for the GBP continues to be uncertain – several economists have set target prices for USD/GBP at $1.20 or below with a one-year time horizon – leaving us to remain conservative. We are reviewing all available options to reduce the cash drag related to the margin requirement, including a revolving credit facility for the Company.

The majority of our whole loan portfolio performed in line with our expectations, although certain positions did experience higher than expected losses.

Accordingly, we believe we are now in the period of peak losses for our portfolios (assuming static economic conditions), leading to muted NAV returns in the near term but we expect the returns to even out over the life of the investments.

As previously announced, our portfolio of Funding Circle US loans has continued to substantially underperform our expectations, a trend which continued during the quarter and created a drag on the overall portfolio. We stopped purchasing new Funding Circle US loans late in 2015 so the portfolio continues to amortize down.

We also saw a reduction in the value of three residual interests in securitizations of Avant loans that are held at fair market value.

On a more positive note, our balance sheet loan portfolio continued to show excellent performance with no impairments and coupons ranging from 12% to 16%.

  • On 26 May 2016, the Company made initial investments in West Creek Financial, Inc., a provider of point-of-sale lease-to-own financing to underserved customers enabling purchases of durable goods such as furniture, mattresses, and appliances.
  • On 30 June 2016, the Company made initial investments in Fundbox Ltd., a provider of short-term working capital advances to small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and the Company funded a new tranche of senior secured debt to Elevate Credit, Inc. Elevate is a provider of cash advances and installment loans to U.S. consumers.

While cash drag as a result of the currency hedge and the performance of certain whole loan investments were disappointing, we are encouraged by the performance of our existing balance sheet investments as well as the attractive terms of newer deals. In order to further demonstrate our commitment to the Company and our confidence in achieving returns of 8% or greater, we have agreed with the Company’s Board of Directors to modify our management agreement such that we will apply 20% of our monthly management fee to purchase shares of the Company at the prevailing market price on an ongoing basis, whilst the shares are trading at a discount to net asset value.

Understanding of risk remains a central issue for P2P industry, (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the outgoing and incoming heads of the FCA – Tracey McDermott and Andrew Bailey respectively.

“Government policies to promote the crowdfunding sector may have the right intention – to increase competition in the small to medium enterprise lending market – but government tax incentives, in effect government subsidies, may be encouraging some consumers into the use of inappropriate products.”

The problem of a perceived lack of understanding of risk by investing consumers has been a common sector theme of late.

Analysis from AltFi Data illustrates that, to date, the lending performance of the largest UK platforms has delivered consistently positive net returns. Zopa, Funding Circle, Ratesetter and MarketInvoice together make up over 65% of the sector’s origination volume and lead the way when it comes to disclosure of their lending track record. 10 years of data representing that track record demonstrates that net returns have remained positive in a range of 5-6.5%. Bad debt performance has also been impressive, coming in at 5% for the worst ever annual cohort i.e. less than 1.7% annualized, and at no worse than 1.66%, i.e. less than 0.55% annualized, over the past 5 years.

Liberum Alt Fi Index. Source: AltFi.com

Assetz Capital Reports: Peer-to-Peer Lending Expected to Thrive As Bank of England Slashes Interest Rates, (Crowdfunding Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, Assetz Capital one of the UK’s largest peer-to-peer lenders, announced it is predicting that both savers and borrowers will continue to turn to alternative finance companies in increasing numbers as Bank of England slashes interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25%.

Assetz Capital revealed, since launching in 2013, around £130 million has flown through its platform to credit-worthy borrowers, earning investors a total gross interest of more than £12 million to date and this lending is predicted to continue to rise rapidly.

Assetz Capital also predicted the number of business borrowers will also rise as a result of the cut interest rate.

Australia

Fintech B2B small business lending marketplace Bigstone raises million, (Financial Review), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Bigstone has raised $3 million from a range of investors, including ASX-listed diversified investments and venture capital firm CVC, to grow its small business lending marketplace and offer an alternative to the big banks.

Other major investors in the round were the founders of Bangkok-based fund Lighthouse Venture Partners Paniti Junhasavasdikul and Narith Phadungchai, in addition to private investors.

By the end of the year, Bigstone is hoping to have financed $10 million worth of loans to more than 200 small businesses.

A University of Sydney and KPMG study released earlier this year found that Australia’s online alternative finance market grew by 320 per cent in 2015 to $460 million, making it the third largest market in the Asia Pacific behind China and Japan.

Author:

George Popescu

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s news pour some cold water on P2P SME lending : SME securitizations and SME yield performance seem to be less than expected. See 1st article in US section and 1st article in UK section. Finova raised $52.5 mil , Mosaic $220 mil. And today’s the day : Lending Club and OnDeck release […]

August 8th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle, and other online lenders, falter in America, (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

“Our portfolio of Funding Circle US loans has continued to substantially underperform our expectations, a trend which continued during the quarter and created a drag on the overall portfolio. We stopped purchasing new Funding Circle US loans late in 2015 so the portfolio continues to amortize down.” [ Comment: see the complete VPC Q2 2016 letter in the UK section below].

That’s from VPC Specialty Lending (VSL) Investments’ second quarter letter, released earlier this week (mea culpa, we didn’t spot it at first).

VSL’s disclosure forced Funding Circle’s listed fund to issue its own filing to the market yesterday, sort of but not outright rejecting the suggestion that loans were underperforming:

The Company’s US Credit Assets are projected to return in excess of 8% per annum on a net unlevered basis – consistent with historic performance observed on the Funding Circle US marketplace.

But that might be downplaying the historic performance a little. When Funding Circle floated its fund last year, this is the US loan performance it revealed in its November prospectus (note the numbers didn’t include expected future losses and showed the to-date performance at that time):

Sachin Patel, Funding Circle’s global co-head of capital markets, said that loans originated in the first half of 2015 had underperformed and are expected to return 7.25 per cent to its large, accredited investors, rather than the 8 per cent or more that it targets.

Funding Circle launched in the US in late 2013 and is run out of San Francisco by Sam Hodges. According to the 2015 prospectus for Funding Circle’s fund, US loans originated in early 2014 also “experienced higher than expected annualised loss rates”.

Similar missteps were seen in Funding Circle’s first years of operation in the UK too:

But Funding Circle isn’t the only online lender to small businesses in the US that is disappointing investors. According to a Morgan Stanley note last month, a second securitisation of loans originated by OnDeck, which is listed, breached its loss trigger in June:

MPLT 2015-OD3 from OnDeck breached triggers in June, joining the 3 deals we had previously highlighted – MPLT 2015- CB1 (Circleback), MPLT 2015-OD1 (OnDeck) and GLCII 2014-A (Lending Club).

That makes four online lending securitisation deals that have hit their loss trigger, meaning that cashflows are diverted to senior bondholders at the expense of the lower tranche investors. Three of those four deals, as far as we can tell, were arranged by Jefferies.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on securitisations of loans from Avant, a US consumer lender that also gets a dishonourable mention in VSL’s letter (note that Victory Park is an equity investor in Avant):

We also saw a reduction in the value of three residual interests in securitizations of Avant loans that are held at fair market value. These markdowns, which flow through capital, reflect loss curves coming in slightly higher than in the first quarter. While the capital markets have recently begun to re-open for marketplace lending loans, we have no current plans to pursue additional securitizations.

FTC Announces FinTech Forum on Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer Payments, (JD Supra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

The FTC announced it will be hosting the next event in the FinTech Forum series on October 26, 2016.

BNY Mellon sees possible rise of P2P collateral lending, (Global Custodian), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending among buy-siders could emerge due to a challenging regulatory environment for sourcing and optimising collateral, according to BNY Mellon.

In the report, BNY Mellon states that institutional investors may also find further opportunities in a peer-to-peer relationship, where buy-side firms are both the collateral provider and receiver.

The report can be found here.

 Income: any Fintech to fill-in the supply shortage?, ( Daily Fintech), Rated: AAA

The world still needs current [Comment: I believe most people use the word fixed instead of current] income for a variety of reasons: wage stagnation, tax overburdening, and the usual cash flows needs that are not at all well managed.

Source: Pension Partners

Challenger banks in the UK have been offering bonds (3yrs or less) to entice customers to sign up on their platforms.

Source: Daily Finance

There are two Alternative finance options that can generate income, much like high yield bonds or publicly traded REITS have been doing in normal conditions.

Investors in the UK can invest in the LE listed

Finova Financial Raises $ 52.5 M First Round For Car Equity Loans, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: A

Finova Financial has raised $52.5 million in its first institutional funding—much of it in the form of debt—for its consumer lending service that provides car owners with a line of credit.

The funding was led by MHS Capital, with participation from Refactor Capital; CoVenture; Metamorphic Ventures; 500 Startups; Funding Circle co-founder Sam Hodges; NerdWallet co-founder Jake Gibson; and Al Hamra Group, a company owned by a ruling family in the United Arab Emirates.

A “large percentage” of the round was the credit facility, the company said, but declined to give specifics.

Founded in January 2015, Finova provides loans in exchange for liens on consumers’ cars, which the company calls a “car-equity line of credit,” which resembles a home equity credit line. Its loans are typically $1,500 to $1,700.

Finova charges about 70% less than the industry average, according to Mr. Keough said.

In contrast to typical paper applications, with Finova people can apply on a website or mobile device by providing information about their cars and driver’s licenses and receive decisions quickly, Mr. Keough said. About 65% of customers apply via phones.

The car equity loan is Finova’s first product, and the company intends to launch other products for “unbanked” consumers, as the company describes its target market.

“My investment thesis is: financial services for the rest of us,” said Sheel Mohnot, the partner at 500 Startups who leads the firm’s fintech investments. “There could not be a better fit (than Finova) for working with a population who is unbanked.”

Warburg Pincus Leads $ 220 Million Round for Solar Lender Mosaic, ( Wall Street Journal), Rated : A

Private-equity firm Warburg Pincus is leading a $220 million equity investment in energy-financing startup Solar Mosaic Inc., according to two people familiar with the situation. The company, known as Mosaic, provides loans for solar installations for homeowners. It is starting to finance other energy-efficiency upgrades that are meant to reduce utility bills.

Warburg Pincus will have a slight majority control of Mosaic through its $200 million investment, one person said. Other investors in the round include financial technology venture firm Core Innovation Capital and Obvious Ventures, a firm, co-founded by Ev Williams, that seeks to invest in startups that offer a positive social impact. Andrew Beebe, managing director at Obvious Ventures, has had a long career in solar energy.

Mosaic has said that it plans to originate about $1 billion in residential-solar loans in the coming 12 months. It secured $200 million in credit from DZ Bank as the lead lender earlier this year. NY Green Bank also participated.

The company’s business model is built around allowing people to own their own solar systems. That contrasts against the predominant model of financing residential solar under lease programs in which homeowners rent the solar power their properties generate.

Privately held GreenSky LLC and Spruce Finance Inc., backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also operate in the category. Earlier Mosaic investors include Spring Ventures, Serious Change, Blue Haven Initiative and Bronze Investments.

Colorado Inquiry Prompts Avant to Rejig Bonds, Kroll Says, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Avant Inc., the online lending marketplace, removed unsecured consumer loans made to Colorado residents from a securitization deal after a state regulator sought information about its lending policies, according to Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Colorado concluded that loans mad to its residents must comply with its lending statutes, even if the debts originate through partner banks in another state, as Avant does in Utah, Kroll said in an Aug. 2 report. Such statutes include usury laws and restrictions on late fees and other charges, Kroll said in its evaluation of an upcoming $200 million securitization to be sold by Avant. “In light of the letters from the Colorado regulator, Avant has removed all loans made to Colorado residents,” Kroll said. Carolyn Blackman Gasbarra, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Avant, declined via e-mail to comment while the deal is pending. Kroll said Avant is “proactively addressing any regulator concerns.” Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and a frequent proponent of tougher regulation, was added to the company’s board earlier this year.

Inside CommonBond’s 401(k) platform for student loan debt, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

In July 2016, student loan platform CommonBond acquired online loan repayment advisor Gradible. The acquisition of Gradible, which uses an algorithm to recommend what the best repayment options are for student loan borrowers, has enabled CommonBond to roll out a new platform that it’s calling the 401(k) for student loans.

The 401(k) platform will enable employers to contribute to their employees student loans just as they contribute to their employees’ retirement. “What the acquisition of Gradible allows us to do is to marry up certain technologies that they’ve built with technologies that we’ve already built to accelerate the platform,” said David Klein, co-founder and CEO of CommonBond.

Gradible’s merger with CommonBond was two years in the works. A personal connection lead CommonBond to partner with the software company, becoming one of the refinance options Gradible offered on its platform. Eventually, CommonBond’s desire to expand its reach together with Gradible’s intention to accelerate its vision led to the merger.

Klein believes that bringing Gradible in-house will enable CommonBond to reach and meaningfully impact every one of the over 40 million Americans saddled with student debt, and to a certain extent this is true. As a student loan reassessment tool, Gradible can help students discover alternative ways to manage their debt, such as income-based repayment and public service loan forgiveness.

But the 401(k) will ultimately serve the “top talent”, who are the most likely to make it out of student debt in the first place.

CommonBond had one company ask it to implement the platform for them, and Klein has also piloted the 401(k) at CommonBond itself – much to its employees’ delight.

While the CommonBond-Gradible marriage can’t fix what’s broken with the student loan industry at large, its 401(k) product is opening up the traditional closed lender-borrower relationship to employers. So far, this threesome has benefited the entire loan ecosystem: lenders are getting repaid faster, employees are happier, and employers are meaningfully participating in their employees’ financial lives.

Online Lenders Have a Tough Job Ahead, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp. and OnDeck Capital Inc. have suffered through growing pains this year.

They each report second-quarter results Monday [Comment: today].

Jefferies closes Lending Club bonds sale, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Comment: our readers are familiar with this information from last week’s Monday Lending Times. I believe a reminder is a good idea though.

Jefferies has closed a private sale of bonds backed by personal loans originated by Lending Club, marking a step in the rehabilitation of the scandal-hit online lender ahead of its second-quarter earnings. Meanwhile, the Jefferies-led deal is “very positive” for the online-lending industry, said James Gutierrez, chief executive of Insikt, a platform that has sold bundles of Lending Club and Prosper loans to wealthy individuals.

Three months on, Jefferies has sold $105m of bonds backed by Lending Club loans, offering yields of 3.75 to 6.5 per cent.

Offers of unsecured personal loans sent out in the mail dropped 19 per cent in the second quarter from the first quarter, to 507m, according to Mintel Comperemedia, a market intelligence agency. All told, the industry has sent out 4.44bn loan offers to consumers over the past two years, peaking at 749m in the fourth quarter last year.

Goldman Sachs, which had been preparing a securitisation of prime loans from Lending Club before the scandal blew up in May, is prepared to bide its time, according to a person briefed on the bank’s plans.

MPOWER Brings on SoFi and Student-Lending Veteran Renee Suryan as Director of University Relations, (PR Web), Rated: A

Comment: Please see the Lending Times article on MPOWER here.

MPOWER Financing is pleased to formally announce the addition of Renee Suryan to its team. With more than 20 years of experience in student lending, including 10 years as a financial aid administrator, she joins MPOWER as Director of University Relations. Currently growing at a rate of 40 percent month-over-month in loan volume, MPOWER projects it will have more than 200 school partnerships and 21 state licenses by the end of 2016.

MPOWER Partners with FUTR to Support Domestic and International Student Loans, (PR Web), Rated: B

MPOWER Financing today announced that it is partnering with FUTR Corporation to provide superior loan servicing and support to MPOWER borrowers.

FUTR is a privately held and venture-backed higher education finance provider headquartered in San Francisco, with an operational hub in Bryan, Texas. FUTR is focused on bringing together modern technology and quality service to provide new levels of transparency and insight that borrowers need to optimally manage their financial future.

The Time To Start Thinking About Repaying Student Loans Is When You Take Them Out, (Forbes), Rated: B

Comment: article written for borrowers. Probably not useful to our readers.

Credible.com is a multi-lender student loan marketplace. One issue that’s underappreciated is that the time to start thinking about repaying your student loans is not when you graduate, but when you take them out.

The 27 fintech unicorns from around the world, ranked by value, (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Comment: Article would have deserved to be in an international section. However it is only marginally relevant to our readers and we prefer not focus our newsletter on this article. Hence we located it at the end of our US section.

An interesting list. Many of our own industry participants are present. However I had not heard of a few of them. Worth a read.

United Kingdom

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC, (VPC Specialty Lending), Rated: AAA

Comment: There is a disclaimer the readers must read and agree to before accessing this article.

In the second quarter of 2016, VPC Speciality Lending Investments PLC (“VSL” or the “Company”) delivered a net return of 0.33%. Although the return wasbelow expectations, it does not reflect what we believe will be the level of long-term returns for our shareholders given our existing portfolio and pipeline. There are several reasons for the decline in short-term performance, which are outlined below along with the steps we are taking to mitigate these factors in the near term.

The decision by U.K. voters to leave the European Union (“EU”) and the subsequent depreciation of the GBP had a negative impact on the Company’s performance as we had to maintain an outsized cash balance related to our currency hedge. Leading up to the EU Referendum, we took a conservative approach to our cash management and credit allocations. A substantial portion of our assets are held in USD and other currencies, which are hedged to GBP via forward currency swaps. The hedging program was put in place when the investments were made following the Company’s March 2015 IPO and September 2015 C share offering. Since then, due to the substantial depreciation of GBP against USD, the Company has had to deposit in cash up to 11.5% of the Company’s NAV. While the direct effect of the currency swings on our income has been limited because our non-GBP exposure is largely hedged, the obligation to settle the hedges upon expiration and the need to maintain additional liquidity in the event the GBP depreciates further has limited our ability to be largely fully invested, as we strive to be. The outlook for the GBP continues to be uncertain – several economists have set target prices for USD/GBP at $1.20 or below with a one-year time horizon – leaving us to remain conservative. We are reviewing all available options to reduce the cash drag related to the margin requirement, including a revolving credit facility for the Company.

The majority of our whole loan portfolio performed in line with our expectations, although certain positions did experience higher than expected losses.

Accordingly, we believe we are now in the period of peak losses for our portfolios (assuming static economic conditions), leading to muted NAV returns in the near term but we expect the returns to even out over the life of the investments.

As previously announced, our portfolio of Funding Circle US loans has continued to substantially underperform our expectations, a trend which continued during the quarter and created a drag on the overall portfolio. We stopped purchasing new Funding Circle US loans late in 2015 so the portfolio continues to amortize down.

We also saw a reduction in the value of three residual interests in securitizations of Avant loans that are held at fair market value.

On a more positive note, our balance sheet loan portfolio continued to show excellent performance with no impairments and coupons ranging from 12% to 16%.

  • On 26 May 2016, the Company made initial investments in West Creek Financial, Inc., a provider of point-of-sale lease-to-own financing to underserved customers enabling purchases of durable goods such as furniture, mattresses, and appliances.
  • On 30 June 2016, the Company made initial investments in Fundbox Ltd., a provider of short-term working capital advances to small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and the Company funded a new tranche of senior secured debt to Elevate Credit, Inc. Elevate is a provider of cash advances and installment loans to U.S. consumers.

While cash drag as a result of the currency hedge and the performance of certain whole loan investments were disappointing, we are encouraged by the performance of our existing balance sheet investments as well as the attractive terms of newer deals. In order to further demonstrate our commitment to the Company and our confidence in achieving returns of 8% or greater, we have agreed with the Company’s Board of Directors to modify our management agreement such that we will apply 20% of our monthly management fee to purchase shares of the Company at the prevailing market price on an ongoing basis, whilst the shares are trading at a discount to net asset value.

Understanding of risk remains a central issue for P2P industry, (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the outgoing and incoming heads of the FCA – Tracey McDermott and Andrew Bailey respectively.

“Government policies to promote the crowdfunding sector may have the right intention – to increase competition in the small to medium enterprise lending market – but government tax incentives, in effect government subsidies, may be encouraging some consumers into the use of inappropriate products.”

The problem of a perceived lack of understanding of risk by investing consumers has been a common sector theme of late.

Analysis from AltFi Data illustrates that, to date, the lending performance of the largest UK platforms has delivered consistently positive net returns. Zopa, Funding Circle, Ratesetter and MarketInvoice together make up over 65% of the sector’s origination volume and lead the way when it comes to disclosure of their lending track record. 10 years of data representing that track record demonstrates that net returns have remained positive in a range of 5-6.5%. Bad debt performance has also been impressive, coming in at 5% for the worst ever annual cohort i.e. less than 1.7% annualized, and at no worse than 1.66%, i.e. less than 0.55% annualized, over the past 5 years.

Liberum Alt Fi Index. Source: AltFi.com

Assetz Capital Reports: Peer-to-Peer Lending Expected to Thrive As Bank of England Slashes Interest Rates, (Crowdfunding Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, Assetz Capital one of the UK’s largest peer-to-peer lenders, announced it is predicting that both savers and borrowers will continue to turn to alternative finance companies in increasing numbers as Bank of England slashes interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25%.

Assetz Capital revealed, since launching in 2013, around £130 million has flown through its platform to credit-worthy borrowers, earning investors a total gross interest of more than £12 million to date and this lending is predicted to continue to rise rapidly.

Assetz Capital also predicted the number of business borrowers will also rise as a result of the cut interest rate.

Australia

Fintech B2B small business lending marketplace Bigstone raises million, (Financial Review), Rated: A

Fintech start-up Bigstone has raised $3 million from a range of investors, including ASX-listed diversified investments and venture capital firm CVC, to grow its small business lending marketplace and offer an alternative to the big banks.

Other major investors in the round were the founders of Bangkok-based fund Lighthouse Venture Partners Paniti Junhasavasdikul and Narith Phadungchai, in addition to private investors.

By the end of the year, Bigstone is hoping to have financed $10 million worth of loans to more than 200 small businesses.

A University of Sydney and KPMG study released earlier this year found that Australia’s online alternative finance market grew by 320 per cent in 2015 to $460 million, making it the third largest market in the Asia Pacific behind China and Japan.

Author:

George Popescu