Thursday March 21 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintechs and personal loans

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

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

fintechs and personal loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

Other

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: TransUnion, PeerIQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Far are Most in their Digital Transformation Strategy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Innovate Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assetz Capital

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

Funding Circle

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

LendingCrowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China/Hong Kong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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

The Rise of Crypto Lending, a Natural Progression of Peer-to-Peer Financing

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. […]

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. That technology was the blockchain, a distributed ledger that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since then, other blockchains have been created along with new business models to suit. As it stands in 2018, crypto lending has not made a big dent in P2P lending services, but the potential is there. This article will highlight some of the more significant blockchain-based P2P lenders, which we hope will inspire a new look at technological innovation in this space.

Think of crypto lending like you would the banking industry: Even if Capital One provided perfect products at every turn, there would still be plenty of room for JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. There would still be room for the hundreds of other banks that compete for customers.

The companies listed here are not ranked in any manner. Rather, they=se are just some of the choices available for consumers in the market for cryptocurrency loans.

1. SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology) Lending

One of the best benefits crypto-based lending has to offer is that a lessened importance on traditional credit scores as a factor for risk assessment. SALT Lending touts blockchain-based assets as “the perfect form of collateral.” The company is using this fact to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT operates under Regulation D and, in lieu of credit checks, the company does AML and KYC verifications.

Offering three tiers of product, SALT’s loans start at $5,000 and go as high as $250 million. Loan percentages run between 12 and 22 percent APR, but the borrower retains the value of the collateral currency claiming any gains and losses that happen over the life of the loan. SALT accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin as collateral, and funds loans in USD.

One fact that could be a significant factor when deciding to use the SALT Lending platform is that loans are not transferable on the blockchain, but through existing financial channels. Thus, they become securities.

It’s not foolish to base a good bit of faith in a company that has proven players on its team. Founder Erik Voorhees was also involved in founding several other crypto websites prior to starting SALT Lending. Among these include Satoshi Dice, which he later sold, Coinapult, and ShapeShift.

2. ETHlend

Unlike SALT Lending, Estonia-based ETHlend is a fully decentralized P2P platform built on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. Some insiders fear that platforms that allow their loans to become securities might run the risk of being swallowed up by banks.

ETHlend lends Ethereum, Bitcoin, their own LEND tokens, and DAI tokens, as well as 180+ other Ethereum-based tokens. The company offers address-to-address loans that are sent within minutes, with no middle men, assuring that no one, not even Ethlend, can stop one’s lending or borrowing. The company plans to expand beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger platforms in Q3 of 2019.

The company’s interest rates range from .25 to five percent MPR, and all transactions are carried out on digital wallets. Borrowers that transact in the LEND token can get a no-fee loan.

Announced earlier this week, Aave is a tech-based company designed to expand on the offerings of centralized fintech companies like PayPal and Coinbase. Aave Pocket, Aave Gaming, and Aave Lending (SaaS) are among the offerings this expansion adds to the platform.

Unfortunately, the service is not yet available everywhere including a block to U.S. citizens.

3. Nexo

A new kid on this block is Nexo, and being a new kid means that they are doing things in a new manner. Founded in Zug, Switzerland—even more of an “EF Hutton” mention than Estonia—in 2017, Nexo promises the world’s first instant crypto-backed loans. Available worldwide, Nexo loans start at $1,000 and top out at $2 million.

The process is an easy one.

  • Log on to the website.
  • Verify your account
  • Deposit crypto assets into Nexo wallet
  • Withdraw loan to your bank account

There will be brief pauses while the borrower is verified—the company complies with the highest AML and KYC (provided by Onfido) standards—and while your deposit is confirmed on the blockchain. Overall, the Nexo process reads like a rather quick and seamless process.

The platform loans Euros, USD, and Tether while accepting Ether, bitcoin, Bincance coin (BNB), and Nexo as collateral currency. The interest rate is eight percent if the collateral currency is Nexo and 16 percent for all others. Nexo assets are stored in multi-signature wallets, more than one multiple cryptographic keys are necessary to gain access, and cold storage (wallets not connected to the Internet) at BitGo and PrimeTrust.

4. LendingBlock

LendingBlock predicts that, as digital assets grow as an asset class, demand for hedging, swaps, repurchases, and short selling will increase. The currency crypto market has more than $500 billion in assets circulating with less than one percent used as collateral. That leaves lots of room for growth.

Touted as the first cross-chain lending platform for the crypto economy, the company promises a product that will help its customers access secure, transparent, and fair crypto-to-crypto loans. Not a lender itself, LendingBlock provides the platform upon which parties can enter P2P contracts. The company acts as agent for both lender and borrower, as well as security trustee of the collateral. This ensures that the borrower doesn’t face any uncovered credit risk to the lender.

All collateral deposits are held in cold storage. Those who think regulation will be necessary before the crypto market can fully mature can take comfort in the fact that the company is focused on becoming a regulated business. They have submitted the full regulatory application to the country of Gibraltar and await the regulator’s response. They have also begun regulatory processes with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission in the United States.

Basing the platform on its own token (LND), which is used to make payments and receive interest on loans, allows the company to reduce the cost of exchange fees and makes it easier to manage interest payments. The use of smart contracts reduces expenses, risks, and complexity, which makes for lower costs for borrowers and higher returns for the lenders.

5. BlockFi

New York-based BlockFi might be the ideal platform for Americans who want to secure USD loans with Bitcoin and Ethereum, provided that said Americans live in any of the 44 states where the company is currently conducting business.

The attractive thing about the BlockFi platform is that it seems easy enough for a lay person to understand without any kind of financial advice. A borrower needs to meet only two requirements to qualify for a loan: They can have no liens or bankruptcies on their record, and they must have at least $15,000 of crypto assets between their Bitcoin and Ethereum portfolios.

If those criteria are met, the customer can borrow up to 35 percent of their crypto asset value, with loans ranging from $2,000 to $10 million. Interest rates go from 12 to 14 percent APR, and there is an added fee of one to four percent of the loan value. Borrowers can take a loan in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.

Unlike other crypto-based lenders on this list, BlockFi does not have its own coin or token.

6. Unchained Capital

Texas-based Unchained Capital could very well be the platform of choice for those who want to liquidate their Bitcoin while maintaining it and seeing it go to work in the world.

Not only is the team at Unchained Capital in the market to make money as a lender, they have an idealistic side as well. Noting that 60 percent of Bitcoin sits around and does nothing, they have a goal to circulate it and use it to strengthen the platform. The company was founded by people who believe cryptocurrencies can change the world only if they’re useful.

The Unchained Capital team has designed its personal loans to be ideal for people who are looking to make large purchases, who hope to avoid tax events, and who want to invest. Their commercial loans are geared to companies that want to free up capital, expand their businesses, buy expensive equipment, and balance their portfolios.

Unchained Capital does not have its own cryptocurrency.

7. Other Companies to Consider

The crypto lending space is expanding. New lenders seem to be popping up quite often, which means that some people in the cryptocurrency space, at least, see a market for crypto-backed lending. Despite the market having taken a downturn in 2018, rebounding from the bull run last year that catapulted Bitcoin to $20,000 in December, this space is expanding. Lately, Bitcoin has been holding around the $6,500 mark. Since the majority altcoins tend to follow Bitcoin’s price, that means the market as  whole is down, yet more crypto lenders are ambling to get in the door.

Some of the other companies in the crypto lending space that might be worth checking out include BitBond, Credible Friends, Bitfinex (a crypto exchange that facilitates crypto financing transactions between parties), Celsius, Poloniex (another cryptocurrency exchange that allows traders to lend to other users), CoinLoan, Nebeus, GetLine, and BTCpop.

Authors:

Written by Paul Keenan and Allen Taylor.

Allen Taylor

Monday May 14 2018, Daily News Digest

Kabbage KABB 2017-1

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingTree to acquire Ovation Credit Services. Revolut to enter America. Flender delays UK launch. UK challenger banks test location-based P2P payments. Ant Financial raises $10B led by Carlyle Group. Today’s main analysis: KABB 2017-1 deep dive. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the FTC knew LendingClub was allegedly hiding fees. Elevate’s Q2 earnings estimates. UK customers trust banks, […]

Kabbage KABB 2017-1

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingTree, Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire Ovation Credit Services (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:  TREE) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ovation Credit Services, Inc., a provider of credit services with a strong customer service reputation. Ovation Credit Services utilizes a proprietary software application that facilitates the credit repair process and is integrated directly with certain credit bureaus while educating consumers on credit improvement via ongoing outreach with Ovation case advisors.

Europe’s New Fintech Unicorn, Revolut, Heads to America (Newsday) Rated: AAA

The London-based fintech start-up allows users to buy and trade cryptocurrencies, making it a direct competitor to the U.S.-based Robinhood. Revolut also sees itself as a disruptor of the traditional banking industry, as it offers checking accounts, peer-to-peer payments, and international money transfers, says Chad West, the company’s chief marketing officer.

FTC Doesn’t Hide Action Over LendingClub’s Allegedly Hidden Fees (Lexology) Rated: AAA

The FTC noted that the site did feature a small green dot (known as a tooltip) with a white question mark inside, which appeared next to the term “APR.” If a consumer clicked on the tooltip, a pop-up bubble appeared with a disclosure that read: “APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is a measure of the total cost of credit as an annual rate. The APR is comprised of the annual interest you pay at a rate of 6.99%—which is ultimately paid each month to the investors who enable your loan—and a one-time origination fee of 3.5% ($350.00) that is collected out of your loan proceeds.”

The complaint reminds lenders of the continued importance of accuracy and completeness in advertising and other marketing in order to avoid UDAAP claims, including under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

KABB 2017-1 Deep Dive (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The battle for transaction fee interchange revenue is heating up. Amazon is now encouraging smaller retailers to use its own payment processing system – Amazon Pay – in lieu of credit cards or PayPal.Amazon is willing to offer the payments at a discounted rate in exchange for growing market share and gain additional data insights from merchants.

FinTech Earnings – LendingClub and OnDeck

The market has responded well to LC’s earnings and the stock price has surged 17% post earnings.

Source: LendingClub

OnDeck’s stock price has enjoyed a 10% rise since earnings.

Source: OnDeck

Deal Deep Dive KABB 2017-1 Additional Notes

Kabbage is issuing $60 Mn in additional notes under the expandable option on its $550 Mn KABB 2017-1 deal. The additional notes classes A to D have balances of $44.4 Mn, $9.5 Mn, $3.2 Mn, and $2.9 Mn respectively. KBRA has rated the tranches A, BBB, BB, and B respectively. Kabbage issued $525 Mn in bonds originally on the KABB 2017-1 deal, and subsequently issued $25 Mn in additional notes.

KABB 2017-1 is passing all its triggers and has a weighted average yield of 42.9% and a 3-month average DQ percentage of 9.7%. The bonds are locked out from receiving principal for 36 months since issuance and the additional cashflow is used to purchase receivables that keep the weighted average receivables yield for the entire pool above 38% and individually yield at least 19%.

Source: PeerIQ, KBRA
Source: PeerIQ, KBRA

Q2 2018 Earnings Estimate for Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) Issued By Jefferies Group (Macon Daily) Rated: AAA

Jefferies Group lifted their Q2 2018 earnings per share estimates for shares of Elevate Credit in a report released on Tuesday, May 1st, according to Zacks Investment Research. Jefferies Group analyst J. Hecht now forecasts that the company will earn $0.19 per share for the quarter, up from their previous estimate of $0.18. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s FY2018 earnings at $0.83 EPS, Q1 2019 earnings at $0.37 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $1.09 EPS.

Source: Macon Daily

Renaud Laplanche: the sailor who revolutionised banking (Money Week) Rated: A

“Soft spoken and unfailingly polite”, as Forbes noted in 2015, Laplanche claimed, with some justification, to be “transforming” the banking industry – bypassing banks to link would-be borrowers with lenders online. He swiftly established his outfit as the market leader, originating some $20bn in loans and winning copious “disruptive innovator” awards. Then came the shipwreck.

He is now focused on “what can I learn from it, what can I do better. Upgrade has been part of that.” Last year, Upgrade raised $60m – “the biggest ever series A funding round for a US fintech start-up”, backed by “many of Lending Club’s original investors”. The market is now more crowded than ever, notes the Lending Times, and “margins have shrunk”. Still, many reckon that if anyone can steer a clear course it’s “the guy credited with creating the industry in the first place”.

 

 

 

PayPal CEO: A Cashless Society Is Possible as Mobile Payments Take Over (The Street) Rated: A

The world is rapidly digitizing. You look at every industry, whether it’s media publishing or entertainment and you are now seeing different value propositions being driven by software and mobile connectivity. Financial services is no different. I think you are going to see more changes in the financial services industry in the next five or 10 years than maybe we have seen in the last 25 or 30 years.

The world is rapidly digitizing. People are writing many less checks than they ever have before. Peer to peer lending, which once involved giving cash to a friend to split a bill at a restaurant, that’s now happening digitally.

The Most Well-Funded Tech Startup In Every US State (CB Insights), Rated: A

In our latest map of the most well-funded American tech startup in each state, some companies with the deepest pockets were found in Florida (Magic Leap, $1.89B), Virginia (OneWeb, $2.2B), Utah (Domo, $698M), and Illinois (Avant, $655M).

Source: CB Insights

Congress Votes to Erase Auto Loan Anti-Discrimination Rule (LendEDU) Rated: A

Under the authority granted by the Congressional Review Act, the House of Representatives passed a measure on May 8 to roll back an Obama-era rule on auto lending practices issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It should be noted that the rollback pertains to a set of administrative guidelines issued by the CFPB, not a law ratified by Congress.

The House vote was 234-175, reversing a 2013 rule established by the CFPB to stop auto lenders from charging higher fees to borrowers based on their religion, sex, race, or age. The vote follows a Senate vote in April to also repeal this measure. It will now go to President Donald Trump’s desk for his approval.

Virginia Attorney General Files Suit Against Online Lender Alleging Predatory Lending (JD Supra) Rated: B

The complaint alleges that the lender, one of the largest online lenders in Virginia, operated without a Virginia license, and misled borrowers about its licensure status in another state in order to avoid Virginia’s 12% interest rate usury cap.  Virginia Code § 6.2-303.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that the installment loan agreements’ Utah choice-of-law provisions are void, and that Virginia law, including Virginia’s usury cap, applies to the loans.  The VA Attorney General also alleges that the lender attempted to collect on loans from borrowers who were in bankruptcy and entitled to protection from debt collection.

United Kingdom

Ireland’s Flender pushes back UK launch (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform Flender has pushed back its UK launch to focus on becoming the “dominant platform” in its home country first.

UK banks are trying out location-based P2P payments (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

On Friday, Revolut introduced a feature called “Near Me” which lets its customers find other Revolut customers using the same feature and send them money without knowing their contact details. On Monday, Monzo rolled out a capability called “Nearby Friends.”

The use cases for location-based peer-to-peer payments among consumers may not be compelling enough for providers to consider it, said Paygility Advisors partner Deborah Baxley.

Q&A With Simon Taylor, 11:FS Co-Founder (Forbes) Rated: A

However, last month’s announcement that London FinTech Revolut is now a so-called unicorn with a $1.7 billion valuation and TransferWise working with the Bank of England and launching a ‘borderless’ card that drastically slashes transaction costs, the future for the city may be companies such as these.

Another fellow London FinTech 11:FS is also making waves offering a range of FinTech services, not least being able to ‘make a challenger bank in 12 weeks’. Here company Co-Founder Simon Taylor speaks exclusively to Forbes about what these moves and also on Swedish company iZettle’s recent IPO announcement.

 

 

A new study shows UK customers trust banks but don’t engage with them (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK banks were trusted by 40% of consumers in 2017, up from 29% in 2015, according to a study from Accenture. This makes banks only 3% less trusted than retailers, and ahead of insurers, independent advisers, and tech companies.

Source: Business Insider

Additionally, customer satisfaction was up 5% from 65% in 2015 to 70% in 2017, suggesting banks have been doing something right in terms of customer experience in the recent years. This also brings banks ahead of life insurers and pension providers, as well as on the same level as motor insurers and home insurers, when it comes to customer satisfaction.

 

P2P lenders benefit as BoE keeps interest rates low (AltFi News) Rated: A

The Bank of England’s decision to keep the interest rates at 0.5 per cent should at least make peer-to-peer lenders smile. People are tempted to look for alternative and riskier ways to increase the value of their savings, as inflation continues to hover above BoE’s target of two per cent and traditional savings accounts offer barely any interest at all.

Mike Allan, the director of operations at LendingCrowd, said that the historically lax monetary policy created an opening for P2P lending to take off.

Why commercial property could be the new buy-to-let and how to invest for better returns (This is Money) Rated: A

Over the past five or six years, investing in property through peer-to-peer and crowdfunding platforms has grown enormously in popularity. There are now lots of platforms to choose from and each offers a slightly different proposition.

Both peer-to-peer and crowdfunding platforms have different approaches, in that some allow you to put money in and spread it across a number of properties, or a portfolio run by them.

 

 

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Snags Carlyle for $ 10 Billion Funding, Sources Say (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, the Chinese payments giant controlled by Jack Ma, is expected to close a fundraising of at least $10 billion in the next few days, attracting Carlyle Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as first-time investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Hangzhou-based company is said to be valued at about $150 billion in this round, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. The funding will be mostly used for overseas expansion, the people said.

PBOC Bans Unauthorized APP to Access Credit Rating System (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Recently, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, issued a document named, “Notice on Further Strengthening the Management of Credit Information Security” (Yinfa [2018] No. 102) (hereinafter referred to as “Document No. 102”), to further strengthen the management and security of credit information database. According to Document No. 102, credit reporting agencies and access agencies are strictly forbidden to query credit report without authorization, and unauthorized APP accessing to credit reporting systems is strictly prohibited. In addition, it is required to establish a leading group for credit information security work and make clear that the person in charge of the credit management work shall take the primary responsibility for related issue.

China’s online lenders reel from government clampdown (Nikkei Asian Review) Rated: A

Of 66 peer-to-peer lending platforms surveyed by FTCR, 10 said they might close because of difficulties in meeting new compliance standards and in controlling an increase in bad loans. Among the platforms, which match lenders with borrowers online, more than 40% of those in second- and third-tier cities said business had fallen in the first quarter compared with the end of last year.

P2P lending in China had grown rapidly, extending 2.8 trillion yuan ($443.3 billion) in 2017, equivalent to 20.7% of the amount lent by banks.

Antisocial networking (Breaking Views) Rated: A

A Chinese social network is finding new ways to lose friends. Renren has irked investors over plans to sell some of its assets, notably a stake in U.S. online lender SoFi, to a firm partly controlled by its chief executive.

Renren has been irritating shareholders for years. Since its initial public offering in New York in 2011 valuing it at close to $6 billion, the company has failed to live up to the hype of being China’s answer to Facebook. It is now worth just $600 million.

This latest episode also isn’t the first time boss Joe Chen has been accused of trying to enrich himself at the expense of shareholders. A non-binding 2015 bid to take Renren private for $1.4 billion never came to fruition, and the SoFi stake was a topic of dispute then, too.

European Union

Banco BNI Europa invests €15m in auto financing start-up Lendrock (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Portuguese Banco BNI Europa will invest up to €15 million in Spain-based Lendrock’s online financing platform that specialises in near prime consumer auto financing.

The bank says the Iberian partnership begins with the acquisition of part of the existing loan portfolio, offering exposure to Lendrock’s loans and setting the stage for the acquisition of monthly origination volumes.

iZettle: From Swedish Fintech Success To Europe’s Biggest Fintech IPO (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Swedish fintech iZettle announced last week that they intend on selling shares and launching an IPO in order to raise SKr2bn by listing on Nasdaq Stockholm. With plans to increase revenue by 40 per cent a year, iZettle aims to also break even by 2020.

With JPMorgan and Carnegie on their side as joint global co-ordinators, iZettle would like to walk away with at least SKr10bn ($1.1 billion) by the end of this month or June.

 

International

The Top 100 Venture Capitalists (CB Insights), Rated: A

For the third year in a row, CB Insights partnered with The New York Times to provide an algorithmically-driven view into the question of who are the top VCs. Not swayed by narrative or a storied history in venture capital, the NYT-CBI rankings provide a current view into the best venture capitalists in the world at an individual and firm level.

Some of the top movers in 2018 include:

  • Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures who moved from 10th place to 2nd due in part to a consistent knack for investing early in winners.  His stellar track record saw another success in recently public ecommerce company Stitch Fix.
  • And Rob Hayes of First Round Capital saw the most significant jump going from 85th to 7th for leading investments in Uberand Square.

First-time appearances on the ranking include Shawn Carolan of Menlo Ventures (investor in Roku), Meyer Malka of Ribbit Capital (investor in Credit Karma), and Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures (investor in MongoDB).

Tech firms will be regulated like banks in future (The Finanser) Rated: A

First, we have become addicted to technology. We live our lives staring at our devices rather than talking to each other or watching where we are going.

Second is privacy. Facebook and other internet giants are abusing our privacy rights in order to generate ad revenues, as demonstrated by Cambridge Analytica, but they’re not the only one.

Third is that the power of these firms is too much. When six firms – Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Facebook, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu – have almost all the information on all the citizens of the world held digitally, it creates a backlash and a fear.

 

Bitbond’s Loan Transfers Using Bitcoin Are Becoming More Popular (BTC Manager) Rated: A

Global peer to peer marketplace for small loans, Bitbond, allows clients the option to transfer their loans by using bitcoin. The bitcoin startup has seen its popularity grow, with the startup managing around $1 million in loans per month for 100 clients.

The revelation was made in an interview by Reuters TV with Bitbond’s German founder Radoslav Albrecht. He said the rationale behind the move is that it will help reduce the foreign exchange cost for clients.

The Benzinga Global Fintech Award Finalists For The Best Under-Banked Or Emerging Market Solution (Benzinga) Rated: B

The finalists for the Best Under-banked or Emerging Market Solution category are:

Airfox
Braviant Holdings
CreditStacks
Elevate Credit
Experian MicroAnalytics
Finn.ai
Humaniq
ID Finance
LenddoEFL
MoneyLion
Oakam
Self Lender, Inc.
Teller

Australia/New Zealand

Three disruptive forces driving Aussie neobanks like volt, as fintech startups get serious (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

In a significant milestone for the local fintech scene, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said last week volt bank would become the first recipient of a “restricted license” under its new regime, created after the federal government indicated it wants to see more competition in banking.

Here come the robots: First digital financial advice gets green light (NZ Herald) Rated: A

Already under pressure from reputational challenges, New Zealand’s human financial advisor workforce will now have to go head to head with computer-generated advice.

KiwiSaver provider Kiwi Wealth has today received the green light to be the first to offer personalised digital financial advice and will launch the service to its KiwiSaver members next month.

Kiwi Wealth, which is owned by the Government, ACC and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and is a sister company to Kiwibank, is the first to gain an exemption from the Financial Markets Authority.

India

Deifying big data (Business Line) Rated: A

The fusion of big data with artificial intelligence is creating this beast called ‘data capitalism’

The world is shifting from finance to data-capitalism. The man with data is the king. Data-rich markets will destroy the existing order, money will no longer be in its pre-eminent position, labour markets will be uprooted and millions of jobs endangered, firms thrown out of business, and so on.

From solving habitual tasks to affordable interior designs – your startup fix to start the week (Your Story) Rated: A

The rules of investment have changed over the years, and peer-to-peer lending is being viewed as an investment avenue that is expected to give returns to the tune of 18-22 percent, according to industry estimates. Bengaluru-based Finzy is trying to tap on to just that. Amit More’s background in finance had him excited about the credit opportunity in India. He teamed up with Abhinanadan Sangam, and the duo chose to set shop in the ripe Indian digital lending market. Finzy was incorporated in October 2016 with Bridge FinTech Solutions Pvt Ltd as the parent company.

Asia

Keeping Loan Sharks Away From Indonesia’s Fintech Archipelago (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Indonesia is planning to tighten regulation of its vibrant financial technology sector, imposing new rules on companies which it hopes will stand at the forefront of efforts to extend services to more of the country’s 260 million people.

Peer-to-peer lending jumped 38 percent in the first two months of 2018 from a year earlier, hitting 3.5 trillion rupiah, and OJK director Eko Ariantoro said in March that regulators “don’t want these developing fintechs to become loan shark-like businesses.”

Asia news roundup: Didi responds to passenger killing, Flipkart founder exits, and more (Tech In Asia) Rated: B

Julo raises US$5 million in series A (Indonesia). The peer-to-peer lending startup received the funding in a round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures. Participating investors included Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, and Central Capital Ventura, among others.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday April 23 2018, Daily News Digest

Marcus lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Top customer-rated lenders by loan product. Kabbage, Ingo Money partner on SMB loan disbursements. RateSetter offers 100 GBP cash incentive to ISA investors. TransUnion to buy Callcredit in Europe for $1.4B. Today’s main analysis: Bank earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: P2P lending vs. stock markets. Using psychometry for loan disbursement. Don’t fear the robo-advisor. Bank earnings. Fintech leaders […]

Marcus lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q1 2018 (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its quarterly list of the top customer-rated lenders on its network based on actual customer reviews for the first quarter of 2018.

The top lenders for the first quarter by product are:

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner:
Howard Bank

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner:
First Midwest Bank

Top 3 Badge:
Lending Club
Upgrade

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner:
OnDeck

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner:
iLendingDIRECT

Kabbage and Ingo Money Partner to Get Small Businesses their Loan Funds Faster (Small Business Trends) Rated: AAA

Kabbage and Ingo Money have teamed up to expedite the payout of loans into the accounts of small and medium-sized businesses in real time. The move is important news for small businesses in need of a fast loan payout to capitalize on new opportunities or continue operations.

Thanks to the new partnership, when businesses get a loan from Kabbage, the Ingo  Money technology will be used to deliver the funds to the applicant’s account right away. The loans are going to be paid out using Ingo Money’s push platform with push-payments-in-a-box technology.

The partnership was announced on pymnts.com at which time Kabbage President Kathryn Petralia explained the importance of accelerating the delivery of funds.

Strong Bank Earnings, The Copernican Revolution in Banking (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs delivered its highest revenue in 3 years, also driven by a boost from its fixed income trading business. The bank continues to invest in Marcus and has originated $2.3 Bn in loans life-to-date and has $17 Bn in deposits. Marcus is only one part of GS’s broader lending strategy. We note in the slide below from GS’s earnings call that Goldman has substantially increased its loan book from $64 Bn at the end of 2016 to $81 Bn at the end of 2017 by expanding collateralized lending to high net-worth clients and securities-based lending.

Source: PeerIQ

Bank of America’s total revenue grew by 3.7% to $23.3 Bn driven by its Consumer business which saw profits grow by $0.8 Bn to $2.7 Bn, and 32 straight quarters of loan growth. Average loans increased by $22 Bn to $280 Bn driven by growth in mortgages and credit cards. Provision for credit losses increased by $97 Mn to $935 Mn, driven by credit card seasoning and loan growth. The net charge-off ratio increased slightly to 1.27%. Bank of America is the leader in mobile banking and active mobile banking users increased 12% YoY to 24.8 Mn.

 

DON’T FEAR THE ROBO! (All About Alpha) Rated: A

Technology advances have infiltrated every corner of finance, including the world of wealth management. While few can argue with the positives of automated, algorithm-based portfolio management platforms, the advent of the cost-efficient, dispassionate robo-advisor has struck fear into the heart of many a financial advisor and fund manager, who see these technology options as a threat to their business practice.

FIRST, WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF A ROBO?

Lower fees. Most of these robo advisors charge less than 1%, with some south of .20%, versus the standard investment advisor fee range of 1-3% on a client’s portfolio.

Elimination of emotional trading. With a robo advisor executing a passively managed program, there is no chance of active management decision-making being affected by human emotional reaction to markets.

Index-like performance with tax efficiencies and global access. Most robo platforms feature ETFs that aim to produce results like an index, but with lower expense ratios than their equivalent counterparts found in mutual funds. For individuals focused on low cost but benchmark performance in a portfolio, a mix of ETFs can be a desirable option long term.

How Barclays US is using AI (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Barclays — the bank behind popular co-branded cards including Uber, American Airlines, JetBlue and a host of other retail partners — is using customer data to suggest products and understand the root causes of customer complaints. It’s an approach large banks like Capital One and JPMorgan Chase as well as startups like Credit Karma and MoneyLion are using to push insights and recommendations that are most relevant to the customer’s spending behavior and product preferences.

With all this data gathering, how do you avoid creeping out the customer?
We do a lot of testing, we are very thoughtful about products we develop and ways we communicate with customers. We don’t want to be in a situation where the customer is “creeped out”. We try to be very sensitive to that. We do a lot of data analysis and co-create experiences and products with customers to get a sense whether something will resonate or not. It’s an interesting time. It becomes straddling between convenience and relevance for the customer and going too far, [the sense of which] is different for each customer.

 

Lead Bank CEO: Tech, innovations help better clients, which makes a better bank (Kansas City Business Journal) Rated: A

Lead Bank CEO Josh Rowland is leaving no stone unturned on the technology front to help consumers gain financial strength and in turn create loyal, lifelong customers.

6th Avenue Capital Tips Off First “Merchant Madness” Promotion (AltFi), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the launch of its first “Merchant Madness” promotion. Throughout the month, and coinciding with the annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, 6th Avenue Capital will award points for all new ISOs, Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) submissions, approvals and funded deals.

In addition to the new Merchant Madness promotion, 6th Avenue Capital also recently announced competitive underwriting guidelines, buy rates and incentive programs for 2018.

United Kingdom

P2P lender RateSetter offers ISA investors £100 cash incentive (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

RateSetter is offering new investors up to £100 for opening a new Innovative Finance ISA with the p2p lending platform.

Lending Works set for further growth after passing £100m milestone (Financial & Business Insights) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender Lending Works has passed £100 million in terms of the amount of money lent, cementing its position as one of the biggest UK platforms of its type.

Some 20,000 customers – over 16,000 borrowers and nearly 4,000 lenders – have used the platform to date and every penny of capital and expected returns has been delivered to lenders on time.

Gone in 98 minutes! Blend Network sees surge in property loans (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A PEER-TO-PEER lending platform aiming to be “Goldman Sachs of P2P” has reached £2m of lending in less than four months, with its latest development loan getting backed within 98 minutes.

The platform launched in January and currently offers average returns of 12.11 per cent on property-backed development loans outside London.

A new challenge for business banking (Money Week) Rated: A

There are a few providers already in business. CountingUp is a new service that integrates a business account with automated bookkeeping. Income and expenses are automatically categorised, and it can produce profit-and-loss accounts, raise invoices and file taxes. Sole traders will pay £9.95 a month; limited companies £19.95. Cash can be deposited via the Post Office for a £1 fee or via Paypoint for a 2.5% commission. Cash withdrawals cost £1.

Also in the works is CivilisedBank, which gained its banking licence in May last year, but released it earlier this month to give itself more time to develop its technology platform. CivilisedBank proposes a branch-free service for more established companies, and will focus on customer service by employing up to 80 “local bankers” for businesses with a turnover of more than £1m. It hopes to provide savings, loans, current accounts with overdrafts, and foreign exchange. It will also offer savings products to non-business customers.

Meet Andrea Linehan, commercial director with Grid Finance… (Business Irish) Rated: A

The recent warning that banks are no longer making the effort to get to know small- and medium-sized businesses when they apply for a loan, struck a chord with Andrea Linehan.

Linehan, the commercial director with Grid Finance, is keen to stress that Grid’s model is much more business friendly, with staff around the country eager to dig into the fine details of a business hungry for capital.

China

LexinFintech to Invest RMB1 Billion in Partner Cooperation over Next Three Years (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (“Lexin” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:LX) announced that it expects to invest RMB1 billion in cooperation with its partners over the next three years, to better serve its customers and to expand the use of credit services.

European Union

TransUnion expands into Europe with $ 1.4 billion Callcredit deal (Reuters) Rated: AAA

U.S. credit reporting agency TransUnion (TRU.N) on Friday said it will buy UK consumer data provider Callcredit for 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) from private equity firm GTCR, expanding its operations into Europe for the first time.

The deal comes at a time when credit-checking services are growing, in response to the proliferation of non-traditional lenders to consumers, such as payday loan providers and online lenders.

Fintech in Germany (Lexology) Rated: AAA

As the largest economy in the European Economic Area, the German market offers many opportunities for fintech innovation. Although some of the initial disruptive energy has been mitigated by regulatory challenges and a soft trend towards consolidation, a second phase of solid and mature business development is on the horizon.

Important players in the market include:

  • N26 – an app-based direct bank;
  • Kreditech – offers data-based bank lending;
  • Raisin – offers a pan-European marketplace for savings products;
  • Spotcap – offers loans for small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • Auxmoney – operates an online platform for peer-to-peer money lending services;
  • Smava – offers a loan comparison platform;
  • Liqid and Scalable – both offer online portfolio management to retail customers;
  • Exporo – offers an equity crowdfunding platform for real estate investment and bitbond, a bitcoin-based peer-to-peer lending platform; and
  • Finleap – while not a fintech company itself, it offers a fintech company builder ecosystem.
International

SPRING MEETINGS 2018 GLOBAL VOICES: INTERVIEW WITH IMAD MALHAS (World Bank Live) Rated: A

As part of our Spring Meetings 2018 Interview Series, we will be talking with Imad Malhas, ​CEO, IrisGuard, on how technology can help in the financial inclusion of displaced people.

Australia

“It was clear the loan products for small businesses were just not good enough,” says Moshal. He, and joint CEO Beau Bertoli, 34, set out to solve that problem in 2011 with Prospa, their Sydney-based online lender. Last year, Prospa provided over A$500m (£273m) in small-business loans, which are funded by bundling the loans together and selling them on to institutional investors. Interest rates start at around 12%, stretching into the mid-20s depending on risk.

Prospa’s draw is its speed in processing applications, with funding coming the same day. “We aren’t necessarily cheaper than a bank, but we offer speed, convenience and more access to credit,” says Bertoli. A A$25m funding round last year valued the business at A$235m, and the lender is now testing the waters for a stockmarket listing.

India

SoftBank-backed fintech firm True Balance raises $ 23m bridge round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Gurgaon-based digital payments firm True Balance has reportedly raised $23 million in a bridge round from a clutch of foreign institutional investors.

According to a report in The Economic Times, Japan-based Line Ventures Corporation, Korean search engine Naver, Korean lender Shinhan Bank, TS Investment and other investors participated in this latest round.

P2P Lending Vs Stock Markets: The ideal Investment for you (Money Control) Rated: AAA

Investment in Financial Assets has been increasing in India. High return assets such as stocks and Peer to Peer (P2P) lending are increasingly sought after by investors.

It depends on the knowledge and risk profile of the person. While P2P lending is simple, stocks are pretty complex and require a lot of knowledge. However, both have the potential to provide good returns.

Indian households tend to have the highest savings in the world – at about 30 percent of income. Surprisingly, this does not translate into investments in the same proportion. Only about 3.2 crore people invest in the country’s stock markets – that is less than 3 percent of the population.

Africa

Using Psychometry In Its Loan Disbursement Process, Nigeria’s P2P Lender KiaKia Is Bringing Down The Loan Default Rate (Wee Tracker) Rated: AAA

Although news reports from the Q4 2017 show that banks are increasingly becoming open to lending more money even as lenders are expected to loosen credit scoring criteria in Q1 2018, they recorded an 8 percent increase in bad loans recorded in 2017.

Indeed the market is vast for Kiakia and other competing online loan services. Statistics from Nigeria interbank settlement system shows that there are over 31 million verified bank accounts in Nigerian banks.

For Kiakia about 75% of this number has never accessed any form of consumer or business credit from any financial institutions.

Asia

Robo-advisors offer low-cost growth opportunities, says GlobalData (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

Nomura Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Nomura Holdings, has recently agreed to buy majority stake in Tokyo-based robo-advisory services provider 8 Securities Inc and a minority stake in Hong Kong headquartered parent company 8 Limited for JPY2.7bn ($25m). Expect major international asset managers to build similar distribution channels via the purchase of other established robo-advice FinTechs, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

Compared to most robo-advisers, 8 Securities has been in the market for a while. Chloe, its robo-advice platform, was the first in Asia to be offered via a mobile app and it currently has a presence in Hong Kong and Japan.

Latin America

Brazil Fintech Nubank Launches Facial Biometrics “AccessoBio” (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech startup Nubank announced earlier this week the launch of its new facial biometrics feature, AccessoBio. According to various reports, the fintech firm will now use the AccessoBio tool to help prevent identity fraud in credit card transactions.

ZDNet noted that Nubank believes the introduction of biometrics to its technology is a positive for customers due to the fact it does improve the mobile-based experience around the credit card requests and reduces the possibility of false rejects while reducing identity fraud possibility.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 7 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending categories

News Comments Today’s main news: Citigroup may open a national digital bank. Marcus to open in UK, Goldman recruiting engineers. Robo.Cash posts 2017 results. Tera Funding to hedge P2P project finance risk. Today’s main analysis: Preparing taxes for LendingClub, Prosper investments. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why institutional investors turn to marketplace loans. Branches are still disappearing despite Chase’s investment. Credit card […]

marketplace lending categories

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Citigroup moving toward ‘national digital bank’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Citigroup Inc is laying the foundation, through a growing network of mobile banking tools, to support the launch of a national digital consumer bank sometime within the next three years, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, had fewer than 700 U.S. branches at year-end compared with more than 4,000 at the three biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Citigroup, Kabbage Form Consortium on Fintech Cybersecurity (WSJ), Rated: A

Four financial companies including Citigroup Inc.C -0.48% and online lender Kabbage Inc. said Tuesday they have formed a consortium to address fintech firms’ cybersecurity risks, a sign of the industry’s growing links to traditional banks and insurers.

 

Why institutional investors are turning to marketplace loans (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Greenwich Associates, an unaffiliated research company, conducted a study to better understand how marketplace lending is perceived and the current state of adoption within the institutional investing community.

Study Finding #1: Higher yields drive investment.

Sixty-seven percent of institutional investors cited the higher yield that marketplace loans tend to offer as their primary reason for investing.

Study Finding #2: Different investors use the asset for different things.

Because marketplace loans can be used for many different reasons, one of the first questions that investors may face when considering marketplace loans is how to categorize them. For over two-thirds of surveyed institutional investors currently invested in MPL (see chart below), they fall in the category of structured products, putting them alongside ABS and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Almost half of current investors reported viewing them as short-duration instruments and one-third as high-yield bonds.

Almost 40% of institutional investors who are not yet invested in marketplace loans said they didn’t know how to characterize them.

Study Finding #3: The path to institutional adoption will be driven by a few key catalysts.

Since mid-2017, however, each new issuance was rated by at least one rating agency, removing this obstacle and further broadening exposure to the asset class.

Investors deeply value data and analytics, which are key to understanding the credit profile of borrowers on marketplace lending platforms.

While the secondary market for marketplace loans is illiquid, there is a more active secondary market for the securitized offerings.

Study Finding #4: Marketplace lending is here to stay.

A majority of current investors, 52%, believe that marketplace lending will be a significant player in the financial system in the next 10 years. This is another meaningful vote of confidence in the industry.

New phase of growth and development for ‘Peer-to-Peer’ lending (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Among the investors participating in a new Greenwich Associates study, 30% of institutions not currently investing in marketplace loans (MPL) are watching the space or conducting research and due diligence on the asset class—a level of interest that suggests future institutional involvement is on the horizon.

The first marketplace loans were securitised in September 2013, and the trend has accelerated rapidly since then. Cumulative issuance now stands at $28.2 billion, with $4.4 billion issued in Q4 2017.

LendingClub and Prosper Tax Information for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Note that investors who invest through a retirement account do not have to worry about tax reporting. Here at Lend Academy we believe there is a strong case for investing in marketplace lending through a product like an IRA.

Copied below is how LendingClub summarizes the tax treatment of investing in loans on the platform:

Generally, gains and losses from recoveries, sales or charge-offs related to LendingClub Notes are reported for tax purposes as capital gains or losses, rather than ordinary gains or losses. Generally, LendingClub Notes are considered capital assets because they are owned for the purposes of investment (similar to a stock or a bond). Generally, realized capital losses are first offset against realized capital gains. For individuals, any excess capital losses can be deducted against ordinary income up to $3,000 ($1,500 if married filing separately). Capital losses in excess of this limit may be carried forward to later years to reduce capital gains or ordinary income until the capital losses are fully utilized.

Source: Lend Academy

I had $12.21 in proceeds (recoveries) from loans that were charged off which is offset by the cost basis of charged off loans, $204.33. This resulted in a net loss of $192.12.  On my 1099-B outlining long-term transactions I had proceeds of $109.64 with a cost basis of charged off loans of $1,469.02 resulting in a net loss of $1,359.39. The short and long-term transactions roll up on the 1099-B summary shared above (middle box). Ignoring taxes, I earned a profit of about $500 on my LendingClub account for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

Filing Taxes for a Prosper Account

Below is my 1099-OID which includes the net interest of $840.62 I received for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

My losses totaled $834.71 which means I earned a net return of around $100 for the year.

How would regulators react to Amazon-JPM checking partnership? (American Banker), Rated: A

The negotiations between Amazon and big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to offer a checking-account-like product pose significant questions for regulators about the e-commerce giant pushing further into the banking space.

Who owns the customer?

If the bank “owns the customer,” then “the rules governing banks protect the consumer,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based financial services consultant, Federal Financial Analytics. “If the bank doesn’t own the customer, then the rules — not just the consumer protection rules but the safety and soundness rules — are both different.”

What is Amazon’s role in the accounts?

If JPMorgan is “contracting with Amazon to do the marketing and customer intake, in that case, Amazon is subject to the regulation for those activities,” similar to other bank partnerships, said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Who, if anyone, would regulate Amazon?

Another tricky question is which agency would regulate the partnership depending on how it is structured. For example, if Amazon were to act as a vendor to the bank, the e-commerce company would fall under a wide range of bank regulations involving partnerships and data security. However, if JPMorgan were to be a vendor to Amazon, those regulators would have limited influence over the deal.

Branches are still going away, despite Chase’s flashy investment (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year JPMorgan Chase announced it’s investing $20 billion in 400 new branches and last week at the company’s Investor Day CFO Marianne Lake said 75 percent of its deposit growth comes from customers that visit its branches. Research published last month by Novantas shows 60 percent of Americans would still prefer opening a checking account at a branch than on digital channels and a September report by Deloitte similarly found 56 percent of people prefer to open bank accounts in branches (based on a survey of 3,000 consumers who had opened a deposit wealth management or consumer loan between January 2016 and May 2017).

JPMorgan Chase may be opening hundreds of new branches, but that hardly suggests every bank will follow.

Source: Tearsheet

Legacy vendors have been losing revenue
Global financial services and ATM producer NCR has been watching revenue fall over the past year where ATM sales and software licenses are concerned as revenue from services and cloud has shown a slight uptick. Diebold Nixdorf, another manufacturer of connected commerce and self-service products in the banking and retail industries, reported a 9.6 percent decline in revenue from banking sector services to $3.4 billion from 2016 to 2017.

Reimagining Lending Risk Management for the Digital Era (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As of February 2018, US bank lending of various kinds – auto loans, commercial credit, mortgages, credit cards or small business lending – constituted $11.7 Trillion, representing around 60% of US GDP and 70% of commercial banking assets.

A tale of two startups with ‘superstore’ ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s co-founder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at an industry event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.”

Robinhood’s co-founder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking at the same event later in the evening, had much the same messaging. “Five years from now,” Tenev told the crowd, Robinhood will be a “full service financial institution” with every product one can find at a “local bank branch and more.”

‘PIN on glass’ is still a novel concept for U.S. retailers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Though common in Europe, chip cards with PIN numbers still haven’t caught on in the U.S. But a mobile chip-and-PIN terminal could nudge more retailers to get on board.

TransUnion Introduces New IDVision Alerts to Mitigate Rise of More Sophisticated, Emerging Risks (Nasdaq), Rated: A

A new TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) analysis found that the growth in outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing in large part due to recently focused efforts by issuers to prevent such instances of fraud.

Outstanding suspected synthetic fraud balances rose 5.2% between Q4 2016 ($276.01 million) and Q4 2017 ($290.37 million). This was a far smaller percentage rise than what was observed the previous year when such balances rose 68.5% between Q4 2015 ($163.77 million) and Q4 2016. Despite the slowing of fraud balance growth in the credit card space, TransUnion found that the incidence of such fraud on credit applications remains similar to last year, moving from 0.59% at the end of 2016 to 0.60% in 2017.

While the growth of synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing due to proactive measures being taken by issuers, outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud identities increased 6.6% to $885.42 million in Q4 2017, up from $830.25 million in Q4 2016 for auto loans, credit cards, personal loans and retail cards combined.

TransUnion today introduced 25 new IDVision Alerts and data enhancements to its current collection of alerts, including new alerts for possible synthetic fraud, new or recently created identities and social security numbers that may be compromised. In total, TransUnion IDVision Alerts now provide more than 65 notifications to businesses about high risk, suspicious identities and other potentially fraudulent activities.

 

Varo Money Helps Americans With High-Yield Savings Accounts & SMS Alerts (Varo Email), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup Many Americans Are Struggling to Achieve Good Financial Health

A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo Money, determined that 85 percent of American adults sometimes feel stressed out about money, and a full 30 percent feel stressed out about money constantly.

  • About 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) are living paycheck to paycheck
  • More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) report having had to dip into their savings to make it to the next payday at least once in the past two years
  • 55 percent of millennials have dipped into their savings in the past few months
  • About a third (31 percent) of millennials understand what their finances will look like from month to month only “somewhat” or “not at all”

Helping Customers to Make More from Their Money

Varo’s 1.25% APY Savings Accounts have no fees or minimum balances and offer a rate that is more than 60x the average rate offered by traditional banks. According to Varo’s two new features are part of its continued expansion of features and focus on financial health for Varo customers:

  • 1.25% APY High-Yield Savings Account: All Varo customers can easily open an online savings account with a few taps through the Varo app and receive a rate of 1.25% APY. Customers can access funds 24/7 and easily transfer money from their checking into savings. There are no fees or minimum balances required.
  • SMS Alerts: Customers can receive notifications based on aggregated financial activity across all linked accounts that let them know how they’re doing on income, saving, and if they are at risk of overspending so they can stay on top of their money effortlessly. Standard text messaging and/or data rates from the wireless service provider may apply.

Startup, Rentlender Revolutionizes the Rental Market, Offering Finance Options for Renters (PR Newswire), Rated: A

According to a Harvard University housing report, over 110 million Americans, or about 36 percent of households, now live in rental units — an increase of 9 million renters over the past decade — the largest 10-year gain on record.

Unfortunately, other records are being smashed too: the number of cost-burdened renters — that is, households paying more than 30% of their income on housing — jumped to 21.3 million. And a record 11.4 million Americans are spending more than half their income on rent. The news is even worse for New Yorkers, who last year spent 65.2%, or two-thirds of their total income, on rent2.

With upfront rental deposits and fees at move-in costing over $3,000 (more if you live in New York City, where comparable costs typically top $20,000); there has never been a greater need for finance options for renters.

Beginning today, New York City-based startup Rentlender is partnering with Upstart to provide modern financing solutions for renters.

Renters must meet a minimum set of requirements to qualify for a loan including having a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%.  All loans are originated by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, and lending terms and fees are as follows:

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,0003
  • Loan duration: 3 or 5 years
  • Annual percentage rate: 7.436.25% to 29.99%4
  • Origination fee: 0% – 8% of loan amount
  • No prepayment fee

Renters can use these loans to ease the burden of renting in a number of ways:

  • Upfront costs – Pay first month, last month, security deposit and broker fees
  • Individual Months of Rent – Finance one or two months rent
  • A Full Year’s Rent – Finance a full year’s rent in addition to up-front costs

The loan application process is Powered by Upstart and provides renters with a fast, easy and paperless application process:

  1. Check Your Rate –  With a quick form, renters can see the loan options for which they qualify.
  2. Submit an Application – Complete the application online and indicate the bank account where funds should be sent.
  3. Accept Your Loan – Upon approval, log in and digitally sign loan documents. Funds can be available as quickly as the next business day.

Crowdfunding enters the New York City real estate scene (Born2Invest), Rated: A

These two problems are big hurdles for investors, but StraightUp is offering a solution to these woes. Crowdfund Insider notes that it is a new real estate crowdfunding platform that provides backers and investors an “unbeatable opportunity” on properties in New York City.

Capital markets tech firm Capitolis snagged $ 29 million in VC (New York Business Journal), Rated: A

Who gets: Capitolis, a New York-based technology provider for the capital markets, secured new funding.

Amount raised: $20 million in series A financing, plus $9 million in seed funding.

Credible Appoints Jobe Danganan as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Jobe Danganan as general counsel and corporate secretary, effective immediately.

GDS Link to Exhibit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PRWeb), Rated: B

GDS Link, a global provider of credit risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending for both consumer and small business, point of sale retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto and leasing, will be attending LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 at the Moscone West in San Francisco.

Upgrade Inc. Named a 2018 ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named a ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ finalist in the small company category by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs is recruiting at least 6 people for the UK launch of its online lender Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is recruiting engineers in London to help build and launch its online lender, Marcus, in the UK.

Credit Card Customers Prepare for Debt Crackdown (Market Oracle), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, as of this month, given credit card providers six months to adhere to the new rules that tackle the issues surrounding persistent debt*.

From September 2018, credit card providers must review the last 18-month history of a borrower’s repayment records, if they are in persistent debt, and assess whether they are subject to the new rules.

Source: Market Oracle

Investors flock to Assetz Capital IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ASSETZ Capital has had almost 3,000 investors start the process of setting up an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), with those who have already started investing putting an average of nearly £12,000 into the product.

Business borrowers should think outside the bank (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

SMEs are the backbone of the Scottish economy, making up 99% of the business population and accounting for more than half of all private sector employment.

The unemployment rate in Scotland rose to 4.5% in the final three months of last year, slightly higher than the rate of 4.4% for the UK as a whole, but there are grounds for optimism. Independent forecasts suggest that growth in the Scottish economy will be slightly higher than last year.

According to research from the British Business Bank , published on 20 February, net bank lending remained “relatively flat” in 2017, while P2P business lending volumes rose by 51% to almost £1.8 billion.

Why SME banking may spawn the industry’s next big winners (Euromoney), Rated: A

Small businesses, which account for more than 99% of private businesses in the UK and in aggregate contribute more than half of turnover and employment, are particularly poorly served by big banks.

The big five high street lenders are built for serving either retail customers or medium-size and larger companies with collateral to back three-year and longer term loans that the banks like to hawk to companies that do not really need them as a way to sell associated risk management.

Small businesses want short-term, flexible working capital with no punishing fees for low usage or early repayment. This is expensive for banks to underwrite – especially for new startups and sole traders lacking several years’ worth of financial history – and to administer. Few small businesses want the interest-rate hedging and FX facilities that banks like to bundle up with term loans for medium-size and larger corporate customers.

The market is at last now producing non-bank competitors looking to provide the right kinds of services and products for small businesses – ones that give these challengers a shot at the £2 billion of annual revenue the British Bankers Association suggests SMEs now pay for financial services.

Wealth Wizards launches AI robo system (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Wealth Wizards, the robo-adviser majority owned by LV, has launched an artificial intelligence service which will learn how advisers serve their clients and replicate that house view.

China

Chinese IPOs In US Continue To Disappoint Investors (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Industry watchers foresee a 25% to 30% increase in the the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2018, versus 2017. That’s a significant gain given that the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2017 was more than double the number in 2016.

Peer-to-peer lending company Qudian Inc. raised more than a billion dollars when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in last October. Today the stock is down just over 50%, according to data from Dealogic, a loss of more than US$500 million for investors.

The average PE ratio for profitable Chinese companies listing in the U.S. reportedly rose to 50 in 2017, versus 31 a year earlier, driven in part by the marketing efforts of the three banks behinds most of the IPOs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse AG, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Another problem has been the Chinese government’s crack down on online consumer lending. This has hurt the businesses of financial technology companies, which made up the largest group of IPOs in 2017.

European Union

Online Lender Robo.Cash Posts 2017 Stats (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash outlined the results of its first year in operation on the European P2P lending market: 2,000 investors from the EU and Switzerland invested over €3M in the issue of 330,000 short-term PDL-loans in Kazakhstan and Spain. The average inflow of investments is €240,000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.Robo.Cash views the results and platform dynamics as proving the growing demand for complex automated solutions in the global alternative fintech.

The European investors financed 330 thousand short-term PDL-loans (Financial IT), Rated: A

The European P2P-platform Robo.cash was launched in Latvia on February 21, 2017. It has achieved to attract over €3 million and 2.000 investors from 29 European countries (the EU and Switzerland) in one year. The average inflow of investments is €240 000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.

International

The Pro-Growth Magic of Inflation Anchoring: Eco Research Wrap (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Credit-constrained industries grow faster in countries with well-anchored inflation expectations, based on an IMF analysis of data covering 22 manufacturing industries for 36 advanced and emerging-market economies between 1990 and 2014. It seems to be the anchoring – not the level – that matters for growth. So while most advanced economies angle for 2 percent, there’s nothing magical about that number.

Killing zombies

The share of global zombie firms – low-productivity companies that struggle to meet their interest payments – has more than tripled in the past two decades, climbing to 2 percent of companies in 2016 from 0.6 percent in 1996. Early, incomplete data for 2017 indicate that the may finally be disappearing, suggesting that climbing interest rates are making it harder for the laggard firms to hang on.

Websites for Bitcoin (BTC) Borrowing and Lending (Hade Platform), Rated: A

1) Bitbond

They have more than 100,000 happy borrowers and investors. The peer to peer Bitcoin borrowing community has offered loans to more than 2500 borrowers. The loan application process is simple, and the loans can be received within one hour. Investors receive up to 13% interest on the loans they give, with some investors having a history of loaning to more than 100 borrowers. The duration of the loans, which are generally to help finance small businesses, range from 6 months to 3 years. Bitbond has users from more than 120 countries, and has an investment volume above $1million.

2) Btcpop

With a large user base above 20,000, from more than 60 countries, Btcpop holds a volume above $1million.

3) BTCjam

BTCjam has more than 100,000 users from more than 200 countries. The website supports peer to peer lending and has a volume of more than $13 Million BTC in their holding.

Australia

RateSetter CEO: Comprehensive credit reporting and open banking to help Australia play catch-up (mozo), Rated: AAA

For many Australians hearing the words ‘credit history’ may well elicit a shudder down their spine – especially if they’re looking at taking out a finance option such as a personal loan, credit card or home loan. But in just under four months that could well change, with the impending implementation of mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR).

From July 1, the big four banks will be required to have at least 50% of their credit data – both positive and negative – available to be shared, which Daniel Foggo, Australian CEO of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, suggests will help Australia catch up to the rest of the world.

Promontory says AI for banking compliance ‘a long game’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

The inaugural chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority says it will take “massive investment” before regulators let banks use artificial intelligence to meet their multimillion-dollar compliance obligations.

While AI is being used to deliver personalised banking experiences to customers via “chatbots” and helping bank staff make more customer-centric decisions, the technology which Promontory thinks has the capacity to cut sky-high compliance costs is still a work in progress.

The company is combining its regulatory prowess with IBM’s artificial intelligence technology known as “Watson” to cut costs, but also to improve accuracy for regulators.

Verrency, a global Australian payments platform and fintech marketplace, has been accepted into the latest fintech cohort of Silicon Valley-based technology accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center.
India

Women are Looking at Alternative Forms of Investments and Tech is Here to Help (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

More and more women are taking charge of their financial decisions and moving beyond the usual investment routes and looking at P2P lending, mutual funds as options.

Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Faircent, believes that gone are the days when women investors looked only at traditional tools of investments as part of their financial planning. “These ambitious go-getters are increasingly ditching the traditional tools of savings and investments and exploring the relatively new and more lucrative forms of investments,” said Gandhi.

At Faircent, 14% of the lenders registered are women and they account for 21% of the total amount disbursed through the platform.

“Female lenders on our platform are earning an average NAR of approx. 20% p.a proving that women tend to invest wisely; know how to take calculated risks, can meticulously diversify their investment portfolio across different borrowers and hence, end up enjoying better returns,” asserted Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Keerti Kumar Jain, founder and CEO, of Anytime Loan, shared the following statistics from their platform regarding female lenders.

Blockchain: a new technology or a new kind of enterprise? (YourStory), Rated: A

Let us imagine a new kind of enterprise that is designed to create value through a self-regulating method that is both decentralised and auto-incentivising. This is in direct contrast to the conventional top-down hierarchical, command and control enterprise.

We will do this in a two-step process.

First, we set up an initial monetary policy (“the white paper”) in the form of a finite number of digital tokens that represents the overall value of the enterprise. This also creates the requisite economic scarcity to start with that is essential to this approach.

Second, we set up clear encodable rules for how the participants who generate value in the enterprise will “earn” in tokens. This incentivises the participants to “do the right thing” to generate value for the enterprise, which in turn increases the value of the tokens.

Distributed ledgers

One basic requirement for setting up such an enterprise, is the use of a transparent immutable Distributed Ledger to establish trust between all participants of the enterprise.

Examples of the new kind of enterprise

A Distributed P2P Lending Network in which Lenders and Borrowers are joined by a network of Verifiers, Hosting providers and Developers, all incentivised to build, maintain and use the distributed lending platform that is hosted on a blockchain technology.

Asia

Tera Funding sets out to hedge risks of P2P project finance (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

The high return — often at above 10 percent — that the instrument promises to the lenders, triggered a rush into the sector, and roughly a third of loans on P2P platforms went into project financing as of September.

As such, the default rate of the average local project financing P2P platform operators is relatively higher at 1.7 percent, over threefold that of other P2P platforms, according to an estimate by the Financial Services Commission.

The returns are roughly estimated 8-15 percent of investment per a year, without tax deducted, depending on the level of risk.

Fintech lenders hit back at OJK (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial technology (fintech) players were in shock when they found out that their main regulator, the Financial Services Authority (OJK), had some disconcerting views about their businesses despite having a relatively close relationship.

Executives of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech firms on Tuesday voiced their concerns about a controversial statement from OJK chairman W…

Funding for RedDoorz, Hotelogix, and 23Mofang (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Online lender Finova Capital secures US$6 million Sequoia Capital backing (India). The startup provides loans to small businesses in India’s tier-2 cities and rural areas. Finova will use the funding for technology development and hiring talent. Sequoia India made its investment in two tranches, the first taking place late last year.

Paytm Mall in talks with SoftBank to raise US$600 million (India).

Canada

Katipult Named Finalist For Most Promising Partnership Award at Lendit Fintech Industry Awards (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Canadian fintech Katipult announced last week it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. According to Katipult, the partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday February 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Groundfloor repayment timelines

News Comments Today’s main news: Alibaba acquires 33% stake in Ant Financial. MPL issuance grew by 100% year-over-year in Q4 2017. RateSetter prepares investors for IFISA launch. Bitbond launches alt investment fund with 1741 Fund Management. Today’s main analysis: An empirical analysis of Groundfloor’s loan vintages. International P2P lending volumes for January 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The effect of […]

Groundfloor repayment timelines

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

PeerIQ 4Q17 securitization tracker shows growth of marketplace lending industry (Bankless Times), Rated: AAA

Ten marketplace lending securitizations priced this quarter totaled $4.4 billion, a record for quarterly issuance, head of research Ashish Dole said. That is 100 per cent growth in issuance over the same quarter in 2016. Cumulative issuance is now $28.2 billion from 106 deals.

THE EFFECT OF ORIGINATION GROWTH ON QUALITY: AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF LOAN VINTAGES (Groundfloor), Rated: AAA

As we addressed those limitations by qualifying our offering with the SEC and raising our first round of venture capital funding in 2015, new critics emerged to say that while we might be able to lend in a local market at a small scale, we could never lend nationwide in very large numbers without compromising loan quality. In 2016, we set out to build a lending operations team (including risk management, underwriting, and asset management) with the professional expertise, policies, tools and processes to do just that. Our aim was to improve loan quality and volume simultaneously, well beyond our home market.

How have we done?

Vintages

Vintage A is composed of 88 relatively small, mostly local Atlanta-area loans originated during Groundfloor’s formative years, a period of 30 months (2.5 years).

Vintage B, by contrast, is composed of 222 loans that were originated following our addition and application of greater lending expertise. This vintage is more than 2.5X larger, and was originated over the course of 24 months (two years, a 20% shorter period of time).

Source: Groundfloor

Performance Measure #2: Timeliness of Repayment

For each vintage, we analyzed when loans repaid in relation to their maturity dates. Here is a comparison of the timeliness of repayment for Vintage A and Vintage B, with percentages provided to break down the share of repaid loans.

Source: Groundfloor

Here is a snapshot of the situation as of December 31, 2017:

Source: Groundfloor

Juniper Square raises $ 6M for its real estate investment platform (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Juniper Square, which today announced it has raised a $6 million Series A round led by Felicis Ventures, is tackling the real estate investment side by helping investment managers raise and manage outside capital for their projects.

Today’s funding round brings the company’s total funding to date to $8 million; the company plans to use the new influx of capital to accelerate its product development and grow its team to better service its user base.

Overstock Introduces Robo-Advising Investment Platform tZERO Advisors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) has introduced a digitally-driven investment platform (aka robo-advising), presented by tZERO Advisors. The service is accessible to investors through the online retailer’s FinanceHub. For a monthly fee of $9.95, investors can either select from a group of pre-established Adaptive Dynamic Portfolios matched to their investment profiles, or create a customized blend of these portfolios.

States mull loosening of laws in response to CFPB payday rule (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s payday loan rule was supposed to reduce the number of Americans who get mired in debt they can’t afford.

But in an ironic twist, the 4-month-old rule is being used in state legislatures to justify the creation of a new category of loans that would be even costlier for many borrowers.

One such bill in Florida has zipped through three legislative committees in recent weeks. The Indiana House of Representatives voted to pass a similar measure Wednesday.

Bradley Strock, PayPal CIO, Joins Elevate’s Board of Directors (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that Bradley Strock has joined its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Mr. Strock joined PayPal in 2011 and since 2014 has been its Chief Information Officer.

Chase is using memes and GIFs to bring millennials to QuickPay (Tearsheet), Rated: A

JPMorgan is focusing its Zelle efforts on millennials, despite the platform outwardly claiming it’s not targeting that age group.

Chase will soon roll out an animated GIF campaign on social media as the second part of its Quick Pay with Zelle campaign.

With Chase QuickPay with Zelle, they can set recurring payments so you never wait for rent again. The best part? It’s already in your Chase Mobile app.  href="https://t.co/tQyDUm75Hf">pic.twitter.com/tQyDUm75Hf

In 2017 Chase saw a nearly 50 percent increase in p-to-p transactions — which includes all transactions before and after it joined the Zelle network — and a 15 percent increase in enrollments.

On Monday Zelle reported it transacted $75 billion across its member banks in 2017. Venmo processed $30 billion in the same period.

Subcommittee hearing looks at challenges, opportunities with fintech (Financial Regulation News), Rated: A

The House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit convened this week to discuss opportunities and challenges in the financial technology, or fintech, market.

“From online lending and payment companies to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, advances in financial technology are changing the way financial markets work and how consumers access credit,” Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said.

“Fintech lenders present an opportunity to expand credit access and quality. Although such lenders should be subject to appropriate regulation, the regulation must work with the fundamental economic reality of the market,” said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and senior research fellow at Mercatus Center, George Mason University. “Ensuring that regulations do not burden fintech lenders more heavily than their bank competitors are burdened and that the validity of their loans is not in doubt are important steps toward helping realize the promises of innovation.”

EquityBuild Launches New Website Showcasing Their New Revolutionary Hybrid Capital Fund (PR Web), Rated: A

EquityBuild announces the launch of their completely new website and newest investment product EquityBuild Fund.This site is dedicated to the company’s new revolutionary hybrid capital fund only available on their platform.

How to boost your monthly income: The easy way (Augusta Free Press), Rated: A

Safe investments are a real thing, and there cannot be a more secure way of investing in interest rates at a lending club. However, the alternative for which you must search is a peer-to-peer lending platform, where investors finance loans and then get interest rates as high as 10% on a yearly basis.  For instance, you could start with an initial deposit of $2,500, as the starting investment rate is 25%.

Cryptocurrency passive income is a thing – And you should try it

  • Decred – Decred is a self-funded crypto platform, where investors have a share of the platform’s currency even at the very beginning.
  • AKR – is a mining platform which offers each investor, even at the beginning of their journey a “delegated proof of work”. It works literally all around the clock and you virtually have to put NO EFFORTS.
  • NEO – another passive crypto income for those searching to round a bit their monthly income. The network works on “Gas” – this is the name of this small cryptocurrency.

Square shares climb after the payments company launches bitcoin trading for most users (CNBC), Rated: B

Nearly all users of Square‘s Cash payments app can now buy and sell bitcoin on the platform, CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday.

The service will not be available for customers in New York state, Georgia, Wyoming and Hawaii, according to Square’s website.

LendingPoint Names Antonio Martino as New Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint, the online balance sheet lender and provider of the LoanHero point of sale financing platform, today announced that Antonio Martino has joined the company as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Martino is a financial industry leader with more than 25 years of experience spanning 10 countries. Most recently he was Director, Citi Corporate Treasury, where he had global oversight roles within the asset liability management and balance sheet management processes for Citibank, N.A. Previously, Martino served as CFO of Citibank in Turkey and across Central Europe, with roles in Istanbul and Budapest, Hungary. In addition, Martino was Finance Director of Citibank Poland’s consumer banking division in Poland and Vice President of Finance within Citibank credit card business in Canada. Martino started his career in public accounting with Ernst & Young.

United Kingdom

RateSetter starts preparing investors for IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has begun emailing existing investors to get them ready for the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) this month.

The peer-to-peer lender sent messages to its customers on Thursday revealing that the IFISA would be made available to investors in the order they opened accounts.

Innovative Isas finally take off (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The new innovative finance individual savings accounts (IF Isas) raised just £17m in the 2016-2017 tax year, their first year of operation, but the figure for 2017-2018 looks set to be a lot higher, says HM Revenue & Customs. IF Isas enable savers to use their annual Isa allowance to invest through peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, which match investors looking for income with borrowers who need a loan.

In all, more than 30 platforms now offer the product, and providers report high demand – so much so that the market’s potential size in 2017/2018 may be limited only by the platforms’ ability to source enough borrowers who want to take out loans from investors wanting to lend.

Folk2Folk launches local lending movement (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The local lending movement has been created by the peer-to-peer lending platform to build and sustain socially and financially successful rural communities.

Folk2Folk intends to incorporate this ethos into its behaviour and activity.

The movement involves the participation and support of the platform’s lenders and borrowers, legal and accountancy partners, local authorities, MPs, chambers of commerce, local enterprise partnerships, surveyors, land agents, local cooperatives, leisure and tourism platforms, interest groups, community associations, charities, business groups and banks.

Novae GC joins payday lender Wonga after company takeover (The Lawyer), Rated: A

Payday loan company Wonga has hired a new general counsel following the departure of Bill Flynn after nearly three years.

Goji celebrates first year of investment bond (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Goji has reported a strong first year for its diversified lending bond, which has yielded a net return of 6% to investors.

The Business Funding Show closes the funding knowledge gap (KCW Today), Rated: B

The only funding exhibition in the UK and EU is returning to London for its third year. The Business Funding Show will be held on 22nd February 2018 at East Wintergarden and will connect entrepreneurs to top funders and service providers through conference talks,  an exhibitor showcase, and one-to-one investment clinics.

BFS aims to bring awareness to entrepreneurs about alternative funding options, from crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending to business angels and venture capital. The event saw a 33% increase in attendance in 2017, a figure the organisers aim to surpass this year.

China

Alibaba nabs 33% stake in Alipay operator A (IT Brief), Rated: AAA

With Alipay and Alipay Wallet under its umbrella, the company also runs 4 other major businesses: Yu’e Bao, Zhao Cai Bao, Ant Credit, and MYbank, a cloud based online lender the company was in the middle of establishing at the time of the name change.

Now, Alibaba Group Holdings has announced it will strengthen its strategic relationship with Ant Financial by acquiring a 33% equity stake in the company. The parties have agreed to certain amendments to their 2014 transaction agreements to facilitate the transaction.

Under the terms of the amended agreements, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (The Star), Rated: A

MYbank, a Chinese online lender that is an offshoot of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has built its business on doing things cheaply.

The bank says it can deliver loans to borrowers across China at lightning speeds for up to 1,000 times less than it would cost brick-and-mortar banks to do so.

MYbank employs about 300 people, half of whom are technicians.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan (RM1.24), compared to at least 2,000 yuan (RM1,239) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank. MYbank has built its technological infrastructure with Chinese-made technology, avoiding more expensive products from companies like IBM Corp, Oracle Corp and Dell EMC, which form the network backbone for much of China’s finance sector, Huang said.

MYbank is one of a handful of Chinese lenders – along with Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeBank – that are founded completely with private investment. Since mid-2015, MYbank has served more than 7 million small business owners, Huang said. The bank is seeking to expand its network to include China’s 70 million to 100 million small businesses under-served by traditional financial institutions.

The bank’s net interest margin – around 3% to 5% – is higher than those for China’s major banks, which target large state companies, Huang said.

 

European Union

Bitbond Launches Alternative Investment Fund in Partnership with 1741 Fund Management (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer small business financing platform Bitbond has entered into a partnership with 1741 Fund Management to launch an alternative investment fund.

European Alternative Finance Market Expanded by 41% in 2016, P2P Consumer Lending Leads (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European online alternative finance market grew by 41 per cent to 7.7 billion euros in 2016, according to the 3rd annual European Alternative Finance Industry Benchmarking Report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. The report entitled “Expanding Horizons” indicates that online alternative finance showed growth in new areas across Europe.

For country-specific numbers, click here.

Among other findings of the report:

• Institutionalization grew considerably from 2015 to 2016, with 45 per cent of peer-to-peer consumer lending and 29 per cent of peer-to-peer business lending funded by institutions such as banks, pension funds and asset management firms.

• Online alternative finance for business continued to grow, providing 1.14 billion euros to more than 14,000 businesses throughout Europe. Debt models including peer-to-peer business lending accounted for 67 per cent of business finance, while equity models accounted for 27 per cent.

• Estonia ranked first for alternative finance volume per capita for the second year in a row, at 63 euros, followed by Monaco (51 euros) and Georgia (28 euros).

• Countries in which platforms believe that existing regulations are adequate are more likely to show higher levels of alternative finance per capita and a larger share of business funding.

• While overall perceptions of regulatory adequacy are divided, the greatest discontent concerns laws governing equity-based crowdfunding

• Two types of risk are of greatest concern to European alternative finance platforms: a potential collapse of a well-known platform due to malpractice, and fraud involving one or more high-profile transactions.

Bob Diamond to join board of Corrado Passera acquisition vehicle (Financial Times), Rated: A

Bob Diamond plans to join the board of a €600m acquisition vehicle chaired by Corrado Passera, which listed on Thursday, bringing together two of Europe’s best known ex-bankers to buy an Italian lender to small businesses.

After the cash shell’s initial public offering on Thursday, Mr Passera told reporters in Milan that it had shortlisted five small Italian lenders and would complete the acquisition of one of them for up to €60m — allowing it to become a bank.

The plan is to turn the small bank into an online lender to small businesses and a merchant bank, which will buy non-performing loans from other banks and parcel them up before selling them on to institutional investors.

 

Italy’s SPAXS shortlists five banks in acquisition hunt (Reuters), Rated: A

Saddled with one quarter of Europe’s nearly $1 trillion debt pile, which has rattled investor confidence in them, Italian banks have become more selective in their lending and compete to lend to low-risk firms, squeezing profit margins, while many small businesses find it hard to access funds.

Shares in SPAXS, which will use up to 10 percent of the amount raised in the IPO for the acquisition, were 4.04 percent higher at 1038 GMT on their market debut on the alternative investment segment of the Milan bourse.

Google and Facebook set off a second wave of fintech talent (Financial Times), Rated: A

One cloud on the horizon, however, is Brexit. The UK’s departure from the EU could make it harder for Irish fintechs to scale up quickly through expansion into the neighbouring British market, which many of them use as an early testing ground.

A good example of this is Plynk, a payment and messaging app aimed at young people, which was co-founded by Charles Dowd and Clive Foley in 2015, a year after Mr Dowd left Facebook. Based in the Camden Street area, Plynk last year raised €25m from investors led by Swiss Privée.

Another start-up that aims to build a global presence from its Irish base is TransferMate, which has handled more than $10bn of cross-border payments for businesses since it set up in 2010. Last year it raised €30m from Allied Irish Banks, with plans to offer the fintech’s software to all the bank’s clients.

By the end of this year, TransferMate expects to derive as much as half its revenue coming from clients in the US, where it has been approved by all 50 states. A third of its revenue is expected to come from European clients and a fifth from the rest of the world.

The most successful product of Ireland’s fintech scene is actually based in San Francisco. Stripe, which provides payment services to businesses, was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, who have become paper billionaires thanks to its rapid growth.

Stripe has its European headquarters in Ireland, where it employs about 10 per cent of its 1,000 global staff. Iain McDougall, the company’s head of UK and Ireland, says the country’s fintech growth is being driven by “a second wave of talent in Ireland, spawned by the massive investment of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in Silicon Docks”. A former Google employee himself, Mr McDougall says: “We’re starting to see some of that talent come through, not just college graduates with a couple of years experience . . . there’s now significant depth to it.”

International

International P2P Lending Volumes January 2018 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

This month I added Linked Finance.

Zopa crossed the milestone of 3 billion GBP originated since launch.

Source: P2P-Banking

Moven To Buy US Bank, Create Joint Venture In Japan With SBI (PYMNTS), Rated: A

According to a report in the American Banker, SBI will receive one seat on Moven’s six-member board and the companies will create a joint venture in Japan.

Of the funding the company will receive from SBI Group, some will go toward the joint venture to sell customized Moven software for Asian banks.

Salesforce boosts nCino global expansion plans (American Banker), Rated: A

NCino, a vendor of cloud-based banking technology, announced a new round of funding led by Salesforce Ventures to help fund its global expansion strategy.

The funding round led by Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment group of Salesforce, also featured participation from another existing nCino shareholder. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

Several countries investigating Japanese virtual coin heist (e27), Rated: B

Takao Asayama, who is a member of the Singapore-based NEM Foundation that is behind the cryptocurrency, told reporters in Tokyo that it is working with exchanges to block the hackers from cashing out the stolen cryptocurrency. He did not name the countries involved in investigations.

India

Jaitley extends avenue for SME financing, bad loans in the sector now on radar (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

As bank credit to micro, small and medium enterprises shrink, the government has decided to get innovative by getting Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) and the burgeoning fintech industry to play a larger role in financing. However, NPAs in the MSME sector would also now undergo greater scrutiny.

“Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) stepped up financing of MSMEs after demonetization. NBFCs can be a very powerful vehicle for delivering loans under MUDRA. Refinancing policy and eligibility criteria set by MUDRA will be reviewed for better refinancing of NBFCs,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19.

If we look at the NBFC segment first, it specialises in catering to sector specific financial needs covering retail; consumer and vehicle loans; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and micro finance among others.

Source: Economic Times

Tech play
Jaitly also laid out a roadmap to use data generated by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to enhance credit availability to the SME sector.

“It is proposed to onboard public sector banks and corporates on Trade Electronic Receivable Discounting System (TReDS) platform and link this with GSTN. Online loan sanctioning facility for MSMEs will be revamped for prompt decision making by the banks. Government will soon announce measures for effectively addressing non-performing assets and stressed accounts of MSMEs. This will enable larger financing of MSMEs and also considerably ease cash flow challenges faced by them,” said Jaitley.

Source: Economic Times

At end-March 2017, there were 11,522 NBFCs registered with the Reserve Bank, a number that is only bound to increase with fintech sectors like P2P being clubbed in the segment. The Economic Survey has revealed that the amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was cornered by large enterprises.

For millions of SMEs in the country, banks only lent out 17.4 % of the total credit.

Indian Budget 2018: A Push for Blockchin and Cyber Tech (Bank Info Security), Rated: A

In a move to push adoption and development of new technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, the finance minister announced allocation of Rs 3,073 crore for the Department of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, the finance minister’ pledge to encourage use of blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that supports cryptocurrencies, in payment systems has earned him accolades from some security practitioners.

“Blockchain can be effectively used to process banking transactions. I see blockchain-enabled wallets and blockchain-enabled cards as next big thing in the payment systems,” Jyoti says. “Blockchain can provide an extra layer of cybersecurity to the payment systems, which could have led to this decision.”

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain has been popular among the banking industry in India. In fact, banks in India have formed a “bank chain,” an association of more than 20 banks where they discuss some typical use cases of blockchain.

Sapan Gupta, national practice head – banking and finance, at the law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, notes: “Capitalizing on the blockchain technology could open new ways of securing peer-to-peer lending transactions, boosting trade finance, fintech and information repository sectors. Segregating the use of blockchain from crypto-currencies reflects the government’s intention to use the technology in a gradual and safe manner.”

What do Ola, ShopClues, Practo, and Paytm feel about the budget? (Yourstory), Rated: A

Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent.com 

“The finance minister’s budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data, and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the government towards the common goal of financial inclusion.

 

Bipin Preet Singh, Co-founder, MobiKwik 

“A reformist budget for startups and digital India. The government’s impetus on digitising the rural hinterlands, focus on smart cities, and commitment to blockchain technology will encourage the promotion of digital payments across the country, thereby making India truly digital. Further, disallowing cash payments beyond Rs 10,000 by trusts and institutions will boost digital payments. I commend the government’s decision to reduce corporate tax to 25 percent and improve the ease of doing business by providing a unique ID for every company on lines of Aadhaar. These initiatives will benefit startups and MSMEs immensely and lay a strong foundation for a progressive India. However, the government should consider regulating cryptocurrencies than curbing their use entirely.”

Budget 2018: 10% Long Term Capital Gain tax to benefit P2P lending players (moneycontrol), Rated: B

Imposing 10% long-term capital gain tax on equity investments may create some level playing field for the P2P lending industry. So far, the favourable tax treatment on long-term gains on equity investments made them a preferred choice for the investors. Now, those who are ready to take higher risk for earning better returns may also think of investing in P2P lending projects which have a better risk profile as compared to equity-oriented investments.

Asia

Ulema council, OJK to issue fatwa on sharia-based fintech lenders (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The Indonesia Ulema Council’s (MUI) sharia division and the Financial Services Authority (OJK) are preparing a fatwa to serve as a legal basis for the operation of sharia-based financial technology (fintech) lending institutions.

“Many non-Muslims are also interested in sharia-based fintech financing. So it has a very large potential market,” Adiwarman said as reported by kontan.co.id.

Since a trial run in November 2017, Investree has disbursed Rp 2.7 billion (US$189,000) in sharia-based financing.

Africa

Five ways to finance your dream (Standard Digital), Rated: AAA

It found that in 2015, Kenya and South Africa raised $16.7 million (Sh1.7 billion) and $15 million (Sh1.5 billion), respectively, in financing from various online channels. However, unlike in South Africa, most of the money raised using these alternative financing platforms in Kenya came from foreigners.

Overall, a total of $62.2 million (Sh6.4 billion) was raised across Africa, with more than 75 per cent of this money going towards funding start-ups and SMEs.

  1. Equity-based crowdfunding
  2. Peer-to-peer business lending
  3. Debt-based securities
  4. Donation-based crowdfunding
  5. Reward-based crowdfunding

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Using Bitcoin for Small Business Loans on a Global Scale

BitBond cumulative loan volume

In the last couple of years, blockchain technology has disrupted multiple segments of traditional finance. Lenders are beginning to see the advantages the technology offers and how it can help to improve their existing processes. It is still in a nascent stage in alternative lending with  massive room for growth. One such company is Berlin-headquartered Bitbond, […]

BitBond cumulative loan volume

In the last couple of years, blockchain technology has disrupted multiple segments of traditional finance. Lenders are beginning to see the advantages the technology offers and how it can help to improve their existing processes. It is still in a nascent stage in alternative lending with  massive room for growth. One such company is Berlin-headquartered Bitbond, which launched in 2013 as the first global marketplace for small business loans using cryptocurrency Bitcoin as the nodal currency for loans.

Bitbond’s Story

While working as a consultant, Founder and CEO Radoslav Albrecht witnessed the inefficiencies prevalent in bank lending processes, which led him to develop a global online lending platform that can be accessed by almost every SME around the world.

While brainstorming the idea for his startup, he came across the problem of processing cross-border payments and realized traditional remittance methods are extremely expensive and time-consuming. He stumbled upon Bitcoin and realized it is the perfect alternative for transmitting money across borders in an efficient, cheaper, and safer way.

In 2013, he partnered with a software developer from Berlin to launch Bitbond, but they soon parted ways and Albrecht became the sole owner of Bitbond.

Business Model

Bitbond has an uncluttered business model primarily focusing on small business owners like retailers, online stores, and restaurants who have a working capital requirement. Average loan size is $12,000, and loan periods range from 10 weeks to three years. The company caters to businesses all around the globe. Both individuals as well as institutional investors invest in the platform.

As far as revenue is concerned, it charges an origination fee paid upfront by the borrower, which usually ranges from 1%- 2.5% depending on the duration of the loan. For every loan repayment, the company charges 1% from the investor as a loan servicing fee.

Technology

Extensively dealing in Bitcoin to orchestrate payment processes, Bitbond’s process is simple and secure. Investors fund loans with fiat currency and that currency is converted into Bitcoin on the platform. Once that process is complete, a borrower is paid in Bitcoin and can choose a payment method or get the coin transferred to their bank account withdrawing the money after converting the Bitcoin back to the user’s native fiat currency. Bitbond has partnered with Bitpesa, an online payment platform, to convert Bitcoin to pay off loans and process payments across different countries. It has also partnered with Bit4coin, an Amsterdam-based Bitcoin company, that converts Bitcoin into Euros.

Because Bitcoin is relatively new, bank integration is still a problem. Therefore, in some countries, borrowers have to go to a Bitcoin exchange to get currency converted. But the company is trying to tackle this issue by adding more banks to its network. Thus far, they’ve integrated with banks in over 50 countries.

Key Success Factors

The fact that Bitbond exclusively deals in cryptocurrency gives it the ability to lend anywhere in the world. This geographical freedom is what gives Bitbond an upper hand over its rivals. Other lenders dealing in SME funding like Kabbage and OnDeck are no doubt bigger than Bitbond in terms of size, but they are active in only developed markets like the U.S. and the UK. Borrowers already have multiple options whereas Bitbond enjoys negligible competition in dozens of markets across the world.

The firm is also partnering with multiple e-commerce platforms that refer their online sellers to Bitbond. It is a win-win as the e-commerce platforms are able to add value to sellers’ operations while Bitbond is able to partner the company across multiple countries.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

ndSource: BitBond
Source: BitBond

It’s a fully regulated financial service institution under German law with a loan volume that stands at $4.5 million. Out of that, $3.5 million was originated this year alone. Bitbond is hoping to grow on a 10X basis for the coming couple of years.

Customer Profile

Bitbond focuses on small online retailers on platforms like eBay and Amazon. They usually have annual revenue between $200,000-$300,000. The loans are typically for buying larger quantities of inventory at a better price. It is able to reach loan decisions in an hour, and even in difficult cases, Bitbond does not take more than two days to get back to the borrower with an answer. This is the reason why small online retailers prefer Bitbond to other financing options. When the company started off, the majority of traffic came from the U.S. but the bulk has now shifted to Europe and Africa.

Lender risk assessments of the future will be much more automated and help cut down loan application processing times. Lack of flexibility when it comes to products is another area where the industry will see a change. Down the road, products will be customized as per the need of the particular business as compared to a one-size fits all approach currently followed.

Future Plans and Company Leadership

Bitbond wants to grow stronger in Europe and Africa, but they also want to tap neglected regions of the world. Secondly, the firm also wants to explore other verticals like secured lending for offering higher ticket loans. They wants to develop a large secured loan marketplace where the collateral is digitally liquidated as compared to the investor or platform physically having to obtain possession.

Albrecht has a degree in economics and, prior to Bitbond, worked as a senior consultant at Roland Berger advising banks around the world on restructuring strategy. Bitbond has so far raised a total of $7.5 million in various rounds of funding with $5 million of it as debt. Obotritia Capital is the lead debt investor and Sekip Can Gokalp led the last equity fund raise of $1.2 million.

Conclusion

There is no doubt Bitcoin is the future and the industry will continue to grow at a neck-breaking pace. Bitbond will definitely reap rich benefits for starting early, and it’s global play is something investors, both debt and equity, would love to participate in for a combination of scale and diversification.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Why ICOs Are Necessary for Capital Fundraising

Cryptocurrency market capitalizations

Introduction In 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto first introduced Bitcoin to the world, nobody would have thought the “virtual currency” will become such a big phenomenon in less than a decade. From being a decentralized source of sending and receiving money to any part of the world, it has transformed into a lucrative investment avenue. It […]

Cryptocurrency market capitalizations

Introduction

In 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto first introduced Bitcoin to the world, nobody would have thought the “virtual currency” will become such a big phenomenon in less than a decade. From being a decentralized source of sending and receiving money to any part of the world, it has transformed into a lucrative investment avenue. It was trading in the single digit range in 2012 and now recently touched $5,000 for one single bitcoin. Now, startups are issuing their own currencies/tokens via initial coin offerings (ICO) to raise funds.

ICO is an unregulated channel of crowdfunding that uses tokens/coins to raise capital for the issuer. In an ICO, investors buy the coins, which can appreciate in value depending upon how successful the business is. The first ICO was by Mastercoin in 2013. It raised approximately $600,000.

The rise of ICOs can be gauged from the fact that almost $1.3 billion has been raised via ICOs by startups this year.

ICO and Equity: Similar or Different?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to ICOs. Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts feel that ICO is similar to an IPO. It sells coins/tokens instead of shares to investors and has the ability to generate lucrative returns if the business takes off. Also, just like IPOs, ICOs are restricted by the number of tokens and the duration during which the company can sell these tokens.

Many lawyers and general investors feel it is a different breed from an IPO. The main difference being an IPO gives investors a right of ownership in the company when they buy the shares whereas, in the case of an ICO, the buyer gets the right to participate and profit from the business’s ecosystem. Tokens only appreciate in value if the project takes off, but tokens do provide other additional benefits. For example, the tokens issued by Storj — a decentralized storage solution — can be exchanged for storage space on the platform. Any ICO that gives the right of ownership to investors is technically offering securities and would thus need to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

When it comes to regulations, ICOs basically enjoy a free run as compared to the heavily regulated IPOs. IPOs require a ton of paperwork, millions of dollars in fees, and months of preparation to ensure they are compliant with all relevant laws. Any company can launch an ICO at any stage of its life, which means investors are open to risk with regards to the legitimacy of the company.

What does the SEC Have to Say About ICOs?

So far, the SEC has not taken any serious stance against cryptocurrencies, but the growing popularity of ICOs has prompted the commission to form regulatory guidelines. In July this year, the SEC issued the results of an investigation into the ICO of DAO – a decentralized venture fund. DAO raised $150 million worth of ether from 11,000 investors and then got hacked out of $50 million worth of virtual currency. More importantly, the DAO tokens were structured as a security.

On July 25th, 2017, the SEC declared that some ICOs will come under the same regulations that are applicable to other similar investments like stocks. The critical thing to note is the ruling did not include “all” type of ICO offerings but it did include those ICOs which are structured like a security. The SEC believes “ICO may provide fair and lawful investment opportunities,” however, they can also be “used improperly to entice investors with the promise of high returns in a new investment space.”

Market Size Comparison: Bonds, Equity, and Cryptocurrency

Fixed income solutions (bonds, treasury) using traditional currency is a fully developed and functional market and has been around for many decades. The size of the U.S. fixed market is almost $40 trillion, and the U.S. corporate bond market in 2016 stood at $8.5 trillion. The U.S. equity market stood at over $25 trillion in February 2017. In comparison, the cryptocurrency market, though growing rapidly, is still a fair bit behind other developed security markets. Cryptocurrency market capitalization as of June 2017 stood at $103.9 billion with Bitcoin being the major player.

Source: FXEmpire.com

Lack of fixed income solutions

The ICO world has always been focused on valuation gains. But the real maturity of this nascent market will be judged by its depth of fixed income solutions for investors. Though many HYIPs (high yield investment programs) like GlobalBid, CryptomineHolding, and Laser were floated in the cryptocurrency market, there are still doubts over their legality. They come across more like a Ponzi scheme versus a safe investment option. The best example could be Bitcoin-Trader HYIP, which disappeared overnight.

This is where the opportunity lies for an entrepreneur who is willing to take the risk and come up with an innovative yet safe fixed income solution that will help in tying both the worlds together (fixed income solutions and the cryptocurrency market). Investors will gladly accept a solution that provides stability and security of fixed income investment solution alongside the higher returns and blockchain benefits of the cryptocurrency market.

Lending Platforms in Fixed Income

The first real breakthrough has been the emergence of peer-to-peer lending platforms using bitcoins. The technology which has revolutionized consumer and small business finance is being utilized by startups in conjunction with cryptocurrencies to offer fixed income solutions to cryptocurrency investors. Though there are not many lending platforms that use cryptocurrency, the few notable ones are mentioned below:

  1. Bitbond – Headquartered in Berlin, Bitbond is the first global marketplace lending platform for small business loans. Investors simply need to sign up with the platform and deposit bitcoins in their bitcoin wallet, then browse through the available investing opportunities. Once the project is fully funded, the investor starts to receive monthly repayments with interest until the loan matures. The repayments go straight to their bitcoin wallet. The investor can either reinvest or send the coins to a bitcoin exchange to trade it for fiat currency.
    Higher Returns – The average APR is 13%, which is pretty high as compared to returns offered by generic P2P lenders.
  2. NebeusNebeus is an online lending platform based out of the UK and was launched in 2015. It offers services in lending, trading, and remittances. Loans offered by Nebeus have a term of micro (30 days) to standard (360 days). The loan size is determined according to the borrower rating.
    Returns – Investors can expect a yield up to 12.5%.
  3. Getline – Based out of Warsaw, Poland, Getline was established in 2015. It uses a third party platform Esteemify for account verification. Borrowers and investors need to add social accounts as well personal verification details such as bank account, proof of income, etc. Total amount funded so far is 178.86 BTC and the platform usually deals in credit line loans.
    Fees – 30% of any profit obtained by the lender.
  4. BTCPOP – Headquartered in the United Kingdom, BTCPOP was founded in 2014. It is an online lending platform that also has an altcoin exchange and a share market, and it also supports IPOs, bond funding, and trading. It deals in various types of loans like custom personal loans, personal loans with collateral, instant loans, business loans, IPOs, bonds, and instant collateral loans.

   Returns – Lenders can expect an APR of 10% or more.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrencies and ICOs are redefining the concept of money and fund raising. But for a jump to the mainstream, fixed income options need to be developed for the wider investor base. P2P lending using virtual currency is a good start, and it seems a major shake up with a fixed income offering is just round the corner.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Alternative Lending and Cryptocurrencies

cryptocurrency lending

P2P & marketplace lending have had a profound impact on millions of individuals and small businesses around the world which had been left “credit-deprived” by banks in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Alternative lending startups like Lending Club, Prosper, and OnDeck pioneered a new form of lending that eliminated the middleman (i.e. the bank). […]

cryptocurrency lending

P2P & marketplace lending have had a profound impact on millions of individuals and small businesses around the world which had been left “credit-deprived” by banks in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Alternative lending startups like Lending Club, Prosper, and OnDeck pioneered a new form of lending that eliminated the middleman (i.e. the bank). The effect has been tremendous with Morgan Stanley predicting P2P lending to reach a global size of $490 billion by 2020. Similarly, the birth of block chain and Bitcoin in 2009 was an unheralded affair. The cryptocurrency remained in the fringes until 2014 when it burst onto the global stage as its value rose exponentially. It now commands a value of $2,285 per Bitcoin as compared to a value of approximately $1 in February 2011.

Bitcoin has a total market cap of almost $40 billion. Even Warren Buffet would be proud of such a return. Till now, both of these fintech revolutions (Bitcoin and P2P lending) had been operating independently without much interaction with each other. With the advent of Bitcoin-focused alternative lenders like Bitbond, BTC Jam, and BTC POP, we are seeing the congruence of these two technologies for a more sophisticated lending product.

Let’s analyze how Bitcoin will be able to change the alternative lending landscape:

Branching out globally

When you lend in one single country, you have one-sided exposure to the country’s economy. So the default rates tend to follow the economic cycle of that particular nation. Lending internationally diversifies the country’s risk.

All alternative lenders, such as Prosper, Zopa, and Lending Club, let you invest in borrowers in your own country. If, as an American, you want to lend in the UK, the lender would have to bear the currency exchange risk. On the other hand, this is not the case when the loans are made and paid in BTC; it would diversify the loans geographically, and a lender can have borrowers from all over the world without having to take any currency risk. The diversification in itself is something of immense value as it allows sophisticated high net worth investors to de-risk their American holdings by investing in a global portfolio of borrowers.

Fees

Even if you are comfortable taking on the currency risk, welcome to the world of forex exchange where you will have to shell out 2%-3% every time you convert. This is especially true for smaller amounts as is prevalent in the alternative lending market. So, if a borrower is able to take advantage of the lower rates available in the US, he still ends up in the red as he has to pay 2% each (i.e. 4% combined) when he converts his local currency to USD for paying his loan, and vice-a-versa. Any superior returns generated by diversifying to another country would be gobbled up by your bank when it converts that Indian Rupee or British Pound into the US Dollar.

In contrast, the transfer changes for Bitcoin are a paltry 0.06%. It makes a lot of sense to execute cross-border transactions via Bitcoins to leverage this clear discrepancy in conversion rates. It allows the profit to go to the real risk-taker (i.e. the cross-border lender).

Sans a Bank Account

Bitcoin can work without a bank account; it only requires an internet connection. This has the opportunity to democratize lending as banks would not remain the sole custodians of delivering financial services, especially in developing countries. In many Latin American countries, the penetration of bank accounts is less than 30%. The Internet in comparison has been spreading like wildfire with 63% penetration in Latin America. Bitcoin lending is possible to that additional 33% of the population, which is otherwise totally disenfranchised from the formal economy.

Tackling Bitcoin price fluctuation

One major issue faced by Bitcoin lenders is the volatility experienced versus other currencies. When the Bitcoin prices rises against a fiat currency like the euro or dollar, the borrower needs to pay more than the initial face value of the loan (when denominated in his country’s fiat currency), and vice-a-versa. This exchange rate fluctuation would not be important if the borrower’s source of income is also Bitcoin. But as 99% of trade is still in fiat currencies like the dollar and euro, there is major risk involved for both lenders and borrowers.

To take charge of the exchange rate fluctuations, P2P platform Bitbond offered a loan type where the base value is denominated in US dollars. The loans are pegged to the Bitcoin vs. USD exchange rate for monthly installment. The value of the payment is held constant in USD. The number of Bitcoins that is to be repaid fluctuate along with the exchange rate.

Regulation

There are multiple closed markets in the world which are not accessible to outside investors. China is the prime example. The regulatory environment in developing countries like India and China are so onerous for a foreign investor that they give up on the entire market. Thus, over-zealous regulators end up harming the consumer, the so called benefactor of such regulations, in the first place.

Without access to credit, the borrower loses an opportunity to grow and enter a formal credit economy. Bitcoin sidesteps all these issues. Being a stateless currency, there is no regulator, and you just need an internet connection to take part.

Conclusion

Alternative lending is now mainstream. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have captured massive investor interest and are on their way to disrupting how currencies and many financial services work. Bitcoin lending is the next stage of financial evolution and will allow alternative lending to grow roots across the world. It will allow for faster and cheaper transactions on one side; and as more trade gets denominated in Bitcoin, it will remove the inherent currency risk evident in all cross-border lending. The most important thing is that it removes government regulators and mega banks as gatekeepers to capital. This autonomy is the biggest innovation of Bitcoin lending.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday May 10 2017, Daily News Digest

DealVector

News Comments Today’s main news: GDR partners with Equifax. OnDeck shares down 3.5%. iBan raises 110K GBP on Seedrs. Hexindai implements FICO. Bitbond receives 5M Euro debt commitment. KPMG acquires Matchi. RateSetter welcomes Aussie banking reforms. Today’s main analysis: KBRA assigned prelim ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumer privacy and fintech. CreditEase CEO discusses the future of […]

DealVector

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • KPMG acquires Matchi. AT: “Matchi should be on any bank’s list of platforms to check if looking for a partnership with a fintech innovator.”
  • 7 ways fintech is changing the job market. AT: “Interesting read. Takeaway for alt lenders: If you want to hire great talent, look for people with excellent skills in other industries and ready to make a career change. Look at industries that are dying, diminishing in importance, or where great talent is being replaced by automation. Fintech skill sets are often developed in other places.”

Australia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Global Debt Registry Partners with Equifax (FINalternatives), Rated: AAA

Loan data specialist Global Debt Registry has partnered with global information solutions giant Equifax that will incorporate the company’s income data into its eValidation suite of verification tools for investors and warehouse lenders in the online lending space.

The new partnership will utilize Equifax’s anonymous income data to incorporate additional loan verification data and enable benchmarking and monitoring of income inflation over time, the company said in a statement.

“It’s critical for investors to have the assurance that when they invest in online lending, the loan data is independently, externally validated,” said Charlie Moore, president of GDR.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to one class of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 LLC (“SCLP 2017-3”). This is a $530 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is closing on May 18, 2017.

This transaction represents SoFi Lending Corp.’s (“SoFi” or “the Company”) ninth rated securitization collateralized by a portfolio of unsecured consumer loans.

KBRA analyzed the transaction using the U.S. Consumer Loan ABS Rating Methodology published on March 28, 2017. KBRA’s consumer loan methodology incorporates an analysis of: (1) the underlying collateral pool, (2) the originator’s historical static pool data, segmented by characteristics including credit quality and product type, (3) the proposed capital structure for the transaction, (4) KBRA’s operational assessment of the originator and servicer and (5) the legal structure, transaction documents, and legal opinions.

OnDeck downgraded at Stifel; shares down 3.5% (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital (ONDK -3.6%) managed to reverse big early losses and close flat yesterday despite a sizable earnings miss.

It’s moved back into the red today as Stifel’s John Davis downgrades to Hold from Buy, and cuts his price target to a Street-low $4.50 from $6.

Consumer Privacy Should Be Top-of-Mind for FinTech Firms to Avoid Scrutiny (BNA), Rated: AAA

With many people underserved by traditional lending institutions, including the close to 45 million adults in the U.S. who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates are “credit invisible” or have had past credit challenges, emerging FinTech lenders and online lending platforms (FinTech firms) have established themselves as valuable lending resources for both investors and consumers.

Undoubtedly, the digital footprints (both active and passive) left by consumers online offer valuable insights about those consumers’ preferences and behaviors, which can be useful to FinTech firms in assessing whether to extend credit. But the use of the Internet, which provides unprecedented access to an extraordinary amount of consumer information (some of which might be obtained without a consumer’s consent or knowledge), has raised significant privacy questions that FinTech firms might have to confront in order to overcome inevitable regulatory scrutiny.

In the context of marketplace lending, for example, which can include peer-to-peer lending as well as funding through institutional investors, hedge funds, and other financial institutions, market analysts estimate significant growth in loan origination volumes as well as an expansion in the types of products being offered. The California Department of Business Oversight conducted a survey of marketplace lenders and found that marketplace lenders provided over $13 billion in financing to consumers in 2014, having only provided less than $2 billion in 2010.

FinTech firms should be aware of potential risks about the types of alternative data they collect and the means through which they obtain that data. As the National Consumer Law Center has warned, “the devil is in the details” as the use of alternative data can potentially raise a number of significant legal issues, most notably fair lending and privacy concerns.

Gathering information from social networking systems, in particular, can provide significant information about a consumer’s interests and preferences, as well as the consumer’s location and travel history. While Internet users can furnish actively some of this information through entry of data into a system, a significant amount of information also can be gathered passively through cookies and the tracking of user IP addresses.

With the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the use of alternative data (caveating that regulatory priorities may shift under the current administration of President Trump), FinTech firms should consider carefully assessing what data they are collecting and maintaining to ensure that they are complying with current consumer privacy regulations.

Lending Club and MPL – One Year On from Renaud Laplanche’s Ouster (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, I thought it would be useful to take a step back and reflect on what we have learned in the past year.

  1. The industry is bigger than one person – the industry did not fall apart because of his departure.
  2. Investors still need yield and borrowers still like installment loans – The main premise for the rise of marketplace lending is still very much in play today. It is no secret that the growth of the industry over the past five years has been driven by institutional investors seeking yield. Lending Club shared in their quarterly earnings report last week that not only are the banks back investing in loans but they are doing so at record levels.On the borrower side there has been no slowdown in demand.
  3. Banks and marketplace lenders are important partners
  4. Compliance can be a selling tool – The sense I had is that compliance was viewed as a necessary burden and not something that could be a sales tool. That changed a year ago and now an investment in compliance has been viewed as essential.
  5. Finance is just as (perhaps more) important as technology when it comes to fintech – The narrative of marketplace lending has often been about the cost savings and customer experience improvements that can be made through advanced technology. I have seen many presentations that talked about how the legacy technology of banks are causing such inefficiencies and that fintech companies can solve this with better technology. All that may well be true but the bottom line we have learned is that in the lending business we should be focused on finance first. If you get that wrong the greatest technology in the world will not matter.

How technology mitigated a crisis in student loan ABS (American Banker), Rated: A

These programs slow the rate of repayment on Federal Family Education Loans, putting the bonds they back at risk of technical default if the securities fail to pay off at maturity. When Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings raised the alarm early in 2015, eventually putting some $100 billion of bonds under review for downgrade, the market sold off heavily. New issuance ground to a halt.

Yet Navient and Nelnet, the two largest student loan servicers, avoided downgrades on some $18 billion of FFELP bonds. They did so using a strategy that, at first, did not seem promising: extending the maturities of the bonds.

Their efforts were aided by DealVector, an online registry of asset ownership and messaging platform, which helped the two servicers identify holders and collect votes. Over the past year, the two servicers have sent about 165 tranches out for consent; some 60% of those were successful, and about 10% are still in process. The total original face value of tranches passed to date exceeds $18 billion.

Like other kinds of financial assets, FFELP bonds are held “in street name” by a brokerage firm, bank, or dealer on behalf of a purchaser, obscuring their true ownership. This isn’t just a problem for consent solicitations; it also imposes large costs on determining an appropriate price for a security, forming creditor classes, and many other events requiring communication among deal participants.

Real Estate Lender Zeus CrowdFunding Offers Industry’s First Loyalty Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, the fastest real estate crowdfunding site in America, will offer borrowers a new incentive unmatched in the rapidly growing financial sector: the real estate crowdfunding industry’s first loyalty program. Repeat borrowers with the company can borrow up to 80 percent of a property’s after-repair value (ARV).

The program is called LoyaltyZ, and its mechanics are simple. On a borrower’s first loan with Zeus CrowdFunding, they’re eligible to receive up to 75 percent loan-to-value (LTV) of his or her approved project’s ARV. With each loan that they finish paying back to Zeus CrowdFunding, the borrower will receive one more point on their LTV on their next loan—up to 80 percent of the ARV. On a borrower’s second loan from Zeus CrowdFunding, for example, he or she is eligible to borrow up to 76 percent of the ARV; on his or her third loan, up to 77 percent, and so on. Beginning with his or her sixth loan, a repeat borrower can borrow up to 80 percent of the ARV on every loan.

Zeus CrowdFunding Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman says that LoyaltyZ was designed for real estate borrowers interested in completing multiple projects as quickly as possible. No additional sign-up or commitment is required of them.

Fintech Firms Primary Targets for Cybercrime Attacks (Think Advisor), Rated: A

Fintech firms are prime targets for cyberattacks, according to research revealing 130 million fraud attacks detected in just a 90-day period with the growth in attacks outpacing transaction growth by 50%.

Data revealed 50% more cybercrime attacks originating from all of Europe than U.S., the single most attacked nation, and increasing cyberattacks from South America.

The Q1 2017 Cybercrime Report also revealed that attack vectors and patterns are more evolved and malicious, including:

  • Remote access Trojans, which contain a strong footprint in the financial services industry.
  • Identity-spoofing attacks target fintech firms through peer-to-peer loans, global remittance and potential loopholes in new and emerging platforms. ThreatMetrix research showed an 80% increase in digital wallet transactions year-on-year as well as a 180% increase in associated bot attacks, typically used to mass test identity credentials.

According to ThreatMetrix, fraudsters use bots to mass test identity credentials and infiltrate trusted user accounts. New attack trends disclose fraudsters targeting emerging and fintech industries, which they view as more vulnerable to attack.

Read the report on cybercrime here.

Auto Loan Portfolio Marketplace with Automated Decisioning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

defi SOLUTIONS announces the launch of defi EXCHANGE, a secure, online portfolio marketplace where sellers of auto loan portfolios can access multiple buyers and manage the entire sales process. defi EXCHANGE improves efficiencies and profitability by automating and enhancing processes, revolutionizing the way auto loan portfolios are bought and sold.

With defi EXCHANGE, buyers no longer need to build their bulk deal evaluation outside their lending platform in spreadsheets and with manual processes that require extra data scrutiny and attention. Sellers no longer need to provide sensitive consumer data to many potential buyers and then follow up manually. defi EXCHANGE eliminates processing inefficiencies and allows for the complete evaluation and pricing provided by a Loan Origination System.

defi EXCHANGE resulted from the purchase of SellYourBulk.com, the first-ever auto loan marketplace that began operations in 2015.

IBM’s Watson ‘is a joke,’ says Social Capital CEO Palihapitiya (CNBC), Rated: A

IBM isn’t at the forefront of artificial intelligence, Social Capital CEO and founder Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC on Monday, and he certainly isn’t a fan of IBM’s Watson.

“The companies that are advancing machine learning and AI don’t brand it with some nominally specious name that’s named after a Sherlock Holmes character.”

Digital Banking Inspiration from FinTech Disruptors (Silvercloud), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer payment systems like Venmo gained traction amongst the millennial generation and are beginning to make their way to the broader consumer population as banks consider the appeal in this convenient, paper-free payment approach.

Startups like Branch.co, ZestFinance and MyBucks are using AI and machine learning to offer low-rate payday lending loans. By relying on data and algorithms, these startups believe they offer a faster, more accurate and unbiased way to determine a consumer’s credit worthiness and their corresponding interest rate. Similarly, by removing the loan officer from the equation, these FinTechs can save on costs and ensure a profit from their low rate loans.

The importance of embracing mobile technology is not new in the banking sector. But what is new is how certain FinTech startups like Moven are using the mobile platform to offer services that help consumers better manage their money. Moven, which is an online bank of sorts that works alongside traditional banks, is giving consumers insight into their spending habits — offering them tools to see where their money is going and how they can better prepare for the future. It’s all about transparency and putting the consumer in control of their financial health.

While the technology to create automated investment advice is not new, access to it (by those who are not wealth managers) is. It’s simpler, more accessible and cheaper for the consumer.

Witnessing the success of FinTech robo-advisory startups, and the unmet need they are filling within the market, banks have begun jumping into this market.

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em. Why Banks are Starting to Partner with FinTechs.

Today there are more than 2,000 FinTech start-ups as compared to 2015 when there were only 800. This is why many banks and credit unions have changed their approach; instead of competing with the FinTechs, they are trying to partner with them.

At SilverCloud, we are helping banks and credit unions do just that — give their customers and members the ability to access all the information they need through digital banking channels without ever having to pick up the phone. We are helping banks and credit unions evolve with the demands of customers by providing an engaging digital experience that lowers support costs and drives more revenue through a better experience for the customer and member.

FIN Opposes Elements of CHOICE Act (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last week Financial Innovation Now (FIN), an alliance of companies which includes Fintech behemoths innovator Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit and PayPal, spoke out against language used in the Financial CHOICE Act that would repeal debit swipe fee reform. In a letter penned by FIN Executive Director Brian Peters and addressed to US House of Representatives Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, FIN identifies debt reform’s promotion of payment innovation and tech advancement, identifying that “lower debit fees and improved routing choice have meaningfully spurred competition and technological development. Payment innovators are building on this opportunity to deliver real solutions to the marketplace, and more is on the way. This innovation should not be foreclosed.”

A Quick Guide to P2P Lending (IT Business Net), Rated: B

No system is perfect, and like any form of lending, P2P is not without its challenges. Many people are worried about the regulation of the P2P system, since it is fairly new, and laws have not come into effect to control the industry. Additionally, many Americans are worried about financial cyber security with all-online platforms, since data breaches are a frequent occurrence around the globe. Some of the biggest challenges, however, are on a smaller scale. Though P2P lending platforms don’t have the same requirements for borrowers that banks do, credit score can be an issue for some borrowers. It’s currently not possible to use a business credit score, meaning that poor personal credit could affect potential borrowers’ ability to get a loan at a decent interest rate.

Kingdom Trust Completes ‘Consider The Alternatives’ eBook Series (PR Web), Rated: B

Kingdom Trust, a leader in Self-Directed IRA, alternative asset and institutional custody solutions, recently completed its Consider the Alternatives eBook series. The collection of eBooks illustrates the investment potential of the four main alternative asset classes held on the firm’s platform: real estate, precious metals, private lending and private equity.

United Kingdom

iBAN Completes Seedrs Funding Round With More Than £110,000 in Funds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, iBAN completed its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs with over £110,00 in funds.  The online lender was founded last year and launched the initiative in early January with a mission to raise £100,000 for its new crowdlending app, iBAN Wallet.

Interview with Managing Director of LandlordInvest (P2P Banking), Rated: A

LandlordInvest is a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform for residential and commercial mortgages.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  1. Security – I personally would not invest in unsecured loans given the risks and the potentially very lengthy enforcement process to reclaim part of the capital, if any at all.
  2. Returns – We offer returns of up to 12%, although we recently funded a loan with a rate of 19% to investors.
  3. Diversification

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  1. Manual underwriting – For us, the most important part of our assessment is that the borrower has a verifiable track-record and that the security is enforceable in the event of the default.
  2. Speed – we recently assessed a loan, had it fully funded and completed in two days.
  3. Online application with a simple online control panel

You recently launched an IFISA product. How has the investor uptake been so far and was it a big advantage to be in the forefront of approved providers?

The demand for our IFISA has been good. IFISA account holders, although only around 20% of the total registered investors, account for 50% of all funds on the platform. As such, IFISA account holders usually deposit more than non-IFISA account holders and also invest more.

What was the biggest challenge in launching LandlordInvest and what have been challenges since?

The biggest challenge has been operating under a “real” P2P model, i.e. no pre-funding of loans.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors and borrowers?

We use a multichannel approach including, establishing good relations with the press, having an interactive presence on various forums and blogs, affiliate marketing programs and social media presence.

I hear you are planning a secondary market? Will that work with premium and discounts or at par? What other features do you plan to roll out this year?

We are indeed developing a secondary market and expect to launch it in the beginning of May this year. Investors will only be able to sell loan or loan parts at par. Investors will also be able to sell parts of loans.

£266 bln of SME Turnover Delayed by Late Supplier Payments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The growth prospects of SMEs are being potentially stalled due to late payments, according to new research of over 1,000 SMEs commissioned by Crossflow Payments, the Fintech platform delivering supply chain finance solutions.

Keypoints from the research:

  • £266 billion is held up as 15% of SME annual turnover is subject to late payment
  • Over half (55%) of SMEs who receive payment late for invoices admit payment is regularly late by ten days or more, as a quarter (23%) of SMEs cite late payment problem
  • 3.4 million jobs could be created by solving the late payment problem, as two in three (63%)
  • SMEs would hire up to five new members of staff if their working capital improved
  • Businesses experiencing Brexit payment crunch, as one in ten (10%) SMEs have also witnessed worsening in payment terms since 2016 EU Referendum
China

CEO Of Chinese Fintech Firm Creditease On The Future Of P2P Lending In China (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Sara Hsu: Do you think that P2P [peer to peer lending] firms like yours are helping to make China’s financial system more market-based?

Ning Tang: The bigger picture is that P2P and fintech help the financial system to become more comprehensive. Fintech helps make the financial system more comprehensive, and helps make bank services more efficient.

Hsu: Many P2P companies have failed. What are some of the risks that P2P companies face?

Tang: There are three major risks. One is the platform itself. Is it legit? Is it legal? In many cases, you see fraud. The second risk is on the borrower, the credit quality side. Even if it’s a legit market place, if it cannot assess risk, it will not be sustainable. The third risk is on the lending side—is the source of capital sustainable?

Hsu: What is the impact of regulations on the industry?

Tang: Our experience is that it will make the industry more stable, healthier, and in the coming 10-20 years, it will be a much better industry.

Hsu: Do you advise other P2P firms in terms of credit risk?

Tang: In terms of pooling data together, we are partners. We made it possible for other market place lenders and new finance companies to access our data.

Hexindai Implements FICO’s Decision Engine (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (“Hexindai” or “the Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Fair Isaac Corporation’s (FICO) to implement its decision rules management solution, BLAZE ADVISOR.  Implementation of this decision engine will allow the Company to automate the loan origination approval process, greatly shorten the decision-making time, and lower operational risks, all of which should help drive the Company’s risk management to a higher level. The Company expects to launch the system in the fourth quarter of this year.

European Union

Bitcoin lending platform Bitbond gets €5M debt commitment to boost loans (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin SME marketplace loan platform Bitbond today announced that it received a commitment from Obotritia Capital to fund loans worth €5 million. Additionally, Obotritia invested an undisclosed amount of equity in acquiring a stake in Bitbond.

With the debt commitment, SME loans from European prime borrowers will be funded instantaneously on Bitbond. This will reduce the time it takes for business owners to apply and receive a loan to 30 minutes.

Over 1,700 loans worth €1.4 million were originated through Bitbond since its launch in 2013. 90,000 users from 120 countries registered with the service to date.

International

KPMG acquires Matchi, global fintech innovation and matchmaking platform (Crossroads Today), Rated: AAA

KPMG International has announced the acquisition of Matchi, a leading global fintech innovation and matchmaking platform that connects financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies, with leading-edge financial services technology solutions and companies worldwide.

The Matchi platform includes more than 700 curated fintech solutions and a database of more than 2,500 fintech companies that financial institutions can work with to apply innovative fintech capabilities to solving their business problems and pursuing new market opportunities.

Fintech companies and solutions are reviewed and undergo a curation process in order to qualify to appear on KPMG’s innovative Matchi platform. Financial institutions are able to search for a specific company or solution, or they can use the platform’s proprietary “Innovation Challenge” capability to present specific problem statements to the global fintech market and receive recommendations on solutions from Fintech innovators.  In this way, financial institutions are able to access and unlock the leading edge technology and deep customer insight of the world’s best fintech firms for their own operations.

Since its inception in 2013, Matchi has connected more than 100 leading banks and insurance companies with fintech innovations, including solutions in next generation payments, regtech, blockchain and P2P insurance.

7 Ways Fintech Is Changing The Job Market (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Fintech grew 11 percent in 2016 making it a $17.4 billion industry.

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe takes effect in 2018. PSD2 enables users to allow third parties access to bank accounts.

  1. Remote work becoming more viable – Due to the perks of working remotely, many professionals have also opted to become independent contractors over regular employment.
  2. More payment options for employees – There are now even a variety of ways to get paid due to the rise of payment services and digital currencies. Some companies now offer wages in Bitcoin as an alternative to traditional currencies. Some freelancers based in countries where cross-border payments are difficult even take gift cards as payment.
  3. Fintech-empowered rewards and benefits – Aside from digital currencies, the growth of brand loyalty cards also now gives employers options to reward staff.
  4. New technical skills required
  5. Soft skills are increasingly important
  6. More job cuts in traditional institutions likely – Last year, Bank of America laid off 8,400 jobs as the bank invests more in digital initiatives. Brick-and-mortar banks branches even face closure as online and mobile banking grow. In addition, major developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning now allow for the automation of tasks across business functions. Chatbots are now being used to function as front liners in sales and support. Robo-advisors also challenge the competence of human financial advisers. Job cuts are inevitable as these technologies mature.
  7. More opportunities with startups – Those who are displaced from traditional institutions may look into retooling and transitioning to fintech ventures instead. Fintech is a growth industry and there are a variety of segments to venture into. Currently, most fintech ventures are in payments, investments, lending, and personal finance though others are already working on insurance and foreign exchange.
Australia

RateSetter welcomes Australian banking reforms (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S Australian division has welcomed the country’s banking reforms unveiled in the Federal Budget on Tuesday.

Changes imposed in the major fiscal event include a bumper levy on the country’s biggest banks, an “open banking” scheme to give customers greater access to their banking data and measures to boost competition and accountability in the sector.

The Productivity Commission, an independent review and advisory body created by the Australian government, published its recommendations for banking reforms on Monday ahead of the Federal Budget. The organisation suggested that banks build APIs to enable data sharing with customers.

Canada

Flexiti Financial Appoints COO, CRO to Growing Executive Team (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced the appointment of Jerome Peeters as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Colin Franks as Chief Risk Officer (CRO) to its senior executive team. Both positions are newly created and come at a critical time for Flexiti Financial as the company continues to experience rapid growth in the consumer financing space.

Mr. Peeters joins Flexiti Financial from B2B Bank, where he served as Vice-President, Operations and Client Services. Prior to this, he spent four years at Sears Canada in a series of progressive senior marketing and operational roles within Sears Financial Services and the broader company. Before joining Sears, Mr. Peeters was Senior Director, Marketing and Change Management at CIBC, supporting the President’s Choice Financial business.

Mr. Franks was most recently Chief Risk Officer, Canadian Credit Cards at JP Morgan Chase where he managed Risk across several retail partners including Sears, Amazon and Best Buy. Before joining JP Morgan Chase, he spent over nine years at MBNA managing all aspects of the Risk lifecycle and eventually becoming Director of Strategic and Risk Planning.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor