Date: November 13, 2019 Location: Cipriani South Street, New York, New York Join the leading institutional conference focused on digital assets and crypto market infrastructure. BlockWorks Group Presents DAS: Markets Speakers include: Adam White, COO, Bakkt Catherine Coley, CEO of BAM Trading Services, Binance.US Michael Sonnenshein, managing director, Grayscale Investments Sunayna Tuteja, head of digital assets and […]
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 […]
Can Citi, JPMorgan compete with fintechs on personal loans? Fintechs had 36% of the personal loan market in 2017. Can big banks make a comeback? I think their efforts in doing so are going to make this a much more competitive market. Can alternative lenders continue to grow with streamlined processes and leaner teams?
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 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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News Comments Today’s main news: Court dismisses case against OCC Fintech Charter. Affirm’s valuation confirmed at $1.75B. RateSetter Australia reaches $200M milestone. SoftBank invests $450M into Compass. Starling Bank expected to profit in 2019. Linked Finance launches P2P lending pension accounts. ID Finance raises $85M through ETF bonds. Today’s main analysis: TransUnion reports on consumer credit markets. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What […]
A New York District Court judge threw out a lawsuit by the New York Department of Financial Services that sought to block the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s attempted fintech charter, saying the charter doesn’t exist yet so the suit is premature.
Silicon Valley lending startup Affirm said on Monday it has raised $200 million in a fresh round of funding, boosting prospects as the firm aims to go after the market for millennial shoppers needing loans.
The new financing put Affirm’s total fundraising to date at about $450 million, and increases its valuation to $1.75 billion, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
The CEO with the measured response is PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, who told Karen Webster that with any capital raise of size, the temptation is to believe that “it is a big victory and it is validation … but all it really is, is a temporary tally of how far you have gone.”
He noted that with big investments come big responsibility (and Affirm has raised roughly $450 million to date), as he remarked that there is the implicit end goal of taking the money and parlaying vision and strategy into strong returns on that cash.
Affirm says that its retailers report that consumers who use Affirm leave with a basket size 75 percent greater than those who don’t use Affirm to pay for their purchases, and enjoy site-wide conversion rates as much as 20 percent higher, with revenue per visitor lifts of more than 10 percent.
Consider Affirm, a startup that offers consumers installment loans for individual purchases and markets the loans as a simpler and more honest financing alternative — a message that is clearly targeted at consumers who are frustrated by a perceived lack of transparency in the costs associated with using credit cards. This message appears to be resonating in the market; Affirm is processing relationships with more than 1,000 internet retailers and is reportedly working with Walmart on a pilot project.
In an interview with American Banker, Douugh founder and CEO Andy Taylor said: “When we dug deeper, we realized the consumer debt levels are out of control. Big banks are running off legacy business models that are driven to keep customers within these debt cycles. They’re not properly incentivized to foster financial wellness.”
Affirm, Marcus and Douugh are all basing their strategic direction on a simple but powerful insight: There is a difference between the way many consumers use credit cards and the way that those consumers should use their credit cards in order to maximize their financial wellness.
A growing number of major retailers offer shoppers instant loans to pay for your purchases.
But how do they work? And are they better than credit cards?
Each lender may be slightly different, but typically: you give basic information, decide the length of the loan -usually anywhere from three to twenty-four months and in less than a minute you’ll know if you’re approved.
Peer-to-peer lending platform Prosper announced on Tuesday it has appointed former Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan, Claire Huang to its board of directors. According to Prosper, Huang has held senior leadership positions at various well-known financial services companies, which includes Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, and American Express.
OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leading online lender to small business, today announced the hiring of two senior financial services executives to join its management team. Kelly Merrill and Erich Wust will assume new leadership roles that directly support OnDeck’s mission of empowering small business owners with the fastest and most flexible credit solutions.
Kelly Merrill joins OnDeck as the Senior Vice President for Finance, where she will help lead the company’s short-term and long-term financial planning initiatives. Merrill brings over a decade of finance experience to OnDeck from GE Capital, where she played a leading role in developing and executing the disposition strategy for GE Capitals’s $200 billion balance sheet. Previously, Merrill was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of GE Capital Real Estate, where she led a team of more than 50 employees.
Erich Wust has been appointed as the Senior Vice President for Portfolio Management at OnDeck. He will be responsible for managing portfolio credit strategies, balance sheet optimization and other components of the company’s loan portfolio. Wust joins OnDeck after more than a decade in credit and risk leadership roles at SunTrust Bank.
Less than a month after raising $100 million led by Fidelity, real-estate startup Compass is striking while the iron is hot. The company has now picked up an even bigger investment of $450 million, this time from the SoftBank Vision Fund, plus another $50M in secondary deals, to fill out a vision of its own: taking its real estate rental and sales platform global.
New York-based Compass is now valued at $2.2 billion post-money, up from $1.8 billion just four weeks ago, with $775 million raised to date.
In spite of rising interest rates, the U.S. consumer credit market is poised to perform well in 2018, with well-managed delinquencies and continued wide access to credit across all products. TransUnion’s (NYSE:TRU) 2018 consumer credit forecast found that expected increases to GDP, personal income, total employment and the Housing Price Index, among other factors, will outweigh potential negatives such as increasing interest rates and slowing vehicle sales.
5-Year Trends: Serious Borrower-Level Delinquency Rates for Key Credit Products**
PCT Change in Last 5 Years (2013-2018)
Unsecured Personal Loans
*Projections; **Serious mortgage, auto loan and personal loan delinquencies are defined here as those with payments 60 or more days past due. Serious credit card delinquencies are defined as those with payments 90 or more days past due.
Inside the Mortgage Forecast
60-Day+ Mortgage Delinquency Rate and Average Mortgage Debt per Borrower
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections
Inside the Credit Card Forecast
90-Day+ Credit Card Loan Delinquency Rate and Average Credit Card Loan Debt per Borrower
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections
Inside the Auto Finance Forecast
60-Day+ Auto Loan Delinquency Rate and Average Auto Loan Debt per Borrower
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections
Inside the Personal Loan Forecast
60-Day+ Personal Loan Delinquency Rate and Average Personal Loan Debt per Borrower
Often users are tricked by phishing emails that mimic a legitimate note from the boss or a senior corporate leader. And the links and sites can look secure. According to PhishLabs, nearly 25% of all phishing sites in the third quarter were hosted on HTTPS domains — almost double the rate of the previous quarter.
As part of their effort to deflect these attacks, some banks are turning to isolated browsing, or remote browsing, technology. Such systems force all internet activity to happen in a protected space on the cloud, preventing malicious code from reaching a company’s network. The technology is not brand new, but it is starting to gain traction as some large banks have finished their testing of it and are going public with their use of it.
JPMorgan Chase, American Express and HSBC announced Monday that they are leading a $40 million round of funding in the isolation-tech provider Menlo Security, bringing its total funding to $85 million.
There are, however, entire demographics not serviced by tried-and-true lending institutions. Often, these folks’ credit score fails to meet a bank’s minimum standards. Or they need unconventional terms on an equipment or business loan. Whatever the reason, these transactionally marginalized sectors find themselves at the mercy of high-interest lenders. Or with no access to capital at all.
“There is a significant population of U.S. consumers who can’t get a loan,” notes Nate Heward, CFO at Acima Credit, a company that provides a point-of-sale credit platform.
Capitalism abhors a void
From the ubiquitous strip mall payday lender to the world of microfinance, a plethora of entrepreneurial solutions has emerged to get cash in the hands of would-be borrowers cut off from other avenues. These alternative lending practices have various degrees of reputability; a wide spectrum exists between the purely predatory lending shop, on the one hand, and the creative value-adding venture, on the other.
Scratching the consumer itch
In practical terms, Acima asks four simple questions of the would-be borrower:
Do you have a three-month history with your current employer or source of income?
Do you deposit $1,000 or more into your checking account each month?
Have you had a checking account for at least 90 days?
Is your checking account free from NSFs, excessive overdrafts and negative balances?
It’s all fintech
The companies profiled in this article may not be considered fintech firms per se; they’re not using technology to create a new financial paradigm a la Paypal, Indiegogo or Coinbase. They’re merely offering tried-and-true solutions to untapped consumer markets. Viewed from another angle, however, they’re fintech companies through and through. Acima, Progressive, et al are racing to deliver the most convenient financial solutions to the most people in their target customer base. And to do so, they’re relying on technology all the way.
Banks are working hard to beef up their technology and innovation teams, embrace agile developmentand move to acting like digital companies, but bank finance departments still do a lot of manual work and will start to hold their companies back from becoming digital entities. Finance teams are the control functions and scorekeepers of an organization, but if they can’t process data at the same speed as the rest of the organization they could slow down the speed of company mergers or product rollouts when competing transactions are already taking place.
Royal Business Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBB Bancorp, has made a $500K commitment to the Lendistry CRA Loan Fund I. Launched at a time when most banks were struggling, Royal Business Bank has been successfully serving the Asian-American community since 2008. While specializing in businesses engaging in trade with Pacific Rim countries, the bank also offers small business loans and residential mortgages.
First financial industry brief filed in CFPB English v. Trump case (Ballard Spahr Email), Rated: A
This afternoon (LT Editor: December 12,2017) the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), represented by Ballard Spahr’s Alan Kaplinsky, filed the first amicus brief from the financial industry in the English v. Trump litigation over who will succeed Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CUNA supports the President’s authority to appoint an acting director.
A new federal lawsuit says President Trump’s “plainly illegal” appointment of Mick Mulvaney to be acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must be reversed in favor of Leandra English, who also claims the title.
Ilann Maazel, an attorney for the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, told the Washington Examiner that the credit union is suing because of the feared effect of Mulvaney policies.
The legal dispute centers on whether the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform, which set up the CFPB, makes the deputy director the acting director if there’s a vacancy, or whether the older Federal Vacancies Reform Act gives the president that power.
US Bank integrated Zelle — which has over 30 other banking partners like Bank of America (BofA), JPMorgan Chase, and Citi — last year. The bank saw a 104% increase in Zelle transactions in the past four months, and a 50% increase in customer enrollment in the P2P offering during that time.
Nine years ago, D.J. Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher coined the term “data scientist.” Four years later, Patil and Thomas Davenport deemed the profession “the sexiest job of the 21st century” in the pages of Harvard Business Review.
For banks, this imbalance is particularly challenging at a time when the industry is increasingly vying for the same talent the tech giants are aggressively courting. To stay competitive, the financial services industry must defend against a new cast of competitors by changing how it attracts, hires and develops data science talent.
Throtle is a 2nd generation data onboarding company focused on deterministic matching, identity resolution and closed loop enablement, powering brands and companies with their omnichannel marketing efforts.
Affirm is a San Francisco-based financial service startup that offers installment loans to consumers at the point of sale. Its aim is to improve the banking industry to be more accountable and accessible to consumers.
Jeff Lynn is on a mission to save capitalism from itself at a time when millions feel locked out, and unable to foresee themselves better off than their parents. His answer: to democratise capital.
That is one reason he founded Seedrs, an online platform through which individual investors can buy shares in high-growth companies at an early stage — a privilege once reserved for institutions and private equity funds. The other reason was to make money.
Seedrs, which along with Crowdcube dominates the UK market, has funded more than 540 deals, representing £280m of investment. Some were follow-on rounds, and in total about 400 companies have been funded. About 20-30 companies are live on the site at any time.
Crowdfunding by numbers
Critics say a big difference between crowdfunding and the stock market is liquidity — you cannot just sell your stake. But Seedrs has begun a secondary market and says it has had several exits already.
Free Agent, a Scottish maker of accounting software, floated in November 2016 at 87p. Its shares remain below the 100p Seedrs investors paid, though some sold when it hit 140p this year. Chapel Down, a vineyard, was already quoted on the Nex exchange (formerly ISDX) when it raised money at 28p a share in October 2014. It has been trading around three times that level.
SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence company focused on computer vision and deep learning technologies, raised US$410m series B1 B round of financing.
SenseTime has powered many industries such as finance, security, smart phone, mobile Internet, robotics, and automobile with core computer vision technologies including face recognition, video analysis, character recognition, and autonomous driving.
Irish peer-to-peer lending company Linked Finance has launched a new type of account that allows holders of self-administered pensions to make P2P lending to Irish SMEs part of their pension investment portfolio.
With net returns of between 7 and 8.5 per cent, 24/7 online account access, complete control of lending activity, and monthly repayments of principal & interest, P2P lending is becoming an attractive asset class for a growing number of investors.
European start-up N26 has expanded the range of its banking services on offer in the French market via a partnership with Younited Credit, a fintech start-up specialising in short-term loans and crowd-lending.
For many years, if someone wanted a loan, they would have to apply for one through a bank. Before they received that loan, the bank investigated their credit and decided what the rate of interest would be applicable.
However, there is another way to get a loan without worrying about a low credit score or high interest rates. This is peer-to-peer lending or P2P. Through peer-to-peer lending platforms, individuals can invest their money in other individuals, with an interest rate that the two groups have agreed is fair.
Finnish crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform Fellow Finance announced on Tuesday it received payment institution authorization from the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland. The online lender claims it is the first funding platform to receive this type of authorization, which will notably enable Fellow Finance to provide new services to its consumer and corporate customers, to expand its services further in Europe and to utilize the new payment service directive (PSD2) in the development of Fellow Finance service.
He launched the Norrsken Foundation later that year with about $20 million of his own money. By early 2017, the first fruits of that funding took shape with the opening of Norrsken House, a co-working space in Adalberth’s hometown of Stockholm dedicated to companies that are developing technologies that have a social impact.
Now, Adalberth has committed an additional $62 million of his own money to expand that vision. The goal, he said, is to eventually create a network of 25 impact-focused co-working spaces and foundation hubs around the globe in the next 10 years. The first Norrsken House has 112 companies in it and seven have received direct investment from the Norrsken Foundation’s fund (more on that in a bit).
ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, today announced successful completion of its first issuance of exchange-traded bonds.
The company raised $8.5m from the bond registered in Russia and listed on the Moscow Exchange. It was the first tranche of a $170m bond issuance programme that the company plans to support global expansion.
The bond, which was oversubscribed, has a maturity period of three years and a quarterly coupon payment frequency.
Could fintech help the planet cope with climate change?
Some major players — Prince Charles; bankers from Barclays, Standard Chartered, and BNP Paribas; three fintechs; and professors from the University of Cambridge — all hope the answer is yes.
On Tuesday at the One Planet Summit in Paris, they are expected to announce they are developing blockchain technology that lets banks see which potential borrowers use environmentally sustainable practices and therefore are worthy of preferential lending terms. Such disclosures presumably would put pressure on companies to pollute less.
RateSetter Australia has hit the AUD$200m mark in lending a little over three years removed from launching down under. The platform, which lends to both businesses and individuals, has doubled its lending volumes over the past six months.
Interestingly, 56 per cent of its investors withdrew money from bank savings accounts in order to divert them into the platform, while a further 17 per cent reallocated money from bank term deposits. The greatest proportion of the platform’s investors are millennials, at 58 per cent, although they invest the least amount of money on average of any age group at $9,454. Retirees (aged 65 and over) by contrast invest an average of $66,118.
Consider also the case of Sitesearch in the US, where the company bought payday loan applications and sold them to third parties, which included fraudsters, who used the data to steal more than $25 million from user accounts. Such careless buying and selling off of data should not be justifiable in the name of consent. While safeguards such as requiring that companies transfer data to only to companies with a comparable level of privacy provisions help, these must be backed up by huge penalties for violations.
For example, consider the Equifax data breach, the breach of a credit information company, leading to the loss of crucial data of over 143 million Americans. This breach was the result of a vulnerability in their web application software, a vulnerability that was discovered and for which a patch had been issued at least 2 months before the actual hack. The breach of this crucial data was thus the result of negligent, or non-implementation of the patch.
A landmark privacy judgment in India is the Canara Bank case, which struck down a provision in a law, which allowed the authorisation of ‘anyone’ to conduct investigations and demand the production and seizure of documents, including bank documents. Such a wide delegation of powers can allow any and everyone, even unscrupulous actors, permission to gain access to confidential data, which should not be allowed.
This case draws attention to an important aspect of data protection — it must be ensured that investigations, at all times, must be authorised, and by authorised personnel only. Any violations, or even exceeding of powers must be punishable.
Companies that have used the 8Percent platform include Korea’s leading vehicle-sharing app operator Socar, solar energy firm S-Power and restaurant chains Power Plant and The Booth.
For example, a P2P investor into Socar was given a 1-hour free-driving offer each month for a year, until the loan matured. The offer was part of a return to about 600 retail investors, who lent a combined 1.3 billion won ($1.19 million) to the car-sharing firm in July 2015.
Vouchers for restaurants, such as Power Plant and The Booth, were given as rewards to investors.
According to a December estimate by 8Percent, three-fourths of investors, who offered an accumulated 97.7 billion won in loans, were from metropolitan areas — either Seoul or Gyeonggi Province — while those in their 20s or 30s accounted for over three-fourths of investors. The investors, without tax being deducted, are offered on average 9.78 percent interest for investments.
Some 65 percent of its borrowers — about 5,000 – had a credit rating between 4 and 6 on the scale of 1 to 10.
Similarly, online REITs use online platforms and digital technology to enable wider access to REITs and quicker dissemination of REIT information. This allows mass participation and broader wealth distribution.
The ticket size to crowdfund a $1-billion airport is not exactly for everyone. However, a three-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, Manchester or Dubai Marina jointly owned by a hundred individuals sounds realistic. It also helps diversify risks for investors.
Smart Crowd is a crowdfunding platform, very different from an online REIT. The company believes it can enable anyone with Dh5,000 in savings to enter the Dubai property ladder. Its platform is awaiting final regulatory approval from the Dubai Financial Services.
MK Rachel Azaria, chair of the Knesset Reforms Committee (officially known as the Special Committee on the Planning and Building Bill and the Maternity Leave and Parenting Bill) did not like the draft circular released by the Bank of Israel on regulating the relationship between the banks and the digital peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms on Sunday.
Azaria is now threatening to promote legislation that will regulate relations between the banks and the platforms, but this appears to be designed to pressure the Bank of Israel to publish new, more focused guidelines .